Leonard Frank: Master Photographer
September 2013 to March 2014

In 1894 Leonard Frank came to British Columbia from Germany to prospect for gold and other metals. He became a merchant and postmaster in Alberni, on Vancouver Island, before his interest in photography led him to open an industrial and commercial photography studio in Vancouver, in 1917. As such, he became the official photographer for the Vancouver Board of Trade, took photographs for the Vancouver Daily Province, National Geographic Magazine, and the Saturday Evening Post, exhibited widely, and gained international fame.

Frank’s love of the outdoors is evident in the majestic images he captured of wilderness areas, as well as the tamed Stanley Park. This exhibition, circulated by the Jewish Museum & Archives reflect his interest in industrial develoment while documenting early logging activities in British Columbia.


ex-mahonImagining North Vancouver: Edward Mahon and His Legacy
February – November 2013

Edward Mahon [pron. Mann] arrived in BC in 1890 and quickly became one of the most prominent landowners on the North Shore. Recently, avid researcher Walter Volovsek, while investigating Mahon’s life, discovered a treasure trove of never-before-seen photographs which reveal much about the kindly ‘Mahon’ and his investments.

From a shattered dream in Castlegar to success in North Vancouver, Mahon’s efforts to create and invest were not always successful, but today’s North Vancouver was built upon the foundation which he helped lay. The ring of parks now referred to as the Green Necklace is part of that legacy and includes Mahon Park, Victoria Park, Ottawa Gardens and Grand Boulevard. It is well worth reflecting on Edward Mahon’s efforts to create a healthy and beautiful city and what these green spaces mean to residents today. The story may be followed in Walter Volovsek’s book, The Green Necklace: The Vision Quest of Edward Mahon


IAIN BAXTER&: Information/Location, North Vancouver
June to December 2012

This multi-site exhibition took place at the North Vancouver Museum, the North Vancouver Archives (in the Community History Centre), the North Vancouver City Library, and a community food garden (Loutet Urban Farm) and featured both early and new work by one of Canada’s most recognized artists.

The exhibition dealt with two lesser-known periods of the artist’s practice that are separated by several decades. Included were early works (that pre-date the N.E.Thing Co. Ltd.) produced while BAXTER& lived in North Vancouver, and current, contemporary work conceived for this exhibition. Guest Curators: CAUSA


Made in BC: Home-grown Design
November 2011 to May 2012

Curated by Sam Carter, Professor Emeritus, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and Designer Patrick Gunn, Made in BC was based on a “BC Design History” travelling exhibition (2008). The NVMA’s new exhibit version added work by North Vancouver designers including diving industry pioneer Phil Nuytten, furniture designer Brent Comber, architect Farouk Noormohamed, and Cove Bikes (designers of world-class mountain bicycles all provided superb pieces to the show. Dozens of objects from the permanent collections of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives were included.

The exhibition explored the functional, communicative, and aesthetic aspects of design and applied arts during the past century. The diversity of BC applied arts – including architecture, furniture, crafts, clothing, textiles, graphic design, industrial design, and crests and coats of arms – were included.


Entwined Histories: Gifts from the Maisie Hurley Collection
Txwnch7ám’new’as kwis eslhílhkw’iws
January 25, 2011 – November 6, 2011

TThe Maisie Hurley Collection is extremely important, both culturally and to the North Vancouver Museum and Archives,” says Director Nancy Kirkpatrick. “As a collection of national significance, its donation led directly to the museum’s creation. We are thrilled to be able to share this important collection with the public for the first time.

This exhibition focused on the entwined histories of indigenous peoples and newcomers through the shared advocacy of a local activist, Maisie Hurley, and her friends from the Squamish Nation. It explored the cultural significance of gift-giving from a First Nations perspective.

Maisie Hurley (1887-1964) was best known for founding Canada’s first native newspaper, the Native Voice, in 1946. She was also the first woman admitted to the Native Brotherhood of BC. Hurley is credited in Canadian legal circles as the first non-native champion of Aboriginal title, the legal basis for Native land claims. She and her husband, criminal attorney Tom Hurley, advocated for native peoples at a time when they were marginalized. Thomas Berger, QC, who played an important role in the evolution of Canadian law on aboriginal matters, credits Mrs. Hurley with introducing him to the idea of Aboriginal title.

Maisie Hurley and her husband, received many culturally significant gifts for their work on behalf of First Nations.

The exhibition included a short video, Ongoing Legacies, of interviews of Squamish Nation members who talked the Hurleys’ friendship and advocacy work. The North Vancouver Museum & Archives, with funding from the North Vancouver Arts Office, commissioned Kwetsímet (Keith Nahanee) to create a new weaving for the exhibit. This weaving was inspired by the Swéwkw’elh (chief’s blanket) in the Maisie Hurley Collection. That blanket, over a century old, was conserved using funds from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

‘Entwined Histories: Gifts from the Maisie Hurley Collection’ was presented by the North Vancouver Museum & Archives and the Squamish Nation, with support from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage.


Skxwúmish Úxwumixw: The Squamish Community: Our People and Places
January 16 – August 2010

This exhibit contained photographs from North Vancouver’s Archives chosen by members of Ta na wa xwniwn ta a imats (Your Grandchildren’s Squamish Language Elders Advisory Group). The Elders, working with guest curator Sharon Fortney, identified individuals and locations, provided new information about the images, and wrote the label texts.


Rita Leistner: Travels in First Nations
January 20 – May 23, 2010

This exhibition of large format photographs by contemporary photojournalist Rita Leistner were shot during her collaboration with Métis/Dene playwright Marie Clements on a new play, The Edward Curtis Project. Taken during the past two years, these compelling images of First Nations people and communities document Leistner’s residencies in five First Nations located in the Arctic, Haida Gwaii, Vancouver’s downtown eastside, Arizona, and Oklahoma.

The exhibition was an integral component of The Edward Curtis Project, an investigation in theatre and contemporary documentary photography of the life and controversial legacy of Edward Curtis and his early 20th century photographic project The North American Indian. The play was presented as part of the 2010 Olympic Games’ Cultural Olympiad.


Life Under Canvas: Tent Homes in Early North Vancouver
May 21 – October 19, 2008

Recently North Vancouver’s real estate market has been one of the hottest in Canada.
A century ago, the new City of North Vancouver was in the midst of a building boom and an influx of new citizens. Newspapers were full of stories about the rising price of real estate and the scarcity of rental properties. For those people unable to purchase an existing house, home construction could be a do-it-yourself affair. Many people began the path to home ownership by purchasing and clearing a lot, then living on it for awhile in a shack, cabin, or permanent tent.

Imagine enduring a winter in North Vancouver with just a canvas roof above your head! That experience was shared by hundreds of North Vancouverites in the early 1900s. In 1911, for instance, about one third of the single-family dwelling building permits in North Vancouver were issued for temporary housing. And the local newspaper advertised furnished canvas tents for rent at $2 per month.

Among the photos are several 1911 views of the tent (see photo) in which Evelyn Elliott and her husband Albert (recent emigrants from England) lived for a year and a half. Their tent was on a lot they owned, located behind Mr. Smith’s Store at the end of the Capilano streetcar line. Each weekday, Mr. Elliott took the streetcar to the ferry and journeyed to his job as a bookbinder in Vancouver. We’re told the Elliotts loved “roughing it” in their tent and found the winter of 1911-12 to be “great fun”.

At the same time, members of the Baxter family (who had emigrated from Scotland in 1907) were living in a permanent tent. Their family compound was bordered by East 19th Street, the west side of Grand Boulevard, and East 18th Street. On one of the lots, they built a substantial tent home. Although the roof was made of canvas, a portion of the front of the tent was covered with shiplap and shingles. Like the Elliott’s tent, the Baxter’s residential tents were near a streetcar line (the Lynn Valley line which ran up Grand Boulevard). William Baxter did not commute to work, however, as he ran a successful nursery on the property for many years. His wife, Elizabeth, opened a real estate office in a wooden shed on the site. The office remained open through the early 1920s, after which the structure was moved next to the tents to serve as a kitchen. The Baxters continued to live in their tent-home until the early 1950s.