What’s UP at the Archives – June 2, 2023

During the month of June, the Archives Facebook and Instagram BLAST FROM THE PAST posts will feature photographs from the 1970s captured by a local documentary photographer by the name of Robert T. Nelson (1916-2007).

Our 1970s FLASHBACK posts will give you, the viewer, an opportunity to look back 5 decades and see what life was like in Mission.   Be sure to check out and share with friends our 1970s FLASHBACK posts throughout June!

What’s UP at the Archives – May 4, 2023

On Saturday May 6, 2023 in Fraser River Heritage Park from 1:00 – 3:00PM, there is a community celebration for Jenny Stevens (1936-2022), a long time Mission resident and community builder who served six terms on Council, from 1999 to 2018.  

As part of these celebrations to remember Jenny Stevens (1936 ~ 2022), today the Mission Community Archives is publishing an interview with her done in 2003 through the Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program.  

Housed in the Mission Community Archives, the in-depth interview includes information about her family background, childhood, education, dealing with and adapting to the loss of her vision, working as a physiotherapist, her family of 6 children, and her extensive community involvement, including: first being elected to municipal council.  You may access Jenny’s extraordinary life story told in her own words BELOW.

What’s UP at the Archives – March 9, 2023


Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program

The Mission Community Archives is once again accepting nominations for the Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program. Since the inauguration of the program in 1996, the Community Archives has recognized and built its holdings on more than 100 women who have helped shape the community.

We need your help in identifying who will be honoured in 2023.  Within your organization, family or workplace there are undoubtedly women who are worthy of recognition. We encourage you to use a nomination form to let us know who they are.

Nominations for this year’s Annual Celebration of Women are being accepted until April 30th, 2023. To be eligible the nominee must have lived or presently reside in the City of Mission, Hatzic Prairie, Hatzic Island, Dewdney, Deroche, Nicomen Island, Lake Errock and/or McConnell Creek.

The nominator must submit, on two pages or less, biographical information about the nominee, including her length of residence in the community, field of endeavor and personal attributes along with 2 letters of support for the nominee from family, friends, organizations etc. Click Here to complete the 2023 Nomination form.  The deadline is Sunday, April 30th. For further information, please call 604 837-7569 or send an email to the Archivist Val Billesberger.

Nomination Submission Countdown

What’s UP at the Archives – March 2, 2023


“We were very lucky,” said newly appointed Fire Chief Ken Lissimore ,“If the fire had spread into the adjoining theatre or apartment block, we could have been in serious trouble.”

On Monday, April 10th 1978 fire ripped through a two storey building in Block 77 near the western end of Mission’s main commercial section on First Avenue, sending thick, acrid smoke into the air. With literally only inches separating the buildings, it was the combined efforts of 35-30 firefighters from Mission, North Fraser and Abbotsford-Matsqui Fire Departments which contained the fire and prevented it from spreading throughout Block 77.

As part of SHINE BRIGHT MISSION festivities on Friday, March 3rd, the Mission Community Archives is opening a special exhibit about the 1978 fire: SAVING BLOCK 77.  The exhibit features a series of photographs taken by local news reporters on the scene of the fire, providing a vivid account of the intense blaze and the teamwork by firefighters to suppress it.   

A very special thank you to Mission Fire Chief Mark Goddard, Monique Weir (Emergency Program Manager), and Kim Thoms (Administrative Assistant) for their invaluable assistance with the exhibit. Join us for this historic tribute to our incredible first responders! You may view the exhibit at the Archives between 7PM and 9PM on March 3rd

What’s UP at the Archives – February 17, 2023

This year, through two new online exhibits by the Museum and Archives, the Mission District Historical Society invites you to discover how the camera, once a simple wooden box with a primitive lens and cap for controlling light, has undergone huge changes since its invention, and has come to play a key role in our society through its capacity to memorialize events, act as a keepsake and create visual narratives of our ever changing cultural landscape

PICTURE THIS! features the photographic works of Dr. Noel Hall (1930-2017), a self-taught photographer and highly esteemed member of the community.

Often the only photographer on the scene, Noel’s impressive archives of over 30,000 images were donated to the Archives in 2000 representing an unparalleled visual record of the community.

Presented through six theme-based virtual photo albums, PICTURE THIS! aims to transport viewers back in time to glimpse Mission during the 1980s and 1990s through aerial views of the landscape and a selection of images documenting community landmarks, pivotal events and more.

You may view the exhibit HERE, starting Feb. 20.

What’s UP at the Archives – February 2, 2023

The Mission Community Archives is pleased to announce the availability in its online store the award winning first book by Kuldip Gill’s (1934-2009), Dharma Rasa.

Dedicated to her family and parents, Bhagwant Kaur Gill, and Indar Singh Gill, the book invites readers to accompany Kuldip as she reads the love letters her father wrote to her mother; travels to British Columbia on the CPR Steamship Empress of Japan; visits the streets of New Dehli and Benares; and relives her family’s struggles and challenges as they try to make a home in a new land.

Born in Faridkot District, Punjab, India in 1934, Kuldip immigrated to Canada at age five, eventually residing in Mission where she attended school and was a member of the last class to graduate from the former Mission High School in 1952. You can read more about her life and extraordinary accomplishments here.

For a limited time only – February 2 to 14th, 2023 you may purchase the book for 25% off using code MCA1-25. It would be a special and unique Valentine’s Day gift for anyone.

What’s UP at the Archives – January 26, 2023

The year 2023 is already shaping up to be an exciting one at the Community Archives! Staff and volunteers have been back for several weeks working on a range of projects to advance the acquisition, preservation and accessibility of Mission’s documentary heritage. Here are some of the initiatives planned for 2023:

• New virtual 2023 Heritage Week exhibit: PICTURE THIS! featuring photographs of contemporary photographer Noel Hall (1930-2017) who donated 30,000 images to the Community Archives in April 2000.

• New video tutorials to be created  in partnership with students from the Library and Information Technology Program at University of British Columbia

• CITIZEN ARCHIVIST – the rebranding and expansion of the Archives Volunteer Program to include opportunities for virtual volunteering

• New video productions to be added to the Community Archives series:  Then & Now and Mission Moments.

• 26th Annual Celebration of Women featuring extraordinary individuals whose life stories and personal archives have been added to the Community Archives holdings.

• During October our BLAST FROM THE PAST series on social media will feature posts to celebrate the 65th anniversary of West Heights Elementary School.

    Watch for updates here and under our EVENTS & PROGRAMS page!

    What’s UP at the Archives – December 22, 2022

    Whatever your plans are, wherever you are going, the staff and volunteers of the Mission Community Archives wish you a happy, memorable, and safe holiday!

    Thank you to all our donors of historical records, patrons, visitors and over 3,000 social media followers.

    We look forward to seeing you in 2023.

    Happy Holidays!

    Val Billesberger, Archivist

    What’s UP at the Archives – December 16, 2022

    The Mission Community Archives Christmas tree is filled with history about its volunteers. The Archives holiday ornament tradition was started by Archivist Val Billesberger in 1994. Each volunteer contributed an ornament that embodied that year, a favorite holiday season memory, something they did, or a big life moment for them. From that year forward, new volunteers contributed an ornament for the tree – each with their own unique meaning. 

    View our gallery to find out the stories behind some of the ornaments.

    What’s UP at the Archives – December 9, 2022

    The Mission Community Archives is excited to announce that our new instructional videos are now live! Produced by UBC students Kevin Burke, Alanna Carswell, and Audrey Li in collaboration with Archivist Val Billesberger and Communications Services Coordinator Kyler Garza, the videos provide detailed instructions on how to book an appointment, access the online database, and apply to become a volunteer. “The videos were developed,” stated Garza “with the purpose of helping those unfamiliar with website interactions”