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3rd Annual Open House at Archives
November 5th, 2011
On November 17th, the Mission Community Archives will host the third annual "Archives Exposed"-an open house event that will feature the Archives' most recent exhibit, Making [kuh-nek-shuns]: Mission's Communication Heritage. If you are interested in learning more about the rich history of our community, or want to see rare and authentic documents regarding Mission's heritage, you are encouraged to attend! Doors will open at 6:30 PM.
Making [kuh-nek-shuns] tells the story of how communications systems evolved throughout Mission's history, using material from the Archives' fascinating array of photographs and documents. One of the key collections featured in the exhibit is the original photographs and newspapers from the Fraser Valley Record- Mission's local newspaper since 1908. On display will be examples of the technology that was used by the paper to produce photographs, including metal plates known as half-tones that were engraved through a long and complicated process in the early days and the plastic plates that eventually replaced the half-tones in 1956. These were engraved on-site by a machine known as the Scan-a-Graver-a valuable piece of journalism technology at the time.
Archives staff will provide guided tours of the facility, including the huge, climate-controlled "Records Vault," and will demonstrate how archival materials are prepared for research and exhibits. In addition, there will be "archivestainment" that includes an exciting Trivia History Challenge - a game inspired by the long-running TV show, Jeopardy - where you pick a category and take your shot at guessing the answer to the question.
The open house is part of the provincial celebration called BC Archives Week. Since 2000, archives throughout the province have held programs to raise the public's appreciation of the value of historical records as part our cultural heritage. This year come and see for yourself some of the treasures at the archives.
Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Exhibit a Success
October 7, 2011
Over 100 guests, including local dignataries: MLA Randy Hawes, MLA Marc Dalton and Mayor James Atebe along with many family members and friends of this year's honorees attended the 16th annual celebration of women organized by the staff of the Mission Community Archives.
In his welcoming address, Paul Hockridge, President of the Mission District Historical Society thanked all the people and businesses that supported the Community Archives Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program. He said: "This unique program has enabled us to acquire documentation in our archives on how women have influenced and contributed to Mission's economic, political, and social history. This would not have been possible without the support we received."
Emcee Jo Priestley also gave special thanks to Dawn Clements and Shannon Parkhill, Leaders of the 2nd Mission Pathfinders, and Guider Lauri Wenting of the 2nd Mission Guides who, along with members of their groups, assisted at the event for the first time.
The annual exhibit featured selected photographs and documents in the archives depicting the remarkable lives of Rozina Buker, a gifted storyteller and memory keeper of Sto:lo and Babine heritage; Mary Dick, a humanitarian and exemplary volunteer; Heather Stewart, an innovative educator and community leader; and Debbie Trenholm, a successful businesswoman and community volunteer.Click here to read their bios.
16th Annual Exhibit Celebrating Women Opens
September 11, 2011
The Mission Community Archives is opening their 16th annual Paths and Pathfinders: Women of Mission exhibit on October 1, 2011 at 1:30 PM at the Cedar Valley Mennonite Church.
The annual event is part of a program which was founded in 1996 by Archivist Val Billesberger to facilitate the preservation of local women's records and celebrate the diverse contributions of women to the community.
The exhibit portrays the stories of women's lives, past and present, using the personal records acquired by the archives including: letters, photographs, awards, diplomas, speeches, newspaper clippings, published materials, and memorabilia. As a direct result of this program, the archives have added the personal records of over 45 women to its holdings.
The event also provides a forum to celebrate the achievements, hopes and dreams of women. Since 1996, the lives of 83 local women ranging from entrepreneurs, educators and politicians to artists, athletes, caregivers and community activists have been celebrated.
This year 4 more women will be honoured - Rozina Buker, a resident for the past 93 years who is a "gifted storyteller and memory keeper" for her family; Mary Dick, the first woman member of the Chamber of Commerce and a humanitarian "that never let anyone go away hungry;" Heather Stewart, an innovative educator and community leader "with an abiding desire to make Mission the best place to live in the Fraser Valley;" and Debbie Trenholm, a successful businesswoman and community volunteer.
Guests will have the opportunity to meet and speak with these remarkable women and many of those previously honoured. Tickets for the event are $10 and may be purchased at Murdoch's Bookshoppe on First Avenue or the Mission Seniors' Activity Centre. Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $12.
The program is run completely through support from the community and any donations are greatly appreciated. For more information contact Val Billesberger, Archivist at 604 820-2621 or send her an Email
School Archives Program Update
August 27, 2011
Throughout the summer, Mission Community Archives staff has been busy at work cataloguing the hundreds of items that were acquired through last year's School Archives Program.
As with every year, there were different levels of participation amongst Mission schools. The ones that stand out this year are Cherry Hill Elementary, Hillside Elementary, Hatzic Elementary, Dewdney Elementary, Hatzic Secondary, and Durieu Elementary. A big thank you goes out to these schools for regularly contributing to their SAP boxes throughout the year and ensuring they are packed full of archival material.
Special recognition is due to Mission Secondary, Heritage Park Secondary, Albert McMahon Elementary, Deroche Elementary, and Silverdale Elementary for consistently adding noteworthy items to their SAP boxes over several consecutive years. Your hard work has helped ensure that a rich and multi-faceted record of your school will be preserved for future generations. Keep up the good work!
The Archives received many significant items in the SAP boxes this year, including several DVD and CD compilations of events or performances by students. For instance, Hatzic Elementary included an excellent DVD recording of a student performance of "Bard on the Beach," while Durieu Elementary placed several CD slideshows of various events in their SAP box. With the pace of technological change progressing at an astonishing speed, the ways that we create, share and preserve memories and information have also changed. These video records not only provide documentation of events, but also transport us back in time so we can re-live the event each time we watch.
Albert McMahon Elementary School included a Student Directory in their SAP box last year, which consists of a colour picture of every student in the school printed along with their names. This is a great example of the kind of archival materials that schools should put in their box each year. Student directories like these can be used many years into the future for planning school reunions, looking up an old friend, or researching family or school history. This is part of the value of the School Archives Program- it engages students, staff and parents to preserve their school's ongoing history so that it can be enjoyed now and in the future. The archives also receives hundreds of photographs of students from schools every year, and many are not labelled or identified. Student directories provide that missing information and ensure that each smiling face has a name.
Several schools also brought in items from previous years, which are just as important as materials from the current academic year. Mission Secondary, for example, included nine yearbooks from various years past, all the way back to 1991! Yearbooks are yet another extremely valuable resource. While they document the students and staff of a school, they also provide a glimpse of the various personalities, relationships, trends and cultures that make up the complex social experience of school.
The Mission Community Archives would also like to take a moment to thank the students and staff of Durieu Elementary. Durieu has made a concerted effort to preserve their history since the inception of the School Archives program in 2002. The result is a wonderful historical record that contains documents all the way back to when the school was first opened. Durieu's enthusiasm is now even more significant as the school has unfortunately closed this year, and the history that they have preserved serves as a testament to the importance of the School Archives Program.
This year, the School Archives Program has adopted a new approach to encourage continued participation from Mission schools. Each month, a friendly reminder will appear in each school's newsletter with hints about what items to include in your SAP box. These monthly updates will also highlight remarkable submissions from last year's boxes. Thanks to West Heights Elementary for being the first school to jump on board with this new initiative! Also, keep a look out for upcoming monthly updates on the Mission Community Archives' Website.
Archives Now on Flickr
July 30, 2011
The Mission Community Archives is very pleased to announce that a selection of archival photographs has been made digitally available through the popular website Flickr.com. Flickr is an online photo-sharing community that allows users to organize their photographs in a way that is easily accessible for all-from a home or public computer or even from a mobile device.
The first series of photos on the website covers the 1894 Fraser River Flood and includes some of the earliest known images of Mission.
The flood of '94 marked the Fraser River's highest water level in recorded history. Consecutive years of heavy snowfall and cool summers had built up a large snowpack in the surrounding mountains, and a late and unusually warm spring in 1894 produced a massive freshet. The river rose over 20 feet in the last two weeks of May, topping out at 25 ¾ feet at Mission City. Local reports estimated that around 150 settlers in Mission were forced to evacuate their homes and their losses in livestock, crops and property amounted to at least $50,000.
This album is the only archival material on the 1894 Flood available. Not only are these photos an invaluable record of Mission's heritage, but they are visually stunning-and sometimes haunting. Opening with a panorama that depicts Mission's Main St. as a conquered ghost town, the album takes you through the valley with images of twisted railway lines and devastated villages, serving as a powerful reminder of the destructive potential of the Mighty Fraser.
"We are very excited about users accessing and using our images," said Archivist Val Billesberger. "Flickr provides a unique opportunity for us to increase the visibility of the archives and to learn more about the images we have through user comments and tagging. This will definitely open new doors for us to interact and communicate with people."
As resources allow, the Mission Community Archives plans to create other albums from their extensive photographic holdings, including popular research topics such as the 1948 Flood and St. Mary's Indian Residential School. This initial project was made possible through funds received from the Government of Canada Summer Jobs program.
Please check out this first album at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcarchives
and let us know what you think!
Well-known Park Celebrates Anniversary
June 5, 2011
Forty-four years ago this year, Mission Centennial Park was officially opened on on June 24th. The 24-acre park on Grand Avenue, north of Eleventh Street, was a joint project of the former Town of Mission City and District of Mission.
Construction of Centennial Park, c.1966
Initially referred to as “Grand Street Park,” it was opened with great fanfare. Dignitaries included the Lieutenant-Governor George Pearkes who in his address said: “This Park will be yours. You are the ones who will enjoy it the most…..Remember it as it is today because I would think that some day it will be the centre of Mission City.” (FVR June 28, 1967:12)
Were you or someone you know a member of the Centennial Committee or involved in the construction of the park between 1965 and 1967? Did you attend the opening ceremonies on June 24th? The Mission Community Archives is interested in obtaining records (e.g., correspondence, photographs, etc.) pertaining to the building and opening of the park. Please call the Community Archives at 604 820-2621 or Email
Annual Fundraiser a Success!
May 14, 2011
The sixth annual Ice Cream Social held at the Cedarbrooke Chateau on May 7th to raise funds for the Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program was considered the most successful to date. Organizer, Valerie Hundert, stated over 80 tickets were sold to the springtime fundraiser where attendees enjoyed ice cream, treats and live music and participated in raffles made possible through the generosity of the local business community.
“We would like to thank Karen Holmgren, Executive Director, along with Chef Jason Johnson and his staff of the Cedarbrooke Chateau for sponsoring the event;” said Archivist Val Billesberger “and our amazing volunteers Valerie Hundert, Ruth Dorling, Barbara Fehrmann, and Kuldip Herar who organized the event.”
“Also many thanks to the following businesses who donated items for the raffle: Blackberry Kitchen at Fraser River Heritage Park, Buck or Two, Dr. Lyndon Balisky, Optometrist, Cory Cassel at the Bank of Montreal, The Body Room – Esthetics & Massage, City Blends, Claim to Frame, Framed By Lewis, Fraser River Safari, Fronya Clothing Store, Gold Bin, Lloyd’s Cleaners, Magnolias on Main, Mission Art Centre, Mission Leisure Centre, Number 10 Hair Design, Artist Doris Paterson, Precious Strands Hairstyling, Rex Cox Men’s Wear, Sue’s Copy Place Sweet Stop Cafe and Uncommon Thredz.”
The event raised over $1300 for the Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program. The funds generated will go towards the preservation of women’s records in the archives and the annual celebration of women which is held in October as part of Women’s History Month celebrations across Canada. To date the records and life histories of over 70 local women have been preserved in the archives for present and future generations to use.
“We encourage members of the community to continue donating to this unique and important acquisition program of the Community Archives.” Valerie Hundert said “Donations can be made by contacting the archives at 604 820-2621.”
Archives seeks Hatzic Elementary School records
April 16, 2011
On December 28, 2010 a special concert and dance was held to “celebrate the completion and opening of the two roomed school at Hatzic.” Featuring musical presentations and “a girl’s flag drill,” the concert ended with an “appropriate chorus …A Happy New Year.” On January 3rd, students attended classes in the new school taught by Miss E.M. Sterling. By the end of the month, the community successfully lobbied for the appointment of a second teacher for the school.
This year marks 100 years since the school was officially opened and the Mission Community Archives is seeking records from anyone associated with the school’s long history. “Since the establishment of a School Archives Program in 2002”, says archivist Val Billesberger “we have been making a concerted effort to preserve the school’s documentary heritage from year to year. The centennial celebration will provide the opportunity for us to connect with former staff and students and hopefully expand what we have on Hatzic Elementary from 1900’s to the present.”
If you or anyone you know has information or records pertaining to Hatzic Elementary School, please contact the Archives on Thursdays (1-9pm) and Fridays (9-12 noon; and 1-5pm) or Email
Archives holds "Volunteer Appreciation Night"
April 15, 2011
The Mission Community Archives held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Night on Thursday, April 14th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm as part of local celebrations to mark National Volunteer Week in Canada (April 10th - 16th).
During 2010, forty-five volunteers contributed more than 3,500 hours to the Mission Community Archives. “Volunteers play an integral role in the provision of services and programs” says Archivist Val Billesberger. “Throughout the year, they assist me in all aspects of the Archives operation, including: collection management, exhibit design & fabrication, facilities operation, fund-raising, LAN management, reference & reprographic services, website development and outreach programs & activities.”
Volunteers at annual "Appreciation Night" (back row from left to right): Jim Hinds, Trevor Scott, Keith Billesberger, Donna Rash, Valerie Hundert and Harold Brosseau; (middle row from left to right) Ruth Tebbutt, Sheila Roberts, Betty Robertson, and Sheryl McKamey; (front from left to right) Lee Leck and Val Billesberger.
The annual appreciation night provided the opportunity to thank and recognize volunteers. This year’s special guest speaker was Mildred Vollick, a member of a local pioneer family and Mission District Historical Society (Lifetime member) who was recently recognized by the Mission Community Heritage Commission for her outstanding service and contributions to the preservation of Mission’s history.