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News Clips
December 14th, 2015...
On December 10th, the Community Archives acquired records of the Mission Firefighters Association, originally established in 1927 under the name Mission City Fire Brigade.

Norm MacLeod, Assistant Fire Chief, Operations & Training for Mission Fire Rescue Services delivered the Mission Firefighters Association records to the Community Archives.

Dating from 1959 to 1996, the records include minutes of meetings, correspondence, membership and call-out records documenting the history of the association such as its operational rules and regulations, the saving and restoration of the 1954 G.M.C.Pumper Truck, and milestones in the development of firefighting services in Mission.

In the new year, there are plans to add the Association's extensive photographic holdings to these records to ensure all are preserved and accessible now and in the future.

November 30th, 2015...
On November 26th, volunteer staff got into the holiday spirit and decorated an 8 foot tree with garlands and ornaments contributed by more than 50 volunteers over the past 22 years.

This year's annual tree trimming event was attended by volunteers: back row (L to R):Donna Rash, Janet Morgensen and Ed Betterton; centre row (L to R): Harold Brosseau, Margaret Dobbin, Sheila Roberts, Polly Betterton and Loretta White; front row (L to R): Joan Koop, Pooja rattan, Betty Robertson, Sheryl McKamey and Jessica Huntley. Missing is Archivist Val Billesberger who took the above photograph.

November 16th, 2015...
After the development of nuclear weapons and the Cold War in the 1940s and 1950s, Canadians were forced to consider more extensive safety measures. An integral part of these early initiatives were the preparation and distribution of publications across Canada on how to survive an actual nuclear attack.

Among the holdings at the Mission Community Archives are some of these civil defense publications. Dating between 1951 and 1966, they were primarily authored by Canada, Civil Defence and the Department of National Health and Welfare. Acquired from the District of Mission in 1978, the publications include 31 manuals, and 4 pamphlets that were recently processed by archives volunteer Poojah Rattan, a student in the Library and Information Technology Program at the UFV.

At a first glance - recalled Poojah - the Civil Defence manuals looked like booklets written at a grade four reading level with their cartoonish pictures and simplistic diagrams; however, upon closer scrutiny they proved to contain important information on how to prepare for and survive an atomic attack, including: what supplies to stock up on, how to preserve foods as well as first aid and medical information. In fact some of them go into great detail such as Blueprint for Survival - a manual which contains examples and diagrams to help the reader build their own bomb shelter and how to protect oneself in highly targeted areas.

Due to advancements in scientific research and technology since their publication, however, the manuals contain outdated and unrealistic information. For example, in the 1951 Civil Defence Manual No.4 Personal Protection Under Atomic Attack on a page titled House wives hints it states: there is no need to fear radioactivity after an airburst, but take care it is not spoiled by ordinary dirt or dust created by damage to the house.

Their value therefore is the documentation they provide of the initiatives taken to organize and educate civilians during the cold war. In addition, they provide the historical context for the measures taken by Mission to protect its citizens in the event of a nuclear attack.

If you or any one you know can provide information or material about civil defense in Mission, please email the Archivist, Val Billesberger.

November 6th, 2015...

On October 30th, Archivist Val Billesberger had the privilege of meeting and assisting Anthony Taulbut - shown in the above photograph - standing in front of the street named after his great uncle, a Mission pioneer with whom he shares the same name.

A resident of Durham in North East England, Mr. Taulbut travelled to Mission to find out more about his father's father's brother. He left very impressed about his great uncle's legacy including his countless contributions to Mission until his untimely death in 1949 - all recorded in the Community Archives - and his extensive collection of artifacts preserved in Mission Museum.

Councillor Jim Hinds and his wife, Mary stopped by the Archives to present Mr. Taulbut with some momentos of Mission, including: a District of Mission pin.

You can find out about the remarkable life of Tony Taulbut by reading our Street Story: Taulbut Street.
October 17th, 2015...

You can now easily identify the Community Archives building on Second Avenue through new signage recently installed by Public Works staff of the District of Mission. The large black letters on the fascia can be clearly seen from a block away!

October 10th, 2015...
On Saturday, October 3rd the Mission Community Archives hosted its Annual Celebration of Women, part of the Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program. With nearly 180 guests, the event this year was one of the most successfully attended in its history!

This milestone year of the Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program saw three new honourees-Polly Betterton, Jo Priestley, and Sophie Zehner-Parks-celebrated for their lives and contributions to their communities. With these inductions, the number of women honoured by the designation of Paths & Pathfinders has reached 100. Each of the women honoured this year has made an impact in their chosen community and spoke of the joy of living here in Mission. Their passion for the work and volunteering they do was clearly felt as they expressed their thanks for being recognized through the program.

Local women are at the heart of this event and the entertainment was no different! Susan Dearing performed a song written especially for the 20th anniversary celebration, Momma said, and the Serenata Singers sang songs from around the world. An equally touching moment was the roll-call and recognition of those previously honoured who were in attendance. Of the 97 women previously honoured,47 are still living and 27 were in attendance.

Straying from the planned program was a surprise presentation that made this years'20th anniversary even more memorable. Following an emotion-packed speech given by Councillor Jim Hinds a shocked Val Billesberger, Archivist of the Mission Community Archives since 1989 and founder of the Paths & Pathfinders Program, was presented with a special certificate in recognition of her work by Mayor Randy Hawes. Citing Val's dedication and perseverance to preserving the history of Mission and its surrounding communities for present and future community members, Councillor Hinds spoke of her as being the "one hundredth and one" women on a list of 100 truly notable women of Mission.

We look forward to the future Annual Celebration of Women of Missionand to those Paths & Pathfinders who have yet to be nominated.

The biographies of ALL 100 women are now available online. CLICK HERE here to read about Mission's 100 extraordinary women.

September 26th, 2015...
As part of celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program the District of Mission Council has proclaimed the week of September 28th to October 4th, Women's Week In Mission. Below is a schedule of events being held during the week to celebrate the women in our community.

  • Westminster Abbey - September 28th
    Prayers will be offered for the good work the women of Mission do and to ask that women can continue doing their incredible work into the future. Visit their website.

  • Lifetime Learning Centre - September 30th
    Women in Politics A discussion panel of current and past Mission City Councilors, plus the voice of local student councils exploring the past, present & future women of politics in Mission. Learn how their contribution has shaped our community. Click here for details.

  • Martin's DOWNTOWN - September 30th
    Celebrating Women's Week Luncheon Martin's Downtown has prepared a special luncheon menu To make reservations for the event please click here.

  • Mission Library - September 30th
    Canadian Women in World War II Join Dr. Molly Ungar of the University of the Fraser Valley for an illustrated presentation that focuses on the experiences of Canadian women during WWII and the events that took place between 1939 and 1945. Click here for details.

  • Mission Seniors Activity Centre - Oct 1st
    Women's Week in Mission Tea The Mission Seniors Centre Association is hosting a special tea to honour women who have donated their time to improve opportunities for seniors in Mission. The event starts at 1:00 pm in the Centre located at 32331 - 7th Avenue. There will be home-baked refreshments and refreshments Click here to find out more about the Centre.

  • Roaring Twenties Fashion - Oct 1st
    The Mission Museum will be celebrating Women's Week with a brand new mini-exhibit featuring 1920s women's fashions from the collection. Don't delay, this exhibit will be on display for one week only as the Museum prepares for its annual "Fun, Fashion & Flappers!" fundraiser to be held on October 10, 1-4pm at the Cedarbrooke Chateau. If you like the exhibit, don't miss the show! Click here for details.

  • Annual Celebration of Women - Oct 3rd
    The Mission Community Archives is opening their 20th annual Paths and Pathfinders: Women of Mission exhibit on October 3rd at 1:30 PM at the Cedar Valley Mennonite Church Auditorium. This year three more women will be honored bringing the total to 100!

    Tickets to the event can be purchased at the Community Archives or online - just CLICK HERE

    You can read about more about the program and who has been honoured in the latest issue of What's On! Mission

    September 19th, 2015...
    BC CULTURE DAYS: Dear Mission Exhibition
    As part of local celebrations to mark BC Culture Days, on September 26th the Archives is once again staging the exhibit titled Dear Mission, which will feature images from the extensive holdings of contemporary photographer Dr. Noel Hall that are housed in the Archives. This year there will be both an ONSITE and ONLINE version of the exhibit with some NEW images.

    Through his stunning, full-colour images of places, events, people, and buildings from around the community, the exhibit will try to elicit from visitors what defines Mission and makes our community unique.

    FREE DRAW: For people that view the exhibit at the Archives, there will be a draw you can enter for a framed Noel Hall photograph!

    AN INTERACTIVE EXHIBIT: Dear Mission is an exhibit where participation from viewers is welcome. The intent of the exhibit is to engage visitors by having them view an image not for its aesthetic or historical significance but for its ability to trigger memories and stimulate conversation about what defines Mission and makes our community unique. Visitors will have the opportunity to leave their personal comments or messages on each photograph which will be used to engage others.

    ONLINE VERSION: On September 26th, we will also be posting the photos on Facebook for people to comment on if you can't make it out to the Archives.

    September 12th, 2015...
    The Engineering Department of the District of Mission has initiated a program to wrap some its utility boxes along main streets to enhance the areas in which they are located.

    Utility box on corner of Best and Cedar

    During the past two weeks, boxes along Cedar Street have been wrapped with historic photographs from the Mission Community Archives that capture the early 1900s in the community.

    The first installations are images of Mission's CPR bridge, 1909 (box on corner of 7th and Cedar), early Mission businesses along Grand Street c.1916 (box on corner of Best and Cedar) and the historic CPR train station,1900s (box on corner of Cherry and Cedar).

    Watch for more historic images and let us know what you think. Visit our Facebook page

    August 24th, 2015...
    BC CULTURE DAYS: Dear Mission Exhibition
    As part of local celebrations to mark BC Culture Days, on September 26th the Archives is once again staging an exhibit titled Dear Mission which will feature images from the extensive holdings of contemporary photographer Dr. Noel Hall that are housed in the Archives. This year there will be both an ONSITE and ONLINE version of the exhibit.

    Featuring Noel Hall's stunning, full-colour images of places, events, people, and buildings from around the community, the exhibit will try to elicit from visitors what defines Mission and makes our community unique. Visitors will have the opportunity to leave their personal comments or messages about each photograph which will be used to engage others.

    Be sure to visit the archives between the hours of 12:00 noon and 3PM on September 26 to express your views about your community and to find out what others are thinking. You will also have the opportunity to enter your name in a FREE DRAW for a framed Noel Hall photograph!

    For those who are unable to come down in person to see the exhibit, this year the Community Archives will also be posting the photos online through Facebook for people to leave their comments commencing at 9:00am. We look forward to your participation!

    The Mission Community Archives is opening their 20th annual Paths and Pathfinders: Women of Mission exhibit on October 3rd, 2015 at 1:30 PM at the Cedar Valley Mennonite Church.

    The program which was established in 1996 by Archivist Val Billesberger, preserves the records of and celebrates women in Mission who have made a difference to the community in their own unique way. Since the program began, 97 women have been recognized and this year three more will be honored bringing the total to 100! This year's honourees are:

  • Polly Betterton - a passionate learner and pro-active, selfless volunteer for children and youth, health care, the Christian community, and local heritage.
  • Jo Priestley - an internationally recognized and award-winning artist whose exemplary leadership and volunteerism in Mission has significantly enhanced the arts community.
  • Sophie Zehner-Parks - a dedicated leader and advocate for the better treatment of senior citizens and avid promoter of Ukrainian culture through the Orthodox Church.

    You may purchase tickets to the 20th anniversary celebrations either at the Community Archives during regular hours of operation or CLICK HERE to purchase them online.

    August 17th, 2015...
    BC Culture Days Event: Dear Mission Exhibition
    Our Night on the Town themed online auction hosted on Facebook raised much-needed funds for the Mission Community Archives. A very special THANKS to ALL of our sponsors and to those who participated in the auction. CONGRATULATIONS to all of our winners!

  • Dinner and a Movie sponsored by Silvercity Mission and Embers BBQ House.
    Winner: Laurel Hafeli

  • Pizza Party for Four sponsored by Mission Boston Pizza.
    Winner: Colleen Heidrich

  • Date Night sponsored by Magnolias on Main and Martin's Downtown
    Winner: Dawn Smaill

  • Taste of Asia sponsored by Prawn Garden Restaurant and U & I Thai Restaurant
    Winner: Sheryl McKamey

  • Theatre Night sponsored by Opening Nite Theatre Society
    Winner: Patricia Shephard

    on Saturday, August 15th over 200 people of all ages visited the Mission Community Archives and participated in a range of fun activities related to Mission's historic Fall Fair - an annual event for 105 years that was organized by the Mission Agricultural Association.

    Of great interest were the videos of two parades from the Mission Agricultural Association records that are preserved in the Community Archives. One was from 1992 - the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the District of Mission - and the other was the centennial parade for the fair itself (1894-1994). A very special thanks to Chris Lindgren of Spider Broadcasting Ltd. who digitized the original footages for this event!

    Inside Mission Museum there was an interactive exhibit Picture Yourself at the Fair. Visitors had the option of wearing a costume piece while having a photo snapped of themselves in front of a green screen background featuring one of the six historic photographs from the Community Archives for the exhibit.

    Outside, in the area between the Community Archives and Museum, visitors were both entertained and able to participate in a number of fun activities. Between 11am and 3:30, there was music provided by Susan Dearing, a Mission singer-songwriter; and musicians Ann Senae, a well-known Mission resident and Karin Edberg-Lee, a third generation Silverhill resident. The Abbotsford Grand Squares also performed old time steps to traditional and contemporary music. A highlight was the participation of spectators - many of whom had never square danced before!

    There was also a Guessing Contest which required entrants to view photos and then estimate the weight of a mangel beet harvested in 1947 and a tomato grown in 1976 as well as the number of blossoms that a single sunflower produced in 1980. A combined total of over 150 guesses were submitted to this fun game!

    There were also two vintage tractors for people to view and take "selfies" which was sponsored by Matsqui Ag-Repair Ltd. and arranged by Mission City Farmers Market. You can view some photos of this and other events at the Archives during MissionFest by visiting us on Facebook. It was a great day indeed!

    August 10th, 2015...
    On August 15th from 10am to 4pm as part of MissionFest, the Mission Community Archives and Mission Museum will be offering a range of free activities for the whole family using Mission's Historic Fall Fair as the theme. Here are some of the events.

  • Fun Historic Vegetable Guessing Contest by Mission Community Archives
  • Vintage Tractor "Selfies" - arranged through Mission City Farmers' Market
  • Guided Tours by Archives of Mission's historic mural: Our Home Town
  • Entertainment, including: square dancing by the Abbotsford Grand Squares
  • Historic film footage of Mission's Agricultural Fair Parades by Mission Community Archives

  • Pick up an event passport at the Archives, Museum or Farmer's Market and partake in the activitites. Once you have your passport all stamped, you qualify to enter in our FREE RAFFLE DRAW where you could win one of three gift baskets: the Outdoor Adventurer Children's Gift Basket, Save-On-Foods Gift Basket, or For the Foodies Gift Basket (Mission City Farmer's Market vendors.

    July 27th, 2015...
    Annual Gift Basket Fundraiser

    The Community Archives and Mission Museum are raffling off some amazing items to raise funds for their operations which are both managed by the Mission District Historical Society.

    An online auction on the Archives and Museum's Facebook pages will begin on August 11th at 4PM and continue until 4pm on the 16th. Go to our Facebook for details.

    This year the Community Archives popular Night on the Town basket is worth over $300 and includes: restaurant gift certificates to Boston Pizza, U&I Thai Mission, Embers BBQ House, Prawn Garden, and Martin's Downtown as well as 4 movie passes to Silvercity Mission, 2 season passes for Opening Nite Theatre Society and a voucher for flower arrangements at Magnolias on Main!

    We would like to thank all our generous sponsors for supporting the Mission District Historical Society. Please purchase tickets for your chance to win this and one of our other incredible gift baskets and support the preservation of your local history.

    July 4th, 2015...
    Mission's Japanese Remembered

    Mission's first Japanese pioneers - Issei - are commemorated through the naming of streets after them. This week you can find out about Fujino Street - named after the first Japanese family to settle in the community by reading Street Stories

    Sueno Ikeda, Kumikichi Fujino's daughter, recalled at a Mission Japanese Reunion in 1984: In those pioneer days as related to me by my mother, Japanese women were a novelty. On hearing that a Japanese women was in the area, men packed their lunch and came from miles around to look at this rare spectacle. In this day and age, a situation like this is hard to comprehend.

    I am grateful to my parents and to the many pioneer men and women, who had the insight to settle in Canada, realizing this truly is the land of opportunity. They worked hard for us and suffered hardships of all kinds. They are responsible for all that we have now.

    Through an extensive project spearheaded by Archivist Val Billesberger to preserve the heritage of Mission's Japanese community, the Archives now houses one of the largest community-based archival collections in the province. All materials are accessible to the public during the archives regular hours of operation or by appointment on Saturdays between the hours of noon and 4:00pm.

    June 20th, 2015...
    Unique Program Preserves Archives
    Established in 2000 by Archivist Val Billesberger, the School Archives Program (SAP) is a unique partnership with Mission School District which encourages students and educational staff to become involved in the preservation of their local documentary heritage.

    Every September each of Mission's eighteen educational institutions receive a collection box where they can place their records during the course of the school year and in June they are collected for processing by the Community Archives.

    The program helps to ensure that documentation of students, staff, school events, clubs, daily life, etc. are preserved and made accessible in the Mission Community Archives for present and future generations.

    Imagine searching the archives for a relative and being able to find their graduation photos, the clubs they were involved with or even which track and field events they participated in. Preserving these archives also helps document how schools operated in the past and how they've changed through time.

    The collection of boxes is currently underway and already the Archives has acquired some fantastic records including a Community Growth Plan from West Heights Elementary which outlines their school objectives. This information gives a frame of reference to access their achievements over a certain period of time.

    Boxes sent by Silverdale Elementary included thousands of photographs and items dating back to 1948 that will help piece together a comprehensive history of their school. Albert McMahon Elementary included class and staff photographs as well as a pictoral yearbook. The latter is essential for identifying individuals in photographs of events and activities which in turn gives a more all-encompassing record of individual students. Combined these invaluable materials help not only to preserve the story of each school but also a narrative of the history of education in Mission.

    To date, boxes have been collected from eight schools. We would like to especially thank the following institutions for their significant efforts to preserve the documentary of the 2014-2015 school year: Riverside College, Deroche Elementary, West Heights Elementary, Albert McMahon Elementary and Silverdale Elementary.

    June 13th, 2015...
    Archives Preserves Stories
    Historic photographs of the community such as the one of the CPR station featured below are priceless. This one captures the station when it was a major transportation centre during the early 1900s with passenger trains stopping daily from Montreal, St. Paul, Seattle, Sumas, Agassiz and Vancouver. It is also a record of the station that was relocated in 1891 to the "Y" of the tracks just west of where a new one was built in 1909. The latter remained a landmark in the community until it was destroyed by fire on January 25, 1999.

    The photograph of the station was printed as a postcard that an Edna Shelton, a member of a Mission pioneer family, purchased to send to her boyfriend Tom Gibbard, also a pioneer who was working for the CPR. On the reverse is a hand-written note dated March 25, 1907 that she wrote to him which includes the following content…

    Dear Tom:
    I don't want you to think I am sending the card you sent me on Sat. back again for I'm not as this is one I got for you. I will answer the card which I got on Sat. Those two candles [?] are all right and I like them fine and many thanks for them. Let me know for sure whether you will be down ever yours with love. Will send other card tomorrow. Love from Edna

    Two years after this postcard was sent they got married in Mission on June 16th, 1909 - one hundred and six years ago this year. The local newspaper provided an extensive article about their wedding, including: a detailed list of the presents received along with the names of the guests who gave them. After honeymooning in Nanaimo, Edna and Tom returned to Mission where they had two children and lived out their lives.

    This is just one of the thousands of stories preserved in the Community Archives from the bygone days of Mission and its citizens through the family archives that have been donated.

    May 16th, 2015...
    Special Book Donated
    This past week, the Mission Community Archives added an unique book to its Reference Library Collection titled: Barefooted Boy with Shoes On.

    Donated by the author, George W. Fraser, the self-published book provides a candid memoir of his everyday life with family and the communities he lived in between 1937 and 1944, including: 79 Creek, Silverdale, Stave Lake, Hatzic and Mission.

    At the age of eighty-five with almost total recall I reflect back to my boyhood days in the Fraser Valley. These times were often turbulent, with alcoholic parents and the Great Depression, life was not always a bowl of cherries Mr. Fraser states in the introduction of his book.

    The seventy-three page memoir which includes historic photographs from the Mission Community Archives ends during the time he lived in what he described as the great metropolis of Mission City. In his conclusion he writes: Although the story is not exactly pretty it is dedicated to my little brother and pal Freddy Fraser, and all true according to my fantastic memory. What would a person write about in their memoirs if life was perfect and there was never a struggle?

    Archivist Val Billesberger stated she greatly values the addition of the book to the Community Archives reference library collection. Comprised of over 350 publications, the library was formally established in 1993 by the Board of Directors of the Mission District Historical Society and is restricted to the following types of publications:

  • local histories pertaining to Mission and adjacent communities directly associated with it, including Dewdney, Deroche, Hatzic Prairie etc. and

  • printed works accumulated or collected by an individual, family, organization, institution or business which form part of their archival records.

  • Members of the public may access the reference library during the Community Archives regular hours of operation on Thursdays and Fridays.

    April 11th, 2015...
    SPECIAL TWO PART SERIES: Volunteer Stories
    This is the final segment of our special two part series on volunteers....

    The week of April 12th - 18th is National Volunteer Week in Canada - a time to recognize, celebrate and thank all those for their incredible voluntary contributions.

    Mission has a long and proud history of volunteerism that dates back to its incorporation in 1892 when the early settlers helped one another and organized groups to improve the quality of life and services in the community.

    The legacy of many of these past good deeds is now preserved in the Mission Community Archives through the records it houses, including those of the: Mission COMET Club (1921-1984), Mission Rotary Club (1946- ), Mission Hospital Auxiliary (1920- ), Mission District Historical Society (1972- ), Royal Canadian Legion Branch 57 Mission (1927- ) etc.

    Volunteerism in the Mission Community Archives - an operation of the Mission District Historical Society - remains a key component to the successful provision and delivery of its services. During the past year, 69 volunteers contributed over 4,000 hours to the operation of the Archives! Here is Loretta's story……

    As a volunteer at the Mission Community Archives, I primarily assist with the provision of reference services to the public. One of the more gratifying experiences is the excitement when a visitor is able to locate records of ancestors that were born, lived, or owned a business in Mission.

    Often times the descendants are visiting from out of town and are happy to discover an obituary or a story in the newspaper about their relative. The Archive holdings include the Fraser Valley Record (today known as Mission City Record) newspapers dating back to 1908.

    There are also many other resources available including , cemetery records, land records, voters' lists, and telephone directories that include the geographic area of Mission. There are also thousands of photographs that feature every aspect of the history of the community.

    It's great to look through the old newspapers to see articles on the people, places, and events that have made the community what it is today. It makes one appreciate those who came before us and the contributions they made to the community. It is also rewarding to receive records donated from the families, businesses and organizations that help to make up so much of the Mission Archive holdings.

    There are the disappointments too! Sometimes no amount of research can locate a family or a business that may have been in Mission which is frustrating for both the visitor and volunteer staff. As a volunteer I like successes!

    We have a great group of volunteers that are dedicated to organize documents and newspaper clippings, catalogue thousands of photographs, and help the hundreds of visitors who are looking for their roots.

    April 4th, 2015...
    SPECIAL TWO PART SERIES: Volunteer Stories

    As part of local celebrations leading up to National Volunteer Week in Canada (April 12-18), this is the first of two stories about our volunteers - individuals who generously donate their time and energy assisting the Archivist with the day to day operation of the Community Archives. Here is Jessica's story…

    History, we have read about it online and have seen documentaries on it, but what if it was right there in your hands. As a volunteer at the Mission Community Archives I get the wonderful opportunity to spend my Thursday afternoons helping to organize and record data about "one of a kind" materials.

    A recent task I just completed was looking through and cataloguing special feature newspaper inserts and publications - called ephemera - covering a broad range of subjects, including: election campaigns, special community events, and sports. I found this, personally, to be a great opportunity to learn more about the town that my family has lived in for five generations. Many of these publications are now only available at the Mission Community Archives and therefore, it was also great for a university student to discover such resources.

    Of the 113 publications that I catalogued which dated between 1957 and 2011, I have a couple favourites….First - a special feature insert from 1957 that was published by the Fraser Valley Record newspaper called "A Tribute to Women" which showcased and celebrated all the things that women did day to day and had done for the community. Secondly - another Fraser Valley Record newspaper insert but from 1988 featuring all of the high school grads of that year. It was pretty neat to share with the other volunteers a picture of a beautiful grad and say to them "Hey look, it's my mum" and to have found a bit of something from the past that related to me.

    These items are available for the public to view during the Community Archives regular hours of operation - Thursdays from 12pm till 8pm and Fridays from 9am till 5pm.

    March 28th, 2015...
    Through visitors to the Archives this week, more information about the history of Mission's oldest commercial building - historically known as the Windebank Block which is located 32995 First Avenue - was discovered.

    As a result of an inquiry by a local resident, resources in the Mission Community Archives revealed that in 1960, the building was known as the Thomas Block and had rooms available to rent as an office or suite. An ad placed in the local newspaper stated: "No children, careless or indifferent people. We cater to the best and will continue to do so." (Fraser Valley Record : February 10, 1960). The following year, the owner - Mr. Thomas - appeared before council requesting to make "a motor hotel of the building" which was approved (Fraser Valley Record : April 19, 1961).

    Another visitor viewing the Archives new exhibit - Meet Me on Main Street - recalled how the building once housed the Lighthouse restaurant where she worked during the 1950s. Coincidently while conducting some other research Archivist Val Billesberger discovered an uncatalogued photo of the building when it was a restaurant. If you or anyone you know can provide more information about or photographs of the Lighthouse, please email the archivist, Val Billesberger.

    Lighthouse Restaurant
    Fraser Valley Record fonds
    March 21st, 2015...
    Staff and volunteers of the Mission Community Archives are VERY proud to announce that the JOINT interactive exhibit, Picture Yourself on Main Street with Mission Museum which opened on February 21st has WON the Heritage BC's province-wide Heritage Week 2015 Contest! Read all about it on page 4 of the latest Heritage BC Quarterly.

    Everyone is welcome to attend the 41st annual general meeting of the Mission District Historical Society on March 25 in the Mission Community Archives starting at 7:00pm. Mayor Randy Hawes is the special guest speaker.

    Established in 1972, the society operates the Mission Community Archives, Mission Museum and Heritage Places Branch. To find out more about the society visit their website

    March 14th, 2015...
    Nomination Deadline March 31st

    The Mission Community Archives is still 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 ninety-seven women who have helped shape the community.

    Nominations for this year's 20th anniversary event are being accepted until the end of this month. Women eligible for nomination must have lived or presently reside in the District 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 download 2015 Nomination form.

    On October 3rd, the Community Archives will honour three women at the Annual Celebration of Women. The event is being held as part of local activities to mark Women's History Month in Canada. For additional information, please contact the Community Archivist, Val Billesberger, by calling 604 820-2621 (Thursdays or Friday afternoons only) or by email

    March 7th, 2015...
    Women's Records Preserved

    March 8th is International Women's Day - an annual worldwide event held to celebrate women's achievements throughout history. On that date 20 years ago, an annual exhibit about local women entitled: Paths and Pathfinders: Women of Mission was inaugurated.

    The intent of the program - personified in the title - was to recognize women who both followed and challenged the existing cultural norms and values of the society in which they lived. A key component of the new program, recalls Archivist Val Billesberger, "was to preserve the records of women and women's organizations in the Archives so the community had a knowledge base from which to learn about them and their achievements."

    Among the records acquired are those of the Nicomen Island Women's Institute (WI). Established on April 17, 1947 with 22 members, the aims of the group were to work collectively to improve the quality of life for families and neighbourhoods; promote public health, and child welfare, education, legislation, immigration, and settlement; encourage agriculture, home and local industries, and to facilitate "social intercourse, mutual helpfulness, and the diffusion of knowledge; and improve community conditions (Nicomen Island WI Constitution, 1947).

    The records of the WI housed in the Archives (1947-1974) provide documentation of their membership, finances, and remarkable contributions locally and abroad prior to their dissolution in 1974, including their fundraisers, assistance during the 1948 flood, hot lunches for Nicomen Island School, donations to the Mission Memorial Hospital and the Red Cross, and even parcels to needy families in England!

    Among their records is a remarkable history of Nicomen Island that the members completed in 1957. Featuring a copper-embossed hand-made wood cover, the book provides the history of the WI and their community which is augmented with original artwork, photographs, postcards, "Program of Grand Patriotic Concert" at the Deroche Hall on November 27, 1914 and newspaper clippings.

    The Nicomen Island Women's Institute records are among the many treasures housed in the Mission Community Archives documenting local women's achievements throughout history. Visit the Mission Community Archives to find out more.

    February 21st, 2015...

    Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the Meet me on Main Street official opening on February 21st. A highlight of the event was Glen Kask's multimedia narration of three captivating events that took place on today's First Avenue - Mission's impromptu victory parade in 1918, the official opening of the first paved street in 1929 and finally, an OPEN HOUSE WEEK in 1956 to celebrate the restoration of a vital traffic artery over the Fraser River.

    The exhibit - Meet me on Main Street - will be on view until April 30th. You can come by the Community Archives at 33215 - 2nd Avenue to see it during our regular hours of operation on Thursdays and Fridays.

    A special thanks to all those who helped promote and provided assistance for the event, including: the District of Mission Parks & Recreation and Planning Departments, What's On Mission magazine, the Mission Library and Archives volunteers: Keith Billesberger, Jean Chalifoux, Samantha Eastman, Jessica Huntley, Glen Kask, Donna Rash, and Loretta White. The exhibit would not have been possible without this support!

    February 14th, 2015...
    Heritage Week Programs & Events

  • Main Street: At the Heart of the Community
  • A special exhibit is currently on display in the Mission Library featuring some of the treasures from the Mission Community Archives and Mission Museum pertaining to the history of First Avenue.

  • Meet Me on Main Street
  • On February 21st at 1:00PM, the Archives is opening a special exhibit featuring photographs dating from the early 1900s to the present that tell the fascinating history of First Avenue - a street that traverses the heart of what is known as "Mission's downtown."

    At the opening, visitors will also be transported back in time through a series of historical vignettes using a combination of live theatre and multi-media. Each vignette will tell an intriguing story about First Avenue from the years 1918, 1929 and 1956.

  • "Picture Yourself on Mission's Main Street"
  • On February 21st at 1:30PM, the Mission Museum is opening a special interactive exhibit featuring photographs of First Avenue from the Mission Community Archives VISIT the Museum's website for details.

    January 31st, 2015...
    2015 Annual Celebration of Women...

    This year the 20th anniversary of the Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission will be celebrated. Founded in 1996 by Archivist Val Billesberger, the program was initiated to facilitate the ongoing preservation and accessibility of local women's personal, family and organizational records.

    A key component of the program is the Annual Celebration of Women which is held during Women's History Month in Canada. The event provides the opportunity to publically honour the lives of women and facilitate support for the program.

    The women to be honoured in 2015 will be selected from nominations and we need your help in identifying potential honourees. Within your organization or business there are undoubtedly women who are inspirational to others through their achievements at home, work and /or the community. We encourage you to use our nomination form to let us know who they are.

    For additional information, please contact the Community Archivist by calling 604 820-2621 (Thursdays or Fridays) or email her. The deadline for submissions is March 31st.

    January 24th, 2015...
    Upcoming Heritage Week Events...

    The staff at the Mission Community Archives are busy finalizing plans for local celebrations marking Heritage Week in British Columbia between February 16th and 22nd.

    In partnership with the Mission Museum, the Community Archives is providing historic photographs of First Avenue for a special interactive exhibit titled: "Picture Yourself on Mission's Main Street" VISIT the Museum's website for details about this interactive exhibit.

    On February 21st, the Archives is opening an exhibition titled: Meet Me on Main Street which will highlight the colorful history of First Avenue - Mission's most storied street.

    January 10th, 2015...
    WE NEED YOU...

    This year you can make a lasting contribution to your community by becoming a volunteer at the Mission Community Archives.

    Volunteers of all ages play a vital role in supporting the preservation and accessibility of the community's documentary heritage. Volunteers assist the Archivist with the provision of services or specific projects and activities.

    The minimum age of a volunteer is 16 and there is no upper age limit. Youth or young adults may become volunteers through work experience placements sponsored by a school district or post-secondary educational programs.

    The archivist welcomes individuals with a passion for learning and their community who would be interested in helping with the archives programs and services.

    Visit the archives this upcoming week to find out about the broad range of volunteer opportunities or send an email to the archivist, Val Billesberger.

    33215 2nd Avenue, P.O. Box 3522, Mission, B.C. V2V 4L1  Ph. 604.820.2621
    Comments or Questions?