New Archives Search Page

Online researchers will find an improved search experience for the Archives holdings on the City of Richmond Archives’ website.

There are 5 entry points, depending on the type of record you are interested in, and each one has the option of Quick or Advanced searching.

search tabs

The All Records search is just that, you have access to all the descriptions which are available online, from high level descriptions of particular fonds such as The Steveston Community Society fonds, to individual items, such as architectural drawings.

If you are looking for photographs only, use the Photos search pages. Both Advanced and Quick Search screens provide a “Digitized material only” checkbox, which will provide search results for those materials available as high resolution JPGs:

digitized only

The Maps search pages have the same Advanced and Quick Search options, but also include a new graphic interface for browsing by geographic location. Click on “Map Search” and you will see 3 “clickable” maps: two for Planning Areas (one pre-1999 and one post-1999) and one which divides Richmond into Section, Block and Range squares (this is the survey system used in legal descriptions of property.) Use your mouse to hover over the area of Richmond you are interested in; clicking on any section will perform a search of the maps for that area.

The BC Packers search includes a large amount of photographs and maps digitized in 2007 which was presented as a Virtual Exhibit on our previous website. The new search interface will retrieve these records as well as other records of the BC Packers fonds.

A recent and large addition to our digitized holdings can be accessed from the Interurban Tram link. This consists of the images created by traction enthusiast Ted Clark. Over 5000 images can be found, either by keyword or content searching such as tram line or station.

Quick vs. Advanced Search

The quick and advanced search options, provided in the types of searches described above, both access the same information.

The advantage of the Quick Search is that any keyword or phrase will search a number of database fields simultaneously. For instance an All Records Quick Search for “garden” will retrieve records with the word “garden” in the description as well as “Garden City Road” in the title. If you find your search results are too lengthy there are ways to improve your search. Search Tips are instructions found on every search page which will help you construct a more focused search.

Use of the advanced search pages will give you even greater power to combine and limit searches. Each of the 5 Search areas will have Advanced Search fields particular to the type of record. Photos for instance has subject and name fields which can be searched, in combination or alone. The Interurban Tram advanced search has car number, tram line number and station fields.


For many of the advanced search fields, terms used in them are very specific. For these fields you need to click on the link beside the field to browse a list of terms, then choose the terms you would like to use:

list of terms

For really precise search results keywords and terms can be used in combination by using the AND / OR / NOT option for any field (this is called a Boolean search). For instance, the following example will search for all photographs with the subject term “British Columbia Electric Railway”, excluding those which are part of the Ted Clark fonds:

search example

Reference Files and Biography Files

You will notice that you can no longer search Reference Files and Biography Files on their individual pages on the City of Richmond Archives’ website. This is because they have now been incorporated into the new Archives search page along with the rest of the fonds/collection/series. Simply use the above search tips to locate the record(s) you are interested in.

Other New Features

If you would like to create a list of your search results just flag each record “Add to List” as you go. Once you are done searching, go to “View Selection’s” near the top of the page you are working in. Your list is automatically generated and can be emailed, saved to your home computer, or printed out on your printer.

New at the Archives – The Richmond Review

One of the top news stories for Richmondites in 2015 was the end of the local newspaper, the Richmond Review. 

Last Review

The front page of the last edition of the Richmond Review, July 24, 2015.

The Review began life in 1932, a gesture of optimism in an otherwise depressed period of time. After a few issues published by founder Bill Carruthers, it was sold to Ethel Tibbits, who ran it until 1948.


The police news was a popular feature of the Marpole-Richmond Review where the latest police activities could be followed and names were named, even for minor infractions. This clip from 1937 relates the fallout from illegal liquor sales in Steveston.

For much of its existence it was known as the Marpole-Richmond Review. By the 1970’s it was BC’s largest circulating biweekly. The last issue came out on July 24th 2015; the publishers citing market forces as the culprit, making competition with another newspaper impossible to carry on.

Review staff

The Richmond Review staff, ca. 1990; left to right – Publisher Susan Tweedie, Composing Room Foreman Fred Meyer and Editor Diane Strandberg. City of Richmond Archives photograph 2015 19.

Before the offices of the Richmond Review were completely vacated, the City of Richmond Archives was invited to visit the location to retrieve records which we would consider important to the community.


The Review was an important source of information for readers during elections, featuring interviews, candidate’s platforms, etc. This clipping shows well-known local politician Harold Steves beginning his successful run for the NDP in the 1972 Provincial election.

The bulk of this accession is more than 50,000 images taken by Review reporters, now housed in the climate-controlled and secure stacks of the Archives. These photographs are both in 35mm and digital formats, and represent the transition to the use of digital cameras.

1988 121 - Richmond Review - Oct.21, 1989

The sports section of the Review showed images from many Richmond games, including this one from October 21, 1989. This is just one of the many thousands of photographs form the paper, now housed in the City of Richmond Archives. (City of Richmond Archives – Richmond Review photo 1988 121)

These recent images are in addition to previous accessions of photographs from the Review which date back to 1982, bringing the date range for Review photographs held by the Archives to about 33 years.


Advertising helps pay for the operation of any newspaper and the Review was no exception. Local advertising allowed Richmondites to choose which sales they would attend at local stores or, in this case from 1957, which local theatre they would attend to see Hollywood’s latest offerings.

The Archives has also newly acquired the collection of the Richmond Review from the Richmond Public Library, both recent hard-copy and historical issues on microfilm. Combined with the hard-copy and historical issues already in our holdings we now have a complete run of the paper to 2015 available to the public.

[Note – this is a version of an article first published in the Spring 2016 issue of the Archives News]

New at the Archives – Engineering Richmond

Part of an ongoing program to digitize historical images at the City of Richmond Archives are 980 slides taken by Richmond’s Engineering Department documenting a variety of major infrastructure projects in the municipality between 1969 and 1977. Highlighted here are just two projects from 1969: the construction of the Dinsmore Bridge and the Gilbert Trunk Sewer.

Dinsmore Bridge under Construction

Dinsmore Bridge under Construction, February 1969. (City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1988 123 461)

Before the opening of the bridge in 1969, the only connection between Sea Island and Lulu Island was the Moray Channel Bridge, built in 1957 to replace the old Middle Arm span of the Marpole Bridge. While the Dinsmore Bridge itself was built with funding from the Federal government, the approaches to the new bridge connecting Gilbert Road to Russ Baker Way were the responsibility of the municipal government. Part of the construction of the bridge approaches required the crossing of some of Richmond’s existing infrastructure, such as the Lansdowne Canal, as shown below.

Crossing for Lansdowne Canal

Construction of the Crossing for Lansdowne Canal from the Dinsmore Bridge. (City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1988 123 472)

Another major construction project in 1969 was the Gilbert Road Trunk sewer, designed to collect sewage from lateral feeder pipes extending east and west to transport raw sewage south to an outfall in the South Arm of the Fraser.

Gilbert Road Trunk Sewer - Laying  Pipe

Gilbert Road Trunk Sewer – Laying Pipe near Westminster Highway, March 1969. (City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1988 123 431)

The new sewage system was designed to replace an older patchwork of collectors and outfalls. Today, the Gilbert Road Trunk Sewer No. 2, a parallel system,  is under construction by Metro Vancouver.

Gilbert Road Trunk Sewer

The Gilbert Road Trunk Sewer – Looking North from Westminster Highway. (City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1988 123 430)

Before 1973, when the Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant at the south end of Gilbert Road became operational, the pipe discharged untreated sewage directly into the south arm of the Fraser River near the foot of Gilbert Road.

Sewer Outfall - the launch

The Placement of the Gilbert Road Sewer Outfall at the South Arm. (City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1988 123 401)

Other Engineering Department activities documented by the recently-digitized group of photographs include dyking and drainage projects, traffic and intersection studies, and aerial surveying of fire halls, municipal buildings and parks and recreation areas.

New at the Archives – Duck Island Research Guide

Duck Island Research Guide

City of Richmond Archives Duck Island Research Guide (Cover showing Archives photograph of Duck Island in 1919.)

One of the biggest mixed-use developments in Richmond’s history is now in the planning stage. It consists of a hotel and conference centre, as well as retail and entertainment amenities. If it goes ahead it will be located in the City Centre area, where the old bridge to Sea Island and Vancouver once stood. This site was used primarily as industrial land and is still known as Duck Island. The island however doesn’t exist anymore. It has physically merged with Lulu Island through infill, and so doesn’t show up on modern maps. If you have been to the Richmond Night Market next to the River Rock Casino you have been on the island.

195 153 1 detail

Detail of 1909 Map of the Municipality of Richmond, showing legal property divisions. (City of Richmond Archives map #1985 153 1)

In anticipation of increased research on this site, the Archives has recently created a research guide, compiled by Friends of the Richmond Archives Director Christine McGilvray. The guide will assist researchers by listing and describing those textual, cartographic and photographic records held by the Archives which explain the progress of land use at this location.

City of Richmond Archives photograph #2004 70, detail

Aerial photograph of Duck Island taken in 1954. (City of Richmond Archives photograph #2005 70, E-4, detail)