Help Video

Learn how to search for an address or location. Please ensure your audio is turned on for this video. If you are viewing this video from an Apple device, such as an iPad, to play the audio, tap the Audio Enabled speaker icon twice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Each record entry is identified with a “repository”, such as Office of the City Clerk or Burnaby Heritage Planning. This is the group that needs to be contacted for questions about the record. To find out a repository’s contact information, click Contact Us.

In many cases, the document exists but has not yet been added to the record. There are thousands of documents, photographs, and artifacts that still need to be added to our collections. It is a work-in-progress.  In other cases, privacy concerns may prevent the public publication of a document. Please contact the repository for a record to find out how you can obtain/view it.

If the item has a PDF document attached to the record or if there is an image available, you can print it out. Heritage Landmarks, photographs, artifacts, publications, sound recordings and moving images may be shared using the Share feature or saved as a permalink. Please make sure that a link to the original record is included and cited appropriately. To obtain hi resolution copies for Fair Dealing Purposes, for commercial use, or for the inclusion in published material, you need to contact the repository who holds the record you want to obtain a copy from.  If there are no copyright or donor restrictions regarding reproductions, hi resolution digital copies can be released. Photographs whose copyright are owned by third parties can only be released for Fair Dealing purposes under the Canadian Copyright Act. 

See FAQ 1 for information on contacting a repository. See FAQ 7 for aerial photographs.

At the bottom of any record, click Add to List. Please note this list is only maintained for your current browser session. When you close the session, the list is cleared.

To access bookmarked records, On the Advanced Search page, click My List.

Review the website help resources available by clicking Help. If you are still unable to find what you are looking for, refer to the Contact Us page for a list of repositories, phone numbers, emails, and addresses.

The Advanced Search is most useful for searching for City Council meeting minutes and reports, and City bylaws. This search allows you to search by specific document type and date in one screen.

Yes, there are hundreds of aerial photographs on the site. The easiest way to find them is to navigate to the Advanced Search page which can be accessed below the 'Search' bar. From the Advanced Search page- click on the 'Browse by Subject' tab and choose the subject term- “Aerial Photographs. Low resolution images are available for personal use and Fair Dealing purposes, although most aerial photographs remain the copyrighted property of the Government of B.C.. For commercial use, or for the inclusion in published material, you need to order and get permission from them directly.

Heritage Burnaby has grown and developed thanks to funding support from a variety of sources, including the City of Burnaby. On the Research page, you can “search by project” to see the resources that were created or digitized through these special funding projects.

PDF item is classified as a document. Alternately, several records have been fully digitized and are classified as a digital book. When searching on the site, the search tool scans through the words in a digital book and identifies each page of the book that contains the search term and highlights the term. In contrast, for PDF items, the search only picks up the words used to describe the document, not the words in the document itself.

Most records on Heritage Burnaby can be shared by using the Share feature located beneath each description. The Share feature is not available for Council Records but they can be saved by creating a Permalink. A Permalink can be created for any record description on the website. When clicking on the Permalink (located to the right below the description) a new window will open that displays the record and allows you to copy and paste the web address.

Wildcard Searches

To perform a single character wildcard search use the ? symbol. For example, to find text or test you can use the search:


To perform a multiple character (0 or more) wildcard search use the * symbol. For example, to find test, tests or tester, you can use the search:


You can use the * symbol in the middle of a term. E.g. to find test, tempest, tenet, etc.


You can also use the ? and * symbols at the start of a term. E.g. to search for test, harvest, forest, etc.


Fuzzy Searches

Use the tilde ~ symbol at the end of a Single word Term. For example to search for a term similar in spelling to "roam" use the fuzzy search:


This search will find terms like foam and roam.

An additional parameter can specify the required similarity. The value is between 0 and 1, with a value closer to 1 only terms with a higher similarity will be matched. For example:


The default that is used if the parameter is not given is 0.5.

Proximity Searches

Use the tilde ~ symbol at the end of a Multiple word Term. For example, to search for forest and rock that are within 10 words apart:

"forest rock"~10

Range Searches

To perform a range search you can use the { } characters. For example to search for a term that starts with either A, B, or C:

{A TO C}

The same can be done with numeric fields:

{2006 TO 2008}

Phrase Searches

Enlose a phrase in quotation marks to search for that exact phrase. For example to search for rock in a forest, use:

"rock in a forest"

Boosting a Term

To apply more value to a term, you can use the ^ character. For example, you can try the following search:

rock forest^5

Which will give more value to the term "forest"

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators allow terms to be combined with logic operators. The following operators are allowed: AND, OR, and NOT.

Note: Boolean operators must be ALL CAPS


The AND operator is the default conjunction operator. This means that if there is no Boolean operator between two terms, the AND operator is used. The AND operator matches records where both terms exist anywhere in the field of a record.

To search for records that contain "forest" and "rock" use the query:

forest AND rock


The OR operator links two terms and finds a matching record if either of the terms exist in a record.

To search for documents that contain either "rock" or "forest" use the query:

rock OR forest


The NOT operator excludes records that contain the term after NOT.

To search for documents that contain "rock" but not "forest" use the query:

rock NOT forest