Explore the Early Years of Burnaby's Incorporation
11 Sep

Explore the Early Years of Burnaby's Incorporation

The City Archives is pleased to announce that a current index of all Council minutes and reports is now entirely searchable online. Full-text versions of more than 85% of the documents are available to view, with more being added every day.

Among these records are some of the oldest known surviving records created by the Corporation of Burnaby!

In the early years of Burnaby’s incorporation, the Municipal Council met for its weekly meetings in some rather unusual places, like the tram station, local schools, and private homes.

There was no permanent and secure place in Burnaby where official records could be housed. To remedy this situation, in March 1898, the Municipal Council authorized the purchase of a large safe that could hold all the records and would be housed in a municipal building in New Westminster.

Six months later a devastating fire destroyed the entire downtown section of New Westminster. Unfortunately, the minute books from 1892-1893 were destroyed completely and the others were thought to be lost or destroyed as well.  In October of 2004 the British Columbia Archives in Victoria miraculously found the 1894-1898 records in their holdings and donated them to the City of Burnaby where they went through immediate conservation treatment.

Now that these records and all actions of Council since are available electronically, anyone with access to a computer can gain a unique window into the actions, decisions, and events that transpired from Burnaby’s earliest years and the workings of some of Burnaby’s first Mayors and City Council members, through to present day Mayor and Council.

Click on the following links to explore Council records and to listen to early Burnaby resident Florence Godwin’s recollections of her family’s experiences of the New Westminster fire. 

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