By Alec Postlethwaite, Archives and Community Engagement Intern
For the last four months, I have worked with MONOVA: Archives of North Vancouver to help improve access to the archival collections. The latest online exhibition, Skis upon Seymour’s Slopes – Mapping Mount Seymour, takes Mount Seymour’s recreational history and puts it on the map, literally.
As an avid hiker, climber, and skier, I have spent many days and nights on Mount Seymour. Thus when I started on this Mount Seymour project as MONOVA: Archives of North Vancouver’s spring 2022 Young Canada Works Building Careers in Heritage Intern the project felt like a natural fit.
Expanding on Alex Douglas’ Research
The exhibition expands upon Alex Douglas’ Mount Seymour History Project, which he created intending to preserve the deep history of winter recreation on Mount Seymour. The project’s archival materials arrived in the Archives in several boxes as well as digital files.
At first the donation appeared chaotic, but with some careful review and arrangement it proved a trove of historical information – everything from private cabins, the first ski camp, and even the popularization of snowboarding.
The exhibition presents all these archival documents, photographs, and audio recordings through Historypin, an online platform which allows people to roam around a virtual map of Mount Seymour while clicking pins to discover cultural heritage information about specific locations on the mountain.
To fill in some of the gaps, Harold Enqvist Jr., Cathy Boyes, and Margaret Coates donated and/or loaned their archival photographs and shared their stories with the Archives. These contributions allowed me to explore the human side on Mount Seymour’s history, and revealed names, places, and events behind many of the archival materials which had previously been silent and unknown.
Exploring The Collection
These pins can be experienced as thematic collections, or chronologically as one big timeline for those who prefer a more linear experience. You don’t have to be an outdoor enthusiast to enjoy the exhibition.
As one of the North Shore’s defining mountains, Mount Seymour’s history extends to anyone who shares an interest in life north of the Burrard Inlet. The exhibition profiles the Mount Seymour Ski Club, which I have discovered was as much a social club as it was a ski club, connecting people from across the Greater Vancouver Area.
Through working on this project I have gained an appreciation for the degree of flexibility online exhibits offer visitors. Whether you want to explore around a map, or be taken on a tour, online exhibits can offer both, all without leaving the comfort of home.
We rely on contributions, monthly or one-time gifts, to help MONOVA safeguard and expand our community’s archival and museum collections, build learning experiences and inspire future generations.
Donations are accepted through the Friends of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives Society, Registered Charity No. 89031 1772 RR0001.
We respectfully acknowledge that MONOVA: Museum and Archives of North Vancouver is located on the traditional lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, whose ancestors have lived here for countless generations. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, work and learn with them on unceded Coast Salish Territory.