City of Vancouver Archives Reference Code: AM1477-1-S5—: CVA 1477-419

Taken by Louis Taylor Dennison in September of 1886, the photograph shows men in front of a tent with the sign City Hall. Men in the picture include Ceo. Gibson, Ald. Griffiths, Ald. Balfour, Ald. Dunn, J.J. Blake City Solicitor, Ald. Humphries, G.F. Baldwin City Treasurer, Dr. McGuigan, Ald. Coldwell, Ald. Hamilton, Ald. Northcott, Mayor McLean, Ald. Hamilton, Ald. Cordiner, T.F. McGuigan City Clerk.

Since 2012, Global Civic has sponsored free public access to the earliest Vancouver City Council minutes (1886 – 1896) through Transcribimus, which is Latin for “we transcribe“.

Transcribimus is also a network of volunteers who take hand-written documents of early Vancouver history and transcribe them into a searchable state.  City Council minutes, by-laws, and private papers from the 1800s are freely available to students, researchers, and the general public.

In co-operation with the City of Vancouver Archives, Transcribimus have transcribed more than 5,000 pages of minutes some bylaws, reports and personal documents.

The sample page below is the first page from the first meeting of Vancouver City Council.

City of Vancouver Archives
Series 23-A Volume 1 pages 1-5

[volume 1 page 1]


The First Meeting of the Board of Aldermen of the City of Vancouver was held in the Court-Room, Vancouver on Monday May 10th 1886 at 2 o’clock P.M.

His Worship, the Mayor, Mr. M.A. Maclean presiding. Present Alderman R. Balfour, L.A. Caldwell, P. Cordiner, T. Dunn, J. Griffith, J. Humphries, H. Hemlow, E. P. Hamilton, L.A. Hamilton, and J. Northcott.

The above named Aldermen were duly sworn in by His Worship, the Mayor and their declarations of Office filed by the Clerk.

His Worship the Mayor in a brief address declared the Board duly organized and outlined the method of procedure in the business likely to come before the Board immediately.

Moved by Alderman L. A. Hamilton seconded by Alderman Hemlow that Joseph Huntly act as City Clerk pro tem.

The following applications for City Clerk were read by the Clerk and submitted to the Board: – John Penberthy, I. Morrison, Thos. F. McGuigan, M.M. Picken, J. Rooney, O.D. Sweett, G.F. Baldwin.

Moved by Alderman Dunn Seconded by Alderman Cordiner that a City Clerk by appointed pro tempore to enable the Board to become acquainted as to Applicants’ Suitability. Motion withdrawn.

Moved by Alderman Balfour seconded by Alderman E.P. Hamilton

visit Transcribimus website