Pioneer Postcards of BC

In 2016, the Vancouver Postcard Club held a contest during our annual show & sale, searching for the oldest surviving picture postcard of British Columbia Canada. John Keenlyside took home the prize for the earliest BC picture postcard. The three cards just below are from his collection.

The dates shown below are indeed early for picture postcards, ranging from June – July 1899, but we believe there may be earlier cards that have survived.

 1899-06-12_to_17_a_front 1899-06-12_to_17_b_back

This postcard showing Vancouver’s “English Bay and the Pavilions” and “In Stanley Park” is dated June 10, postmarked June 12, 1899 and received in Montreal June 17, 1899. Published by the Province Publishing Company. Ltd.


Dated June 10, 1899, postmarked on June 13, 1899, this postcard shows “Vancouver from Mount Pleasant” and “In Stanley Park”. There is  no visible receiving date postmark.  Published by the Province Publishing Company Ltd.

1899-07-08_to_24_a_front 1899-07-08_to_24_b_back

This postcard, showing a Vancouver street scene and a ship at the wharf, identified in writing as the Empress of China, was postmarked July 8, 1899, received July 24, 1899 in Belgium. Published by the Province Publishing Company Ltd.

Photograph of the three cards above, courtesy John Keenlyside.

1899 PC front1899 Postcard

This postcard, “Vancouver, B. C., Giant Trees in Stanley Park”, published by the Province Publishing Company, from Rein Stamm’s collection was mailed from Vancouver BC to Washington DC on July 23, 1899.  Photograph courtesy Rein Stamm.


Other Early BC Postcards




This October 1899 card, showing Vancouver’s “English Bay and the Pavilions” and “In Stanley Park” from Tim Woodland’s collection, published by the Province Publishing Co, was mailed to Germany.  You can see the stamps have been removed but were likely 2 x 1 cent paying the correct overseas rate of 2c for a postcard at the time. Photograph courtesy Tim Woodland.

1896-04-09_a_front 1896-04-09_b_back

While not a picture postcard of BC, this private postcard also from the collection of John Keenlyside predates the Post Office’s approval of private post cards mailed to USA.
Postmarked April 9, 1896, it was produced by the Colonist Printing & Publishing Co. in Victoria, an early example outside of postal regulations.  Photographs courtesy John Keenlyside.








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