About the British Colonist Project

The British Colonist digitization project began as a gift from the Times Colonist newspaper, the University of Victoria Libraries, and a consortium of British Columbia libraries to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the British Colonist newspaper in 2008. Every page of every issue, from the first one on December 11, 1858 until the end of June, 1910 was scanned and made searchable online. The project entered its second phase in 2013, when work was undertaken to digitize the period from July 1910 through December 31, 1920, with funding provided by the University of Victoria History department. Subsequent decades of the paper were digitized in the years following, with funding provided by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and the University of Victoria Libraries. The project ended in 2019 with the addition of the final years of the Colonist run (1971-1980) before it merged with the Victoria Times.

The project could not have been undertaken without the permission of Can West Publications to reproduce the historic newspaper as well as their funding for a legacy to mark this important milestone. Can West have agreed to make this digital version under the following terms:

" The digital reproductions on this site are provided to the public, and other researchers who visit this site, for teaching, research consultation and scholarly purposes only. Further distribution and/or any commercial use of the works from this site is strictly forbidden without the permission of the Times-Colonist (CanWest) "

The University of Victoria Libraries contributes resources, created and maintains the search interface, and hosts the project. Sponsorships from the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia, The Electronic Library Network of British Columbia; the B.C. Public Library Services Branch (Ministry of Education) and The Greater Victoria Public Library are also gratefully acknowledged.

Newspapers from the period 1858 through June 1910 were digitized by Commonwealth Microfilming (a division of WestCanadian) in Calgary from negative masters of 99 microfilm reels originally shot in the in late 1940's. Their partner, IArchives did the optical character recognition (OCR) and produced the pdf and raw text files. Newspapers from the period July 1910 through December 1958 were digitized and OCR'd by the Internet Archive Canada from microfilm supplied by the Legislative Library of British Columbia. The years 1959 through 1980 were digitized by CRKN/Canadiana.

For their initial and ongoing encouragement and enthusiasm, credit should go to Dr. John Lutz (UVic-History), Chris Petter (UVic), and Dave Obee (T-C). Much appreciated help with the sponsorship came from Lucinda Chodan and Peter Baillie (T-C), Chris Hives (Ike Barber) and Leonora Crema, both of UBC; Jacqueline Van Dyk (PLSB); Anita Cocchia (ELN) and Barry Holmes, Ilka Abbott and Lynn Jordan (GVPL). Jonathan Bengtson, Marnie Swanson, and Ken Cooley of UVic were instrumental in UVic's sponsorship. John Durno, UVic Library's Head of Systems, managed the development with Maike Dulk doing the original development and Ben Sheaff moving it onto a production server and creating an interface for advanced and chronological searching. Pat Szpak and John Durno provided the graphics. In addition technical help came from Leslie Field (UBC), Martha Grant (Commonwealth Imaging) and Scott Christensen (IArchives), Gabe Juszel at Internet Archive Canada, and Beth Stover at CRKN.

Project management for phase I was provided by Ken Cooley and Chris Petter of UVic Libraries. John Durno acted as project manager for phase II.