AN index of all Burnaby City Council minutes and reports – dating all the way back to 1894 – is now entirely searchable online.
In addition, full-text versions of more than 80 per cent of the associated documents are available to view, with more being added each day.
Last year, minutes and reports from 1970 to present day became searchable. Records and indexes from 1894 to 1969 have now been added. Now that these records are available electronically, anyone who has access to a computer can gain a unique window into the actions, decisions and events that transpired from Burnaby’s earliest years, through to present day mayor and council.
“We are so pleased that these records are now available and easily searchable,” said Councillor Colleen Jordan, chair of Burnaby’s Heritage Commission. “Council is committed to continue to streamline and increase access to city records and services. This is another key step in that direction.”
Visit the website at: www.heritageburnaby.ca. Refined access to council records is available by clicking on the ‘Advanced Search’ feature (found under the search bar).
Among these newly added 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 which 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, most of the minute books from 1892-1894 were destroyed completely and the others were thought to be lost or destroyed as well. In October of 2004, however, the British Columbia Archives in Victoria found the 1895-1898 records in their holdings and donated them to the City of Burnaby where they went through immediate conservation treatment.
These records are among those now accessible on the Heritage Burnaby website.