Skip to main content

Primary Sources for K-12 Educators

This guide is for K-12 educators seeking digital primary sources to use in their classrooms.
The following is just a sample of primary source collections available in Open Collections that align with the Social Studies BC Curriculum content and sample topics. Use these collections to search for resources to use in your classroom or browse others in Open Collections. 

The Japanese Canadian Photograph Collection documents a wide range of the experiences of Canadians of Japanese descent in British Columbia, the resource is particularly strong in chronicling their treatment during World War II.

Social Studies BC Curriculum Content and Sample Topic Alignment
  • Japanese Internment Camps
Sample Sources
  • Truck Transporting Japanese to Tashme Internment Camp [image]
  • Tashme Camp [image]
  • Japanese Canadians arriving at or departing from Slocan City [image]

The BC Historical Books collection documents the history and life of British Columbia.

Social Studies BC Curriculum Content and Sample Topic Alignment

  • Chinese Immigration and Labour, including resources on the laws and regulations related to the Chinese Head Tax
  • First Peoples and Colonization, including resources on the Indian Act of 1876
  • First Peoples education and Residential Schools
  • Natural Resources and European Contact and labour practices of Early British Columbia (e.g. including immigration, First Peoples labour and land)
Sample Sources

The Chung Collection contains historical documents, photographs, books, maps and pamphlets illustrate British Columbia's political, social and cultural history. The scope of these documents include everything from 18th-century documents and books to tourism brochures from the 1950's and 60's. Includes travel narratives of explorers such as James Cook, George Vancouver, Dionisio Galiano, Ivan Kruzenshtern and Etienne Marchand

Social Studies BC Curriculum Content and Sample Topic Alignment

  • Settling the West, including advertisements from the Canadian Pacific Railway Advertisements
  • Early photos of Vancouver (e.g. Chinatown, Granville Bridge, etc.)
Sample Sources
  • Chinatown, Vancouver BC 1858-1950 [images]
  • Canadian Pacific Railway Company advertisements 1868-1991 [images & text]
  • Gold in Kootenay Boundary Country and Cariboo reached by the Canadian Pacific Railway 1899 [pamphlet]

The Uno Langmann collection consists of more than 7,900 images from 77 albums. This collection includes extensive coverage of B.C. from the 1850s to the 1950s and includes photographs in a wide variety of formats and genres including albums, diaries, portraits, landscapes and city/townscapes.

Social Studies BC Curriculum Content and Sample Topic Alignment

  • Settling the West, including advertisements from the Canadian Pacific Railway Advertisements
  • Early photos of Vancouver (e.g. Chinatown, Granville Bridge, etc.)
Sample Sources
  • Early Vancouver - photographs of various views in Vancouver 1888 [images]
  • En Route to the Klondike 1898-1901 [images]