This collection consists of the map collections of F.W. Howay and Dr. Robie L. Reid, donated in 1943 and 1945, respectively.
Both men were interested in the voyages, and had copies of the published journals of Cook, Vancouver, Mackenzie and others. Howay had a fine copy of Jose Espinosa y Tello's Relacion del viage hecho por las goletas Sutil y Mexicana en el ano de 1792 and its accompanying Atlas para el viage…(Madrid, 1802). Reid had Duflot de Mofras' Exploration du territoire de l'Oregon, des Californies et de la Mer Vermeille (Paris, 1844) with its accompanying atlas in his library. The publication of Cook's Voyages brought the North West Coast to the attention of the world, and later explorers and cartographers used his charts. Vancouver's voyage established Britain's claim to the North West Coast, and his charts, which combined the results of surveys by the Spaniards with his own, remained the most detailed maps of the coast for many years. Espinosa's Atlas was the first Spanish publication of charts of the North West Coast. Duflot de Mofras' Atlas includes one of the first maps to depict the geography of the area between the coast and the Rockies.
The wide range of maps in Howay's collection includes Delisle's maps showing the mythical geography of de Fonte, British Admiralty charts, Spanish voyages of exploration, and blueprints of the site of a Hudson's Bay fort. Also present are photocopies of the manuscript maps in the British Columbia Department of Legal Surveys, as well as promotional maps for new British Columbia "cities." The collection is strong in the areas of cartography of pre-Confederation Canada and the Pacific coast of Canada, including the fur trade, the voyages of exploration, and the search for the Northwest Passage.