Collection 030 - Rupert Harrison collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Rupert Harrison collection

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the creator of the collection.

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Reference code

WVAN 030

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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Physical description area

Physical description

ca. 2000 photographs and other material

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Rupert Arthur Harrison was born in Glasgow, Scotland on August 21, 1914. His parents had moved to Canada in 1910. His mother, Anna was from Scotland and his father, Benjamin Harrison from England. They were residents of West Vancouver from 1913, but returned to Britain briefly in 1914 where Rupert was born. In December of 1914 they were back in West Vancouver. Rupert grew up in the family home at 2557 Kings Avenue. As a boy he took the PGE train to North Vancouver and walked up Lonsdale to school. He attended Kingley Boys School and subsequently North Shore College for grades one to eight. From 1929 to 1932 he attended Inglewood High School in West Vancouver.

Rupert had a great love of music and played the flute in West Vancouver’s first youth band, sang in the choir of West Vancouver United Church, and was cast in the first production of Theatre Under the Stars, performed at Brockton Oval in 1936. In 1939, Rupert Harrison married Grace Thompson (daughter of Harry Lawson Thompson). They had one child, Kenneth Thompson who was born in 1943.

Rupert’s first job after high school was as a furniture salesman. After work he attended night school taking accounting and business administration courses. With these skills, he was hired as a tax clerk on October 31, 1938 by the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver.

In 1943 he was promoted to Municipal Clerk for the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver, and remained with the District until his official retirement in August 1979. He served as the returning officer at local municipal elections from 1943 to 1978, and was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1953. Rupert Harrison received a senior certificate in municipal administration in 1959 and from 1959 to 1979 he was Deputy Municipal Manager.

Rupert Harrison was very active in the community and a longtime member of local organizations. He was co-founder of the Rotary Club of West Vancouver, serving as first President from 1953 to 1954, and held a perfect attendance record for over 52 years. His taught Sunday school at the West Vancouver United Church, and was a church elder from 1948 to 1972. In 1979 Rupert was voted “Man of the Year” by the West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, and in 1992 served as Honorary Marshall at the Community Day parade.

In March 1975, Municipal Council in West Vancouver passed a resolution providing Rupert Harrison with the time and resources to embark on a programme of research into the history of West Vancouver. He was mandated to collect historical records and historical information from pioneer residents. Among other things, Harrison embarked on a programme to interview long time residents of West Vancouver.

Following his retirement at age 65, Rupe, as he was affectionately known, was appointed archivist and historian for West Vancouver and provided with an office at the Municipal Hall where he worked 3 days a week on his labour of love for the next 19 years. Much of the material in the Rupert Harrison collection was gathered from this time until 1998 when Harrison resigned his task as historian and archivist for West Vancouver, 60 years to the day when he was first hired by the District. The Rupert Harrison fonds reflects Harrison’s activities as civil servant, historian, archivist and collector. Rupert Harrison died on August 9, 2007 at the age of 92.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The collection consists of photographs, negatives, slides, and other material relating to West Vancouver that was collected by Rupert Harrison in the course of his work as a historian and archivist for the District of West Vancouver.

The collection is arranged into two series:
Series 1: Photographs
Series 2: Ephemera

Notes area

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Physical description

Includes: 19 postage stamps, 3 prints, and 1 pamphlet.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created March 29, 2010

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