Burnaby Neighbourhood History


Neighbour Speaker Series

 (The Murray family farm in North Burnaby in the 1930s. Crop of City of Burnaby Archives photograph 370-149)  

Stories of the place we call home.

Free Speakers Series and Walking Tours


Join us this fall for a lively speaker series on a diverse range of local history topics. Also, Walking Tours, on three diverse topics of Burnaby are being offered. Presented in partnership by the Burnaby Village Museum, the Burnaby Public Library, and the Burnaby Historical Society.

All these events are FREE but registration is required. Call the library at 604-436-5400 to reserve your place or use the links below to register on-line.



History of the Heights Ismaili Centre Architecture
Political Prisoners Hastings Street History
Burquitlam Backyard
Gardens & Farms 
Cultural Cooks Tour
Chinese Canadian Stories  




History of the Heights

October 3, 7-8pm
McGill Library | 4595 Albert StreetGilmore Avenue School

See photographs, share stories, and learn about the history of “the Heights” in North Burnaby. Museum Curator, Lisa Codd, will talk about the early development of the neighbourhood as well as some of the well-known businesses and landmarks that are still part of the community today.

Photo credit: students on the steps of Gilmore Avenue School in the early 1920s, BVM 994.27.9


Prisoner's Entrance

Political Prisoners & Resisters at Oakalla

Learn about some of the people who served time in Burnaby’s Oakalla prison for resisting injustice. Speakers share stories about Japanese Canadians who served time for resisting internment during the Second World War, Indigenous prisoners, and the imprisonment and extradition of American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier.

Will Archibald, researcher, Burnaby Village Museum
Peter R. Grant, Grant Huberman Barristers & Solicitors, served as legal counsel for Leonard Peltier 
Kamala Todd, filmmaker, community planner and curator, Indigenous City Media

Photo Credit: Prisoner’s entrance to the Lower Mainland Regional Correctional Centre (formerly Oakalla Prison Farm), December 1976. City of Burnaby Archives 556-552


Burquitlam Backyard Gardens & Farms

October 17, 7-8pm
Cameron Library | 9523 Cameron Street

HarvestingBurquitlam was once home to many large vegetable gardens and small farms. It’s still a great place to grow food on balconies, and in backyards. Learn about the area’s agricultural past, and then find out how to grow food at your own home.


Eric Damer, researcher, Burnaby Village Museum
Jaclyn Kirby, Burnaby Food First


Chinese Canadian Stories

Farm Labourers circs 1905

October 24, 7-8pm
Bob Prittie
Metrotown Library |
6100 Willingdon Ave

Find out more about the contributions of Chinese Canadian people to the development of Burnaby. This lively talk will include presentations by long-time community members.

Photo Credit: Chinese Canadian farm labourers working in a field at Douglas Road (now Canada Way) and Sperling, circa 1905. City of Burnaby Archives,  477-175


Walking Tours

Explore the outdoors and indoors of our beautiful city during our Neighborhood Histories Series walking tours. Community members are invited to bring their own stories and questions.

Ismaili Centre Architectural Tour

September 29, 11am-12noon
Ismaili Jamatkhana & Centre | 4010 Canada Way

Ismaili CentreTour Burnaby’s Ismaili Centre. Completed in 1985, the building is an important example of modern Islamic architecture in North America. The project’s lead architect, Bruno Freschi, designed the building to serve the religious and cultural needs of the Ismaili community while blending harmoniously with the surrounding environment. The tour will be led by Aly Sunderji.




Hastings Street History WalkHastings Street in 1931

September 29, 1-2pm
Carleton Square | Carleton & Hastings

Join Museum Curator Lisa Codd for a tour of Hastings Street from Carleton to Ingleton Avenues. Lisa will share stories about well-known landmarks as well as little known facts about the vibrant commercial area known today as “the Heights.”

North Burnaby Garage at 3059 Hastings Street, in 1931. City of Burnaby Archives photograph 315-027]


Cultural Cooks Tour

October 21, 11am-12noon
Kingsborough & McKay

Join nutritionist Renee Chan and explore Burnaby’s Crystal Mall Market. Learn what’s in season and discover new flavours while you make your way through the market. Come ready to discuss recipes and creative uses of fresh foods.