Victoria to Vimy The First World War Collections at the University of Victoria Libraries

About the site

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Victoria to Vimy, sponsored by a World War Commemorations Community Fund grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage, is a digital collection of First World War materials held at the University of Victoria Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives.


For this exhibit, the University of Victoria Libraries has selected a range of items from our Special Collections and University Archives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada that provide diverse perspectives on the lives of ordinary Canadians during the First World War. These materials tell the stories of soldiers—from enlisted men to high-ranking officers—as well as their friends and families. The site takes visitors on a journey from Victoria, where many young men enlisted and trained to sites across Canada, including, Vernon, British Columbia; Ottawa, Ontario; and Valcartier, Quebec—and then across the sea to England for training. Ultimately, many of these soldiers went to the Front in France and Belgium, where Canadians fought in several major battles, including the Battle for Vimy Ridge in April 1917.

Kinds of material:

The collection includes: letters, collections of letters, diaries, postcards, individual photographs, photograph albums, scrapbooks, war records, audio-oral histories, and artifacts. These archives represent the records and mementos that families kept, used, and treasured for years before bringing them to The University of Victoria Special Collections and Archives to be preserved and shared with students, faculty, and the public. Thanks to the generosity of the Department of Canadian Heritage, these materials have now been made fully accessible online to create an important educational legacy that all Canadians can use for generations to come.

The project:

This website and the work behind it are the result of collaboration among several departments at the University of Victoria Libraries. The project was funded in part by a grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage, World War Commemorations Community Fund. The Fund is intended to promote community engagement, build awareness of how the war efforts shaped Canada, and create an important educational legacy that all Canadians can access.
The project team was able to successfully digitize, update, synthesize, and integrate existing web and archival material related to the First World War currently in our collections in order to promote these digital materials in a central virtual platform that will correspond and link to the Canadian Great War Project. The Canadian Great War project is an online database, which strives to identify every man and woman who served in the First World War.

Project team:

Kathy Winsor Bohlman, Project Manager, Archivist

Lara Wilson, Director, Special Collections & University Archivist

Lisa Goddard,  Associate University Librarian, Digital Scholarship & Strategy

Christine Walde, Grants & Awards Librarian

Dean Seeman,  Head, Resource Description & Discovery

Pia Russell Education & Children’s Literature Librarian

Braydon Justice Developer/Analyst, Digital Scholarship

Ben Sheaff Web Developer, Systems Services

J. Matthew Huculak Post-doctoral Fellow, Digital Scholarship

Kathy Mercer Supervisor, Digitization Centre

Cheryl DeWolfe Library Assistant, Digitization Centre

Marisa Parker Graduate Coop Student, Archives & Special Collections

Myriam Gerber Graduate Student Assistant

Sarah Warder Staff Development Assistant is a dynamic resource that will grow over time as we digitize additional material from our collections.

Technical background:

This site was built using Blacklight, an open source, Ruby on Rails, discovery and access engine for digital collections. The exhibit was created with the Spotlight for Blacklight plugin; the Scrapbook zoom viewer uses OpenSeadragon, customized by Braydon Justice to allow for on-image annotations.

History of Logo design and font:

The logo for the site was inspired by the material from the collections. Many of the letters and ephemera were printed using the Copperplate Gothic Bold font. Huculak adopted this font for the logos and chose a colour-scheme based on the Royal Flying Corps roundel adopted at the end of 1914.


This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada.

Use and reproduction of digital materials:

The University of Victoria Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives provides digitized materials from their collections to support the teaching and research needs of the university community and partners.
Users may reproduce (print or download) items in this collection for research, teaching, or private study. For all other uses, contact Lara Wilson, University Archivist & Director of Special Collections at 250-721-8257.

Citation of digital materials:

UVic Libraries requests that materials reproduced from their digital collections are properly cited, regardless of use. Citation should include: title of the item; name of the Collection / fonds it belongs to; “University of Victoria Special Collections and University Archives"; “Victoria to Vimy digital collection”; url for the page the item was found; date the item was viewed. For multipage items, include the name of the whole resource, as in, “Florence Westman Scrapbook” along with the page number, if available. You may find all of this information in the beige box beneath each image.


"Theodore Monk postcard: Clover point." Theodore Benning Monk fonds. University of Victoria Special Collections and University Archives. Victoria to Vimy digital collection., May 16, 2016.


Questions or comments about the materials represented on this site can be sent to Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Victoria Libraries,