Directories

This section of viHistory provides directory listings for the cities of Nanaimo and Victoria for 1882, 1892 and 1902.

Directories listed the names and addresses of local business proprietors, adult employees, and householders. The directories were compiled for commercial purposes and so omitted many people — notably youths, homemakers, transients, aboriginals and Chinese labourers — who actually resided in the community. Even so, directories are valuable historical records, because they provide information on where people worked and where they lived.

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Search the Directory Records
Search for directory records matching specific criteria, in any of the available directory years. In addition to the general search there is also an occupation search and an employer search.

1882 Directories for Nanaimo & Victoria
Our database is derived from The British Columbia Directory for the year 1882-83 published in Victoria by the firm of R. T. Williams in 1882. This directory was compiled by the publisher in the autumn of 1881, a few months after the Dominion census of 1881. Accordingly, there is considerable overlap between the two records. The Williams' Directory for Nanaimo lists 500 names. In the Victoria section of the Directory, 2,809 names are listed.

1892 Directories for Nanaimo & Victoria
Information is taken from Williams' Illustrated Official British Columbia Directory for the Cities of Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo and New Westminster, 1892 compiled by the firm of R. T. Williams of Victoria. The directory was compiled in the fall of 1891 and published in December that year, just a few months after the 1891 Dominion census was completed. Again, researchers will find considerable overlap between directory listings and census returns. We've transcribed the Williams' Directory for Nanaimo, which contains 1,751 names, and the William's Directory for Victoria, which contains nearly 10,000 names.

1902 Victoria Directory
A transcript of the 9th edition (1902) of Henderson's Directory for the City of Victoria, with information on nearly 7,000 persons, businesses, and organizations. The 1902 directory was compiled and published a few months after the 1901 census of Victoria was taken. The business and personal pages of the directory were transcribed by Moira Dolen, Darcie Davidson, and Lindsay Gaunt in 2005. This section of viHistory also links to an alphabetical street directory of Victoria.

British Columbia City Directories, 1860-1940
Digital editions of British Columbia (and Vancouver Island) directories from the Vancouver Public Library collection.