The neighborhood of Commercial Drive was served from 1917 to 1995 by a wonderfully quirky local newspaper called The Highland Echo. The Echo was defiantly local, covering no national or international news, but every week detailed the economic and personal stories that animated Commercial Drive and the wider Grandview community. The Echo is a vital resource for anyone interested in the history of East Vancouver.
The earliest copies of the Echo have disappeared; however, the Special Collections department of the Vancouver Public Library has collected and maintain most of the weekly editions between 1935 and 1969, and these have already provided the primary resource for at least two books on the history of Commercial Drive. An almost complete set of the editions between 1970 and 1995 – covering important cultural changes on the Drive — are held at the Provincial Archives, but their location in Victoria makes them difficult for Vancouver-based researchers to access.
The Grandview Heritage Group is proud to announce that it has purchased copies of all twenty-one microfilms of “The Highland Echo” newspaper held by the Provincial Archives and has donated them to the Special Collections department of the Vancouver Public Library, thus making them accessible for historians and researchers on the Lower Mainland.
“Community newspapers can provide an unparalleled look at the day-to-day issues and character of our neighbourhoods,” says VPL director Shelagh Flaherty, who oversees the library’s Central branch in downtown Vancouver. “It’s important that communities be able to easily connect with their history, and we are delighted to have these past issues of The Highland Echo as part of our collection.”
The Grandview Heritage Group gratefully acknowledges the significant financial assistance of Vancity and the Vancouver Foundation, without whose generous support this project could not have come to fruition. Their recognition of this important community-based project is sincerely appreciated.