Vancouver Chinese Merchants’ Exchange letter to Thomas Tracy – 1896

Vancouver Chinese Merchants’ Exchange letter to Thomas Tracy – 1896

On September 14, 1896, Imperial Statesman Li Hung Chung visited Vancouver. The Vancouver Chinese Merchants’ Exchange asked the City Engineer, Col. Thomas Tracy to design a triumphal arch for the occasion, and sent him this letter of thanks for his design [Vancouver City Archives Reference Code: AM960].

One page of the letter was in Chinese, one page was in English.  You can read our volunteers’ transcriptions of these letters (and comments on the Chinese writing) below the original images.

original handwritten letters here

English page: transcribed by Gent Ng, L. Ellema, and Chris Stepehenson
Col. Tracy,
Dear Sir:
Will you be pleased to
accept the accompanying pair of
flower vases as an expression of our
gratitude to you for the excellent
manner in which you so kindly
designed our arch on the occasion
of the visit of His Excellency Li
Hung Chang.
Very respectfully presented
By The Chinese Merchants Exchange

Chinese page: transcribed, translated, and with commentary by Anonymous

Translator’s note: The original Chinese text is written by one that was equivalent to a
semi-literate individual, lacking formal education as reflected by the
socio-economic conditions of the Chinese migrants of the times.

The use of certain Chinese words and/or grammar of the times was incorrect.


迎李中堂大人衆蒙Col. Tracy地利仕大人繪龍門一座畫得十分流麗故聊贈與花蹲一對仰祈笑納



–English direct transliteration to follow–

(To) welcome (His Excellency) Chung-tong Li, Official, our request to (Col.) Tracy, Official, to draft a Dragon’s Gate was very fluently received; and (which we) would like to gift a pair of flower vases in hopes of (Col. Tracy’s) satisfaction.


(For) Official Tracy’s joyful satisfaction

Chinese Hall (present day Chinese Benevolent Association)
respectfully sends

The finished arch was built on the CPR wharf to welcome His Excellency Li Hung Chung.
Here is a picture of the finished arch (Vancouver Archives reference code AM54-S4-: SGN 1081)

Petition to incorporate the City of Vancouver – February 15, 1886

In February of 1886, a number of residents of the town of Granville sent a petition to the B.C. Legislative Assembly to incorporate the City of Vancouver. In 1944, the Attorney-General of BC returned the original document to the City of Vancouver.  This copy was made from COVA reference number COV-S27.

copy of original petition here

This letter was transcribed in May and June of 2018
by Transcribimus volunteers Gent Ng and Gerald Soon

Petition for
Bill to Incorporate
the “City of Vancouver”

Presented 15/2/86


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The Legislative Assembly
of the Province of British Columbia
The Petition of the residents of Vancouver in the District of New Westminster
Humbly Sheweth
That the present village of Granville with its vicinity has been chosen by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company as the terminus of their Railway, and in consequence thereof the said Village is now daily increasing, and is likely to increase very largely in population, in the immediate future
That in view of the large increase in said population, it is necessary and expedient that the building of the roads, streets and bridges, and other improvements of a like nature should be provided for
Your petitioners further shew that the said Railway Company are about setting the contract for constructing their line of Railway from Port Moody to said Village of Granville and are about constructing large wharves and other buildings and improvements in said Village of Granville and in the immediate vicinity which said construction and improvements will give employment to many hundreds of men, and for the reasons aforesaid, and for the better preservation of law and order your petitioners are desirous of obtaining a charter incorporating the said village of Granville and its immediate vicinity, a city under

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the name of “The City of Vancouver.”
Your Petitioners therefore pray. .
That your Honorable House may be pleased to pass an Act incorporating the said City of Vancouver in accordance with the desire of Your Petitioners.
And your Petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.
Richard Alexander
Chas A. Coldwell
L. A. Hamilton
Edward E. Rand Jos Mannion
Thos F. McGuigan Alex Johnstone
F. F. Kingdon J. Miller
D A Ferguson A W King
Frank. A. Nicholson S Brighouse
J. W. Sullivan M. A. Mac Lean
James Hamilton Walter J. Graveley
Donald M Naughton J. J. Blake
Robert Thomas Jno Leask
D. L. Beckingsale John Boultbee
Thos Haggart Jones Mc Allister
Samuel Pearse T. C. Innes
C Russell E. E. Barker
J D Jarvis F. D. Boucher
A K Coughtrey S. S. Tilley
Colin Rankin J Rooney
Pet. Larson John Hay
G Blackstone Cy Arkell
John M Haywood W. J. McGuigan M. D.
Allan Mc Pherson C M Johnston

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Thomas Wilson R McDonald
W. Irvine J G Nicolson
J. Pitt T H Morris
D. Caldon A. Wilson
H. L. Freese J. Ross
Hemsley Lewis L R Arthur
W U Macdonald J. D. Kavanagh
J. A. Livingston
Robert Tassyeth G. Finney
J. B. Harker Stephen Altermat
Lewis J Hall M. Green
Elton Coleman H L Wilson
Alfred Wendell H. J. Carter
James E. Kelly J. Harvey
Will Smith H. Sweet
B. T. Chase J. H. Watson
C. Sullivan Justus Ryerson
Jos Edson M. Madison
F McCartney Pat Barry
W E McCartney + Bro Geo. Addison
George Chipman Samuel Greer
H. E. Langis, M. C. Arthur Johnston
James Z. Hall. Donald Menzies
J. W Jackson John McKenzie
G Jackman Edward C [unreadable]
G Fraser Thos I James
Jas E. Wize J A Gillion
Wm. Proehl W S Westcott
J. W. Palmer C. T. Wm Brown
H Hemlow Henry W. Hughes
John Cartwright R. A. Hanters
J. L. Quackenbush
W. W. Chase Mr Clements
M. Y. Ross Jas Harney
John Strathern A. Gilmore
G Payne

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Isaac Johns
A. C. Fraser
J. C. Douglas
A G. Ferguson
Wm Brewer
H G Bullson
W J Kilross
J. Huntly
T H Boyd
Henry Blair
E. P. Hamilton

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Province of British Columbia

May 4, 1944
C.H. Wilson, Esq.,
4175 Balaclava St.,
Vancouver, B. C.

Dear Mr. Wilson:

I enclose herewith copy of the original
Petition for the Incorporation of the City of

I thought you would like to have this.

Yours very truly,
R L Maitland