Working People

The BC LHC partnered with Knowledge Network to develop these 2-3 minute vignettes of working people in BC history. Taking over two years to produce, these high quality vignettes tell the story of BC workers using stunning historical photos.

(Teachers:  Click on each video heading to check if curriculum is available for download).

Read more about the series

View our printable project booklet here

First Economies

Covers an important part of our history. This film references the existing economy prior to colonization and Aboriginal workers in the emerging industries of British Columbia. (Lesson plan available)

Gold Fever

Gold Rushes attracted people from around the world to British Columbia. Although hopes were high, very few struck it rich. (Lesson plan available)

Age of Steamers

Brittish Columbia is a vast province. The focus in this film is the introduction of sternwheelers and steamships that allowed greater movement and mobility.

Miners vs. Dunsmuirs

A name that is infamous in British Columbia, particularly related to the coal mines on Vancouver Island, this film presents a snapshot of working in Dunsmuir-run coal mines in the 19th century. (Lesson plan available)

Mattie Gunterman

Mattie Gunterman’s photograph collection is used in this film to capture early images of work and play in the interior of British Columbia. (Lesson plan available)

Won Alexander Cumyow

Through the story of Won Alexander Cumyow, this film explores the history and early experiences of Chinese Canadians in British Columbia. (Lesson plan available)

Children at Work

Young children have always been part of the work force in British Columbia. Through the story of the explosion at Coal Creek mines in Fernie, this film examines the issue. (Lesson plan available)

Fisher Strike of 1900

A series of strikes rocked the fishing industry in Steveston, BC in the early 1900s. This story examines the context and the efforts made to unite fishers across racial lines. (Lesson plan available)

Trouble on the Line

Historical look at female telephone operators in British Columbia and some of their early activism. (Lesson plan available)

Mayo Singh

An important and often unknown story of the town of Paldi, located on Vancouver Island, and the history of Indo-Canadian workers in BC’s forest industry. (Lesson plan available)

Bows and Arrows

Focuses on early Aboriginal longshoremen union activity along Burrard Inlet. (Lesson plan available)

Where the Fraser River Flows

Named after the infamous song written by IWW singer and activist, Joe Hill, this film is inspired by his words and IWW organizing efforts amongst railway workers in the interior of BC. (Lesson plan available)

Helena Gutteridge

This film highlights the work undertaken by Helena Gutteridge, a tailor, suffragette, politician, and advocate for working-class women. (Lesson plan available)

Vancouver Island War

Highlights the 1912-1914 Big Strike in Vancouver Island coal mines. (Lesson plan available)

Ethel Johns

A short profile on Ethel Johns, an important figure in the history of nursing in British Columbia.

Ginger Goodwin

Looks at an important figure in BC labour history whose life and death continue to cause debate. (Lesson plan available)

Canning Salmon

A snapshot of work in early canneries through images and song. (Lesson plan available)

On to Ottawa

During the Great Depression, unemployed men took to the rails, with the intention of arriving en masse in Ottawa. While they did not reach their destination, this protest lives on in memory.

Connie Jervis

In 1939, Connie Jervis, 24 year old president of the Langley Teachers’ Association, led a successful fight for improved system of wages and compulsory arbitration. (Lesson plan available)

Wilmer Gold

Talented photographer on Vancouver Island who made a living photographing loggers and fallers. His amazing photographs are featured in this film. (Lesson plan available)

Bloody Sunday

This film considers the events of 1938, when Relief Camp workers held a sit-down strike in downtown Vancouver.

Ocean Falls

Life in a company town can come to an abrupt end if the company pulls up and moves elsewhere, as was the case for those living in Ocean Falls on the North Coast of BC.

Margaret Rutledge

From an early age, Margaret Rutledge knew she wanted to fly. Through her story, the history of women and aviation in BC comes to life.

Buck Suzuki

The subject of this film is Tatsuro “Buck” Suzuki, a fisher and early environmentalist on the Fraser River in British Columbia who also played a key role in the return of interned Japanese Canadians to the coast after WWII.

Home Front, Work Front

This film captures working life at Burrard Dry Dock during WWII, when women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers.

Dark Day at Second Narrows

On June 17, 1958, word quickly spread that the bridge crossing under construction across Second Narrows had collapsed. In memory of the workers killed, the bridge is now known as the Ironworkers’ Memorial Bridge.

Bea Zucco

Out of the loss of her husband to an occupational-related illness came one woman’s crusade for change.

For Women, By Women

In the 1970s, more women entered the workforce and sought ways to organize. One union that formed in British Columbia—the Service, Office, and Retail Workers’ Union of Canada—is the subject of this film.

Canadian Farmworkers Union

This film highlights organizing efforts by The Canadian Farmworkers’ Union.

Solidarity

In 1983, Operation Solidarity and the Solidarity Coalition came together in response to a series of proposed bills by the Socred government to stage the largest protest in the province’s history.