Philip Timms, B.C. photographer

“Mr. Timms is a real Vancouver pioneer; handpicked, extra special, double refined and forty over proof.”
Major J.S. Matthews, City of Vancouver Archivist, perhaps best described Philip Timms.

Philip Timms, amongst many other accomplishments, created a photographic record of Vancouver between 1900 and 1910. In subsequent years he take many photographs across B.C. A number of Timms’ real photograph postcards have recently featured in the All Nations Stamp & Coin auctions here in Vancouver – thank you for the images.  Thank you Vancouver Public library for the biography of Philip Timms see British Columbia Through the Camera Lens of Philip Timms

Philip Timms Biography

Philip Timms“Born in Toronto in 1874, the son of pioneer music printers who emigrated from London, England. Philip Timms was an extraordinary man whose lifetime spanned: the days of horses and buggies; the invention of the first automobile, radio, airplane and television, as well as the landing of the first man on the moon. He lived to one month short of his 99th birthday having lived a long life filled with many interests and considerable accomplishments.

Timms’ interests varied from shopkeeper, to professional printer and commercial photographer, to amateur archaeologist, archivist and historian, to musician, vocalist, choir and band leader, projectionist, lecturer and frustrated actor. He developed his own home museum, auditorium and theatre, was comfortable in churches of every denomination and was a deeply committed vegetarian and antivivisectionist.

Timms’ considered his greatest professional accomplishment to be the photographic record that he created of Vancouver between 1900 and 1910. However, the images that he took during his travels throughout the province of British Columbia during subsequent years are also a tremendous cultural legacy. Timms’ curiosity and adventurous spirit drew him to photograph many of the province’s natural wonders. Like Leonard Frank who loved to photograph “The Lions”, Timms loved to photograph the mountains, his favourite being “Black Tusk” in Garibaldi Provincial Park. He also loved the giant old-growth trees such as those in Stanley Park; his young son Harold was a favourite model to help indicate the scale. Timms was keenly interested in all the ways of life in the new frontier that was British Columbia. As a consequence, the photographic record that he left behind affords us a valuable glimpse of the province during its period of growth from a frontier outpost to a well-established centre of industry and tourism.

Philip Timms, Vancouver with violin and piano

VPL 18554

Philip Timms was a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society; he was also the official photographer for the Vancouver Museum. Of his work, James B. Stanton, Curator of History at the Museum in the early 1970s wrote: “All of Timms’ photographs have a certain recognizable quality about them; much of the kindness and gentleness of the man himself comes through. His shots are candid and uncluttered and capture dramatically the feeling and mood of the time.”
When he closed his shop on Commercial Drive in 1968 at the age of 94, after 79 years as a printer and 70 years as a photographer, Philip Timms urged other photographers to continue similar documentation of British Columbia’s history.

see British Columbia Through the Camera Lens of Philip Timms

Timms’ Postcards

Second Beach, Vancouver

Philip Timms Second Beach

Philip Timms Second Beach

English Bay, Vancouver

Philip Timms English Bay

Philip Timms English Bay

Bowen Island, B.C.

Philip Timms Bowen. Island Philip Timms Bowen. Island postcard

Eburne, B.C.

Philip Timms Eburne Fair

Philip Timms

Port Moody, B.C.

Philip Timms 1908 real-photograph postcard in All Nations Stamp & Coin Auction #1079 – Noon Saturday 8 October 2016

Philip Timms - Port Moody

Philip Timms - Port Moody postcard





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