Foodies will take delight at a new exhibition in the Chung Collection room, highlighting historical food menus from the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).
UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections teamed up with local historian Larry Wong to create the exhibit. Wong, author of Dim Sum Stories, curated a series of menus for the exhibition, “Bon Voyage / Bon Appétit: Menus from the Canadian Pacific Railway Company’s Ships, Trains, Planes, and Hotels.”
Whether you prefer quick eats or fine dining, the array of eye-catching and mouth-watering menus are sure to inspire.
“[The menus] are of interest to students in the culinary industry, but also just to the general public – a history of food and life,” says Wong, who has curated other exhibitions at the Chinese Cultural Centre, the Royal BC Museum and the Chinese Canadian Military Museum.
UBC Library’s Chung Collection contains more than 1,000 menus, ranging from the 1890s to 1980s. The majority of the menus are in English, but there are a few unique menus in Chinese, Japanese, French and even German. Featuring unique historical delicacies, these menus offer a glimpse of “the elegance of dining” in the early days, says Wong.
The illustrations on the menus can be quite detailed, and highlight “what makes Canada, Canada,” says student co-curator Chelsea Shriver. The menus feature mountains, lakes, forests, Mounties and even some CPR advertising for travel packages to destinations in Canada and around the world (as seen below).
The exhibition features CPR menus exclusively, but local foodies can also enjoy a few digitized menus from Vancouver’s Chinatown. Six menus are currently online and there are plans to add more over the summer.
The exhibition is currently on display in the Chung Collection exhibition room until the end of 2014. Wong and RBSC hope to invite a speaker in the fall to discuss the history of food.