Bill Orr / CMC BC Curator of Archives: To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Canadian Music Centre in British Columbia, we have invited the five people who have served as BC Director over that time to reflect on events during their tenure.

Christine Purvis was the first BC Director of the Canadian Music Centre, working from November 1977 until October 1978, when she was succeeded by Colin Miles. Ms. Purvis subsequently helped establish the CMC’s Prairie Region in 1980. Earlier this month, she reflected on her experiences as the founding BC Director:

While in Library School at UBC, I and my colleague, Cheryl Osborn, worked on a feasibility study to find out how much support there was to establish a Canadian Music Centre in Vancouver. Our report was published in the British Columbia Library Quarterly Spring 1976. As a result of that survey and report, a committee was struck to work on obtaining the necessary support from all levels of the musical community (individuals, composers, teachers, musicians) and government. Grants were secured to open the Centre in Vancouver. I published an article in the 1977 issue of the Newsletter of the British Columbia Library Association.


The Canadian Music Centre in Vancouver opened officially on November 2, 1977. The time preparing for the official opening was very busy. We secured a rental office at 2007 W. 4th Avenue in Vancouver, purchased furniture and photocopy equipment. Then the boxes began to arrive from Toronto! With the help of my assistant we put all the music on the shelves in time for the official opening. The opening was attended by composers and directors from Vancouver and Toronto.


A grant from The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation enabled the Vancouver office to publish a brochure on the 14 Associate Composers of the Canadian Music Centre living in Vancouver. Brief biographical information, photographs, a sample score and a list of major compositions and professional affiliations were included for each composer. This was published in 1978.


In April of 1978 the Vancouver Women’s Musical Club sponsored a concert of Jean Coulthard‘s compositions to celebrate her 70th birthday. I still have a copy of the programme which she signed for me. I also interviewed her at her home on Marine Drive in West Vancouver for an article in the newspaper. I spent many afternoons with Jean and some of her students prior to that interview.

During Ms. Purvis’ tenure, the CMC BC Region began publication of a print newsletter, a forerunner of today’s e-newsletter CentrePulse. The first issue of this newsletter was circulated in January, 1978.

We invite you, our readers, to send in your own recollection of events that have taken place here in the BC Region since it opened in 1977. If you have programs or newspaper articles that illustrate your memories, we will be pleased to make sure they are contained in the digital archive and will link them to your commentaries. Please contact us at