Camera Workers, 1858-1950

The British Columbia, Alaska and Yukon Photographic Directory, 1858-1950

Rafton-Canning, Arthur[1, 2, 3, 4]

Male 1865 - 1952  (87 years)


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Rafton-Canning, Arthur 
    Born 7 May 1865  Paris, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Business Address/Year 1888-1892  Helena, MT Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Business Address/Year 1897  Vancouver, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    634 Cordova St.
    Vancouver, BC
    Canada 
    Business Address/Year 1898  Nanaimo, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Home Address/Year 1898  Nanaimo, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    Victoria Crescent
    Nanaimo, BC
    Canada 
    Business Address/Year 1899  Lethbridge, AB Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Business Address/Year 1900  Kamloops, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1901  London, Eng., UK Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1907-1913  Lethbridge, AB Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1928-1930  Fort Langley, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1932  Abbotsford, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1933  Princeton, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 15 Dec 1952  Vancouver, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I37  Camera Workers | R, vol. 1, 1858-1900
    Last Modified 6 Jan 2017 

  • Notes 
    • STATUS: Commercial.
    • BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY: The MemoryBC.ca biography, created to describe the Arthur Rafton-Canning collection at the City of White Rock Museum and Archives states:

      "Arthur Rafton-Canning was born in France to English parents around 1864. In approximately 1880, he emigrated to Canada. Mr. Rafton-Canning served in the North West Field Force during the Riel Rebellion. It appears that Mr. Rafton-Canning had a wife who moved to White Rock in 1930 and he followed in roughly 1932. In White Rock, Mr. Rafton-Canning was an amateur photographer. He was also a member of the Canadian Legion, Branch No. 8, and the first president of the White Rock Board of Trade. At the time of his death on December 15, 1952 at age 87 or 88, Arthur Rafton-Canning was residing in his home called "Fort McMurray" on Donald Avenue."


      For details of his early life in France and England, see the French Cannings Web site. He married Annie Elizabeth Parsons in 1885 in England; she lived in Islington, London. He first appears in Canada as a member of the Northwest Mounted Police, and, according to MemoryBC.ca, participated in the suppression of the Northwest or Riel Rebellion of 1885. This seems an odd occurrence for someone newly married or about to be married in England. The ArchiviaNet Government of Canada Files database at the Library and Archives Canada contains an intriguing reference to an Arthur Canning for a file relating to a military land grant dated 1885-1886: "Arthur Canning, Power of Attorney to Bernard Jennings to Draw Scrip for Volunteer Grant".

      For whatever reason, after leaving the Northwest Mounted Police, Rafton-Canning next surfaces in Helena, Montana, and worked there as a photographer. He then probably moved to Vancouver and may have worked for the Edwards Brothers in 1897; the similarity in street numbers cannot be dismissed as coincidence.

      The provincial List of Voters of 1898 and 1900 showed him in Nanaimo and Kamloops respectively, while Dempsey placed him in Lethbridge in September 1899.

      Three of his photographs of Kamloops were published in Oct 1898 in the BC Mining Record. Nix (1999) provides a capsule biography, but contains no information on his work in BC.

      The French Cannings Web site notes that he "seems to have returned to England professionally for a time, as he appears in the 1901 census as Manager of a Photo Publishing House in Rugby, in the vicinity of Birmingham, Warwickshire. His wife Annie E. Canning is with him." Two photographers or employees, also boarded with him in 1901: Charles Frederick Broad and H.P. Boyce.

      According to the Images Canada Web site description of the contributing Sir Alexander Galt Museum and Archives, "Arthur Rafton-Canning established the British & Colonial Photographic Company in Lethbridge in 1907, and operated it until 1913 when he moved out of southern Alberta. ... No aspect of life in Lethbridge and southern Alberta escaped his lens. Urban growth, irrigated and dryland agriculture, coal mining, Native people, business, immigration, leisure pursuits and more: Rafton-Canning recorded them all with the skill of a documentary photographer. He returned again and again to the same locations, taking images from the same perspectives to illustrate the changes that occurred over time. Many of his images of Lethbridge are panoramic, taken from vantage points atop water towers and the tallest buildings in the city."

      In 1914 Rafton-Canning suggested to the Royal Northwest Mounted Police that moving pictures be taken of the force, an idea taken up in the 1920s by his contemporary A.D. Kean who directed a silent melodrama titled Policing the Plains that no longer exists.

      Rafton-Canning retired to White Rock, B.C. his wife died in 1949, age 83.
    • IDENTIFYING MARKS: Print surface may be titled, copyrighted and signed "By A Rafton-Canning."
    • REFERENCES: Library and Archives Canada, Archives Search: Department of the Interior fonds, Branch registry (R190-36-2-E), Volume 384, file 99965, 1885-1886, microfilm reel T-13097; WIL97; Voters List, 1898 1900; BC Mining Record (Oct 1898); Dempsey (1978); Nix (1999); French Cannings: Arthur Rafton-Canning (Web site); MemoryBC.ca: Arthur Rafton-Canning collection (White Rock Museum and Archives); 1901 Census for England & Wales, National Archives (UK); Library and Archives Canada, Archives Search: Royal Canadian Mounted Police fonds, Subject files (R196-26-3-E), Volume 457, file 70-14, Moving pictures of Royal North-West Mounted Police - Suggestions of Mr. A. Rafton-Canning re, 1914; VL1928, Fort Langley; VL1933, Princeton; BVIPA Death Registration no. 1949-09-001500 (microfilm reel B13199); BVIPA Death Registration no. 1952-09-011736 (microfilm reel B13214); Nix (1999); Images Canada (Web site).

  • Sources 
    1. [S48] COLLECTION: ACG.
      Prints

    2. [S44] COLLECTION: ALGMA.
      ca. 1,500 negatives, prints, postcards

    3. [S143] COLLECTION: BWRMA.
      15 photographs

    4. [S152] COLLECTION: OOA.
      42 photographs; some digitized