The Challenger Relief Map of British Columbia

On August 19th, 2021, members of the Challenger family and a team of supporters launched a campaign to restore and bring the Challenger Map back to its original home at the PNE.

The map is over 6,000 square feet and is the size of two tennis courts. It was constructed out of almost one million pieces of jig-sawed, layered, and hand painted 1/4″ Douglas Fir plywood.

It’s one of the most iconic pieces of heritage in the province and has the potential to become a tool which will educate a new generation of British Columbians about this wonderful place in which we live.

Plans are now underway to assemble a team of experts to restore, refresh, and rehouse the map in the historic Livestock Building in Hastings Park, incorporating modern digital technology to update this once-static relief map.

We are in need of the public’s help to raise the needed funds, and are humbly asking for your help in bringing it home.

Cover Image: John Biehler on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/retrocactus/

B/W Image: People viewing Challenger relief map of British Columbia in P.N.E. B.C. Building, 1954
City of Vancouver Archives AM281-S8-: CVA 180-5611-: CVA 180-5611.1

The Challenger Relief Map of British Columbia

The Challenger Relief Map of British Columbia is a monumental, hand built 80-by-76 foot topographic map of the province. Built by George Challenger and his family from 1947 to 1954, it features all of B.C.’s mountains, lakes, rivers and valleys in exact-scaled topographical detail.

Residing in the British Columbia Pavilion at the PNE in Vancouver from 1954 to 1997 it was viewed by millions of visitors.

The Guinness Book of Records cites the Challenger Map as the largest of its kind in the world. The map in its entirety occupies 6,080 square feet (1,850 square metres) of space.

The Challenger Map is a unique artistic treasure and gives an incredible view of British Columbia’s geography and terrain. Given its teaching power and popularity, it is critical that the map be relocated to a place where it can be seen and enjoyed by future generations.

Cover Image: John Biehler on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/retrocactus/

Support

The restoration and re-homing of the Challenger Map has united community partners and generations of fans to bring the map home to the PNE as a proud centrepiece of BC’s fair for the education and enjoyment of British Columbians today and tomorrow.

There is some repair and repainting to get the map looking fantastic, as well as site and exhibition preparation. At over 6,000 square feet and almost seventy years old, it will be a big job! The restoration and installation will also provide opportunities to update the map with projections, lighting, and interactive displays to showcase more in-depth and contemporary views of our province: everything from traditional territories, to population growth, to climate change.

With support of British Columbians like you, we want to bring the Challenger Map into the 21st century for all to enjoy.

Thank you for your support!

  1. Friends of the Challenger Map

    Your donation will help restore and re-home the Challenger Relief Map of BC. Thank you for your support.
    $3,209.00 donated

Photo Credit: PNE, 1977 – Part of Ernie Reksten Fonds
City of Vancouver Archives AM1551-S2-: 2010-006.151

Organization

The Challenger Relief Map Foundation is registered under the BC Societies Act, Incorporation Number S0038049. Over the years many people have stepped forward to help in efforts to preserve and re-home for the Challenger Map while it has been generously housed in a disassembled state in a climate-controlled airplane hanger courtesy of Air Canada.

Today, working with the Challenger family and Foundation, an advisory board including PNE executive and staff, First Nations, business community, media, community advocates, and local government are working to restore and re-house the Map.

To get involved or find out more, please contact us here.
To support our efforts to restore and re-home the map, please donate here.

Challenger Relief Map Foundation Board of Directors

Donald William Challenger – President
Jacki Marie Challenger – Vice President
Joanne Christine Challenger – Secretary
Robert James Challenger – Treasurer

Raised-relief map of British Columbia in the B.C. Building at Pacific National Exhibition
VPL Accession Number: 85782D Date: 1962. Photographer / Studio: Triggs, Stanley