Collection RBSC-ARC-1783 - Ian McDonald collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Ian McDonald collection

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  • Textual record
  • Sound recording
  • Graphic material

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  • [1910?]-[before 2022] (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

85 cm of textual records and other materials.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Ian McDonald was born in North Vancouver, British Columbia to parents Monique and Les McDonald. Inspired by the labour activism of his father, he dedicated his graduate studies to the plight of electrical workers involved in International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 213 and received a Master of Arts in History from Simon Fraser University in 1986. Ian McDonald’s father, Les McDonald, was a trade union activist with the IBEW Local 213 and past-president of the International Triathlon Union.

Custodial history

Some materials in the collection have been in the care of the friends and family of Ian McDonald; for example, the "[Correspondence with Bill & Dora Stewart (postcards)]" file contains postcards sent by Les McDonald that were kept by Dora Stewart and given to Ian McDonald. The “Alfie Huston papers” series contains documents that were given to Ian McDonald by Alfie Huston.

Scope and content

The collection contains materials related to Ian McDonald's Master's thesis research on the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 213 “Class conflict and political factionalism: a history of Local 213 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, 1901-1961," and related to the activities of his father, Les McDonald, a trade union activist who belonged to Local 213 but was eventually suspended for leading the Lenkurt strike of 1966. Les McDonald was also a multi-sport athlete, and is credited with introducing the triathlon into the Olympics; some materials in the collection relate to Les McDonald's involvement in various sport and environmental organizations, as well as some of his personal papers. In addition to what he received from his father, Ian McDonald was also given papers by former IBEW Local 213 business manager Art O’Keeffe and Barry Sharbo, a board member of the Canadian Union of Electrical Workers (UE), as well as Alfie Huston, the former President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 213 from 1985-1988, which are included within the collection.

The collection is largely comprised of newspaper and photocopied journal articles, correspondence between members of IBEW Local 213, legal documentation, newsletters and other printed ephemera related to IBEW Local 213.

The collection also contains sound recordings of interviews with numerous figures in IBEW Local 213 created by Ian McDonald during his thesis research. McDonald's thesis, submitted for the completion of a Master of Arts in History at Simon Fraser University, can be found in the Summit database:

The collection also contains background materials accumulated by McDonald while writing his book “The Red Baron of IBEW 213,” including digital sound recordings of interviews, research articles, notebooks, consent forms, a draft royalty agreement, a draft chapter and a press marketing questionnaire.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The first accrual collection was received in a grouping of three distinct aggregations: one which contained Ian McDonald's reference materials for his Master's thesis, and formed the basis for the "Thesis Research series"; one which contained folders and envelopes of materials collected by Ian McDonald from various custodial sources; and one which contained the cassette tapes of oral histories recorded by Ian McDonald as part of his research.

The received order of the "Thesis Research series" has been preserved with the exception of one file on Les McDonald's activities with the Save Cypress Bowl Committee, which was moved to the "Les McDonald series," and the cassette tapes were arranged as a file within the series because they were made for the purposes of Ian McDonald's research. An order loosely based on the groupings of the envelopes and file folders was imposed for the remainder of the materials.

The second accrual was processed by maintaining the original physical order as it was received.

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The first accrual was received from Ian McDonald in January 2018. The second accrual was received from Ian McDonald in April 2022.

General note

Contact circulation staff for access to digital sound recordings DO-01-01 to DO-01-10 and DO-02-01 to DO-02-05.

Physical description

85 cm of textual records
59 audio cassettes
32 photographs: b&w
23 digital sound recordings (ca. 10 hours 39 minutes): 901 MB

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Finding aid created by Devon Mordell in April 2018 and was updated by Catherine Hall in June 2022.

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