About Us

The start

The Vancouver Ukulele Circle, of Vancouver, British Columbia, was formed in September 2000 after Ralph Shaw, Vancouver’s own “King of the Ukulele”, and Virginia Ise put a small ad in a local newspaper. Until 2023, the name referred to a primary group that met once a month. We have now assigned the name to the umbrella organization that provides access to local groups wanting to be known on our website and/or mailing list.

Who we were

We don’t want to lose our history, so this page has links to various people and events we want to remember.

Here is a 3-minute video that will give you an idea of what our meetings were like when we were at St. James Hall. That’s Tom Saunders leading.

From our days at Our Town cafe.


The first 10 years

Our history photos page has among others some photos from the start and our anniversary celebrations. We were doing a good job of documenting things back in those days. Here are some links we saved.

Boswell’s Vellum article

This is Boswell’s trip report about his experiences at the 2007 Portland Ukulele Festival, including a description of the class Ralph taught.


The letter Lorene Ruymer wrote to the Vancouver Sun Travel Section, published on Saturday, November 12, 2005 (page H9), in which Lorene “has a bone to pick with The Sun’s story on Hawaii – her favourite instrument was left out”. Interesting history of the steel guitar and Lorene’s own story. There’s a great photo of Lorene at age 16 with her band.

O Canada – Uke Games 2010

O Canada, we play our ukes for you. Here are the words and chords.

Portland Uke Fest 2006 Survey

This is the survey Wendy completed after the Portland Uke Fest 2006, made available to give you an idea what a great festival it was and convince you to attend.

Surrey Ukuleles – article in The Leader

Article about the Surrey Ukulele group led by Gary Cyr. The article was written by VUC member by Boaz Joseph, published in the Surrey Leader July 06, 2011.

Ukes across the sea – article in The Vellum, Autumn 2006

Article in “The Official Magazine of The George Formby Society”, written by Alan Southworth of Lancashire, England, after his visit to our meeting in May, 2006.

Ukulele Circle strikes chord with beginners and pros

Article in the Vancouver Courier February 20, 2014.

Yusuke Kawakami article in The Province July 9, 2006

This is a pdf file of the 2-page article about Yusuke that appeared in The Province, complete with the photos.

Video on YouTube from 2009 Christmas meeting

Bob Leong posted this video on YouTube in 2009 from our Christmas meeting at Our Town Cafe, our wonderful old location that we out-grew.

Tianlun Jiang’s video about us from 2011

Tianlun Jiang (Johnson, Just Potato on YouTube) did a video about us to show that the ukulele can bring people happiness.

Blogs from 23 years of meetings – Ralph’s Blog!

Ralph Shaw started keeping notes from the meetings right from the start, and other leaders kept up the practice. You can find these notes and some photos in Ralph’s Blog.

Our ex-Songbook

We used to have a songbook, but we are not currently using it, we have none left, and we are not planning to print more. The book was compiled for use at our meetings. We regret that we do not offer it for sale. There are songbooks offered for sale elsewhere – here is a trio: http://dailyukulele.com/. And two from https://halifaxukulelegang.wordpress.com/hug-songbook/.