About the Collection

Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) collection is the shared documentary heritage of all Canadians and spans the entire history of our country. The collection contains materials in all types of formats from across Canada and around the world that are of interest to Canadians.
 
Our vast collection, assembled over the past 140 years, includes the following:
  • some 20 million books published in various languages, from rare artists' books and first editions to literary classics and popular fiction;
  • 241 linear kilometres of government and private textual records;
  • more than 3 million architectural drawings, plans and maps, some dating back to the early 16th century;
  • about 4.5 million megabytes of information in electronic format, including thousands of Canadian theses, periodicals and books available online;
  • nearly 30 million photographic images, including prints, negatives, slides and digital photos;
  • more than 90,000 films, including short and full-length films, documentaries and silent films, dating as far back as 1897;
  • more than 550,000 hours of audio and video recordings;
  • over 425,000 works of art, including watercolours, oil paintings, sketches, caricatures and miniatures, some dating back to the 1600s; as well as medals, seals, posters and coats of arms;
  • approximately 550,000 items constituting the largest collection of Canadian sheet music in the world; documentation related to music in Canada; and recordings on disks and records of all formats, including piano rolls, reels and spools, and eight-track tapes;
  • the Canadian Postal Archives;
  • textual archives for various individuals and groups who have contributed to Canada's cultural, social, economic and political development;
  • national newspapers from across Canada, from dailies to student newspapers, and from Aboriginal magazines to ethnic community newsletters.