Annual Report 2017–2018

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LAC: Who do we think we are?
Introduction by Dr. Guy Berthiaume

“It is the framework itself that changes with new technology, and not just the picture within the frame.”

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media
Guy Berthiaume, photo : Michel Gagné

For Library and Archives Canada (LAC), as for all Canadians, 2017–2018 was a chance to celebrate and reflect on the nature of our identity—or rather, our identities. On the 150th anniversary of Confederation, LAC multiplied its efforts to help Canadians get to know themselves better, both individually and collectively. At the centre of our strategy was a major exhibition at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa, entitled Canada: Who Do We Think We Are? Its aim was to shed light on some little-known facets of the Canadian identity, and ultimately to bring visitors to a self-reflective meditation on the nature of our country, in Foucauldian fashion.

In the wake of the intellectual drive behind that exhibition, we decided to focus the 2017–2018 annual report on the question, Who do we think we are? In this way, readers are introduced to LAC’s multi-faceted identity, decoded through the reflections of our employees. LAC is an institution of such unique complexity it cannot be summed up in an elevator pitch. Captured at any particular moment, LAC reveals a rare and unusual set of responsibilities. As both a national library and a national archives, it provides access to its collection through public programming activities worthy of a museum or a university. And, considered over time, the use of new technologies in all spheres of its activity makes LAC a laboratory whose very essence is constantly shifting, as the Marshall McLuhan quotation above suggests.

Our major achievements for 2017–2018, grouped under fourteen headings on the following pages, reflect the broad spectrum of our work. First and foremost, as a result of funding allocated to LAC in Budget 2017, the implementation of activities that respond to the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has accelerated significantly, allowing us to contribute to the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages. I am particularly pleased that initiatives in this area were developed in consultation with the Indigenous Advisory Circle we recently established.

In terms of our geographic identity, after our service point at Pier 21 in Halifax opened on June 19, 2017, it was our colleagues in Vancouver’s turn to move closer to their public by opening a service point at the Vancouver Public Library on November 8, 2017. I had the honour of celebrating the Vancouver opening by hosting a conversation in the Signatures Series with the Right Honourable Kim Campbell. Our colleagues at LAC’s Winnipeg office were also active, updating their public consultation spaces with a kiosk for digital consultation. Lastly, at the very end of the fiscal year, on March 10, 2018, in Calgary, the Glenbow Museum space dedicated to highlighting LAC’s portrait collection hosted its first event: The Artist’s Mirror: Self Portraits. This exhibition will be on display until January 6, 2019.

With regard to our digital identity, we added 10,201,950 additional images to our online collection in 2017–2018. It must be said, however, that this, and a number of the year’s other achievements, can only be included in the “Who do we think we are?” theme if the “we” itself is inclusive. Indeed, many of our digital initiatives depend entirely on the participation of our partners and clients. Whether it is the crowdsourcing of Lady Agnes Macdonald’s diary, the digitization of the meteorological records of the Ottawa region that were carried out through our DigiLab, or the enrichment of Wikipedia articles on the Great War by participants in our publishing workshops, our progress is the fruit of collaborative work. Similarly, the launch of our new union catalogue—aptly named Voilà—could not have happened without the collaboration of everyone in the Canadian library community. As the African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

With respect to our structural identity, 2017–2018 saw a number of radical explorations. We continued the work of the Ottawa Declaration, adopted in December 2016, by bringing together galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) and expanding our work to break down the barriers that separate Canada’s memory institutions. The 2018 GLAMs summit we held at the Royal Ontario Museum on January 30, again in cooperation with the Canadian Museums Association, re-energized our initiative. And speaking of breaking down barriers and silos, what could be more emblematic than the relocation of our public services to a new facility shared with the Ottawa Public Library, beginning in 2024. This innovative project, uniting a national archives, a national library, and a public library, was made possible by provisions in the federal budget of February 27, 2018. What we achieve here will be limited only by our imaginations.

Readers will forgive me for bragging about one more event from 2017–2018: the inclusion in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register of the Marshall McLuhan Collection, preserved by LAC and the University of Toronto. For us, it was a first: never before had documents in LAC’s care been recognized by UNESCO. The culmination of a joint initiative with the University of Toronto, this recognition also validates our choice to work collaboratively, as part of a network. It is not as a singular entity, but as a definitive “we,” a collection of multiple identities gathered together, that we can truly begin to know who we are as Canadians.

Dr. Guy Berthiaume
Librarian and Archivist of Canada

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Bridge builders…

“The records in our collections are a fulcrum of reconciliation, the bridge between the past and the future. They are the means by which people understand and reclaim their identities and histories. This is why we seek to understand the records and their significance with the people who need them, and provide access actively through outreach: we are building this bridge together.”

Sarah Hurford, Senior Archivist, LAC

Unidentified First Nations man with a string of fish.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, a008595 (Topley Collection)

Revitalizing language and culture

As Canada’s national library and archives, LAC has a key role to play in building a relationship with Indigenous communities. At the heart of this relationship is language itself. While LAC has launched several Indigenous heritage programs over the years, 2017–2018 saw LAC intensifying its efforts.

In 2017, the federal government allocated $14.9 million to LAC to help preserve and revitalize Canada’s Indigenous languages and cultures. As a result, LAC records related to First Nations, Métis Nation and Inuit communities, such as treaties, photographs and Indigenous language dictionaries, will be digitized. LAC will also offer support to Indigenous communities as part of their own efforts to preserve and revitalize First Nations, Métis Nation and Inuit languages, with a focus on preserving oral recordings. In addition, LAC will hire seven Indigenous archivists to work in and with communities across Canada, documenting locally held materials, capturing stories, and safeguarding Indigenous languages.

In order to develop initiatives that are both historically accurate and culturally appropriate, and to receive guidance, LAC has gathered an Advisory Circle with diverse representation from members of Indigenous communities.

LAC is also developing an Indigenous Heritage Action Plan and engagement strategy, to ensure that meaningful consultation and engagement with Indigenous communities and organizations guide the work at every stage. And at LAC’s service point in British Columbia, a Research Forum for Indigenous Researchers offers optimal services for claims researchers.

LAC continues to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC’s) calls to action, including call 69 to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ensure that records related to Indian residential schools are accessible to the public. LAC was also one of the first to respond to call 57, which asks “federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools.” As part of the Indigenous Cultures Awareness and Learning Program, which includes expert individual advice and information sessions, LAC held six “blanket exercises” in 2017–2018, which were attended by over 200 employees. In this emotional, role-playing exercise, participants took on the role of Indigenous peoples in an attempt to begin to understand the impact of the last 500 years of history.

On July 20, 2017, LAC launched its TRC Web Archive containing over 400 resources. The archive provides access to English- and French-language websites of organizations connected with the TRC, websites and media content with a community focus on survivors, commemoration, healing and reconciliation, and materials that address the outcomes of the TRC and the legacy of residential schools.

Project Naming celebrates a birthday and wins an award!

For many Inuit, First Nations, and Métis Nation communities, memory was the key to survival. The knowledge of how to build a sled or to hunt was passed on from one generation to another, through stories and oral histories. And although LAC has thousands of photographs of Indigenous peoples in its collection, many of them lack names and identities. 

From March 1 to 3, 2017, LAC celebrated the 15th anniversary of its best-known crowdsourcing activity, Project Naming. Since 2002, the project has enabled Indigenous communities to identify the people or the places in over 10,000 photographs from the collection, and has even helped reunite families. This vital information has been added to the records in LAC’s database, so that it will be preserved for present and future generations.

On December 7, 2017, Project Naming won the 2017 Innovation Award at the eighth Francophone libraries’ Livres Hebdo awards in Paris, France.

Karen Linauskas, director of the Exhibitions and Online Content Division, accepts the Innovation Award on behalf of LAC.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Elder Piita Irniq holds a photograph of an unidentified Inuk from Taloyoak, Nunavut.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Original archival description: Group of Inuit children, Coral Harbour (Salliq). Project Naming description: L-R: Danny Sateana (front), Markoosie Eetuk (back), Ray Sateana, Annie Ford and John Sateana.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, e002216413

Indigenous writers gather at LAC

Author Zebedee Nungak, speaking at the Indigenous Writers Gathering.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

LAC, working with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), invited three Indigenous authors to share their perspectives on overcoming adversity and building resilience. On October 4, 2017, audiences were treated to a lively discussion with Tracey Lindberg-Cody, an academic writer, novelist and professor from the Kelly Lake Cree Nation (author of Birdie), Zebedee Nungak, an Inuit writer, satirist and political leader (author of Wrestling with Colonialism on Steroids: Quebec Inuit Fight for their Homeland), and Cheri Dimaline, a Métis writer and editor (author of The Marrow Thieves, which won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature).

The gathering was part of INAC’s ongoing #IndigenousReads campaign.

Treaties on display

Treaties speak eloquently from the past to the present, helping Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples move forward through a shared understanding of that past.

The Selkirk Treaty of 1817 allowed European settlement of the Red River Valley in southern Manitoba. From November 6 until December 8, 2017, it was displayed as part of the Canada: Who Do We Think We Are? exhibition at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa.

In November, LAC also put on display at 395 Wellington Street the Robinson-Huron and Robinson-Superior treaties of 1850, which cover large parts of northern Ontario, to mark Ontario’s Treaties Recognition Week. 

LAC loaned the original manuscript of Treaty 7 for display at Fort Calgary, which proved to be of great interest there. Almost 6,000 people came out to the fort’s museum in the month of July alone.

LAC forum: Exploring Decolonization on the Road to Reconciliation

Who owns and controls Indigenous artifacts? How can memory institutions decolonize language to include many more voices? What are the best ways of collaborating with Indigenous communities? These were some of the questions posed at an event that was a first for LAC: a one-day forum with its university partners, on November 6, 2017, in Ottawa.

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The memory of the world…

“The Marshall McLuhan archive attracts researchers from around the world to LAC. Its inclusion in the Memory of the World Register recognizes its outstanding global significance.”

Rob Fisher, Senior Archivist, LAC

Icelandic sagas from the middle ages, documents of police repression in Paraguay, and the personal record of Bach’s B Minor Mass are among some of the items collected under UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. This unique project acknowledges collections from around the world that “transcend the boundaries of time and culture.”

On November 7, 2017, LAC proudly announced that the vast archival collection of Marshall McLuhan, located at LAC, as well as his research library, located at the University of Toronto, were officially included in the register. Sometimes called “the prophet of the digital age,” Canada’s own Marshall McLuhan was one of the most creative and influential thinkers of the twentieth century.

The McLuhan “Archives of the Future” join other Canadian treasures in the UNESCO register, including archives related to the discovery of insulin, the Hudson’s Bay Company archival records, and Norman McLaren’s famous anti-war film, Neighbours.

Some 50 metres of archival documents in different media, as well as 6,000 published items, including everything from correspondence to manuscripts to books, articles, essays and lectures, offer a unique window into McLuhan and his thoughts. 

Hot and cool media, the global village, the medium is the message…McLuhan’s concepts and their uncanny insights into the future have become part of our day-to-day vocabulary. The word “McLuhanism” is even found in the Oxford English Dictionary! His books have sold millions of copies, and they remain in print over fifty years after their publication.

The McLuhan archival collection is open for consultation in LAC’s reading room, while at the University of Toronto researchers can consult his research library and scan the books and materials onsite. LAC also hosts a collaborative website with the University of Toronto, which includes digitized copies of archival materials that can be accessed freely from anywhere.

McLuhan memorabilia, including the first page from the introduction to an early draft of Understanding Media, featuring the phrase, “the medium is the message.”
Credit: Paul Terefenko

Marshall McLuhan: The Man with a Message (philatelic record).
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, e000009102

To celebrate the recognition of Marshall McLuhan’s documents in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, Guy Berthiaume (second from right) is joined by (left to right): Loryl MacDonald, Interim Associate Chief Librarian for Special Collections and Director of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto; Christina Cameron, President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO; Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage; and Sébastien Goupil, Secretary-General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on February 14, 2018.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada


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Designers of the future…

“We consider ourselves an action team! The Gatineau 2 project team includes employees from multiple sectors of government, a select core to meet the challenge of planning, designing, building, maintaining and operating LAC’s largest infrastructure project! Our pride is matched only by our desire to succeed in delivering a second preservation centre that meets both the staff’s and the public’s needs and their expectations.”

Nathalie Ethier, Project Director, Gatineau 2, LAC

On October 31, 2017, LAC launched the procurement process for its biggest new project in more than 20 years—and we mean big! On land adjacent to the Library and Archives Canada Preservation Centre, which was inaugurated in 1997, the second LAC preservation facility will be uniquely designed and built to preserve LAC’s analogue holdings for centuries to come. The existing centre, located in the heart of Gatineau, Quebec, is big enough to hold two Boeing 747 airplanes!

The new facility will provide optimum conditions for preserving valuable textual and audiovisual collections. It will also provide much-needed space for the collection, as LAC will outgrow its current storage capacity in only a few years.

Known affectionately as “Gatineau 2,” the new facility will be procured using an innovative public-private partnership model, and will feature modern automated storage and retrieval systems.

It will also support the federal government’s sustainable development goals by having a “green” design, one that meets the Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard. In fact, the new centre will be the first federal facility built to be Net Carbon Zero under the guidelines of the new Greening Government Strategy.

The project will offer improved services to Canadians, support LAC’s position as a leader in the archival community, and provide a second state-of-the-art centre for excellence in the fields of preservation and access to Canada’s documentary heritage.

Gatineau 2 is expected to be fully operational by 2021.

Inside the conservation labs at the Library and Archives Canada Preservation Centre in Gatineau, Quebec.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

The current preservation centre in Gatineau, Quebec.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Gatineau Member of Parliament Steve MacKinnon is all smiles at the announcement of a new LAC preservation facility, on October 31, 2017.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Renfrew reappraisal

LAC stores numerous records at its facility in Renfrew, Ontario, including extensive government records. Eventually these holdings will be moved to the new preservation facility in Gatineau, and this has created an ideal opportunity to weed through the existing holdings to ensure that only the most appropriate records will be moved. In 2017–2018, the work of reviewing hundreds of thousands of boxes of records, including cartographic, architectural and technical records, began. This work will help ensure that the material conforms to LAC’s mandate, and that the costs of moving, preserving and storing it are reduced.

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“The publishing industry in Canada is vast, complex and constantly changing. That's why a librarian must be many things: a detective seeking clues and information, a canny old sailor on the ocean of knowledge, an agile and detail-conscious ninja, a collector hunting down the rarest pearl, a superhero with powers at the cutting edge of technology, and a magician with more than one trick in her bag. I am a librarian at LAC and I am proud of it!”

Annie Wolfe, Acquisitions Librarian, LAC


Voilà, Canada’s new, online National Union Catalogue, was launched on February 1, 2018, at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference held in Toronto.

Voilà offers an intuitive interface with modern features to help users find published materials located in hundreds of libraries across Canada. A milestone for LAC in its library renewal project, Voilà marks the completion of the migration of the National Union Catalogue holdings from the current system, AMICUS, to the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). OCLC is the world’s largest online resource for finding library materials.

LAC expects to start using OCLC’s library management services to provide public access to its own holdings in the fall of 2018.

ISB what?

The ISBN is the unique set of digits that identify published books, linking the information with bookshops, distributors, publishers, libraries, educational institutions and, of course, readers. The ISMN, a parallel system for notated music, is the unique set of digits that refer to holdings such as scores and sheet music.

From September 11 to 13, 2017, LAC hosted the ISBN/ISMN annual general meeting, including some 60 representatives of ISBN and ISMN agencies from 32 countries.

Closer to home, our ISBN technicians at LAC assigned well over 100,000 ISBN and ISMN numbers in 2017–2018.


Space. For libraries, it may well be the final frontier! Libraries face a major challenge trying to sustain their print collections with dwindling space and budgets, coupled with the clamouring for online resources. One approach is to share the challenge collectively. As part of a network of Canadian libraries, LAC hosted the @RISK NORTH symposium, organized by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, on November 10, 2017. Among the subjects discussed were a national strategy to maintain print collections, shared repositories, and LAC’s role as a national library with respect to preserving last print copies of Canadiana.

The timing of the symposium was perfect. LAC is currently updating its collection development policy for published heritage, and through the introduction of the new National Union Catalogue, it will soon have a new tool in place to assess Canadian print collections.

New policies, deeper relationships

LAC builds its collection through a variety of ways, including legal deposit, gifts, purchase and web archiving. In 2017–2018, LAC reviewed its collection policy for published material, as well as its approach to acquiring material by legal deposit by publishers. The new Policy on Collection Development for Published Heritage and the Publisher Outreach Strategy are the result. While the policy emphasizes the types of items LAC will strive to collect, working collaboratively with others, and focuses on being comprehensive for Canadian publications, as well as increasingly digital, the strategy articulates the new way that LAC will work with publishers and partners to increase participation in legal deposit.  By continually improving services to publishers and increasing awareness of LAC services, LAC hopes to deepen its relationships with publishers and establish itself as a more visible and valued partner with that community.

Notable acquisitions

Philippe-Louis-François Badelard, Direction pour la guérison du mal de la Baie St. Paul, à Québec, chez Guillaume Brown, au milieu de la Grande Côte, MDCCLXXXV (1785).
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, AMICUS 10851364

LAC has over 100,000 items in its rare book collection, including the personal library of former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, and the first novel written by a Canadian and published in Canada, St Ursula’s Convent. Through purchasing or by donation, LAC adds to its retrospective collection on a regular basis. One of the most fascinating books acquired in 2017–2018 is the first medical book published in Canada.

Direction pour la guérison du mal de la Baie St. Paul, published in 1785, is one of only four copies in Canada. It was purchased thanks to a donation from the Friends of LAC. The “mal de la baie St. Paul” (sickness of Baie-Saint-Paul) is believed to be syphilis, which was almost an epidemic throughout the St. Lawrence Valley in the 1780s.


Legal deposit: hamming it up!

2017 Juno nominees Matt Dusk and Barbra Lica ham it up with LAC’s Media Relations spokesperson Richard Provencher (holding CDs). On their way to the Juno Awards held in Ottawa on April 1, 2017, the Canadian jazz artists stopped by LAC to make a legal deposit of their latest CDs.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Each year, LAC receives two copies of every book, piece of sheet music, sound recording, documentary, film, audiovisual recording, journal, serial, and thesis, in analogue or digital format, published in Canada.

Since April 2017, that means 18,629 new titles and 67,119 serial issues added to LAC’s collection!

Highlights include:

I never talk about it, by Véronique Côté and Steve Gagnon, short stories translated from the French by 37 different translators. AMICUS 45262504

The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir, by Joseph Auguste Merasty, with David Carpenter. AMICUS 44849515

Migrant Dreams, a film by Min Sook Lee, official selection at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

You Want it Darker, the final studio album released by singer, songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen.

Another rare book acquisition for the Jacob M. Lowy collection, thanks to a donation from Ruth and Arnon Miller: Mivachar Ha-Peninim (Choice of Pearls) by Solomon Ibn Gabirol was first published in 1484, making it one of the oldest books in LAC's collection. It is a collection of proverbs, moral reflections and maxims.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

LAC librarians hamming it up for a tweet, at the card catalogues preserved at LAC’s offices in Place de la Cité, Gatineau, Quebec.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada


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Digital leaders…

“Archiving content from the web involves a number of processes: evaluation, technical assessment, acquisition, quality control, data management, digital preservation, the arrangement and curation of collections, and ensuring that the content will be discoverable and accessible in the future. When this content represents our digital documentary heritage, which may not be available in any other medium, each of these processes becomes especially important.”

Patricia Klambauer, Senior Digital Project Officer, LAC

LAC celebrates a first

Animals spring to mind when we think of endangered species, but digital materials are just as vulnerable. Under the banner “Bits decay: do something today,” LAC celebrated the inaugural International Digital Preservation Day on November 30, 2017, by launching a new strategy for digital preservation. Although LAC already preserves over five petabytes of digital material—mostly audiovisual materials, the Government of Canada Web Archives, and digitized copies of paper records—there is still more to be done to ensure that all digital collections at LAC are protected. (By the way, five petabytes of data is the equivalent of 1,338 metres of DVDs stacked on top of one another!)

A LAC technician uses state-of-the-art technology to digitize historical documents.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

National Heritage Digitization Strategy

Canada’s National Heritage Digitization Strategy was announced in June 2016, with the goal of coordinating Canada’s approach to digitizing the hundreds of collections found in its memory institutions.

The steering committee includes organizations from a variety of sectors, such as the Internet Archive, the Canadian Museum of History, the Writers' Union of Canada, and numerous universities.

As of September 2017, 54 organizations had pledged their intent to partner with LAC, and initial funding has already enabled a pilot project to digitize three Indigenous newspapers.

Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF)

The personnel records of those who served in the First World War are among our most popular (and fragile) resources. As of March 15, 2018, 568,203 of 640,000 CEF files were available online in our database. Adding new files every two weeks, LAC plans to have all the files available online by the end of 2018.


Every year, federal government institutions create and manage all sorts of information records, and every year LAC enables these institutions to dispose of records no longer being used, by issuing disposition authorizations, or DAs. Under the terms of the DAs, institutions can either destroy the records or, when they have archival value, transfer them to LAC.

LAC developed a three-year plan to ensure full disposition coverage for all Government of Canada institutions by the end of the 2017–2018 fiscal year. It met this goal on March 31, 2018. This remarkable achievement means that Canadians will have long-term access to federal records in the years to come.

Heading for the gold

Roughly speaking, metadata is data that describes other data. LAC was hard at work in 2017–2018 defining metadata requirements for digital government records that will be transferred to LAC. This work supports the eventual “Gold Build” for government documents in 2019, ensuring common, consistent and cost-effective recordkeeping across the Government of Canada.

Conservators in the prints and drawing conservation lab at LAC’s Preservation Centre got the rare chance to work on some three-dimensional objects: soft sculptures of Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, John Diefenbaker and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, by Ottawa artist Heather Danylewich, which were being prepared for exhibition. Notice the details: Trudeau’s yellow lapel rose, and Laurier’s diamond stickpin.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Audiovisual migration

In 2009, a ten-year plan to migrate 180,000 hours of LAC’s audio and video content was established. As year nine of the plan drew to a close, LAC had already digitized 177,199 hours of content! This amounts to 3,196 terabytes of preservation files and 90 terabytes of access files.

Here today, here tomorrow

The Digital Integration team conducted a fifth domain crawl of the Government of Canada (GC) in 2017–2018, to capture the federal web presence and to support LAC’s commitment to Open Government. It also supported the migration of key government resources to a central portal, LAC collected 8.5 terabytes of web archival resources this year. This total included over 200 GC YouTube channels.

LAC also collected over 1,000 resources documenting the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, including social media, blogs and personal websites, news items about events, and records of the official Canada 150 themes of Diversity and Inclusion, Engaging and Inspiring Youth, Indigenous Reconciliation, and the Environment. LAC will also continue to document the centenary of the First World War until December 2018, which will result in over 700 research resources.

LAC has been documenting the Canadian experience at the winter and summer Olympics and the Paralympic games since 2008. As of February 2018, LAC had collected over 150 records and artifacts relating to the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This includes items related to the Canadian Olympic Committee, winter sports organizations, sponsorship, and news and selected social media.

Overall, LAC's web archiving program easily reached its target of collecting 15 terabytes of web archival resources within the 2017–2018 fiscal year, as well as passing the milestone of over 800 million assets within the web archive.

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Community partners…

“LAC partnerships—community partnerships, national partnerships, international partnerships—are what stitch together the different elements of our cultural experiences into a coherent story. When partnerships, at any level, are rooted in the relationship and not the transaction, the outcome can change our understanding of the documentary heritage landscape, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards.”

Francesco Manganiello, Director, Stakeholder Relations and International Affairs, LAC

On December 4, 2017, LAC announced the launch of the 2018–2019 funding cycle for its Documentary Heritage Communities Program. For the fourth year, LAC will invest $1.5 million to support the development of Canada’s archival, library and museum communities, and the professional associations that represent them, by increasing their capacity to preserve, provide access to and promote documentary heritage. Since 2015–2016, LAC has contributed $4.5 million to support 140 projects in Canada.

Here are a few words from two of the recipients:

“We are excited to announce that the New Brunswick Queer Heritage Initiative has received a project grant from Library and Archives Canada! This grant will allow us to create a resource and research website, begin conducting interviews with lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers and others from across the province, and arrange and describe our collections so they are available to the public.”

Dusty Green, Founder, New Brunswick Queer Heritage Initiative

“I can’t express enough how much this project means to our organization and our community. I would […] like to thank Library and Archives Canada wholeheartedly for this opportunity—we certainly could not have done this badly needed work without the financial backing we received.”

Manda Maggs, Executive Director, Oliver and District Heritage Society Museum and Archives, British Columbia

A photo digitized at the Oliver and District Heritage Society Archives, with the help of the Documentary Heritage Communities Program. Entitled “Construction of intake dam over Okanagan River, ca. 1920s,” the photo was taken near McIntyre Bluff, now officially renamed Nʕaylintn, meaning “storyteller” in the Okanagan language.
Credit: Oliver and District Heritage Society Archives

For a complete list of projects funded by the Documentary Heritage Communities Program, visit the LAC website.

The village of Nakusp below picturesque mountains, British Columbia, January 9, 1963.
Credit: Arrow Lakes Historical Society, 199-019-6

A framework for collaboration

LAC partners with numerous groups in the community, including cultural organizations and academic institutions. Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with universities allow both parties to share expertise and knowledge, collaborate in research and technology, and extend their outreach. In 2017–2018, LAC signed MOUs with the University of Toronto, Western University in London, Ontario, and Queen’s University in Kingston. These institutions joined fellow universities already signed on: the University of Ottawa, Dalhousie University, Université Laval and l’Université de Montréal.

Double Trouble

On March 13, 2018, LAC partnered with Western University’s Faculty of Information & Media Studies to offer a lively discussion on one of the hottest subjects of the year: fake news. Double Trouble: The Problem with ‘Fake News’ brought together a journalist, an academic and an archivist for a discussion moderated by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada. The event followed a successful panel discussion on fake news presented by LAC in partnership with The Globe and Mail on October 16, 2017. The Globe talk, entitled Unfiltered: the Fate of Facts in the Digital Age, explored the topic of fake news from the perspectives of journalism, social media, and libraries, examining their role in the battle against misinformation. It was moderated by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, and featured panellists David Walmsley, editor-in-chief at The Globe and Mail; Gerald Beasley, the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell University; and Rory Capern, the former managing director of Twitter Canada.

The art of being open

On October 26, 2017, LAC teamed up with the University of Ottawa library and the Carleton University library in Ottawa for a public event on access to government information and data in an era of “open by default.” Government Information Day explored the government’s efforts to embed the principles and practices of openness into its day-to-day activities, and featured, among others: Mélanie Robert, executive director of Information Management and Open Government at the Treasury Board Secretariat; Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law at the University of Ottawa; Alex Benay, chief information officer with the Government of Canada; and Emily Gusba, director of the Information Management Division at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

International cooperation

LAC signed an MOU with the General Archive of the Nation of the United Mexican States to support collaboration between the two institutions. In effect until 2022, the agreement complements other MOUs that LAC has signed with national memory institutions in China, Korea, France, the United Kingdom and Argentina.

LAC also welcomes international delegations on a regular basis. Recent delegates have travelled from Japan, China, Singapore, Sweden, Indonesia, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Peru, Ukraine and the United Kingdom to discover our collections, meet with our experts, and experience LAC’s Preservation Centre.

Canadian Camera Conference

LAC photo archivists were among the most popular speakers at the Canadian Camera Conference 2017. Documenting a Nation was held in Ottawa from June 28 to 30, 2017, and hosted at 395 Wellington Street. Emma Hamilton-Hobbs spoke about government photographic collections at LAC, Jill Delaney offered an overview of LAC’s private photographic collections, and Tania Passafiume and Tom Thompson discussed the first English-French visual glossary of photo conservation terms, which is being prepared as an eBook at LAC. Lingua Franca: A Common Language for Conservators of Photographic Materials targets conservation professionals, teachers, students, and anyone interested in photography.

Just one of the famous photos displayed at the Canadian Camera Conference: former Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro and former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau join in a singalong on the Canadian PM’s Latin tour, 1976.
Credit: Duncan Cameron/LAC/PA-136976

TD Summer Reading Club

Every year, the TD Summer Reading Club, Canada’s biggest bilingual reading club for children, is delivered by the Toronto Public Library, in partnership with LAC. Sponsored by the TD Bank Group, the club is offered in over 2,000 libraries across Canada. As of 2017–2018, the reach of the program is three million people and still growing!

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Creative Canada…

“Creativity and innovation happen when we work in an environment where mistakes are allowed—a critical part of the learning process. I have been lucky enough to work in such an environment both in my creative life as a musician and at LAC. When we pursue our passions, blurring the lines between our personal and our work projects, we reach a higher level of creativity in both spheres. This not only benefits us and those around us, but also the public we serve.”

Tom Thompson, Multimedia Production Specialist, LAC

Taking It to the Next Level: GLAM Summit 2018

Together, we’re more. Senator Patricia Bovey delivers the keynote address at GLAM Summit 2018, in front of a live Tweet wall. The hashtag GLAM2018 (#GLAM2018) trended across Canada!
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

LAC and the Canadian Museums Association hosted the second annual summit on galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) on January 30, 2018, at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Building on the success of the first summit held in Ottawa, Taking It to the Streets, this year’s interactive discussion paid homage to its predecessor with the title, Taking It to the Next Level.

The GLAM Summit 2018 attracted some 280 participants, and featured presentations on how GLAMs can work with local communities, renew relationships with Indigenous peoples, work with the private sector to encourage innovation, and advance their collective interests to government. Speakers and panellists included the Honourable Patricia Bovey, Senator for Manitoba; Jack Lohman, CEO of the Royal BC Museum; Alan Ojiig Corbiere, Anishinaabe historian from the M’Chigeeng First Nation; Andrea Cohen Barrack from TD Corporation; and Sara Diamond, president of the Ontario College of Arts and Design University (OCAD University).

Canada on Screen

Back to God’s Country starred Nell Shipman, Canada’s own wonder woman, who wrote the story, did many of her own stunts, and established herself as a pioneer of cinema.
Credit: Courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library

Canada on Screen was a partnership between LAC, TIFF, the Cinémathèque québécoise and the Cinematheque in Vancouver, to celebrate Canada 150.

The free program included special events and film screenings across the country, based on 150 essential moving-image works from Canada’s history.

LAC was proud to celebrate the talent and the diversity of Canadian artists by screening four films from its collection at 395 Wellington Street, including Back to God’s Country, Canada’s oldest surviving feature film (1919) and the most successful silent film in our history.

Back to God’s Country is LAC’s most requested film for loan, and for the past two years LAC’s film wizards have been digitizing the restored print. The title is now available on LAC’s YouTube channel.

The screening included a live performance by Canadian composer, pianist and conductor Gabriel Thibaudeau, who played the original score he wrote to accompany the film.

The three other films were Tit Coq, Le déclin de l’empire américain, and Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, the first feature-length film written, acted and directed entirely in Inuktitut. Directed by and starring filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk, Atanarjuat has won over 20 awards, including the Caméra d’Or at Cannes.

Author Mark Sakamoto (left) is interviewed, on March 19, 2018, by CBC’s Alan Neal about his memoir Forgiveness, which won Canada Reads 2018.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Waxing poetic

Nocturne: Art at Night is an annual fall festival in Halifax that showcases the city’s visual arts scene. This year, staff at the LAC Halifax office at Pier 21 created an unusual interactive feature for the festival, designed to support the year’s theme, Vanish! Audiences had a chance to re-imagine cultural memory and perform poetic experiments by obscuring and highlighting words in reproduced LAC documents.

A letter becomes an experimental poem, thanks to an ingenious idea by LAC Halifax staff.
Credit: Roselyne Rheaume, Harbour City Imagery

Book launches

LAC hosted eight book launches in 2017–2018, several of which were held in partnership with the Ottawa International Writers Festival, as well as with the University of Ottawa and the Lowy Council. Several books, including Running on Empty, Canada and the Indochinese Refugees, 1975–1980, which was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in April 2017 featured research undertaken at LAC. Running on Empty tells the harrowing story of Canadian public servants who worked onsite at refugee camps in Southeast Asia when Canada accepted some 70,000 Indochinese refugees. The book details their experiences in the camps, as they sweltered in the heat, subsisting on noodles and tea, and carrying out their vital work as rats scurried about under their makeshift beds.

Ken Dryden, one of hockey’s most famous goalies, at the launch of his book Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador, and the Future of Hockey, hosted by LAC in November 2017.
Credit: Cattroll Photo Associates

Titles launched:

May 17, 2017: Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees,1975–1980 by Michael J. Molloy, Peter Duschinsky, Kurt F. Jensen and Robert J. Shalka

June 20, 2017: Exploring the Capital: An Architectural Guide to the Ottawa-Gatineau Region by Andrew Waldron

September 14, 2017: That’s My Baby by Frances Itani

September 17, 2017: In Your Words by Seymour Mayne

September 24, 2017: The New Spice Box, edited by Ruth Panofsky

October 16, 2017: A Mercedes in the Sand by Leon Levit

November 28, 2017: Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador, and the Future of Hockey by Ken Dryden

January 15, 2018: Jacob Isaac Segal: A Montreal Yiddish Poet and His Milieu by Pierre Anctil

For the love of the arts

The 2017 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards (GGPAA) were presented on June 28, 2017, and to celebrate the achievements of the artists, LAC, in partnership with the GG Awards Foundation, hosted a party in their honour at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa.

The party was also a chance for LAC archivists Théo Martin, Michel Guénette and Maureen Nevins to showcase the work of LAC, and to explain the process of donating archives. During the event, the archivists had the chance to chat with Canadian luminaries, including Veronica Tennant, Albert Millaire, Joseph Rouleau, Paul Thompson, Gordon Pinsent, Margie Gillis, Phil Nimmons, Kelly Peterson (widow of Oscar Peterson), Oliver Jones, Annette Av Paul and Michel Pagliaro. Several of the artists have since offered to donate their archives to LAC.


LAC archivist Michel Guénette talks to acclaimed actor and theatre director Albert Millaire at the GGPAA, June 28, 2017.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Salon du livre

As part of LAC’s continued presence at the annual Salon du livre de l’Outaouais, held this year from March 1 to 4, 2018, Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume interviewed Michel Noël, an ethnologist and writer of Algonquin origin who is considered one of the most important Franco-Canadian Indigenous writers of his generation. The Michel Noël fonds at LAC includes an impressive array of photographs, manuscripts, books, notes and medals.

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New ways to research…

“Clients who research LAC’s collections become the experts by the time they finish their work here, whether they are discovering their family history, their rights, or their heritage. And LAC’s crowdsourcing projects and the DigiLab give our clients the tools they need to digitize and describe LAC collections, not only to advance their own research, but to ensure those records are available online to everyone. This contributes to an ongoing cycle of new research and discovery.”

Melanie Brown, Manager, Digitization Partnerships and Initiatives, LAC

Crowdsourced transcriptions


Lady Macdonald, the wife of Canada’s first prime minister.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, MIKAN 3218766

In the spring of 2018, LAC launched a new platform to host its own crowdsourcing projects, thanks to the success of two pilot projects hosted on OurDigitalWorld, a not-for-profit platform for digital collections. It seems that Canadians are anxious to put their own stamp on history by transcribing and tagging original historical documents. LAC’s new platform will allow users to transcribe, tag and add descriptive information to individual images, and allow LAC to run content that includes diaries, field notes, photo albums and more.

To commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary, LAC digitized Lady Macdonald’s handwritten diary and made it available online for the public to transcribe. The whole diary was finished in less than a month! Read on for a sample of what the wife of Canada’s first prime minister had to say a few days after Confederation, from her entry on July 5, 1867:

“It has been a hot, fusty day, but these are fusty times. This new Dominion of ours came noisily into existence on the 1st and the very newspapers look hot and tired with the weight of announcements and Cabinet lists. Here in this house the atmosphere is so awfully political that sometimes I think the very flies hold Parliament on the kitchen tablecloths!!”


Update on DigiLab

Since its launch in March 2017, DigiLab has become one of LAC’s most popular signature programs. It enables clients to digitize entire files from LAC’s collection, based on their own interests and priorities, extending public access to our documentary heritage. So far, over 24,000 pages of textual material have been digitized, along with over 1,000 photographs. Highlights in 2017–2018 include:

  • Second World War reconnaissance maps showing the location of enemy artillery
  • A decade of early Ottawa meteorological records from the late 1800s
  • Records related to the internment and dispossession of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.


On November 15, 2017, LAC held its first Wikipedia workshop and edit-a-thon, in Ottawa.

In honour of Remembrance Day, the theme was the First World War and Canada’s role in it. Participants learned how to edit Wikipedia articles, and how to explore reference documents such as photographs, service records, soldiers’ journals and other items in LAC’s extensive military collection.

Jean-Philippe Béland (vice-president of Wikimedia Canada) and Alex Comber (military archivist, LAC) presenting at the edit-a-thon.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Asked, and answered

In 2017 alone, LAC received more than 25,000 questions from the public about its collection and services. Between October and December 2017, LAC held three separate Twitter chats, with our specialists and the Librarian and Archivist of Canada answering questions directly from the public.

October 4: #AskAnArchivist

October 19: #AskALibrarian

December 4: #AskTheLAC (Librarian and Archivist of Canada)

Over 70 questions were asked during the chats, and the tweets were viewed more than 75,000 times. In 2018, LAC will host targeted chats on specific topics such as genealogy, the military, censuses and more. Stay tuned!

Follow us on:

Twitter icon@LibraryArchives

Facebook icon LibraryArchives

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Open to the public…

“After 20 years of giving behind-the-scenes tours of the LAC Preservation Centre, I continue to be amazed by how powerful it can be for people to come face-to-face with the evidence of history. Inspired, impressed, wowed—these are just some of ways they have described their reactions. By opening our doors, not only do we increase their awareness of our heritage, we educate them about the importance of preserving it. It is an amazing privilege for me to be able to share the knowledge I have gained and continue to accumulate, and to pass along the passion I feel for Canada and our history.”

Suzanne Pagé-Dazé, Communications Officer and Tours Coordinator, LAC

Block review

In 2011, Library and Archives Canada began sampling and reviewing boxes of government records with an eye to enabling public access through the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. It’s called block review. Since it began, block review has reviewed over 30 million pages and opened close to 28 million pages of previously restricted records for public consultation and research, including those of Transport Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the Medical Research Council of Canada. During Right to Know week in 2017, LAC posted a complete list of the first 200 block reviews on its website.

Speaking of Right to Know week, LAC was proud to be among 40 countries and 60 NGOs that celebrated the week, aimed at raising awareness about an individual’s right to access government information. Right to know events organized by LAC included “Discover the not-so-secret world of ATIP” in Ottawa, and a panel on “Managing privacy in the 21st century,” held in Halifax.

Open government

In 2011, Canada joined other countries in the Open Government Partnership, a multilateral initiative to promote open government through formal commitments. In July 2016, Canada’s Third Biennial Plan to the partnership (2016–2018) was released.

LAC is the co-lead, along with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and Public Services and Procurement Canada, on the overall commitment to provide and preserve open information. In response, LAC is increasing access to government records, developing guidelines on preserving and retaining digital content, and updating the LAC online archive of the Government of Canada web presence.

In addition to increasing access to government data through block review, LAC has released 144 datasets to the Government of Canada open data portal, developed the LAC Policy on Making Holdings Available, aimed at reducing restrictions that impede access to LAC holdings, and committed to digitizing 40 million pages in three years (2016–2019), including the 640,000 files of the Canadian Expeditionary Force that will be available online.

Public tours

History buffs of all ages await their tour of the LAC Preservation Centre in Gatineau, Quebec.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

In July 2017, LAC introduced 90-minute guided public tours of the LAC Preservation Centre, revealing to the public some of the fascinating treasures that are stored there. Tours in English or French include the vaults, a section devoted entirely to works of art, and the laboratories where LAC conservators and restoration experts work diligently to preserve our fragile heritage. Tours are offered once a month, and have been fully booked ever since they began.


Open doors at the Library and Archives Canada Preservation Centre

On June 9 and 10, 2017, the LAC Preservation Centre opened its doors to a fascinated public. Enthusiastic LAC staff, pictured here, welcomed almost 2,000 people in two days to get a glimpse of where Canada’s history is housed.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Signatures and other events

The Signatures interview series continues to attract enthusiastic audiences. It features well-known Canadians who have donated their archives to LAC, in discussion with Guy Berthiaume, the Librarian and Archivist of Canada. The line-up for 2017–2018 included former Canadian Ambassador Raymond Chrétien, cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon, and former PMs Paul Martin and Kim Campbell.

LAC also hosts the popular Wallot-Sylvestre Seminars, a series of public talks given by key thinkers in the documentary heritage community. In 2017–2018, the line-up included Ingrid Parent, the 2009 winner of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries award for Distinguished Service to Research Librarianship, Mercedes de Vega, the director general of the National Archives of Mexico, and Laurence Engel, president of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume in conversation with the Right Honourable Kim Campbell, at the Vancouver Public Library, November 8, 2017.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Documenting power

On February 16, 2018, LAC announced it had received, processed, catalogued and digitized over 4,400 Cabinet Conclusions, covering the years 1977 to 1979. These records, which summarized discussions and decisions of federal Cabinet meetings, are now available in the Cabinet Conclusions database, which provides descriptions and digitized copies spanning from 1944 to 1979. To read more about the origin of these documents, check out LAC’s blog post from February 16, 2018, by LAC archivist Michael Dufresne, “The beginning of the Conclusions: documenting the exercise of power.”

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Curators and conservators…

“Through exhibitions, we work to make Canada’s precious national collection even more accessible to Canadians. Every part of the collection tells some aspect of Canada’s story. Direct encounters with its original treasures are incomparable and deeply powerful. They help make that story immediate, and even personal, for modern-day Canadians. This has been especially important during our nation's 150th anniversary year, as Canadians pause to consider where we’ve been, who we are, and where we are going next.”

Madeleine Trudeau, Curator, LAC

A question of identity

On June 5, 2017, LAC launched a popular new exhibition of rare and original items at 395 Wellington Street. In recognition of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, Canada: Who Do We Think We Are? was curated at LAC to question myths and stereotypes, and to get Canadians asking themselves, What does it really mean to be a Canadian?

Fascinating and rarely seen items on display included Canada’s first formal coat of arms, carved out of wood around 1923, which took LAC conservation staff almost 200 hours to restore. Other treasures: LAC’s leather-bound copy of Les Voyages du sieur de Champlain, from 1613, with its appended map; Catharine Parr Traill’s only surviving journal; and the paint brushes Paul Kane is said to have used during his western travels.

Staff even reproduced a board game created by the Government of Canada in the 1970s, designed to support official bilingualism.

Foundations: the words that shaped Canada

From March to December 2017, LAC held an exhibition at the Library of Parliament that featured a selection of Canada’s foundational documents dating back to 1867. Each document represented a key moment in Canadian history, including the Proclamation of the Constitution Act, signed by Queen Elizabeth II on April 17, 1982.

Moments from 150 years ago

From April 21, 2017, to January 28, 2018, treasures from LAC were on display at the Canadian Museum of History, the first exhibition in a five-year series. The display included 32 artifacts from LAC’s collection, nine from the museum’s collection, and four interactive components, all chosen or designed to deepen visitors’ appreciation of daily life in 1867.

Cutting on the 49th parallel, Royal Engineer Photographers, 1861, albumen print.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, e011067220

About to step inside the Treasures of Library and Archives Canada room at the Canadian Museum of History.
Credit: Canadian Museum of History


At the National Gallery of Canada

“Reflection” (portrait of Lilias Farley) by Catharina Vanderpant, gelatin silver print.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, e0111183592

Photos from LAC’s collection were featured in two designated spaces at the National Gallery in 2017, including photos of Canada circa 1867, by Alexander Henderson and Benjamin Baltzy, and photos from the 1920s to the 1940s, by photographers such as Yousuf Karsh and John Vanderpant. In December, the Gallery curated a new selection of 11 LAC photos from the 1930s and 1940s, and launched a LAC-curated exhibition entitled Portraits on Metal: Tintypes from Library and Archives Canada, featuring 23 original items from our collection. The tintypes offered never-before-photographed scenes of 19th- century life.

Portraits of the artists

Thanks to a five-year collaboration with the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, LAC contributed unique self-portraits from its collection for the first joint exhibition at the popular gallery, entitled The Artist’s Mirror: Self Portraits. The exhibition runs from March 2018 to January 2019, with curatorship shared between the two institutions. Upcoming themes will include historical and contemporary portraits, and portraits by Roloff Beny.


On loan

More than 360 items were loaned out by LAC in 2017–2018, including 50 items for the Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History, 32 items for the Ottawa Art Gallery, 4 items for the McCord Museum in Montréal, and 33 items for the National Gallery of Canada.

The ties that bind

As part of a historic collaboration between 14 institutions across Canada, LAC contributed to an unusual online exhibition hosted on the Royal BC Museum’s website. The Ties That Bind Canada uses historical images and stories to describe the roots of transportation across the country, beginning with the completion of Canada’s railway system. The exhibition features 150 archival images of transportation links over land, sea and ice.

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“Change is at the heart of the archival project: preserving the historical record is about recording, observing and analyzing change over time. Archivists are constantly learning and adapting, reading and communicating about new developments in the field and archival resources. Our goal is to preserve the documentary evidence that reflects the lives of Canadians, so that future generations will be able to understand their own past.”

Jennifer Anderson, Archivist, LAC

New acquisitions

Each year LAC acquires significant archival materials. Here are a few highlights from 2017–2018:

Thomas King fonds

This collection gathers records related to the author’s works of fiction and non-fiction, scripts for radio, television and film, as well as correspondence, teaching material, lectures and federal campaign-related records.

Jean-François Lépine fonds

This collection includes 2.45 metres of textual records documenting the activities of the well-known journalist between 1991 and 2014.

Tom Lavin and the Powder Blues fonds

Here you will find sound and video recordings, as well as textual records, documenting the creative and recording output of one of Canada’s longest-running blues bands.

France Daigle fonds

This collection boasts the complete manuscripts for France Daigle’s famous novel Pour sûr, which won the Governor General's Award in 2012, among other items.

Paul Thompson fonds (Performing Arts)

This collection includes numerous records pertaining to the Canadian playwright, artistic director and theatre director’s independent work as well as to his tenure as artistic director of Theatre Passe Muraille. There are director’s files, promotional records, scripts, correspondence and extensive research files for dramaturgical purposes.

Canadian playwright Paul Thompson (left) shows Guy Berthiaume some of the documents he donated to LAC in 2017.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada

Orica fonds

In this collection are textual records, photographs, technical drawings, video and audio tapes, microfiches and films pertaining to the activities of the former ammunitions company between 1910 and 1990 (when it was named CIL).

Sears Canada fonds

Here you will find textual documents, photographs, scrapbooks, drawings, architectural blueprints, audiovisuals, plus 190 boxes (57 m) of published catalogues relating to the iconic department store.

R. Simpson's Telephone Order Department, Toronto, May 1933.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, e011213329

Discover more on our website—new acquisitions are posted every three months!

Acquisitions newly open to the public

Danny Leong Unemployment Insurance Stamp collection

This large collection features specimen stamps, proofs and issued unemployment insurance revenue stamps from all periods of their production. In addition, there are examples of the log books from the unemployment insurance program demonstrating usage of the stamps.

Hélène Dorion fonds

The fonds of writer Hélène Dorion covers her entire life and career. It includes notebooks for all her works, manuscripts, her personal journal, photographs and a wealth of correspondence.

Timothy Findley and William Whitehead fonds

This collection includes documents created and/or kept by the Canadian actor, novelist, playwright and dramatist Timothy Findley and his personal and professional partner, Canadian writer and documentarian William Whitehead.

Tomson Highway fonds

Here you will find scripts for plays and screenplays by the well-known Indigenous Canadian writer, along with other writings, music scores, promotional material, career files, honours and awards, research and reference material, personal material and personal photographs, as well as sound and music recordings.

Poster for A Trickster Tale, a play for young people by Tomson Highway, presented at Theatre Direct Canada in 2001.
Library and Archives Canada, R15834_25-2.
Credit: Ioyan Mani

Government archives: mapping the past!

In May 2017, LAC became home to more than 80,000 maps and documents from the historic Canada Lands Survey Records collection, including plans, field notes, diaries and correspondence. This important acquisition features the official survey records of Canada Lands and pre-Confederation survey records, which date back to the 1760s, and includes some of the first maps ever drawn for many regions of Canada.

The acquisition also adds to LAC’s existing collection of official survey plans of Indian reserves and Indian school lands across Canada, helping to preserve a fascinating part of Canada’s documentary heritage.

LAC also added to its Royal Canadian Air Force Historical Records collection, through the acquisition of Second World War textual, photographic and map records from Department of National Defence. Nearly all of these records are open under the Access to Information Act.

Osnaburg Indian Reserve Fieldbook. Surveyed by J.S. Dobie, 1911.
Credit: Canada Lands Survey Records, FB12042 CLSR ON

One famous Canadian not only donated his archives, but he also treated LAC staffers to an impromptu musical performance! On May 5, 2017, legendary Quebec rocker Michel Pagliaro donated 25 years of musical memories to LAC for safekeeping. Rock on, Pag!
Credit: Library and Archives Canada


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Here to serve…

“The Real Property Branch is one of the key stakeholders that is supporting LAC’s program delivery. Requirements are translated into safe and modern spaces for staff or clients nationally to ensure LAC delivers on its mandate. Service to Canadians always implies corporate services; by working together, we are able to deliver success!”

Jean D. Allard, Manager, Real Property Services

New service points

LAC is committed to moving ever closer to its clients, both onsite and online. On June 19, 2017, LAC opened its public service point at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax. From Pier 21’s Scotiabank Family History Centre, LAC staff offer orientation and reference services, as well as in-person research support. The service point includes kiosks where researchers can access LAC’s online research tools, as well as databases like The staff of LAC Halifax contribute to other events taking place in the museum, including the creation of an interactive exhibit for Halifax’s Nocturne: Art at Night festival.

LAC also launched a key public service point at the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library on November 8, 2017. LAC staff offer in-person orientation and reference services and kiosks, and participate in collaborative projects such as an Indigenous genealogy workshop that features LAC resources. LAC Vancouver staff continue to provide access to the original records of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada for British Columbia and the Yukon in response to inquiries related to Indigenous claims, treaties and other subjects.

“Whenever I’m helping a researcher at our new reference desk at VPL [Vancouver Public Library], I’m struck by how appreciative they are that LAC is providing this very public reference service. While accessing material online is a top priority of most of our clients, I think many see digitization and face-to-face client service as two sides of the same coin, since both serve to make LAC’s holdings more accessible.”

Caitlin Webster, Archivist, LAC Vancouver

LAC Winnipeg also has expanded its onsite reference services, introducing a self-serve digital kiosk for LAC online resources and a larger reading room for onsite consultation. Certain records have proved to be especially popular: film crews on hand to shoot documentary footage took a special interest in the records of Dauphin, Manitoba’s “Mincome” experiment on guaranteed income, which took place in the 1970s.

Online content

Here are some highlights from LAC’s most popular online features:

LAC Blog

The combined English and French views for LAC’s blog hit 277,098 views in 2017–2018.

Articles published: 300


For 2017–2018, LAC images on its Flickr site got an average of 182,388 views a month!

Total image views in 2017–2018: 2,188,653

Collective image views since 2008: 17,001,475

40 Flickr sets have been launched to date.


LAC’s podcast team produced nine episodes in 2017–2018—nearly a quarter of the whopping total of 40 episodes produced since the series began in 2012.

The popularity of the episodes consistently places LAC’s podcasts in the top rankings of the Government & Organizations category on iTunes, and the number of listeners continues to grow with each new episode.

2017–2018 saw a highly successful collaboration between LAC and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), involving the production of an episode for Canada 150.

Between April 2017 and December 2018, LAC podcasts had 172,641 total listens.


In 2017–2018, LAC posted over 1,117 status updates on Facebook. These posts were seen by some 12,392,257 people. Visitors to the page commented on, liked and shared our posts 251,513 times.

Once again, LAC staff got into the spirit of April Fool’s Day, posting this popular item on Facebook! In fact, this image is a collage of two items in LAC’s collection: Confessions of a Gorgeous Hussy, July 1945, from the Rare Books’ Pulp Art collection (nlc-9923) and Factual Detective Stories, Vol. 4, no. 24, from April 1946 (nlc-10132).
Credit: Library and Archives Canada


In 2017–2018, LAC added a combined average of 1,656 followers a month to its English and French Twitter accounts. In 12 months, the total number of followers grew to 58,383.

LAC website

LAC’s website is one of the most popular sites in the Government of Canada. In 2017–2018, the site was viewed 82,221,029 times by 14,837,532 visitors.

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The Friends of LAC

“Libraries and librarians must be in the forefront of promoting and protecting intellectual freedom, promoting literacy, and fighting for equitable access to information for all citizens.”

Marianne Scott, President, Friends of LAC

In recognition…

On April 20, 2017, Guy Berthiaume surprised the former National Librarian of Canada and current president of the Friends of LAC, Marianne Scott, by announcing that Conference Room 212, at 395 Wellington Street, would be known as the Marianne Scott Room, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to LAC.

LAC’s wish list

Canadian Rockies Sketch, 1912, Mary Riter Hamilton Collection, R5966, MIKAN 4975623.
Credit: Image reproduced with permission of Heffel Fine Art Auction House

Funds raised by the Friends help to purchase valuable items for LAC, and 2017–2018 was no exception. With their help, LAC purchased the first medical book published in Canada, as well as a painting (Canadian Rockies Sketch) by one of Canada’s leading war artists, Mary Riter Hamilton (1873–1954). Hamilton had refused to sell any of her battlefield paintings, choosing instead to donate them to the National Archives in 1926. Her wish was that the fonds, containing over 200 paintings and drawings, remain in the hands of all Canadians for the benefit of war veterans and their descendants.

The Friends were also behind two special gifts to LAC in 2017–2018. The first, to celebrate the 150th birthday of Canada, was a family bible from the 1870s,  belonging to Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, son of Sir Charles Tupper, one of the Fathers of Confederation.

The second gift consisted of six titles of rare Judaica for the Lowy Collection, to honour the 40th anniversary of Mr. Lowy’s donation to the National Library. Of note is the Bibliotheca Rabbinica Nova (1613) by famed Hebraist Johannes Buxtorf, reputed to be the first scientific bibliography of Hebrew books. Of more symbolic value is a 1901 Warsaw edition of Even Ha-Bochen, the exact edition of the first book ever owned by Mr. Lowy.

Taking part

The Friends of LAC helped out at some 60 events taking place at 395 Wellington Street, playing a key role in restoring the status of our building as one of Ottawa’s most important cultural hubs. Volunteers regularly looked after the refreshment table at book launches, talks, and other events, as well as sharing their knowledge of LAC and its collections.

Nine volunteers with the Friends also continued the work begun two years ago, to enhance the database for the personnel files for members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 640,000 files. In 2017–2018, these volunteers enhanced some 19,500 records.

Another 2017 highlight was the open house on July 1, when 2,800 visitors stopped by 395 Wellington Street to view the Who Do We Think We Are? exhibition, and to sample the giant birthday cake provided by LAC Friend Greta Halla.

Friends of LAC president Marianne Scott (right) and volunteer Lise Lampert get ready to serve up pieces of a giant birthday cake on July 1, 2017.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada


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New faces…

“I started working at LAC in May 2017, as a co-op student in government archives, and I now work in loans and exhibitions. The experience of contributing to the collecting and sharing of Canada’s history has been invaluable to me as an emerging heritage professional. Thanks, LAC!”

Grace Evers, Loans and Exhibitions Officer, LAC

LAC regularly hires postsecondary students, offering them the chance to develop their skills in a variety of areas. In 2017–2018, more than 30 students worked at LAC, with backgrounds ranging from information science, art history and accounting to biology, international development and international affairs. Seventeen students in the operational sector wrapped up their work with a poster exhibition, in honour of the 50th anniversary of Expo 67. Some of these students showcased a particular project or fonds they had worked on, while others processed the private archives of interesting Canadians, ranging from a music producer to a career diplomat to a graphic designer working at Expo 67.

In the government records section, some lucky students became aware of a 1960s “preparedness” project for potential nuclear attacks, while still others uncovered bootlegger activities in the Canadian Exchequer Court. The students were involved in document processing, data entry, and research and analysis, consulting everything from Canada Lands Survey Records to some very interesting documents related to the rather unusual “vinegars” of Sunset Vinegar Co. at the time of Prohibition!

Nineteen students were hired in the corporate services sector, working in computer science, human resources, accounting and administration. Students in HR helped with the administration of exams, language tests, pre-selection, and candidate assessment, supporting LAC’s staffing capacity, while real property students assisted with the new preservation centre project through the production of data and reports.

Three students worked in the communications sector, while still others contributed to the advancement of history by researching and writing blogs under LAC’s banner.

Two children wearing white parkas, Arctic/Northern Canada.
Credit: Rosemary Gilliat Eaton/Library and Archives Canada, e10975453
This photograph was featured in a blog written by Katie Kendall, a practicum student (MA, Art History, Carleton University) in LAC’s Exhibitions and Online Content Division. The blog was posted on February 22, 2018.


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The year in numbers, 2017–2018

Website views: 82,221,029

Pages of government records opened: 10,190,631

Questions answered by reference services: 23,491

Questions answered at national service points: 1,447

Images digitized: 10,201,950

Publications collected under legal deposit: 101,889

New private acquisitions: 111

Items loaned to 33 museums and galleries: 362

Tours of the LAC Preservation Centre: 106


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Forecasted expenditures, 2017–2018


  • Text version

    Forecasted expenditures, 2017–2018
    Total forecasted expenditures: $131.13M

    • Management of government records (5%)
    • Acquisition and processing (10%)
    • Preservation (8%)
    • Management of the special-purpose storage facilities (22%)
    • Access (29%)
    • Information and Technology Management (4%)
    • Communications (3%)
    • Internal Services (19%)

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LAC carries out its work with the advice and support of a diverse network of committees from across the documentary heritage community. By offering their time, their ideas and their expertise, the members of these committees make an invaluable contribution to helping LAC fulfill its mandate.

Lists current as of March 31, 2018

Back row, from left to right: Renee Harden, Linda Savoie and Pascale Robichaud. Front row (seated), from left to right: Anick Ouellette, Guy Berthiaume and Normand Charbonneau. Absent: Louise Sénéchal.

LAC Management Board

Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Normand Charbonneau, Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Operating Officer

Renee Harden, Director General of Communications

Anick Ouellette, Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer

Pascale Robichaud, Chief of Staff

Linda Savoie, Corporate Secretary

Louise Sénéchal, Chief Counsel

Friends of LAC

Board of Directors
Peggy Atherton  
Hélène Cayer  
Ronald Cohen Past President
Derek Ellis  
Georgia Ellis  
Michael Gnarowski  
Barbara Hicks
Grace Hyam
Susan Jackson
Carrol Lunau
Lee McDonald Secretary
Donald Meakin 
Wanda Noel 
Marianne Scott  President
Kathleen Shaw  Vice-President

Special Representative

Norman Barwin  
Guy Berthiaume  

LAC Indigenous Advisory Circle

The Circle provides advice, guidance and feedback to LAC on the direction and priorities of its Indigenous-related documentary heritage activities.

Melissa Adams Librarian Archivist, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, British Columbia
Stephen Augustine Associate Vice President/Principal, Unama’ki College, Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia
Alice Beaudoin Education Band Councillor and Photographer, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Gatineau, Quebec
Tocasie Burke Manager of Language Programs, Department of Culture and Heritage, Nunavut (Substitute: Saa Pitsiulak, Language Consultant)
Paula Daigle Librarian, First Nation University of Canada, Saskatchewan
Victoria Deleary Director Research/Archivist, Chippewas on the Thames, Ontario
Tracey Herbert Chief Executive Officer, First Peoples’ Cultural Council, British Columbia (Substitute: Valerie Galley, Principal Consultant for Indigenous Languages Revitalization Associates)
Brenda Jararuse Director of Culture, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Nunatsiavut Government (Substitute: Silpa Suarak, Language Program Coordinator)
Rhoda Kokiapik Director, Avataq Cultural Institute, Inukjuak, Quebec (Substitute: Sarah Gauntlett, Archivist, Montréal)
Anita Kora Librarian/Archivist, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Ottawa
Brenda Macdougall Associate Professor, University of Ottawa
Terry V. Morin Director, Enoch Cree Nation Archives (Substitute: Jared Morin, Manager)
Sharon Parenteau General Manager, Louis Riel Institute, Manitoba (Substitute: Georgina Liberty, Director, Manitoba Metis Federation)
Karon Shmon Director, Gabriel Dumont Institute, Saskatchewan
Tyson Thomas Researcher, Maskekosihk Archives Department, Alberta

Library and Archives Canada Members

Cleo Big Eagle Advisor, Indigenous Engagement and Partnerships
Normand Charbonneau Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Operating Officer
Kathryn Lagrandeur Director, Social Life and Culture Private Archives
Johanna Smith Director General, Public Services

LAC Acquisitions Advisory Committee

The Committee advises LAC on its acquisition policies, plans and strategies, as well as appraisal tools for government records and select acquisitions of private archives and special collections.

Catherine Arseneau Beaton Institute, Sydney, Nova Scotia
Robin Jarvis Brownlie University of Manitoba
Victoria Dickenson Montréal
Michel Lalonde Centre de recherche en civilisation canadienne-française, University of Ottawa
Michel Lessard Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa
Brenda Macdougall University of Ottawa
Donald W. McLeod University of Toronto
Ian Milligan University of Waterloo
Marianne Scott Friends of LAC, Ottawa
Lara Wilson University of Victoria
Library and Archives Canada Members
Normand Charbonneau Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Operating Officer
Monica Fuijkschot Director General, Published Heritage
Robert McIntosh  Director General, Archives

National, Provincial and Territorial Archives Conference

A consultative body, composed of the heads of the 13 provincial and territorial archives and the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, that meets biannually to discuss shared interests and collaborative projects.

Guy Berthiaume LAC
Leslie Latta Alberta
Edward Atkinson Nunavut
Patti Bannister Nova Scotia
Fred Farrell New Brunswick
Karen Fudge-Jensen British Columbia
Scott Goodine Manitoba
Hélène Laverdure Quebec
Jill MacMicken-Wilson Prince Edward Island
Linda McIntyre Saskatchewan
John Roberts Ontario
David Schlosser Yukon
Erin Suliak Northwest Territories
Greg Walsh Newfoundland and Labrador
Lara Wilson Canadian Council of Archives
Emilie Chirip LAC

LAC Stakeholders’ Forum

LAC’s Stakeholders’ Forum allows for timely discussions of LAC’s strategic, policy and operational directions, and means that information, best practices and collaboration opportunities can be easily shared among members.

Guy Berthiaume Library and Archives Canada
Inge Alberts School of Information Studies, University of Ottawa
Karen Bachmann Canadian Museums Association
Kerry Badgley Ontario Library Association
Donna Bourne-Tyson Canadian Association of Research Libraries
Cédric Champagne Association des archivistes du Québec
Constance Crompton Department of Communication, University of Ottawa
Diana Davidson Provincial and Territorial Public Library Council
Michel Duquet Canadian Historical Association
Luciana Duranti Association of Canadian Archivists
Jefferson Gilbert Canadian Urban Libraries Council
Susan Haigh Canadian Association of Research Libraries
Ron Knowling Provincial and Territorial Public Library Council
Leslie Latta Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists
John McAvity Canadian Museums Association
Jo-Anne McCutcheon Association of Canadian Archivists
Christina Nichols Canadian Council of Archives
Shelagh Paterson Ontario Library Association
Adele Perry Canadian Historical Association
Richard Reid Ontario Library Association
John Roberts Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists
Carole Saulnier Association des archivistes du Québec
Maureen Sawa Canadian Urban Libraries Council
Alix-Rae Stefanko Canadian Federation of Library Associations
Paul Takala Canadian Federation of Library Associations
Carole Urbain Association pour l’avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation
Lionel Villalonga Association pour l’avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation
Lara Wilson Canadian Council of Archives

Steering Committee on Canada’s Archives

The Committee moves forward on priorities identified by the Canadian archival community and identifies new initiatives for collaborative action.

Fred Farrell Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists
Guy Berthiaume LAC
Cédric Champagne Association des archivistes du Québec
Normand Charbonneau LAC
Luciana Duranti Association of Canadian Archivists
Christina Nichols Canadian Council of Archives
John Roberts Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists
Carole Saulnier Association des archivistes du Québec
Lara Wilson Canadian Council of Archives
Suher Zaher-Mazawi Association of Canadian Archivists
Members at Large
Martine Cardin Université Laval
Kim Lawson University of British Columbia
Emilie Chirip LAC

Services Consultation Committee

The Committee provides advice, guidance and feedback on the direction and priorities of LAC’s public-facing services, from both a user and a professional perspective.
Johanna Smith LAC
Ex-Officio Members
Normand Charbonneau LAC
Renee Harden LAC
Inge Alberts School of Information Studies, University of Ottawa
Alison Blackburn Ottawa Public Library
Constance Crompton Department of Communication, University of Ottawa
Frédéric Giuliano McGill University Archives
Deborah Kigjugalik Webster Independent Researcher and Author
Laura Madokoro Department of History and Classical Studies, McGill University
Ry Moran National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
Jean-Pierre Morin Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and Carleton University
Colleen Murphy University of Regina Library
David Obee Genealogy Expert
Anita Price Association of Nova Scotia Museums
Ryan Shackleton Know History
Pam Wright National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, U.S.

Public Programming Advisory Committee

The mandate of the Committee is to give LAC professional perspectives, advice and ideas on the direction and priorities of its public programming activities, including special events, seminars and exhibitions.

Guy Berthiaume  LAC
Ex-Officio Members
Renee Harden LAC
Johanna Smith LAC
Peggy Thériault LAC
Michel Filion Université du Québec en Outaouais
Danielle McDonald Ottawa Public Library
Julien Morissette Radio-Canada
Michel Prévost University of Ottawa, and Société d’histoire de l’Outaouais
Stephen Quick Canadian War Museum
Catherine Voyer-Léger Host and Author
Leslie Weir University of Ottawa

Advisory Committee (Documentary Heritage Communities Program)

Jill MacMicken-Wilson Provincial Archivist, Public Archives and Records Office, Government of Prince Edward Island
Guylaine Beaudry University Librarian, and Vice-Provost of Digital Strategy, Concordia University
Kathryn Bridge Curator, History and Art, Royal BC Museum
Hélène Carrier Director, Morisset Library, University of Ottawa
Jay Gilbert City Clerk, City of Coquitlam
Manisha Khetarpal Librarian, Maskwacis Cultural College
Leslie Latta Executive Director, Provincial Archives of Alberta
Pilar Martinez Chief Executive Officer, Edmonton Public Library
John D. Reid Genealogist, Ottawa
Mario Robert Chief, Archives Section, City of Montréal

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