Virtual Gramophone: Canadian Historical Sound Recordings

Banner showing gramophone player and LP discs

Virtual Gramophone is a multimedia website devoted to the early days of Canadian recorded sound, providing an overview of the 78-rpm era in Canada. The database contains information for 78-rpm and cylinder recordings released in Canada from 1900 to 1950, as well as foreign recordings featuring Canadian artists and/or compositions. Each database record provides information about an original recording, such as its title and performer, relevant dates, and details about the label and disc.


Audio recordings

Selected audio recordings are available in mp3 and Real-Audio formats. The recordings include:

  • First World War era military bands and popular music
  • Recordings from the vaudeville era of the 1920s
  • The music and entertainment scene in Quebec in the 1920s and 1930s
  • Orchestral, instrumental and religious music
  • Opera recordings by Canadian singers

RSS feeds for music channels

Subscribe to our RSS feeds, organized by subject. Themes include: Holiday and seasonal music, Featured performers, Military music, National and International music, Classical music, Children's music, Dance music, Comedy and musicals, Folk music, and Other musical selections.


See the videos of early sound recording and playing devices: Cremonaphone, Phonograph and Gramophone.

Podcast interview

Listen to this 2014 interview with Gilles Leclerc, Archival Assistant, and Gilles St-Laurent, Head Audio Conservator as they discuss the different aspects of the Recorded Sound Collection and bring to light some incredible stories about maintaining the collection for future generations.


Biographies of prominent Canadian performers

The selected 81 biographies of prominent Canadian performers include photographs and reference sources of information.

History of Recorded Sound in Canada

Learn about the early days of recorded sound with a timeline of events and the essay "Turning Points" a short history of sound recording and record players, from the first "Talking Machine" to digital recording.

History of Canadian Record Companies

Explore the first Canadian record companies: Berliner Gram-o-phone Company of Canada and the Compo Company Limited.

History of Music in Canada

The History of Music in Canada section includes articles on the First World War era music in Canada, opera's history in Canada, and the music scene in Quebec from 1915 to 1920.


Educational resources

Educational resources explore music from Canada's past and gives students the opportunity to use sound recordings from this website.

Internet resources

The Internet resources page provides an annotated list of external websites dedicated to historic recordings, sound archives, sheet music and related information.

Technical notes

The Technical notes page describes the process used to digitize the sound recordings on this website.


The Bibliography page includes some of the main printed reference materials that were used in compiling the information for this website.


The Glossary contains common English and French terms used on the Virtual Gramophone website.

Further information

Library and Archives Canada, Contact Centre
550 de la Cité Blvd., Gatineau, QC K1A 0N4
Telephone: 819-934-7519 or 1-800-498-1148
Fax: 819-934-7535

For copyright or source information on the material featured in this project, click on the link directly below the item.

Before reproducing material and graphical elements from Library and Archives Canada's website, please read the additional copyright information found on the Terms and Conditions page.

The historical materials on this site reflect the viewpoints of the creators and the times in which they were published, and their inclusion here does not represent an endorsement of the content by Library and Archives Canada.


This website is dedicated to Edward B. Moogk, pioneer Canadian discographer, author of Roll Back the Years (1975) and the first Head of the Recorded Sound Collection from 1972 to 1979.

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