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Gatineau, Quebec, May 30, 2012 – Today, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) launches its online Portrait Portal, making available nearly 15,000 high-quality digitized images from the national portrait collection.
“I would like to invite Canadians, wherever they live, to visit the Portrait Portal and experience the thousands of works of art that tell our stories and help define our Canadian identity,” said the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “This digital approach allows greater access to our national documentary heritage.”
The Portrait Portal showcases the largest collection of portraits in the country, which includes works acquired since the 1880s. This collection is comprised of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, caricatures, medals and other works representing historical figures who played an important role in Canada's development as a nation.
“This digitization initiative now makes available to Canadians across the country many thousands of works by renowned Canadian artists, ranging from portraits made by Yousuf Karsh to those of William Topley,” said Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Daniel J. Caron. “Hockey fans can even find rare hockey cards, circa 1910, from the C.J. Haynes collection.”
In addition, many works by Arnaud Maggs are now accessible on the Portrait Portal. The National Gallery of Canada is currently holding an exhibition that features this internationally acclaimed photographer’s works, some of which LAC has supplied from its collection.
“The Portrait Portal gives Canadians the ability to access their national portrait collection at the time and place they want, wherever they are. For millions of people across the country, this will also be an exciting first step in their discovery of the wealth and diversity of LAC’s documentary heritage holdings,” concluded Daniel J. Caron.
Looking to the future, LAC is committed to posting 2,000 digitized portraits every month for the coming years. This project illustrates LAC’s commitment to adapting to the new digital environment by making the national portrait collection more accessible to all Canadians from coast to coast.
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About Library and Archives Canada
The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, thereby contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. Library and Archives Canada also facilitates co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Pauline M. Portelance
Chief, Media Relations
Library and Archives Canada