New exhibition at LAC: Discover Canada through photography

Discover Canada through photography exhibition


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Richard Provencher: Part of Library and Archives Canada’s mandate is to make its rich and vast collection available to the public. And once again in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada, we are pleased to announce a new exhibition: For the Record: Early Canadian Travel Photography. The exhibition explores nineteenth century photographs with travel and tourism during that era.

Jennifer Roger - Curator – Library and Archives Canada

Jennifer Roger: For the Record is an exhibition of nineteenth century photographs that look at that era’s interest and experience with travel and tourism. Tourist travel was still new in Canada at that time and photography was used as a way to attract visitors, as both promotional material and as souvenirs. Later on when personal cameras became cheaper and easier to use, amateur photographers started taking their own travel shots.

This exhibition shows us how photography was used in the nineteenth century tourist industry, and also gives us a glimpse of how those early travelers saw these places that we now identify as icons of Canadian scenery. 

So, popular tourist destinations in the nineteenth century included buildings and monuments, like Ottawa’s parliament buildings and the Citadel at Quebec City. It included cities like Montreal and Halifax, buildings and railways, and natural scenery like Banff Alberta, Vancouver’s Stanley Park, and Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick. This exhibition features many of these places and includes, of course, the ultimate tourist destination – Niagara Falls, which even in the 1850s was a busy, bustling scene contrasting busy commercialism with wild nature.

This exhibition features various types of early photography, such as tintypes, ambrotypes and albumen prints. It features the work by both professional and amateur photographers. We’ve also included a wonderful travel album from 1845 that along with notes and writing includes photographs that were glued in and had been collected along the traveller’s route.

Visitors to the gallery can also see a wall of stereographs which were the nineteenth century’s method for looking at images in 3D. Visitors can see the original stereos and can also use our modern stereo viewer to get the full effect.

Richard Provencher: The exhibition is on display at the National Gallery of Canada from March 6 to August 30, 2015. And remember, you can also check out the exhibition on the National Gallery of Canada website, the blog entry and Flicker set on the Library and Archives Canada website.

Richard Provencher for Library and Archives Canada.

(Commentator is standing inside the lobby of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa)

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