How to Find Photographs Online

Did you know that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) boasts an impressive photographic collection?  Here is just a sampling of what you can discover:

  • Canadian life and culture illustrated in over 25 million photographs
  • A total of 500,000 individually described and searchable photographs
  • Digitized images of 80,000 photographs available online
  • Photo albums arranged by theme on Flickr

Follow these easy steps to get started:

  1. Go to Archives Search.
  2. Enter your keywords in the search box.
  3. From the Type of material drop-down menu, select Photographic material and then Submit. Your search will generate a list of results.
  4. Select the underlined titles to access the full description of a photograph. Descriptive records display images of photographs that have been digitized.



Our Photography  section offers a vast selection of tools and resources to help you discover the LAC photographic collection.

For more information on recent announcements at LAC, visit “News”.

Summary of comments received in French between July 1, 2014 and September 30, 2014

  • A reader from France is asking if he can copy photographs found on LAC website or its Flickr account for a commemorative exhibit on November 11th. He also mentions that he has done research on 3 Canadian soldiers (Kenneth Douglas Stephenson, Fred Plummer and James Archibald Marshall) who died in 1918 and are all buried in the cemetery of La Sentinelle, a locality of the north of France.

13 thoughts on “How to Find Photographs Online

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  6. I will try this search for a photograph. Family history on my husband’s side is that when his parents came over from England in about 1934, his mother’s portrait was painted as part of a group of portraits and was done by an artist hired by the Canadian government…I believe these portraits were displayed for some time, but likely were stored away. The details are sketchy, but she was a lovely looking lady and perhaps caught the eye of this artist. As I don’t know the artist’s name, but only her name, not sure if it exists if I’d even be able to locate it. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you. April in BC.

    • Thank you for your comment. One suggestion we can give you is when looking for portraits, you could use the same type of search but choose “Art” instead of “Photographs”. If you would like to ask questions about portrait artists in a particular region during a particular time period, you could submit your query through our “Ask Us a Question” form.

  7. I would like a picture of my Grandfather who enlisted in the Army, John Rudolf Blackstock. A w.w.1 vet he enlisted in Maple Creek, Sask. in 1917. Thank you.

  8. I was told that I could find a photograph taken by a photographer from Pembroke Ontario. His name was Bill Montaigne and I believe his collection was sent to your archives. This particular photo was taken between 1966 to 1968 most likely in the month of November and the photo was shared with the Pembroke Onserver the local Newspaper at that time. Is there any way I can access that photo and also get a copy of it? I appreciate your time in getting back to me. Thank you kindly. Yours truly,
    Aileen Leblanc.

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