Images of snowshoes now on Flickr

Snowshoes distribute a person’s weight over snow, enabling one to walk without sinking too deeply.

A black-and-white photograph of an unidentified First Nations woman sitting on a chair and working on the webbing of a large round snowshoe.

Aboriginal woman making snowshoes, Pointe Bleue, Quebec (MIKAN 3367092)

Traditional snowshoes are made with wooden frames and leather strips for webbing and boot bindings. Modern equivalents use metal or synthetic materials, but follow similar design characteristics to their predecessors. Early snowshoe design in North America spans the continent where regular snowfall occurs. The shapes and sizes vary dependent on the location. Snowshoes are available in round, triangular, and oval shapes, or can be very long. Each design addresses different types of snow, whether powdery, wet or icy. First Nations and Inuit communities are known for their design and use of snowshoes.

A black-and-white photograph showing six kinds of long snowshoes made with various materials and styles of webbing.

Styles of snowshoes (MIKAN 3401671)

A black-and-white photograph showing six kinds of round or oval-shaped snowshoes made with various materials and styles of webbing.

Styles of snowshoes (MIKAN 3401670)

European settlers were quick to adopt snowshoes for travel, hunting, and even military purposes. Snowshoeing clubs in Canada were started the mid-1800s for sport and leisure activities—leading the way for these unique aboriginal inventions to become a fixture in Canadian society.

A black-and-white photograph of thirteen children and their teacher posing with their snowshoes at the entry deck of a Canadian National Railway school car.

Canadian National Railway School Car, Capreol, Ontario (MIKAN 3381288)

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Victoria Cross Recipients: First World War now on Flickr

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration in the Commonwealth and takes precedence over all other medals, decorations and orders. A recognition of valour in the face of the enemy, the VC can be awarded to a person of any rank of military service and to civilians under military command. So far, 98 Canadians have been awarded the Victoria Cross, beginning with Alexander Roberts Dunn who in 1854 fought in the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War. The Victoria Crosses were awarded to 71 Canadian soldiers during the First World War, and 16 were awarded during the Second World War. The remaining VCs were awarded to Canadians for the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (in which William Hall of Nova Scotia became the first-ever black recipient of the VC) and the South African War (1899–1902).

In 1993, the Canadian Victoria Cross was adopted in place of the British VC. The medal is identical to the British VC but the inscription is in Latin—Pro Valore—a linguistic ancestor to both English and French. The Canadian Victoria Cross has yet to be awarded.

A black-and-white image of Lance-Corporal F. Fisher.

Lance-Corporal F. Fisher, April 23, 1915 (MIKAN 3215642)

A black-and-white photograph of Lieutenant George Burdon McKean.

Lieutenant George Burdon McKean, April 27-28, 1918 (MIKAN 3218939)

A black-and-white photograph of Sergeant Alexander Picton Brereton.

Sergeant Alexander Picton Brereton, August 9, 1918 (MIKAN 3213059)

A black-and-white photograph of Sergeant Hugh Cairns.

Sergeant Hugh Cairns, November 1, 1918 (MIKAN 3191892)

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“Handle with Care, Fragile” now on Flickr

Circa 1981 –  Handle with Care, Fragile: A Guide to the Preservation of Archival Materials

“Improper handling is a major factor in the deterioration of archival documents. During the summer of 1976, the Archives Branch Conservation Committee attempted to illustrate techniques for the correct handling of archival materials through a photographic exhibition entitled HANDLE WITH CARE – FRAGILE – AVEC SOIN. The booklet resulting from that exhibition is intended to demonstrate, in a manner both pointed and humorous, these handling techniques. Only the most common archival media has been used as examples; similarly, only the most obvious causes of damage have been illustrated. We hope that this booklet will promote an appreciation of the fact that everyone who handles archival materials shares a responsibility towards our heritage.”

Wilfred I. Smith, Dominion Archivist

A black-and-white photograph displaying the improper and proper ways to remove archival material from a box. The improper manner shows a person dressed as a gorilla forcibly pulling the documents out. The proper manner depicts a female researcher carefully removing the documents.

Removal of Material from Boxes, Image 005 (AMICUS 23668326)

A black-and-white photograph displaying improper and proper research etiquette. The improper manner shows a person dressed as a gorilla eating a banana near the documents, with open beverages close by. The proper manner depicts a female researcher with no open food or drink near the documents.

Researcher Etiquette, Image 006 (AMICUS 23668326)

A black-and-white photograph displaying the improper and proper ways to handle archival documents. The improper manner shows a person dressed as a gorilla leaving fingerprints on documents after handling them without wearing white cotton gloves. The proper manner depicts a female researcher wearing white cotton gloves to handle the documents.

Holding Documents While Reading Them, Image 014 (AMICUS 23668326)

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Images of Island Life now on Flickr

Islands are portions of land surrounded by water, and Canada has an abundance of them. However, the exact number in the country has not been established. Of the many thousands of islands in Canada only a few hundred are significantly populated. The most densely populated island is the Island of Montreal, with approximately 1.75 million people. Whether situated in rugged, rural settings or in more densley populated urban environments, whether surrounded by fresh water or sea water, island communities throughout Canada continue to grow and evolve.

A black-and-white photograph of an unidentified Inuit family of eight people posing for a group portrait. From left to right: boy, woman, girl, woman, boy, girl, girl, woman.

Mackenzie Inuit family on Banks Island, Northwest Territories (MIKAN 3376397)

A black-and-white photograph of Eliza Campbell examining a lighthouse lamp.

Ms. Eliza Campbell, Scatarie Island light keeper, Nova Scotia (MIKAN 4949728)

A black-and-white photograph of a park and playground. There are two swing-sets and a teeter-totter. Boys and girls play on the equipment under the supervision of some adults.

Park and playground, St. George’s Island, Calgary, Alberta (MIKAN 3385072)

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Images of Turkeys now on Flickr

Turkeys are large birds native to North America. The domestic turkey, also known as the wild turkey, is found from Canada to the midwestern and eastern United States, and in parts of Mexico. The ocellated turkey, which is smaller than the domestic turkey, inhabits the southeastern portion of Mexico and small areas of Central America. Males are typically larger and more colourful than females. The male sports a snood (a distinct fleshy proturberance), which hangs from the top of its beak. Because of their large size, domestic turkeys are hunted and raised for their meat. Many Canadians eat turkey on special occasions, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.

A black-and-white close-up photograph of a male turkey.

A male turkey (MIKAN 4949749)

A black-and-white photograph of a young girl sitting on top of a bridled male turkey.

“I would like to turkey trot with you” (MIKAN 3259488)

A black-and-white photograph of eight turkeys roosting on a horse-drawn disc harrow, with two turkeys on the ground behind it.

Turkeys on a horse-drawn disc harrow, Radisson, Saskatchewan (MIKAN 3361253)

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Images of Steam Power now on Flickr

Boiling water creates steam, which is a hot vapour of water droplets.

A black-and-white photograph of a man on a small platform examining the pressure gauge of a turbine steam generator.

Workman checks the steam pressure on the turbine of the first steam generator in the steam and power plant of the Polymer Rubber Corporation facility (MIKAN 3197025)

Inventors, scientists and engineers experimenting with the capture of steam under pressure discovered that the expansive force of steam could be used to power machines, or in chemical processes. The basic steam engine and its variations were used for pistons, cranks, and pumps to power cars, boats, farm equipment, construction vehicles, and locomotives.

A black-and-white photograph of a steam pumper fire engine on a flatcar, as men use the pump to fight a fire near a rail line and sheds.

Steam pumper fire engine on flat car fighting fire at Grand Trunk Railway, Barton St. freight sheds, Hamilton, Ontario (MIKAN 3283663)

Canadian transportation and industry benefited immensely during the steam-powered era that lasted well into the 20th century. Steam power is still used today but to a much lesser extent.

A black-and-white photograph of a small steamboat on the Rideau Canal, with three men located at the stern, midship and bow of the boat, respectively.

Steam boat on the Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Ontario (MIKAN 3392841)

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Images of Therapies and Treatments now on Flickr

Many medical treatments in Canada today use drugs or surgery to treat symptoms, or the signs of illness. However, Canada has a history of therapies and treatments that are less invasive. Some of these practices are still conducted, while others seem odd or outdated. Treatment using radiation, or physical and psychological therapies still enjoy a level of popular use by medical practitioners, therapists, and patients to address a wide range of ailments – while the use of electric shocks, or ultraviolet lighting is outdated.

A black-and-white photograph of a nurse positioning an x-ray apparatus over a male patient’s right cheek. The patient is lying down on a bed.

A nurse is giving cancer treatment to a patient using x-ray therapy (MIKAN 3603337)

A black-and-white photograph of a nurse attending a female patient receiving infrared ray treatment from a lamp. The patient is lying down on a bed.

Château Laurier Hotel – woman receives infrared ray treatment, therapeutic department, Ottawa, Ontario (MIKAN 3337271)

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Images of Cowboys now on Flickr


Cowboys. Cowhands. Cowpunchers. These are all names for people who move cattle from pasture lands to markets in North America. The occupation’s origins go back to 16th-century Mexico, where locals were hired by Spanish conquistadors to take care of cattle and herd them on horseback. Ranches and cowboys became integral to the economy and psyche of the southwestern United States in the 1830s. During the 1880s, ranching moved north into western Canada, and a Canadian cowboy culture developed there that still exists to this day.

A black-and-white photograph of a cowboy, wearing a black hat, bandana, gloves and fur riding chaps, who stands in front of a tent. His right hand rests on a holstered pistol.

A cowboy in front of a tent, Hazelton, British Columbia (MIKAN 3643972)

A black-and-white photograph of a cowgirl, wearing a hat, bandana, gloves with stitched maple leaves and a skirt, who stands in front of a tent. Her left hand rests on her left hip and a holstered pistol.

A woman dressed in cowgirl apparel, with her hand on a holstered gun, stands in front of a tent, Prince Rupert, British Columbia (MIKAN 3521147)

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Images of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, now on Flickr

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (August 4, 1900–March 30, 2002) married Prince Albert, the Duke of York, on April 26, 1923, and became the Duchess of York. After the death of King George V on January 20, 1936, Albert’s elder brother succeeded their father on the throne. However, Edward VIII abdicated on December 11, 1936, to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Albert then succeeded his brother, assuming the title King George VI.

On May 12, 1937, the day of George VI’s coronation, the Duchess of York became Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom and the Dominions, and the Empress of India. Neither Albert nor Elizabeth had expected to become king and queen. Nevertheless, they took to their new roles and responsibilities with commitment and empathy. At this time their two children, princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, were 10 and 6 years old respectively.

A black-and-white photograph of saluting King George VI beside Queen Elizabeth outside the Parliament Buildings of Canada.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, Ontario, 1939 (MIKAN 3194608)

During the Royal Tour of Canada in 1939, Queen Elizabeth demonstrated her ability to put people at ease, which contributed to her popularity and success in supporting her husband’s royal duties. It was during the Canadian tour that the first “royal walkabout” occurred, as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth spontaneously engaged a group of First World War veterans after the unveiling of the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

A black-and-white photograph of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the rear of the Royal Train

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the rear of the Royal Train, Hope, British Columbia, 1939 (MIKAN 3194610)

The Royal Family remained in London during the Second World War, narrowly escaping injury when Buckingham Palace was bombed during the German blitz of 1940–1941. Their popularity rose to new heights at this time, as they joined the rest of the country in observing wartime ration restrictions on food, water and heat. Throughout the war, Queen Elizabeth displayed her wry wit and perseverance. She continued her service to the monarchy well beyond the death of her husband on February 6, 1952. Her eldest daughter succeeded George VI as Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Canada and other Commonwealth nations. To avoid confusion, the new queen’s mother became known as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

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Images of Geese now on Flickr

Geese are waterfowl and are found mainly in North America, Europe and parts of Asia. They range in size from the large Canada Goose to the small Ross’s Goose. Six species of geese (Brant, Cackling Goose, Canada Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Ross’s Goose, Snow Goose) breed in Canada’s boreal forest and tundra regions. Geese adapt to a variety of environments if there are plentiful grasses, grains and berries available. These waterfowl are migratory and normally spend their summer months in northern areas, heading south for the winter. However, being very adaptable birds, many geese stay in parks, golf courses and suburban areas as the weather gets colder.

A black-and-white photograph of two adult Canada Geese and three one-day-old goslings standing on a lawn

Canada Geese and one-day-old goslings, Kingsville, Ontario (MIKAN 3359099)

A black-and-white photograph of a man supporting a Canada Goose under his right arm and holding its neck with his left hand. The goose’s right leg has an identification band around it

John Thomas Miner holding a Canada Goose (MIKAN 4315320)

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