The road to peace: Canada’s Hundred Days

By Emily Monks-Leeson

After years of static trench warfare, the Allies’ Hundred Days Offensive, which took place over the final 100 days of the First World War, succeeded in breaking the trench line and returning the belligerents to warfare on open ground. A rapid series of Allied victories ultimately pushed the Germans out of France and behind the Hindenburg Line, leading to the Armistice of November 11, 1918.

Following the successful attack on Vimy Ridge, the Canadian Corps did not lose a significant offensive operation for the remainder of the First World War. Having earned their reputation as “shock troops”, they were put into the line in the most difficult battlefields. As British Prime Minister David Lloyd George later wrote in his memoirs, “Whenever the Germans found the Canadian Corps coming into the line they prepared for the worst.” True to form, during the period from August 8 to November 11, 1918, the four Canadian Divisions of roughly 100,000 men caused the defeat or retreat of 47 German divisions or one-quarter of Germany’s fighting forces on the Western Front. Canadians fought at Amiens, Arras, the Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Bourlon Wood, Cambrai, Denain and Valenciennes. These battles, which were instrumental in the defeat of the German Army, came to be known as “Canada’s Hundred Days”. In the final month of the war, Canadian troops engaged retreating German forces in a running series of battles over 70 kilometres, ending at Mons, Belgium, on November 10 to 11, 1918. The location of this final battle was highly symbolic for the Allies, as it was at Mons that the British had fought the Germans for the first time on August 23, 1914.

A black-and-white photograph showing a large group of German soldiers milling around between a village and a river or canal. The buildings in the background are mostly destroyed.

German prisoners captured by Canadians after the Battle of Amiens, August 1918 (a002858)

While Canadian successes were widely acknowledged, they came at a high cost: in the final hundred days, Canada suffered fully 20 percent of their total battle-sustained casualties of the war. Both the loss of lives and the victories of battle in Canada’s Hundred Days are commemorated on the le Quesnel Memorial, the Dury Memorial and the Bourlon Wood Memorial. The Canadian liberation of Mons is marked by a plaque at the City Hall of Mons.

A black-and-white photograph of stretcher-bearers and medical personnel caring for wounded soldiers while other soldiers are standing around in the background.

The wounded arrive at a Canadian field dressing station, Battle of Amiens, August 1918 (a002930)

Thirty Canadian soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross, the Commonwealth’s highest award for gallantry, during Canada’s Hundred Days. Library and Archives Canada’s Discover Blog series, First World War Centenary: Honouring Canada’s Victoria Cross recipients will remember each of them in the next 100 days, leading up to the armistice on November 11.


Emily Monks-Leeson is an archivist in Digital Operations at Library and Archives Canada.

Canada’s Newspaper Heritage at LAC

Browsing through issues of the Ha-Shilth-Sa and the Windspeaker—two newly digitized Indigenous newspapers dating back to 1974 and 1986 respectively—you can’t help being drawn in by the immediacy of the social and political news, editorials, and correspondence, side-by-side with accounts of local sports, community music and cultural events, birth announcements and obituaries, and endless photographs and advertisements that capture decades of style, commerce, and social change. It’s this combination of meaningful information and nostalgic discovery that makes newspapers such an abundant and vital source of historical information.

The first page of a colour newspaper titled Wind Speaker wth the byline: AMMSA, Canada’s largest publisher of Aboriginal news. The main headlines read: Traditional wedding highlight of powwow and Quebec court rules in favor of Crees.

Windspeaker, Volume 17 – No. 9 (2000-01-01) (AMICUS 6341213)

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is engaged on many fronts in supporting the acquisition, preservation, and access to Canada’s newspaper heritage, both locally and nationally. For example, the digitization of the Ha-Shilth-Sa and the Windspeaker is the result of a collaborative effort carried out in the context of the National Heritage Digitization Strategy, an initiative of Canada’s memory institutions to coordinate digitization activities across the country. This group, of which LAC is a member, received funding support from the Salamander Foundation to undertake a newspaper project as a response to feedback from clients and other cultural organizations, indicating that the digitization of LAC’s newspaper collection is a shared priority.

A yellowed newspaper titled Ha-Shilth-Sa and the byline (Nootka for “interesting” news) The headline reads: B.C. Indians demand action from provincial government.

Ha-Shilth-Sa, Volume 1 – No. 9 (1974-07-15) (AMICUS 4316697)

Spanning large daily newspapers and community, regional, multicultural, student, and Indigenous newspapers, LAC’s collection includes over 2,300 Canadian newspaper titles, approximately 200,000 reels of newspaper on microfilm, and 110 digital titles. It’s a vast collection that continues to grow as LAC responds proactively to the trends that influence the volume, variety, and format of newspaper production across the country. Part of that response includes developing acquisitions expertise relating to digital news content, as well as testing new acquisition models, which LAC is undertaking in collaboration with the Winnipeg Free Press, L’Acadie Nouvelle, and Northern News Services Online.

Meanwhile, LAC is supporting the ongoing efforts of Canadiana.org to digitize and provide online access to approximately 230 newspaper titles from microfilm held by LAC. Whether it’s the Saskatchewan Labor’s Realm, the Toronto Patriot, the Canadian Farmer-Labor Advocate, or the Western Clarion, the digital results of this project will be a source of valuable information and enduring fascination for all Canadians.

LAC also is developing an updated strategy to address our newspaper collection. Stay tuned!

Keep reading the LAC Blog for additional features about newspapers in LAC’s collection, including “Local newspapers at the heart of Canadian life” by acquisitions librarian Annie Wolfe, or visit the Newspaper Collection section of LAC’s website.

The Port of Montreal

From the establishment of Montreal as a city in 1642, until the arrival of steam-powered ships in the early part of the 19th century, the Port of Montreal was mostly used by trappers throughout the fur trade and then by French and English sailing vessels bringing supplies to their colony. However, with the appearance of steam-powered ships and the resulting opening of many new and international trading routes, the Port of Montreal would leave behind its humble beginnings and enter into a new period of growth and expansion.

An oil painting of a harbour and waterfront, with a green island visible on the right.

Montreal Harbour, painted by Andrew Morris in 1847, e008300982

Throughout the mid to late 1800s, the Port of Montreal saw countless changes and improvements, starting in 1830 with the establishment of the first Harbour Commission. By 1832, almost three-quarters of a mile of docks had been constructed, and by 1854, the navigation channel between Montreal and Quebec City had been successfully dredged to a depth of 16 feet. Other improvements during this time frame include the movement of goods from the port by train, the installation of electric lights, a further dredging of the channel to 25 feet, as well as the introduction of regular steamship service between the Port of Montreal and Liverpool.

The Port was further enhanced during the early part of the 20th century. The construction of grain elevators began in 1902 and transit sheds in 1908. And by 1910, the deepening of the channel between Montreal and Quebec City to 35 feet was well under way.

A black-and-white photograph of a wharf lined with various types of cargo with a large neo-classical building and a church along the shoreline.

View of the Bonsecours market, wharves and church, photograph by Alexander Henderson, ca. 1875 (c007943)

Because of the harsh Canadian winter, the Port of Montreal was open only seven months of the year up until the early 1960s. However, in 1962, the National Harbours Board (which had become responsible for the Port of Montreal after the demise of the Harbour Commission) introduced icebreakers to the waterway between Montreal and Quebec City. By 1964, the Port of Montreal was open all year long.

A watercolour of a huge ice buildup along the port shoreline of a city.

“Breaking up of the ice in the St. Lawrence at Montreal,” painted by George Henry Andrews in 1864 (e000996176)

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has many items that chronicle the evolution of the Port of Montreal. The earliest item is a photograph taken in 1870 by Alexander Henderson depicting the steamship S.S. Quebec docked at Montreal harbour with horse-drawn carts on the shore in the foreground. There are also photographs of the Port by William Topley, Henry Joseph Woodside and Hayward Studios. LAC also has a beautiful oil painting completed in 1847 by Andrew Morris depicting the harbour and waterfront of Montreal from the unusual vantage point of Montreal’s shore across from St. Helen’s Island.

A black-and-white photograph of a busy harbour front, showing a street of buildings and boat-lined piers.

View of Montreal Harbour, photograph by William Topley, September 1902 (a201779)

A black-and-white photograph of railway lines running along a ship-lined harbour front.

Wharf and harbour, undated photograph by William Topley (a008893)

The Peace Tower carillon

By Rebecca Murray

Within the sandstone walls of one of Canada’s most iconic buildings, the Centre Block—with its distinctive Peace Tower—on Parliament Hill, there are cultural and architectural treasures that reflect our country’s history and people. One of these treasures is the carillon. According to the Parliament of Canada website, a carillon is a musical instrument “of at least 23 bells that are played from a keyboard-pedal board that permits infinite control of expression through variations of the touch.”

Following a lengthy commissioning and procurement process, the Peace Tower carillon was installed and inaugurated in 1927. This event was part of the 60th anniversary of Confederation, and the ceremony was the first of its kind to be broadcast across Canada, on radio, so that all Canadians could listen to the address and the bells.

If you’re interested in hearing the address and the bells yourself, please consult our film, video and sound database, and search with keyword Carillon, media type Sound and date 1927-07-01. Among the results is ISN 99534 “[Diamond Jubilee of Canadian Confederation: Commemoration Ceremony]”; this is described as including “O Canada and God Save the King played on the Carillon, Victory Tower, Ottawa by Percival Price (Carillonneur), and the message of the Carillon by the Right Honourable William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada.”

Black-and-white photograph of the Right Honourable William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, speaking at the dedication of the Peace Tower carillon.

The Right Honourable William Lyon Mackenzie King delivering the inaugural address at the dedication of the Peace Tower carillon. Credit: Library and Archives Canada/PA-027555

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds extensive documentation about the carillon, from the “Tender for Tower Clock and Bells by Gillett & Johnson” dated November 27, 1924 (RG11, vol. 2683, file 1575-96D) to ornate invitations and programs for the inauguration (RG11, vol. 2687, file 1575-96, part HA); the latter is shown below.

Image from the program for the inauguration of the Peace Tower carillon, July 1, 1927.

Event program for the inauguration of the Peace Tower carillon, July 1, 1927 (e011213394)

LAC holdings also include programs for the carillon’s well-known summer concert series. The program booklet for the summer of 1939 has been digitized (RG11, vol. 2688, file 1575-96, part K) and is shown below.

A collage of two images, one showing the blue cover of a program and the other the inside of the typed program.

Cover of a summer program of the Peace Tower carillon concerts as well as a an example of a program for a day, dated 1939 (e011213393)

A wide variety of music was played on the carillon for listeners on Parliament Hill, including hymns, folk songs, modern music, patriotic airs and popular songs. You can see today’s program online (formal recitals are given most weekdays). Why not plan a visit to hear the noon concert if you’re in the National Capital Region?

If you’re interested in other historical summer programs, take a look at RG11, vol. 2688, file 1575-K for the year 1938, and RG11, vol. 2688, file 1575-L for the years 1940, 1941 and 1942.

LAC also holds the private fonds of the first Dominion Carillonneur, Percival Price (MUS 133). The fonds includes sound recordings, textual records and photographs. Two digitized finding aids are available through the fonds-level description to provide access to file-level descriptions for the items. There are no access restrictions on the material in this fonds.

The carillon is one of the many treasures on Parliament Hill. I hope you have the opportunity to explore some of them during your summertime travels. If you’re not coming to Ottawa this summer, you could take a tour of your local legislative assembly and learn about the traditions and treasures of your home province!


Rebecca Murray is a reference archivist in the Reference Services Division.

Nursing Sisters who died in service during the First World War, Part 2

By Alex Comber

Canada’s nursing sisters were required to perform their duties in unpleasant and hazardous surroundings. Approximately 40 nurses who were members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) died during the First World War as a result of illnesses acquired in active service. Others died after the Armistice from conditions attributable to this service. However, what was more shocking to Canadians were the 21 deaths of nurses from direct enemy action. This post briefly describes these events, and helps readers explore selected documents about military nurses.

A black-and-white photograph of a funeral procession of soldiers and nursing sisters, accompanying a wheeled stretcher carrier with a flag-draped casket on it, passing through a large cemetery of temporary grave crosses.

Funeral of Nursing Sister G.M.M. Wake, who died of wounds received in a German air raid on the hospital where she worked. PA- 002562 (a002562)

Nursing sisters served in Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) hospitals, Casualty Clearing Stations, and other facilities that were supposed to be out of the range of enemy artillery. However, accurate long-range artillery and new technologies, such as aerial and submarine warfare, brought these women into direct contact with the enemy. In several events starting in May 1918, nurses were killed in the line of duty because of enemy attacks. In Canada, press reports seized on the propaganda potential of these terrible events, to help bolster support for the war effort and promote new recruitment campaigns.

A colour poster depicting a soldier in service dress with “Canada” shoulder titles, holding an unconscious nursing sister in the water. She is wearing an apron with a large red cross emblazoned on it. He is shaking his fist in anger at a German submarine, with German sailors who appear to be shooting in other directions. A life ring marked “Llandovery Castle” floats nearby. The words “VICTORY BONDS WILL HELP STOP THIS” are written at the top, and at the bottom, “KULTUR VS. HUMANITY.”

Victory Bonds poster depicting a dramatic interpretation of the aftermath of the sinking of the Llandovery Castle (e010697267)

During May 1918, two Canadian hospitals were bombed by German aircraft. Katherine Macdonald, from Brantford, Ontario, became the first Canadian nursing sister killed by enemy action in the Great War, when No. 1 Canadian General Hospital, located at Étaples, France, was bombed by German aircraft on May 19, 1918. Two of her wounded colleagues died soon afterwards.

A black-and-white photograph of nursing sisters and uniformed soldiers cleaning up the debris from a hospital ward that has been damaged.

Aftermath of the bombing of No. 1 Canadian General Hospital, at Étaples, France, which resulted in the death of three Canadian nursing sisters. PA-003747 (a003747)

Official photographers captured scenes of the devastation and somber funeral processions for the nurses and the other medical staff and patients killed in the raids. At the end of the month, No. 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Doullens, France, was also bombed. Three more nursing sisters died. Two of them, Nurses Agnes MacPherson and Eden Pringle were killed, along with doctors, medical orderlies and a patient during surgery.

A black-and-white photograph of uniformed soldiers working amidst the rubble of a large, heavily damaged brick building that has been bombed.

Aftermath of the bombing of No. 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Doullens, France, which killed three Canadian nursing sisters. PA-003746 (a003746)

Less than a month later, on June 27, off the southern coast of Ireland, the German submarine U-86 torpedoed the Canadian hospital ship Llandovery Castle on its return to England with only medical personnel aboard. The former passenger liner was steaming along at night, with special lighting illuminating its distinctive white hull and large red crosses. This clearly identified it as a hospital ship and a forbidden target for any belligerent. Once hit, the ship listed severely, hampering efforts to launch lifeboats. Many of the nurses had been asleep, and now struggled to evacuate the sinking ship. The entire group of nursing sisters boarded a lifeboat, with Sergeant Arthur Knight, CAMC. Tragically, the boat was swamped by suction caused by the violence of the ship’s sinking. Only Knight survived to struggle into another boat.

A black-and-white photograph of a patient in convalescent uniform reclining in a hospital bed.

Sergeant A. Knight, Canadian Army Medical Corps, recovers in hospital after the sinking of the HMHS Llandovery Castle. PA-007471 (a007471)

These terrible events were compounded by the actions of the submarine’s crew. Survivors testified that the submarine ran down and fired on lifeboats, killing more crew and medical staff. Only one boat escaped the night’s events. The bodies of the 14 nursing sisters were not recovered, and today these brave women are commemorated on the Halifax Memorial. Documents in their service files reveal that nurses like Christina Campbell, from Victoria, British Columbia, were experienced nurses who had also been treated for conditions such as neurasthenia (“Shell Shock”), nervous debility, insomnia, and general exhaustion from service near the Front. Today, cemeteries and monuments overseas, memorials across Canada, and entries in the Books of Remembrance in the Peace Tower in Ottawa pay tribute to First World War nurses who died in the service of Canada, tending to the wounded.

A black-and-white studio portrait of a nursing sister, in her uniform and hat, leaning against a table.

Nursing Sister Christina Campbell, who, along with the entire nursing staff, perished during the torpedoing of the Llandovery Castle, June 27, 1918 (a008112)

Research the lives of Canadian First World War Nursing Sisters:

With the digitization of the CEF service files, visitors to the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website can quickly and easily gain access to a wealth of genealogical and historical information, and form their own impressions of the First World War service of these women, and all members of the CEF. Please explore the links below for service files recently made accessible online. When they exist, the digitized Circumstances of Death registers have been linked.

Roll of Honour: CAMC Nursing Sisters who died from enemy actions during the First World War:

No. 1 Canadian General Hospital, Étaples, France, bombed May 19, 1918

No. 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital, Doullens, France, bombed May 30, 1918

His Majesty’s Hospital Ship Llandovery Castle, sunk June 27, 1918

Royal Mail Steamer Leinster, sunk October 10, 1918

  • NS Henrietta Mellett from London, Ontario, died at sea during the sinking of RMS Leinster, on October 10, 1918, when she was returning from leave to service with 15th Canadian General Hospital. An experienced military nurse, she had already served with the Red Cross in France, Egypt and England. She perished with more than 500 other passengers, when the Leinster was torpedoed by the German submarine UB-123 in the Irish Sea.

Related resources

In April 2018, Library and Archives Canada launched Co-Lab, a new collaboration tool, for the public to contribute by transcribing, tagging and interacting with historical records. Now we are adding a new challenge: showcasing the personal files of some of Canada’s nursing sisters who served in the First World War. You can get started right away!


Alex Comber is a Military Archivist in the Government Archives Division.

Celebrating the history of the Outaouais!

By Jennifer Anderson

As a national memory institution, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) tells stories of national significance, but that does not mean we forget the value of local history.

Home to LAC’s Preservation Centre, the Outaouais region is steeped in history. LAC collections reflect this history, and remind us of the enduring importance of the people who have lived here, their economic and commercial enterprises, and the natural beauty of the region.

The history of the forestry industry is rooted in the Outaouais, and numerous items from the collection make this link evident. Whether it is a “log driver,” the famous draveur of Outaouais legend, working to dislodge logs blocked on the Gatineau River, the lunchtime ambience of the workplace, or the conviviality of an evening of music at the logging camps, the photographs of yesteryear speak to us with an immediacy that belies the passage of time. They also remind us of the long history of cultural diversity in the region, as French-Canadian, Irish, Scottish and Indigenous workers gained employment in the industry.

A black-and-white photograph of a man standing at the river’s edge with a long stick pushing logs away to keep them moving downstream.

A logger works to keep logs from catching and jamming in a stream, Gatineau, Quebec, May 26, 1942, Library and Archives Canada, e000760706

A black-and-white photograph of men relaxing and sharpening their axes in a log bunkhouse.

Lumberjacks relaxing and sharpening their axes in the bunkhouse at the l’Ange Vin camp, Gatineau, Quebec, March 1943, Library and Archives Canada, e000762608

A black-and-white photograph of three men gathered around a fire, presumably having a midday food break.

Joe Commanda, Martin Odjick and an unidentified man at a “nooning,” Gatineau River Valley, 1910, Library and Archives Canada, e011201807

A black-and-white photograph of a group of men sitting around in a bunkroom playing music and smoking.

Loggers in the camp bunkhouse enjoy an evening with a little “homemade” music, Gatineau, Quebec, June 1946, Library and Archives Canada, a116682

Today, archival collections related to forestry also speak to us of changes to the natural and built environments, and may suggest avenues for the conservation of flora, fauna and local heritage. Using crowdsourcing tools, historians and residents can help archivists by sharing their knowledge of the area to enhance the archival records for future generations of researchers.

A hand-coloured oval-shaped lithography of a man on a raft going down a log chute.

The timber slide, Hull, Quebec, 1855, Library and Archives Canada, c041680k

A black-and-white photograph of an industrialized river landscape showing a bridge, striated rock and buildings in the background.

“Chaudière – Hull side,” date unknown, Library and Archives Canada, a012528-v8

A black-and-white close-up photograph of Chaudière Falls with buildings visible on the distant shore.

View of the Chaudière Falls, looking across to Hull, Quebec, Library and Archives Canada, a012366-v6

A black-and-white photograph of the E.B. Eddy Company buildings in downtown Hull, Quebec.

The E.B. Eddy Company buildings, Hull, Quebec, April 1898, Library and Archives Canada, a027997

Some places sound familiar, but from today’s perspective, it is difficult to recognize certain buildings, as they have been lost to calamity or changing urban designs. In some cases, we may feel nostalgia for past eras, and at other moments, we might agree that the change has been positive.

A black-and-white photograph of a sparsely settled town with a few buildings in the background.

View of the town and the E.B. Eddy store in the distance, Hull, Quebec, ca. 1873, Library and Archives Canada, a012433-v6

A black-and-white photograph of a log drive going down a river.

Timber boom, Pointe-Gatineau, Quebec, 1935, Library and Archives Canada, a056909

A black-and-white photograph of a river shoreline where a manufacturing complex is situated. A large church is located up on the hill behind it.

Hull, Quebec, from Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario, ca. 1923, Library and Archives Canada, a031007

Sometimes our photographic records are missing key bits of information, like the names of the people in the photograph! Do you recognize this hard-working nurse or her patient?

A black-and-white photograph of a nurse speaking with a man in a medical office and taking notes.

A nurse interviews an employee at the E.B. Eddy Company in Hull, Quebec, March 1946, Library and Archives Canada, e002504648

We would not want to give the impression that archives are all work and no play! Frequently, records remind us of the importance of leisure pursuits and recreation. For instance, archival photographs often speak to the sports and tourism industry based in the region.

A black-and-white photograph of people skiing.

Skiing in the Gatineau Hills, date unknown, Gatineau, Quebec, Library and Archives Canada, a009250

A colour photograph of two couples picnicking next to a river.

Picnicking in Brébeuf Park on the Ottawa River near Hull, Quebec, June 1952, Library and Archives Canada, e010948995

A colour photograph of a woman carrying her golf clubs under a partially clouded blue sky.

A golfer at the Chaudière Golf Club near Hull, Quebec, June 1952, Library and Archives Canada, e010949004

And, with a touch of nostalgia and more than a bit of jazz, archival collections can tell us stories of exciting cultural icons from the past. For instance, our records show that shortly before the 1951 fire that destroyed it, the Standish Hall Hotel received some illustrious visitors. On August 4, 1951, Louis Armstrong, Velma Middleton, and the “All Stars” jazz band played the Standish Hall Hotel, attracting the attention of the musical editor of Time magazine, who flew to Hull to hear them, and to interview Armstrong.

A black-and-white photograph of a large building, with a wide veranda and a sign reading “Standish Hall Hotel.”

Exterior view of the Standish Hall Hotel, Hull, Quebec, with owner J.P. Maloney standing to the right at the front of the building, between 1941 and 1950. Credit: Michael Berens. Library and Archives Canada, e002343711

A black-and-white photograph of two women with a man holding a trumpet.

Louis Armstrong at the Standish Hall Hotel, Hull, Quebec, August 4, 1951. Credit: Michael Berens. Library and Archives Canada, e002343722

The Standish Hall Hotel, formerly the home of E.B. Eddy, was converted into a concert venue by businessman J.P. Maloney in the 1940s. It attracted big names, including Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.

A black-and-white photograph of people standing in a hallway, with two women and a man posing for a photo.

Duke Ellington at the Standish Hall Hotel, Hull, Quebec, ca. 1950. Credit: Michael Berens. Library and Archives Canada, e002343721

A black-and-white photograph of five young people gathered around American jazz singer Sarah Vaughan to have their picture taken.

Sarah Vaughan (centre) with fans and friends at the Standish Hall Hotel, Hull, Quebec, ca. 1950. Credit: Michael Berens. Library and Archives Canada, e002343724

We hope you have enjoyed this walk down memory lane! If you have more information (i.e., dates, names, locations) about any of these photographs, please share them with us on our new crowdsourcing website, Co-Lab: http://co-lab.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng


Jennifer Anderson is an archivist in the Science, Environment and Economy section of the Archives Branch at Library and Archives Canada.

At the centre of it all: Library and Archives Canada’s Vancouver Office

By Caitlin Webster

After providing service for many years from a suburban warehouse, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Vancouver is celebrating six months at its new public service point at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch.

Since 1992, LAC clients in British Columbia had been travelling to the Western Canada Regional Service Centre in Burnaby to consult archival records in reading rooms set up within the vast facility.

More recently, LAC began a project to redefine our national presence, in an aim to broaden services outside Ottawa, collaborate more closely with local memory institutions, and have greater visibility and impact across the country. One result of these efforts has been the establishment of co-location arrangements for LAC offices in Halifax and Vancouver.

Following closely on the successful establishment of LAC‘s public service point in Halifax, the LAC Vancouver office implemented its co-location partnership with the Vancouver Public Library VPL. LAC launched its public service point in the central branch of VPL on November 8, 2017, with a Signatures Series interview featuring former Prime Minister Kim Campbell. At this public service site, LAC Vancouver provides in-person orientation and reference services, as well as kiosks for LAC research tools and subscription databases such as Ancestry.ca.

A colour photograph of a round building resembling the architecture of the Colosseum in Rome but clearly contemporary with its glass windows on the top two floors.

Exterior view of the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch in downtown Vancouver. Photo: Vancouver Public Library.

In the first six months of service, LAC staff have assisted clients with questions on a variety of subjects, including Scottish emigration agents, the first Chinese Ambassador to Canada, evolving land-title laws, Indigenous genealogy, and the history of local buildings and other sites.

A colour photograph of a woman sitting behind a service desk with a Library and Archives Canada banner behind her.

Public service desk and self-serve kiosks at Vancouver Public Library’s central branch. Photo: Caitlin Webster.

In addition, given the ongoing needs of the local community regarding Indigenous claims, treaties and other subjects, LAC Vancouver continues to provide access to original archival records of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada from British Columbia and Yukon. LAC Vancouver provides reference, Access to Information and Privacy review, consultation, reprography, and other services for this selection of archival records at another site, next door to VPL‘s central branch.

A colour photograph of a room with large tables for the purpose of consulting documents.

LAC Vancouver’s reference and document consultation room at 300 W. Georgia Street. Photo: Caitlin Webster.

Since the move to this new location, interest in on-site document consultation has risen dramatically. The amount of archival material consulted by clients has increased by 54 percent, and the number of pages copied or scanned for clients has more than doubled!

Collaborative projects are also in the works, including exhibitions, information sessions and learning opportunities. For instance, LAC recently held an Indigenous genealogy workshop in which it highlighted relevant resources. LAC’s goal is to host many sessions like this one, offering diverse services to local clients and making the most of this new partnership.

For details on LAC Vancouver’s hours of service, location, and other information, please visit the Service Points Outside of Ottawa page.


Caitlin Webster is an archivist at LAC Vancouver.

Found in translation: discovering Canadian literary translations

By Liane Belway

Discovering new and exciting books and authors is a rewarding experience for most readers. In Published Heritage—the library side of Library and Archives Canada (LAC)—we connect with the publishers who bring us these works and make our diverse published Canadian heritage accessible to a wider audience.

When Canadian publishers make material available, they deposit copies with LAC with the help of our Legal Deposit team. What kinds of material do we acquire in Legal Deposit? A wealth of Canadian content: books, music, spoken-word recordings, magazines and other serials, and digital material as well. Each offers a unique perspective on Canadian society and culture, reflecting the publisher’s vision, interests and identity. One source of new knowledge and literary artistry is the translation of such works, making these publications available to a completely new audience.

Canadian Translations

One way of making great literature available to wider audiences is through literary translation, an often overlooked literary skill but a highly valuable one in a multicultural and multilingual society. Translations offer a window into new perspectives and styles, and a chance to discover literary traditions and innovations often not otherwise easily accessible. In fact, the Governor General’s Awards have a category for Translation, acknowledging the value of bringing French-language works to new readers in English when they would not ordinarily have the chance to read them. Each year, this award recognizes the translation of a work into English for its literary excellence and cultural contribution.

Award Winners

The 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation was awarded to Readopolis, translated into English by Oana Avasilichioaei and published by BookThug in Toronto. It is a translation of Lectodôme by Bertrand Laverdure, published by Le Quartanier, a francophone publishing house in Montreal. The Peer Assessment Committee had high praise for Avasilichioaei: “In Readopolis, Oana Avasilichioaei has risen to and matched the stylistic acrobatics of Bertrand Laverdure’s Lectodôme. The many voices of Quebecois writing sing through in this intelligent translation – a vertiginous ode to the pure, if rarely rewarded, pursuit of literature.”

David Clerson’s Brothers, a worthy finalist for the same award in 2017, also offers an excellent introduction to a new publisher’s vision. QC Fiction, an imprint of Baraka Books with a fresh perspective, is a Quebec-based English-language book publisher in Montreal. Recognizing the value of translations, QC Fiction’s goal is to publish contemporary Quebec fiction originally published in French, in English translations for a wider Canadian and international audience. Another QC Fiction title, I Never Talk About It, contains 37 stories and as many translators. As Fiction editor Peter McCambridge states, “37 different translators to translate each of the short stories published in a collection by Véronique Côté and Steve Gagnon. It’s a reminder that there are at least 37 different ways to translate an author’s voice—something to consider the next time you pick up a book in translation!”

Six colourful book covers with similar designs laid out side by side, displaying all titles: Listening for Jupiter, I Never Talk About It, Behind the Eyes We Meet, Brothers, The Unknown Huntsman, Life in the Court of Matane.

A selection of publications from QC Fiction, including Brothers (2016), the finalist of the Governor General prize for translation. Image used with permission from QC Fiction.

Providing works in translation allows audiences outside of Canada access to a large and, in our ever more connected world, growing national literature, and Canadian authors are enjoying an increasingly international audience. QC Fiction is also a great example of Canadian fiction’s global appeal. Says McCambridge: “So far the formula seems to be working: 3 of our first 5 books have been mentioned in The Guardian newspaper in England and bloggers from Scotland to Australia have picked up on what we’re doing and praised our ‘intriguing light reads.’”

With these award-winning publishers—just two examples of the innovative work in the world of Canadian literary translations—Canadian publishing remains a creative, varied, and thriving world that LAC strives to collect and preserve for readers now and in the future. To see what else LAC has in its collections, try our new search tool at: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/lac-bac/search/all.


Liane Belway is the Acquisitions Librarian for English monographs in the Published Heritage Branch at Library and Archives Canada.

New podcast! Check out our latest episode, “Mr. Lowy’s Room of Wonder

Vignette of a highly decorative manuscript keyOur latest podcast episode is now available. Check out “Mr. Lowy’s Room of Wonder.

Down an obscure hallway at our downtown Ottawa location, there is a mysterious room overflowing with majestic tomes and ancient wisdom. “The Lowy Room,” as it is affectionately called by Library and Archives Canada (LAC) staff, is a self-contained museum housing over 3,000 rare, often unique items dating back to the 15th century. In 1977, Jacob M. Lowy donated this collection of Hebraica and Judaica to LAC on the condition that it be kept together as a distinct collection and with its own dedicated curator.

In this episode, we pay a visit to the current curator of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection, Michael Kent, who gives us a guided tour of some of the incredible items in the collection and shares the stories surrounding their journey.

To view images associated with this podcast, here’s a direct link to our Flickr album.

Subscribe to our podcast episodes using RSS, iTunes or Google Play, or just tune in at Podcast–Discover Library and Archives Canada: Your History, Your Documentary Heritage.

For more information, please contact us at bac.balados-podcasts.lac@canada.ca.

Post-Confederation Land Patents issued by the Registrar General

By Rebecca Murray

Reference Services frequently receives requests about land patents in Canada. In this post, I will focus on post-Confederation land documents. You can also read the Crown land patents: Indian land sales post and my previous post on Pre-Confederation Land Patents issued by the Registrar General.

What is a Land Patent?

The Crown issues Land Patents to grant or confirm title to a portion of land. They represent the first title to land, and serve as proof that the land no longer belongs to the Crown.

How do I find a Land Patent?

The search for a Post-Confederation Land Patent is much more challenging than one for a Pre-Confederation Land Patent. You can only conduct it in person on site or by sending a request to Reference Services. This post will help you to identify the indices that you will need to consult to find a land patent for the 1867–1977 period.

If you are not able to research on site, please prepare a request for Reference Services by providing us with the three pieces of information required in Step 1, and references to the corresponding Key to the General Index and General Index (Step 2). This will help us to triage and respond to your request more effectively.

Step 1: As with pre-Confederation patents, please start with the following information: a date, a location, a person or organization (patentee).

Example:

  1. Date (specific or general): November 4, 1925
  2. Location (detailed or general): Toronto
  3. Patentee: Toronto Harbour Commissioners

It is best to use all three pieces of information (especially the date), since this will expedite the search process.

Step 2: Consult the Key to the General Index for the date in question

Here are the complete references you will need to find the Key to the General Index for 1867–1947:

  • 1867–1908 (reel M-1630, RG68 volume 899, part 1)
  • 1908–1918 (reel M-1632, RG68 volume 899, part 2)
  • 1920–1929 (reel M-1634, RG68 volume 902, part 1)
  • 1930–1939 (reel M-1635, RG68 volume 902, part 2)
  • 1940–1947 (reel M-1636, RG68 volume 902, part 3)

Using our example above, consult RG68 volume 902, “Key to the General Index,” 1919–1929, available on microfilm reel M-1634.

Please note that for the post-Confederation period, the key is in rough alphabetical order, so it is important to review the entire section (in our example, all entries for “T”) before proceeding to the General Index.

Find the patentee in question and copy down each pair of numbers next to the name, as they will allow you to locate the relevant entries in the corresponding General Index. The pair of numbers is associated with two columns: the “No.” column indicating “line,” and the “Folio” column indicating “page.” This allows you to jump directly to the correct page of the corresponding General Index and locate the relevant entry. From this entry, you have more information, namely the liber (register) and folio (page) numbers necessary to locate the patent itself.

Here are the complete references you will need to find the General Index for the period 1867–1947:

  • 1867–1908 (reel M-1631, RG68 volume 900)
  • 1908–1918 (reel M-1633, RG68 volume 901)
  • 1919–1929 (reel M-1634, RG68 volume 903)
  • 1930–1939 (reel M-1635, RG68 volume 904)
  • 1940–1947 (reel M-1636, RG68 volume 905)

Using our example, the corresponding General Index is available on microfilm reel M-1634.

The General Index tells us that the patent is in liber 298 on page 388.

Step 3: Find the complete reference

When on site at 395 Wellington Street, use finding aid 68-2 to look up the liber number and find the complete reference for the patent, including the corresponding microfilm reel number. If you need assistance while working on this request, please speak to our Reference Services team at the 2nd floor Orientation Desk.

Microfilm reels are available for self-serve consultation in room 354.

To successfully conclude our example: The complete reference for the patent is RG68 volume 658, liber 298 “Lands – Surrenders to the Crown,” 1915–1925. This volume is available on digitized microfilm reel C-4083. The first page of the document is shown below.

A black-and-white typed document dated November 4, 1925, and recorded by the Registrar of Canada on April 28, 1926, in which His Majesty the King cedes the land around the Toronto waterfront to the Toronto Harbour Commissioners.

Excerpt from RG68 volume 658, liber 298, page 388 (microfilm reel C-4083)

Further research

Your research may require access to indices for Indian and Ordnance Land Patents, which are available on microfilm reels M-1011 and M-3693 for the 1867–1960 period. Please note that Indian land patents for the 1886–1951 period are part of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development fonds (RG10), and as such are organized separately in the Land Patents series.

For post-1947 land documents in the Registrar General fonds, please consult the corresponding General Index:

  • 1948–1954 (reel M-1637, RG68 volume 906)
  • 1955–1965 (reel M-1641, RG68 volume 907)
  • 1958–1964 (reel M-1642, RG68 volume 908)
  • 1954–1965 (reel M-5917, RG68 volume 908)
  • 1955–1967 (reel M-5918, RG68 volume 908)
  • 1967–1970 (reel M-5919, RG68 volume 908)
  • 1970–1973 (reel M-5920, RG68 volume 908)
  • 1973–1975 (reel M-5921, RG68 volume 908)
  • 1967–1977 (reel M-5922, RG68 volume 908)

Navigating this type of research can be very challenging, so please contact us if you need any assistance!


Rebecca Murray is a Reference Archivist in Reference Services at Library and Archives Canada.