Images for British Columbia now on Flickr

British Columbia is Canada’s westernmost province—a mountainous area bordering the Pacific Ocean whose population is mainly centred in its southwestern corner. The province’s name was chosen in 1858 and New Westminster, a settlement on the mainland, became the capital. When the mainland and island colonies joined in 1866, the island city of Victoria was designated the capital instead. British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation in 1871, making it the 6th province.

Did you know?

  • British Columbia’s majestic landscapes and interesting geological features are the result of a thick sheet of ice that covered the province during the ice age.
  • Paleoamericans arrived in the Pacific Northwest 12,000–20,000 years ago and the region has since seen the development of Aboriginal communities on the provincial coast, and in the richly diverse interior.
  • The introduction of the fur trade in the early 19th century and the discovery of gold along the Lower Fraser River in 1858 saw an increase in settlers and the establishment of permanent towns. The 20th century brought industrialization and the intense exploitation of natural resources. Consequently, environmental and natural resource preservation would become a priority for the province in the post-war period.
  • British Columbia is one of the most ethnically diverse provinces in the country, with the highest percentage of visible minorities, most notably from Asian and South-Asian descent.

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Images for Alberta now on Flickr

Alberta is the most westerly of Canada’s three Prairie provinces, sharing borders with British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east. Paleoamericans first settled in the area at least 10,000 years ago, differentiating over time to become First Nations groups. The Hudson’s Bay Company controlled the area from 1670 to 1870, when the territory was acquired by the newly formed Canadian government. In 1905, Alberta joined Canadian Confederation as the country’s ninth province.

A black-and-white photograph showing a woman and child walking down a wooden platform along a train.

People walking along platform at train station in Ponoka, Alberta (MIKAN 3303597)

Western Canada experienced major growth during the 20th century. Settlers travelled from other provinces and from Europe to farm the land of the Prairies and to populate its cities. Alberta welcomed settlers of many different backgrounds, and became the third most diverse province in the country. The population boom helped spur the economy, but the Great Depression and Dust Bowl slowed its progress… at least, until the discovery of oil in 1947.

Did you know?

  • About 100 million years ago, not only was Alberta part of the Western Interior Seaway, it was also home to dinosaurs! Specimens from at least 38 different types of dinosaurs have been discovered in the province.
  • A long-time rivalry has existed between Alberta’s two major cities, Edmonton (the capital) and Calgary (the larger of the two). There have been many areas of contention, but by far the most important these days is… you guessed it—sports!

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New additions to Rare Books album now on Flickr

 

A colour photograph of an open book on a blue background showing a very well dressed man on the verso and an elaborately illustrated frontispiece on the recto.

Walton’s Polyglot Bible, Volume 1, 1654. Left: engraved portrait of Brian Walton. Right: engraved title page (AMICUS 940077)

The Rare Book Collection at Library and Archives Canada is one of the largest collections of rare Canadiana in the world. Canadiana is defined as works printed in Canada or printed outside of Canada but concerning Canada, written or illustrated by Canadians.

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Glenn Gould podcast images now on Flickr

Colour photograph of a very well used wooden chair.

Gould’s folding piano chair (MIKAN 4111968)

Thirty-four years after his death, Glenn Gould’s extensive catalogue of recordings, and the bold artistic vision behind them continue to resonate with music fans the world over. His irreverent interpretations of piano repertoire and perplexing idiosyncrasies have become the stuff of legend.

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Inuit women and seals: a relationship like no other now on Flickr

Seals are a central part of life and an essential source of locally-harvested food for Inuit peoples. Many traditions, customs, beliefs and oral histories revolve around the seal. Inuit peoples were and still are in an important and direct relationship with this animal. Inuit hunters have great respect for the spirit of the seal, an animal that is so heavily relied upon. Every single part of the seal is used, as the harvesting must be sustainable, humane and respectful. Most importantly, cold and harsh arctic climates demand that people have the right shelter and clothing to keep warm and dry, and seals help meet this need through their skins, fur and oil.

A black-and-white photograph of a woman standing in front of a tent, hanging seal boots to dry on a clothesline.

Inuit woman “Aasivak Evic” hangs kamiits (sealskin boots) to dry, Pangnirtuuq (Pangnirtung), Nunavut. George Hunter. Canada. National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque (MIKAN 3198727)

Inuit women developed highly skilled techniques in order to treat and use seal in various ways throughout the seasons. They scraped the skins clean of blubber with an ulu (a traditional, women’s knife with a crescent-shaped blade).

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Sir Wilfrid Laurier podcast images now on Flickr 

Sir Wilfrid Laurier had the largest unbroken term of office as Canada’s seventh prime minister. He was considered one of Canada’s greatest politicians, full of charisma, charm and passion, qualities that served him well in office, and also in his personal life. This passion is seen in many of the letters he wrote to his wife Zoé. But perhaps we gain a deeper insight into his character through his letters to Émilie Lavergne.

Images of Canadian war artists now on Flickr

Canadian War Artists brings together the portraits of eighteen Canadian war artists who painted during the Second World War. These portraits, from the collections of Library and Archives Canada are accompanied by short biographies.

Images for the Last Spike, 1885 now on Flickr

Craigellachie, British Columbia, located near Eagle Pass in the Rocky Mountains, is where Donald Smith, on November 7, 1885, drove the symbolic “last spike” in a ceremony marking the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The CPR company was incorporated in 1881 to construct a transcontinental railway connecting British Columbia with the rest of Canada upon the province’s entry into Confederation. It was four years of dangerous work and controversies, with thousands of workers, including 15,000 temporary Chinese labourers, laying ties and rails, hammering spikes and exploding pathways through the mountains. The result of this hard labour was a country joined by transportation and enhanced communication—thanks to greater ease of mail delivery and telegraph lines that were built along the railway—and moving steadily into the twentieth century.

Images of the Altona Haggadah now on Flickr 

The Altona Haggadah, a colourful handwritten and hand-illuminated manuscript on paper, created in 1763, is one of the treasures of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection at Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

The Haggadah, which means “telling” in Hebrew, is an important text in the Jewish tradition that is used during the Passover Seder, a ceremonial meal held in Jewish homes to commemorate the Israelites’ liberation from Egypt. It is a compilation of biblical passages, prayers, hymns and rabbinic literature.

You can also find incunabula (books printed before 1500), Bibles, ancient Jewish manuscripts and about 80 other Haggadot (plural of Haggadah) in LAC’s collection.

International Day of the Girl Child images now on Flickr

The United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, which recognizes the challenges that girls face each day from discrimination and abuse around the world.

Canada continues to fight for girls’ rights to equality, freedom and education.