Images of Corduroy Roads now on Flickr

Long distance travel across Canada was initially done via rivers and lakes. Overland excursions were difficult due to the harsh terrain and thick bush that travellers encountered. Early road systems serviced the immediate areas, such as villages, towns, or larger urban settings. Many were built for military use.

Despite the terrain challenges, fees or taxes were collected from citizens and put toward road construction and maintenance. Roads began to complement waterways for the transport of people and goods. One of the earliest road types was the corduroy or skid road. Main pathways between settlements were planked with logs placed side-by-side and perpendicular to the pathway. These rudimentary roads aided travel inland during harsh weather, or on rough terrain, and opened up new settlement areas across Canada.

 

Images of Firefighting now on Flickr

Firefighters have the intense job of fighting and extinguishing fires that threaten lives, property, and the environment. Their schedule is demanding and the work is dangerous, but the service they provide is crucial. Fire has been as much a danger to human life as it has been essential to advance society.

Firefighting in Canada began as a collective effort. Citizens and soldiers worked together to fight flames with water and axes. New settlements in Canada were constructed with wood, in tight quarters, leaving them vulnerable to the very fire used by settlers to heat their homes and cook their food. Firefighting evolved to deal with the threat of fire, with the first organized fire department opening in Halifax in 1754 and the first fire engine operating in Montreal in 1765. 

Established towns continued to enhance their capabilities, creating volunteer firefighting companies after the 1824 Upper Canada Parliament fire. Firefighting transitioned into a career after the addition of new machinery, equipment and horses required a full-time staff. A shift toward relatively sophisticated fire protection occurred at the end of the 19th century with the introduction of improved building codes, professional fire departments, fire hydrant systems, steam fire engines and horse-drawn apparatus. Firefighting has since continued to evolve in the face of new challenges.

 

Immigration images now on Flickr 

Canada is distinguished from most other countries by the diversity of its population. Our unique cultural, ethnic and linguistic mosaic is reflected in the wide assortment of holdings at Library and Archives Canada associated with the different ethno-cultural groups.

War Diaries of the First World War and Image Search

War diaries—records held at Library and Archives (LAC)—are daily accounts of First World War units’ “actions in the field.” They provide the most complete, first-hand record of how and where individual units were deployed and the wartime experiences of their members.

A page from the war diaries of the 22nd Canadian Infantry Battalion

A page from the war diaries of the 22nd Canadian Infantry Battalion (MIKAN 2004664)

Searching War Diaries

To search the war diaries, use Image Search, a great, fast and easy way to view and consult these digitized records. Tips for searching specific diaries are available on our How to Search for War Diaries section; using keywords will also help you narrow down your search. For example, here are the search results for the diaries of the famous “Van Doos,” better known as the 22nd Battalion. We used the search terms war diaries 22nd battalion and selected “Textual material” in the “Type of material” drop-down menu.

Finding Related Materials

After consulting a unit’s diaries, redo the search you just performed, but this time leave out war diaries, and in the “Type of material” drop-down menu, select the default “All.” Here are the search results for the 22nd Battalion. Your results will still include the war diaries, but you will also see photographs, works of art and other documents related to your search term, provided that it appears in the title of these documents.

Enjoy searching and exploring the digitized materials that we have to offer!

Join the dance! – Dance Archives at LAC

Did you know that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has fonds and collections related to dance in Canada? These include fascinating documents in a variety of formats on many aspects of this major component of the performing arts.

These fonds illustrate the careers of the founder of the National Ballet of Canada, Celia Franca, and a few of its principal dancers, including Veronica Tennant and Karen Kain.

Other fonds focus on the achievements of companies and artists in the field of modern dance, including the Groupe de la Place Royale, co-founded in 1966 by choreographers and dancers Jeanne Renaud and Peter Boneham. LAC also holds the fonds for the Toronto Dance Theatre and the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation, which are among the leading institutions in modern dance.

The collection also includes archives from schools of dance and of dance pioneers in Canada, including the Lacasse-Morenoff, the Gina Vaubois and the Ottawa Ballet Company, founded by Nesta Toumine in 1947, and Alex Pereima, ballet dancer and arts administrator.

At the same time, there are a certain number of fonds related to institutions that support dance companies and artists in Canada, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the 
National Arts Centre Corporation
, the Canadian Conference of the Arts and the Dance in Canada Association.

Many dance-related posters and photographs can be found through our Archives Image Search tool, using the keywords “dance” or “ballet.” You are also invited to consult our Flickr album.

Keep in mind that not all of our documents are available online. However, you can order archived documents through our online Request for Retrieval of Documents form. Please consult our article on How to consult material that is not yet available online for more information.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!