Three Outstanding Collections Added to the Canada Memory of the World Register

by pnationtalk on September 11, 201958 Views

OTTAWA, Sept. 11, 2019  – Three new collections of unique, authentic and irreplaceable documents detailing significant portions of Canada’s history have been added to the Canada Memory of the World Register, as announced today by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which manages listings to the Register.

Created in 2017, the Canada Memory of the World Register promotes and provides access to the immense diversity of the documentary heritage that is significant to Canada and whose roots extend from the initial settling of the land by Indigenous Peoples up to the present time.

The three new collections are:

The Archives of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR)
The recordings of statements, documents, photographs and objects in this collection recount the story of the residential school system, which was designed to annihilate Indigenous cultural identities. These documents are witness to our history and have largely contributed to the truth and reconciliation efforts between Indigenous Peoples and Canada. These archives are culturally, morally, ethically and spiritually significant.

For more information:

The McCord Stewart Museum’s Notman Photographic Archives in Montréal
This collection contains 400,000 photographs from a Montréal studio founded by William Notman in 1856 and run by his sons until 1935. Comprised of glass negatives and original prints, stereograms, composites and painted photographs, the collection is a considerable wealth of documentation. The images give us insight on numerous aspects of Montréal’s history, the construction of the transcontinental railway and the evolution of Quebec and Canadian society in the years leading up to, and following, Confederation.

For more information:

The Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection at the University of British Columbia Library
This remarkable collection is made up of 25,000 pieces, including texts, books, cards, posters, portraits, photos and artefacts documenting three areas of our history: the exploration of British Columbia, immigration and colonization—particularly the settling of Chinese communities—and the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

For more information:
These three collections have been added to the Canada Memory of the World Register, for a total of 16 collections. For a complete list, see the Register at

What it means to be included in the Memory of the World Register

UNESCO’s Memory of the World program showcases the most meaningful documents in our heritage and history. More than recognition, being included in a document collection in the Memory of the World Register underscores the importance of preserving it, highlights its relevance and encourages citizens, students and researchers to take an interest.

An expert committee examines the applications and submits proposals to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO regarding collections that should be included in the UNESCO’s Canada Memory of the World Register and International Memory of the World Register.

“The Canadian Commission for UNESCO is happy to see these outstanding collections added to the Canada Memory of the World Register. The three collections can be a record of dark periods of our history, as is the case with the archives of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation,” said Sébastien Goupil, Secretary-General of the Canadian Commission. “In each case, the collections remind us of our duty to memory and the work to be done in order to further truth and reconciliation.”

“We are deeply honoured the Canadian Commission for UNESCO will include the NCTR archives in its Canada Memory of the World Register. This acknowledgement is a testament to the Residential School Survivors who bravely shared their experiences with Canada. This recognition affirms that the Residential School system and what occurred within it must be in the collective memory of all Canadians to ensure the terrible harms inflicted never happen again,” said Ry Moran, Director of the NCTR.

“I am very pleased with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s recognition of the McCord-Stewart Museum’s Notman Collection. The Museum acquired the collection’s first pieces in 1956 and has since carried out rigorous conservation and showcasing work with respect to the works of this visionary photographer. The inclusion of this photograph archive in the Canada Memory of the World Register consolidates our work, the outreach of Notman’s work and the documentation of Montréal and Canadian society’s histories,” said McCord-Stewart Museum President and CEO Suzanne Sauvage.

“UBC Library is proud to be the home of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection and I am thrilled to see it receive this well-deserved national recognition. This collection is stewarded by the library and actively engaged with by our faculty, students, and staff and by the broader community. We are honoured that Dr. Chung has entrusted UBC Library to ensure this history is preserved and available for research and learning,” said Susan E. Parker, University Librarian.

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO is also pleased to launch the new Call for Nominations for 2019-20 and invites interested organizations or individuals to visit for more information. In light of the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent, the call extends a new special invitation for documentary heritage related to Black Canadians with the goal of increasing awareness of this community’s diverse cultures and contributions to Canadian society.

About the Canadian Commission for UNESCO

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO serves as a bridge between Canadians and the vital work of UNESCO—the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. By promoting UNESCO values, priorities and programs in Canada, and by bringing the voices of Canadian experts to the international stage, the Commission contributes to a peaceful, equitable and sustainable future that leaves no one behind.

For further information: Pauline Dugré, Program Manager, Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Tel: 1-800-263-5588 or 613-566-4414 (extension 4558),

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