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Section title: What's New

News Release

What's New

The Rockies Through the Lens of Time: An exhibition about landscape change at Library and Archives Canada

Ottawa, April 26, 2005 - As part of the celebrations to commemorate the centennial of Alberta's entry into Confederation, Library and Archives Canada today officially opened an outstanding exhibition entitled The Rockies Through the Lens of Time. The exhibition presents a display of photographs taken at the same sites but at different times, revealing the changes in the landscape of our national parks over the last ninety years.

In 1915 mountain surveyor Morrison Parsons Bridgland and his crew were assigned, by the Canadian government, to create a photo topographical map of the Jasper and Waterton regions in Alberta. In 1997, the Rocky Mountain Repeat Photography Project, headed by Dr. Eric Higgs undertook the task of photographing these national parks from the same 92 vantages points used by Bridgland. The result is a testimony to landscape change.

The Rockies Through the Lens of Time is based in part on Library and Archives Canada's collection of 70,000 glass plate negatives which represent the first photo topographical survey in the world. Part of this collection includes Morrison Parsons Bridgland's photographs, some of which are contained in the exhibition along with the photographs taken by the Rocky Mountain Repeat Photography Project researchers. The exhibition is supplemented by a variety of artefacts and media, as well as scientific records drawn from the collections of Library and Archives Canada and other sources.

"As much as Library and Archives Canada's collections reflect the changes in the landscape of our society through words, images and sounds," said Dr. Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, "this wonderful exhibition tells stories and reveals the changing reality of not only our environment, but of our future."

The exhibition has several themes ranging from the relationship between human activity and ecological processes and how the methods of landscape photography have evolved over time.

"The historical survey photographs of the Canadian Rockies is a national treasure and perhaps the largest systematic collection of historical landscape photographs in the world," said Dr. Eric Higgs, Director of the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. "It's a golden opportunity for studying how landscapes change both through myriad natural and human processes."

The Rockies: Through the Lens of Time is open daily until January 15, 2006 at Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa. Admission is free. For more information visit the Web preview at

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Pauline M. Portelance
Media Relations Officer
Library and Archives Canada

For historical information visit:

List item Library and Archives Canada - What's New Archives (2005)
List item Library and Archives Canada - What's New Archives (2004)
List item National Archives of Canada - News & Events Archive (1999-2003)
List item National Library of Canada - What's New Archives (1999-2003)