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OTTAWA, January 24, 2001  --  Ian E. Wilson, the National Archivist of Canada, welcomes the unique opportunity for the National Archives to play a key role in the Portrait Gallery of Canada, which was officially announced yesterday by Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Sheila Copps.

"This Gallery will offer visitors an unparalleled chance to see Canadians from all walks of life who have helped to build our country and write our stories, as well as those of today whose lives enrich our present and chart our future," said Mr. Wilson.

Link to: The Portrait Gallery of CanadaThe Portrait Gallery of Canada

"We will participate in the development of the Gallery by contributing works for exhibition from our extensive portrait holdings and by providing staff expertise and operational support," he added.

The National Archives of Canada has been collecting documentary art and photography for more than a century; its portrait collections now comprise some 20,000 paintings and drawings, four million photographs and 10,000 medals and philatelic works. They provide a unique testimony to Canada’s past and present and contribute to a better understanding of Canadian history and diversity.

The Portrait Gallery of Canada will be affiliated with the National Archives of Canada and is expected to open the doors to its new home at 100 Wellington Street, Ottawa, directly opposite Parliament Hill, in 2004-2005. The renovated heritage building will provide the Gallery with an exciting public showcase and a fitting location to welcome all Canadians.

The public will also be able to follow the development of the Gallery, and explore the portraits that will be exhibited, on its new Web site at www.portraits.gc.ca

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Lilly Koltun, Director General, Project Archives Place of the Future, please contact:

Louisa Coates
Communications and Public Programs Division
National Archives of Canada
E-mail: media@lac-bac.gc.ca