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About This Site

Technical Notes

The Virtual Gramophone: Canadian Historical Sound Recordings has been undertaken as a multiphased project:

Phase One (summer 1998) focused on the earliest commercial discs produced in Canada -- approximately 2,100 7-inch 78-rpm recordings released by the Berliner Company of Montréal between 1900 and 1909.

Phase Two (autumn 1998) covered about 1,200 early 10-inch acoustic recordings made in Canada by the Berliner Company between 1900 and 1914.

Phases Three and Four (autumn 2000 and March 2001) added recordings from the First World War era.

Phases Five and Six, completed March 2002 and summer 2003, focused on music from Quebec in the 1920s and 1930s, including the complete recordings of Madame Édouard (Mary Travers) Bolduc, "La Bolduc." Phase Six also included some dance band and jazz music from the 1920s and the first two performers in our classical music retrospective, Emma Albani and Pauline Donalda.

Phase Seven (January 2004) saw the addition of educational resources to the site as well as a complete site redesign to improve accessibility and navigation.

Phase Eight (April 2005) continued our theme of classical performers, with the addition of Sarah Fischer, Hubert Eisdell and several other vocalists and instrumentalists of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Coverage of popular and dance music of the era has also been enhanced with the addition of several articles, including biographies on Eugène Daignault and Andy Tipaldi.

Phase Nine, known as Turning Points, was implemented in June 2006 with the addition of podcasting, videos, an essay and two biographies (Edward Johnson and Florence Easter). In December 2006, it will include an essay on Columbia Records 78, 45 and 33 RPM discs from 1900 to the 1990s.


Special thanks to Robert Thérien of Montréal for generously sharing his research; Ruth Cumberbatch, Toronto music teacher, researcher and critic, for her writing and research; Tom Casey of Ottawa for his ongoing efforts to document the Berliner Company's releases; Gene Miller and David Lennick of Toronto for the use of their collections; and Elwood McKee, Kurt Nauck and Chris Hopkins of the American Vintage Record Labelography for their ongoing advice and support.

We thank Richard Green, Acting Director of the Music Division, Library and Archives Canada, for the conceptualization and supervision of the project. Thanks are also extended to Gilles St-Laurent, audio conservator, for his leadership in the audio digitization, design and structure of the site.

For his essay on the history of sound recording and record players in Canada, we extend our thanks to Bryan Dewalt of the Canada Science and Technology Museum. The video of the Edison phonograph was filmed at the Canada Science and Technology Museum by Dave Knox, with the assistance of Ken Lagrave, both of Library and Archives Canada, under the supervision of Tony Missio and Bryan Dewalt of the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Video equipment was made available from SAW Video.

Thanks also to Industry Canada (through Canada's Digital Collections http://collections.ic.gc.ca/) for assistance in funding Phase Two of this project.

We also gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the Department of Canadian Heritage, whose financial assistance through Canadian Cultural Online (CCO) made this work possible.


The lyrics of the sound recordings featured on this site reflect the viewpoint(s) of the author(s) and the times in which they were written or created. The lyrics do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of Library and Archives Canada, nor is the inclusion of a sound recording an endorsement of its content.

Many of the materials featured in the database on this site originated with organizations not subject to the Official Languages Act; such material is available on this site only in the language in which it was written.

Plusieurs documents figurant dans la base de données de ce site proviennent d'organismes qui ne sont pas assujettis à la Loi sur les langues officielles; ils sont mis à la disposition du public dans la langue d'origine.