May 25, 2022

Library and Archives Canada Marks the Opening of the New Nitrate Film Preservation Centre

From LAC:

Library and Archives Canada today marked the official opening of the new Nitrate Film Preservation Centre in the west end of Ottawa.

The Centre, located on the Communications Research Centre Canada campus, was constructed on time and within budget, resulting in measurable long-term benefits and savings. The “state-of-the-art” facility features a range of technical innovations that meet the current standards for preservation environments and provide the required fire prevention and protection measures. The facility is also equipped with small individual vaults, specialized monitoring and an exterior buffer zone of land for added security.

Much of Canada’s extensive video collection is nitrate-based, a medium that can catch fire under certain conditions. These films and photographic negatives capture some of Canada’s most significant moments up until the 1950s when the medium became obsolete. The material was in danger because it was housed in facilities that did not provide the stable, cold and dry environment essential for preservation. Until recently, the collections were stored in an outdated facility, originally built in 1947 on the former Rockcliffe Air Base in Ottawa.


The nitrate video collection consists of 5,575 reels of film, dating from as early as 1912, and close to 600,000 photographic negatives. Among the materials preserved at the new facility is one of Canada’s first feature films, Back to God’s Country, along with works produced by the National Film Board and photographic negatives from the collections of Yousuf Karsh.

Read the Complete Announcement

Full Text of Remarks by Daniel J. Caron, Librarian and Archivist of Canada at Opening Event

See Also: Library and Archives Canada: 2011-2012 Report on Plans and Priorities

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.