Media Releases

Lives of soldiers and key Canadians to be documented

November 7, 2011

UofT–Université Laval project receives $3‑million injection from federal government

TORONTO, ON – As Cana­di­ans pre­pare to hon­our fall­en sol­diers this Remem­brance Day, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has announced fund­ing for a web­site which chron­i­cles the lives of war vet­er­ans, includ­ing U of T grad­u­ate Lt. Col. John McCrae, and oth­er key his­tor­i­cal fig­ures.

The $3‑million in fund­ing, announced today by the Depart­ment of Cana­di­an Her­itage, will sup­port the Dic­tio­nary of Cana­di­an Biog­ra­phy Online, a com­pre­hen­sive, his­tor­i­cal dic­tio­nary com­piled by researchers at U of T and Uni­ver­sité Laval with the col­lab­o­ra­tion of schol­ars and researchers through­out the coun­try. The dic­tio­nary pro­vides easy-to-read accounts of the lives of peo­ple who were sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tors to Canada’s devel­op­ment. It debuted online in 2003 and cur­rent­ly includes more than 8,400 biogra­phies in Eng­lish and French, cov­er­ing Cana­di­an his­to­ry from 1000 to 1930.

“We are thrilled that the gov­ern­ment is show­ing con­tin­ued sup­port for this most wor­thy resource, led by researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to and l’Université Laval,” says U of T Pres­i­dent David Nay­lor. “This free, high­ly acces­si­ble and author­i­ta­tive dic­tio­nary reach­es beyond acad­e­mia to the broad­er Cana­di­an pub­lic, form­ing the basis for ongo­ing dia­logue around our shared his­to­ry and expe­ri­ences.”

John Eng­lish, U of T’s gen­er­al edi­tor of the Dic­tio­nary of Cana­di­an Biog­ra­phy Online, says the government’s three-year fund­ing com­mit­ment will enable the research team to advance the biogra­phies beyond the 1930s, pro­vid­ing a fuller his­tor­i­cal pic­ture for Cana­di­an audi­ences.

“This fund­ing will enable us to con­tin­ue build­ing a resource which is already rec­og­nized beyond our bor­ders as the best-researched nation­al biog­ra­phy in the world,” says Eng­lish. “The sto­ries of sol­diers, abo­rig­i­nals, politi­cians, explor­ers, women and men who helped to shape this coun­try are invalu­able in terms of help­ing us under­stand our nation­al past and the cur­rent direc­tion of Cana­di­an soci­ety.”

“Our Gov­ern­ment proud­ly sup­ports projects that encour­age Cana­di­ans to gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of our coun­try, its his­to­ry and its peo­ple,” says James Moore, Min­is­ter of Cana­di­an Her­itage and Offi­cial Lan­guages. “With the sup­port announced today, the Dic­tio­nary of Cana­di­an Biog­ra­phy Online will con­tin­ue to be eas­i­ly acces­si­ble to all Cana­di­ans and can keep on grow­ing. I invite every­one to vis­it the web­site to learn more about the sto­ries of Canada’s ear­li­er cit­i­zens.”

The Dic­tio­nary of Cana­di­an Biog­ra­phy is a prod­uct of a U of T‑Université Laval part­ner­ship that dates back to 1959. The dic­tio­nary began as a hard-copy prod­uct but has since evolved into a well-used online resource that now receives mil­lions of hits each year. Impor­tant Cana­di­ans already fea­tured include artist Tom Thom­son, Métis leader Louis Riel, writer Gold­win Smith and Ontario Hydro founder Adam Beck, plus many Cana­di­an prime min­is­ters. The dic­tio­nary is online at‑e.html.




For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Media Rela­tions