The Canadian Letters and Images Project is an online archive of the Canadian war experience, from any war, as told through the letters and images of Canadians themselves. It began in August 2000, located in the Department of History at Vancouver Island University.
Please have a look at the CTV News story about the project from November, 2012. You can access the video by clicking here.
There is also a short video about the project done by a student at Vancouver Island University currently available on YouTube. You can access the video by clicking on the the link here.
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The Project has retained as closely as possible the original spelling, punctuation, and paragraph structure in the transcribed versions. We have not noted irregularities in spelling by the use of [sic] in order to remain as unobtrusive as possible in the transcribed versions. Words or portions or words which are missing or illegible are noted by the use of [?]. Overall the policy is to provide minimal explanatory notes unless absolutely essential to the understanding of the material, and instead to permit the material to tell its own story in its own words in the original form.
We believe that every item that comes to us in the collections has merit and so all collections will appear in their entirety. The Project does not edit or censor any materials in its collections.
The objective of the Canadian Letters and Images Project is to let Canadians tell their own story in their own words and images by creating a permanent online archive which preserves Canada's wartime correspondence, photographs, and other personal materials, from the battlefront and from the homefront. Too often the story told of Canada at war has been one of great battles and great individuals, an approach that unfortunately misses the 'ordinary' Canadian and the richness of their wartime experience.
It is our hope is that Canadians can share with one another the more personal side of a country at war. Such a collection allows us to better appreciate the struggles, anguish and joy, of Canada during wartime. It will also stand as a tribute to all Canadians, past and present, who have in any manner contributed to Canada's wartime efforts. We believe it is important to collect and recreate the personal side of the wartime experience as soon as possible, before such materials are forever lost or destroyed. Each and every piece of correspondence, every photograph, or any other item connected to Canadians during wartime, is a valuable artifact linking us to our past. While one letter or photograph may by itself seem insignificant, in combination with the multitude of other materials found in the Project those single items can help to tell a remarkable story of the unyielding spirit of a country at war.
The Canadian Letters and Images Project is an online educational resource of the Canadian war experience freely available to students, scholars, and the general public. We do not edit correspondence or select portions of collections, but include if at all possible all materials submitted to us. Our place is not to judge the historic merit of one person's experiences over those of another; we instead let those words and images from the past tell their own story.
In order to make these types of materials accessible to all, The Canadian Letters and Images Project works closely with individuals across the country and elsewhere. Most of the materials found in this Project come from private families who have generously shared those materials with us. As an electronic archive we do not keep any of the materials, but borrow them for copying and archival scanning before returning them to the lending family. All incoming materials as of July 1, 2003 are scanned not only as jpegs for the web site but also scanned as high resolution tiffs for future preservation.
The project is ongoing, and is continually seeking and adding new materials to the project site.