In an era where you can watch cat videos online all day, it’s hard to remember the pre-YouTube years. But back in 2001, websites featuring archival video and audio were few.
That was when two teams in Montreal and Toronto embarked on the CBC/Radio-Canada Digital Archives, a bicultural, bilingual project that aimed to pull some of the best material from CBC Television and CBC Radio out of the vaults and put it online for all to discover. The project exists thanks to the generosity of Canadian Heritage and a wide-ranging group of people at CBC/Radio-Canada who felt the time was ripe to get our historic clips online.
I joined the English team in Toronto as a writer at the end of 2002, a few months after the site launched. We must have been doing something right, because in 2003 our project won the Prix Italia in the Cross Media category. Over the years we’ve won more awards, updated the site’s design and seen many staff move on to other projects – and we’re still adding new material. Now you can listen to over 2,800 CBC Radio clips and watch over 4,000 CBC Television clips on the English website and over 3,800 television clips and 2,500-plus radio clips on the French site.
Preparing for a big milestone – 75 years of CBC!
As CBC prepares to break out the party hats to celebrate our 75th anniversary this fall, we think Canadians will be keen to learn more about the history of the CBC and get a glimpse of the many remarkable people and programs of its past. With that in mind, we’re really excited to announce that virtually all of the English-language clips formerly available only on our website (or, in the case of a select few, on YouTube, are now available via our own section on the CBC Media Player. This means you can watch Digital Archives clips on a PC or a Mac, and it’s now possible for CBC’s news staff to embed them in stories on CBC News Online. And sorry, there’s not a single cat video in the bunch (aside from some Ti-Cats).
We’d love it if you’d take a look around – either on our original CBC Digital Archives site or in the CBC Media Player. From news coverage of pivotal moments in Canadian history to interviews with great Canadians and international figures to entire episodes of great CBC shows, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Please use the comments section to let us know what you’d like us to pull from the vaults for CBC’s 75th anniversary!
- Elizabeth Bridge, Producer, Digital Archives, CBC.ca