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Canadian History on Camera: A Gorgeous Gallery of Treasures From the Past

We challenged you to capture Canadian history on camera, and you delivered! From charming covered bridges to heirloom artifacts, check out these vintage treasures from coast to coast.

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historical canadian photos - covered bridgePhoto: Sean Donnelly

Reflections on Canadian history

Sean Donnelly of Sarnia, Ontario, shared this serene shot of a covered bridge—and its mirror image reflected in the calm surface of the stream flowing below. The black-and-white treatment adds another layer of vintage appeal to this timeworn structure.

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historical canadian photos - War of 1812 reenactmentPhoto: Vivian Wever

Ready, aim…

Fort George National Historic Site is a historic military structure at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, which was the scene of several battles during the War of 1812,” writes Vivian Wever of Grande Prairie, Alberta. “While on tour, this soldier of years past showed us how to load and shoot his firearm.”

Check out the most beautiful bridges in Canada.

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historical canadian photos - parliament building ceilingPhoto: Paula Brown

In the details

“I love the decorative ceiling of historic Confederation Hall in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill,” writes Ottawa’s Paula Brown, who submitted this stunning architectural shot.

Seen and done everything our nation’s capital has to offer? Check out these great day trips from Ottawa.

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historical canadian photos - Historical DunveganPhoto: Dan Wever

Mission statement

Historic Dunvegan is a provincial historic site in Alberta located on the Peace River 26 km south of Fairview, Alberta,” writes Dan Wever of Grande Prairie, Alberta. “In 1956, the St. Charles Mission church and rectory there were acquired as a provincial historic park, one of the first in Alberta.”

Here is the most stunning botanical garden in every province.

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historical canadian photos - voyageur statuePhoto: Robb Gorr

Fantastic voyageur

Robb Gorr of Petawawa, Ontario, shared this sun-drenched shot of a statue erected at a local intersection. The incredibly lifelike figure—a voyageur portaging—serves as a reminder of the region’s rich history, says Robb.

Don’t miss our guide to the best coffee in every province.

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historical canadian photos - Pointe Claire windmillPhoto: Maryse Tremblay

300 years of history

“Pointe-Claire Windmill is located on the West Island of Montreal,” writes Maryse Tremblay of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, who snapped this stunning winter scene. “The construction began in the spring of 1709 for the Society of Saint-Sulpice priests.” What’s particularly magical about this shot is the fact that—despite some broken vanes on the windmill—there’s nothing in it to suggest that it isn’t still the 18th century.

Passing through? Check out the best things to do in Montreal in 48 hours.

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historical canadian photos - Jellybean Row, St. John's, NewfoundlandPhoto: Alan Cheng

Happy hues

This strip of candy-coloured historical houses in St. John’s, Newfoundland, is known as “Jellybean Row”— and rightly so! Thanks to Alan Cheng or Scarborough, Ontario, for sharing this charming shot.

You’ll see more of Alan’s incredible snaps in this gallery of inspiring travel photos.

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historical canadian photos - canoes in the workshopPhoto: Richard Main

In the workshop

“Transportation—Canadian style,” writes Richard Main of Thunder Bay, Ontario. You can almost smell the fresh-hewn wood and bark in this beautifully-lit shot.

Check out more of Richard’s photography in this gallery of winter in northern Ontario.

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historical canadian photos - antique cameraPhoto: Paula Brown

A pioneer of photography

William Notman (1826–1891) was a pioneer of photography, and rose to international acclaim with his portraits of Canadian life in the Victorian age. “This is Notman’s camera circa 1900 that was on display at the Museum of History,” writes Paula Brown of Ottawa. “As I love cameras, this was of interest to me!”

Discover more of Paula’s amazing photography with these snaps of winter in Ottawa.

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historical canadian photos - Signal HillPhoto: Alan Cheng

Signal Hill

The site of St. John’s harbour defences from the 17th century to World War Two, Signal Hill is now a National Historic Park. The talented Alan Cheng captured this stark and striking photo of Cabot Tower, perched on the hill’s highest point.

Find out why Newfoundland is the kindest province.

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historical canadian photos - sitting roomPhoto: Richard Main

Come into my parlour…

Formal sitting rooms at the turn of the century may not have had comfy overstuffed recliners to lounge in, but at least no one had to worry about how to arrange furniture around the big-screen TV. Thanks to Richard Main for sharing this slice of everyday Edwardian life.

You need to visit these historical places in every province.

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historical canadian photos - Terry FoxPhoto: Norma Keith

A hero for the ages

Historic plaques don’t often leave a lump in the throat, but this one—captured by Norma Keith of Baltimore, Ontario—is special: “This slate marks the spot where one man’s dream began and where a nation’s hope lives on.” You can see Terry Fox’s marker of “Mile 0” in St. John’s, Newfoundland—the point at which he dipped his shoe in the ocean to kick off his Marathon of Hope.

Check out 10 more places in Canada every Canadian should visit.

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historical canadian photos - vintage silver teapotPhoto: Diane Turner

Silver belle

A treasured antique is often so much more than an object to be admired; it can often serve as a tangible link to the past. “This beautiful teapot was made in Sheffield, England in 1860 and has been in our family for years,” writes Diane Turner of Regina.

Take a peek at this Canadian’s impressive antique collection.

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historical canadian photos - red and white lighthousePhoto: Melanie Corbin

Canadian beacon

One of the true pleasures of any road trip along the east coast is spotting historic lighthouses that line the shore. Melanie Corbin of Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, submitted this sweet slice of Maritime history, decked out in patriotic red and white.

Did you know some historic lighthouses have been turned into one-of-a-kind accommodations? Check out these quirky hotels across Canada.

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historical canadian photos - old trucksPhoto: Veronica Reist

Keep on truckin’

Although the Atlas Coal Mine in Drumheller, Alberta, has come and gone, the vintage trucks that hauled the coal back and forth remain. Veronica Reist of Olds, Alberta, shared this charming photo, noting that Drumheller “is a great place to visit in the summer.”

These stunning shots will get you fired up for a cross-Canada road trip.

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historical canadian photos - treasured family heirloomsPhoto: Rosa Cross

Heritage collection

These treasured heirlooms tell the beautiful story of Rosa Cross’s family history. The Tancook Island, Nova Scotia, resident’s cherished collection includes her Great Aunt Hazel’s Wedding Ring hand-stitched quilt, Grandfather Gippy’s handwoven willow baskets and Grandmother Hattie’s washboard.

These heartwarming photographs are guaranteed to make you smile.

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historical canadian photos - motorcyclePhoto: Lynn Mabley

A treasure on two wheels

For Lynn Mabley of Hinton, Alberta, this restored 1942 Norton 16H is one of the finest exhibits at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin.

Check out the most famous car in the Royal BC Museum’s collection.

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historical canadian photos - fire pumperPhoto: Karen Allin

The original fire engine

Ever wonder what fire engines looked like in the days before, well… Engines? “This fire pumper at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto dates back to 1837,” writes long-time contributor Karen Allin of Mississauga, Ontario. “It was used to fight fires in Toronto for almost four decades.”

Check out Karin’s impressive wildlife photography from Rattray Marsh Conservation Area.

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historical canadian photos - Calgary Heritage Park trainPhoto: Deb Sandau

All aboard!

Heritage Park is one of Deb Sandau’s favourite places to visit in Calgary. “It’s a wonderful place,” writes the resident of Red Deer, Alberta. “The train trip is a great way to relax after walking around all day.”

Discover more incredible things to do in Calgary on your next vacation.

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historical canadian photos - Hudson's Bay trading postPhoto: Jacqueline Hodgins

Relic of the fur trade

The old Hudson’s Bay Trading Post in Naughton, Ontario, inspired shutterbug Jacqueline Hodgins to take this artful shot.

Check out more hauntingly beautiful Canadian photography.

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historical canadian photos - St. Lawrence Market TorontoPhoto: Fred Allin

Market value

Built in 1850, Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market remains a staple for downtowners in search of fresh produce, meat and baked goods. Thanks to Fred Allin of Etobicoke, Ontario, for sharing this sunny shot.

Discover Toronto’s best-kept bird watching secrets.

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historical canadian photos - Meeting Creek granary and railroadPhoto: Joyce Stolte

Take me back to Meeting Creek

“The old granary and train were very important in our past,” writes Joyce Stolte of Edmonton. She managed to capture both—and some beautiful classic cars, to boot—in this fantastic photo.

Love the sound of “Meeting Creek”? Check out 50 more charming Canadian town names.

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historical canadian photos - Dawson City historic sitePhoto: Mike Lane

Wealth of history

“This is Dredge #4, a National Historic Site located near Dawson City, Yukon,” writes Mike Lane of Saanichton, B.C. “A monstrous piece of mining equipment, for many years it tore up the landscape, separating gold and other valuable ores from glacial deposits of rock and sand.”

Discover 12 more awesome things you didn’t know were in Canada.

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historical canadian photos - Roblin's Mill at Black Creek Pioneer VillagePhoto: Heidi Sanita

Mill on the move

Built in 1842, Roblin’s Mill originally stood in Ontario’s Prince Edward County, but was moved to Toronto’s Black Creek Pioneer Village in the 1960s. As you can see in Heidi Sanita’s photo, the beautiful stone structure looks perfectly at home in its (relatively) new setting!

Heading out for a drive? Don’t miss these quirky roadside attractions across Canada.

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historical canadian photos - trestle bridgePhoto: Dan Wever

Making tracks

You can’t discuss Canadian history without mentioning the role the railroad played in unifying our nation. Although the trains don’t run as regularly as they did in the past, the tracks—and the occasional trestle bridge—remain. “The old historical Bear Creek trestle bridge has been in Grande Prairie for many years,” writes photographer Dan Wever. “I went for a walk on a very cold winter day and loved all the hoar frost hanging on everything, so I decided to shoot this in glorious black and white.” Glorious, indeed! Thanks for sharing, Dan.

Next, check out this gorgeous gallery of railway photography.

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