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An Arctic Institute of North America project

This website and its interactive maps are designed to be a
convenient and accessible portal to portions of the Arctic Institute of North
America's photo collection. The Institute is home to a large and
diverse collection of Arctic photography, collected over decades from dozens of
different expeditions and voyages into the Canadian North.

These collections have all been
donated to the Institute by individuals hoping to broaden the public's
appreciation and understanding of the North while preserving a visual record of
some of modern history's most exciting expeditions. The pictures come from a
wide range of sources covering the first half of the twentieth century. From
military exercises and RCMP patrols to missions of exploration and discovery,
the AINA collection covers many aspects of Arctic activity.

Exploration Documented

The collection's photos document the activities of some
Canada's first explorers and
administrators. The role of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for instance, is
presented in the Francis French collection and through the voyages of the RCMP
steamer, the St. Roch.
The collection also examines some of the first concerted efforts made by the
scientific community to study, survey and understand the
and its environment. The two
missions to
Baffin Island
organized by P.D. Baird,
the first Director of AINA's Montreal office and the British-Canadian Expeditions of the 1930s were
some of the early twentieth century's most extensive missions of discovery and
were extensively documented by photographers. Photographic records of the first Canadian military
exercises into the
Arctic, Operations Lemming and Muskox, have also been carefully preserved and
donated to the Institute's collection. These photos illustrate the paths taken
by the Canadian Army as it expanded its reach north of 60° for the first time
after the Second World War.

Soldiering to Science

The AINA collection follows the paths of explorers, soldiers and scientists; yet
no mission to the
was ever so easily defined. When the Canadian Army conducted northern exercises, it brought
scientists and cartographers. When geologists and biologists traveled north to
study the natural environment they planted flags and asserted Canadian
sovereignty. The RCMP mapped and administered, conducted sovereignty patrols and
collected taxes, while merchants established outposts and continuously pushed the
Arctic frontier farther north.

A Visual

The Arctic Institute's collection is a visual record of
this development of the Canadian Arctic. It documents the expansion of
government involvement in the North and the activities of all manner of
scientists, adventurers and explorers. Each of these expeditions strengthened
Canada's place in the
while continuously pushing
forwards the boundaries of our understanding of the Canadian North.