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Canadian History

Canadian Primary Sources

Primary sources are original materials. They are first-hand accounts from the time period involved and may include such things as:

  • diaries, letters, photographs, art, maps, original video, film or sound recordings, interviews, or newspaper articles.

("Secondary" sources are created after the fact by individuals or groups who did not witness the events being discussed. They interpret, report, or correlate subjects based on their study of primary material. It is inevitable that we all interpret events of the past through the lens of our own experience, but reputable scholars attempt to minimize subjectivity.)

To find primary sources in the Library catalogue use keywords that describe your topic together with any of the following subject headings:

Autobiography / Autobiographies, Correspondence, Diary / Diaries, Interview / Interviews, Letter / Letters, Personal narratives, Sources, Speech / Speeches


    Fur Traders Correspondence

   Hudson's Bay Company Diaries.

   Soldiers -- Canada -- Correspondence.

   World War, 1939-1945 - Personal narratives, Canadian


Click on Resources and then Newspapers. Includes British and US newspapers.

  • Burnaby Broadcast - 1926-1935 - Surrey
  • The Daily Colonist (Victoria) - 1858-1945- Surrey
  • Globe and Mail (metro ed.) - 1849-present - Surrey
  • Langley Advance - 1931-1977 - Surrey
  • Mainland Guardian - 1870-1889 - Surrey
  • National Post - 1998-present - Langley
  • New Westminster Columbian - 1861-1983 - Surrey
  • New Westminster Guardian - 1870-1889 - Surrey
  • Province - 1894-1986 - Surrey
  • Richmond Review - 1932-1986 - Surrey
  • Surrey Leader  - 1929-2005 - Surrey
  • Vancouver Express (strike paper - shelved with Vancouver Sun) - Feb-May 1970, Nov-Dec 1978, Jan-June 1979 - Richmond
  • Vancouver News Herald - Apr 24, 1933-June 15, 1957 - Surrey
  • Vancouver Sun - 1914-1919 - Surrey; 1939-2012 - Richmond

Instructions for using the Scanpro microfilm reader/printer:

Aboriginal Multi-Media Society (AMMSA)  - news archive website for news publications from the 1980s onwards

Indian Affairs Annual Reports 1864 - 1990 - Although there have been several different government bodies responsible for aboriginal affairs in Canada at various times (see "history" on this site), this useful site pulls all their annual reports together. Also included for 1902-1922 is "Schedules of Indian Bands, Reserves and Settlements", a separate publication that reports the location and status of aboriginal lands annually during that time period.

iPortal: Indigenous Studies Portal Research Tool - University of Saskatchewan

Native American Activism (mostly US but NARP, Native Movement, and Agenutamagen are published in Canada): 

Indian Education Newsletter: 1971 - 1977 (select a date and issue)

Indian News: 1954-1982; University of Winnipeg

The Native Voice: 1947 - 1955; Official Organ of the Native Brotherhood of British Columbia

Social History of the Eastern Arctic DatabaseThis database contains abstracts of documents that deal principally with what is now Nunavut Territory and includes other material from the Inuvialuit Settlement Area, the Northwest Territories and Nunavik (Arctic Quebec).