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CBC Digital Archives

Photo Archives

Holdings: 400,000 negatives

The CBC photo archives is a still-photo collection held in the CBC Design Library. It is made up mainly of publicity shots taken by the CBC photography department in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.

Most of the photographs were taken during dress rehearsals of drama and variety programs produced in Toronto. They are striking mementos of their day, showcasing actors, set and costume designs, even studio equipment like lights and cameras. Among the notables: William Shatner playing Marc Antony in a production of Julius Caesar; Jim Carrey making his 1981 dramatic debut in the teen drama Introducing Janet, and singers Tommy Hunter and Gordon Lightfoot performing on the set of Country Hoedown, which ran from 1956 to 1965. Many more photo collection samples are posted on the web site.

Preservation work has been modest. When the collection was brought to the Photo archives, every item was transferred from plastic cases to acid-free folders. This is a standard practice for all film storage, to prevent chemical contamination from speeding up film's natural fading and deterioration. More recently, in conjunction with the Archives Project, the Design Library scanned and catalogued 8,000 images into a searchable database. Because this is costly and time-consuming, additional scanning and cataloguing is only done "on demand."

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