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What's New

Library and Archives Canada Marks the Opening of the
New Nitrate Film Preservation Facility

For immediate release

Ottawa – June 21, 2011 – Library and Archives Canada today marked the official opening of the new Nitrate Film Preservation Facility in the west end of Ottawa.

The facility, located on the Communications Research Centre Canada campus, was constructed on time and within budget, resulting in measurable long-term benefits and savings. The "state-of-the-art" facility features a range of technical innovations that meet the current standards for preservation environments and provide the required fire prevention and protection measures. The building is also equipped with small individual vaults, specialized monitoring and an exterior buffer zone of land for added security.

A portion of Library and Archives Canada's film and photographic negative collection is nitrate-based, a medium that can catch fire under certain conditions. This collection captures some of Canada's most significant moments up until the 1950s when the medium became obsolete. The material was in danger because it was housed in facilities that did not provide the stable, cold and dry environment essential for preservation. Until recently, the collections were stored in an outdated facility, originally built in 1947 on the former Rockcliffe Air Base in Ottawa.

"This facility's projected storing capacity will allow us to respond to the growing demand from federal institutions and existing clients," stated Daniel J. Caron, Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada. "The building of the new facility has demonstrated Library and Archives Canada's continued commitment to work with other federal departments to ensure the preservation of the analogue portion of Canada's documentary heritage."

The Nitrate Film Preservation Facility is an eco-designed building with various sustainable features that include a "green" roof, well- insulated walls to reduce energy consumption, high-efficiency mechanical systems to reclaim energy, and technology to reduce water use.

The nitrate-based collection consists of 5,575 reels of film, dating from as early as 1912, and close to 600,000 photographic negatives. Among the materials preserved at the new facility is one of Canada's first feature films, Back to God's Country, along with works produced by the National Film Board and photographic negatives from the collections of Yousuf Karsh.

The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. In addition, Library and Archives Canada facilitates co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.

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New images on Flickr: Nitrate Film Preservation Facility
www.flickr.com/photos/lac-bac/sets/72157627022868964/

For media inquiries, please contact:

Pauline M. Portelance
A/Chief, Media Relations
Library and Archives Canada
819-994-4589
613-293-4298 (mobile)