The Canadian Encyclopedia

ISBN (identifier) McClelland & Stewart Enlarge
First edition
Printed edition 1985, cover

The Canadian Encyclopedia (abbreviated as TCE; French: L'Encyclop├ędie canadienne) is a source of information on Canada published by Historica Canada of Toronto. Articles appear in English and French. It is available online, at no cost. The Canadian Encyclopedia includes 14,000 articles in each language on numerous subjects including history, popular culture, events, people, places, politics, arts, First Nations, sports and science.

The website also provides access to the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, the Canadian Encyclopedia Junior Edition, Maclean's magazine articles, and Timelines of Canadian History.


Canada had been without a national encyclopedia since the 1957 edition of Encyclopedia Canadiana. When looking through the Canadian entries in existing encyclopedias such as Random House, Canadian nationalist and book publisher Mel Hurtig found blatant errors (e.g., Brian Mulroney was described as a Liberal, rather than Conservative, prime minister) and omissions. In response, in the 1980s he launched a project to create a wholly new Canadian encyclopedia with support from the Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed.[1] The Editor-in-Chief James Harley Marsh recruited more than 3,000 authors to write for it.

They made index cards for every fact in the encyclopedia, signed off by the researcher, utilized three sources, and had every article read by three outside readers. Then the entire encyclopedia was proofread by an independent source.[2] Over 3,000 people contributed to the content and accuracy of the encyclopedia's entries.[3]

The first edition of The Canadian Encyclopedia was published in three volumes, in 1985 (ISBN 0-88830-269-X),[3] for $125 per set, and it sold out within days of publication, making it a Canadian bestseller (150,000 sets sold in six months). A revised and expanded edition (in four volumes) was released in 1988 (ISBN 0-88830-326-2) and sold out, as well. It was the first encyclopedia in the world to use a computer to help compile, typeset, design, and print it. It was encoded in a markup language precursor of HTML.[2]

In September 1990, Hurtig published the five-volume Junior Encyclopedia of Canada (ISBN 0-88830-334-3), the first encyclopedia for young Canadians.

Hurtig sold his publishing company to McClelland & Stewart in May 1991 and with it the encyclopedia.[4] In 1995, the first edition of The Canadian Encyclopedia Plus was published as a digital CD-ROM (ISBN 0-7710-2041-4).[3] In 1999, McClelland & Stewart published the year 2000 edition incorporating all four previous volumes in a single book (ISBN 0-77102-099-6). In the same year, McClelland & Stewart transferred the ownership of the encyclopedia to the Historica Foundation. In 1999, the Historica Foundation made a full version of The Canadian Encyclopedia available online.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Taber, Jane (7 October 2010). "How Canada got an encyclopedia to call its own". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Kennedy, Paul (June 28, 2012). "Citizen Mel, Parts 1 & 2". Ideas. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Encyclopedia". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  4. ^ "Mel Hurtig". The Canadian Encyclopedia.