Chris Lund, Photostory #443B: Heigh-Ho, Come to the Fair, May 23, 1967. CMCP Fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives

Introducing #PhotostoriesFriday: Instagram Stories from Canadian History

In the post-war, nation-building period of the 20th Century, the National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division, which served as Canada’s official photographer, produced an extensive series of work they called photostories.

What was a photostory?

A typical photostory was a selection of three to six photographs arranged in a half- or full-page layout, with descriptive texts and titles.

Ted Grant, Photostory #462: For Canada's Teen-Age Immigrants: A Smooth Road to High School, February 13, 1968. CMCP Fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives

Like an advertisement, or a printed public service announcement, photostories were ready to be re-printed in magazines, newspapers, government documents, and other publications, in Canada and around the world, from 1955 to 1971.

Now part of the National Gallery of Canada collection, more than 800 photostories have been digitized and are presented in a new virtual exhibition. Browse the archive by subject, location, or date. You can even create your own photostory by using the website’s app!

Herb Taylor, Photostory #25: Gardener's Gold from Earthworms, December 7, 1955. CMCP Fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives 


Watch the Gallery’s Instagram Stories on the last Friday of every month to discover twelve photostories about a variety of topics, from the maple sugar harvest in Québec, to studies of the Arctic, or the total solar eclipse of 1963.

Starting April 26, 2019, learn about “Gardener's Gold,” an especially rich type of soil and the imported earthworms used to produce it in 1955. Then, join the conversation on your favourite social media using the hashtag #PhotostoriesFriday.

A crowd of people, standing and cheering, watch a Grey Cup football game in Toronto.

Ted Grant, Photostory #407A: 1965 – Year End High Note for a Busy Nation: Canada Hits the Top, December 28, 1965. CMCP Fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives

​Picturing Canada’s history

Photostories were created to promote Canadians and their achievements. Products of their time, they represent an idealized (at times, stereotypical) image of Canada, which we can look back on from many points of view.

Make use of at your leisure and according to your interests, whether they are nostalgic, educational or a bit of both! Researchers, teachers, students, and enthusiasts are all welcome visit the website for reference, for inspiration and maybe even for a little fun!

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About the Author

Supported by

Scotiabank Photography Program


Soutenu par

Programme de photographie Banque Scotia