The Canadian Encyclopedia
The Canadian Encyclopedia (abbreviated as TCE) 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 Encyclopedia Canadiana. When looking through the Canadian entries in existing encyclopedias such as Random House, Canadian nationalist Mel Hurtig found blatant errors (e.g., Brian Mulroney was a famous Liberal prime minister) and omissions. In response, in the 1980s he launched a project to create a wholly new Canadian encyclopedia with support from Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed. 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, and sourced from three sources. They had to have every article read by three outside readers. Then the whole thing was proofread by an independent source. There were over 3,000 people who contributed to the content and accuracy of the encyclopedia's entries.
The first edition of The Canadian Encyclopedia was published in three volumes in 1985 (ISBN 0-88830-269-X) for $125/set and sold out within days of publication – 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.
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. In 1995, McClelland & Stewart published the first digital CD-ROM edition (ISBN 0-7710-2041-4). Today, Historica Canada, a not-for-profit foundation, publishes the encyclopedia for free online.