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Supporting Free and Open Knowledge
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Wiki Loves Earth

Wiki Loves Earth is a photographic contest with the aim of promoting natural sites around the world. During the month of June 2017, Canada will participate for the first time to this international photo competition. Everybody can participate. You are invited to take pictures of national and provincial parks and to upload them on Wikimedia Commons, using the contest's Upload Wizard. 2017 has been chosen since it coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation during which the Government of Canada offers free access to all parks managed by Parks Canada.

The goal of the contest is to put online as many pictures of national parks, provincial and territorial parks as well as national wildlife reserves of Canada under a free license on Wikimedia Commons in order to freely share them with the world and to allow anybody to re-use them. This is important since Wikipedia relies solely on Wikimedia Commons as its media repository to illustrate articles about the natural sites of Canada.

In June, you can upload as many pictures as you want of the recognized natural areas that you have visited. Pictures don't have to be taken in June, but must be uploaded that month in order to be considered for the contest. Starting on July 1st, a Canadian jury will begin evaluating the submitted photographs, awarding prizes for the best pictures in Canada. The Canadian jury will also select to top 10 pictures from Canada and submit them to the international jury of Wiki Loves Earth. The first prize for the Canadian winner is a full scholarship to attend Wikimania in Montreal in August 2017!

Come help to share the knowledge about the natural sites of Canada as well as supporting Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects, and you can even win prizes!

Atikamekw and Wikipedia: a partnership for the transmission of the language

Photo Hunting for articles in Wikipetia Atikamekw Nehiromowin

The project "Atikamekw knowledge, culture and language in Wikimedia projects" aims to develop a Wikipedia encyclopedia in Atikamekw language (Wikipetia Atikamekw Nehiromowin), to enrich the articles of the Wikipedia in French about the Atikamekw Nation and to upload documents such as recent photos, archival documents and maps in the free Wikimedia Commons media library. This is the first project of its kind in Canada.

A precedent: educational project at the Otapi school in Manawan

Workshop at Otapi High School, Manawan (Atikamekw First Nation, Canada)
A guardian of the Atikamekw language and his successor
Presentation of Aboriginal Projects in Canada

This one-year pilot project (Fall 2016 to Summer 2017) funded by the Wikimedia Foundation follows an initiative conducted in 2013 and 2014 in Manawan, Quebec by a linguist from the University of Leipzig, a highschool computer teacher and an Atikamekw language keeper. Together they conducted an educational project entitled "Wikipetia Project" involving students from Otapi Highschool in Manawan to create articles on Wikipedia written in Atikamekw. By the end of this project, the students had created more than 160 articles.


Project partners include Manawan Otapi Highschool, Conseil Atikamekw de Manawan, Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw (CNA), Wikimedia Canada and Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), with the collaboration of several members of the the Atikamekw community. The Atikamekw Nation Nehirowisiw is one of the few Aboriginal communities in Canada where virtually the entire population still speaks the language, making the Atikamekw language one of the most vibrant Aboriginal languages ​​among First Nations in Canada. It is also the language of instruction in two elementary schools of the Nation. The Institut linguistique Atikamekw (ILA) and the techno-linguists of the Nation are working to create new words and to standardize the language. Wikimedia Canada's mission is to educate Canadian communities about the development of free and open knowledge in all languages, including Aboriginal languages. The objective of this strategy is to collaborate with Aboriginal communities in Canada and to introduce Aboriginal language speakers to Wikipedia with the goal that they become autonomous contributors in the development of content in their languages. It is in line with Article 13 of the UN Indigenous Peoples' Declaration, which establishes the right to preserve, revitalize and develop indigenous languages. These are an integral part of Canadian culture. Two UQO professors in communication and indigenous studies have teamed up with this project to document it.

Activities and long-term impact

The project is divided into three parts: training, pedagogical project and research project. The first component includes training sessions with the Atikamekw community given by volunteers from Wikimedia Canada with the goal to make the community autonomous in their work on Wikimedia projects. The first training took place at the Otapi High School in Manawan on October 24th, 2016. A next training and discussion session was held with the CNA in La Tuque on November 28th, 2016. In May 2017 there will be a session of photographic documentation in Manawan. The pedagogic project will take place at the Otapi Highschool from November 2016 to May 2017. Students of the computer class will write articles on the Wikipedia in Atikamekw. The research component is intended to document the pilot project with a view to creating a toolkit and a set of recommendations for use in other similar initiatives. It builds on discussions with community representatives on the sharing of traditional knowledge on Wikimedia platforms. The question of the compatibility of free licenses with the principles of ethical research OCAP (ownership, control, access and possession), set out by the First Nations of Quebec, will also be addressed during seminars at the UQO. This is to better understand the conditions that facilitate the creation of Native content in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. It will conclude with a panel at the Wikimania conference held in Montreal in August 2017. The longer-term goal is to replicate similar projects with other Canadian Aboriginal communities, or elsewhere in the world, by sharing the knowledge gained with the international Wikimedia movement.

Benoit Rochon, President, Wikimedia Canada.
Jean-Philippe Béland, Vice President, Wikimedia Canada.

The International Francophone Contribution Month is launched !

International Francophone Contribution Month logo. Image by Jean-Philippe WMFr, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Public sign in Strasbourg, France. Image by Claude Truong-Ngoc, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

During March, across all French Speaking Territories, Wikimedians are organizing dozens of events, training workshops, conferences, photo walks, to gather local contributors and promote the Wikimedia projects. One of the goals is to invite the public to attend one of the events of their region and learn how to join and contribute to Wikipedia and its sister projects. The third edition of the International Francophone Contribution Month is launched !

By definition, editing Wikipedia and its sister projects is a "solitary sport"; we contribute on our computer, our tablet, our phone and this is precisely one of the aims of the month of the contribution, that local contributors meet, but also to invite the public to join local Wikipedians groups. Together, they share their knowledge and learn how to contributing to Wikimedia projects, in harmony... and face to face!

Since early January 2016, the French-speaking Wikimedians are preparing workshops, they make lists of articles to create or rework, they look for places for people to gather: libraries, media libraries, archive centers, universities, studios or even bistros! They are preparing since a long time for March, because the month of the Francophone contribution matches the International Day of Francophonie on March 20, the week of the French language from 20 to 28 March and the month of Francophonie des Amériques.

Whether in Algeria, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, France, Guadeloupe, Madagascar, Niger, Senegal, Switzerland, Tunisia, the themes are as varied as the backgrounds of the participants. Some help on science, feminism, literature, language, geography or history.

Most residents of the countries that are member of Francophonie speak one or more other languages, French is their second language or the administrative language. Workshop participants will also learn to contribute in the language versions of Wikimedia projects in English, Arabic, Creole, Hausa, Malagasy, Wolof, etc.

For instance, the Wikipedia in Guadeloupean Creole version is in the Wikimedia incubator since 2009. One of the goals of Guadeloupeans and its diaspora is to translate the most important system messages of MediaWiki, the software behind Wikipedia, and also create a significant number of articles in Guadeloupean Creole before getting this language version out of Wikimedia incubator. Thus, Guadeloupeans will eventually enrich Wikipedia in their language, the month of the French contribution is only a pretext!

We can not let others write content about us all the time; it will not be right (...) There are discussions on the Burkina Faso's WikiProject, in the absence of Burkinabé.[1]
Idriss Tinto, Open Knowledge Foundation, Burkina Faso

Certainly, the international month of the Francophone contribution is intended to enrich the content of Wikimedia projects in French, but also train new contributors!

See the workshops map and the contribution month's official page.

Benoit Rochon, vice president of Wikimédia Canada and coordinator of Wikifranca.

Francophone Wikipedia Library

The Wikipedia Library aims to connect writers with high-quality sources. Photo by JHistory, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Earlier this month, we were happy to launch a new French-language branch of the Wikipedia Library with donations from three new publishers of French and English sources.

The Wikipedia Library aims to connect experienced Wikipedia editors with the quality sources and references that they need to author more content and spread the sum of human knowledge. One strategy for this access is our publisher donation program, which offer free subscriptions to contributors who meet a modest selection criteria. To learn more about the Wikipedia Library, check out our earlier blog posts about it or a 2014 Signpost feature.

As part of the new French-language Wikipedia Library branch, 3 new donor partners join the ranks of dozens of already established partnerships. The new French-language partnerships include:

  • is a site for the publication and dissemination of humanities and social science journals from several publishers. This project offers publications on several subjects: law, economics, geography, history, literature and linguistics, philosophy, psychology, education science, information science, political science, sociology and society and sport. The Wikipedia Library has 100 free accounts for, French and English.
  • Érudit is a non-profit organization in Quebec whose primary mission is the dissemination and promotion of results of scholarly research in the humanities and social sciences. The platform also includes some journals in the hard sciences and the environment. The Wikipedia Library offers 50 free accounts.
  • L'Harmattan is a French publishing house founded in 1975. It has 27,000 titles in the social sciences and humanities, rare or out of print books, videos and magazines that are available online via the digital platform. The Wikipedia Library has 100 free accounts for L'Harmattan, in French only.

Through its partnerships, The Wikipedia Library aims that experienced contributors may have access to high-caliber sources to reference and increase the quality of Wikipedia articles. For our partners, the benefits are numerous: due to the high traffic and visibility of Wikipedia, readers learn where to find the best databases and collections.

It is very exciting to see the international team of the Wikipedia Library expand to create partnerships with other providers of newspapers, journals and databases, and in more languages. Our full list of partner journals is located on the English Wikipedia, and editors are invited to list the paywalled resources they need access to on our Meta requests page. We will do our best to make inroads with them.

Additionally, we would like to widen this scope and encourage more Wikimedia communities to consider launching Wikipedia Library branches in their own language. These programs operate as local-language research hubs through various strategies and best practices identified in other language communities. For more information about setting up new branches, check out our new Branch Guide. If you would like to support established Wikipedia Library branches, let us know!

Benoit Rochon and Sylvain Machefert, coordinators of the francophone branch of TWL for WikiFranca.

First GLAM collaboration in Canada with BAnQ

1945: Two young women read the front page of The Montreal Daily Star announcing the German surrender and the impending end of World War II in Europe.
Photo: Conrad Poirier, PD-Canada, BAnQ Vieux-Montréal.

The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) and Wikimedia Canada are announcing a pilot project to upload public domain images from the Conrad Poirier collection at BAnQ Vieux-Montréal.[2]

Freelance photographer, Conrad Poirier (1912-1968) sold his photographs to various newspapers and magazines including The Montreal Gazette, La Patrie and La Presse. A follower of the "new vision" (Nouvelle Vision, a photographic movement in the first half of the 20th century), he did social photography early on. He was interested in the working world, in street life and in popular events. Poirier's work shows the developement of Montreal through historical photographs, and more widely the province of Quebec, Canada. With more than 20,000 photographs, the collection includes photographs taken between 1932 and 1960, which show the evolution of the Quebec metropolis - especially during the 1930s and 1940s. More broadly, the work of Poirier reflects the social changes underway in Quebec in the middle of the last century.

To date, approximately 700 photographs have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. In the coming months, an equivalent number of photographs will be added to the selection. This collaboration between a GLAM institution and Wikimedia is a first in Canada. Visit the BAnQ GLAM page on the English Wikipedia and the Category:BAnQ-Projet Poirier on Commons. Thank you to the archives diffusion team of BAnQ Vieux-Montréal.

Benoit Rochon, Project Manager, Wikimedia Canada.

Wiki Loves Monuments : And the winner is...

Wiki Loves Monuments Canada
Tadoussac Chapel, Quebec, built in 1747, is the oldest wooden church in North America.
Photo: Natidu

The largest photographic competition in the world took place throughout the month of September. This year, about 40 countries participated in the hunting of monumental images! Not only harvested 300,000 pictures in the competition represent the best of the heritage of humanity, but the whole point of the Wiki Loves Monuments lies in the fact that the image bank is freely licensed and fully reusable by all.

The winners of the 2014 edition of the Wiki Loves Monuments in Canada are now known. Again this year a high rate of participation allowed the upload of about 1,500 photos and historical heritage sites in Canada. Elsewhere in the world, involving 40 countries allowed the upload of 300,000 images under free license. All these images are freely reusable by all, under the terms of the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

After a national screening, participants Wiki Loves Monuments countries send the ten most beautiful images selected by the local juries, to access the second round, that is to be judged by members of the international jury.

The 2012 edition of the Wiki Loves Monuments is registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest photo competition in the world with over 353 000 images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

Benoit Rochon, Project Manager, Wikimedia Canada.

Canadian Copyright Collection from the British Library

The dancing pavilion at the Boblo Island Amusement Park, Ontario (1914). Financed by Henry Ford, this was the world's second largest dance hall at the time, holding up to 5,000 dancers. The music was provided by one of the world's largest orchestrions (pictured on the right): a 16 foot tall, 14 foot wide, self-playing orchestra with 419 pipes and percussion section.

July 1 is Canada Day, and Wikimedia UK and the British Library are today announcing the release of 2,000 historic photographs of Canada.

Since September 2012, we've been working to digitise a collection of historic Canadian photographs and release them onto Wikimedia Commons and into the public domain. The collection itself was acquired between 1895 and 1924 and consists of photographs supplied to support copyright deposits by Canadian photographers between those years. This came about through an arcane piece of colonial law, known snappily as the Colonial Copyright Law, which sought to extend British copyright protection across the empire, while also ensuring the collection of published material from these same areas. In practice, the law was a failure; only a few territories ratified it and even fewer actually deposited materials. Until 1925, however, Canada did implement the law and the Ministry of Agriculture effectively administrated the collection of copyright deposits. A copy of every item was sent to Ottawa and to London, where it was archived by the British Museum and then neglected for decades.

Materials collected from Canada included printed books, sheet music, maps and, of course, photographs. While the photographs were seen as trivial and undervalued at the time, what can now be perceived through the collection is a broad and human view of Canada at a crucial point in its history; a thirty-year period when the Confederation developed politically, economically and socially, while garnering an international reputation. The collection itself provides views on this changing nation, from Vancouver to Halifax, with many unknown camera workers alongside well-known figures such as Frank Micklethwaite or William Notman.

All of this combines to create a strange mix of photographic subjects. Photographs of soldiers leaving for World War I are filed alongside images of cute kittens and men wrestling bears; trains are depicted steaming across the nation while boats continue to ply the water-ways; major cities are shown rapidly growing, while new settlements make their first marks in the dirt; and Eastern European immigrants rub shoulders with the First Nations.

Since today (Monday) marks the 146th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, it seemed an appropriate time to note the upload of the collection to Wikimedia Commons. There are currently just over 2,000 photographs uploaded, each with a duplicate full-resolution TIFF copy, with more to come in the following weeks. All the images are in the public domain, and are freely available for use and reuse - please, enjoy!

You can see more details on the collection on Wikimedia Commons.

— Philip Hatfield (Curator, Canadian Collections, British Library) and Andrew Gray (former Wikipedian in Residence, British Library) Funding for the project was given by Wikimedia UK and by the British Library Eccles Centre for American Studies.


  1. (fr) Justin Yarga, Wikipédia : Le Burkina Faso, grand absent en terme de contributeurs (Wikipedia: The Burkina Faso, great absentee in terms of contributors), Burkina 24, November 11, 2013.
  2. Fund Conrad Poirier description, Pistard catalogue, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

Who we are

Wikimedia Canada is a non-profit organization committed to the growth, development, and distribution of free educational material and media. It is the official Canadian chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs many online projects, including Wikipedia, and has chapters in countries around the world. Feel free to register on the Wiki and partake in the discussions.

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Our mission

  • To aid and encourage people to collect, develop and disseminate knowledge and other educational, cultural and historic content in the public domain or under a license that allows everyone to freely use, distribute and modify said content without the payment of royalties.
  • To collaborate with public and private Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums in making their holdings more broadly and freely available to those interested in an effort to preserve the heritage of Canada.
  • To make use of, encourage the use of, and instruct people in the use of free and open source information resources; either electronic or printed for the advancement of education.
  • To encourage the development and release of these materials in the languages of Canada including but not limited to English, French, and the Indigenous languages.

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