Two Anniversaries for Two Big Books

Posted by Daniel on Sep 15, 2010

The summer has been so busy with toing and froing that I forgot to acknowledge two special celebrations. September 6 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of one of the most important cultural events in Canadian history, the launch in Edmonton of The Canadian Encyclopedia.

The brainchild of publisher Mel Hurtig, and the result of a humungous effort by editor Jim Marsh and his staff, The Canadian Encyclopedia set a new standard for reference works in the country. Conceived as a gift from Alberta to the rest of us, it proved that not every significant cultural product has to emanate from Toronto or Montreal. TCE was eventually published in French, in a edition for young readers and in an abbreviated single-volume edition, and now, of course, is available online here.

Congratulations to Jim Marsh, who is still the encyclopedia's editor.

TCE was a bit of a model for our own Encyclopedia of British Columbia whose tenth anniversary on August 1 I unaccountably neglected. It was ten years ago this BC Day that we launched the big book. The project was a substantial risk for publisher Howard White but it turned out to be one worth taking. Reviews were full of praise. The first 15,000 copies sold out within a few weeks and another 15,000 had to be rushed into print. Today the EBC is a standard reference for all things British Columbian.

It is fitting that on its 10th anniversary we are launching a redesigned website for the EBC, and a bunch of other stuff. The site will be ready within a week or two. Check it out here.