What are we working toward?

The CNBH is working to amass in one online location references to collections and books that can help researchers find archival resources and books related to their work.  Once we have completed the first step, which is the actual locating and noting the different materials, we will be creating a searchable database that will be available to anyone interested in learning more about Ottawa’s business history.

Included in our database will be the following:

  • over 300 books in the Carleton library and the Ottawa Public Library, particularly the Ottawa Room,
  • over 200 archival fonds from institutions around the Ottawa area,
  • over 100 industrial classification codes from the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS),
  • businesses that range in physical location across the Ottawa area, from Orleans and Gloucester to Kanata and Arnprior;
  • archival resources that range from the 1840s to 1990s;
  • a short description of the resource including relevant information such as archival restrictions.

While our database has not be designed yet, we anticipate that users will be able to search by business name, the names of individual business people, NAICS number, and date.

Learning about the Ottawa Public Library

The Ottawa Public Library is a wealth of resources for researching; in addition to a collection of reference books spread out across the system, there are a few specifics that I want to draw attention to with this blog post.

First, there are business resources available at the library as well as a librarian specializing in business. While advertised more specifically for those with queries of a business nature, the librarian can also give insight into historical questions involving Ottawa’s recent business history.


Another gem can be found on the third floor of the main branch on Metcalfe Street. This is the home of the Ottawa Room, a special collection dedicated to the preservation of Ottawa’s history. Started in 1955, the collection is an interesting selection of resources that include rare books, maps, government documents, and a myriad assembly of items that help to flesh out the history of Ottawa. As well as covering the historical Ottawa, the collection also holds items originating from the municipalities now included in present-day Ottawa as well as neighbouring locales.