The collection consists of five accessions covering Ed McCann's collection of Canadian photographic material, dated mainly in the late 19th and early 20th Century. The photographs in the collection consist of works of both known and unknown Canadian professional and amateur photographers from across the country. Collection includes materials related to professional portrait and landscape photography as well as personal albums, some printed materials, medals and coins, daguerreotypes, stereographs and tintypes. Accession files contained in the Collection are 1974-394, 1975-295, 1980-146, 1988-286, 1991-140.
The photographic material consists primarily of black and white prints and centre around the area of Montreal Quebec City and St. John, both in city views and portraits. As well, many of the portraits on cartes-de-visite were professionally photographed by photographers in Montreal or Toronto, and are stamped with the photographer's information. There are also many landscape views of the Rockies and British Columbia, professionally photographed in conjunction with the development of the railway.
Represented are such photographers as Trueman and Caple, Vancouver, B.C. and Servog Photographers, Sherbrooke, Que., T.C. Doane, W.A. Carson, William Notman, Robert Bell, Charles McMunn, James Inglis, Samuel Ross, J.G. Parks, L.P. Vallée, O.B. Buell, J. Penrose, J. McLure.
Specific highlights include: two daguerreotype post-mortem portraits of L.J. Papineau's son, 1855 by Thomas Coffin Doane; a tintype portrait of D'Arcy McGee, ca. 1867; the Suspension Bridge, Niagara, by William England, ca. 1859; an album of views by Alexander Henderson ca. 1860-1870; an album of amateur photography in Montreal, by R.M. Hannaford, ca. 1886-1887; a copy of Lady Brassey's photographically-illustrated book "A Cruise in the Eothen", 1872; Flood in Montreal 1860s; Fraser River, B.C.; Chinese Funeral, B.C.; Banff, Alta.; Sherbrooke, Que.; maple sugaring; interior of factory, Sherbrooke, Que.; East Block, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, Ont., ca. 1865; reception of the Governor-General by Blackfoot Indians, Gleichen, N.W.T.; Exterior and interior views of the fire-damaged St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Montreal, Que., 1869, and the Victoria Skating Carnival, Montreal, Que., 1870. by William Notman; Military group, possibly including Colonel Osborne Smith, inscribed "L.O.G. in camp outside Winnipeg, Canada, 1879"; Views of Les Forges du Saint-Maurice, Que., by Alexander Henderson; Views of Pau, France; a bell manufactured by John Dickson, "Manufacturer of Brass and Amalgam Bells", Campbellford, Ont.; two unidentified Canadian soldiers in uniform, holding Spencer carbines; portraits of Rev. Dr. Alexander Matheson, Charles Blackwell, Mr. Brydie, Isaac Buchanan, James Esdaile, Miss J. Esdaile, Mr. F. Gooding, and many unidentified individuals, all by Notman; and Montreal, Que., showing great snowfall, 1869, by J. Inglis.
There is also a painted photograph of Edward, Prince of Wales, 1860. Work executed by Carson Brothers, photographers, Toronto; and 25 medals and tokens dealing with Canadian photography.