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About the Site

Welcome to the largest fully searchable database dedicated to the Canadian men and woman that served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the Great War (1914-1919). This site, like any site on the Great War, relies heavily on the documents database of Library and Archives Canada and other government agencies. What distinguishes this project is the transcription of those records and the normalization of their data elements by the tireless work of our members, students and supporters.

Thomas O’ConnorThis site evolved from the personal research work of Marc Leroux into the story of his grandfather in the Great War. That search expanded to the soldiers from his town, and then to soldiers from the area. Over time, a host of other researchers with similar interests joined in and, thanks to Marc’s technical skill, the Canadian Great War Project came to life. Since then, contributors from across Canada and around the world continued to transcribe attestation papers, war diaries and other primary source documents. Site members added letters and images and eagerly shared information with any who asked. Linkages were developed to a wide range of other Great War sites.

As the centennial of the Great War approached, it became apparent that over the long term, a permanent home was needed to preserve this growing national treasure house of data. That home would need to demonstrate both a strong commitment to the history of Canada in the Great War, and the technical expertise to continue to improve the usefulness of the site the community of users. The Library of the University of Victoria and the Department of History proved a good match.

Over the years, Marc and the Canadian Great War Project have provided exceptional support to the development of two Great War Web Sites supported by the University of Victoria. The first, Birth of a Regiment told the story of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry as it was transformed from a very British regiment to an icon of Canadian nationhood. Later, A City Goes to War focused on Canadian Cities in the Great War while providing a platform for honours history students to sharpen their skills in presenting history on the internet. Both sites drew heavily on data provided by the Canadian Great War Project. In parallel, the Special Collections of the University of Victoria Library launched a series of Great War themed web sites to highlight its own extensive great war collections. Including the Victoria to Vimy Collection and the World of Mary’s Wedding.

The success of those preliminary efforts and the well-established record of both UVic’s Department of History and the University Library in the field of digital history led to a series of discussions about long term future of Marc’s marvelous collection. By early 2016 the University of Victoria and Mr. Leroux had reached an agreement in principle that would ensure the preservation and enhancement of the site. Although title would be transferred to the University of Victoria Library, the site would remain free and open to all and welcome continued support of both current site members and new researchers who might join in the future. Marc Leroux continues to be actively involved as a member of the project steering committee.

Over this period project success has relied heavily on both the technical support and the growing subject matter expertise of Greg Newton in the Humanities Computing and Media Centre at UVic.

The financial support of Veterans Affairs Canada also enabled us to engage additional support for web site design and data normalization.

Process and what’s coming

The original database contains details on nearly 200,000 Canadians that fought in the Great War and we will migrate all the records in the original database to this site along with the majority of the static content.

During the development cycle of this site we worked through normalizing ranks, occupations, locations (born, enlisted, buried, etc.), and regimental structures. It has been a labour-intensive task but we are nearly done.

In the coming weeks we will begin the process of integrating Marc’s data with the entire collection of CEF records as made publicly available by Library and Archives Canada, bringing the total number of people that this dataset contains to more than 630,000.


For all email contact please ensure that you include “CGWP” in the subject line.

For general queries contact: Jim Kempling

To report bugs or technical issues contact: Greg Newton