Tour of OPTIC (Operational and Technical Imagery Centre)

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    OPTIC (Operational and Technical Imagery Centre) is located at building M-23 on the NRC Campus off Montreal Rd. in Ottawa.
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    Chief Petty Officer 1st Class (CPO 1) Shawn M. Kent, Public Affairs Branch Chief Warrant Officer, poses in the foyer of the Operational and Technical Imagery Centre (OPTIC) in Ottawa, Ontario. Displayed in the foyer is a small collection of cameras used by military photographers over the past 100 years as well as the unit crest and Imagery Technician occupation badge of an aperture over a prism (the primary tools of the photographer/videographer to bend and control light).
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    Located proudly in the lobby of the Operational and Technical Imagery Centre (OPTIC) is the Master Corporal Darrell J. Priede Award.
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    Close up detail of the Master Corporal Darrell J. Priede Award.
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    Chief Petty Officer 1st Class (CPO 1) Shawn M. Kent (left) and Warrant Officer Jean-François Lauzé stand in front of a historical diorama at the Operational and Technical Imagery Centre (OPTIC) in Ottawa, ON., on 28 January 2020.
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    Corporal Doug Burke, member of the Operational and Technical Imagery Centre (OPTIC) in the Bravo Team Bullpen at M-23 in Ottawa, Ontario on 28 January 2020.
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    Chief Petty Officer 1st Class (CPO 1) Shawn M. Kent, Public Affairs Branch Chief Warrant Officer, describes the history and evolution of the Operational and Technical Imagery Centre (OPTIC) in Ottawa, ON., on 28 January 2020.
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    Archivist Yves Gemus works on historical video products held in the National Defence Imagery Library at the Operational and Technical Imagery Centre (OPTIC) at building M-23 in Ottawa, Ontario on 28 January 2020.
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    Archivist Janet Lacroix reviews imagery held in the National Defence Imagery Library at the Operational and Technical Imagery Centre (OPTIC) in Ottawa, Ontario on 28 January 2020.
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    Sergeant (Sgt) Trevis Brown (left) and Sgt Pierre Theriault pose with some of the modern equipment utilised by Imagery Technicians in the field. Pictured is the Nikon Z6 Filmmakers kit with gimbal, recorder and camera body. Photo taken at M-23 in Ottawa, Ontario 28 January 2020.
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    A roll of aerial film believed to be from 1944 is stored in the basement of M-23 in Ottawa, Ontario.
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    A display of historical film rolls discovered in the rafter of 12 hanger in Borden Ontario in July of 1955. The display hangs on the walls of Building M-23 in Ottawa, Ontario, home of the Operational and Technical Imagery Centre (OPTIC).
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    Sgt. Serge Tremblay, Officer Commanding A Squadron, Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre (CFJIC), June 7th, 2006.
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    A drawer containing envelopes of photographic still images at Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre (CFJIC), June 7th, 2006.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Canadian Forces Operational and Technical Imagery Centre (OPTIC) located at building M-23 on the NRC Campus off Montreal Rd. in Ottawa. I had previously been out to M-23 back in 2006 when, as an acting Archivist at Library & Archives Canada (LAC), I happened across an article in The Citizen entitled, “It’s a Race Against Time: The Fight to Save Canada’s Military Treasures” written by Lee Berthiaume (ironically, during the tour I would spot that same Citizen article on a noticeboard). At the time, one of my duties as an Archivist, was to work on collections within LAC and, to address requests…

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Library & Archives Canada: “Army Numerical” Series (110 Albums) Now Available Online

in History/Stills Photographers by
  • Canadians_in_France_11JULY44_ALB002_Bell_02.jpg
    Canadians in France July 11th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Ken Bell. Army Numerical Album No. 002. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Capture_Harderwijk_5th_Can_Div_19APR45_ALB094_JHSmith_02.jpg
    Canadians capture Harderwijk, Holland, April 19th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Jack Smith. Army Numerical Album No. 094. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Capture_Harderwijk_5th_Can_Div_19APR45_ALB094_JHSmith.jpg
    Canadians capture Harderwijk, Holland, April 19th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Jack Smith. Army Numerical Album No. 094. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Liberation_Utrecht_7MAY45_ALB095_Dean02.jpg
    Canadian Liberation of Utrecht, Holland, May 7th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Michael Dean. Army Numerical Album No. 095. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Canadians_in_France_Monty_10JULY44_ALB002_Bell.jpg
    Canadians in France July 10th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Ken Bell. Army Numerical Album No. 002. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Canadians_in_France_15JULY44_ALB002_Aikman.jpg
    Canadians in France July 15th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Harold Aikman. Army Numerical Album No. 002. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Canadians_Italy_War_Correspondents_8APRIL44_ALB073_DeGuire.jpg
    Canadians in France April 8th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Ernie DeGuire. Army Numerical Album No. 073. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Canadians_Italy_War_Artists_4MAR44_ALB073_Nye.jpg
    Canadian War Artists in Italy March 4th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Charles Nye. Army Numerical Album No. 073. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Canadians_in_France_near_Falaise_17AUG44_ALB078_Don_Grant.jpg
    Canadians near Falaise, France, August 17th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Don Grant. Army Numerical Album No. 078. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Canadians_in_France_Caen_12JULY44_ALB002_Bell.jpg
    Canadians in Caen, France July 12th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Ken Bell. Army Numerical Album No. 002. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Canadians_France_Sniper_hunting_Falaise_ALB078_Don_Grant.jpg
    Canadians sniper hunting in Falaise, France. Photographed by Lt. Don Grant. Army Numerical Album No. 078. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Liberation_Almelo_Holland_5APRIL45_ALB091_Stirton.jpg
    Liberation of Almelo, Holland April 5th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Alex Stirton. Army Numerical Album No. 091. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Liberation_Rouen_31AUG44_ALB079_Aikman.jpg
    Liberation of Rouen, France August 31st, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Harold Aikman. Army Numerical Album No. 079. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Liberation_Bruges_13SEPT44_ALB080_Aikman.jpg
    Liberation of Bruges, Belgium September 13th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Harold Aikman. Army Numerical Album No. 080. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Canadians_in_France_11JULY44_ALB002_Bell.jpg
    Canadians in France July 11th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Ken Bell. Army Numerical Album No. 002. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Ambassador_GP_Vanier_visit_6OCT44_Dieppe_France_ALB080_Dubervill.jpg
    Ambassador George Vanier visits Dieppe, France, October 6th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Frank Dubervill. Army Numerical Album No. 080. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Advance_Rhine_Germany_Hochwald_Forest_3MAR45_Bell.jpg
    Canadians advance to Rhine, Hochwald Forest, Germany, March 3rd, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Ken Bell. Army Numerical Album No. 088. Library & Archives Canada.
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    No. 2 Motor Ambulance Convoy in Belgium. Photographed by Lt. Ken Bell. Army Numerical Album No. 086. Library & Archives Canada.
  • US_USSR_link_up_27APRIL45_Torgau_Dubervill_ALB094.jpg
    Canadians in Torgau, Germany, April 27th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Frank Dubervill. Army Numerical Album No. 094. Library & Archives Canada.
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    Canadians in Torgau, Germany, April 27th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Frank Dubervill. Army Numerical Album No. 094. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Surrender_Nazis_Foulkes_5MAY45_Wageningen_Holland_ALB095_Stirton.jpg
    Nazis surrender to Canadians, Wageningen, Holland, May 5th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Alex Stirton. Army Numerical Album No. 095. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Surrender_Germans_5MAY45_Wageningen_ALB095_Stirton.jpg
    Germans surrender to Canadians, May 5th, 1945, Wageningen, Holland. Photographed by Lt. Alex Stirton. Army Numerical Album No. 095. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Surgical_Unit_Germany_Cleve_Udem_Road_2MAR45_ALB088_DGrant.jpg
    Canadian Surgical Unit in Germany, Cleve-Udem Road, March 2nd, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Don Grant. Army Numerical Album No. 088. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Royal_22nd_Regiment_Hockey_Brighton_12JAN43_ALB031_Towers.jpg
    Royal 22nd Regiment Hockey Team, in Brighton, England, January 12th, 1943. Photographed by Sgt. Ralph Towers. Army Numerical Album No. 031. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Relaxing_face_Enemy_5MAY45_Glindhorst_Otterloo_ALB095_Michael_Dean.jpg
    "Relaxing in the Face of the Enemy", Glindhorst and Otterloo, Holland, May 5th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Michael Dean. Army Numerical Album No. 095. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Move_up_to_Hatten_Germany_April45_Guravich_ALB094.jpg
    Canadians move up to Hatten, Germany, April, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Dan Guravich. Army Numerical Album No. 094. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Liberation_Utrecht_7MAY45_ALB095_Dean.jpg
    Canadian Liberation of Utrecht, Holland, May 7th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Michael Dean. Army Numerical Album No. 095. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Liberation_Hague_7MAY45_ALB095_Dean.jpg
    Canadian Liberation of The Hague, Holland, May 7th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Michael Dean. Army Numerical Album No. 095. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Liberation_concentration_camp_near_Weener_Germany_ALB094_DGrant_24APR45.jpg
    Liberation of concentration camp near Weener, Germany, April 4th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Don Grant. Army Numerical Album No. 094. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Easter_Service_9April44_Italy02_ALB074_DeGuire.jpg
    Canadians celebrate Easter in Italy, April 9th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Ernie DeGuire. Army Numerical Album No. 074. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Easter_Service_9April44_Italy01_ALB074_DeGuire.jpg
    Canadians celebrate Easter in Italy, April 9th, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Ernie DeGuire. Army Numerical Album No. 074. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Drive_on_Udem_Rhine_Germany_1MAR45_ALB088_JHSmith.jpg
    Canadians drive on Udem, Rhine, Germany, March 1st, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Jack Smith. Army Numerical Album No. 088. Library & Archives Canada.
  • CWACs_Invade_Germany_Bad_Salzuflen_12JUNE45_Hermeston_ALB101.jpg
    "Canadian Women's Army Corp invade Germany", June 12th, 1945. Photographed by Sgt. Karen Hermeston. Army Numerical Album No. 101. Library & Archives Canada.
  • CWAC_Baseball_Champioship_SEPT43_ALB047_Savage.jpg
    Canadian Women's Army Corp baseball Champions, September 1943. Photographed by Savage. Army Numerical Album No. 047. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Churchill_Visit_1st_CDN_Army_2_CDN_Corps_4Mar45_Gloster_ALB088.jpg
    Churchill visits First Canadian Army, 2nd Canadian Corps, March 4th, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Barney Gloster. Army Numerical Album No. 088. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Baseball_Eager_Beavers_Ede_Holland_Regina_Rifles_31AUG45_Richer_ALB104.jpg
    Canadian Regina Rifles play with "Eager Beavers" baseball team, August 31st, 1945. Photographed by Lt. Charles Richer. Army Numerical Album No. 104. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Canadians_in_Italy_24OCT43_ALB071_Smith.jpg
    Canadians in Italy, October 24th, 1943. Photographed by Lt. Jack Smith. Army Numerical Album No. 071. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Canadian_American_Force_Italy_April44_ALB074_Nye.jpg
    Personnel of the Canadian-American Special Service Force, Italy, April, 1944. Photographed by Lt. Charles Nye. Army Numerical Album No. 074. Library & Archives Canada.
  • Canadian_cameramen_Vught_Holland_02_ALB086_Aikman.jpg
    Canadian Cameramen in Vught, Holland. Photographed by Lt. Gordon Aikman. Army Numerical Album No. 086. Library & Archives Canada.
  • 023_Dale_last_album_01.jpg
    Retired Senior Film Conservator, Dale Gervais, displays Army Numerical Album No. 110, prior to copying, February 8th, 2020, Library & Archives Canada.
  • 024_Dale_last_album_02.jpg
    Retired Senior Film Conservator, Dale Gervais, prepares to copy the final page of Army Numerical Album No. 110, February 8th, 2020, Library & Archives Canada.
  • 025_Dale_neg_scanning.jpg
    Retired Senior Film Conservator, Dale Gervais, scans b&w negatives at Library & Archives Canada, 2019.

For the first time, all 110 photographic albums, known as the “Army numerical” series at Library & Archives Canada, are now available online to the general public for the first time. The series of albums consist of contact sheets printed from the original b&w negatives, of Canadian Army photographs shot during World War II, 1941-1946. For many years I had been aware of these albums while working as a Film Conservator at Library & Archives Canada (LAC). At the time, these albums were some of the most in demand finding aids for WWII images stored at LAC. Known to staff as the ‘pizza boxes’, the Army numerical albums were stored…

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