Mountain Legacy Project

Capturing change in Canada's mountains

Mountain Legacy Project

Capturing change in Canada's mountains

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About Mountain Legacy Project

The Mountain Legacy Project explores changes in Canada’s mountain landscapes through the world’s largest collection of systematic high-resolution historic mountain photographs (>120,000) and a vast and growing collection of repeat images (>8,000 photo pairs). Find out about our research and how we turn remarkable photos into real-world solutions for understanding climate change, ecological processes, and strategies for ecological restoration. Read more

Eric Higgs, PhD

Director
Office phone:
250-721-8228

E-mail:

Environmental Studies, University of Victoria

Following their footsteps: Indigenous Territory Acknowledgement

By Kristen Walsh and Mary Sanseverino. With Rick Arthur, Winston Delorme, Bill Snow, and Rob Watt. May 12, 2020. MOUNTAINS make up one quarter of the Canadian land mass. They have been home to a vibrant diversity of Indigenous Peoples for thousands of years. In this...
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Re-Reading the Archival Photographs: Mining Scientific Photography to Build Many Meanings

Jill Delaney, Lead Archivist, Photography, Private Archives, and MLP Archivist at Library and Archives Canada takes us behind the scenes of the 60,000+ historic images held at LAC and used for the Mountain Legacy Project’s repeat photography studies.

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Digital Permanence in the era of Open Science

Will our digital information persist over time? in 10 years…100 years… 1,000 years…? Join UVic Data Curation Librarian Shahira Khair for a look at some answers.

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Deep learning offers new prospects for exploration of Canada’s changing mountain ecosystems

by Spencer Rose | Mar 4, 2021  The Mountain Legacy Project (MLP) collection is a vast visual record of ecosystem changes in Canada’s mountains. With more than 120,000 high-resolution historical photos spanning the 1860s through the 1950s, along...
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Fieldwork in a Time of COVID-19 Part 3: Jasper National Park

by James Tricker, February 15, 2021 After a wonderful week in Kananaskis Country, the field crew arrived in Jasper National Park (JNP) for the final leg of the shortened field season. JNP is where it all began for the Mountain Legacy Project. Back in the summer of...
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Fieldwork in a Time of COVID-19 Part 2: Kananaskis Country

by Kristyn Lang, January 21st, 2021 Following our days spent exploring coal mining history in the Crowsnest Pass, our field crew headed North to Kananaskis Country. We spent three days working in lower elevation foothills before moving further west to spend our...
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Mountains on Fire: Growth, Renewal and Hope

Smoky view south over regenerating forest from the 2003 Lost Creek Fire. Courtesy: Kristen Walsh Kristen Walsh, January 5 2021 To mark the dawning of the new year, we draw your attention to wildfires in mountain landscapes and signs of renewal in Waterton Lakes...
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The 11 Days of Mountains: a celebration for Dec 11 – International Mountain Day

Mary Sanseverino, Dec 11, 2020 Here at the Mountain Legacy Project today is something of a big deal. That's because ever since 2003 the United Nations has declared today - Dec 11 - to be International Mountain Day. It's a celebration of all things mountain, and every...
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Fieldwork in a time of COVID-19 Part 1: Crowsnest Pass

by Sonia Voicescu, November 24, 2020 With the arrival of the first COVID-19 cases in Canada in late January, and ensuing months of self-isolation and restrictions, a dark cloud of uncertainty reigned over the MLP’s summer fieldwork plans. Our expectations quickly...
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Black Rock Fire Lookout: Legacies and Looking Ahead

Photo taken by Surveyor J. J. McArthur in 1889. View west from Black Rock Fire Lookout towards Devil's Head Mountain (centre of photo). By Kristen Walsh, November 4 2020 In 1889, as part of the Rocky Mountains Park and Coalfields Survey, Surveyor J. J. McArthur and...
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Athabasca Glacier and the Visualization Power of Photography

Athabasca glacier – the most visited glacier in North America – is rapidly receding. An analysis inspired by family history outlining the power of photography as a tool for understanding landscape change.

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Drawings from the Field

By Cassandra Buunk, August 19th, 2020 There is a little box on the bottom right hand side of the Mountain Legacy Project field note sheets that I took as an invitation to sketch the landscape. I took every opportunity to sketch the mountains in our 2019 field season....
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Mining, Memories, and Mountains

by Sonia Voicescu, July 14, 2020 Have you ever come across towns whose very presence on the landscape hint at multiple stories and complex histories? Perhaps it’s the façade of a particular building that doesn’t quite fit with the more modern design of its neighbours....
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Introducing “A century of high elevation ecosystem change in the Canadian Rocky Mountains”

By Mary Sanseverino, June 23, 2020 Just last week on June 16 two intertwined articles, both about landscape change in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, came out. Both were published under the auspices of the Nature Research family of journals, one of the world's leading...
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The Collection

A vast collection of historical mountain photographs created between 1861 and 1958 by surveyors establishing national and provincial boundaries, creating topographic maps, and exploring geological resources

Repeat Photography
Starting with a series of historical digital images, we puzzle out the exact location of the original surveyors. This is the first step in a chain of complex arrangements that places a repeat photography crew on a mountain summit or ridge… read more

MLP Works

Since its beginning in 1996 MLP Works has provided access to the publications, articles, media, and other scientific and creative products generated through use of MLP techniques and images.

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Explore

Explore is a map-based search tool designed to allow anyone with a modern web browser to view, compare, and download MLP’s vast collection of historic and repeat images.

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Analysis

Every image pair can be explored in depth with the Image Analysis Toolkit. IAT supports side-by-side image visualization, including categorization, annotation, scaling, cross and wipe fades, classification statistics, and more.

View the Image Analysis ToolKit

Projects & Galleries

The vast size of our collections means that diamonds—remarkable images that cue into contemporary concerns or historical fascination– are often buried. We present curated galleries that emerge from the work of our teams, whether driven by research questions or personal fascination. Check back regularly for new presentations.

“In much of the Canadian west these are the first images of these landscapes and a vital baseline for studies of change over the last century. They are invaluable to conservation projects that seek to understand and/or restore pre-settlement landscapes and their dynamic ecosystems.”

Brian Luckman

Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography

University of Western Ontario

“In much of the Canadian west these are the first images of these landscapes and a vital baseline for studies of change over the last century. They are invaluable to conservation projects that seek to understand and/or restore pre-settlement landscapes and their dynamic ecosystems.”

Brian Luckman

Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography

University of Western Ontario

We depend on partners for critical support, including: