The John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection (CAC) is one of the largest special collections in the Rare Books and Special Collections Divison of McGill University Libraries. The origins can be traced to the measured drawings and photographs of Quebec buildings made by Ramsay Traquair during his tenure as the Macdonald Professor of Architecture at McGill University (1913-39). The Traquair bequest provided an impetus for donations of other architectural archives, particularly those connected with the University, the city of Montreal, and the Province of Quebec. In the post-war years, two fonds, of major importance were integrated into the Canadian Architecture Collection. In 1954, the archive of the architectural practice of Edward and W.S. Maxwell, and in 1970, the archive of Percy Nobbs and his associates. Since 1969, the Canadian Architecture Collection has been housed in the Nobbs' extension to the Redpath Library Building.

To the Honorary Curator of the collection, Professor Emeritus John Bland, belongs the credit for uniting and preserving a core collection of great significance. Thanks to the collaborative support of the McGill School of Architecture, and the Library Administration, this core collection was gradually organized, described and, as of 1987, made accessible to students, researchers, and architects. Funding from SSHRC, and McGill University, made possible a series of scholarly guides to the major CAC archives: Percy Nobbs and His Associates (1986); Edward and W.S. Maxwell (1987); Ramsay Traquair and His Successors (1987); and John Archibald and His Associates (1990). The Libraries of Edward and W.S. Maxwell (1991) provides an introduction to, and a bibliography of, two impressive personal collections preserved as part of the Maxwell archive. Today, the Canadian Architecture Collection holds over 60 different fonds. In addition to the ones mentioned above, the Collection houses archival materials from the architectural practices of A.T. Taylor, R. Findlay, K.G. Rea, A.T.J. Durnford, H.L. Fetherstonhaugh, A.F. Dunlop, J.W. Hopkins, P.J.Turner, John Bland, and many others. The Canadian Architecture Collection also received important donations from two internationally known graduates of the McGill School of Architecture: Arthur Erickson and Moshe Safdie. Erickson's Middle East projects and Safdie's entire practice are the subject of both print and electronic publications developed by CAC.
The Canadian Architecture Collection is open to students, researchers, curators, journalists, architects and the interested public. Courses in the history of Canadian architecture and historical preservation are based and taught in the CAC. A number of exhibitions, including Percy Erskine Nobbs: Architect, Artist, Craftsman (1982), The Architecture of Edward and W.S. Maxwell (1991), and Mansions of McGill (1992) were developed on the basis of the CAC holdings. Over the years, librarians, archivists, architectural historians, architecture students, and volunteers have contributed to making the Canadian Architecture Collection accessible to those interested in architectural history and practice. To all of them, and particularly to our colleagues from the Canadian Center for Architecture, Canadian Architectural Archives, National Archives of Canada and National Gallery of Canada, I would like to express my deep gratitude for providing us with a sense of community, of continuity and of common purpose. I want to acknowledge the major contribution given by the National Archives of Quebec and the Ministry of Culture of Quebec in awarding us a grant that made Canadian Architecture Collection: a Guide to the Archives possible. A special recognition goes to Kathryn Jackson for her excellent work in compiling the guide. As well, I would like to thank Peter di Maso, Francoise Roux and Marc Landry for their particular contributions. It is my sincere hope that initiatives such as the present publication can foster further interest in Canadian architectural heritage and lead to greater accessibility of archival materials in public and private repositories.

Dr. Irena Murray
Director, British Architectural Library (BAL) and Sir Banister Fletcher Librarian
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
Formerly, Chief Curator, Rare Books and Special Collections Division
and Chief Curator, John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection
McGill University Libraries.