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Library dusts off old Genie footage

The Genie Awards might be coming to Ottawa for the first time thisweekend, but to Todd Van Dusen, an awards ceremony held more than 20years earlier is just as important.

The Genie Awards might be coming to Ottawa for the first time this weekend, but to Todd Van Dusen, an awards ceremony held more than 20 years earlier is just as important.

The Library and Archives Canada senior video conservator restored old Genie Awards footage Thursday, using — in some cases —the only machines of their kind in North America to restore images that had deteriorated over time.

“We’ve been given the tremendous responsibility to ensure moments in time can be seen again and again, experienced and learnt from in future generations,” Van Dusen said.

The Library and Archives Canada preservation centre in Gatineau is where the magic happens. Glenn Gould lives there — or at least his works do. So do Oscar Peterson, Randy Bachman and Bryan Adams, as well as the Constitution of Canada and the India Treaties. The centre also houses the private book collection of General James Wolfe, “who travelled with his collection,” said Pierre Gamache, Director General, Care of Collection for Library and Archives Canada.

But in addition to the famous names, the collection — a treasure of inestimable value spanning the entire history of Canada — includes more than 71,000 hours of film, 2.5 million architectural drawings, plans and maps, 270,000 hours of video and sound recordings, the largest collection of Canadian sheet music in the world and 343,000 works of art.

And this weekend — on the occasion of the Genie awards in town — members of the public and film industry will get a unique opportunity to tour the facility.

Facility

• The facility, which opened in 1997, is unique in North America in its scope of activity, said Gamache. It houses the collection, climate-controlled vaults, which slow the chemical deterioration of the films, as well as preservation laboratories.

 
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