2

How 25 Canadian websites looked in the Internet’s early days

From big companies to government to media, here were some of the earliest stops on Canada’s information superhighway


 

netscape gifIn December 1990 the world’s first website went online. Within the next six to eight years, a number of Canadian companies and government agencies made their first foray onto what everybody at the time was still calling the Information Superhighway.

Those early and rudimentary web pages have long-since been replaced, but thanks to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, many early versions of those sites are at least partially preserved 20 years later. Below are screen captures of what they looked like at the time. These images might not show what the sites looked like on their very first day in existence, but are the earliest versions that were archived.

Let’s start with Canada’s big banks, which today face numerous challenges from financial technology companies. They were relatively quick to embrace the opportunities offered by the Internet—not to mention, clip art!

Royal Bank, December 1996

RBC

TD Bank, October 1996

TD Bank

Bank of Montreal, December 1998

BMO

CIBC, December 1996

cibc

 

Scotiabank, November 1996

Scotiabank

Canada’s telecommunications companies were there, too—with Telus sporting the same logo it still uses today.

Bell (BCE), October 1996

Bell.ca

Rogers Communications, November 1996

Rogers

Telus, November 1996

telus

Here are some Canadian retail and restaurant chains, including Eaton’s, which is no longer with us—”Touch Tim’s toe as you enter the site”…

Eatons, December 1996

Eatons

…and Tim Hortons, back when Canada’s favourite coffee chain was owned by an American burger giant. No, not that one, the other one.

Tim Hortons, June 1998
Tim Hortons

Canadian Tire, December 1998Canadian Tire

Sears, December 1996

Sears

The Government of Canada site debuted online in 1996. That bland webpage was replaced by early 1997.

Government of Canada, October 1996

Canada2


Government of Canada, February 1997

Government of Canada

In terms of government agencies, Statistics Canada was ahead of the curve, which is somewhat ironic given how plagued the agency is with shoddy technology today.

Statistics Canada, July 1997

Statcan.ca

The internet has brought massive change to Canada’s media landscape. Here were the first webpages of several news sites.

CBC, October 1996

CBC

Globe and Mail, October 1996

globe

National Post, January 1999

Nationalpost

Maclean’s, February 1998

Macleans.ca

Lastly, here are a few other early web pages from Canadian  corporations, including some that in their archived state outlived the companies that created them.

Blackberry (then Research in Motion), December 1998RIM

Nortel, October 1996

Nortel

Corel, October 1996

Corel

Molson, December 1996

Molson

Labatt, November 1996

Labatt

Suncor, December 1996

Suncor

Bombardier, January 1997

Bombardier

Toronto Stock Exchange, January 1998

TSE


 
Filed under:

How 25 Canadian websites looked in the Internet’s early days

  1. Technology hasn’t changed the way people do business. In fact, it’s the other way around.

  2. The Richmond Review, in Richmond BC, was among the first newspapers in Canada to go online, in partnership with The Richmond Public Library, back in October of 1995. Sadly, it closed nearly 20 years later, in July 2015. It was ahead of its time, and sadly its demise was before its time. But it certainly was noteworthy for being among the media’s online pioneers, thanks largely to the exceptional forward-thinking minds at the local library.

Sign in to comment.