In 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
TD Bank, October 1996
Bank of Montreal, December 1998
CIBC, December 1996
Scotiabank, November 1996
Canada’s telecommunications companies were there, too—with Telus sporting the same logo it still uses today.
Bell (BCE), October 1996
Rogers Communications, November 1996
Telus, November 1996
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
…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
Canadian Tire, December 1998
Sears, December 1996
The Government of Canada site debuted online in 1996. That bland webpage was replaced by early 1997.
Government of Canada, October 1996
Government of Canada, February 1997
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
The internet has brought massive change to Canada’s media landscape. Here were the first webpages of several news sites.
CBC, October 1996
Globe and Mail, October 1996
National Post, January 1999
Maclean’s, February 1998
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 1998
Nortel, October 1996
Corel, October 1996
Molson, December 1996
Labatt, November 1996
Suncor, December 1996
Bombardier, January 1997
Toronto Stock Exchange, January 1998