Ancient Egypt has fascinated the public ever since ancient times, particularly since it was rediscovered by the west just over 200 years ago. Canadians shared this fascination from an early date, bringing back remains of that ancient culture beginning in the 19th century. Today, Egyptian artefacts are no longer allowed to leave their country of origin. This means that whatever material now exists in Canadian museums is all that there ever will be. Therefore it is important to identify and document it.
Since its launch in September 2006, In Search of Ancient Egypt in Canada has been identifying and describing Egyptian artefacts in museums across Canada. Its aim is to publicize the museums and to publish the artefacts, something that many smaller – and even some larger – institutions do not always have the resources to do. This will make the collections more accessible to both researchers and the general public. At the same time, the project is describing the connection of the existing collections with the individual Canadians involved in their creation, and the impact ancient Egypt continues to have on monuments and creative arts in all regions of Canada. Overall, we hope to broaden interest and awareness in this most ancient of cultures, in Canada’s ties to it, and in its ongoing influence on art and architecture.
TEMPLATES FOR ENTRIES
A. MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
Name of the Museum
Telephone, E-mail, and Website if applicable
Person in charge (curator, director, other. Included only for database purposes)
History of the Museum
relevant information such as founders, milestones in development, focus of the collection, size overall
Exterior picture of the museum
History of the Egyptian collection or items
range of items (by type, period, etc.)
if applicable, picture of the gallery
“Featured” items that the museum wishes to display
brief description, including size
Name of the Site
Telephone, E-mail, or Website if applicable
History of the Site
relevant information such as architect and/or designer and/or artist
commentary on circumstances surrounding its creation, the creator him/herself, significance of the structure or site
picture of the Site
Note on whether it still exists, accessibility, etc. as appropriate
CRITERIA FOR INCLUSION AS A SITE
Significant size (over 6 Metres for an Obelisk)
Significantly different (e.g.”block statue” at Wotton cemetery)
Of historic significance (e.g. grave of Sir John A. MacDonald, connection
to a famous event)
Contains recognised and recognisable Egyptian motifs or design Elements
(e.g. obelisk, pyramid, battered walls, pylons, columns, winged disk or other)
A major work in an accessible place, by a recognised artist
Schultz, Teresa and Trumpour, Mark, “The Father of Egyptology” in Canada. 2009. Journal of the American Research Centre in Egypt, No. 44, 2008. 159 - 167.
What We Have Done
Research and Field Work:
To date, 43 museums/institutions and a similar number of buildings, funerary monuments and artworks have been identified and are included in the steadily growing project files. The work began with publications such as Significant Treasures, electronic media such as the on-line Virtual Museum and the Canmuse list-serve, and input from SSEA members. It progressed to e-mail and telephone contact with museum staff in all parts of Canada, and personal visits to a large number of museums in Ontario and Quebec (16 sites). In addition, intern G. Cole, supported by a grant from York University, visited a number of sites in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, photographing and documenting their collections, and beginning to create an artefact database. Resources at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Toronto Reference Library and the Royal Ontario Museum library have provided supplementary information on buildings, monuments and collections. SSEA members have also visited sites in British Columbia.
Information for each museum or institution includes:
- facts about the Museum/site and its origins,
- facts about how it acquired its artefacts,
- information on the artefacts themselves,
Work still to be completed includes photography in many cases, and completion of a database. In some cases this involves obtaining more details on the objects in the collections.
Initial work to create a searchable on-line database has begun. We hope this will facilitate the easy incorporation/updating of material to include museums or sites missed and greater detail on certain collections.
Funerary monument of Anne Thisdale, influence by Egyptian cubic-statue
Wenenef mummy at Musée de l'Amérique française à Québec
Funerary urn from Gignac family, XIXe s.
Fisgard Lighthouse, built in 1860 in BC with its citern of Egyptian influence
Cinéma V, Montréal
St- Foy pyramid, Qc
Anyone interested in joining us in this effort should contact one of:
Brigitte Ouelletinfo-at-sseamtl.org (supervisor)
Mark Trumpour trumpoma-at-msn.com (Central Canada, contact)
Paul Englishxpje-at-hotmail.com (West Canada, contact)
photos by Ron Whate
Our Future Goals
Publish further articles on:
- Egyptian material in Canada derived from well-documented excavations.
Publish books on:
- early collectors and their material in Canada
- influence of ancient Egyptian on art and architecture in Canada
- Egyptian artefacts in Canadian institutions
Prepare online information on:
- Sites with Egyptian material in Canada
- Sites of Egyptianising art and architecture in Canada
Who is Involved
The Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (SSEA) / Société pour l’Étude de l’Égypte ancienne (SEEA) is a member-supported, not-for-profit organization formally incorporated in 1970. The SSEA has chapters in four Canadian cities (Toronto, Montréal and Calgary and Vancouver) and an American subsidiary. The Toronto-based society was founded to stimulate interest in Egyptology, to assist those interested, professional and non-professional alike, with research and training in the field, and to sponsor and promote archaeological expeditions to Egypt. Current membership stands at 400.
SSEA members from the Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver chapters have volunteered time and money to the project. They include:
Dr. Brigitte Ouellet, Project Coordinator. President of the Montréal Chapter of the SSEA/SEEA, obtained a DEC in art from the Collège Marie-Victorin, a Master of Ancient Near-East History degree and a Ph.D. in the History of Religions with a speciality in Egyptology at the University of Montréal. She teaches at the University of Montréal, McGill University and Concordia University, and contributes regularly to specialized periodicals in her field and is a member of numerous Egyptology associations. Dr. Ouellet became proficient in Egyptian language at St. Mary’s University, which lets her follow her interest in translating wisdom texts from Middle Kingdom Egypt. She will soon undertake her nineteenth tour of Egypt.
Denis Goulet,Researcher. Before retirement, Denis was Regional Manager (Eastern Canada) for the robotics and industrial automation division of the international Siemens Company based in Germany. Denis has had an interest in ancient Egypt for the last forty years; his focus has revolved around all things concerning “Egyptomania”. His retirement in 1999 has enabled him to concentrate fully on his interest in all things concerning Ancient Egypt. He has given numerous lectures both to the SSEA in Montréal and at the University of Sherbrooke, where he is also responsible for courses on Egypt's history and civilisation.
Mark Trumpour,Lead Researcher / Writer. A retired public servant and now a consultant, Mark formerly worked for the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services as a Senior Policy Analyst, leading research and evaluation projects and preparing policy documents. He has an Honours BA with a minor in History, and a Master of Public Administration degree. His interest in ancient Egypt dates from his early teens. Mark is a departmental associate at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), a Trustee of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (SSEA) in Toronto and member of the SSEA’s Toronto Chapter executive. He has both presented and been published on ancient Egypt, including teaching courses at the ROM.
Martin Girard, Researcher. Martin is a member of the Montreal Chapter of the SSEA/SEEA. He is leading the review of the collection at St. Hyacinthe and participated in work with the coffin of Nen-wen-en-ef in Quebec City..
Gabriele Cole, Intern. The project was fortunate to attract the attention of the Fine Arts program at York University, where Masters student Gabriele Cole arranged to do an internship with us. Gabriele has an Honours BA in Archaeology from Wilfrid Laurier University and a diploma in curatorial studies from York. Her long interest in ancient Egypt was given tangible expression when she designed and curated a display of the Palm collection at Laurier in 2004. Thanks to York University faculty supervisor Dr. Anna Hudson for her support.
Other Interested Parties.
Formal letters of support for the project have been received from:
- the Egyptian Consulate in Montreal;
- the Canadian Museums Association; and
- the Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums.
The project is led from an office in Toronto. Information flows into the project lead at this office. Project files are jointly accessible for updates through Savefile.
The Project Lead is responsible to the Board of Trustees of the SSEA, reporting through the President of the Montréal Chapter, Dr. Brigitte Ouellet, who is a member of the Board. Members of the SSEA contributing pictures and data do so to the Project office.
The country has been split into four regions for data collection purposes:
- Montréal, encompassing Québec and the Maritime Provinces;
- Toronto, covering Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan;
- Calgary, covering Alberta;
- Vancouver, covering BC.
At the crossroad of the rang 4th and the Sainte-Evelyne Rang in Saint Benoit Labre (Beauce, Qc)
To see the Saint-Haycinthe Egyptian collection go to: