22 April 2006


The Early Days of the WWW

Now, in 2006, it is easy to forget that the World Wide Web was starting up just ten years ago, in the mid-1990s. Ten years ago, we were seeing the very first websites — of organizations such as governments, businesses and universities, and of individuals.

Websites that were brand new in the mid-1990s, the Early Days, are now celebrating their tenth anniversaries.

Fourteen weeks ago, on January 15, 2006, Transport Canada celebrated its 10th year on the web. This celebration webpage includes screenshots of archived copies of the website in its early days, including one showing its appearance in August 1997 (displayed in the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser, which did not exist at that time).

Here's the appearance of the Transport Canada website in November 1996, as displayed in Netscape, the dominant browser of that time. Transport Canada website, November 1, 1996

The Transport Canada website in the early days. This image was archived on December 11, 1997, but this design was online from November 1, 1996. For a full-size view, click on the image.

Archived Websites — 1996 or Earlier

Security Policy-Manager's Handbook
Treasury Board of Canada
September 27, 1996

Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
October 22, 1996
October 27, 1996
December 22, 1996

Government of Prince Edward Island
October 22, 1996
October 27, 1996
December 19, 1996

Government of Manitoba
October 22, 1996
October 27, 1996
December 22, 1996

Government of Nova Scotia
October 22, 1996
October 27, 1996
"This site has been optimized for Netscape Navigator® version 2.0 or equivalent."

National Archives of Canada
October 29, 1996

Government of Saskatchewan
November 5, 1996
December 22, 1996

World-Wide Web Access Statistics for Saskatchewan Government website December 1996

Huron Public Education System, Huron County, Ontario
November 6, 1996

Huron Public Education System Web Site Archives
November 6, 1996

December 24, 1996
"This site best viewed with Netscape version 2.0 or greater."

Queen's Printer, British Columbia
December 18, 1996
"This page has been accessed 16,811 times since June 19, 1996."

York Region Board of Education, Ontario
December 18, 1996
Netscape 2.0 logo"This page is best-viewed with Netscape 2.0..."

Prime Minister's home page
December 21, 1996

Department of Veterans Affairs, Ottawa
December 22, 1996

Canada's Climate Change Voluntary Challenge and Registry
December 26, 1996

Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, Ottawa
December 29, 1996

Canadian Space Agency
December 30, 1996

The above are the dates on which the earliest known copies were archived, and are not the dates these websites first appeared online.

Websites — Earliest Known Archived Copy 1997

Government of British Columbia
July 8, 1997

Ontario Ministry of Education
December 10, 1997
Netscape 2.0 logo"This site is best viewed using Netscape Navigator, which supports a large set of HTML extensions, some of which have been used in documents located here. Netscape browsers are available free of charge to students, staff, and faculty members of education institutions, charitable non-profit organizations, and public libraries."

Websites — Earliest Known Archived Copy 1998

Government of Quebec (for screen 640×480 pixels)
January 28, 1998

Central Index of Canadian WWW Servers
Archive copy dated: December 5, 1998
Webpage dated: January 18, 1995

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