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Mr. Wilson's Biography

Ian E. Wilson, C.M.

Ian E. Wilson has just retired as the first Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Appointed as National Archivist in 1999, he and the National Librarian, Roch Carrier, OC, developed and led the process to create a new knowledge institution for Canada in the 21st century, the integrated Library and Archives of Canada. When the legislation came into force in May, 2004, Ian Wilson took on this new responsibility.

Born in Montréal, Mr. Wilson came to Queen's in 1963. He obtained his BA (Queen's, 1967) and eventually his MA in History (Queen's, 1974). Meanwhile he began his archival career in the Douglas Library in the summer 1966, tutored by Professsor F.W. Gibson and Dr. John H. Archer. He was named to head the Queen's University Archives in 1970. There followed an active program of acquisitions, nationally and regionally, adding considerably to the strength of the university archives as a research centre for Canadian politics, literature, business and labour. With Dr. J. Douglas Stewart he curated the exhibition Heritage Kingston for the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and co-authored the accompanying book, marking Kingston's Tercentenary in 1973.

Mr. Wilson left Queen's in 1976, becoming Saskatchewan's Provincial Archivist (1976 - 1986) and Chairman of the Saskatchewan Heritage Advisory Board. Mr. Wilson chaired the Consultative Group on Canadian Archives for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Their report, generally known as the Wilson Report, was published in 1980 and is described as "a milestone in the history of archival development in Canada."

He was appointed Archivist of Ontario in 1986, a position he held until 1999. For several years he was also responsible for the Ontario public library system. He has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto. He served as President of the Ontario Historical Society (1975 - 1976) and more recently as President of the Champlain Society (1995 - 2003) and Vice-President of the International Council of Archives (2000 - 2004). In March 2008, Mr. Wilson was elected President of the International Council of Archives.

His contributions have been recognized by York University (D.Litt. Hon) and the Society of American Archivists (Fellow) . He is a member of the Order of Canada and Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France). He received the 2005 Award of Merit from the Association for Canadian Studies and an Outstanding Career Achievement Award from the Public Service of Canada.