Canada’s 150th Anniversary: Fort York Digital Transformation

Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2017. To commemorate Canada’s sesquicentennial, CyArk and Iron Mountain selected the historic site of Fort York in Toronto to be digitally preserved. CyArk is an international nonprofit organization that uses 3D laser scanning, photogrammetry, and traditional survey techniques to scan a site. The digital renderings are added to an online, 3D library of the world’s cultural heritage sites before they are lost to natural disasters, destroyed by human aggression, or ravaged by the passage of time. Owned by the City of Toronto, the 17-hectare site area of Fort York was designated as a National Historic Site in 1923 and hosts Canada’s largest collection of original, War of 1812 buildings.

“Part of our mandate is to ensure cultural heritage sites are available for future generations to experience, while making them uniquely accessible today,” said John Ristevski, CEO of CyArk. “Thanks to the generous support from Iron Mountain, we have access to the resources needed to make the vision of preserving Fort York a reality. In a year where Canada is celebrating such an important historical anniversary, this is an exciting next step towards conserving a significant piece of the nation’s history.”

Iron Mountain’s Living Legacy Initiative is the company’s charitable commitment to preserve and make accessible cultural and historical information and artifacts. We granted a financial gift and inkind services to CyArk to aid in their collection and storage of 3-D imagery in the virtual library. By transferring the original War of 1812 brick and mortar battle site to an online platform, people from all over the world will have the opportunity to experience this monument first-hand for generations to come. Participants can put on headsets and “visit” Fort York without even stepping foot in Toronto using virtual reality.

“Iron Mountain, through its Living Legacy Initiative, is thrilled to again partner with CyArk to bring Canadian heritage to the forefront of the digital landscape,” said Brian Rosen, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Canada. “Our partnership with CyArk helps us extend our role as a trusted guardian with expertise in, and services for, protecting and preserving valuable data and information. Fort York will be a monumental addition to CyArk’s virtual library.”

CyArk assists with those that oversee cultural heritage sites by providing engineering drawings and detailed maps to assist in critical conservation work and active management. They archive the data using state of the art processes to ensure that this data continues to be available in a disaster recovery scenario, tomorrow or decades in the future. Iron Mountain provides data back-up and preservation for the “gold copy” for all of CyArk’s data from digital scans in its underground storage facility. Past projects include the preservation of Lukang Longshan Temple in Taiwan; the Washington Monument in Washington, DC; the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin; and The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, Australia.

Canada’s 150th Anniversary: Fort York Digital Transformation