The Champlain Society was founded 1905 in Toronto by Sir Edmund Walker to increase public awareness of, and accessibility to, Canada's rich store of historical records. Membership, limited at first to 250, is now approximately 800. The Council of the Society includes some of the country's finest scholars and community leaders, who offer guidance and advice to the Society.
Many early volumes related to New France, including a 6-volume edition of Champlain's works in French and in English translation. The Society soon became interested in the fur trade and early explorations. It published the first dozen volumes prepared by the HUDSON'S BAY RECORD SOCIETY. In recent years, volumes have been devoted to a broader range of interest, some of a political nature. At the Ontario government's request and expense the Society sponsors the Ontario Series, devoted to the province's history. The Society has published close to 170. In 2000 the Society began to transfer its volumes online so that these valuable documents would be easily available to the general public. This format of the volumes is known as the Champlain Society Digital Collection. The online volumes are searchable by keyword, bibliographic entry, title, and author. While the Society continues to work toward putting its entire collection online, and thus creating a tremendous educational resource, it is also working on other initiatives including an online journal.