Antique Sparton tabletop radio

Radio in Canada has a very special place on the world stage. On May 20th 1920, the radio station XWA broadcasted the first public radio program from Montreal to Ottawa. What started with Marconi’s experimental radio station soon spread from coast to coast. It did not take long for radio programs to connect to the minds and hearts of all Canadians. United through broadcasts, Canadians could now cheer all together for their favorite hockey teams, listen to news and weather, or relax to the sound of their beloved musicians.

Starting on February 26th 2024, enthusiasts and history lovers can venture into a digital exhibition celebrating the birth of radio in Canada and the remarkable way it became part of our daily life at home.

Developed with the support of the Digital Museums Canada investment program, the online-only exhibition tells radio’s story, from tinkerers in attics capturing morse codes with crystal sets to the creation of the CBC and Radio Canada to the arrival of FM transistor radios of the 1950s and 1960s, before television took over family life.

Objects, documents, and photos from the Musée des ondes Emile Berliner in Montreal and its collaborator the Société québécoise des collectionneurs de radios anciens helped established historians Michael Windover and Anne F. MacLennan create a captivating panorama of Canada’s radio history.

The museum’s director, Anja Borck, notes that “radio is too often celebrated as an invention of a single person, Guglielmo Marconi. But it was indeed a long and interwoven process of many players before radio could get on air and into our homes. Canada was special in the way it introduced and developed radio which led to a very different relationship of the public to the radio stations than in the United States, for instance.”

Launch on February 26th 2024. Visit Radio at Home in Canada here:

Visitors interested in the radio history of Canada are invited to visit the museum’s other virtual exhibitions at

The Digital Museums Canada (DMC) investment program helps build digital capacity in Canadian museums and heritage, cultural and Indigenous organizations, and gives people living in Canada unique access to diverse stories and experiences. DMC is managed by the Canadian Museum of History, with the financial support of the Government of Canada.