Settlement and urbanization of the Canadian Northwest coincided with the greatest popularity of the postcard. Settlement, along with the building of a transcontinental railway and the industrialization of central Canada, were the three pillars of the National Policy in the years following Confederation. These themes also were the subject of thousands of images preserved in postcards. By the first decade of the 20th century, many cities, towns, and villages were home to photographers who produced a mass of these fascinating and informative images. Many were personalized views of first houses, home farms or family groups and events. Others documented important events, disasters or buildings with broader importance. Together they comprise a valuable resource that presents a unique impression of a significant period in the history of the Canadian West.