in Culture

where have all the province-level subdomains gone

(with apologies to Pete Seeger for the headline)

It used to be that back in the day, Canadian websites under the .ca umbrella had to be further categorized by a provincial subdomain. For example, the City of Toronto’s website used to be at, the Toronto Public Library at, and so on.

If I recall correctly, these registration rules (associating the geographic scope of the organization with the domain hierarchy they were allowed to register in) were abandoned in about 1995, at least in Canada. I remember this because my Internet Service Provider at the time was Intranet Technologies of Ottawa, which went from being to (Only later did I reflect on the stupidity of naming an Internet service provider “Intranet”.)

It’s a curious footnote to history, I guess, that most of these province-and-city level sub-domains have fallen by the wayside and most organizations do not use them any more for their canonical website address. However, they reflect a time when the Internet was more rigid and organized according to some sort of taxonomy, and for that, I’m somewhat wistful.

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  1. Funny.. I was going to register, but Tucows said "you sure you dont want". So I said, why not?! It is a street/address in Ontario.

    I'm not sure if it would have allowed me to do .

  2. It was based on the province of incorporation. An Ontario company, therefore, could only be registered for a * domain. If, however, an Ontario corporation had business operations in another province, say Quebec, with a registered address in that province, then it could qualify for a plain *.ca domain.

    In the case of IntraNet Technologies, where I used to work, they themselves grew from being an Ottawa- and then Ontario-only ISP to a more national player. This occurred, from memory, after the commencement of their contract with the Ottawa Citizen to host their website.

    On the subject of IntraNet, does anyone know who acquired them, and what the name of the founders were?

  3. I hope you don't mind me hijacking your blog, but in case anyone is interested, a little bit of forensic Google searching has yielded the answer to my question. Michael Koudsi was the founder of IntraNet Technologies, and would since be known for his potentially more successful endeavor, Sugar Mountain. Makes me yearn for some Thrills gum… Mmmm… Soap…