Twenty-five years ago this past January – on Jan. 12, 1988, to be precise – the University of Prince Edward Island registered its website through the .ca registry. University officials at the time knew they were among the first few to apply, but had no idea they registered the first-ever .ca domain name, www.upei.ca.
The director of UPEI’s first computer centre, Jim Hancock, was listed as the university’s administrative contact on the application. “UPEI was one of 10 Canadian universities that brought the Internet to Canada,” he says.
He remembers representing UPEI at a meeting in Victoria and hearing one of the other university delegates saying that it was like building a new “electronic railroad” across Canada that would link the country in a way never imagined. “We had no idea where this Internet ‘thing’ would lead, but it has changed our world profoundly,” he says.
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority is the member-driven organization that now manages the .ca registry following a restructuring of the system in 2000. CIRA recently celebrated the registration of the two-millionth .ca domain name.