Guest post: .CA, You've Come a Long Way – Celebrating 30 Years of Our Favourite Domain

Reflecting on 30 years of .CA, the milestone makes us feel both nostalgic and proud.

In the world of domain Registrars, Webnames.ca has a unique history with .CA. One of our co-founders, John Demco, conceived of the .CA country code for Canada, created the original registry at the University of British Columbia, and then voluntarily maintained it  for 13 years before it was transitioned into CIRA’s custodianship and governance. During that time John and a small group of dedicated volunteers processed every single .CA domain registration manually.

And now our favourite domain extension has turned 30.

It was on May 14th in 1987 that John Demco was allocated the .CA country code for Canada from Jon Postel, the Director of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

(L) John Demco; (R) Jon Postel in 1994 with map of Internet top-level domains.

Photo by Irene Fertik, USC News Service.

Reflecting on 30 years of .CA, the milestone makes us feel both nostalgic and proud. Nostalgic, because 1987 was a pretty remarkable year for Canada in terms of pop culture, sports and politics - so much was happening! For those of you not be old enough to remember, here's a snapshot of what was happening in Canada back in '87...

  • The Canadian Mint rolled out the loonie
  • Sidney Crosby was born in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
  • Degrassi Jr. High and Street Legal debuted on Canadian TV
  • The Federal minimum wage was $4/hour!
  • “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Corey Hart topped the charts in Canada
  • The Meech Lake Accord dominated Canadian politics 
  • Luba and Brian Adams won Junos for female and male vocalist of the year
  • Ben Johnson set a new world record in the 100 metre dash
  • Rick Hansen completes his Man in Motion world tour

It was also two years before the World Wide Web became a thing in 1989, meaning that collectively we’ve been doing this whole Internet thing for a long time already.

And as you might expect, this milestone also makes us feel proud. Thanks to John’s foresight and innovation, .CA has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Canadian identity. Canada's domain has continued to thrive under the steady stewardship and vision of CIRA, despite the fact that hundreds of new gTLD options have to market over the past several years.

Today the .CA domain is more than 2.6 million registrations strong – and Canadians have a their own identity on the web that they continue to prefer over other extensions. A report commissioned by CIRA last year indicated that over 60% of Canadian Internet users prefer to purchase from Canadian websites over American ones, citing a desire to support Canadian businesses as their primary motivation. Now how Canadian is that, eh?

.CA is special to Webnames not only because of our unique history with Canada’s country code, but because we strongly believe in its power as a branding and marketing tool for our Canadian customer base. A dot-CA domain has become a symbol that identifies a brand, business, organization or individual as Canadian and that offers measurable SEO benefits to those targeting local consumers and Canadian markets. Importantly, .CA also accommodates French characters and ligatures for the 22% of Canadians whose primary language is French – something no .COM, .SHOP or .ONLINE extension can do!

After 30 years of dot-CA, and 17 years of helping Canadians create, protect and promote their online presence, we still believe in the power of .CA for Canadian corporations, entrepreneurs, innovators, advocates, makers and creators. What's more, the .CA namespace remains full of possibilities! When compared to .COM and its whopping 128M registered domains, there's still plenty of room for Canadian businesses and individuals to find and register compelling, high quality domain names.

So happy birthday .CA, old friend! From all of us at Webnames, we are as excited about your future as we are proud of your humble beginnings.

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