A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles (DCHP) is a historical usage dictionary of words, expressions, or meanings which are native to Canada or which are distinctively characteristic of Canadian usage though not necessarily exclusive to Canada. The first edition was edited by Walter S. Avis (ed.-in-chief), C. Crate, P. Drysdale, D. Leechman, M. H. Scargill, C. J. Lovell, and published in 1967 by W. J. Gage Limited.
The DCHP was published after a period of about 12 years, and had a sizeable collection by C. J. Lovell at its base. W. J. Gage Publishers, the leading dictionary publisher for Canadian English (CanE) dictionaries at the time, contributed to the project (P. Drysdale was employed by Gage). In this way, the first edition (DCHP-1) was the result of both academia and a publishing house. More importantly, however, the academic partner, headed by editor-in-chief Walter S. Avis, were given free hand. The result, despite all monetary constraints and pre-computer editing techniques, was a ground-breaking dictionary in several ways: the DCHP-1 was the first scholarly historical dictionary of a variety of English other than British English (see OED) or American English (DAE, DA) (Dollinger 2006), the two dominant varieties of English throughout the 20th century.
Meanwhile, other varieties of English have become the focus of historical dictionary projects: Australian (Ramson 1988), South African (Silva 1996), and New Zealand (Orsman 1997).
In 2006, the DCHP has, after more than 40 years of existence without any updates, attracted considerable attention. From 2004 to 2008 Thomson Nelson Ltd., which acquired Gage Ltd. and with it the rights to the DCHP-1, was actively seeking collaborators in academia to produce a new, fully revised and extended edition of the DCHP-1. This project, DCHP-2, was proposed at a conference on Canadian English in January 2005, and formally commenced at the University of British Columbia's Department of English in August 2006, after more than a year of preparatory work. Since 2009, DCHP-2 has had no association with Nelson Ltd. or any other publisher and had been a purely academic project.
Completed in 2011 after automatic scanning and manual proofreading by a team of UBC students under the direction of Stefan Dollinger, http://www.dchp.ca/DCHP-1/pages/history DCHP-1 was republished in open access as of 2013, thanks to Nelson Ltd. (Dollinger et al. 2013), and is available as a free website, DHCP-1 Online.
DCHP-2, fully revised and expanded, is expected for 2016 (thanks to a three-year SSHRC Insight Grant, Competition 2012, Insight Grants).