This short documentary is a portrait of the town of Stewart, British Columbia. Situated near the tip of the Alaska panhandle, Stewart has slowed down considerably since its heyday during the gold rush of the 1920s. But the Granduc copper mine still runs there, and the town is blessed with some of the most spectacular scenery of the province. Old-timers stay as long as they can shovel the snow, but younger miners often leave because of the isolation and boredom. Here, Stewart residents open up about the ups and downs of frontier living.
In this feature documentary, Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie continue in the same provocative vein as their earlier Forest Alert, this time turning their lens on Canada's mining industry. Using striking images, rare archival footage and interviews, The Hole Story analyzes company profits and the impact of mining on the environment and workers’ health.
Filmed in the town of Normétal in northern Québec, this short documentary provides a first-hand introduction to life in a frontier mining community where all roads lead to the pithead. Dweller of two worlds, the copper miner's life is one of contrasts. A mile underground are the rock face, the clattering drills, the dust of explosions; above ground, all the familiar activities of a small town.
These vignettes from 1951 covered various aspects of life in Canada and were shown in theatres across the country. Subjects included here are British Columbia's Cariboo Trail, once the scene of a great gold rush and which still pays off for the placer miner and occasional prospector; Canada's new state residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, a redesigned old stone mansion destined to become Canada's No. 10 Downing Street; a unique ceremony in remote Chesterfield Inlet as the first Inuit girl in history receives the veil of the Grey Nuns; Great Lakes conservationists outsmart the eel-like bloodsucker that preys on fish; and the new blue model uniforms designed for the Women's Division of the Air Force.
Please note that this is an archival film that makes use of the word “Eskimo,” an outdated and offensive term. While the origin of the word is a matter of some contention, it is no longer used in Canada. The term was formally rejected by the Inuit Circumpolar Council in 1980 and has subsequently not been in use at the NFB for decades. This film is therefore a time-capsule of a bygone era, presented in its original version. The NFB apologizes for the offence caused.
In this feature documentary, filmmaker Paul Cowan offers an innovative, moving account of the Westray coal mine disaster that killed 26 men in Nova Scotia on May 9, 1992. The film focuses on the lives of three widows and three miners lucky enough not to be underground that day when the methane and coal dust ignited. But their lives were torn apart by the events.
Meet some of the working men, who felt they had no option but to stay on at Westray. And wives, who heard the rumours, saw their men sometimes bloodied from accidents and stood by them, hoping it would all turn out all right. This is a film about working people everywhere whose lives are often entrusted to companies that violate the most fundamental rules of safety and decency in the name of profit.
These vignettes from 1951 covered various aspects of life in Canada and were shown in theatres across the country. Subjects included here are the S.S. Lurcher, an anchored boat that serves as both lighthouse and weather station; a 3-day celebration in Windsor, Ontario, to commemorate the freeing of American slaves; and British Columbia’s fabulous Sullivan Mine, where vast quantities of lead and zinc are being blasted from the belly of a mountain.
This classic short film from Pierre Berton depicts the Klondike gold rush at its peak, when would-be prospectors struggled through harsh conditions to reach the fabled gold fields over 3000 km north of civilization. Using a collection of still photographs, the film juxtaposes the Dawson City at the height of the gold rush with its bustling taverns and dance halls with the more tranquil Dawson City of the present.
When Cartier wintered at Cap Rouge near Québec City in 1641, he claimed to have detected diamonds in the surrounding hills. Was he so very wrong? Three centuries later, 15,000 men have come to excavate the iron mountains of the Canadian tundra where the rust of those diamonds still sparkles.
Men of the Deeps is a moving portrait of a group of former Cape Breton miners gathered together by their love of song. They are all members of the Men of the Deeps chorus, whose performances of traditional and contemporary songs evoke their working lives as miners.
This short documentary examines the changing relations between labour and management in the long-established company town of Trail, BC, in which 90% of the workforce is employed by Cominco, the world’s largest lead-zinc smelter. The metal workers in the town are outspoken about the health risks associated with their line of work, and a debate about unionization ensues. The days of paternalistic management are gone, and the emphasis is now on participation and involvement. An eventual strike over dissatisfaction with labour relations turns violent when management, union executives, and workers clash over competing interests.
What happens to two dying coal towns in British Columbia when an American corporation provides a contract for millions of tons of coking coal? The film follows the consequences for the towns of Natal and Michel, suggesting that industrial growth has its price, especially with regard to the environment.
This short film is about the small town of Faro located in the Yukon wilderness. In the 1970s, Faro was poised for success as a mining town but when metal prices plummeted and the mine shut down, the place was destined to become a ghost town. But Murray Hampton, a mining engineer who became the mayor, was determined to bring things back to life.