This short documentary features a portrait of Ottawa in the mid-20th century, as the nascent Canadian capital grew with force but without direction. Street congestion, air pollution, and rail traffic were all the negative results of a city that had grown without being properly planned. French architect and urban designer Jacques Gréber stepped in to create a far-sighted plan for the future development of Ottawa. With tracks moved, factories relocated, and neighbourhoods redesigned as separate communities, Ottawa became the capital city of true beauty and dignity we know today.
This short documentary is part of a series hosted by American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford, who was particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture. In this episode, Mumford considers the “loss of vitality” that he perceives in contemporary cities that have become crowded and resulted in suburban flight. “The overfilled urban container has burst,” he proclaims. What will become of the faceless, formless contemporary city? This mid-20th century film is a prescient look at today’s urban landscapes.
This feature-length documentary examines the reality of New York City in the 1970s, a place that had become a symbol of urban disaster. The 2 projects profiled attempt to tackle the problem of America’s biggest city: in a dilapidated part of the Bronx, a co-operative citizens’ movement tries to rejuvenate urban life; and WNET-TV uses its programming as an open forum for the public debate on urban issues.
This short film presented in a TV news-magazine format, is hosted by 2 young Canadians and a zany reporter on location in Ottawa. Their mission: to explore the capital "behind the scenes." The result is an intriguing look at Canada's capital and how it serves people across the country.
This short film from 1951 introduces us to Robert Donnell, the man who served as Dominion Carilloneur at that time. The Dominion Carilloneur works inside the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and is responsible for playing the carillon on weekdays and at the request of Parliament. It offers some stunning views of the belfry with its bells, which range in weight from 10 lbs to 11 tons.
This short documentary studies the contrast between the sedate Toronto of the turn of the century and the thriving, expanding metropolis of 1951. Aerial views give evidence of the conversion of the old Toronto into the new--the city with towering skyscrapers, teeming traffic arteries, vast industrial developments and far-reaching residential areas housing over a million people.
Toronto's mid-century progress is also Canada's, as manifested in the building of Canada's first subway, and in the bustle of the nation's greatest trading centre--the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The Eye Witness series is a collection of short documentaries featuring Canadian news stories from the 1940s and '50s. This segment includes Prairie Harbour: The Port of Flowing Grain, a look at the lakehead cities of Fort William and Port Arthur, funnelling centres for western grain on its way to world markets. In Modern Miracle: Surgery is Safe, the appendectomy of patient Henry Brown demonstrates the advances in modern medicine. Co-Op Carpenters: Home-Made Community illustrates the principles behind the cooperative housing program for veterans in Carleton Heights near Ottawa.
This short documentary affords us an unusual and privileged view of the old city of Jerusalem, before and after the redevelopment of certain key sectors took place in the early 1970s. The man appointed to try to reconcile the need for change with traditional values is Montreal architect Moshe Safdie. His plans, shown in scale models, are in harmony with ancient architecture and encompass the “innocent doorways” that lead from walled streets to pleasant courtyards.
This short documentary examines the complex range of issues affecting urban transport in developing countries. After examining cost and available technology, as well as the different needs of the industrialized middle class and the urban poor, the film proposes some surprising solutions.
This short documentary is part of a series hosted by American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford, who was particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture. This episode presents an outline of the opposed natures—creative and destructive—of the city throughout history. In this film, the focus is on the elements that created the first cities about 5000 years ago, and the forces that now threaten our "most precious collective invention."