This documentary celebrates the achievements of men who toiled in the harsh wilderness of northern Quebec to lay the steel tracks that helped bring the Ungava region’s rich iron ore to market. It is a story of strength and determination, as every man, machine and piece of equipment had to be airlifted in or transported by tractor caravan over the 575-kilometre route. Bit by bit, we follow their progress through forest, over muskeg and across rivers, until at last the first ore train snakes its way to the seaport of Sept-Îles.
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.
This short film focuses on the legend of a lost gold mine and a river in the Northwest Territories that lured men to their doom. Albert Faille, an aging prospector, set out time and again to find hidden gold. His route took him through the wild and awesome land particularly suited to the mood of this Canadian odyssey.
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 documentary looks at the hazards of uranium mining in Canada. Toxic and radioactive waste pose environmental threats while the traditional economic and spiritual lives of the Indigenous people who occupy this land have been violated. Given our limited knowledge of the associated risks, this film questions the validity of continuing the mining operations.
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.
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.
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 1954 cover various aspects of life in Canada and were shown in theatres across the country. Subjects included here are: Veteran Steamer Ends Record Service: On the mountain-circled Arrow Lakes of British Columbia, the Minto, an old stern-wheeler whose service dates back to the 1890's gold rush, makes her last round of calls. Inside Story of a Lady's Mink Coat: From raw pelts to fur auction, to dressing plant to fashion designer, we follow the several stages in the manufacture of a beautiful, luxurious mink coat.
This documentary examines some of the important events in Canada during the Depression years: the Moose River mine disaster, the great drought on the prairies and the introduction of a transatlantic air service between Canada and Europe. The film also looks at the major world events that influenced Canada: the abdication of the king of England; civil war in Spain; Hitler's rise to power and Canada's declaration of war on Germany. Part of the Between Two Wars series.
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.