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White-Whale Hunters of Anse-Aux-Basques

White-Whale Hunters of Anse-Aux-Basques

On the North Shore of the St. Lawrence, the Otis family hunts for white whales and seals with rusty old rifles in hand-crafted boats. This is the traditional method of the Basque whalers who frequented the coast in the 16th century.

  • director
    René Bonnière
    Pierre Perrault
  • text
    Pierre Perrault
  • English text
    Judith Crawley
  • photography
    Michel Thomas-d'Hoste
  • sound
    Tony Betts
    David Howells
  • sound editing
    Barrie Howells
  • narrator
    Lloyd Bochner
  • music
    Larry Crosley


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Ages 6 to 11

Geography - Human Geography
Geography - Physical Geography/Geology
History and Citizenship Education - First Occupants (to 1500)

Exploring the waterway that has shaped our history, the St. Lawrence, we can trace the story of the Basques who came to North America to fish for cod, well before Cartier and Champlain. Have students draw the river between Montreal and Gaspé, including the many colourful islands, and identify places that have Basque-sounding names. Some, in the estuary, still bear the traces of their travels. Which ones?

White-Whale Hunters of Anse-Aux-Basques
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