Winter Across Canada

Winter Across Canada

To those who live elsewhere, winter in Canada means one thing - snow. But to Canadians, winter isn't so easily defined. Across each of the provinces and territories, the season brings with it different experiences. From the bone-chilling dampness of the Maritimes to the abundant snowfalls of Quebec; from the harsh cold of the Prairies to the milder weather on the Pacific Coast, winter means different things to different people. We've compiled a selection of six unique films which, when viewed together, paint a portrait of winter across this great country.

We're offering two different takes on hockey, our national pastime: The Sweater is an NFB classic - an animated short about a boy, his sweater and the true Québécois worship of Maurice "Rocket" Richard. Ha'aki, also animated, offers a very different take on the same sport. The Sword of the Lord showcases the determination and dedication of Jungle Jim Hunter, an athlete from the 1970s who aspired to be the best ski racer in the world. Ordeal by Ice, shot in 1945, depicts the British Army training in the Canadian Rockies in -50 temperatures, while Temples of Time uses the same location to showcase wildlife and the many faces of Mother Nature. Finally, Cree Hunters of Mistassini takes us up North, where this group of First Nations people hunt in the areas of James Bay and Ungava Bay. Filmed in 1974, this film offers a rare glimpse into the day to day life of three Cree families.

So get cozy and warm, sit back and watch our great Canadian winter play out before you.


  • The Sweater
    1980|10 min

    In this animated short, Roch Carrier recounts the most mortifying moment of his childhood. At a time when all his friends worshipped Maurice "Rocket" Richard and wore his number 9 Canadiens hockey jersey, the boy was mistakenly sent a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey from Eaton's. Unable to convince his mother to send it back, he must face his friends wearing the colours of the opposing team. This short film, based on the book The Hockey Sweater, is an NFB classic that appeals to hockey lovers of all ages.

  • HA'Aki
    2008|4 min

    In this short abstract-impressionist film the animation and music were made simultaneously in an organic process of symbiotic creativity. Filmmaker Iriz Pääbo tells the highly subjective story of a complete hockey game using a new cinematic vocabulary she calls "animbits." Pääbo readily admits she is not the biggest fan of Canada's national game, so the great, though highly underappreciated NHL stalwart of the '60s and '70s, Eric Nesterenko, was her hockey muse in this artistic journey. A lyrical and wonderfully unorthodox interpretation of hockey.

  • The Sword of the Lord
    1976|57 min

    This documentary records the extraordinary determination of Jungle Jim Hunter to be the best ski racer in the world. We witness his gruelling exercise routines, pre-race tensions, trials and deep religious faith of this dedicated athlete.

  • Ordeal by Ice
    1945|10 min

    This short documentary is part of the Canada Carries On series. The secret winter maneuvers of the British Army's Lovat Scouts took place in the Canadian Rockies during the winters of 1944 and 1945. In combined operations with the Canadian Army, these elite mountain commandos tested themselves and their equipment in temperatures of -50oF.

  • Temples of Time
    1973|26 min

    Filmed in the Canadian Rockies and in Garibaldi Park, this documentary features magnificent footage of mountain solitudes and the wildlife found there, of natural splendour in all its changing moods. The film carries the implicit warning that all this may pass away if people do not seek to preserve it. Without words.

  • Cree Hunters of Mistassini

    An NFB crew filmed a group of three families, Cree hunters from Mistassini. Since times predating agriculture, this First Nations people have gone to the bush of the James Bay and Ungava Bay area to hunt. We see the building of the winter camp, the hunting and the rhythms of Cree family life.