The 1950s: Television and the Move to Montreal

A selection by Albert Ohayon

The Back-breaking Leaf

Here is a graphic picture of the tobacco harvest in southwestern Ontario. At the end of July, transient field workers move in for a brief bonanza when the plant is ripe. The tobacco harvesters call it "the back-breaking leaf."

From the playlist : The 1950s: Television and the Move to Montreal

This award-winning film was originally produced for the Candid Eye series, but when this show ended its run on the CBC it was decided to air the film on Documentary 60, the show that took over Candid Eye’s timeslot.

— Albert Ohayon

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Terence Macartney-Filgate
Wolf Koenig
Roman Kroitor
executive producer
Tom Daly
Stanley Jackson
Terence Macartney-Filgate
Gilles Gascon
Terence Macartney-Filgate
Victor Merrill
George Croll
John Spotton
Eldon Rathburn


  • ggpoet

    “This too amazing! I grew up on a tobacco farm in the 50's and 60's and it is great to find documentation of a era that seems to be forgotten in history.” — ggpoet, 5 Oct 2013

  • gilleh

    “Brings back memories - as a teen leaf-handling - before machines in the 60s. Dirty work - Agree - most kids today wouldn't do it.” — gilleh, 15 Jan 2013

  • tnunn

    “I grew up in Norfolk County, working in tobacco with family members in my teen years. It was tough work made only slightly easier with machinery in the 70s. This film captures the scene in the 50s and 60s. On the farm where we worked, it was our family and a great family from Quebec and we worked harder than ever to fill each kiln. A great film.” — tnunn, 10 Feb 2012

  • evinrude

    “1968...The hardest 6 weeks I've spent...I never went back but was proud to have finished the season...C” — evinrude, 12 Apr 2011

  • sh1fty

    “This is incredible. I'd say about 95% of us today would pass out in the first 3 hours doing this kind of work!” — sh1fty, 25 Mar 2010

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