Media Distribution


This subject is made up three sub-series:

Canadians in Conflict: An Historian's View Series

A series of seven programs which probe some of the most important and controversial issues which recur throughout Canadian history.

This series makes a significant contribution to the study of Canadian attitudes past and present. Through the use of documentary film footage, archival photographs and live interviews, each program presents several different perspectives on a given issue. Taken as a whole, the series points to the fundamental issues and problems which recur throughout Canadian history. Written by Desmond Morton, Professor of History at the University of Toronto and noted current affairs newspaper columnist, the series adopts an open-ended and dynamic approach well-suited to classroom use.

This series is presented with the assistance of the Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited.

Bread and Roses: The Struggle of Canadian Working Women
In most realms of historical study, our understanding of women's experience has come very largely from a comfortable middle-class perspective. This program, using rare Canadian photographs and film footage, seeks to remedy such an historical bias, with a survey of the period 1850 to the mid-1970's. It presents the experience of working women ranging from domestic servants and pioneer wives to the first women doctors and lawyers, and traces the changing focus of the women's movement in seeking workplace reforms. Written in consultation with Sylvia Van Kirk, Professor of History, University of Toronto.
30 minutes / 1978

The Canadian General: The Career of Sir William Otter
William Otter's military career from 1860 to 1921 was a living record of Canadian military history. This program, based on original photographs, drawings and clippings from his scrapbooks, tells the story of his life. Otter shared in the disaster at Ridgeway, commanded the government troops at Cut Knife Hill in 1885, and led the Canadians through the bitter battle of Paardeberg in the South African War. Written by Desmond Morton, Professor of History at the University of Toronto.
26 minutes / b&w / 1975

The Conscription Crisis, 1917
Canada's participation in World War I was a deeply divisive issue at home. This program recreates the sharply-contrasting English and French-Canadian perspectives on the war. It describes the circumstances leading up to conscription, including the manpower needs of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and the failure of voluntary recruiting. The program provides numerous references to the domestic political situation at the time.
27 minutes / 1978

Great Canadian Temperance Crusade
Prohibition was much more than an amusing footnote to Canadian history. The issues were fundamental, and the outcome of prohibition dramatically affected Canadian attitudes to social reform, legislation, and public ownership. This program uses photographs and historical film footage, showing that the temperance question arose out of real problems, particularly in Canada's rapidly-growing cities.
27 minutes / 1979

Saskatchewan 1885
The insurrection mounted by Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont has become shrouded in myth and imaginative reinterpretation. Using a text based on the memoirs of contemporaries, it relates the stories of: Major General Ford Middleton, who commanded the forces sent out to suppress the insurrection; a young Toronto machinist serving with the 10th Royal Grenadiers under Middleton; and an elderly Mètis who fought alongside Dumont.
29 minutes / 1979

Struggle for Identity
This program explores Canada's national identity as it was debated in Canada before World War I. Canada could develop as a major force within a proud and dominant British Empire or as a smaller and weaker but independent power. In either case the outcome for its large French-speaking population was unclear. The three viewpoints of Imperialist Nationalist, Canadian Nationalist, and French Canadian, are presented within the historical context of the debate.
27 minutes / 1979

The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919
The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was a six-week work stoppage which led to the imprisonment of strike leaders and the calling in of the army, and brought the country's "age of innocence" to a tumultuous conclusion. The strike began as a labour dispute and rapidly escalated into a major confrontation between workers and the city's middle class. Part 1 - 18 minutes; Part 2 - 18 minutes.
36 minutes / 1979

The Splendid Dream: Canadian Labour and the Left

Four 30-minute programs look at the generations of labour reformers and radicals who built Canada's trade union movement and became the country's political left. Archival material is intercut with comments by four prominent participants in the movement: Eugene Forsey, eminent labour historian and jurist; Freddy Dowling, an early labour organizer; and Tommy Douglas and David Lewis, former leaders of the federal New Democratic Party. Written by University of Toronto History Professor Desmond Morton.

  • Part One: 1867-1919: The significance of the Trade Unions Act of 1872, of the Knights of Labour, and of the development of craft unionism, socialism and syndicalism leading up to the events of 1919.
    Part Two: 1919-1937: The Left, split by Communist attacks on the more democratic reformers, and Labour, divided by internal differences, were both unprepared for the Depression. Political and union alternatives during the worst Depression years are explored.
    Part Three: 1937-1950: Out of the depths of the Depression came the CIO, forging the industrial unionism which would transform working class organization in Canada. The war years fostered unionism and helped the CCF to make electoral gains. The postwar years undermined Canada's political left, but did leave a strong union movement apparently capable of achieving labour's goals in the new and seemingly durable prosperity.
    Part Four: 1950-1976: The birth of Canadian labour's own party, The New Democrats, during the Diefenbaker interlude. The history of the NDP and its relations with the labour movement are dealt with in some detail.

    Total time for the 4 parts: 120 minutes / 1976

Voices of Early Canada Series

Canadian social history through the personal memoirs, journals and letters of six Canadians.

Teachers and students interested in Canada's past will find a wealth of historical information in this seven-program series, written by Alan Thomas, Professor of English, University of Toronto.

Bringing to life a number of previously untapped historical sources, it draws from the personal memoirs, journals, letters and other records of several early Canadians. Each program focuses on one individual's perspective; the result is a series of colourful historical vignettes which personalize Canadian history and give it a distinctly human dimension.

This series is presented with the assistance of the Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited.

All programs are in colour.

Explorers In The Barrens
The adventures of Joseph and James Tyrrell rivaled those of the earliest Canadian explorers. They were able to bring back some of the first authentic visual records of the snow-covered shores of Hudson's Bay. J.B. Tyrrell's remarkable collection of photographs is used extensively in this program; the script is based on his unpublished notebooks and autobiography, and on James' book Through the Barren Lands. The program follows their progress from Lake Athabasca, along the Dubawnt River to Chesterfield Inlet, and down the hostile Hudson's Bay coastline to Churchill.
28 minutes / 1979

Fourth Wave: A Study Of The Immigrant Experience 1896-1914
This program uses old photographs and visual records to explore the so-called fourth great wave of immigration when more than four million people came to Canada between 1896 and 1914. It exposes the prejudice and harsh reality of homesteading on the wide spaces of the Canadian West. For some, the dream of a new Utopia turned rapidly into a nightmare, while for others fortune and prosperity were the reward for having moved to Canada.
26 minutes / b&w / 1974

The Last Buffalo Hunter
This program, adapted from the biography by Mary Weekes in 1937, looks closely at the life of Norbert Welsh, a Métis living in the Canadian Prairies. His life is documented beginning with his eighteenth birthday in 1863, as he adjusted from buffalo hunting and trading to farming and finally storekeeping. The program conveys a vivid impression of life in a rapidly evolving country.
29 minutes / 1979

Pioneer Girl
The Canadian west captured the imagination of many families during the settlement campaign of the late 1800's. This program, based on a series of letters written by fourteen year old Maryanne Caswell in 1887, who is depicted as an older woman recalling the trip, vividly illustrates what it was like to build a new life in the prairies.
31 minutes / 1978

Royal Engineer Of The 49th Parallel
Based on the diary of Charles Wilson, a Lieutenant with the Royal Engineers who mapped British Columbia's southern border, this program provides a lively account of the work performed under the British Boundary Commission from 1858 to 1862. It conveys Wilson's particular impressions, as an educated young gentleman on his first overseas posting, of British Columbia's colourful inhabitants: the Indians, fur traders, gold miners and storekeepers who lived on the islands, the coastline and in the interior.
26 minutes / 1979

The Sage Of The Grange
This program draws from the notebooks and writings of early Canadian political commentator Goldwin Smith. Smith was an Oxford scholar and former Oxford professor who was vehemently opposed to the British Empire's influence in Canada. Smith is most often remembered today as a leader of the continentalist Canada First Movement.
26 minutes / 1979

The Truant Officer
Ontario's Education Act of 1872 was designed to have lasting impact on the province. From this time forward, parents would be legally required to ensure their children's attendance at school. It is a dramatization of the trials and tribulations of John Wilkinson, Toronto's first truant officer, who found that parents and children varied widely in their understanding and support of compulsory education.
24 minutes / 1979