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Early Canadian films winter-free and beautiful

Photo caption: A playbill from the Canadian production of Dumbells, which featured a gag number about hairstyles.

Source: Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library

Throughout the early 1900s, the strong connection between Canadian railroad companies and the film industry produced many wonderful early films, promoting Canada and encouraging immigration and development of this vast nation.  They weren’t above a little censorship: in many films they didn’t allow winter photography, as they were afraid it might discourage potential immigrants concerned about harsh Canadian winters.

The Canadian Pacific Railroad established a Colonization Department, which sponsored 13 one-reel films, 11 of them dramatic, to promote immigration.  Many of the titles (“The Life of a Salmon,” “A Trip Over the Rocky” and “Selkirk Mountains, Riders of the Plains”) extolled the beauty of Canadian life and culture so closely tied to the magnificence of the landscape.

The Bioscope Company made more than 35 films in the Living Canada series.