Canada Carries On

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Canada Carries On (French: En avant Canada) was a series of short films by the National Film Board of Canada, which ran from 1940 to 1959. The series was initially created as morale boosting propaganda films during World War II. With the end of the war, the series lost its financial backing from the Wartime Information Board, but continued under as an NFB series of theatrical shorts that included newsreels as well as animated shorts.[1]

The series was initially produced by Stuart Legg, who also directed many of the early films in Canada Carries On. The first film in the series was Legg's Atlantic Patrol, released in April 1940, about the Canadian Navy's role in protecting convoys from Halifax to the United Kingdom from U-boat attack.[2] One of the most famous films from this series was his Churchill's Island, released in Canada in June 1941, and winner of the first-ever Academy Award for documentary.[3][4]

The success of Canada Carries On inspired a second NFB series The World in Action, which was more tailored to international audiences.[5]

Canadian distribution[edit]

The series was produced in 35 mm for the theatrical market. Each film was shown in approximately 800 theatres across Canada, over a six-month period. Films were distributed by Columbia Pictures,[2] and the NFB had an arrangement with Famous Players theatres to ensure that Canadians from coast to coast had access to the films. After the six-month theatrical tour ended, films were made available on 16 mm to schools, libraries, church basements and factories, extending the life of these films for another year or two. Films were also made available to film libraries operated by university and provincial authorities. A total of 199 films were produced before the series was canceled in 1959.[3]

En avant Canada[edit]

The French-language series En avant Canada was distributed in Quebec and New Brunswick by France Film Distribution in some 60 theatres. 8 to 12 issues were produced each year in French; some versions of English titles, others original, for a total of 173 French titles before the program's cancellation in 1959.[3]

International distribution[edit]

Some films were distributed internationally in Australia, the UK and USA (by Telenews), in India (by Fox Film Corporation) and the West Indies (by Inter-continental). These were usually titles that dealt with international rather than Canadian issues. One such film was Warclouds in the Pacific, released just one week before the attack on Pearl Harbor, warning of an imminent Japanese attack.[3]

Films in series[edit]

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Title Director
Atlantic Patrol Stuart Legg
Children from Overseas Stanley Hawes
Front of Steel John McDougall
Home Front Stanley Hawes
Letter from Aldershot John Taylor
Letter from Camp Borden Raymond Spottiswoode
Squadron 992
Un du 22ième


Title Director
Battle of Brains Stanley Hawes
Churchill's Island Stuart Legg
Food - Weapon of Conquest Stuart Legg
Guards of the North Raymond Spottiswoode
Heroes of the Atlantic J. D. Davidson
Soldiers All
Strategy of Metals Raymond Spottiswoode


Title Director
Battle for Oil Stuart Legg
Battle of the Harvests Stanley Jackson
Everywhere in the World Stuart Legg
Forward Commandos Raymond Spottiswoode
Geopolitik - Hitler's Plan for Empire Stuart Legg
High Over the Borders Raymond Spottiswoode
Inside Fighting Canada Jane Marsh
Quebec, Path of Conquest Radford Crawley
Road to Tokyo
This Is Blitz Stuart Legg


Title Director
Banshees Over Canada James Beveridge
Coal Face, Canada Robert Edmonds
Fighting Norway Sydney Newman
The Gates of Italy Stuart Legg
Tom Daly
Pincer on Axis Europe
Proudly She Marches Jane Marsh
Train Busters Sydney Newman


Title Director
Air Cadets Jane Marsh
Break-through James Beveridge
Fighting Sea-Fleas Sydney Newman
Julian Roffman
Nicholas Read
Flight 6 Sydney Newman
Future for Fighters Stuart Legg
James Beveridge
Look to the North James Beveridge
Mosquito Squadron Ernest Borneman
Target - Berlin Ernest Borneman


Title Director
Atlantic Crossroads Tom Daly
Back to Jobs Nicholas Balla
Gateway to Asia Tom Daly
Headline Hunters Alan Field
Music in the Wind Guy Glover
Ordeal by Ice Tom Daly
Road to the Reich Tom Daly
Salute to a Victory
Suffer Little Children Sydney Newman
This Is Our Canada Stanley Jackson


Title Director
Bronco Busters Laurence Hyde
Canada, World Trader Tom Daly
The Challenge of Housing Tom Daly
A City Sings Gudrun Parker
Everyman's World Sydney Newman
Fashions by Canada
The New North Hamilton Wright
Science Goes Fishing Jean Palardy
Ski Skill Bernard Devlin
Roger Blais
Small Fry Jack Olsen


Title Director
Canada Dances Nicholas Balla
Careers and Cradles Jack Olsen
Eyes on Canada
Johnny at the Fair Jack Olsen
Mexico Today
Montreal by Night Jean Palardy
Arthur Burrows
Peoples of Canada James Beveridge
River Watch Roger Morin


Title Director
Arctic Jungle Sydney Newman
Art for Everybody Laurence Hyde
Champions in the Making Sydney Newman
The Home Town Paper Morten Parker
Inside the Atom Jack Olsen
It's Fun to Sing Roger Blais
Maps We Live By Gudrun Parker
Mercy Flight Evelyn Cherry
Lawrence Cherry
Pay-Off in Pain Robert Anderson
Science in Bloom Nicholas Balla


Title Director
55,000 for Breakfast Lawrence Cherry
Evelyn Cherry
Ballet Festival Roger Blais
A Capital Plan Bernard Devlin
Famous Fish I Have Met Jack Olsen
Passport to Canada Roger Blais
Red Runs the Fraser E. Taylor
Sight and Sound Gudrun Parker
Nathan Clavier
Summer Is For Kids Stanley Jackson


Title Director
City in Siege James Parker
Allen Stark
Cliff Hangers Don Mulholland
Gentleman Jekyll and Driver Hyde David Bairstow
Hunters of the North Pole Nils Rasmussen
Life Under A Leaf Ronald Weyman
Our Town is the World Stanley Jackson
Snow Fiesta Harry Foster


Title Director
After Prison What? Ronald Weyman
Cadet Holiday David Bairstow
Robert Humble
Douglas Wilkinson
Flying Skis Harry Foster
Gangway for Navy Jack Olsen
Inside Newfoundland Sydney Newman
Roger Morin
It's The Fashion! Ronald Weyman
The Man in the Peace Tower Roger Blais
The Outlaw Within Morten Parker
Penitentiary Ronald Weyman
Rescue Mission Ronald Weyman
Screaming Jets Jack Olsen
Struggle for Oil Ronald Dick
Talent Showcase Roger Blais
Douglas Tunstell
Sydney Newman


Title Director
Arctic Saga Douglas Wilkinson
Beyond the Frontier Ronald Dick
Canada's Atom Goes To Work Roger Blais
Horizons of Quebec Raymond Garceau
The Mountain Movers Ronald Weyman
The Romance of Transportation in Canada Colin Low
Singing Champions Roger Blais


Title Director
Citizen Varek Gordon Burwash
Farewell Oak Street Grant McLean
Germany - Key to Europe Nicholas Balla
The Harbour Earnest Kirkpatrick
Here's Hockey! Leslie McFarlane
Herring Hunt Julian Biggs
In Search of Home Roger Blais
Inland Seaport Ronald Weyman
Mission Ship Robert Anderson
Mister Mayor Raymond Garceau
Tempest in Town Raymond Garceau


Title Director
Bottleneck Leslie McFarlane
British Empire and Commonwealth Games Jack Olsen
Bush Doctor Jean Palardy
College in the Wilds Julian Biggs
Corral Colin Low
Diggers of the Deeps Grant McLean
Sorel Jean Palardy


Title Director
The Dikes Roger Blais
Gold Colin Low
Harvest in the Valley Larry Gosnell
High Tide in Newfoundland Grant McLean
The Jolifou Inn Colin Low
The Lumberjack Jean Palardy
The Maple Leaf J. V. Durden
Needles and Pins Roger Blais
Problem Clinic Ronald Weyman
Return of the Indian Grant McLean


Title Director
Fishermen of Pubnico Leonard Forest
Frontiers to Guard Ian MacNeill
The Lively Pond Nicholas Balla
The Shepherd Julian Biggs


Title Director
Bridge Under the Ocean Raymond Garceau
Carnival in Quebec Jean Palardy
Snow Fighters Leslie McFarlane


Title Director
The Awakening Mackenzie Hector Lemieux
Fraser's River Gordon Sparling
Industrial Canada Guy L. Coté
The Man From Karachi Leslie McFarlane
Songs of Nova Scotia Grant Crabtree
Street to the World Louis-Georges Carrier


Title Director
The Atom - Servant of Man Edmund Reid
The Chairmaker and the Boys Tim Wilson
The Magic Mineral Roger Blais
Man of Music Roger Blais
The Modern Prospector Jean-Yves Bigras
Portrait of Canada Hector Lemieux
Railroaders Guy L. Coté


  1. ^ Morris, Peter. "Canada Carries On". Canadian Film Encyclopedia. Film Reference Library. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  2. ^ a b Ellis, Jack C.; Betsy A. McLane (Aug 1, 2005). "Theatrical Series". New History of Documentary Film. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 122. ISBN 0-8264-1750-7. 
  3. ^ a b c d Ohayon, Albert (July 13, 2009). "Propaganda cinema at the NFB". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  4. ^ "Oscar Awards: Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject". Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  5. ^ Ellis, Jack C.; Betsy A. McLane (2005). A new history of documentary film. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 123. ISBN 0-8264-1751-5. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Goetz, William, 'The Canadian Wartime Documentary: "Canada Carries on" and "The World in Action"', Cinema Journal 16 (1977), pp. 59–80

External links[edit]