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The Romance of Transportation in Canada

(Sports et transports!)

Year: 1952
Language: English
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 11 min
Director: Colin Low
Producer: Tom Daly
Writer: Guy Glover
Cinematographer: Lyle Enright
: Wolf Koenig, Robert Verrall
Sound: Clarke Daprato, Kenneth Heeley-Ray
Music: Eldon Rathburn
: Max Ferguson
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada

The Romance of Transportation in Canada, Colin Low’s whimsical look at the development of transportation in this country since the arrival of the Europeans, was the National Film Board’s first major foray into industrial animation. It was influenced not by the abstract style of animation pioneered by Norman McLaren, but instead by the popular United Productions of America (UPA) style.

Part of the Canada Carries On series, the film uses incident and a plot line to tell the story – with wit and tongue-in-cheek seriousness – of how Canada’s vast distances and great obstacles have been overcome. It also reflects a complex range of Canadian cultural myths (the images of First Nations people, the apparent absence of transportation before Europeans arrived, the reasons underlying the development of a trans-Canada railway and, most insidiously, the constant portrait of Canadians as a people who like to suffer).

The film also possesses an ironic distance from Canadian history and culture – the most constant characteristic of the work of the NFB’s Unit B. The Romance of Transportation in Canada received a BAFTA Special Award, the Palme d’Or for animation at the Festival de Cannes, and an Academy Award® nomination for Animated Short Film.