“In July 1919, the RMS Nascopie departed Montreal. It carried supplies bound for Arctic fur trade posts.
But the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) ice-breaker had extra cargo on its annual trip. A film crew is on board. The ship headed north. As they travelled, a cameraman filmed the Nascopie crashing through ice floes. When the ship anchored, he went overboard, trudging across the ice with a tripod cradled in his arms. A second camera rolled from the deck, recording it all.
The film crew had orders from the HBC headquarters in London. They were to make a film capturing the company’s workings and commercial land holdings, holdings that once covered one twelfth of the earth’s surface.
But the HBC wanted rid of the land, and were looking for people to settle on it.
And thus a memo from HBC executives – the film should be “advertising the Company and incidentally its lands, without appearing to do so“.
Learn about the film’s history & restoration.