CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 9 . . . .January 7, 2005
An Idea of Canada explores the Aboriginal communities, the landscapes, and the economic realities and challenges of Canada's three ocean coasts - the Arctic, the northern Atlantic and the northern Pacific. However, through visitations to and discussions with a citizens of a number of remote communities by the current Governor General and her husband, the film also suggests a second purpose - demonstrating the importance and value of the role of a visible and inclusive Governor General.
The cinematography is stunning, as expected from any National Film Board production! Whether snowmobiling through the endless white terrain approaching Kugluktuk (western Nunavut), sailing amid prismatic icebergs lit by floodlights at dark off the coast of Rigolet (a Labrador coastal village), or hiking through the moss forests of the Haida Gwaii region of the Queen Charlottes, the viewer is engaged by the beauty, the spectacle, but also the recognizable stereotypical imagery that continues to represent these three distinct regions of Canada (i.e., the northern Inuit community with children playing hockey under the midnight sun while snowmobiles move along the streets).
The film is divided into four distinct segments:
Used as an educational tool, this video can easily be edited and viewed according to area, comparison of three aboriginal cultures, or economic and cultural quality of life in remote settings versus urban lifestyles and influences. The visual portrayal and the discussions recorded provide much information and insight into:
Maps showing the progress of each tour (and perhaps the itineraries' dates) would have been very beneficial and enlightening for the viewer.
An Idea of Canada is best suited Middle and Senior Years students studying Canadian political and economic geography, Aboriginal awareness, and political science or civics. However, Grades 5 and 6 students would definitely benefit from viewing this video just to give them a sense of the vastness of our country and the complexity of our cultures.
Dianne Arnott is a teacher-librarian at Wellington School in inner-city Winnipeg, MB. She does NOT expect at any time to become Governor General of Canada.
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