Canadian National Film Board puts hundreds of movies online including Bill Mason Classic Waterwalker

Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Bill MasonThe Toronto Star announced today that the National Film Board has decided to release full versions of over 700 films online. That's such a massive collection of material. In the collection of released material, there are quite a few really good gems that were played in every public school in the 1970's 80's.

Old school canoeists will still remember Bill Mason's NFB and instruction films. In fact, he was one of the very first people ever to use video for teaching canoeing. His film, Path of the Paddle was ground breaking at the time. So far, the only paddling related film of his online is Waterwalker but you can still view a couple of his others including Blake, Cry of the Wild, and Death of a Legend.

For those who are interested, flip forward to 26:30. There, you can see the sequence where Bill dumps out his canoe in the huge waves of cold Lake Superior. I remember talking with his daughter, Becky a long time ago and she mentioned that he almost lost his life in that shot. He was much farther out and the water was WAY colder than they anticipated at the time. Becky remembers being sent off by her mother to the campsite to do something because Joyce didn't want Becky to see her father drown... That's your fun fact of the day.

I can still remember the excitement of the teacher dragging in the giant movie projector and spending the next 15 minutes trying to figure out how to feed that little film strip into it. We didn't care what she showed, it just meant that we weren't going to do math or grammar for the next hour and that is why I speak such good talk today.

Looking for other classic NFB Films? Check out Blackfly and the Log Driver Waltz

More info:
Mason Family Homepage:

Special thanks to Mike for the NFB tip.

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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