Scenes from a ground-breaking 1955 documentary are online for the first time, capturing the life and times of farmers and grain handlers in Canada.
The documentary Grain Handling in Canada is now available for the first time on the Internet, part of celebrations in this, the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Grain Commission. The CGC marks its centennial in April 2012.
The documentary frames a nostalgic and somewhat controversial look at farmers and grain handlers, as the federal government is currently acting on plans for review and re-evaluation of the Canadian Grain Commission and the Canada Grain Act.
The Canadian Grain Commission is the federal agency responsible for establishing and maintaining Canada's grain quality standards.
The CGC has joined with the National Film Board to make Grain Handling in Canada available online, even as it is seeking feedback from farmers and grain industry stakeholders on possible changes, through a discussion paper also posted on the CGC’s website.
There’s a link to the video stream there, embedded in an interactive microsite timeline feature at http://www.grainscanada.gc.ca/cgc-ccg/history-histoire/timeline-historique/1951-1960-eng.htm
The film is also housed on the National Film Board's site at http://www.nfb.ca/film/grain_handling_in_canada/.
The 1955 NFB production is one of director Guy L. Cote’s earliest documentaries. In the 23-minute colour film, grain is followed from harvest to export, as the role of the Board of Grain Commissioners (as the Canadian Grain Commission was known at the time) is described.
"What really struck me when I watched this film is that the Canadian Grain Commission's role in grain quality, quantity and safety assurance is as important today as it was nearly 50 years ago," described Elwin Hermanson, Chief Grain Commissioner. "People will enjoy seeing the old harvesting equipment and wooden elevators, but I think the real value is in seeing how our commitment to Canadian producers and the grain sector hasn't changed."
Filmed on location in grain elevators, rail yards and terminal elevators, the film is a valuable window into another time.
Many services shown in the film remain today. The Canadian Grain Commission still offers Subject to Inspector's Grade and Dockage to producers who disagree with the grade and dockage received at the elevator. The licensing system still works to protect producers. The grading system is still based in research conducted in the CGC Grain Research Laboratory. As well, as shown in the film's final scene, CGC grain inspectors still issue a Certificate Final, detailing grade and weight, for export shipments of grain.
"The NFB collection of over 13,000 titles is an audiovisual legacy for all Canadians, capturing the heart and soul of our nation, for over seven decades. Today, we're committed to digitizing this unique collection and making it available to Canadians as never before, on the platforms of their choice. To help celebrate the Canadian Grain Commission's centennial, the NFB is delighted to have worked with our colleagues at the Commission to make this historic film available online to a new generation of Canadians," said Tom Perlmutter, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada.