Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ideas for the Hard-to-buy-for Historian #13

Lynne Bowen of Nanaimo, historian of Vancouver Island and the prairies and non-fiction professor at UBC Creative Writing, writes:
Since I have never been asked this question before I'm going to tell you about my best thing relating to Canadian history and Canadian identity. It didn't happen this year as you specified, in fact it happened almost twenty years ago. The movie is "Bye, Bye Blues" made in 1989 by Ann Wheeler.

Early in this movie there is a moment when I realized that this was the first time I had ever seen a Canadian story told on film that I could relate to. The heroine (played by Rebecca Jenkins) is travelling across Canada on a train in the winter and the train stops in the middle of nowhere. The heroine looks out the window and sees several boys playing shinny on the ice in a ditch beside the train. As a child raised on a cultural diet of American movies and books about British royalty, this was the first time I had seen a story I could identify with.

Today we are fortunate to have many books written for a general audience about Canadian history and even several movies that tell our story, but this was the first time for me and it was a very powerful moment.

National Film Board info on Bye Bye Blues is here. has purchase info here-- but it says they want $180 for a used copy.
Follow @CmedMoore