Monday, August 15, 2011

Canadian Sport and Leisure: Tourism

For this week I turn to a NFB film I found called "Capital City" by Fergus McDonell from 1957. This film is a comprehensive tour of the city of Ottawa, exploring key national and regional sites and experiences during this time.

Tour Guide from the McDonell 1957 film "Capital City".
The most interesting aspect of this short film is the promotion of Canadian nationalism and identity through the other. For example, American and British tourist in the capital laying out and defining the unique differences between Canadian culture verses American and British Culture. Much like music, art and other forms of recreation during this time, travel and tourism became a tool to promote a distinct Canadian culture. As Ryan Edwardson discusses in his book "Canadian Content: Culture and the Quest for Nationhood", during the early part of the 20th century Canada really began to try to define themselves away from what Edwardson calls 'American Imperialism'. American culture was in many ways flooding into Canadian homes through radio and later television. Canada in turn created strong rules and regulations to promote Canadian culture through various forms of popular culture.

 Tourism can be considered a form of popular culture and in this case this Canadian leisure activity is not just a representation of Canadian culture but promoting it as well. So take the time to watch this historical view of our Nation's Capital, "Capital City" and other great pieces on the NFB website.
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