Nitrate Treasures comes to Winnipeg


It was a great experience to be a part of the screening at Cinematheque in Winnipeg of the 1919-1920 footage of (mostly) northern Canada that was recently returned to the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives.

Following the screening, I had the opportunity to share the stage with Kevin Nikkel of Five Door Films and James Gorton (the moving image and sound archivist at the HBC Archives), to discuss aspects of the history and context of this remarkable film footage. Maureen Dolyniuk, Keeper of the HBC Archives, served as the Master of Ceremonies, adding continuity to our stories about the film’s making almost one hundred years ago, its more recent journey from London, England to Winnipeg, Canada and the current work being done to connect the film to communities across the country.

Alison Gilmour provides a review of Nitrate Treasures on her blog on CBC:


Province of Manitoba announcement on “Rare Collection of Silent Films”

The Province of Manitoba announced today the return to Canada of a rare collection of Hudson’s Bay Company films. The collection, added to the holdings of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives (HBCA) in Winnipeg, “provides a unique glimpse into Inuit and First Nations communities and HBC operations across northern Canada from 1919 to 1939.”

The bulk of the collection is related to the The Romance of the Far Fur Country, the film produced for the Hudson’s Bay Company’s 250th anniversary in 1920. Also included is footage from the historical pageants in Western Canada which were part of the anniversary celebrations, as well as a few select reels related to HBC activities in Canada.

The announcement coincides with upcoming screenings of the film in Winnipeg:

  • Feb. 15at 7 p.m. at Cinematheque, 100 Arthur St.
  • Feb. 22and Feb. 29at 7 p.m. at the Archives of Manitoba, 200 Vaughan St.

For more information please contact the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, 204-945-4949 or

For the press release go to:

For the background material see HBCA Films Background.