If you want to get a glimpse of the beauty Canada is in its raw form before you travel there watch Helicopter Canada. If you’ve never seen it, this is a perfect opportunity to discover this documentary produced for Canada’s centennial.
This entire film was shot from a helicopter (a Sud-Aviation Alouette II, to be exact) and offers panoramic views of Canada from coast to coast. It was a collaboration between the NFB and the Centennial Commission. The goal was to make a film that would highlight all that Canada had to offer and encourage people to come to visit the country during the centennial year.
The helicopter was shipped disassembled from France and reassembled in Canada. It took several months for the NFB to build a special camera harness that would allow someone to shoot from the helicopter. This turned out to be veteran NFB cameraman Eugene Boyko, C.S.C. (who also doubled as director of the film). Boyko would shoot more than 100 NFB films during his career, including Fields of Sacrifice and Norman Jewison, Filmmaker.
Sales around the world were staggering. The film was versioned into 12 other languages in total. A 20-minute shorter version was also produced, entitled Take It from the Top, and it was just as popular. This short version was bought by Sovexport Film for theatrical release in the Soviet Union. The (complete) film would go on to receive an Oscar nomination in the Best Feature Documentary category and win two Canadian Film Awards, among other honors.
Helicopter Canada is exactly what you would expect from a documentary filmed from a helicopter: lots of panoramic shots of Canada’s natural wonders, from the Bay of Fundy to the Rockies, with stops just about everywhere in between. A lot of emphases is put on Canada’s industries, from coal mining to hydroelectric power to wheat farming.
The commentary is quite humorous. My favorite bit is when narrator Jackson talks about a fort built to protect Canada from an American invasion. The Americans never came, but the soldiers stationed there now practice hard and Americans pay to watch. Other highlights include a Greek island (!) in British Columbia, the Bluenose II, and a cameo by four lads from Liverpool.
Discover this country and its amazing and talented people by applying for a working holiday visa today.