FROM AIR CANADA ARCHIVES: In the 1940s people travelled abroad by ship, and domestic travel was either by bus or car, or rail. The concept of travelling by air was new, and airlines in Canada (like elsewhere in the world) were very much in their infancy. Trans-Canada Air Lines was created in 1937 by an act of Parliment, as the flag carrier to serve Canada, and the airline operated a fleet of silver Lockeed 10As and Lodestars up until Canadair Northstars were acquired in 1947.
Very little footage exists within the Air Canada film archives from this era, but we were able to find two little gems that provide a snap-shot picture of what air travel was like back in the day when when almost nobody had travelled by air. The films talk about being "air-minded" in the same context as being "open-minded" .. and it is interesting how a new vernacular was created to promote the new method of transport by aeroplane.
The first film "Swift Family Robinson" was produced by TCA in 1943, when the world was at war, and the economy was in a constrained state due to shortages and the war effort. Although filmed in colour, the master prints are long gone and we were able to digitize one of the two period distribution 16mm cine prints that remain within the archive. This film charts a family's trans-Canada journey from Montreal to Vancouver via Lockheed Lodestar. (colour 31 min)
"A New Map for Canada" was produced by TCA in 1947 and explains how Canada's new airline was fostering economic growth across the country during the 40s. We used the camera original air-to-air 16mm footage of the TCA Lodestar, DC-3 and Northstar which was re-mastered into this film just for this DVD. It was very lucky that we were able to find the camera original films for the aircraft sequences, but it might be noticeable that the image quality of the other parts of the film is not as clear, reason being that the master print does not exist, and we had to digitize a distribution print. This film takes you across Canada by TCA Lodestar, and by Canadair Northstar, which was brand new when this film was made.
Please be aware that these films are presented for their historical importance, and not for their production values and/or image quality. These films are distribution copy prints that were made 70 years ago, and the image and production quality is not the same as we are used to today. In some of the films we experienced film breaks, film warpage (which result in the film being unable to hold focus), broken film sprockets, and blown out sound levels. So these films are by no means perfect. But we believe their historic value over-rides their technical imperfections, and we present them as a look back on a past era.