Thursday, April 12, 2012

Toronto Boom Town, A Cheesily Aweseome NFB Film from 1951

This is great: a ten minute NFB film from 1951 all about what an up-and-coming metropolis Toronto is. The video is something like a newsreel film meets cheesy pro-Toronto propaganda, pitching viewers on "a city growing like mad, bursting at the seams".

It's plenty tongue-in-cheek and plenty self-deprecating (even back then Toronto wasn't really comfortable with its own awesomeness), filled with interesting little references that will stand out to anyone who knows the city today: a mayor who goes on CFRB every week to complain about traffic congestion, the construction of our very first subway, the naive optimism of the plans for Regent Park, a housing boom... there's even some foreshadowing of amalgamation.

My favourite bit, though, might be the shot from the tower of Casa Loma, of a city built among the trees. And the quote from a guy who looked out from the very same spot and said, "A million people, living in a forest."

Anywhoo, the video is lots of fun, well-worth the ten minutes. And it's also something of a reminder, as our villainous overlords in Ottawa take the axe to the National Film Board, that what they're out to destroy is one hell of a vital historical institution.

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