1.20.2007

everyone is canadian

This is such a bizarre Canadian coincidence that I have to pull it out of comments and give it a post of its own.

In comments here, friend of wmtc Impudent Strumpet had a really creative idea of what to do with one of these spy coins. (Alleged spy coins, that is.)
I don't know what to think about it as a spy theory, but I think it would make for a brilliant piece of art. Put a transmitter in a coin, track the coin's journey through the economy, set up a website with streaming where you can listen to what the coin "hears"...
ImpStrump's idea reminded me of a movie that I saw in 6th grade - and never forgot.
When you were in grade school, did you see a movie about a miniature wooden kayak with a little carved in it? A boy puts it in a stream, or maybe in some snow melt on a mountain...?

Anyone know what I'm talking about?

. . . .

Here's what I remember. Someone carves a little man in a canoe or kayak, and sets it in a stream or maybe some snow melt. The movie follows the toy canoe as it journeys over all kinds of water to the sea.

As the viewer, you forget that it's a wooden toy - and when it's in trouble, or turns over, or is stuck somewhere, it's exciting or scary.

I remember teachers telling us to remember it's not a real man.
This seemed to ring a bell with several readers. I couldn't find anything on Google, but little did I know, I was looking in the wrong place. The place to search? The National Film Board of Canada. This film I saw in the 6th grade and never forgot was Canadian.

I was - I am - astounded. I always saying "everyone is Canadian," but this is completely ridiculous!

The movie is called "Paddle To The Sea". It was made in 1966, and based on a children's book with the same title, written by Holling C. Holling in 1941. There's a lovely description on the NFB website:
For all children and those adults for whom the romance of journeying is still strong. This great NFB children's classic is adapted from a story by Holling C. Holling. During the long winter night, an Indian boy sets out to carve a man and a canoe. He calls the man "Paddle to the Sea." The boy sets the carving down on a frozen stream to await the coming of spring. The film charts the adventures that befall the canoe on its long odyssey from Lake Superior to the sea. This delightful story is photographed with great patience and an eye for the beauty of living things, offering vivid impressions of Canada's varied landscape and waterways.
The boy carves a message into the canoe, for anyone who might find it and pick it up: "I am Paddle-to-the-Sea. Please put me back in the water."

I'm also pretty sure that the movie was used as an environmental statement. This was the early 1970s, and air and water pollution were big topics. The canoe starts its journey on pure, clean water, but later finds its way to filthy, polluted lakes and rivers.

I don't know if most kids in the US saw this movie. I went to a progressive, semi-experimental elementary school, and I now realize we did a lot of unusual things. Maybe this film was one of them.

8 comments:

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Oh, I remember that film, too! How funny. And we're around the same age, I think.

Actually, it was realizing over a couple of years that a lot of the cultural products that I most love are actually Canadian that first got me thinking...hmm, maybe Canada? But this is a new one for me.

redsock said...

I had never heard of this film before these posts. It looks like the movie (1966) was close to 10 years old before L saw it.

L-girl said...

Judging from what classroom I remember sitting in, I saw it in either 1970 or 1971.

By 1976 I was in high school. :)

Scott M. said...

I saw it as an interstitial on CBC as a kid. It has an NFB feel to it... in fact, I can usually tell an NFB within one minute of watching it.

Jenjenjigglepants said...

There's a Scottish band called "Boards of Canada" who got their name from all of the NFB films they watched in school.

I remember the image of the kayaker but not the film. My faves was "Evolution" which has this really funky music and weird beings (claymation?) growing and moving and dancing.

I think like ScottM I saw these on CBC as a little kid. In school it seemed we got "the Hockey Sweater" in French class on a yearly basis.

RE: the tracking of coins--I seem to remember an online thing in the late 90's of writing a web address on (US) dollar bills, registering the serial number on the website and putting the bill back in circulation. Some future person would register any bills they got with the site written on and so track the bills. Less interesting than your idea though.

Jen

James said...

RE: the tracking of coins--I seem to remember an online thing in the late 90's of writing a web address on (US) dollar bills, registering the serial number on the website and putting the bill back in circulation. Some future person would register any bills they got with the site written on and so track the bills. Less interesting than your idea though.

This is still going on: Where's George?

There's also Where's Willy? for Canada.

Jenjenjigglepants said...

Thanks James. I guess it was interesting enough!

Jen

James said...

Thanks James. I guess it was interesting enough!

I have about three US bills in circulation on Where's George. Several people have connected that game with geocaching, which is a hobby of mine.