Spaces In-Between: The Railway and Early Cinema in Rural, Western Canada

  • Paul S. MooreEmail author
Part of the Global Cinema book series (GLOBALCINE)


Canadian early cinema is perhaps unique for the central place of railway companies in sponsoring the most prominent and some of the earliest films of Canada and its rural landscape. Prior histories have neglected how a primary audience for these films were the people of rural Canada themselves. Railways sponsored first films of Manitoba’s rural prairie, made by R. A. Hardie in 1897, who exhibited them across the Canadian West multiple times before they accompanied lectures by J. S. Freer in Britain. Charles Urban’s ‘Living Canada’ was produced with support from the Canadian Pacific Railway by the London Bioscope and debuted in London, but the company extensively toured Canada for several years with a focus on stops in the Prairies and Rocky Mountains. In Canada, land and space is a problem to overcome—the barrier to nationhood, rather than its source—and communication was the solution. Rural cinema was implicitly appended to nationalist policies by showmen riding the rails, filming the rails, and returning by rail to exhibit those films to rural audiences.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ryerson UniversityTorontoCanada

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