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Dominion Construction Company Discrete Item
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Abitibi Canyon

  • CA ON00239 F02283
  • Discrete Item
  • [1933]

This film relates the process of constructing the dam at Abitibi Canyon. The viewer is shown scenic shots of the Abitibi River, waterfalls and portages through unspoiled forest while a voice-over praises the grandeur of Canadian natural resources which have only recently begun to be put to good use. A map of northern Ontario shows the exact location of the Abitibi River and proposed dam. The viewer is then shown images of the early stages of construction: a construction town; the river whose power is to be harnessed; and, land surveyors examining the terrain. The project's progress is illustrated by animation, live action shots and the narrator. The viewer is shown workers drilling rock, the installation of railway tracks and equipment, the river being diverted, blasting and rock removal. The narrator expresses admiration for the scale of the task and its careful organization. The rock is taken to a crusher where it is prepared for concrete; enormous piles of sand are needed for the same purpose. The concrete is shown being mixed, transported and finally dumped into place. At noon, the workers are shown marching to lunch, and then dining. The narrator describes the care that has been taken to look out for the welfare of the workers by providing good food, a hospital, recreation, and a school for their children. After lunch, the work resumes on the spillway and training wall. A group of engineers discuss the progress. Finally, the dam is completed and the viewer is shown the first trickle of water going down the spillway, as the engineers and executives look on. Soon, the water is shown surging through, and the transformed landscape is shown by aerial photography. Lord Bessborough, the Governor General, and Lady Bessborough visit the dam and tour the spillway and power generators. As the narrator describes the significance of the new source of power, his comments are illustrated by shots of mills, mines, factories, and kitchens. The viewer is shown permanent houses which have replaced the construction town, and a monument to 'Sons of Martha,' workers who 'sacrificed their lives to the project.' The film ends with shots of the still river illuminated by the moon.

Dominion Construction Company