Area films included in archives’ online collection

Published on October 2, 2010
A screen capture from the film ‘Porpoise Oil’ from 1936 by Dr. Alexander Leighton.

Films from the 1928 Cherry Carnival in Bear River and of porpoise hunting by Mi’kmaq are among those now available on a new website launched last week by the Nova Scotia Archives.

‘The Way We Were: Nova Scotia in Film, 1917-1957’ highlights the first four decades of amateur and professional cinematography in the province. The collection represents some of the oldest digitized film in Canada.

Visitors can explore almost 100 black-and-white home movies, full-colour travelogues, award-winning documentaries, and government-produced tourism films from around Nova Scotia through the website and complementary YouTube channel.

The Cherry Carnival footage was taken by a summer visitor to the community, but a film on hunting porpoise for oil was made by Dr. Alexander Leighton, a sociologist and summer resident at Smith’s Cove who did a long-term study of the area.

A film ‘The Beaver’ by Leighton is also among the archives’ collection.

“This project makes valuable historic film available to anyone with access to the Internet, making it an important resource for students, educators, and life-long learners," said Tourism, Culture and Heritage Minister Percy Paris.

Lois Yorke, director of public services at the archives, said  51,000 feet of film was digitized to make this resource, and visitors to the website can browse through films chronologically, by keyword, or by filmmaker.

A ‘Save to iPod’ button allows users to download films.

The collection is available at and