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An Idea of Canada

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When Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and her husband, John Ralston Saul, embarked on a summer journey to Canada's three seacoasts, it was not to be just another viceregal tour. Travelling by boat, small plane, snowmobile, pickup truck and canoe, they encounter every kind of weather as they visit western Nunavut, Newfoundland, Labrador and Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands).

Meeting with Native and non-Native Canadians in these far-flung communities, the couple participate in song and dance, visit elders, sample local delicacies--and, above all, listen to concerns. Heartened by the aboriginals' relationship with the land, they hope to share this message of conservation with "southern" Canadians.

Inspired by Glenn Gould's famous radio show, "The Idea of North," and hearkening back to time-honoured documentaries covering royal visits, An Idea of Canada is a meditation on the myth and reality of the rugged landscape that symbolizes Canada for most people--yet which few of us will ever see.

2003, 100 min

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