Ontario

Ontario

Discover Ontario—from its big cities and rural areas to its small towns and remote communities—through a selection of films that shines a spotlight on the province’s hidden treasures and fascinating characters. Suitable for both primary and secondary level students, this playlist includes animated and documentary films. These seminal works from our collection address the topics that matter most, ranging from historical subjects to the most pressing issues of the day.

  • True North: Inside the Rise of Toronto Basketball (Feature)
    2019|1 h 29 min

    On the heels of the Toronto Raptors’ historic NBA Championship and the record-setting number of Canadian draft picks, the Toronto hoop dream is more alive than ever. In this feature-length doc, director Ryan Sidhoo shines the spotlight on 12-year-old Elijah Fisher, 15-year-old Keone Davis and 18-year-old Cordell Veira as they navigate today’s youth basketball machine in pursuit of their own NBA dreams.

  • Hi-Ho Mistahey! (Short Version)
    2013|1 h 0 min

    In this feature-length documentary, Alanis Obomsawin tells the story of Shannen’s Dream, a national campaign to provide equitable access to education in safe and suitable schools for First Nations children. Strong participation in this initiative eventually brings Shannen's Dream all the way to the United Nations in Geneva.

  • Unarmed Verses
    2016|1 h 25 min

    This feature documentary presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing imposed relocation. At the centre of the story is a remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old black girl whose poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society. Unarmed Verses is a cinematic rendering of our universal need for self-expression and belonging.

  • Waterlife
    2009|1 h 49 min

    Waterlife is a documentary film about the Great Lakes that follows the flow of the lakes' water from the Nipigon River to the Atlantic Ocean. The film's goal is to take viewers on a tour of an incredibly beautiful ecosystem that is facing complex challenges.


    Also, check out the Waterlife interactive web project.

  • Speakers for the Dead

    This documentary reveals some of the hidden history of Blacks in Canada. In the 1930s in rural Ontario, a farmer buried the tombstones of a Black cemetery to make way for a potato patch. In the 1980s, descendants of the original settlers, Black and White, came together to restore the cemetery, but there were hidden truths no one wanted to discuss. Deep racial wounds were opened. Scenes of the cemetery excavation, interviews with residents and re-enactments—including one of a baseball game where a broken headstone is used for home plate—add to the film's emotional intensity.

  • World In a City
    2016|13 min

    World in a City is a portrait of Toronto and the steps Torontonians are taking to create a society that welcomes and encourages new immigrants to flourish. Join photographer Colin Boyd Shafer as he celebrates diversity in this short film, Canada’s contribution to the Big Cities project, an exciting international collaboration that uses documentary storytelling to outline both the challenges facing growing urban areas and the bold solutions to these ongoing problems. To view more of the films, visit LinkTV (here).

  • Salvation
    2001|50 min

    This documentary portrays the front-line street workers who serve the needy under the umbrella of the Salvation Army. One of the world's largest social agencies, the Army is a religious institution that serves the practical needs of people first, believing that religion is of no use to anyone who is hungry, homeless and hopeless.
    Join filmmaker Rosemary House as she peers into the hearts and minds of people on both sides of the street – those who help and those who need help. Shot in Toronto at Christmastime, the film chronicles the small hopes and tiny victories of life lived below the poverty line and the daily rewards for those who work to serve others.

  • Invisible City
    campus 2009 | 1 h 15 min

    Invisible City is a moving story of two boys from Regent Park crossing into adulthood – their mothers and mentors rooting for them to succeed; their environment and social pressures tempting them to make poor choices. Turning his camera on the often ignored inner city, Academy-award nominated director Hubert Davis sensitively depicts the disconnection of urban poverty and race from the mainstream.

  • Trick or Treaty?
    2014|1 h 24 min

    Covering a vast swath of northern Ontario, Treaty No. 9 reflects the often contradictory interpretations of treaties between First Nations and the Crown. To the Canadian government, this treaty represents a surrendering of Indigenous sovereignty, while the descendants of the Cree signatories contend its original purpose to share the land and its resources has been misunderstood and not upheld. Enlightening as it is entertaining, Trick or Treaty? succinctly and powerfully portrays one community’s attempts to enforce their treaty rights and protect their lands, while also revealing the complexities of contemporary treaty agreements. Trick or Treaty? made history as the first film by an Indigenous filmmaker to be part of the Masters section at TIFF when it screened there in 2014.

  • Angel Peacock
    2019|24 min

    Dawod is a 12 year old Yazidi boy. The Yazidi are a small Kurdish-speaking sect from northern Iraq that dates back to Mesopotamian times – who have been persecuted for almost as long. ISIS has been waging a campaign of genocide against them since 2014. Over 10,000 men have been killed. Thousands of women kidnapped, raped and trafficked. The survivors are in camps in Kurdistan and a lucky few have been brought to Germany and Canada. Dawod and his mother Naro were held captive by ISIS for months. They managed to escape by running through forests for 9 days and nights without food or water. They made it to one of the refugee camps and from there to Canada, arriving in London, Ontario in January 2018. This is the story of Dawod's arrival in and introduction to his new homeland and way of life.

  • Earth to Mouth
    2002|41 min

    Filmed at the Wing Fong Farm in Ontario, this documentary follows the tilling, planting and harvesting of Asian vegetables destined for Chinese markets and restaurants. On 80 acres of land, Lau King-Fai, her son and a half-dozen migrant Mexican workers care for the plants. For Yeung Kwan, her son, the farm represents personal and financial independence. For his mother, it is an oasis of peace. For the Mexican workers, it provides jobs that help support their children back home.

  • Montrose Avenue
    2006|5 min

    Montrose Avenue is a 5-and-a-half-minute animated documentary that portrays an average day in the life of an inner-city neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada.

    Narrated from the perspective of a 6-year-old girl, we travel up and down the street on a typical summer day. We follow the actions of residents, pedestrians and local merchants, as their daily routines take them to the local park, to shops or simply to chat in anticipation of the annual Portuguese Senhor Da Pedra festival and parade.

  • Christmas at Moose Factory
    1971|13 min

    Released in 1971, this lyrical short documentary marked the directorial debut of legendary Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin. Filmed at a residential school in northern Ontario, it is composed entirely of drawings by young Cree children and stories told by the children themselves. Listening has been at the core of Obomsawin’s practice since the very beginning. “Documentary film,” she said in a 2017 interview, “is the one place that our people can speak for themselves. I feel that the documentaries that I’ve been working on have been very valuable for the people, for our people to look at ourselves… and through that be able to make changes that really count for the future of our children to come.”

  • As the Crow Flies
    2016|1 h 34 min

    Every summer, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets offers its top cadets the chance to participate in an elite flight-training camp. As the Crow Flies follows a group of these young men and women as they undergo seven weeks of training to get their pilot’s license in an intense program that normally takes six to eight months.