Legacies 150 is a new National Film Board of Canada series of interactive photo and illustration essays reflecting on legacy and inheritance a century and a half into Canadian Confederation. These first-person stories explore where we come from, who we are, and what kind of nation we are becoming.
Coming from communities large and small and available in both English and French, Legacies 150 takes a diverse look at Canada’s shared journey, bringing together the talents of notable Canadians—photographers, writers, poets, illustrators, and musicians from coast to coast to coast—working with NFB English and French-language production studios from Atlantic Canada to the Pacific.
Some stories approach the question of legacy with an affirming lens, cherishing the relationships, values, and memories we’ve been gifted. Others probe legacies that overshadow our past and cloud our present—ones that require courage to face in order to move forward together. As an ensemble, they speak to the striking diversity of Canadian experiences and perspectives, and of this place we all call home.
The June 13 online launch was joined by two public displays: at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, visitors can explore Legacies 150 stories about immigration via dedicated kiosks and a photo exhibit. At Harbourfront Centre, the innovative cultural organization on Toronto’s waterfront, the public can connect with Legacies 150 via a photo exhibit, handheld devices with headphones and a video wall projection. A short video about Legacies 150 will also be featured as part of the NFB’s Canada 150 programming on screens at international airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax, Victoria, Saskatoon and Kelowna.
Blood in the Soil
A Canadian photographer and his Afghan “fixer” met in a war zone and found a common bond—home is the soil that runs through their veins. Written by Dennis Bock, with photographs by Larry Towell, and produced by David Oppenheim at the Ontario Studio.
Portrait of a Family
Living in the Kawarthas, north of Peterborough, David McKinstry and his husband didn’t plan to set a legal precedent—they just wanted kids to call their own. Written by Evie Ruddy, with photos by April Hickox, and produced by Justine Pimlott at the Ontario Studio.
It Might Break Your Heart
Newfoundlander Mary Walsh’s hymn to a nation, from a Canadian by happenstance. Written by Mary Walsh, with illustrations by Jud Haynes, and produced by Annette Clarke at the Quebec and Atlantic Studio.
An alternative-universe tale that puts post-colonial oppression in its place. Written and illustrated by Mohawk comic book artist Walter Kaheró:ton Scott and produced by Jelena Popović at the English-language Animation Studio.
Living north of the Arctic Circle, there’s only one place they call home—out on the land, far from the government-sponsored outpost. Based on the personal stories of Michelline Ammaaq and Bonnie Ammaaq, with photographs by Jonathan Frantz, and produced by Alicia Smith at the North West Studio.
From Janet with Love
The daughter of a Filipino pen-pal bride, Montrealer Jennifer Haydock reflects on her mother’s journey as well as her own. Written by Helene Klodawsky, with photos by Rita Leistner, and produced by Kat Baulu at the Quebec and Atlantic Studio.
The absence of hearing isn’t a problem that needs fixing. Based on the personal story of francophone Toronto filmmaker Chantal Deguire, written by Andrea Curtis (interpreted from sign language), with illustrations by Pyramid Attack Inc. and photos by Jason Thériault. Produced by Dominic Desjardins at the Canadian Francophonie Studio.
Nobody took more photos of 20th-century Canada than Regina-born George Hunter—but you’ve likely never heard of him. Written and produced by Nicholas Klassen at the Digital Studio.
A century ago, Peter Wiebe’s Mennonite ancestors left Canada—now his family is coming back. Concept and development by Shawn Mehler and Robin Schlaht, written by Sandra Shields, with photos by Shawn Mehler and Robin Schlaht. Produced by David Christensen at the North West Studio.
Recruited by Water
As a boy, Franco-Ontarian René Bertrand longed to sail the world—and World War II granted his wish. Concept design and photos by Yannick Grandmont, written by Sophie Dupuis and produced by Marc Bertrand at the French-language Animation Studio.
The Dunbar Irregulars
A motley crew of Vancouver tennis buddies and their heartwarming collective journey. Written and produced by Selwyn Jacob at the BC and Yukon Studio, with photos by Emily Cooper.
The Call of the Yukon
Some of us were born in Canada—others were born to be here. Written and photographed by German-born Yukoner Werner Walcher, and produced by Selwyn Jacob at the BC and Yukon Studio.
From her family’s ancestral hunting camp in Quebec’s Manicouagan region, Innu poet Natasha Kanapé Fontaine sends a message across time and generations. Written by Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, with photos by Maryse Goudreau. Produced by Denis McCready at the French-language Documentary Studio.