Wonderland of Gaspé, 1935
Associated Screen News Ltd.
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
Wonderland of Gaspé is one of the earliest films for a bilingual audience made to present the Gaspé coast. The work of Montreal’s Associated Screen News, it offers a glimpse of some of the activities practiced in the region in 1935; of course the way the people of Gaspé and the First Nations are presented reflect the mentality of the era. The tour of the Gaspé begins in Montreal, takes a turn at Trois-Rivières, a halt at Quebec City and Rivière-du-Loup, then presents the Gaspé by taking the tour along the southern route from its start in the Matapedia River Valley. The cinematographic visit ends in Metis Beach, Ste-Flavie and Father Point. In brief capsules (the film is just 12 minutes in length), the film presents some unique images of the region and its artisans at work.
The short film was produced to be shown in movie theatres prior to feature films. Associated Screen News Ltd was created by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1920 to produce films to illustrate the wonders of Canada. Until the creation of the National Film Board in 1939, it was the most important film company in Canada, producing the majority of newsreels, short films and industrials.
Wonderland of Gaspé is a short introduction to a vast region, but the filmmakers and narration allow viewers a glimpse of the many tourism activities then on offer, salmon-fishing, local artisans at work, handicrafts being made in First Nations communities and cod-fisherman at work catching and laying out the cod to dry. The Rocher Percé is given special attention, so too is Metis Beach and a few other stops along the way. The views of the Gaspé highway illustrate how few cars were on the road and the pristine condition of the roadway stops and railings.