A film time capsule of Winnipeg recently surfaced on YouTube, offering a glimpse of a city adapting to the jet age and new-found tourism.
City of Rivers, a 26-minute film produced in 1964 by the Manitoba Department of Industry and Commerce, tours viewers through the city's attractions — architecture, nightlife, dining, entertainment, sports — as well as Manitoba's lake country.
Hosted by former CBC broadcaster Ed McCrea, who delivers the narrative in an old-school radio voice, the film predates Tourism Winnipeg and Travel Manitoba.
The film was made the year the now-demolished Winnipeg airport terminal was opened. McCrea talks about how the modernist structure, torn down in 2012, is referred to as the Taj Mahal of the Prairies.
There are views of long-gone buildings, boulevards and signs, the old duck pond at Assiniboine Park, and bygone fashions. The film also includes clips from a Bombers football game in the old stadium where, to no surprise, the home team is losing.
The past is also evident in the language, with its sexual innuendo, politically incorrect terms, and racist references to Eskimo art at the WAG and an Indian village at the Red River Exhibition.
McCrea died in 1991 and the film was recently rediscovered in storage by his son, Paul McCrea, who transferred it into a digital format. Paul McCrea's son, Andrew McCrea, then uploaded it to YouTube four days ago and it has already racked up 30,000 views.
"I never expected it to take off like that," Paul McCrea said. "It's really neat to be able to see him and hear him again."