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10 Best Documentaries About Canada To Watch

Canada’s diverse landscapes, rich history, and unique cultural heritage have been the subject of numerous captivating documentaries about Canada.

These documentaries offer a range of perspectives on the country, including its history, culture, environment, and societal issues.

From its vast wilderness and majestic national parks to its vibrant cities and multicultural society, Canada has provided filmmakers with a wealth of fascinating stories to explore.

Here are some of the best documentaries about Canada that provide insights into various aspects of the country.

Ray Mears Northern Wilderness (2009)

Ray Mears Northern Wilderness is easily one of the best documentaries about Canada, showcasing the indigenous people and their ancient way of life, to the modern pioneers who explored the country by canoe through Canada’s vast rivers.

It shows how Canada was explored and the beautiful landscape of the country.

Ray Mears is a famous and popular British bushcraft expert and is one of Backpackingman’s favourite outdoorsmen and TV presenters.

You can watch the full episodes on YouTube although they are only in 360p quality. This is the first episode on YouTube:

Canada: A People’s History (2000)

This award-winning 17-part documentary series chronicles the history of Canada from prehistoric times to the late 20th century, exploring major events, key figures, and the diverse experiences of the Canadian people.

Each episode of the series focuses on different periods and themes, showcasing significant events, personalities, and societal changes that have shaped the nation. T

The Great Bear Rainforest (2019)

This documentary showcases the pristine beauty of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, one of the last untouched wilderness areas on the planet. It explores the unique ecosystem and the efforts to protect it from logging and other threats.

This documentary sheds light on the efforts of conservationists, First Nations communities, and government agencies to protect and preserve this ecologically important region.

The film showcases the stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife (including the iconic spirit bear, a rare white subspecies of the black bear), and the cultural significance of the Great Bear Rainforest to the Indigenous peoples who have lived there for thousands of years.

Canada: The Story of Us (2017)

This 10-part documentary about Canada delves into the history of Canada from its indigenous origins to the present day. The series explores various themes, including exploration, conflict, immigration, and innovation, to tell the story of the nation.

Each episode of the series focuses on a specific period or theme in Canadian history, starting from pre-contact Indigenous civilizations and continuing through to the modern era.

Waterlife (2009)

Out of the documentaries about Canada on this list, this documentary is a good one about the Great Lakes and focuses on the importance of water and its impact on them.

The Great Lakes are a group of five interconnected freshwater lakes in North America, consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. T

It examines environmental issues, conservation efforts, and the interconnectedness of the region’s ecosystems while highlighting Canada’s role in preserving this vital resource.

The National Parks Project (2011)

A collaborative documentary, it brings together musicians and filmmakers to create a visual and musical exploration of Canada’s national parks. The film showcases the beauty of the parks, capturing their essence through a blend of stunning visuals and original music compositions.

The filmmakers and musicians embarked on a journey to various parks across the country, including Banff, Gros Morne, Gwaii Haanas, Kluane, Nahanni, Pacific Rim, Sirmilik, Terra Nova, Torngat Mountains, and Wapusk.

“The National Parks Project” aimed to raise awareness about the importance of preserving these natural treasures and showcase Canada’s rich cultural and environmental heritage.

It emphasized the need for conservation and responsible stewardship to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy and benefit from these protected areas.

Hockey: A People’s History (2006)

Hockey holds a special place in Canadian culture, and this six-part documentary series explores the history and significance of the sport in Canada. It examines how hockey has shaped national identity, reflecting on key moments, players, and the enduring passion for the game.

The documentary features archival footage, interviews with former players, coaches, historians, and passionate hockey fans, as well as re-enactments to bring significant moments in hockey history to life.

First full episode on YouTube:

Nanook of the North (1922)

Out of all the documentaries about Canada, this one is a classic. It was released in 1922 and is often considered one of the earliest and most influential documentaries in cinema history.

The film follows the daily life of an Inuk man named Nanook (whose real name was Allakariallak) and his family in the Canadian Arctic, specifically in the region of Inukjuak (formerly known as Port Harrison), Quebec. Flaherty spent several years living among the Inuit people and developed a deep appreciation for their way of life, which he sought to capture on film.

“Nanook of the North” presents a visual portrait of the Inuit people and their survival skills in the harsh Arctic environment. The film showcases various aspects of their life, such as hunting, fishing, building igloos, and interacting with their sledge dogs. It also captures moments of playfulness and humour among the family members.

Flaherty’s documentary style was groundbreaking at the time. Although the film is considered a documentary, it has elements of fictionalization and staged scenes. Flaherty re-enacted certain moments to enhance the narrative and cinematic experience, which led to debates about the authenticity of documentary filmmaking.

Bear in mind this is a very old documentary about Canada and is a silent film.

You can watch the whole film on YouTube:

Documentaries About Canada

Documentaries about Canada. lake scene with mountains in background.

Canada is a diverse and fascinating country with a rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking natural landscapes and these documentaries about Canada will help you understand the country better.

Personally, having spent time in Canada, I love the place, and I’m sure you will too. Out of all my recommendations on documentaries about Canada, the Ray Mears one is my must-watch recommendation for you. It really does show the natural beauty of the country so well and Ray Mears is a great guide on this journey in Canada.

Whether you’re interested in Canadian history, natural wonders, or contemporary issues, there’s something to pique your curiosity about the Great North.

For more documentaries take a look at the 15 best documentaries about Japan.

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