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State Funeral of the Late Right Honourable Sir Wilfred Laurier Feb. 22nd, 1919

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Film Properties: 
Length (feet): 
442 (28mm); 459 (35mm); 183 (16mm)
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Holding Institutions: 

Library and Archives Canada: 16mm, 28mm, 35mm, VHS, Digibeta

"Film of the state funeral of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Footage includes: pall bearers coming out of the Victoria Museum in Ottawa and placing the coffin inside a covered hearse; the funeral procession, lead by several horse-drawn carriages laden with wreaths, followed by the hearse drawn by four black horses with dignitaries following, some on foot; two open carriages carrying dignitaries with other mourners on foot; the procession coming to a stop and pall bearers removing the coffin from the hearse and, bearing it on their shoulders, entering Notre Dame Basilica with a long line of mourners following; the exterior of the church shows windows and doorway draped with black cloth and a large crowd outside the church; and finally, the coffin is shown being lowered into the grave.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier's funeral prompted a mass display of grief that literally closed down Ottawa. Serving from 1896 to 1911, Laurier was Canada's first French-Canadian prime minister and was famous for his eloquence in both languages. After his death on February 17, 1919, 50,000 people -- half of Ottawa's population in 1919 -- filed past Laurier's body where it lay in state at the Victoria Memorial Museum on Metcalfe Street. Virtually every VIP in Ottawa marched in the funeral procession, which is shown briefly in this film excerpt. The excerpt is from a documentary made four years later by the federal government's Exhibits and Publicity Bureau (a predecessor of the National Film Board). Some of the footage was rushed to Ottawa theatres the day of the funeral. Other footage of the funeral, shot by a competing private film company, reached Montréal the day after the funeral.
Beyond the Printed Word: Newsreel and Broadcast Reporting in Canada = Au-delà de l'écrit : actualités filmées et reportages radio et télé diffusés au Canada. Ottawa: National Archives of Canada, 1988."