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Les Diamants du Canada

Accession number: 
Production Years: 
1959 to 1960


Film Properties: 
Length (feet): 
1059 (16mm)
Length (minutes): 
Holding Institutions: 

Library and Archives Canada: 16mm, Beta.
"Focuses on the area on the north shore of the St. Lawrence between Murray Bay and the Strait of Belle-Isle and the resources found there. Jacques Cartier spent the winter of 1541 in this region and wrote about these resources, including some embellishments - ice as gold leafs, stones as diamonds. Cartier's exaggerations, a product of the pressure he was under to discover riches, led to the 16th century proverb, 'as false as a Canadian diamond'. Eventually the fur trade in the area made an impact in Europe featuring beaver, marten, otter and mink. A black fox pelt sold for $3,000 at one time. The trees noted by Cartier provided the material for what was to become a shipbuilding industry third in the world. In the valley of the Gouffre River, 60 miles below Quebec, an iron mine was discovered. One of the first in the country it was mined then abandoned several times, initially for titanium. At Knob Lake a town was quickly built around a mine before the yield could justify the growth. This yield eventually travelled through 350 miles of railway to awaiting ships in the bay. The lifestyle of the area slowly changed with only a few trappers, scarce tanneries and some fishermen maintaining the old ways. Slowly these occupations have disappeared, the men turning to mining for their livings. A new mine near Lake Janine employs 15,000 men who move the iron over 200 miles of railway constructed to connect the mine to the sea and the waiting ships."


Online database National Film Board of Canada.
"When Cartier wintered at Cap Rouge near Québec City in 1641, he claimed to have detected diamonds in the surrounding hills. Was he so very wrong? Three centuries later, 15,000 men have come to excavate the iron mountains of the Canadian tundra where the rust of those diamonds still sparkles."

"Peut-on reprocher à un grand découvreur ayant passé l'hiver à Cap-Rouge en amont de Québec, en 1541, la naissance du proverbe bien connu 'faux comme un diamant du Canada' quand on sait que 15 000 hommes de partout creusent les montagnes de fer de la toundra où brille encore et toujours la rouille des diamants du Canada."