Image: A film still depicting a young boy shoveling dirt (SPRA 0475.01.02, Fonds 475: Billy Wood Family fonds)
Movie Monday highlights videos from the Archives’ film collection. Every week, an archival film will be featured on our YouTube channel and here on our blog. The Movie Monday project is made possible with the generous funding support of Swan City Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.
Welcome back to Movie Monday! Today’s film is of particular interest as it is one of the earliest moving pictures to be featured in this series. The footage was taken by Billy Wood circa 1950-1952.
William Frederick Wood was born in England in 1903. He came to Canada with his uncles in 1924, settling in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Billy traveled west each fall to work as a harvester, then returned to Nova Scotia to work at his uncle’s grocery for the remainder of the year. After contracting pneumonia, Billy was advised by his doctor to move closer to the mountains. Having a cousin in Bezanson, Billy decided to settle in the Peace Country. He made his living as a trapper and harvester for some years, then started a battery repair and gunsmith shop around 1945. That same year, he married Mable Dryer of Glen Leslie.
Mable and Billy had four children: James, Verna, Winston, and Barbara. The featured film focuses largely on the two oldest children as they play together, go for walks, and celebrate birthdays. At the end of the film, a new baby is introduced – presumably Winston. In addition to scenes of children playing, the film shows events such as parades, rodeos, and drives in the countryside.
This film offers a compelling and well-rounded look at life in the South Peace in the early 1950’s. For more videos from the Wood Family fonds, visit our YouTube channel!