Everything I Know About Canada, I Learned During The Commercials...
April 14, 2006 3:20 AM   Subscribe

The Log Driver's Waltz has been stuck in my head for /decades/ without seeing it on TV - I'm glad I can finally hear it all the way through, to the finish, and hear it /end/.

A related un-forgettable tune-plus-cartoon is "Black, fly, the little blackfly / always the blackfly no matter where you go / I'll die with the blackfly pickin' my booones / In north Ontario-io, in north Ontario", though YouTube doesn't seem to have it...
posted by DataPacRat at 3:43 AM on April 14, 2006

Yeah, I really like the 'birling' link, that is NEAT. Definitely best of the web. Even if it is Youtube.
posted by Malor at 3:47 AM on April 14, 2006

Ah, I miss the blackfly song... nothing else quite seems right to sing while you are getting your own bones picked in north Ontario-io...
posted by anthill at 3:55 AM on April 14, 2006

The woodchuck, also called the groundhog, is one of the larger Canadian rodents. A mature adult may weigh up to seventeen pounds. In winter, it depends almost entirely on body fat, until April, when new plant food reappears. Like the beaver, the woodchuck's front gnawing teeth grow continuously, except during hibernation. Constant grinding trims them down. The breeding period lasts three months, and from four to five young are usual. In May, at about seven weeks, the young are weaned, and cautiously begin to forage on their own. However, they still depend almost entirely on their mother to warn them of impending danger. For more information on the woodchuck, contact the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa.
posted by pracowity at 4:09 AM on April 14, 2006

It's funny how culture can work on a geographical scale-- I was thinking that some of these would have been really appropriate for broadcast in Maine where I grew up (particularly the one about logging, but not so much in Massachusetts, which is similar in culture to Maine. So these really made m feel like I grew up in a buffer zone between Boston and the Maritimes.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:28 AM on April 14, 2006

My appreciation of the CBC, and things Canadian in general, has been inceasing at an expontial rate. PBS/NPR are downright corporate compared to our neighbors to the north.
posted by unmake at 4:30 AM on April 14, 2006

in north Ontario-io...

That's On-tari-ari-ario.
posted by pracowity at 4:33 AM on April 14, 2006

It's exactly this kind of content - which was paid for with taxpayer money in the first place - that demonstrates the value of the internet as a valuable distribution mechanism.

Now, I just need to find a copy of The Log Driver's Waltz in mp3 format. It will be like being propelled back to elementary school.
posted by sindark at 5:32 AM on April 14, 2006

Not a vignette, but The Cat Came Back is definitely an NFB classic.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:40 AM on April 14, 2006

Wow, this takes me back. Especially the Voyageurs short with that cool music. La la-la la la la la la la, la la-la la la laaaa laaaaa.
posted by thejimp at 6:05 AM on April 14, 2006

omg this "how to speak french" vignette is hilarious! :D
and how enjoyable following my BOC post who acknowledge being inspired by the NFB for their name (they in scotland now but raised in manitoba) i remember myself some cross-country skiing NFB shorts that /did/ have the kind of retro-synth-analog background music atmosphere that the BOC captures so well..
posted by zenzizi at 6:23 AM on April 14, 2006

You know, I'd have thought I'd forgotten most of these but seeing them again brought them all back. Now if anyone can find mpgs of the John and Janet Foster nature documentary films my school used to show every week, my childhood will have gone completely digital retroactively.
posted by Zinger at 6:24 AM on April 14, 2006

oops it is alberta not manitoba.
posted by zenzizi at 6:25 AM on April 14, 2006

The Riverdale Lion made my eyes water.
posted by furtive at 6:42 AM on April 14, 2006

I think people who grew up at the same time I did in Ontario learned 2 songs as kids - the national anthem and the log driver's waltz from when they played that short between cartoons on saturday morning.
posted by GuyZero at 6:50 AM on April 14, 2006

how weird is it that we have this, from the real education Board of Canada, only three posts after somethigna bout the band, Boards of Canada?
posted by notsnot at 6:55 AM on April 14, 2006

Actually, my original draft mentioned BOC. I discarded it as filler(Along with a lot of tedious crap about the NFB) before I came here to post.

When I saw zanzizi's FPP, I didn't know whether to spit or wind my watch. :)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:09 AM on April 14, 2006

The NFB was not adverse to telling the occasional tall yankee tale.
posted by furtive at 7:17 AM on April 14, 2006

posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:29 AM on April 14, 2006

The greatest story ever told.
posted by furtive at 7:30 AM on April 14, 2006

furtive that's a great story for sure
and i'm so happy the habs is (1 point shy of) making the playoffs this year :D
and you know what i just seen on tv a best buy ad of habs-sweater customers making fun of some other leafs-sweater customer with the complicity of the best buy clerk.. lol now what's the chance of that?

posted by zenzizi at 7:39 AM on April 14, 2006

Two years ago, I attended the Ontario Library Association (OLA) conference and spoke to some people working the NFB display. They told me that there were plans afoot to have many, if not all, NFB films available online from their website for free - an idea which, I'm sure you'll agree, would make for some pretty unparallelled web content.

Sadly, this hasn't happened yet. But I hold out hope it still may - and, in the meantime, you can see many of the most popular cartoons the NFB has produced (including the aforementioned Log Driver's Waltz) on these titles, which are usually available at your local library (assuming you live in Canada).

Also must mention Ryan in any discussion of NFB flicks to see.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:20 AM on April 14, 2006

posted by bonehead at 8:44 AM on April 14, 2006

I particularly liked the Cuteness of Colin Farrel, with shots of him masterbating and having sex artfully inserted into publicity photos.

The NFB definitely has its moments of genius.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:51 AM on April 14, 2006

Interesting fact: the Logdriver's Waltz was written by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. Kate McGarrigle is the mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright (and ex-wife of Loudon Wainwright III).
posted by krunk at 9:06 AM on April 14, 2006

These all bring back wonderful memories of my childhood, when my mother who works at the Vancouver Public Library would bring home VHS tapes of these shorts, all compiled together -- as a kid, I preferred watching these NFB cartoons far more than anything on TV on Saturday mornings.

Occasionally, I still stay up late some nights with my TV tuned to CBC-TV just to catch that NFB animated short with the national anthem -- they continue air it at the end (and possibly beginning) of every broadcasting day.
posted by antifreez_ at 9:37 AM on April 14, 2006

I love a dose of Cancon in the morning :) Thanks for posting this. *runs to nominate DrNO25, poster of the videos for Canadian sainthood* I can imagine YouTube's server being inundated by nostalgia-seeking Canuck MeFis :)

*googles lyrics to Log Driver's Waltz, thinks nostalgically of Ontario...*
posted by rmm at 9:44 AM on April 14, 2006

I've often thought that the NFB should have their own TV station, or at least some dedicated airtime on the CBC to increase exposure. Just last year, NFB films were winning Oscars -- these were Canadian films, telling Canadian stories, but I'm willing to wager that there are many, many Canadians who haven't seen them, even though the Canadian public are the owners of the NFB.
posted by antifreez_ at 9:52 AM on April 14, 2006

You have made this Canadian girl very, very happy.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:57 AM on April 14, 2006

Does anyone know where to find the "Little Salmon" one?
posted by arcticwoman at 10:05 AM on April 14, 2006

Wow, this takes me back. Especially the Voyageurs short with that cool music. La la-la la la la la la la, la la-la la la laaaa laaaaa.

J'entends le moulin tique tique taque
Jentends le moulin taaaaaque
J'entends le moulin tique tique taque
Jentends le moulin taaaaaque

tique tique taque tique tique taque
tique taaaaque tique taaaaque
J'entends le moulin tique tique taque
Jentends le moulin taaaaaque

Best sung a la ronde
posted by arcticwoman at 10:09 AM on April 14, 2006

Last year I bought a Canadian animation boxed set just for The Man Who Planted Trees.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:36 AM on April 14, 2006

You can look the part as well!
posted by mendel at 10:53 AM on April 14, 2006

My appreciation of the CBC, and things Canadian in general, has been inceasing at an expontial rate. PBS/NPR are downright corporate compared to our neighbors to the north.

Then you'll be interested to know that the CBC website is occasionally/randomly offering an online survey with such gems as:

- should the federal goverment really own a network?
- how does the CBC compare to other sources of news and information

and my personal fave: in a two-income household, is it wrong for the woman to earn more than the man?

I can only think that Heritage has a new Conservative mandate and they're looking for ammunition. The first question is suggestive, the second perhaps innocuous. The third? Trying to rate how "traditional" I am? I encourage you to pepper the gov with complaints of how the CBC is lagging behind the BBC in services and demand more, as I did.

posted by dreamsign at 11:11 AM on April 14, 2006

You can look the part as well!

I've got the long-sleeved version of that shirt -- in fact, I'm wearing it right now. One of the most comfortable t-shirts I've ever owned.
posted by antifreez_ at 12:22 PM on April 14, 2006

oh YEAH!

The Log Driver's Waltz. I love that song.

The Sweater. "This is per-SAY-cue-shion!" Awesome.
posted by C.Batt at 1:32 PM on April 14, 2006

An mp3 version of "The Log Driver's Waltz" is online here:

The sound is much better than in the YouTube video.
posted by sindark at 1:38 PM on April 14, 2006

Started school in the mid-60's. Haven't retained any special memories of the vignettes or the hinterland who's whos. What I remember from assemblies in the gym or movie nights at summer camp is being introduced to Buster Keaton riding the railroad across Canada in a pumpcart. And that environmental film where the guy rowing the canoe through the wilderness keeps being tossed into the fouled present, scoops a drink out of the clearwater lake and gets a mouth full of modern day sludge.
posted by TimTypeZed at 2:00 PM on April 14, 2006

Thanks so much. Big dose of nostalgia for this ex-pat finishing off a long stint in the US. I'm coming home!!

And The Big Snit is one of the best animated shorts evAR.
posted by bumpkin at 3:16 PM on April 14, 2006

Cool, thanks arcticwoman. I didn't know that. Here's the whole thing.
posted by thejimp at 4:45 PM on April 14, 2006

Wow, the Log Driver's Waltz is the new old "I Wanna Marry a Lighthousekeeper" song.
posted by Eideteker at 4:50 PM on April 14, 2006

Ask and ye shall receive. Blackfly. Disclaimer: it's currently processing and I've never uploaded to YouTube before so it may not work. But it may.
posted by stevil at 6:31 PM on April 14, 2006

Looks like it works.
posted by stevil at 7:26 PM on April 14, 2006

The Logdriver's Waltz! Thank you thank you thank you.
posted by painquale at 8:41 PM on April 14, 2006

Blackfly! Wonderful! Thank you!

(And hey, I was right; this version /is/ "in north Ontario-io". :) )
posted by DataPacRat at 2:08 AM on April 15, 2006

Wasn't the Ontari-ari-o from an old Becker's ad? I remember it as going, "Ontari-ari-o runs to Becker's".

/feels shame, sits in box
posted by stinkycheese at 1:27 PM on April 18, 2006

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