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WWII: An Overview in Moving PicturesWWII: An Overview in Moving PicturesMany Voices, Many StoriesMany Voices, Many StoriesThe Home FrontCritical PerspectivesCritical PerspectivesSee Everything, Hear EverythingSee Everything, Hear Everything
Home > The Home Front > Women and the War > Film excerpts
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Rosies of the North
Excerpt  (04:45) 1999, director: Kelly Saxberg
As men left to fight overseas, women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers. By 1944 over 1 million were working full-time outside their homes. About 3000 women manufactured fighter planes at Canadian Car and Foundry in Thunder Bay. Although quick to learn the necessary skills, they met with resistance from male colleagues. A group of former "Rosies" looks back with pride.
They raised children, baked cakes... and built world-class fighter planes. Sixty years ago, thousands of women from Thunder Bay and the Prairies donned trousers, packed lunch pails and took up rivet guns to participate in the greatest industrial war effort in Canadian history. Like many other factories across the country from 1939 to 1945, the shop floor at Fort William's Canadian Car and Foundry was transformed from an all-male workforce to one with forty percent female workers.

Rosies of the North traces the story of a group of women whose lives were changed by their experiences. They describe with wit and humour their role in the production of the Hurricane and Helldiver fighter planes.

The film also tells the remarkable story of Elsie MacGill, Chief Aeronautical Engineer at Canadian Car and Foundry, the first woman in Canada to graduate with an engineering degree and the first woman in the world to design an airplane.

More info on this film in NFB catalogue »»

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Film excerpts
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Excerpt (04:45)
Rosies of the North
1999, director: Kelly Saxberg
As men left to fight overseas, women entered the workforce...
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Excerpt (03:07)
Rosies of the North
1999, director: Kelly Saxberg
Over 260,000 women worked in war-related production, making...
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Excerpt (03:04)
Rosies of the North
1999, director: Kelly Saxberg
Canadian Car and Foundry, in Fort William (now Thunder Bay),...
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Excerpt (02:22)
To the Ladies
1946
Having played an essential role in the wartime economy,...
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