Ontario Government Agency History (BA723)

Ontario Motion Picture Bureau

History and Function

Ontario Motion Picture Bureau
Dates of Existence
The principal purpose of the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau was to carry out educational work, particularly for farmers, school children, and factory workers. The Bureau maintained a library of motion picture films and lantern slides, which were used to advertise Ontario, to encourage the building of highways and other public works, and to supplement lectures on agricultural topics.
Administrative History

The Ontario Motion Picture Bureau was founded in 1917 within the Treasury Department.

From 1917 to 1923, the Bureau was responsible for determining its own motion picture film content, but private companies were contracted to produce and distribute the Bureau's films.

In 1920, under the new United Farmers of Ontario government, several of the province's film activities including the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau, were centralized under the Amusements Branch in the Treasury Department. In 1922, an administrative change resulted in a new Bureau director and a separation of the Bureau from the Amusements Branch.

In 1923, under the new Conservative government, the Bureau began to produce its own films.

In 1934, under the new Liberal government's platform to reduce government expenses, the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau was disbanded.

From 1917 to 1921, Pathescope of Canada produced the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau's films using 28 mm safety film. From 1919 to 1923, the Canadian Aero Film Company (later Filmcraft Industries) produced Bureau films. Regal Films and then Canadian Universal were contracted to distribute the films to theatres. In 1923, the Bureau began producing its own films instead of contracting out to private companies.

Film production facilities were initially established in the Bureau's Toronto offices before being moved to Adanac Films' former studio in Trenton.

Authorizing Agent

The Ontario Motion Picture Bureau was established in 1917 as part of the provincial Treasury Department. Two Orders in Council dated May 15, 1917 and approved and ordered May 17, 1917 resulted in S.C. Johnston being appointed temporary Director of the Provincial Moving Picture Bureau and a special warrant being issued for the payment of salaries and expenses for the Bureau. In 1934, the Bureau closed down. Order in Council 211/472 (October 23, 1934) dispensed with the services of the Motion Picture Bureau employees.

Agency Also Known As

Ontario. Provincial Motion Picture Bureau

Ontario. Provincial Moving Picture Bureau

Ontario. Provincial Picture Bureau

Province of Ontario Picture Bureau

Ontario Government Motion Picture Bureau

Source Note

Archives of Ontario. RG 75-57. Orders in Council. 20 Oct.-30 Oct. 1934. B265030.

Archives of Ontario. RG 75-58-0-82. Executive Council Office Journal [Orders-In-Council book copies]. Volume 82. 10 May 1917-3 Aug. 1917. D300294.

Mick Mitchell. The films of the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau : a preliminary catalogue. 1993.

Peter Morris. Embattled shadows : a history of Canadian cinema 1895-1939. 1992.

Hazel I. MacTaggart. Publications of the Government of Ontario 1901-1955 : a checklist compliled for the Ontario Library Association. 1964.

Controlling Agencies

Ontario Motion Picture Bureau reported to the following agencies:

Archival Record Series Created by this Agency

Click on a reference code for more information about a series of records.

Reference Code Series Title

RG 6-145

Ontario Motion Picture Bureau films