Fonds F 4608

Brian Cowan fonds

About these records

Brian Cowan fonds
Dates of Creation
Physical Description

190 videocassettes (67 hours, 54 minutes) : 149 Betacam SP, 35 U-Matic, 4 VHS; 9 MII M20S, 3 SVHS; colour, silent, sound

6 video reels (4 hours, 3 minutes, 43 seconds) : colour, 1" open reels, sound

1000 photographs : colour negatives

76 photograph contact sheets : colour prints

12 centimetres of textual records

Scope and Content

Fonds consists of videos, photographs and textual material created between about 1986 and 1997 by Brian Cowan through his company, Visual Image Productions, and represent raw and completed productions created for local industry and corporations, mostly in the Windsor - Essex area.

The productions were created for companies such as Arvid Machine Tool, Canadian Pacific (CP) Rail System, Casino Windsor, City of Windsor, Clay-Mill Technical Systems, Ford Windsor Casting Foundry, Hilton Gaming Corporation, JOH Robber (Leamington, Ontario), M & M Contracting, Regal Moulding, Ventax Robots Inc. (Ayr, Ontario) and Windsor-Essex Development Commission.

Some of the footage was used in promotional materials for the Windsor-Essex Development Commission, Casino Windsor, and JOH Rubber Inc. The majority of the footage concerns subjects such as the Arvid Machine Tool flexible machining system (FMS) and the automated multi-station finishing and grinding machine; the building of the permanent Casino Windsor; Clay-Mill Technical Systems (CMTS) Inc. robots at work on cars; the Northern Belle Casino riverboat docking and travelling through Montreal, Welland Canal, the Windsor shipyard, and Morterm Limited marine terminal; gambling (staged) in the Northern Belle Casino riverboat; Regal Moulding work on cars; Windsor-Essex industry and agriculture; the CP Rail System Detroit River tunnel enlargement; robots painting vans at the Chrysler Corporation plant; metal galvanizing at DNN Galvanizing Corp.; casting moulds at the Ford Casting Plant; and Ford #2 Engine Plant demolition.

Fonds also includes material on prominent Windsor citizens. The documentary “Ploughshares into swords” documents the contribution of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment in World War I and II and also examines the history of the “civilian soldier” in the Essex and Kent area. The documentary “Alton Parker: By our deeds we are known” explores the life and contributions of Alton Parker, the first African-Canadian police constable on the Windsor police force.

The Windsor material includes preliminary interviews with former Windsor police officer and humanitarian Frank Chauvin; unedited footage of a park dedication ceremony for the David A. Croll Park; unedited footage of the Last Spike ceremony held in 1990; interviews with University of Windsor honorary degree recipients; and photographs of the construction of the Windsor Courthouse.

Textual records consist of research and interview transcripts compiled for the making of “Ploughshares into swords.”, and a shot list for the same documentary.

The fonds is arranged into 16 series.

Click here to see a list of record series that make up this fonds or collection

Administrative History or Biographical Sketch

Brian Cowan has been a soldier, an engine assembly line worker at the Ford Motor Company of Canada, a broadcast technician for CBC Windsor television, owner of Visual Image Productions and a production technician and instructional designer at the University of Windsor, Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Click on the link(s) below for more information.

Cowan, Brian
Restrictions on Access
Consult the individual series descriptions for information on access restrictions.
Terms For Use and Reproduction
Consult the individual series descriptions for information on terms governing use of this material
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The fonds was donated to the Archives of Ontario by the creator, Brian Cowan in a series of donations in 2010, 2011, 2016 and 2017.
Custodial History

These records were stored in Brian Cowan's residence in Windsor, Ontario.

Related Material

The Archives of Ontario has sound and moving image (SMI) documentation of industry in Ontario in a few specific fonds such as the Ferranti-Packard fonds (F 4142), which contains footage of the manufacturing of transformers and the Canada Packers fonds (C 262), which contains images of the meat-packing industry. Additional brief and episodic images are captured by the broadcast Industry including footage from the 1950s-1970s in the CFPL-TV fonds (F 4396), from the 1960s-1970s in the CHCH-TV fonds (C 108), as well as in Ministry of Economic Development and Trade promotional films (various RG 9 series) from the 1960s and 1970s.

The Archives of Ontario has a small extent of textual records concerning some of the subject matter in this fonds, including the Windsor-Essex Development Commission (RG 9-2, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade Deputy Minister's Office correspondence and general files) and the Ford Engine Plant (RG 34-3, Ontario Economic Council research studies files). The Archives has related film footage of the Detroit River Tunnel in the W. Douglas Short fonds (F 4561-1-1-1-13, 1982-1983 and F 4561-1-1-1-21, 1992-1993).

Availability of Other Formats

DVD reference copies are available for some of the items in this fonds.
Physical Condition

Although most of the records are in good condition, six of the 1" open video reels suffered from mould damage. Reference copies have been created where possible.

Photograph contact sheets were stored in a binder and all have punctures from the binder rings. Additionally, the contact sheets have been annotated with marker.


Title based on contents of the fonds.

Multiple copies of essentially the same visual records were culled as were those that were damaged and could not be repaired, and those that included personal images.

Finding Aid
Consult the individual series descriptions for finding aid information.

How to order these records

From our Reading Rooms

Consult the individual series descriptions for information on how to view this material.

Click here to see a list of records series that make up this fonds or collection

Scroll up to "Finding Aid" for more information about any available finding aids or listings.

By Microfilm Interloan
This material is not available through Interloan.

Records series that make up this fonds

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

Reference Code Series Title
F 4608-1 Arvid Machine Tool videos
F 4608-2 Casino Windsor videos
F 4608-3 Clay - Mill Technical Systems (CMTS) Inc. videos
F 4608-4 Northern Belle Casino riverboat videos
F 4608-5 Regal Moulding videos
F 4608-6 Windsor - Essex Development Commission (WEDC) videos
F 4608-7 Other videos by Brian Cowan
F 4608-8 Ventax Robots Inc. videos
F 4608-9 Ford Windsor engine plant #2 demolition and Kautex fuel tanks videos
F 4608-10 Records related to Ploughshares into swords documentary
F 4608-11 Brian Cowan photographs
F 4608-12 Alton Parker: By our deeds we are known documentary video
F 4608-13 Frank Chauvin interviews
F 4608-14 Senator David A. Croll Park dedication ceremony videos