First Ever Hollywood Movie Shot Entirely In Canada Has An Ottawa Connection

Very interesting footnote from the Historical Society of Ottawa concerning July 16thOn this day in 1941… A film crew from Warner Brothers, the motion picture studio, arrived in Ottawa to film ‘Captains of the Clouds’, the first ever Hollywood movie shot entirely in Canada.

The movie was the story of Canadian bush pilots joining the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) after hearing Winston Churchill’s historic remark; “We shall fight them on the beaches” speech following Dunkirk. The movie starred James Cagney who was at the height of his popularity at the time. It was James Cagney’s first movie to be filmed in Technicolor.

Much of the movie was filmed at Uplands Airport (now the Macdonald-Cartier International Airport), with the bush scenes filmed in the North Bay area at Trout Lake and Jumping Caribou Lake. Actual pilot trainees and staff served as extras in the film. Flying scenes were also filmed at air stations in Trenton, Dartmouth, Jarvis and Mountain View.

Several short scenes were also filmed at the Chateau Laurier hotel – where James Cagney and his entourage stayed for 6 days, while shooting the film. It gets a 6.5 rating on the website IMDB (

More images and the full story by James Powell here:

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