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Radical Dreamer: The Passionate Journey of Graham Spry



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Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: White Pine Pictures
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 58 mins
Country of Origin: Canada
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2008
Available in French: No

Graham Spry (1900-1983) played a central role in the creation of modern Canada. He was far ahead of his time, and paid a huge price for advocating his vision for Canada. His vision has now become part of the character of this nation and includes the two defining realities in Canada; the struggle to retain a culture distinct from that of the United States, and the attempt to create a bi-cultural, now multi-cultural state in Canada.

A young Graham Spry, Oxford graduate and League of Nations translator, dreamt of a Canada with “middle power status” on the world stage. Canada, Spry wrote, should be a “bicultural state”, with unemployment insurance, universal medical care, a national publicly owned radio network and other social and political benefits that have since come to define the country. “Canada can become a model for other nations,” said Spry.

Spry helped found a new political party in the depth of the depression (the CCF, now NDP). He organized Canadian clubs across the country and published several influential magazines; Canadian Nation, Canadian Frontier, Canadian Forum, Arts In Canada, Farmers Sun, and New Commonwealth. They were full of the vision of a vibrant Canadian culture and of a unique democracy.

Spry championed the new medium of radio, calling it a “central nervous system” for Canada, a force for education and culture. He would eventually earn the unofficial title of the “Father of Public Broadcasting”.

With this biography of a visionary, filmmakers Peter Raymont and Bruce Steele have created essential viewing for anyone...”
- Henrietta Walmark, Globe and Mail