A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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EPISODE 30: Copyright: Leonard Frank
Directed by Eli Gorn


Leonard Frank was a German immigrant who arrived in Canada in 1900. He came in search of fortune, hoping to strike it rich by finding gold. Instead, a chance win at a lottery in a lumber camp placed a camera in Frank's hands. Over the next fifty years, Frank would take nearly 50,000 pictures. His images would capture the changes in Vancouver as it grew from being a wilderness town to a city.

The film shows the ugly side of human nature which came to the surface during World War I. As that bloody conflict took its toll on Canada's son, the German in Canada paid a price, through loss of jobs, respect, the right to vote and liberty.

Despite public ostracization during the war, Frank, through his camera, captured some fo the most hauntingly beautiful pictures of British Columbis, which help to define his adopted nation.


  • Gold Rush
  • Official Photographer
  • Community
  • World War I
  • Enemy Alien Act
  • Internment


  • To examine images which help define Canada
  • To explore the dangers of nationalism
  • To study early settlers of Canada,s West Coast and how the natural resources attracted people from around the world


  1. The concept of the camera is very simple. Research the building of a camera and build one.

  2. Frank fell in love with the mountains - they were his inspiration. What natural feature in your city or town is inspiring you?

  3. Part of Frank's lasting appeal was that he took pictures of every day events which defined a period in time, "captured the moment". Take a camera and spend a few days taking pictures around the school or neighbourhood which define the time in which you live.

  4. The Germans were declared "enemy aliens" during World War I. Many were placed in internment camps. What was life in an internment camp? Where were they located? Research where Canada's internment camps were located, whi was interred and the lasting impact on the community.

  5. Frank became the official photographer for the government on Vancouver Island. Many cities have official photographers. Invite your city or town's official photographer or a professional photographer to come to your class and explain the craft. What do they look for when taking a picture? Why is a picture worth 1000 words?