Last updated
Waterwalker cover.jpg
Directed by Bill Mason
Produced by Bill Mason
Starring Bill Mason
Music by Bruce Cockburn
Hugh Marsh
Cinematography Ken Buck
Edited by Bill Mason
Distributed by NFB
Release date
  • 1984 (1984)
Running time
87 minutes
Country Canada
Language English

Waterwalker is a 1984 documentary film by Bill Mason, a Canadian outdoorsman, painter, canoeist and environmentalist, who made many films on the art of canoeing and on the appreciation of nature. [1] Released theatrically in Canada in 1984, it was nominated for a Genie Award for "Best Documentary Feature."

Documentary film nonfictional motion picture

A documentary film is a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record. "Documentary" has been described as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries. Documentary films were originally called 'actuality' films and were only a minute or less in length. Over time documentaries have evolved to be longer in length and to include more categories, such as educational, observational, and even 'docufiction'. Documentaries are also educational and often used in schools to teach various principles. Social media platforms such as YouTube, have allowed documentary films to improve the ways the films are distributed and able to educate and broaden the reach of people who receive the information.

Bill Mason Canadian naturalist, author, artist and filmmaker

Bill Mason was a Canadian naturalist, author, artist, filmmaker, and conservationist, noted primarily for his popular canoeing books, films, and art as well as his documentaries on wolves. Mason was also known for including passages from Christian sermons in his films. He was born in 1929 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and graduated from the University of Manitoba School of Art in 1951. He developed and refined canoeing strokes and river-running techniques, especially for complex whitewater situations. Mason canoed all of his adult life, ranging widely over the wilderness areas of Canada and the United States. Termed a "wilderness artist," Mason left a legacy that includes books, films, and artwork on canoeing and nature. His daughter Becky and son Paul are also both canoeists and artists. Mason died of cancer in 1988.

The 7th Genie Awards were held March 20, 1986, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to honour achievements in Canadian film in 1985. The ceremony was co-hosted by Leslie Nielsen and Catherine Mary Stewart.

The film follows Mason as he canoes through whitewater rapids and along the coast of Lake Superior. It features a musical score by Bruce Cockburn. It was Mason's last film. [1]

Whitewater bubbly, or aerated and unstable current

Whitewater is formed in a rapid, when a river's gradient increases enough to generate so much turbulence that air is entrained into the water body, that is, it forms a bubbly or aerated and unstable current; the frothy water appears white. The term is also loosely used to refer to less turbulent, but still agitated, flows.

Lake Superior largest of the Great Lakes of North America

Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes of North America, is also the world's largest freshwater lake by surface area, and the third largest freshwater lake by volume. The lake is shared by the Canadian province of Ontario to the north, the U.S. state of Minnesota to the west, and Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the south. The farthest north and west of the Great Lakes chain, Superior has the highest elevation of all five great lakes and drains into the St. Mary's River.

Bruce Cockburn Canadian folk/rock guitarist and singer-songwriter

Bruce Douglas Cockburn is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist. His song styles range from folk to jazz-influenced rock and his lyrics cover a broad range of topics including human rights, environmental issues, politics, and Christianity.

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Norman McLaren, was a Scottish Canadian animator, director and producer known for his work for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). He was a pioneer in a number of areas of animation and filmmaking, including hand-drawn animation, drawn-on-film animation, visual music, abstract film, pixilation and graphical sound.

Magnetawan River river in Canada

The Magnetawan River is a river in Parry Sound District, Ontario, Canada The river flows 175 km from its source of Magnetawan Lake inside Algonquin Provincial Park to empty into Georgian Bay at the community of Britt on Byng Inlet.

Canoe camping

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<i>Paddle-to-the-Sea</i> book by Holling C. Holling

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Les Stroud is a Canadian survival expert, filmmaker and musician best known as the creator, writer, producer, director, cameraman and host of the television series Survivorman. After a short career behind the scenes in the music industry, Stroud became a full-time wilderness guide, survival instructor and musician based in Huntsville, Ontario. Stroud has produced survival-themed programming for The Outdoor Life Network, The Discovery Channel, The Science Channel, and YTV. The survival skills imparted from watching Stroud's television programs have been cited by several people as the reason they lived through harrowing wilderness ordeals.

The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes is a 1968 Canadian short film featuring a humorous geography lesson, in which a canoeist travels abruptly through time as he crosses the Great Lakes, experiencing cataclysmic changes in different eras. The film is narrated in ballad form.

Paddle to the Sea is a 1966 National Film Board of Canada short live-action film directed, shot and edited by Bill Mason, based on the 1941 children's book Paddle-to-the-Sea by American author and illustrator Holling C. Holling. The film follows the adventures of a child's hand-carved toy Indian in a canoe as it makes its way from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, through Canada's waterways. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film at the 40th Academy Awards. Louis Applebaum composed the musical score.

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Douglas Jackson is a Canadian film and television director and producer. As a television director, he is best known for the 1983 CBC Television miniseries Empire, Inc., which he co-directed with Denys Arcand. Jackson began his film career in the 1960s on staff at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). His NFB credits include producing Bill Mason's short documentary Blake, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.


  1. 1 2 Zaidman, Harriet (10 May 2002). "Waterwalker". Canadian Materials. Manitoba Library Association. VIII (18). ISSN   1201-9364 . Retrieved 20 December 2011.
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National Film Board of Canada Canadas public film and digital media producer and distributor

The National Film Board of Canada is Canada's public film and digital media producer and distributor. An agency of the Government of Canada, the NFB produces and distributes documentary films, animation, web documentaries, and alternative dramas. In total, the NFB has produced over 3,000 productions since its inception, which have won over 5,000 awards. The NFB reports to the Parliament of Canada through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. It has English-language and French-language production branches.