New York Lightboard Piece © Nation Film Board of Canada

The National Film Board of Canada was commissioned by the Canadian tourist board to create a film that would entice Americans to travel to Canada. The work was taken on by Norman McLaren who made a nine minute silent film using black india ink on clear white film stock. It was shown on the giant billboard in New York’s Times Square in 1961. The completed film is a purely informational work, communicating clearly the many cultural sides to Canada as well as illustrating each major city’s main attractions. It is simple in form yet the animations are absolutely stunning, even by today’s standards, using a number of typographic compositions that metamorphose into an array of graphic shapes. McLaren’s playfulness really comes through and his mastery of morphing shapes, a trait that runs through much of his work, act as effective transitions, creating a seamless animation that had many a New Yorker stop in his
his stride.

>>> Watch a selection of Norman McLaren’s works here