Collection 2000.4 - Tommy Tompkins collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Tommy Tompkins collection

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Moving images

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Level of description

Collection

Reference code

2000.4

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • [196? - 198?] (Creation)
    Creator
    Tompkins, Tommy

Physical description area

Physical description

5 film reels : 16 mm
48 boxes of slides

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1920 - 1988)

Biographical history

Tommy Tompkins was a former RCMP officer who was best known for his television and film work on the northern Canadian wilderness. He appeared regularly on CBC Television, including the show "This Land," and had his own CBC television show, "Tommy Tompkin's Wildlife Country" which are available through the Canadian National Film Board.

“Tommy Tompkins’ Wildlife Country,” a short series of 13 half hour programs featured Tommy Tompkins, outdoorsman and environmentalist, aired at various times on the CBC from January to December, 1971 and then repeated from February 1972 to June 1974. “Wildlife Country” chronicled animal life in remote regions of British Columbia and the Yukon; however this program also served to document Tompkins's own methods of survival and travel through the wilderness as he spent the spring and summer in the bush, alone, embarking without a film crew, and often acting as his own wildlife cinematographer for the series. This series was the spinoff of a successful television special called “Tommy Tompkins: Bushman” which aired on the CBC in 1970. The executive producer for Tommy Tompkins' Wildlife Country was Ray Hazzan, and the producer Denis Hargrave.

In later years, Tompkins gave lecture tours for B.C. Hydro, Fletcher Challenge, and Alcan, where he showed his films. He traveled with his pet wolf, Nehani. Through his celebrity Tompkins gained sponsorship from McMillan Bloedel which allowed him to take his films, lectures, and conservation message to school children all over the province of BC. It is estimated that some years he was able to speak to over 100,000 children. In 1974 Tommy Tompkins was named a Member of the Order of Canada for his work in focusing awareness on the natural environment.

Tompkins died in 1988 at the age of 68.

Custodial history

After Tompkins death, his partner Bernice Blackburn of Prince George retained all material until donating them to the Northern BC Archives.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of 5 - 16mm prints of Tompkins's films, and 48 slide boxes featuring natural history images. Includes "Nahani," "Where Timber Wolves Call," "White Bear of the Kalum," and "Waterway Adventure with Tommy Tompkins."

Notes area

Physical condition

Arrangement

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Personal or academic use of photographic materials is welcomed under the standard fair use and educational use clauses of Canadian Copyright Law. Commercial use is, however, forbidden without the express permission of the copyright holder. For information on obtaining written permission from the copyright holder, please contact the Northern B.C. Archives and Special Collections.

Finding aids

Associated materials

Associated material can be found at the City of Vancouver Archives in the "Tommy Tompkins Wildlife Films sousfonds" of the "Yaletown Productions Inc. fonds". Additional records may also be held by the CBC Archives.

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Description record identifier

2000.4

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