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1920 - 1988
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.
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Revised January 16, 2012.
City of Vancouver Archives, "Tommy Tompkins Wildlife Films sousfonds".