“Doing Everything Possible to Encourage a British Sentiment”

The Rise of Film Censorship and Regulation of Picture-Houses in British Columbia, 1910-1915

  • Brian McIlroy UBC


This essay provides a case study of British Columbia’s governmental approach to the film business in the early 1910s, with a concentration on the province’s largest city, Vancouver. The main focus of the essay traces the way in which censorship of films moved from a municipal matter to become provincial law in British Columbia by 1913. The records of the first B.C. Censor C.L. Gordon and his office in its initial years of operation are then examined. I argue from these records that B.C.’s approach to film was distinct in terms of what films were banned, and in terms of its attitude to matters of race. I argue that the central guiding role of the censor was to promote the interests of a white, British oriented elite, who strove to limit the differing influences of Americans and Asians.