Library and Archives Canada
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312 film reels (71 h, 50 min). 2 videocassettes (2 h, 30 min): VHS. 1 audio compact disc (1 h, 17 min). 12 photographs : b&w.; 8 cm of textual records.
Daniel Armstrong Gibson was born on January 19, 1922 in Montreal. He attended Upper Canada College from 1937 to 1940. It is in Algonquin Park at Camp Ahmek as a camper and then staff member that he fell in love with wildlife and the wilderness. Camp Director Taylor Statten and Naturalist Stuart Thompson instilled in him a prorfound appreciation for nature and the yearning to discover. In 1940 he worked in as an apprentice in commercial photography at Rapid, Grip & Batten Ltd. In 1941, he worked as a portrait photographer for Ashley & Crippen of Toronto. He served in the Canadian Forces during WWII and was honourably discharged from the RCAF in 1943. He produced his first film Algonquin Adventure (1943) and it was used as part of a lecture program with his ex-RCAF friend Keith Latter. His early film career led him to produce films for the Ontario Department of Tourism from 1946 to 1948. He married Helen Frances MacLure in 1948 and had four children, Gordon, Dan Jr., Holly and Mary Jane. He acquired ownership of Ashley & Crippen portrait photographers in 1948 and introduced a motion picture division therein, of which this division later changed to Dan Gibson Productions in 1960. Without stock libraries from which to source background sounds, Dan was left with the task of capturing nature’s sounds himself. His groundbreaking work in synchronizing sounds with visual content succeeded in transporting the viewer into the wilderness. Dan’s interest in sound led him to pioneer many popular recording techniques and in particular to develop the Dan Gibson Parabolic Microphone with a system that revolutionized sound recording in the field for amateur and professional bird lovers alike. He then went on to form KEG Productions with Gerald Kedey and Ralph Ellis (KEG: Kedey, Ellis and Gibson) to produce 150 nature television programs from 1966 to 1977. His most noteworthy works include the Etrog (Genie) Award winner Wings in the Wilderness (1975) with Lorne Greene (Best Sound in a Theatrical Film), a nature feature film of a filmmaker and his attempt to reintroduce young human-raised Canada geese to the wild, and the internationally acclaimed television series Audubon Wildlife Theatre (78 episode TV series). Other award-winning series include Wildlife Cinema (26 episode TV series), To the Wild Country (10 episode TV series), Wild Canada (10 episode TV series). During his filmmaking career he won over twenty prestigious awards including: Whitethroat (1965) Golden Gate Award, San Francisco Film Festival; Land of the Loon (1967) Best Film of the Year, Canadian Film Awards; Adventure Trent Severn Style (1967) Award of Merit, Canadian Film Awards; Winter Potpourri (1969) Award of Merit, Michigan Outdoors Writers; Sounds of Nature (1971) Best sound in Non-Theatrical Film, Canadian Film Awards; Fly Geese F-L-Y (1972) Blue ribbon for Best Children’s Film, American Film Festival; Golden Autumn (1973) Teddy Award, U.S. National Outdoor-Travel Film Festival; Dan Gibson’s Nature Family (1972) Best Wildlife Film of the Year, Canadian Film Awards; Return of the Giants (1973) Best Wildlife Film of the Year, Canadian Film Awards; Land of the Big Ice (1974) Best Wildlife Film of the Year, Canadian Film Awards; Return of the Winged Giants (1977) John Muir Award fo Best Ecological Film, U.S. National Educational Film Festival; and Best Wildlife Film, 1977 Saskatchewan International Film Festival. In 1981 he introduced Solitudes, a series of recorded albums featuring nature sounds, mostly consisting of his ever popular bird sounds and music through Dan Gibson Productions Ltd. Until his death on March 18, 2006, he acted as consultant for the internationally renown company now known as Somerset Entertainment Ltd., also composing many of the musical renditions and supplying nature sounds for the Solitudes series from his extensive sound library as well as high definition footage.In 1994 Dan Gibson received the Order of Canada for his life’s work of filming and recording nature and for his role in creating public awareness of the importance of conservation, wildlife and the natural heritage. At the 1997 Juno Awards, he was awarded the Walt Grealis Achievement Award as an industry builder and his name is now in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers and a member of the Canadian Society of Cine Amateurs. He was Director of the Friends of Algonquin supporting many environmental causes and raising money for the interpretive program of Algonquin Provincial Park. Fonds consists of 73 film titles (312 film reels total) including production elements, camera originals, and prints. The bulk of the films represent Dan Gibson's work as an accomplished nature and wildlife filmmaker. Included are his many nature theme family films which were primarily made for educational purposes; many award-winning nature theme films demonstrating his renown camera techniques such as his slow-motion techniques of wild geese in flight, and the myriad of nature sounds captured with his patented Dan Gibson Parabolic Microphone. There are also 2 videocassettes of documentaries about Dan Gibson, and 1 audio compact disc (CD-ROM) of his memorial service in 2006. The textual records consist of production company files and promotional information, his inventions and personal information including his obituary. There are also 12 b&w inter-filed photographs consisting mainly of production stills.