MacInnis Audiovisual Series

1934-2004. -804 videocassettes. – 144 sound recordings. – 11 motion pictures. – 3 videoreels.

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The MacInnis audiovisual collection has been divided into seven series according to subject matter: Breadalbane; Deep sea; Titanic; Edmund Fitzgerald; Lakes; Interviews, lectures & shows; C.O.N.T.R.O.L. and Miscellaneous.  Following is a brief description of each category.


The items in this series all have to do with the discovery of the HMS Breadalbane.  The Breadalbane sank on August 21, 1853 in the Canadian Arctic.  It was a British re-supply vessel sent out in search of the Franklin Expedition  that had disappeared in 1846.  Despite the fact that the ship took only 15 minutes to sink after colliding with ice, there were no casualties. The entire crew was rescued by the Phoenix, which was traveling with the Breadalbane. The Breadalbane shipwreck was discovered in August of 1980 by Dr. Joe MacInnis and his team during their 3rd search expedition. Recordings made during that expedition are in varying stages of production, from the raw footage to complete television and radio interviews.

Deep Sea

Deep sea exploration involves diving at depths greater then humanly possible without a submersible vehicle, or greater than 1000 feet below surface.  In this category are items that feature hydrothermal vents, deep sea sharks, the sinking of the Russian nuclear submarine the Komsomollets, and ocean floor ecology. Also featured are items that explore the process of both underwater exploration and underwater cinematography in deep sea settings.  Recordings are of varying stages of production from raw footage to full productions. Some of the recordings are in Russian.


The Titanic, the largest and most luxurious passenger ship in the world for her time, sank during her maiden voyage in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912, two hours and forty minutes after a collision with an iceberg.  Over 1,500 people perished. Dr. Joe MacInnis was an advisor to the team that discovered the shipwreck in 1985, led by Robert Ballard and Jean Louis Michel. Dr. MacInnis became the first Canadian to dive to the Titanic shortly afterwards. Footage of the ship obtained during a 1991 dive formed the basis of the IMAX production Titanica, which later inspired director James Cameron to produce his 1997 blockbuster, Titanic.  Recordings are of varying stages of production from raw footage to feature lengths.

Edmund Fitzgerald

The items in this series all have to do with the ship the Edmund Fitzgerald which has been at the bottom of Lake Superior since November 10th, 1975.  The  recordings concern the 1994 expedition led by Dr.  MacInnis and his team’s efforts to find an answer for the demise of the vessel.  Included are all stages of the cinematic process from raw footage to feature length films, as well as television and radio interviews about the ship and the process of recording the ship.


Items in this series are all underwater recordings that take place in lakes.

Interviews, Lectures & Shows

Interviews, lectures or television episodes that relate to the topic of underwater exploration or underwater cinematography.  Many of the items are television and radio interviews with Dr. MacInnis that concern his research as a marine scientist.


Items in this series were already numbered and inventoried before arriving to the Ryerson Library.  Items are not arranged thematically.  Featured subjects are: the sunken Russian nuclear submarine Komsomollets recorded by Mir submersibles under the direction of Anatolii Sagalevich (Anatoliĭ Mikhaĭlovich); recordings on deep sea six gilled sharks; recordings of whales. Many films from this series are on Betacam SP as a preservation copy with viewing copies available in VHS. Included are all stages of the cinematic process from raw footage and first edits to final stages of production.


This series contains a variety of subjects, from raw footage of jellyfish from mid waters to CBC live coverage of Pierre Eliot Trudeau’s funeral.