When Kelly Saxberg first moved to Thunder Bay she began exploring her family history in the city. She discovered that her father’s parents had both worked ad Canada Car and Foundry during World War Two. She also discovered that in 1939, thousands of women from Thunder Bay and the Prairies donned trousers, packed lunch pails and took up rivet guns to participate in the greatest industrial war effort in Canadian history. Like many other factories across the country from 1939 to 1945, the shop floor at Fort William’s Canadian Car and Foundry was transformed from an all-male workforce to one with forty percent female workers. Rosies of the North traces the story of a group of women whose lives were changed by their experiences. They describe with wit and humour their role in the production of the Hurricane and Helldiver fighter planes.
The film also tells the remarkable story of Elsie MacGill, Chief Aeronautical Engineer at Canadian Car and Foundry, the first woman in Canada to graduate with an engineering degree and the first woman in the world to design an airplane. Rosies of the North was produced by the National Film Board of Canada, has been shown on several major television networks, and is one of the only films about Canadian women on the home front during World War Two.