Memorable Manitobans: Francis Joseph Sloan “Frank” Holmes (1908-1990)
Born at Carlyle, Saskatchewan on 28 August 1908, son of journalist Edward Holmes (1878-1944) and Karalina “Lena” Sloan (1880-1963), he was influenced by filmmaker Robert Flaherty (Nanook of the North, 1922) and began filming in northern Manitoba at an early age, making his first commercial motion picture, The Seaport of the Prairies about a trip to Port Nelson, when he was 17.
He was among Western Canada’s most important commercial photographers, specializing in films for agricultural companies. He had a mobile studio and often produced his films single-handedly, even composing the background music. Among his films were Beyond the Steel (1953), an account of the move of the town of Sherridon to Lynn Lake between 1950 and 1953, and Each Year They Come (1958), a story about waterfowl conservation made for Ducks Unlimited. The latter film won several awards. Holmes used experience working with Charles Lambly to animate part of his 1946 Ducks Unlimited film Each Year They Come.
He and wife Elenor (?-1990) had two daughters, including Janet Holmes (?-1990).
He died at Toronto, Ontario on 4 October 1990. His papers, including film scripts, are at the Archives of Manitoba.
Birth registration, Saskatchewan Vital Statistics.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Edward Holmes,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 October 1944, page 15.
Obituary [Mrs. E. Holmes], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 September 1963, page 29.
Obituary [Elenor H. Holmes], Winnipeg Free Press, 18 August 1990, page 38.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 October 1990, page 42.
We thank Michael Dupuis for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 25 October 2022