History doc to shed new light on NW Passage explorer John Rae

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A new documentary about Arctic explorer John Rae will push the case that he discovered the Northwest Passage, filmmaker John Walker says.

The work by the Nova Scotia-based filmmaker is based mainly on Ken McGoogan's book Fatal Passage: The Untold Story of John Rae, the Arctic Adventurer Who Discovered the Fate of Franklin.

McGoogan credits Rae with, in 1854, finding evidence of a famous mystery — the disappearance of the British explorer Sir John Franklin and his 128 crew members.

But the writer also argues that Rae unlocked the last piece of the Northwest Passage puzzle, by discovering that King William Land was an island separated from the mainland by a navigable strait.

However, Rae's Arctic exploration efforts were dismissed because he reported the unpopular notion that Franklin's men had taken part in cannibalism to try to survive.

But the two-hour documentary will go beyond McGoogan's story, relying more on local knowledge to tell the tale, Walker told CBC News.

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