This study investigates how The Birth of a Nation's Canadian exhibition and reception shaped Canada's racial formation during a decisive period of nation building. The notoriously racist film took Canada by storm despite national mythologies founded on principles of equality and compassion. While Black Canadians grounded their protests against the film in patriotic ideals, white Canadians brandished those ideals as evidence of the protests' redundancy. Analyzing historical discourse in mainstream newspapers, the Black press, trade publications, and censorship documents, I investigate how seemingly benevolent, Canadian modalities of racism enabled this white-supremacist film to triumph north of the border.