Minden to be featured on CBC's Still Standing
By Chad Ingram
Minden will be featured on an episode of CBC documentary series Still Standing, which explores and celebrates small towns throughout Canada.
Minden Hills council held a special meeting via online conferencing platform Zoom on June 18 and heard a presentation from story producer Shayla Howell and executive producer Anne Francis.
“We'd very much like to come and film an episode of our show in Minden this summer,” Howell told councillors, adding that was subject to everything being safe and legal with regard to precautions around the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
The show features actor/comedian Johnny Harris going into small communities, meeting residents, and seeing what makes those towns tick.
“The premise of the show is to celebrate small towns in Canada,” Howell said, adding that while once most Canadians lived in rural communities, now the vast majority reside in urban centres. “If everyone has moved to the city, what's everyone doing in these small communities?”
In the case of Minden, Howell said it was news stories about severe flooding and the community's response to it that caught producers' attention. Minden Hills declared states of emergency due to severe flooding on the Gull River in 2013, 2017 and 2019, respectively.
“The other universally true item we have found, is that communities come together,” Howell said.
There have been some 70 episodes of the show, with Wilberforce featured in a previous episode.
Howell said the show's staff work closely with community members and municipal representatives throughout the production process.
“We have written permission for every single frame you see in that show,” she said. The plan is to film from July 15 through 21, with the episode airing about a year later. While normally an episode concludes with Harris doing a comedy set for community members about his experience in their town, because of the COVID-19 crisis, at this time, a live comedy show is not planned. However, Francis said the hope is to cycle back and do that comedy set at a later time if restrictions allow. Each episode of the show reaches roughly a million people, Howell said.
Councillors were quick and unanimous in approving the filming.
“I don't see any downside to this,” said Deputy Mayor Lisa Schell. “ . . . I very much look forward to this experience.”
“I almost declared a conflict of interest because I love this show,” said Councillor Pam Sayne.
“What I can say is we're all terrifically excited to go forward with this,” said Mayor Brent Devolin.