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Adam Bunch in D'Arcy McGee's. Photo courtesy of The Canadiana Project.

Tour de blogosphere: The Canadiana Project explores Ottawa’s lesser-known past

By Bruce Burwell on December 7, 2018

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He is your all-time favorite history teacher. He is a rumpled academic wearing a flat cap, jacket and a shirt that is always out. Adam Bunch has been touring the country as part of a new video/blog series, revealing fascinating hidden details of Canadian history.

The Canadiana Project features a series of short web documentaries. Each one focuses on a specific story from Canada’s past that you may think you know something about but always find out that you were sadly mistaken. Adam is the host and the face of the series.

The series is just over a year old and is releasing at a rate of about a video a month. Despite a limited number of releases they have already covered several Ottawa stories including the ‘Mystery of Meech Lake’ and ‘The Battle of Nepean Point.’ In January of 2019, they are releasing one on the murder of Thomas D’Arcy McGee, filmed in the downtown pub that now bears his name.

APT613 talked to Ashley Brook, President at The Canadiana Project and co-creator of the film series.

APT613: The topics are all short, how do you decide which stories to turn into a film.

Ashley Brook: We’re interested in choosing stories that cover as many parts of the country as we can. But cost is one main factor because it’s the huge country and most of it is incredibly expensive to travel to on a small budget, which is why you’ll notice the majority of our episodes so far have been based in Ontario and Quebec. Places that we could drive to.

They need to be interesting stories of course, and preferably not very well known. They need to have strong visual potential and collectively they need to represent Canada and it’s cultural diversity. And then as a group, we vote on the best contenders and then we really try to fit as many episodes as we can while we’re visiting a particular region.

I thought I knew some of the stories you were telling but when I watched them I was surprised by some of the details you revealed. Is that what you are going for?

We want audiences to come away feeling entertained more than anything and enriched by the experience.

I think Canadian history has a reputation for being boring and part of that is the way that traditional Canadian history documentaries are presented with a lot of talking heads. That’s why we try to keep our episodes between five and 15 minutes. And we’re definitely trying to cover some of the countries’ lesser known histories. So even if it’s a popular topic like World War Two we’re going to look for a different angle and we don’t want to deliver in a textbook manner. We want audiences to come away feeling entertained more than anything and enriched by the experience.


Check out The Canadiana Project at http://thisiscanadiana.com.


 

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