Canada Over the Edge Series Comes to the West Coast

If you’ve been watching Knowledge Network’s program Canada Over the Edge and thinking that it is a terrific program, but wondering why are they only featuring the east coast of Canada, then you’ll be very glad to hear that the west coast is about to get the same treatment as the east.

Doug Graham and Andrew Killawee

 
Producer/Director Andrew Killawee and cinematographer Doug Graham, both of Halifax, Nova Scotia, are currently touring the British Columbia coast, capturing some incredible highlights of the area for the western portion of the Canada Over the Edge series.  They work for Arcadia Content, the company that produces the series, which was originally developed and funded by HiFiHDTV for their Equator Channel.  Killawee and Graham have collaborated on such other programs as ‘Go Deep’ and ‘Templar’s Last Stand’.  
 
The filmographers have a hectic schedule.  As Killawee explains, “It took about a year to produce the first 13 episodes for the initial series about the east coast of Canada.  It was a learning situation.  Now we intend to cover the West Coast in just six weeks.”
 
When asked how they could manage to film the whole series in such a short period of time Killawee replied, “We have a really concise shot list.” 
 

Danny Brown

This approach is evident by the manner in which these two East Coasters plan their day.  Killawee initially contacted me at the Museum at Campbell River about three weeks ago to see if they could interview someone about the infamous Ripple Rock, a marine hazard near Campbell River that was eventually destroyed in 1958.  I recommended that they interview museum volunteer and docent Danny Brown, who has been with the museum for 13 years.  They arrived at the museum at 4:00 p.m. on August 23rd, coming from Port Alberni and Qualicum Beach where they had been filming earlier in the day.  

 
As they like to film with the water as a backdrop and where it is relatively quiet, instead of filming at the museum, we headed over to Tyee Spit, a thin wedge of land that has gorgeous views over Discovery Passage.  Killawee had initially estimated that they would be able to complete the interview with Brown there and the filming in two hours, and they did.  
 

Our skipper Eric Borgfjord

The following morning, I met them at the early hour of 6:00 a.m. and they followed me up to the port of Kelsey Bay, about one hour north of Campbell River.  There we met Eric Borgfjord, owner/operator of Hardwicke Transportation.  We boarded his Sealander landing craft, and set off for Yorke Island, site of what was once a World War II coastal defence fort.  After a 15 minute boat ride, we arrived at the only accessible piece of shoreline at the south end and our skipper pulled right up on shore, lowering the ramp so that we could walk straight onto the beach, and easily unload the film equipment.   

 
We hiked up to the top of the island, which rises 200 metres above the beach.

In front of the Observation Post on Yorke Island

On the way, as I discussed the significance of the fort and Yorke Island’s unique history, Graham filmed the remarkable remains of the brick and concrete fortifications and Killawee took photos of the impressive views.  They both agreed it would be a good segment, and I asked them how their experience filming in British Columbia has been so far.  
 
“The difference I find between here and the east coast is that stories are everywhere,” Killawee told me. “The east is more spread out.  Here, everything is bigger, but at the same time closer together,”.  
 
He also commented that “Knowledge Network has been great. They have helped mold the series for West Coast audiences.”
 

Sealander off Yorke Island coast

Cameraman Graham made the observation that the West is what many people imagine Canada to be like.  He was very impressed by the enormous trees in Cathedral Grove near Port Alberni.  He also sees a difference in the light here.  “It is some of the better that I’ve seen around the world, there is a bluey colour to it and you can see it here in the forests.”  

 
By 9:30 that same morning, we were already back at Kelsey Bay and undaunted by time and distance, the two intrepid filmakers went on their way to catch a ferry at Port McNeill, two hours to the north, so that they would be on time to film a Namgis First Nation’s traditional dance in Alert Bay.  
 
Killawee and Graham have plenty of coast to capture.  Their west coast journey began on August 19th at the south end of Vancouver Island and in and around Victoria, and they intend to cover more of the west coast of Vancouver Island, the Sunshine coast and on up to Haida Gwaii.
 
They will complete the ground work first, then shooting of the aerial segment from a helicopter will follow.  Michael Darby of Toronto, who did the aerial filming for the first episodes, will be shooting for this series as well.
 
Killawee expects the West Coast series, still to be called Canada Over the Edge, to be aired on the Knowledge Network beginning in February of 2013.  The purely visual impact of the current series and the excellent writing makes if very special, and it will be thrilling to see the BC coast treated with the same professionalism. The first series is currently on the air and can also be viewed online on Knowledge Network’s website, www.knowledge.ca.
 

Andrew Killawee, Catherine Gilbert and Doug Graham at Kelsey Bay dock

Catherine Marie Gilbert is promotions coordinator at the Museum at Campbell River and author of ‘Yorke Island and the Uncertain War, defending Canada’s western coast during World War II’. www.catherinegilbert.ca.
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25 thoughts on “Canada Over the Edge Series Comes to the West Coast

  1. Sitting and watching the narrator describe the story of Ripple Rock on Canada Over The Edge, I found his voice to be strangely familiar. I almost fell off my chair when the camera turned to the narrator, and it turned out to be my old school mate from 60 years ago in Springhill, NS, Danny Brown!!

    Carl Chapman,
    Dartmouth, NS

    • Hi Carl – that is just amazing! Danny has been living in Campbell River since about 1959. He volunteers at the Museum at Campbell River where I work and I recommended him for the filming as he loves local history and the Canada Over the Edge program. I see Danny every Tuesday when he comes to the Museum, but will let him know that you saw him on the program. If you like, I can pass you email address on to him.
      Catherine

  2. I have never travelled to either coast lines and am blown away with the beauty of landscapes that Canada offers. I am now drawn to these coastlines to explore but unable to view what these episodes expose. It’s a shame that Canada does not promote travel from within its borders and coastlines. I would like to be able to promote both of these series to local communities to explore Canada like never before. How can I initiate this desire and what are my options. I am hoping you can help me. An award winning series!

    • Canada Over the Edge is an excellent documentary on our coast, but I had nothing to do with producing it – any inquiries should be directed to Arcadia Entertainment.

  3. I like this series but find it confusing, almost distressing when you appear ( graphically) to be traveling northbound up the coastline and yet the cameras are clearly pointing south, so disorienting.perhaps it’s the editing ? And the fact checking is a bit lacking.Last week, . Buckley bay is Not on the mainland..it’s on Vancouver Island, picky perhaps but it makes it hard to watch.
    I was waiting for the voiceover to mention where the tides meet just south of Campbell River, almost as significant as Ripple
    Rock yet … Missed it.

    • Hi Jeanette – There have been a few errors that others have pointed out. As you say, I like the series too, but it is sometimes confusing. I didn’t notice that they were going north but pointing south – good for you! The producers are in Halifax, so I think our geography is quite new to them.
      Otherwise, it is visually quite stunning, and has created quite a bit of interest in our coast.

  4. love the series and want to share it with british friends – where do i buy series 2 – the fraser valley episode -sheila

    • Hi Sheila – I replied to you by email, but just wanted to add that I don’t think specific episodes can be purchased; just the entire series on DVD.

    • Hi Gweneth – there are two ways you can get the series – either through the producers website – Arcadia Entertainment, or by making a donation to Knowledge Network.

      Cheers,
      Catherine

  5. I watch the series on Vancouver Island , they missed the entire top end and several small villages. That was disappointing! From Hardy to Cape Scott and the Scott Islands to Winter Harbour and Holberg, Quatsino. To start on the west side at Brooks Bay missed a lot of ground and beautiful country.

    • Hi Don – it was a pretty rushed production, with just six weeks to do all the travelling and interviewing. I suspect that is all the budget allowed for. What they did do is pretty spectacular, but I agree that they should have spent more time getting to know the area. The director and cinematographer I worked with said they were very challenged with the distances between places.

      • What was done in the series was spectacular I hope you can cover more of the area I’m familiar with. I have fished from the 49th to the Fair Weather Grounds years ( 500 nautical miles from BC) year ago so I know most of the BC Coast. Thank you for such a prompt response. It is a great series which I will watch again and again..
        Don.

      • The crew were filming here in the summer of 2012. Their next project was to film at the Canada/US border and I know that they completed filming but don’t know when that will be out. There is certainly so much that still could be done here – let’s hope that some other producers feel the same!

  6. I saw an episode last nite(May 24 I believe) about the earth quake in Alaska and how the effect it had on Port Alberni BC in 1964. Is it possible to bring it back up on my computor?

    • Hi – I haven’t checked this in awhile, but you might find it on the Knowledge Network website. They have the series on the site from time to time.

      Catherine

  7. Hi- I have been watching it on the Smithsonion channel. What a wonderfull series. my wife and I and family lived in Campbell River for 30 years,81 to 2011 before returning home to Manitoba. I worked at a Federal fish hatchery in C.R. and in Phillips Arm (salmon enhancement) so am quite familiar with a lot of the area you have fimed. Just yesterday I watched the border series from Vancouver island to Creston. Fascinating. (spelling?). Dec.17 2016

    • Hi Wayne – Nice to hear your comments; it is a wonderful series and I was very fortunate to be a part of it. I had no part in the production – I only appeared in the story about Yorke Island – Episode 8. I have often been to Phillips Arm – I visit Shoal Bay at least once a year. My son Jean-Luc worked at the Quinsam hatchery for a practicum in 2003. This is a terrific part of the world!

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