Episode 1 - Walter Rudnicki- July 1 and July 4
Walter Rudnicki was a risk taker and a rule breaker. Surprising perhaps for a man who was also a dedicated civil servant. Walter ran into trouble when he choose integrity over servility. In bending the rules, Walter used codenames. He held secret meetings. And he is credited with saving thousands of lives. The Metis considered him a warrior for native rights. And while his achievements were impressive, he was placed on a blacklist. Meet Walter Rudnicki, a man who put his country first above all else, even his job.
The documentary on Walter Rudnicki was by Neil Morrison in Ottawa.
Episode 2 - Clairette Oddera - July 8 and July 11
When Clairette Oddera was a little girl, her father used to take her to the opera in the southern French city of Marseille. Her ears were opened wide. For the next eighty years, singing was at the heart of her life. Clairette's beautiful voice helped her escape the drudgery of a factory job and opened up a new world across the ocean. When she arrived in Montreal in 1950, she had planned to sing a few songs and sail back home. However, she sensed that French-Canadians were hungry for something more. Clairette opened a nightclub and gave young people the stage. They never looked back. Clairette's passions helped spark Quebec's cultural revolution and kept her in front of audiences until she was 88 years old.
This documentary on Clairette Oddera was by David Gutnick in Montreal.
Episode 3 - George Blondin - July 15 and July 18
George Blondin came from a family of powerful Dene medicine men, but his gift was storytelling. He was raised around Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories, in a time when a man with medicine power could guide a bullet with his mind, or heal a wound with his breath. Convinced that the stories of his people would be lost forever, George picked up a pen. With a Grade Three residential school education, George authored three books and hundreds of newspaper columns detailing some of the most astonishing and supernatural events in the history of the Dene people. The storyteller and hunter also became a native activist and vice-president of the Dene Nation. A remarkable man who danced to the beat of his own drum.
The documentary on George Blondin was created by Catherine Pigott in Yellowknife.
Episode 4 - Patricia Van Tighem - July 22 and July 25
On a snowy day in September 1983, Patricia Van Tighem's life changed irrevocably when she came face to face with a grizzly bear in Alberta's Waterton Lakes National Park. The bear attacked and left her near dead. Miraculously, Patricia Van Tighem survived, though the vicious mauling left her physically damaged and emotionally scarred. Throughout the rest of her life, she felt the constant pain of her injuries and dove in and out of depression. Yet she never played the part of the victim. Patricia Van Tighem poured her heart into her writing, giving birth to a national best seller that details her journey through recovery and pain. Hers epitomized the life of a survivor. Now her words will live on in place of her.
The documentary on Patricia Van Tighem was by Alison Myers and Michael O'Halloran in Calgary.
Episode 5 - Aly O'Brien - July 29 and August 1
Aly O'Brien was a man who valued the wisdom and beauty of traditional ways - even if it meant giving up much. Aly O'Brien and his two brothers - all bacheolors - operated a small farm on the edge of St. John's, using the traditional Irish Newfoundland ways that his family had used for generations. As the city of St. John's grew, and surrounding farms turned into housing subdivisions and shopping malls, Aly's farm was still the first priority in his heart. He turned down lucrative offers to sell his property, and to keep up the farm. Aly O'Brien.....A poet, farmer, linguist, teacher and bon vivant.
The documentary on Aly O'Brien was created by Heather Barrett in St. John's.
Episode 6 - Andrew Reid - August 5 and August 8
Andrew Reid was larger than life.......and he lived life large. Few things could slow him down. On a surfing trip he suffered a spinal stroke and was paralyzed from the bellybutton down - within a year he was the Canadian Handcycling champion. He was an accomplished singer-songwriter and wrote a book documenting his battle with chronic pain and drug addiction. A blondhaired surfer dude with a big smile and presence...A young man killed in a shocking incident in rural Texas.
The documentary on Andrew Reid was by Myfanwy Davies in Fredericton.
Episode 7 - Harvey Lowe - August 12 and August 15
Harvey Lowe had the world on a string...literally! In 1932, the Victoria, BC native won the World Yo-Yo championship in London. It was a title he would take to his grave when he died in 2009 at the age of 90. But yo-yos are only part of the Harvey Lowe story. He was a nightclub fixture in Vancouver's Chinatown, was the first Chinese broadcaster in Canada and was once a regular on the Smothers Brothers TV show. Harvey Lowe excelled in play and brought great joy to the world.
The documentary on Harvey Lowe was by Yvonne Gall in Vancouver.
Episode 8 - Gladys Evelyn Cook - August 19 and August 22
Born in a tent on the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation in Manitoba Gladys would become one of the first voices to speak out about the abuses in Canada's residential schools. In later years she would also be one of the few who would forgive her attacker during an emotional reunion at the Elkhorn Residential School. Gladys was able to move past her own difficult history to become a caring drug and alcohol counsellor, and mentor. She was also instrumental in changing the corrections system in Manitoba to include awareness of aboriginal culture for offenders and staff. A woman of great courage and forgiveness.
The documentary on Gladys Evelyn Cook was by Suzanne Dufresne in Winnipeg.
Episode 9 - David Sealy - August 26 and August 29
David Sealy was a brilliant man with a wondrous way with words. Born in Trinidad, he arrived in Canada as a boy of eleven, and pursued a rich and wide-ranging path through the hallways of academia. His influence on his fellow scholars and students was immeasurable... and imparted through the spoken word, in the rich tradition of stump speakers and Socratic riffs. David Sealy's life was a celebration of ideas, pursued with dogged delight.
The documentary on David Sealy was by Tina Pittaway in Toronto.
Episode 10 - Sue Klabunde - September 2 and September 5
When Sue Klabunde found out she was pregnant at 43, it was a shock. The mother of two had had her tubes tied years ago. But after consulting with their doctor, Sue and her husband Ed decided to go ahead with the pregnancy and were excited. Sue had a rich life as an artist and businesswoman, but motherhood was her most cherished role. Sadly, Sue's third child, a healthy baby boy, is growing up without her. Meet Sue Klabunde, a large spirit and devoted mother.
The documentary on Sue Klabunde was created by Bob Murphy in Halifax.