Archiving Winston LaRose

A Toronto community activist works to share his life-long video archive of black history with the world for the first time.

81-year-old Winston LaRose, whose run for Toronto city council is profiled in CBC Docs POV’s Mr. Jane and Finch, was born in Guyana and travelled the world before settling in Canada in the 1960s. Along the way, he’s always had a camera by his side. “Part of what I wanted to do was capture the pains and the joys and the glory of people of African descent,” says LaRose.

He’s recorded several thousand hours of footage, some 50 years old, at pivotal events such as the Million Man March. He’s also documented the lives of some of his community of activist peers, including Dudley Laws and Charles Roach.  “I’m literally the person who knows the history,” says LaRose, whose passion for storytelling comes from his Guyanese roots.

For the first time, LaRose has made his video archive available for others to see, “my film is my treasure … that’s why I guard [it] so jealously.” He’s bringing the entire collection to Frame Discreet in Toronto for restoration and archiving. The filmmakers behind Mr. Jane and Finch continue to work with his archives to bring LaRose’s stories alive for the world to enjoy.

Archiving Winston LaRose is directed by Ngardy Conteh George, produced and written by Alison Duke and Ngardy Conteh George of Oya Media Group.