Toronto, ON, May 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Can Ontario’s small towns survive big industrial, social and cultural changes? The new TVO Original series Crossroads: Beyond Boom & Bust explores stories of six small towns across Ontario confronting this question. Communities everywhere will relate. The weekly series premieres Monday, June 13, 2022 at 7 pm ET on TVO, TVO Today, YouTube and smart TV services, and features the Ontario towns of Smiths Falls, Stratford, Napanee, Cobalt, North Buxton and Vankleek Hill.
“Many Ontario towns are struggling to adapt to a storm of global pressures, all without losing a sense of their identity. We hear about this issue every day and there really is hope and an opportunity to thrive,” says John Ferri, VP of Programming and Content at TVO. “Crossroads: Beyond Boom & Bust spotlights the people, ideas and ingenuity that are making it possible for some communities to reinvent themselves on their own terms.”
Episodes take an in-depth look at the history, setbacks and promising successes for these communities. All have been experiencing seismic shifts for decades, with some teetering towards closure at times. Through interviews with local historians, municipal and industry leaders, and residents old and new, viewers will get an intimate look into the ins and outs of small-town life.
“We’re thrilled to partner with TVO to bring this series to the screen,” says Heidi Schorn, Executive Producer and VP Development for Alibi Entertainment. “In each community, we connected with people who are searching for ways to help their communities survive and grow, and in many cases that’s meant taking a completely different approach to the way they do things, whether opening the doors to cannabis or transforming a factory into a 21st century live/work space. Every episode gives us a snapshot of the unique challenges each town is facing, and the optimism of the people who are finding a way through.”
Episode 1: Smiths Falls (June 13) | After three big employers shut down, including the iconic chocolate maker Hershey’s, almost 2,000 people were left without work. In 2013, Smiths Falls became the headquarters of a brand-new medical marijuana company. After cannabis was legalized in Canada, the town’s prospects brightened considerably.
Episode 2: Stratford (June 20) | Known for its Shakespeare theatre festival and as the hometown of pop star Justin Bieber, Stratford searched for a new source of revenue after the railway closed in the 1950s. The Stratford Festival became an economic and cultural juggernaut, only to be dealt a harsh blow with the COVID-19 pandemic. Now Stratford hopes to bolster its high-tech appeal.
Episode 3: Napanee (June 27) | Home to Canada’s oldest furniture factory, Napanee’s downtown was once a regional destination for shopping, banking and restaurants. But after Highway 401 was built, traffic and visitors were diverted away and the downtown suffered. As the centre of the newly amalgamated Town of Greater Napanee, the city is poised for transformation.
Episode 4: Cobalt (July 4) | The Silver Rush at the turn of the 20th century drove a population boom in Cobalt, but it came at a high cost with public health disasters and ecological devastation. A disaster in the 1970s shrunk the population to less than 2,000. Prospects are brighter today as resource extraction appears poised to once again be a major employer.
Episode 5: North Buxton (July 11) | Originally settled in 1849 by a white Presbyterian minister and a small group of formerly enslaved people, North Buxton thrived until the American Civil War began and many residents returned to join the war effort. While just 150 people call North Buxton home today, its story is more important than ever as Black descendants return to preserve its history and land.
Episode 6: Vankleek Hill (July 18) | Home to almost 2,000 people, the population of Vankleek Hill has barely changed since the mid-1800s. The residents of this self-declared Gingerbread Capital of Ontario are now sensing the fragility of their situation and are balancing the need to protect its history with the need to manage pressures to grow.
TVO Original series Crossroads: Beyond Boom & Bust takes an unflinching look at the realities of life outside of Ontario’s big cities, while reveling in the can-do spirit of its residents. Watch on Mondays, starting Monday, June 13, 2022 at 7 pm ET on TVO, TVO Today, YouTube, the TVO Today mobile app and smart TV services. Stay connected with the latest in documentary films and series by signing up for the weekly TVO Docs Newsletter.