Oil Springs is getting its time in the spotlight.
Frantic Films will be in the village at the end of April working on its new series Of All Places. Comedian Johnny Harris (currently appearing on Murdock Mysteries) will go to small towns across the country talking with the people who live there. The series, which has been picked up by the CBC, will begin airing in 2015 – the same year as the 150th anniversary of the founding of the village.
Producer Katherine Leeg says they decided to feature Oil Springs on an episode after doing some research in Ontario. “We were so surprised about Oil Springs,” she says. “Given we’re in Ontario…most of the people here seem to know the area very well, but no one seemed to know the oil history…we all said ‘Who knew?’ and we think this will be great for Canadians to see.”
The fact that few people outside of Lambton County know about the history of Oil Springs and that oil industry was born here, played in the community’s favour. “We were looking for towns that are struggling a bit, which are off the grid – they’re not on the Trans Canada or the main highways, they aren’t tourist attractions or near tourist attractions.
“We really were just looking for places of interest in Ontario and one of our researchers found Oil Springs – and we’re fascinated by the history of Oil Springs,” says Leeg. “The show is about the people who stay in the community and the pride of place and the passion of the people for their small-town lifestyles.”
Harris will be meeting with a number of local people, including members of the original oil families in the community such as the Fairbank and Morningstar families.
Then Harris will put on a comedy show based on his observations about life and the history of Oil Springs at the fire hall. That show is open to the public. The act, which will be taped and portions of it included into the show, begins at 6pm – with the doors opening at 5:30pm. It’s free to the community and will be family oriented.
Leeg says the CBC picked up the show because of its unique blend of comedy and community. “The CBC does comedy better than anyone,” she says.
“They get the comic sense of Canada…something we have in common is our good sense of humor especially about adversity especially about hard times…we understand that’s what gets you through it sometimes.”