Cassiar, BC featured in "Ghost Towns of Canada" series on History Television

"From coast to coast, Canada's Ghost Towns are a record of pioneer triumph and pain recorded in rotting wood frame structures, overgrown gardens and forgotten towns. This series reunites onetime residents with the towns they once called home to bring out the human stories that lay hidden beneath the pealing paint."

When Cassiarite Gord Loverin, who now works in the television production business himself, became aware of Insight Films and Video Productions's project of producing a series of episodes for History Television he suggested to them that they do an episode on Cassiar. So they contacted and consulted me, inquiring what information they could obtain to make the episode. I assisted however I could, provided contact information for people that met their criteria for being interviewed, supplied photos, etc. They decided to proceed, shot lots of footage, including in Cassiar. They interviewed some Cassiarites. They sent a camera crew to Silver Star Mountain Resort for the 2001 Cassiar Reunion. There they followed the first two boys born in Cassiar (me and Brian Caron) as they met other reunion attendees. We had arranged I would stop in their studio in Vancouver on my way home from the reunion for my interview. When I got there I was still high from the reunion experience, a very emotional time for me, and of course those emotions came through in the interview. Brian was interviewed later, when his work schedule permitted it.

So they started the huge job of editing and several months later finally they finished the series and sent me a copy of the Cassiar episode. When it arrived I dropped everything and watched it. I was surprised by what particular story was the main focus of the show but I was moved to tears by it. I confess I still am every time I've watched it. In fact virtually all Cassiarites who have seen it have told me they reacted the same way, so you'll want a box of tissues handy. Both Brian and I have been stopped by friends and strangers who have seen us on History TV, recognized us, and they have told us what a great program that is. Until they saw they show they could never understand why people like Cassiarites feel such powerful emotions about having to leave their town.

In case you are wondering, the show does not tell the whole story of Cassiar. That is impossible to do in under a half hour. The whole story would easily fill a two-hour movie or a mini-series perhaps.

Most episodes feature one-industry towns or service centres that died when they were no longer profitable. The series, titled "Ghost Towns of Canada", was first broadcast in 2003, the "Cassiar" episode in March. The entire series has been broadcast several times. It might show up in your TV viewing guide as "Ghost Towns". Often Cassiarites we haven't yet heard from view it and are motivated to find this website and check in because of it. After airing on History the series will (hopefully) be shown around the world.

I, and many Cassiarites who saw the episode, am very glad the episode was produced. A hearty "Thank you" to both Gordon Loverin for inspiring, and to Insight Films and Video Productions for making this possible and helping to keep alive the memories of Cassiar.

More details at Insight Films and Video Production:

History Television:

You can order your own copies of the episode on VHS video tape from Insight Films and Video Productions. Their price is $25.00 plus GST (and PST within BC). That price includes shipping and handling.

Insight Films and Video Productions 
Attention Ghost Towns
112 West 6th Avenue
Vancouver, BC  V5Y 1K6

Phone (604) 623-3369
Fax (604) 623-3448

email at

Web site at

Show available on DVD!

I have received special permission from Insight Films and Video Productions to make the Cassiar episode available in DVD format. For them to convert their studio format tape to make a professional quality DVD version would take considerable effort and time and is not justified for them. The DVDs are based on the content captured from the original high quality VHS video tape version of the Cassiar episode they have sent to me. The quality of the DVD will just as good as VHS, (which not quite as good as a film that was authored directly to DVD format). It is very good however and it actually superior to the broadcast version for there are no commercials or a History TV logo overlay.

I have produced a short trailer of the episode, 1:43 minutes long and you can view it on your computer. There is a wmv version which you can play with Windows Media Player and a rm version which you can play with Real Player. Of course the full-length version does not have the black & green overlay which runs throughout the trailers.

The price is $25, prepaid, which is same price as Insight charges for the VHS version, but no taxes in this case.

Now about the DVD itself, it will be provided in DVD-R format, unless you specifically request it in DVD+R format. You would only make such a request because you have ascertained from the manual of your DVD player that it does not support DVD-R but does support DVD+R. DVD-R is now the preferred format for this type of disc. Most DVD players, including the cheapest models, now support both formats.

PAL format available!

If you are in Europe or other countries that use the PAL video standard, instead of NTSC standard used in North America, you can now get the tape in PAL format. Due to low anticipated demand for both PAL format tapes (and DVD format) and they requiring orders for at least 100 copies Insight Films has no plans to produce the episode in either of those formats. Thinking that some Cassiarites in those countries would want a copy of the episode I have requested and have received special permission from Insight Films to have PAL copies made of my tape on a limited and not-for-profit basis.

I can get these made locally and the price is more because of what I need to pay to have them made. The cost is $35 Canadian and includes postage by air to all foreign countries (except USA). If you are interested let me know.

The towns in the series are (in planned order of appearance - subject to change):
  • Ireland's Eye, Newfoundland
  • Grosse Isle, Quebec
  • Val Jalbert, Quebec
  • Depot Harbour, Ontario
  • Silver Islet, Ontario
  • Creightone/Happy Valley, Ontario
  • Semmit/Scoutsguard, Saskatchewan
  • Nordegg, Alberta
  • Rowley, Alberta
  • Sandon, BC
  • Barkerville, BC
  • Ocean Falls, BC
  • Cassiar, BC

This page was last edited Tuesday, May 12, 2015

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