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Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in Business, Creative Economy, Events - Local, Featured Stories, Huron East, Tourism, Vanastra | 0 comments

Huron East’s Vanastra to be featured on CBC’s Still Standing

Huron East’s Vanastra to be featured on CBC’s Still Standing

Johnny Harris

‘Still Standing’: Vanastra will be featured on CBC’s television show ‘Still Standing’ which shines a spotlight on communities that are in existence despite facing great adversity. The show’s host, comedian and actor Jonny Harris, shown above, will perform a stand-up show as part of the show’s filming. (Photo submitted)

VANASTRA — The Huron East community of Vanastra will be featured in an upcoming episode of the CBC’s Still Standing.

Economic Development Officer Jan Hawley spoke about the upcoming production at council’s Jan. 12 meeting, saying that a 13-member crew will be in the community Feb. 1-5, with a live show scheduled for the final day.

Hawley invited councillors to participate in the live show featuring host Jonny Harris. She hopes to have between 200 and 300 people there to help show community spirit at the Vanastra Community Christian Reformed Church.

The show, Hawley told councillors, aims to profile communities with rich histories that have endured rough economic challenges, but are, as the title of the show implies, still standing.

The process, Hawley said, began late last summer when she was contacted by Maya Bilbao, a researcher for a production company that works with the CBC program. She said that the unique history of the former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) base was what initially captured the attention of the producers.

In her report, Hawley told councillors that the competition to be featured in the 2016 season was fierce and Vanastra was chosen as one of 22 communities that will be featured, with the episode likely to air this summer. The live show will be filmed at the Vanastra Community Christian Reformed Church on Friday, Feb. 5. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and admittance will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

In an interview with The Citizen after the council meeting, Hawley said that one of the aspects of the community that really attracted producers is the community spirit in Vanastra. That specifically is something she hopes to show off during the live portion of the show early next month. She said she couldn’t have been more surprised when she was told Vanastra had been selected for the 2016 season.

After the initial work last summer, Hawley says she forgot about it before being informed late last year that the production was to go ahead.
She says Vanastra is such an interesting community, especially when considering its military history and the development of radar. She hopes to tell that story during the CBC production.

In addition to the live show, several important figures in Vanastra’s history will be featured on camera as well – Hawley being one of them.
She says she hates being filmed for television, but was persuaded by the program’s producers to speak about Vanastra and Huron East and all they have to offer.

For more information about the live show, contact Hawley by phone at 519-527-0160 or by e-mail at


From the Citizen, January 27, 2016