Jonny and CBC crew bring fun to town

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Stanstead

The Stanstead Jour­nal’s ‘por­trait’ ar­ti­cles gen­er­ally fea­ture in­ter­est­ing peo­ple living in this re­gion, how­ever, this week we are mak­ing an ex­cep­tion. Af­ter spend­ing al­most a week get­ting to know the com­mu­nity of Stanstead in a very ‘up

close and per­sonal’ way with a film crew in tow, and then cap­ping the whole thing off with a free com­edy per­for­mance at the Haskell Opera House, ac­tor and co­me­dian Jonny Har­ris has earned the ti­tle of ‘Hon­orary Town­ship­per’. Mr. Har­ris, who is per­haps best known for his role as Mur­doch Mys­ter­ies’ Ge­orge Crab­tree, ev­ery­one’s favourite constable, was in Stanstead film­ing an episode of the new CBC tele­vi­sion show that he hosts and stars in: Still Stand­ing.

While in town, the New­found­land na­tive learnt a lot about the lo­cal gran­ite in­dus­try, vis­it­ing Rock of Ages, the gran­ite quarry and, nat­u­rally, Robert Shel­don over at Gran­ite Cen­tral. “It was hard to get Mr. Shel­don to come out of his shell,” joked Jonny dur­ing the com­edy per­for­mance that poked fun at the town in hi­lar­i­ous fash­ion. “I asked him about the his­tory of gran­ite and he started with the Big Bang!”

Ap­pre­ci­at­ing the unique­ness of Stanstead’s sta­tus as a bor­der town, Jonny got to see the Stanstead Fire Depart­ment and the Derby Line Fire Depart­ment work to­gether dur­ing a fire ex­er­cise that he took part in – as a per­son stuck in a crashed ve­hi­cle! “We did the ex­er­cise just like any prac­tice, ex­cept that we in­cluded Mr. Har­ris,” said Chris Good­sell, the Stanstead Fire Chief. “We re­ally worked a lot with the be­hind the scenes crew. We had to do all the set up of the ex­er­cise and run through all the tech­ni­cal stuff first with the crew be­fore do­ing it with Jonny. And when they filmed it was a chal­lenge to work around the cam­era­men, the light and sound peo­ple and the pro­duc­ers, and all with a time con­straint,” added the Fire Chief.

The laughs were loud and long dur­ing the com­edy show Sun­day night. With only a few days to learn about Stanstead, write up a com­edy rou­tine about the town and its char­ac­ters and re­hearse it, Jonny Har­ris proved that he un­der­stands small towns as well as he un­der­stands what’s funny. “For the first time in his­tory, I will try to make some­one laugh so hard that they fall out of their seat into an­other coun­try,” said the co­me­dian soon af­ter the per­for­mance started and who may have achieved that goal dur­ing the evening. No ‘Stanstead stone’ was left un­turned as Mr. Har­ris found the funny in bor­der cross­ings, Bag Balm, Canadian/Amer­i­can re­la­tions, But­ter­fields and even, per­haps not sur­pris­ingly, the gran­ite sculp­ture in front of the Post Of­fice in Beebe.

Fol­low­ing the per­for­mance, Jonny chat­ted and posed for pho­to­graphs with fans be­fore sit­ting down with the Stanstead Jour­nal for an in­ter­view. Af­ter vis­it­ing more than fif­teen small, ru­ral Canadian towns, so far, in the mak­ing of Still Stand­ing, I asked the co­me­dian what he be­lieved was Stanstead’s big­gest strength. “I would say the unity amongst the peo­ple of the town. There are so many di­vi­sions, English/French, Canadian/Amer­i­can, Catholic/Protes­tant, but it’s still a com­mu­nity. A lot of the peo­ple are bilin­gual, some­times switch­ing back and forth be­tween English and French, and there is not a lot of an­i­mos­ity.”

Jonny con­tin­ued: “I was al­ways told that New­found­lan­ders knew how to laugh at them­selves, but I think that can ap­ply to a lot of ru­ral Canada. The peo­ple are laid back and easy go­ing, and ready to have a laugh.”

Grow­ing up in the town of Pouch Cove, pop­u­la­tion 1,866, tak­ing part in a tele­vi­sion se­ries that cel­e­brates small town Canada has spe­cial mean­ing for Mr. Har­ris. “I am so thank­ful to have this job. I have a soft spot for small towns and I want to ‘wave the flag’ for small towns. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Still Stand­ing will pre­miere on Mon­day, June 22nd, 2015, at 9:00 pm on CBC tele­vi­sion. The Stanstead episode will air in 2016.

photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Lo­cals young and old were filmed play­ing a friendly match of hockey with the Still Stand­ing star last Satur­day at the Pat Burns Arena.

Pho­tos pro­vided by Catherine Swing

Still Stand­ing star Jonny Har­ris was im­pressed with his mem­o­rable tour of the Rock of Ages quarry with Kelly Conn.

Still Stand­ing star Jonny Har­ris (cen­tre) poses with mem­bers of the Stanstead and Derby Line fire de­part­ments dur­ing film­ing last week.

Stan­ley Holmes per­haps get­ting some skat­ing tips from Jonny Har­ris dur­ing the hockey match at the Pat Burns Arena on Satur­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.