CBC series all the buzz in Wilberforce
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | May 18, 2017
Hundreds lined up on a warm, sunny Monday evening in Wilberforce to be part of a rare television experience that was all about the Highlands East community.
Some diehard fans waited two hours to get a seat in the Lloyd Watson Centre to see Jonathan “Jonny” Harris, host of the show called Still Standing.
“He’s just funny,” said 14-year-old Sidney Worden. “I love his humour and his jokes.”
Worden travelled from Lindsay to attend the live taping of Harris’s standup comedy routine. She was joined by her grandfather Al Dyson, a Minden resident.
“I’m a history buff and I’m always interested in seeing these hidden gems of towns and things you never knew existed,” said Dyson.
Both are big fans of the CBC comedy/reality series as well as Murdoch Mysteries, another show Harris appears on. They were at the very front of the line.
“I feel like there’s a real atmosphere to it when it’s live,” said Worden. “It’s more surreal in a way, I guess.”
Dyson was surprised to see such a large turnout.
“It shows the enthusiasm of Haliburton County,” he said.
Haliburton resident Bethany Houghton also lined up about two hours before the doors opened. She had a sense that many people would show up based on her conversations with friends.
“I thought if I really want to do this, then I’ve got to step my game up and come early,” said Houghton, adding she knows several locals who were interviewed for the show.
Bonnie Ryall of Gooderham was also close to the front of the line. She came with a sign in-hand to welcome Harris.
“I can’t wait to see what he says,” said Ryall, a loyal fan of both shows.
The taping brought many people to the area she had never seen before.
“This is really neat,” she said.
Prior to the live taping, between May 11 and 15, Harris and his film crew met with several locals and gathered the history of the hamlet. He learned about the community’s struggles, such as the loss of its veneer plant and more recently, the closure of the only bank. He also immersed himself in the outdoors by trying geocaching and parasailing.
On Monday, he reflected on these experiences in a humorous, loving way.
There was seating for 250, but several fans had to line the walls. Those who didn’t show up early enough were turned away.
Despite the disappointment for some, Highlands East Reeve Dave Burton was very happy with the outcome.
“I thought it was very well done,” said Burton. “I thought it was quite a tribute to our whole municipality, not just Wilberforce. I was very pleased with the whole evening.”
The show, now filming its fourth season, uncovers “the hidden comedy in Canada’s far-flung small towns,” according to its website. Wilberforce is its 43rd stop.
The episode is expected to air sometime in 2018.
For more details, visit cbc.ca/stillstanding.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.