Canada’s Deep South: 10,000 Years in Ontario’s Carolinian Zone

A Carolinian Canada Documentary Series

Download Factsheet (pdf)

What do you think of when you think about Southern Ontario?

Bustling cities and overfl­owing highways probably come to mind. It is, after all, the most densely populated region in Canada. 25% of the entire country lives between Toronto and Windsor - on only 0.25% of the country's land area.

You might think about farming, and rightly so - Ontario's southwest is home to millions of acres of some of Canada's most productive farmland. You might even think about industry - employing hundreds of thousands; manufacturing everything from automobiles to medical equipment.

You might even think about industry – employing hundreds of thousands; manufacturing everything from automobiles to medical equipment.

But did you know that Canada’s “Deep South” makes up a distinct ecoregion known as the "Carolinian Zone," adeptly suited to not only humans, but also 2,200 plant, 70 tree and 400 bird species - more than any other region of Canada. The Carolinian Zone contains a third of Canada's rare and endangered Species, including 150 designated "Species at Risk."

The Carolinian Zone’s biological diversity is made all the more remarkable by the fact that it exists in small, disconnected pockets of wilderness. Over the last 250 years, the zone’s natural areas have been reduced in size by over 90%. And many of these pockets only exist because certain individuals, groups and communities took it upon themselves to protect or restore them.

We’ll Change the Way You Think About
The Nature of Southern Ontario

Join us on a journey through the Carolinian Zone in an epic 3-hour documentary series.

Using IMAX-like digital cinema cameras, spectacular aerial, motion capture time-lapse and nature videography, complimented by an original score, Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), cinematic re-enactments, and archival photographs and film, we will bring Southern Ontario’s natural history to life like never before.

We'll peel back time, using CGI and the latest geological and ecological science, combined with accounts of early explorers, to create a birds-eye view of how the region was formed geologically, and what the constantly-changing Carolinian Zone would have looked like 500 years ago. We’ll use CGI, re-enactments, and interviews with First Nations Knowledge Keepers, as well as some of Canada’s leading archeologists, to illustrate how Indigenous people lived on and managed this fertile landscape in the years leading up to European contact. We’ll use historic accounts, paintings, photographs and interviews with the region’s leading historians and Elders to reveal the wide-reaching impact that farming, lumbering, transportation systems and industrialization had upon Canada's southern reaches. We’ll crisscross the landscape with the region’s most successful conservationists, exploring the remarkable successes that have been achieved over the past 100 years in revitalizing and maintaining natural pockets of Canada's Carolinian Zone. Finally, we'll consider the pressures of climate change, increasing population and invasive species; and explore possible visions for the future of nature in Canada’s Deep South.

About Us:

The Living History Multimedia Association (LHMA) – makers of the award winning Ontario Visual Heritage Project – has teamed up with the Carolinian Canada Coalition on their 30th anniversary, to bring you this exciting series.

The non-pro‑LHMA engages communities to help them tell their stories. Using an inclusive, participatory production model, the LHMA works with municipalities and non-profits to create high quality educational media for the classroom, the general public, and broadcasters. In operation since 2003, we have worked with more than 150 organizations and municipalities to complete 27 hours of programing under the Ontario Visual Heritage Project banner. Our work has been freely distributed to 5,000 schools, enjoyed by nearly 10,000 people at free screenings, and seen by more than 1.5 million people through our broadcast partner, TVO.

Since 1984, the Carolinian Canada Coalition (CCC), a registered charity, has been a leading ecoregional group in Canada. Stretching from Toronto to Windsor, the Carolinian Life Zone of southwestern Ontario is among North America's most vibrant and fragile ecoregions. The CCC brings together diverse sectors, people and governments to collaboratively steward southwestern Ontario's unique habitat network, and green infrastructure to support thriving wild and human communities in harmony for generations.

Distribution and Viewership:

Since 2009, TVO has been the LHMA’s broadcast partner and they are excited about partnering on this project to air a series on Canada’s Deep South in prime time. In 2013, TVO showed a three-part series we produced about another ecoregion in Ontario, The Land Between, twice in prime time. The combined total viewership between the two showings was approximately 620,000 (averaging between 100-130k viewers per episode). We expect viewer numbers for a series on the Carolinian Zone to be even higher based on not only the large population of the Zone, but also on the stats from our documentary series, A Desert Between Us & Them. This series explored the impact of the War of 1812 on Southern Ontario and encompassed a similar geographical area to the Carolinian Zone. The documentary achieved 176k viewers in a single broadcast and was one of TVO’s highest rated documentaries of the year. For the Carolinian series, we expect a minimum of 1.16 million viewers for the program over its lifetime.

Upon project completion, three free “signature” community screenings will be held throughout the Carolinian Zone. Community partners are also welcome to host their own screenings for their memberships, or the general public. We anticipate an attendance of between 250 and 700 people at each of the free signature community screenings.

Approximately 30 minutes of the series will be available on the Ontario Visual Heritage Project YouTube Channel, as well as on an accompanying App. Following the initial 6-month exclusive sales window for partners, we will make copies available for sale at other outlets throughout the Carolinian Zone.

The project will be made available to schools, along with a comprehensive course guide, through our educational distributor, McIntyre Media. We are happy to speak with interested school boards about complimentary screenings!

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