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Annesley Events

February 08, 2023

Markdale featured in CBC's Still Standing episode airing on February 15, 2023

Jonny Harris of Still Standing in Markdale

BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — Since first airing in 2015, CBC's Still Standing has visited almost 100 small towns in Canada. The show's host Jonny Harris meets with residents in communities that are struggling to remain viable but 'still standing.' Over the last seven years, Still Standing, a production of Frantic Films, has won many Canadian Screen Awards and garnered much critical acclaim.

Last summer, a production crew of approximately a dozen or so Frantic Films staff descended upon Markdale to interview locals and create a new episode featuring this humble Grey Highlands location. The episode, which is set to broadcast at 8:00 pm on February 15, showcases many community and business champions who are working hard to bring the town back to life.

Jonny Harris in Markdale speaking with Pam Petch.

"They were wonderful to work with," said former PJ Knickerbockers store owner Pam Petch, describing the production crew and the show's lovable host. For her part, the adventure only lasted about 3 hours from start to finish, but was an experience she recalled with great fondness. "Jonny was so nice and funny — and very helpful too."

Petch's conversation with Jonny opens the episode, setting up the premise of a town on the ropes. "Forget Still Standing. (Markdale) was more like 'barely standing'," she jokes as she describes the loss of many manufacturing employers over the years as well as what used to be a major tourism draw for visitors to the area — Talisman Mountain Resort.

Ashley Chapman and Jonny Harris

Ashley Chapman and Jonny Harris standing beside a Chapmans truck

Chapman's Ice Cream is also featured prominently in the episode as one employer who refused to leave, despite suffering a catastrophic fire in 2009. The company, thanks to the support of the community and others, turned disaster into one of the most remarkable comeback stories in Canadian business history.

Jonny Harris and Barb Sheperd at Hope Haven.

Still Standing presents Markdale as one little community that's on it's way back from the depths of despair. But, in considering how far Markdale will return to it's former glory, Pam Petch is adopting a wait-and-see attitude. One thing is for sure. The show will definitely shine a spotlight on the little town that's bound to have a positive effect on tourism.

Jonny Harris at a BBQ in Markdale

A Still Standing Watch Party will be held at the Annesley United Church in Markdale on February 15, 2023. The community will gather in the beautiful and spacious 116-year-old historic Markdale landmark to watch the popular CBC-TV show on a big screen. The episode is set to broadcast at 8:00 pm. The evening is hosted by in collaboration with Annesley.Events. Production is aided by Leaking Ambience Studio. Doors open at 6:30 pm with a pre-show starting at 7:00 pm. Refreshments, desserts and popcorn are supplied by Susan’s Deli. Everyone is welcome. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated. The Watch Party is expected to be a popular event, so seating is limited. Visit to register your attendance in advance. The Annesley United Church is at 82 Toronto St S, Markdale.

South Grey News interviewed Jonny Harris about Still Standing and his time in Markdale. Listen to the interview below.

Photography: Courtesy of CBC; photos taken by Evan Seccomb


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