British Columbia: An Untold History features Langley’s Forsythe explaining the gold rush trail in B.C., the province’s forest history, and the first world war. (Langley Advance Times Files)

British Columbia: An Untold History features Langley’s Forsythe explaining the gold rush trail in B.C., the province’s forest history, and the first world war. (Langley Advance Times Files)

Langley’s Mark Forsythe featured in a web series on B.C.’s history

He said the film should be part of school curriculum

A Fort Langley historian wants to see a recently released history documentary become part of B.C.’s school curriculum.

Mark Forsythe, a retired broadcaster and active member of the Langley Heritage Society’s board, contributed to a film released by Knowledge Network last fall.

The four-part web series is based on the province’s history. Entitled British Columbia: An Untold History, it retells the past from the perspective of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities, he explained.

 “It should be in schools somehow because, in the four one-hour parts, they [filmmakers] touched a lot of British Columbia’s history that is not usually talked about,” said Forsythe, a writer and former CBC radio host.

The producers approached Forsythe three years ago to seek assistance in vetting material. The former broadcaster was later interviewed for the documentary in Fort Langley.

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Fort Langley’s location was crucial to highlight as it depicts a big part of B.C.’s gold rush story, Forsythe said.

While he is still unsure what made the producers approach him for the project, Forsythe said his ability to provide a broader view on the history of B.C. would have been a big reason. He believes it might have been his experiences writing multiple books about the gold rush might have interested the producers.

The series was released on late October, during the 150th anniversary of B.C. joining the federation and received a lot of media coverage. The film even got support from the Ministry of Tourism.

“We must acknowledge our past so we can create a future free from racism and move forward in the spirit of true and lasting reconciliation,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.

“This series shares stories that are well known within impacted communities, but need to be shared more broadly with all British Columbians to strengthen our understanding, knowledge and empathy,” she added.

Directed by Kevin Eastwood and produced by Leena Minifie, the film features Langley’s Forsythe explaining the gold rush trail in B.C., the province’s forest history, and the First World War.

READ MORE: Fort Gallery welcomes author and former CBC radio host Mark Forsythe for gold rush history talk

Forsythe, who worked directly with the film’s production company, Screen Sirens, said he was impressed by the company’s strategy to amass a tremendous amount of information. Each episode has hundreds of archival footage, and the producers had a “bunch of archival researches” to assist them.

Eastwood said that episode two alone has 800 archival photos in it.

Forsythe explained that the issues covered in the film are still prevalent. He pointed out the rise of anti-Asian racism during COVID and the discovery of unmarked graves at the Kamloops residential school that he said filmmakers learned during the filming process.

Though a public screening could not be planned due to COVID-related restrictions, Forsythe said he is hoping that people would enjoy it at their homes.

People can watch British Columbia: An Untold History without any subscription fee at Knowledge Network.

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