Stars of the Town

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Small-town 1940s Ontario has been brought back to life, thanks to the Western Libraries' Archives.

Dubbed "Stars of the Town" by their creator, the late Rev. LeRoy (Roy) H. Massecar (1918-2003), the collection of silent black and white 8mm films representing 88 Ontario locations depicts small town life in the province between 1947 and 1949.To supplement his modest church stipend, Rev. Massecar filmed people from the small towns, then returned to screen the films at town halls and community centres and invited the "stars" to attend for a modest admission price.

Rev. Massecar concentrated mostly on faces, but in between them glimpses of streets, shops, old cars and trucks, and even horse-pulled wagons can be seen.

In the years after these films were made, life in small town Ontario changed as a result of the onslaught of mass suburbanization. Young men and women moved away from their birthplaces for jobs in larger urban centres, leaving many of the towns to decline or to be swallowed by bigger neighbouring cities.

In 2005, Roy's wife, Marion Massecar, son, Ian Massecar, and daughter, Janet McLeod donated the films to Western Libraries' Archives. The films have been converted to DVD format and are available to order.


Stars of the Town FAQs

Content notice

These films reflect the attitudes of the historical period in which they were crated. This can include images that are racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, discriminatory, or offensive. 

To provide feedback or if you encounter problemativ images in these films that have not been flagged, email or fill out the Harmful, Outdated, or Inaccurate Language form.

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