CBC Television Network

Newcomers, The

Network: CBC Television Network

Broadcast Run: 1977 to 1979

Broadcast Medium: Television

Aired Sunday nights, at various times, from November 1977 to March 1979. repeated in the spring of 1980.

This series of seven hour long films chronicled Canada’s history with immigration. It was produced by Neilsen-Ferns and commissioned by the Imperial Oil Company to commemorate its 100th birthday.

The films were produced as docu-dramas, a careful mix of fact and fiction under the supervision of a team of historians. The series was produced in English and in French, beginning in 1976.


1] The story of Ksaweal, written by Charles Israel, directed by Eric Till with David Milton, Chester McLean and Tima Hamill. It chronicled the pre-European years of Canada’s aboriginal people.

2] Mary Thompson Norris, was a story written by Margaret Atwood about a woman who emigrated to Canada in 1847. The film starred Linda Goranson and was also directed by Eric Till.

3] Nicholas de Lugny, was the story of a soldier in New France. It was written by Guy Fournier, directed by Claude Fournier, and starred Michel Cote and Donald Pilon.

4] John Symons was a Scottish radical who worked the system to become a landowner in Canada. The film starred Kenneth Welsh, Susan Hogan and Donald Davis. It was written by Timothy Findlay and directed by John McGreevy

5] Hans and Camila Nielsen were a Danish couple who emigrated to New Brunswick in 1911. The film was also penned by Timothy Findlay, directed by John McGreevy and starred R.H. Thomson, Hollis McLaren and Fiona Reid in the cast.

6] John Lepa was the featured character in this film about a Ukrainian immigrant to Saskatchewan. The film was written by Georgy Ryga and directed by Rene Bonniere. It chronicled Lepa’s arrival in 1927 and his struggle to farm during the Depression.

7] Bruno Gerussi starred in the last film, that told the story of an Italian family in Toronto. The story was written by Douglas Bowie and described the clash between the old world values and modern city life.

Richard Nielsen and Pat Ferns produced the series, and the executive producer, for Imperial Oil, was Gordon Hinch.

Written by John Corcelli – September, 2005