July 7th – Land of Destiny at the Sarnia Library

LAND OF DESTINY – A documentary about Sarnia

Thursday July 7th, 2011 at the Sarnia Library 124 S. Christina St.
Doors open at 6:30pm, screening at 7pm
$5 at the door

Land of Destiny is a film about the health, jobs, families, and everyday lives of residents of Sarnia, Ontario.

A hard-working petrochemical town is rocked by revelations that its workers suffer an epidemic of cancers. But even more terrifying is the prospect of deindustrialization and joblessness.

The landscape of Sarnia — with boarded storefronts, the bright sprawl of petrochemical plants, swollen hospital wards and crowded bars — has much in common with the rest of the modern world. Tattooed men serving fries, basement musicians, boilermakers and volunteer firemen, heartbroken widows and an optimistic mayor… the lives of a mix of characters link up to show dramas of an industrial town out of sync with a transitioning economy.

Land of Destiny offers an intimate story about work, struggle, and survival.


3 responses to “July 7th – Land of Destiny at the Sarnia Library

  1. On October 1, 2011 we are having a walk to remember victims of asbestos and to put a stop to Canadian asbestos production. The walk begins at 10 am at Centennial Park. Special guest speakers include Linda Reinstein, President/CEO and co-founder of Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). Please visit the website for more information. We hope to see you there!

  2. Well, if you want to make a film that shows Sarnia as the armpit of the world, then these film-makers have done that. Yes, the petrochemical industry was not a safe place to be 30 and 40 years ago. It’s probably not the safest place to work now, but it’s a lot better then it was then. A lot of changes have been made, unfortunately too late for those that started in the 60s and 70s. However, if the film is about the petrochemical industry, they failed miserably- they didn’t investigate the industry at all. If the film is about good, hardworking people, with bad health problems and possible causes, then they did alright. If the film is about Sarnia, as a whole, then this film is a propagandous lie.

    I was born and raised in Sarnia, spent two years living in California in the 80s, 10 years living in Toronto in the 90s, and the last 12 years in Atlanta, GA. Every industrial town has its pluses and minuses. This film REFUSED to show any of the good of Sarnia. No footage shot North of Exmouth. No footage of any parks that EVERY neighborhood has access to. No footage of the stunning beaches, marina, yacht club, or river front walkways. No shot of our show piece outdoor venues of Centenial or Canatara Parks. No mention of the remarkably diverse festivals we have almost every weekend of the summer.

    They showed empty Bayside Mall, but just a fleeting outdoor drive-by of very busy Lambton Mall. The people they showed at the mall were obviously people with health and societal problems – without mentioning that Bayside Mall is now mostly home to the government agencies that provided services for those people – just represented it as a dead mall. Every shot of downtown was either very late at night when nothing is open but the bars; or, if shot during the day it was of the Vidal overpass construction or the construction in front of Bayside Mall or next to the new Art Gallery, without showing or mentioning that it is going to be a show case art gallery. EVERY CITY IN NORTH AMERICA has these construction projects going on right now as part of the recession stimulus plan. They showed Mitton Village, only the boarded up storefronts, and represented it as our downtown. They went down Christina Street and took close-ups of cracked sidewalks and broken concrete stairways – EVERY TOWN HAS CRACKED SIDEWALKS.

    The film-makers had a purpose with this film before one inch of footage was shot, to make the chemical companies out as bad institutions that kill people and to show Sarnia as a miserable place that no one in their right mind would want to live in.

    I do not know why the media has beat up Sarnia for the past 30 years. EVERY time I see footage of Sarnia on the news it is always the same shot, Imperial Oil, shot with either a high-powered zoom lens from the bridge, or from a helicopter on the river. Yes, we have a lot of petrochemical in Sarnia & Corunna. I would not want to live in Corunna as I do not want to be surrounded by petrochemical plants. Sarnia, however, is not surrounded by petrochemical plants. Like most cities and towns, Sarnia has it’s run-down areas, but most of the neighborhoods are wonderful places where your kids can play in the street without fear of abduction. In Sarnia, when your kids get a little older they can still get on their bikes and be away from the house for hours on end and you don’t worry about it. Not so in California or Atlanta. I raised two boys in Atlanta, Marietta to be specific. They never rode their bikes further then the end of the street – no way. Got lucky with a great school district, but Atlanta as a whole, not so much. Sarnia has one of the best school districts in all of Canada – largely BECAUSE of the petrochemical industry. Sarnia has had more engineers per capita of any city in North America for decades. The industry needs really smart, educated people. Our public school system is tailored to create really intelligent and educated people. Not a lot of towns can say that.

    To close, if this film was about the Petrochemical industry, it failed miserably, they didn’t talk about the industry proper at all. If the film is about good people who got really sick and perhaps from working in the plants, then they did an OK job of telling their stories. If the movie was about the work ethic of people who willing go to work at a site that may cause them health issues, as the films preamble mentions, they didn’t do a very good job of that either. If the film was about the City of Sarnia and what it is like to live here, then it is a shameful, bias, premeditated prejudiced lie.

    And a final note, regarding the scene in the movie depicted by the cover of the DVD, if I am going to have a picnic in Sarnia, I have DOZENS of parks to choose from (34 I counted using Google Maps), including the absolute jewels of Centennial and Canatara. I do NOT have to choose a park right beside one of the plants. However, if I was working at that Plant, and it was a nice day out, and I wanted to have my lunch outside, how nice that even in the heart of the Petrochemical area, I have a nice park I can eat my lunch at. So, you decide whether having lunch at a park next to a petrochemical plant is a good thing or a bad thing.

    – Shawn Bryan

  3. Being from Sarnia I will have to agree with everything Mr Bryan has to say. However I think you missed the point with the picnic beside the Chemical Plant. It’s basically an allegory. The fact that they are dining beside the plant is to show the relationship of the people and the plants. It’s not supposed to mean that that is the only place in Sarnia to have a picnic.

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