Atlantic salmon once thrived in Lake Ontario, so plentiful that men boasted they could fish for salmon with pitchforks. But by 1898 there were none left. In their absence, our cultural memory of our salmon-sustained heritage faded and the quality of our watersheds was degraded.
Efforts to restore this iconic species to the lake began even before they were declared gone, but they are at a turning point now: The tributaries of the lake are gradually being restored to health, making it possible for the Atlantic salmon to survive in the Lake Ontario watershed once again. It may be our--and their--last, best chance.
Drawing on the reflections of prominent historical figures and scientific archives, as well as interviews with contemporary conservationists and anglers, “The Forgotten Salmon” will animate the history of the salmon of Lake Ontario and their role in the cultural heritage of the communities that developed along the lake, as well as explore current efforts to restore the salmon.
The film will journey from the laboratories of Oliver Haddrath, a genetic scientist at the Royal Ontario Museum who specializes in ancient DNA and is searching for the closest living relative to Lake Ontario’s vanished salmon; to the tributaries of Lake Ontario in Ontario and New York, where conservation efforts are underway to restock salmon at different stages of their life cycles; to classrooms throughout Ontario where young students are learning to value, protect, and conserve salmon species.
Can these unlikely efforts succeed in bringing back the once-robust Atlantic salmon population of Lake Ontario? Can we use 21st century technology to correct the mistakes that have degraded our environment? Will these salmon remain forgotten? “Forgotten Salmon” explores these questions, as well as documents the intertwined history of these fish and the people--both First Nations and European colonists--who lived around this great inland sea.
Galen Brown - Director and Producer
Galen is an emerging documentary filmmaker and photographer in Toronto. His work has taken him around the world and he won the Best First Time Filmmaker award at the Yosemite Film Festival in 2013 for his environmental documentary, "Ámuñegü". Galen started the company 3004 Studios in 2012, a production company in Toronto that focuses on engaging storytelling through film, video and photography.
Perry Walker - Editor
Perry has been working in Toronto's documentary filmmaking scene for the past 6 years, spending much of that time assisting and learning from some of Canada's most highly regarded doc editors. He graduated with honours from York University's Cinema & Media Studies program in 2011.
Sara Daniels - Production Manager, Writer
Sponsor the film! Help us tell this story.
If you or your organization would like to become a sponsor of this film by donating more than $500, please contact the filmmakers at:
Where is the money going?
In order to complete the documentary we need the following:
- Principal photography and special equipment rentals
- Professional editing, colour correction, and audio mixing
- Music licensing and/or composing fees
- Festival submission fees
With these funds, we will be able to cover basic expenses for the 20 remaining days of principal photography and approximately two months of post-production, which involves editing and colour/sound mixing. We also plan to license music and/or commission professional musicians to score music for our film.
Risks & Challenges of Documentary
As in any documentary production, when documenting live events it is difficult to know exactly what will unfold. Some of the views, ideas, structure, and content expressed in this campaign may not match the finished film. We appreciate our campaign participants' understanding that this is a creative process undertaken by the creative team.
Faces from the film
Other Ways You Can Help
Go fishing. Once in a while, yes, fish are nice to eat. But we also have to be fully aware of fishing practices around the world and the dire state of wild fish today. The more people who fish--whether for subsistence, for sport, for science, or for pleasure--the more people there will be who have felt a connection with a fish not only as a meal on a plate, but as a living being.
If you catch an Atlantic Salmon in the wild, KNOW the proper size and calendar requirements for your region, and release it unharmed if it does not meet those requirements.
Tell those you know who may be interested in this story about it, share it with them, encourage them to participate and get this story out there!