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A Celebration of Kindness, Compassion and Inclusion Opens the Forest City Film Festival at the TD™ Opening Night

The most beloved Canadian children’s TV personality is helping us open the 8th year of the Forest City Film Festival!


On October 14th, this big warm hug of an event will kick off 8 days of festival with a celebration of nostalgia, a Q&A with special guests, meet and greets, desserts and live music. The TD™ Opening Night film is a heartfelt documentary about the life and work of Ernie Coombs, known for over 39 years as Mr. Dressup.

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Ernie Coombs came to Canada in the 1960s to work on a TV show for the CBC with his friend, Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood fame). When Mr. Rogers parted ways with the CBC to go back to the United States, Coombs stayed in Canada to create one of the most iconic television shows in our nation’s history.

Over 39 years, countless generations of Canadian children tuned in to Mr. Dressup on the CBC, where they were taught kindness, patience, love, and empathy. With a few simple puppets (Casey and Finnigan), and some construction paper and popsicle sticks, Ernie Coombs built a legacy of positivity that has stuck with all of us.

This documentary, which mixes archival footage with an all-star cast of Canadian celebrity interviews, is like a warm hug. Following in the steps of the acclaimed Mr. Rogers’ documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make Believe is a wonderfully cozy trip into the history of Canadian TV. 

Director Robert McCallum (2016 FCFF Best Documentary Winner for his film Missing Mom) and co-writer Jordan Christopher Morris (a longtime friend of the festival) seek to inspire feelings of nostalgia in generations who grew up with Mr. Dressup, while also educating younger generations about a truly great Canadian. 

TD™ Opening Night is a chance to launch the festival and to reconnect with our inner child. Let’s remember to all follow in the example of Ernie Coombs; to raise children with kindness, and to never forget The Magic of Make Believe.