Trenton was home to one of Canada’s earliest and longest running film studios, built on this site in 1917.
A number of local citizens lent financial support to a series of small film-making companies which used the studio over the next 17 years. American film stars came to Trenton and the cameras began to roll.
Film crews at work became familiar sights on the streets of the town and many Trentonians found work as actors, technicians and extras in the early movies.
In 1923 the Government of Ontario purchased the Trenton film plant to house the studio and laboratory of the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau – the largest and most active government film agency in Canada at that time.
Captain Bruce Bairnsfather, internationally famous for his World War I cartoons of “Old Bill” came to Trenton in 1927 from England to direct his screen story, “Carry on Sergeant!” Billed as Canada’s first epic production, it premiered in Toronto in 1928. Although it compared favourably with other feature films of the day, the film did not achieve financial success.
With the arrival of the “talkies” and the advent of 16mm film, the equipment at the Trenton Laboratory became outdated, and in 1934 the dream of “Hollywood North” died and the doors of the Trenton film plant closed for the last time.
This plaque is dedicated to Trenton’s film-making pioneers and is dedicated by Gordon Sparling, assistant director of “Carry on Sergeant!” and veteran film director.
Dedicated May 3, 1992
GPS Co-ordinates: 44° 05’ 55.11” N 77° 35’ 04.82 W; 44.09583333, 77.58444444
Street Location: Film Street and Shuter Street, southwest quadrant of Trenton (City of Quinte West)
PHOTO BELOW: This is one end of an 80-foot mural dedicated to the film industry in Trenton. It can be found at Dundas Street West and Fraser Park Drive, downtown Trenton. Titled “Our Past, Our Present”, the photomosaic mural was created by Chuck Street using more than 3500 pictures. It was commissioned by the Trent Port Historical Society and dedicated on November 23, 2013.