What a weekend it was for all those who attended “RCW 139: From A Million Miles”, the seventh convention for the classic TV show Due South.
A non-profit event organised by fans for fans, the RCW 139 name comes from a license plate prop used throughout the show’s run.
The convention title “From a Million Miles” is the name of a song used in the pilot episode and couldn’t have been more suitable, as over 80 attendees made the trip to Toronto all the way from the USA, across Canada, the UK, Italy, Germany, Russia and Australia!
For those who couldn’t make it, we shipped out goodie bags in return for purchasing Supporting Packs even further afield, including Austria, Japan and all across Europe. This just shows the enduring love for the show and its international appeal …14 years after it ended!
The event spanned three days from August 17th – 19th, with many unofficial get-togethers either side of that, including a Thursday evening get-together in Toronto’s beautiful Distillery District, a frequently used filming location for the show and many other movies including X-men and Cinderella Man. We had a lot to cram into those three days, with many activities, contests and events going on each day.
Notable highlights from the weekend started right from day one, including the first ever Due South Prop Exhibition, another visit from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the form of our favourite real Mountie Constable Terry Russel, who enthralled us once again with his tales and insights into the work of the RCMP and ending the day with a once in a lifetime private concert from one of Canada’s leading, award winning, singer/songwriters Jay Semko, who created the music for the show!
Saturday brought more excitement with a visit from Kevin Rushton, lead stunt man and recurring star (in many, many guises) for the show, giving us a new and unique insight into the making of the show and the stunt industry. Check him out on IMDB.com and be prepared to be wowed by his previous work!
The guests kept on coming in the form of Due South veterans and convention favourites, Tom Melissis and Catherine Bruhier. Another first for the convention was our final guest for the day Michael Bowman, the Assistant Director for the show. Michael thoroughly entertained us with his behind the scenes tales and gave us a real appreciation for the work that goes on behind the cameras in order to make a quality movie or show like Due South. The day ended with our staple event the Gala Dinner, complete with guests and lots of yummy food.
The last day brought more surprises, including a last-minute appearance by another main cast member Daniel Kash, who you should also recognise from many other TV shows and movies, most notably as Private Spunkmeyer in Aliens!
With surprise phone calls from other cast members who unfortunately couldn’t make it in person, contests, merchandise stalls and culminating in our regular Charity Auction (once again raising many thousands for local causes), RCW 139 was another runaway success.
Perhaps most importantly though, the convention was about meeting old friends and making new ones, as all these people from different walks of life, cultures and nationalities came together to celebrate this little show, from a million miles. Not literally, but you get the sentiment.
Thank you kindly to the guys at Following the Nerd for all their help in promoting this event, and for more information please visit our web site www.rcw139.org. I will leave you with a message I received from the show’s creator and multi-Oscar-winner, Paul Haggis:
“I am so flattered and humbled by how deeply this little series touched so many people. It remains one of my favorite creations and still makes me smile. I don’t have to watch the shows, I just let the memories wash over me. Thank you for honoring our little series and keeping Benton Fraser alive. This world could use a few more like him. My very best, Paul Haggis.”
John Wright Co-Chair RCW 139.