Once An Immigrant follows Canadian actor Peter Keleghan as he embarks on a journey of discovery – brandishing his playful sense of humour and irony to track the history of the Irish diaspora in Canada. He starts his journey in Canada before moving on to Ireland, looking for what his family left behind. Using baggage as a metaphor for the inherited weight carried by an immigrant’s ethnic legacy, it uses spiky discussion, personal encounters and clever animation to simplify, but never diminish, the immigrant’s task of establishing Canada as home. It starts in the now, goes back, and over there, and comes back to Canada on the cusp of 2017.

Canada was built by immigrants, and Ireland’s 1916 uprising, like many other world conflicts, created immigrants. Canada in 2017 is considering its history of 150 Years, its evolution and meaning. Almost every Canadian is an immigrant or from a family of immigrants. The Irish story of Peter’s descendancy encapsulates everything that re-affirms Canada as a triumph over what was left behind.

Written by Steve Lucas and Peter Keleghan, Directed by Michael McNamara and Produced by Markham Street Films.

Genre: Documentary, Human Interest, History
First Broadcast Date: January 12, 2017 on CBC’s First Hand
Canada stream it here.
International viewers watch it here.