From the Airwaves: Last Stand
Bill Lishman’s passion for flying high with the birds took on a new meaning in the 1970’s, when the city of Pickering put in a bid to build an airport in his backyard. Residents in the area, including Bill, fought to keep the airport off their lands.
Peter Shatalow’s documentary, Last Stand, captures the community’s fight and unique methods of drawing attention to their cause and preserving the land. We were inspired by this story because of its close-to-home feel, sharing a similar battle against an airport that we faced in our own backyard.
Pickering is no stranger to rebellion. Shatalow’s film takes a look at the region’s history of uprising, pinning it up next to their present protests.
What drew us to this particular protest?
Bill was one of the leaders of the pack to speak out against the proposed development, using innovative methods to raise the voice of the community.
Rather than a typical protest, they re-enacted dramatic and historical speeches and hangings. This unusual, out-of-the-box outcry reminded us of Margaret Atwood’s innovative book tour, which threw her audiences for a loop and reinvented an otherwise predictable event.
The result of these unorthodox presentations? Mass media coverage and some much-needed attention drawn to their causes.
In 1975, the public outcry was enough to put a stop to the Ontario government’s airport plans. But over 30 years later, the challenge of a new airport arrived. Watch a clip of the must-see Last Stand, which captures these amazingly innovative means of protest and successes.
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