Sara Canning

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Sara Canning
Sara Canning.jpg
Canning in May 2011
Born (1987-07-14) July 14, 1987 (age 31)
Years active2008–present

Sara Canning (born July 14, 1987) is a Canadian actress. She co-starred on The CW television series The Vampire Diaries as Jenna Sommers, and appeared in the 2009 feature film, Black Field. She starred as Dylan Weir in the Canadian television series, Primeval: New World, and as Dr. Melissa Conner on the Global medical drama Remedy. Canning appeared in the 2017 blockbuster film War for the Planet of the Apes. She is also known for her role as Jacquelyn Scieszka in the Netflix TV series A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Early life[edit]

Canning was born in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, the daughter of Wayne and Daphne Canning.[1] She lived in Brown's Arm, Newfoundland until age eleven, and was then raised in Sherwood Park, near Edmonton, Alberta.[2][3] She competed as a figure skater in her childhood and early adolescent years, and became interested in theatre as a student at F.R. Haythorne Junior High.[4] Canning starred in several stage productions while attending Bev Facey Community High School,[5] and acted in shows at her hometown stage at Festival Place.

Canning made her professional acting debut in George Orwell's 1984 at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton at the age of 18. She began studying general arts at the University of Alberta, and considered going into journalism. Still interested in performing, Canning left university at 19 and moved to Vancouver to pursue a career in acting.[1] She graduated from a year-long screen acting program at Vancouver Film School in 2007.[6]


Canning found an agent and began acting in television series and TV films produced in Vancouver. She worked in a restaurant and would take time off to film.[7] Her first role was in 2008, playing Nicky Hilton in Paparazzi Princess: The Paris Hilton Story.[8] In 2009, she guest-starred on Smallville and Kyle XY, and starred in the based-on-real-events TV movie, Taken in Broad Daylight. She played Anne Sluti, a 17-year- old girl who was abducted by a demented criminal (James Van Der Beek).

In 2009, Canning filmed a pilot episode for the CW network television series, The Vampire Diaries. She then starred in the feature film, Black Field, a 19th-century gothic period piece directed by Danishka Esterhazy. Canning shot the drama near Tyndall, Manitoba, Canada in May 2009.[9] She played Maggie McGregor, the older of two British sisters struggling take make their way on the Canadian Prairies. The film premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2009.[10] The Vampire Diaries series was picked up three weeks after she completed work on the film.[1]

Canning co-starred on The Vampire Diaries as Jenna Sommers, the aunt and guardian of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), and her younger brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen).[11] Canning was younger or the same age as her fellow cast members who played high school students.[12] Makeup artists and the wardrobe team worked to make her look older.[13] Canning also downplayed her Canadian accent for the role. Matthew Davis played her character's love interest, Alaric.[13] Canning appeared on the second season of The Vampire Diaries from 2010–2011, until her character was killed in the episode "The Sun Also Rises".

Canning is interested in writing and directing. As of September 2010, she was co-writing a love story set in the Western time period.[7] In 2011, she worked on a short film noir, titled Corvus, and shot the Lifetime network film, Hunt for the I-5 Killer, in Vancouver.[14] She filmed the Hallmark Movie Channel Western, Hannah's Law, in Calgary, Alberta in late 2011, starring alongside Greystone Holt.[15]

Sara Canning in 2011

Canning appeared in I Think I Do, which began filming in January 2012 in Edmonton. She starred as Audrey, an event planner who runs a business alongside her two sisters (Mia Kirschner and Jenny Cooper).[16] The romantic comedy aired in 2013 on the W and Lifetime networks.[17] She filmed the independent romantic comedy, The Right Kind of Wrong, in Banff, Alberta in late 2012, starring alongside Ryan Kwanten and Catherine O'Hara, directed by Jeremiah Chechik.[18]

Canning starred in the 2012–2013 Space channel television series, Primeval: New World, a Canadian spin-off of the British sci-fi series Primeval.[19] She played predator control expert Dylan Weir, a member of a dinosaur hunting team; the series was filmed in Vancouver.[6] Canning also starred in 2012 with Aaron Ashmore in the dark romantic comedy, I Put a Hit on You.[20] In 2013, she joined the cast of the psychological drama film, Eadweard, starring Michael Eklund. She played Flora, the wife of 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge.[21]

Canning played general surgeon Mel Conner in the Global medical drama, Remedy, co-starring Sarah Allen, Dillon Casey, and Enrico Colantoni. The television series was in production in Toronto from October 2013–January 2014.[22] Broadcast company Shaw Media renewed the series for a second 10-episode season.[23] Canning won the 2014 UBCP/ACTRA best actor and the 2015 Leo Award for Best Lead Performance for her role.[24][25]

Canning co-starred in War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), a sequel to 2014's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.[26] She appeared in On the Farm, a Rachel Talalay-directed TV film about serial killer Robert Pickton, and in Hello Destroyer, which premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Canning played Jacquelyn Scieszka in the 2017 Netflix series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on Daniel Handler's book series of the same.[27] She also starred as the head of a boarding school, Ms. Brixil, in the dystopian thriller, Level 16, written and directed by Danishka Esterhazy.[28] Canning collaborated with Esterhazy a third time in ‘’Banana Splits’’, a film shot in Cape Town, South Africa.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Canning relocated to Atlanta, Georgia to film The Vampire Diaries. She stated to Parade that she found that the Southern U.S. had "a much different culture than the west coast of Canada", but it became like her "second home".[12] Canning lived in Atlanta for two years and returned to Vancouver, British Columbia after finishing the series.[30]



Year Title Role Notes
2008 Slap Shot 3: The Junior League Hope Direct-to-video
2009 Black Field Maggie McGregor
2013 The Right Kind of Wrong Colette
2014 I Put a Hit on You Harper
2015 Eadweard Flora Shallcross Stone Nominated – 2015 UBCP/ACTRA Best Actress Award[31]
2016 Hello Destroyer Wendy Davis
2017 Prodigals Jen

Stage play adaptation

2017 War for the Planet of the Apes[32] Lake
2018 The Fish and the Sea Real estate agent


Year Title Role Notes
2008 Paparazzi Princess: The Paris Hilton Story Nicky Hilton Television film
2008 Smallville Tess' Assistant Episodes:"Odyssey", "Plastique"
2009 Black Rain Dorothy Television film
2009 Taken in Broad Daylight Anne Sluti Television film
2009 Kyle XY Redhead Episode: "In the Company of Men"
2009 Come Dance at My Wedding Andrea Merriman Television film
2009–14, 17 The Vampire Diaries Jenna Sommers Regular (seasons 1-2), Guest (seasons 3, 5 and 8): 46 episodes
2011 The Hunt for the I-5 Killer Beth Williams Television film
2012 Supernatural Lydia Episode: "The Slice Girls"
2012 Hannah's Law Hannah Beaumont Television film
Nominated – Leo Award for Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Feature Length Drama[33]
2012–13 Primeval: New World Dylan Weir Main cast: 13 episodes
2013 I Think I Do Audrey Ryan Television film
2013 King & Maxwell Claire Culpepper Episode: "Family Business"
2013 Garage Sale Mystery Hannah Television film
2013 Republic of Doyle Jessica Dwyer Episodes: "If the Shoe Fits", "Major Crimes"
2014–15 Remedy Dr. Melissa Conner Main cast: 20 episodes
Won – 2014 UBCP/ACTRA Best Actress Award[24]
Won – 2015 Leo Award for Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series[25]
Nominated – 2016 Leo Award for Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series[34]
2014 Hell on Wheels Charlotte Royce 3 episodes
Nominated – 2015 Leo Award for Best Guest Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series[25]
2016 Motive Tracy Blaine Episode: "Interference"
2016 On the Farm Sinead McLeod Television film
Nominated – 2016 Leo Award for Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Television Movie[34]
2017–2018 Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Jacquelyn Scieszka Recurring cast: 10 episodes
Nominated – 2017 Leo Award for Best Guest Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series[35]
2018 Once Upon a Time Gretel[36] Guest[36]
2018 Van Helsing Carter Episode: "Been Away"[37]


  1. ^ a b c Hall, Jamie (July 27, 2010). "Canning sinks her teeth into television and movie career". The Edmonton Journal. Retrieved on October 2, 2013.
  2. ^ Rae, Kate (September 6, 2013). "Sara Canning: Her closet is ‘totally nuts’". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on October 2, 2013.
  3. ^ Brioux, Bill (August 13, 2009). "TV brimming with Canadians". The Toronto Star. Retrieved on October 17, 2009.
  4. ^ "The Vampire Diaries – Cast – Sara Canning". The CW. Retrieved on October 17, 2009. Archived September 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Wilkie, Trent (13 June 2013). "Drammies a go". Edmonton Examiner. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  6. ^ a b Leiren-Young, Mark (January 3, 2013). "Hollywood North: Vancouver’s Sara Canning takes a vacation from vampires and velociraptors". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved on January 5, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Proulx, Ben (September 1, 2010). "Vampires draw in Park actor". Sherwood Park News. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.
  8. ^ "Acting Like A Hilton". January 29, 2008. Vancouver Film School. Retrieved on October 9, 2009.
  9. ^ Caddell, Ian (October 2009). "Field of Dreams". Reel West. Retrieved on October 9, 2009.
  10. ^ Mithrush, Fawnda (April 30, 2010). "Vampire Vixen". Avenue Magazine. Retrieved on May 1, 2010. Archived May 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Gilovoy, Jackie (September 25, 2009). "In Review: The Vampire Diaries[permanent dead link]". Ponte Vedra Recorder. Retrieved on October 17, 2009.[dead link]
  12. ^ a b Hill, Erin (January 28, 2010). "Sara Canning: 'Vampire Diaries' Will Pave Its Own Way". Parade. Retrieved on January 30, 2010.
  13. ^ a b MacKenzie, Carina (March 25, 2010). "'The Vampire Diaries': Sara Canning makes her own luck". Los Angeles Times Retrieved on May 8, 2010.
  14. ^ Wilkinson, Amy (May 5, 2011). "'Vampire Diaries' Post-Mortem: Sara Canning Talks About Last Night's Shocking Episode". MTV. Retrieved on May 13, 2011.
  15. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (October 3, 2011). "'Vampire Diaries' Actress to Star in Hallmark Movie Channel Western (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on November 9, 2011.
  16. ^ Baxter, Meaghan (January 31, 2012). "Park actress branches out to comedy". Sherwood Park News. Retrieved on January 31, 2012.
  17. ^ Hall, Jamie (January 12, 2012). "A movie 'for the world to see'". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved on January 14, 2012.
  18. ^ Volmers, Eric (October 4, 2012). "Alberta ranch plays host to stars of romantic comedy, The Right Kind of Wrong". Calgary Herald. Retrieved on October 5, 2012.
  19. ^ Vlessing, Etan (March 7, 2012). "Sara Canning Stars in Canadian 'Primeval: New World' Sci-Fi Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on March 9, 2012.
  20. ^ Vlessing, Etan (November 9, 2012). "Sara Canning, Aaron Ashmore Cast in Canadian Indie 'I Put a Hit on You'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on November 10, 2012.
  21. ^ Kit, Borys (June 28, 2013). "'Vampire Diaries,' 'Continuum' Actors Join Eadweard Muybridge Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on June 29, 2013.
  22. ^ Vlessing, Elan (October 2, 2013). "Sara Canning, Sarah Allen Board Canadian Medical Drama 'Remedy'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on October 2, 2013.
  23. ^ Vlessing, Elan (May 1, 2014). "Sara Canning-Starring Medical Drama 'Remedy' Gets Second Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on May 4, 2014.
  24. ^ a b Derdeyn, Stuart (November 24, 2014). "Ian Tracey and Sara Canning win best actor and actress awards at UBCP/ACTRA awards". The Province. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  25. ^ a b c Marchand, Francois (June 15, 2012). "Violent roars at the Leo Awards". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  26. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (October 26, 2015). "Sara Canning To Monkey Around In 'War For The Planet Of The Apes'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  27. ^ Furminger, Sabrina (January 16, 2017). "Sara Canning's fortunate event". Westender. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  28. ^ Vlessing, Etan (February 10, 2016). "'Vampire Diaries' Actress Sara Canning to Star in YA Thriller 'Level 16'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  29. ^ Gee, Dana (March 15, 2019). "Road work suits Vancouver actor Sara Canning just fine". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  30. ^ MacKenzie, Carina Adly (May 6, 2011). "'The Vampire Diaries': Sara Canning says goodbye to Jenna Sommers". Zap2it. Retrieved on November 9, 2011.
  31. ^ Marchand, Francois (September 17, 2015). "Hollywood North: UBCP/ACTRA nominees announced". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  32. ^ "Sara Canning To Monkey Around In 'War For The Planet Of The Apes'". Deadline Hollywood. October 26, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  33. ^ Harris, Aleesha (May 3, 2012). "Leo Awards 2012: The full list of nominees". The Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on September 18, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  34. ^ a b "2016 Leo Awards Nominees by Name". Leo Awards. 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  35. ^ "Leo Awards, 2017 Winners by Name". Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  36. ^ a b "Sisterhood". Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  37. ^ Retrieved 4 March 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)

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