Wilby Wonderful

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Wilby Wonderful
Wilby Wonderful.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Daniel MacIvor
Produced by Camelia Frieberg
Written by Daniel MacIvor
Starring James Allodi
Maury Chaykin
Paul Gross
Rebecca Jenkins
Sandra Oh
Ellen Page
Callum Keith Rennie
Daniel MacIvor
Music by Michael Timmins
Cinematography Rudolf Blahacek
Edited by Mike Munn
Distributed by Mongrel Media
Release date
  • 2004 (2004)
Running time
99 minutes
Country Canada
Language English

Wilby Wonderful is a 2004 film by Daniel MacIvor. The film is a comedic drama about 24 hours in the life of the small town of Wilby, where the municipal festival is in preparation. It focuses on the changes occurring in the lives of several different inhabitants as development comes to the island and threatens to change the world around them. The title comes from a sign created to promote the town; comically, it has been painted wrong, and says "Wilby Wonderful," as opposed to "Wonderful Wilby."

Wilby Wonderful received a 71% rating from review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 7 reviews.[1]


The small Canadian Maritimes island town of Wilby is preparing for its annual fair as a scandal threatens to rock its very foundation: the local newspaper is about to publish details and names of men caught during a police raid at Wilby Watch, a large undeveloped area on the island.

In the midst of it, Wilby's inhabitants attempt to maintain business as usual. Overbusy realtor Carol French is trying to sell the mayor her late mother-in-law’s house while supervising the festival, trying to achieve her social ambitions while painfully trying to avoid her husband's efforts to discuss their marriage. Her police officer husband, good-natured Buddy, investigating the rumors of gay sex and drugs at the Watch with his partner Stan, is distracted by his burgeoning love affair with former high school classmate Sandra Anderson. Sandra just got back to the island and re-opened a coffee shop, her bad reputation as a promiscuous woman a painful fact in her life. Sandra’s teenaged daughter Emily resentfully observes her mother's doings; she's hoping for a serious romance different from her mom's history, but her boyfriend may have more basic intentions. After his wife has left him in the wake of the pending gay scandal, the new-to-town depressive video store owner Dan Jarvis keeps trying to kill himself and Duck MacDonald, the town’s handyman, keeps interrupting his attempts. Duck remains stoic in front of the turmoil, seemingly the only one (silently) recognizing everyone else's dramas while himself persistently seeking Dan's company. And the town's mayor may be playing up the scandal in order to conclude a deal to turn the Watch into a golf course.

The scandal will force the characters to reevaluate their lives and come to terms with their own secrets and lies.



Wilby Wonderful was filmed from 21 July to 25 August 2003 in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. It was largely shot at a decommissioned Canadian Forces station, dubbed "Camp Wilby" by cast and crew.[2][3][4] While Wilby is never explicitly located in the film, Daniel MacIvor has acknowledged its similarities to his birthplace of Cape Breton.[2]

The original title was Honey and the town was named after that, but when a movie of the same name came out, Daniel MacIvor decided for Wilby instead as a reference to hope and to the future.[5]


Give me the chance to fall and Statement, performed by Gentleman Reg
All about you, performed by Young Ideas
What went wrong and Save me too, performed by Scott B. Sympathy
Shoelace easy, performed by Stratochief
Strangest dream, performed and written by Kate Maki
Something's coming performed and written by Rebecca Jenkins
Measure me, performed by Nathan
A lighthearted lovesong, performed by The Pets
Find another fool, performed by The Swiftys
Tempest, Piano Sonata No.17 in D Major, Op.31, No.2, performed by Ethella Chuprik
Whatever will be, performed by Fiona Highet, Andrew Scott and Patrick Pentland


Ellen Page won an Atlantic Canadian Award in 2004 at the Atlantic Film Festival for Outstanding Performance by an Actor - Female. Rebecca Jenkins won a Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award in 2004 for Best Supporting Actress - Canadian Film.

The film was nominated in 2005 for two Genie Awards: Rebecca Jenkins's "Something's Coming" for Best Achievement in Music - Original Song and Ellen Page for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wilby Wonderful @ Rotten Tomatoes
  2. ^ a b Wilby Wonderful Press Kit
  3. ^ Dustin Dinoff (2004-08-30). "Will Wilby be Wonderful?". Playback. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  4. ^ "He's Gross, but people love him! Paul Gross is back in the saddle". 2004-10-04. Retrieved 2009-12-30.  Originally published in Toronto Star
  5. ^ Karen Arcot (2004-10-20). "Is Wilby Wonderful?". The Strand. Retrieved 2009-12-30. [dead link]

External links[edit]