THUNDER BAY — A documentary maker with roots in two Treaty 3 First Nations won two Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on Thursday but had no time for celebration.

Ryan McMahon, whose mother is from Couchiching and whose paternal grandmother was from nearby Rainy River First Nations, explained Friday that he instead had family duties.

“My partner and I, we have a six-month-old and a 2½-year-old,” the host, co-writer and co-producer of the Crave documentary series Thunder Bay said.

“And she has two kids from a previous relationship, and I have two kids from a previous relationship.

“So immediately after the awards, we ran back to Union Station and caught the train home to Hamilton because it was her 11-year-old’s birthday yesterday.

“So we came home and had poutine and cheeseburgers and then it was bath and bedtime. So nothing out of the ordinary for us – just another day in our journey together as a family.”

Family matters aside, he said, Thursday was “a wonderful day of recognition for our team and for all of the work that went into trying to shed new light on a story that I think a lot of people thought they understood.”

The series he made with Thunder Bay journalist Jon Thompson and others is a deep dive into murders, racism and injustices in the Lakehead city.

“I know it’s controversial work. I know it’s work that some people don’t believe in, in Thunder Bay in particular,” McMahon said of the four-part series.

“But our journalistic track record stands. We’ve not had to issue any corrections, we’ve not made errors. We knew the story, we knew what we had, we knew the allegations against people in power in Thunder Bay.”

The series garnered McMahon trophies in the categories Best Factual Series and Best Writing, Factual.

But he’s not basking in the recognition.

“I’m at work today,” he said Friday morning.

“I work for the Investigative Journalism Bureau, which is a non-profit newsroom at the University of Toronto. We’re partnered with the Toronto Star.

“So I’m talking to you from the Toronto Star building here in Toronto. It is a nice day, but it’s a work day – back to work, back to telling stories that hopefully have impact.

“And, you know, nothing changes. I’m still wearing a pair of jeans that my baby puked on this morning and I’m probably going to have some cheap Chinese food here for lunch and just keep listening and learning about what matters to our people back home.”

By Mike Stimpson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 31, 2024 at 14:08

This item reprinted with permission from   Thunder Bay Source   Thunder Bay, Ontario
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