Creators Who Inspire: Meet Simon D’Amours

After studying marketing and communications, Montreal-born director, producer, and host Simon D'Amours set off for Western Canada. He first chose British Columbia as his new home, then settled in the Yukon in 2011. 

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Simon D'Amours - Photo: Vincent Bonnay

“It’s still the Klondike here!” he observes over a video call. “Whatever you undertake works. All you need is the will.” 

One thing leading to the next, D'Amours embarked on a series of projects, including D'Amours et d'eau fraîche, with the intention of showing the public some of the issues facing the Yukon Territory, too rarely represented on the small screen at the time. He then moved on to Comment ça va le Nord?, a French-language northern documentary series presented on ICI Explora that explores the concrete impacts of climate change, especially on Indigenous peoples, the fauna, and the flora. 

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Comment ça va le Nord? - still shot

“I want to take people out of their comfort zones,” D'Amours confesses. “I was raised in this box where you have to own a house, retire at 65, et cetera. But we have to stop consuming! In the Yukon, we can see climate change—it’s blatant. The glaciers are melting. I want to wake people up, inform them about what is going on in the north of the country.” 

D'Amours is hitting that goal by focusing his lens on the human aspects of the stories he brings to the screen. In Comment ça va le Nord?, his curiosity and compassion shine through in his conversations with specialists who can explain complex topics in simple terms. 

“I need to understand what is happening,” he says. “This series reaches audiences who enjoy it for the raw information it's built upon, as well as viewers who are more interested in the profoundly human stories it features.” 

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Comment ça va le Nord? - Photo: Simon D'Amours Productions

Comment ça va le Nord? may be grounded in the dire reality of climate change, it still doesn't miss a chance to remind audiences that concrete solutions exist and that our future is not completely devoid of hope. For example, D'Amours asserts that the pandemic has helped Canadians realign certain priorities. “People reacted to what was happening. They planted gardens, they started working from home. I’m positive that we can turn things around.” 

In the meantime, D'Amours is not lacking for work. This past year, he was busy with the airing of his documentary series Va jouer dehors, which focuses on young Yukoners, and with the broadcast of the second season of Au cœur du Yukon, which saw him crisscross the territory aboard a school bus. With numerous development projects in the works, he is not planning a third season of Comment ça va le Nord?, believing that the show has said what it needed to say. 

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Au coeur du Yukon - Photo: Simon D'Amours Productions

Nevertheless, he remains conscious of one thing: these opportunities to bring the lesser-known reality of the North to the small screen are made possible thanks to institutions like the CMF. “Without them, it would be difficult to show the evolution of these ecosystems—and to do it in French.”  

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors.
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