New reality TV series exploring Sasquatch sightings in Ontario

Click to play video: 'Trent University Sasquatch Society in Peterborough on the lookout for Bigfoot'
Trent University Sasquatch Society in Peterborough on the lookout for Bigfoot
On this edition of Out & About Caley Bedore meets a group determined to find Bigfoot, or at least find out more about the mysterious creature – Apr 28, 2022

Be it superstition or a hairy creature in the wood, a new TV series filming in Simcoe County next month is investigating reported Bigfoot sightings.

Sasquatch University is a new reality/Bigfoot investigation show set to premiere on Wild TV later this year.

The show, started by the founder of the Trent University Sasquatch Society, Ryan Willis, explores Bigfoot sightings in the Barrie and Orillia area.

“When you’re a first-year student at university and have an interest in Bigfoot and going out in the woods with their friends, you don’t expect to end up at that place, but as the society has evolved, it’s gotten really serious in terms of who we talk to, the type of research we do,” Willis said.

“So I think it’s really cool that it’s come this far.”

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The show will also investigate sighting in other parts of Ontario, including Peterborough, Muskoka, Algonquin Park, and possibly other provinces.

Willis, the host and producer of the show, said he will be joined by fellow society members Joel Porter and Cody Misner as they investigate reported sightings.

Sasquatch University TV host Ryan Willis, centre with Cody Misner left and Joel Porter right. Supplied by Ryan Willis

The group gets tips through its Sasquatch University website, where people can send evidence of potential sightings.

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Willis said there had been a lot of reports in and around the Barrie area, which is why filming will start there.

Specializing in film and media with a degree in Canadian Culture Studies, Willis said it’s great to see how his hobby turned into a 13-episode series.

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“We would go out in the woods around Peterborough and do our investigation in trying to realize we had the people to become an actual club. So we registered with the school as a society, and it’s gotten really big. I think we’re over 200 members now,” Willis said.

When asked where his interest in Bigfoot started, Willis admitted it’s been a hobby for some time.

“I’ve always had an interest in Sasquatch and Bigfoot. When I was 11 or 12, I found the show Finding Bigfoot on TV one day, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever that there was an undiscovered creature, undiscovered species that a lot of people see in our woods,” he said.

“I always find it fascinating, and then as I got older, as a teenager, I would go out in the woods In Algonquin Park in that area and try to do my own investigations.”

The existence of the big-footed creature, believed to be anywhere from six to 15 feet tall, has been highly debated for around 200 years, with only footprints of fleeting glimpses of the alleged creature captured.

Britannica defines Sasquatch as a legendary creature, also known as Bigfoot, a large, hairy, humanlike creature believed by some people to exist in the northwestern United States and western Canada and is viewed as the North American counterpart of the Himalayan region’s mythical monster, the Abominable Snowman, or Yeti.

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According to the online encyclopedia, British explorer David Thompson is sometimes credited with the first discovery in 1811 of a set of Sasquatch footprints, and hundreds of alleged prints have been reported since then.

Visual sightings and even alleged photographs and filming, notably by Roger Patterson at Bluff Creek, Calif., in 1967, have also contributed to the legend. However, none of the purported evidence has been verified, Britannica notes.

Willis said while he knows there are a lot of hoaxes out there, he believes there is also a lot of legitimate evidence to back up the creature’s existence.

As part of the show, Willis said they would also include leading Bigfoot researchers in the field and look at the different theories around the creatures’ origins.

“We want to look at every avenue and theory there is. The most common theory is that we’re dealing with an ape species here, but there’s also people that believe they’re either aliens or inter-dimensional beings,” he said

“We want to investigate everything and all the reports on what everybody in the community is saying and let people draw their own conclusions.”

Production on the Wild TV series is set to begin filming in the Barrie area in April.

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Willis said the first episode will air later this year on Sept. 25, 2023.

Click to play video: 'GNM chats with the Quinte Sasquatch collective'
GNM chats with the Quinte Sasquatch collective

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