Summer in the Forest is coming to Canada

This documentary by British filmmaker Randall Wright explores the vision of Jean Vanier and life in L’Arche. The film is set in L’Arche Trosly and L’Arche Bethlehem (in French and Arabic with English subtitles) with reflections by Jean Vanier (in English without subtitles). Summer in the Forest is not a L’Arche film, yet we seek to engage audiences with its positive messages as well as elements that might spark dialogue.

New York Times review:

Promotional material may also be found at

Monday, April 30, 6:00 pm showings at:

  • Calgary, Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market

Monday, April 30, 7:00 pm showings at:

  • Halifax, Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane
  • Montreal, Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin and Cinéma Cineplex Odeon Cavendish Mall
  • Ottawa, Cineplex Odeon South Keys
  • Toronto, Cineplex Yonge-Dundas
  • Oakville, Cineplex Cinemas Winston Churchill
  • Sudbury, Sudbury Silver City
  • Winnipeg, Cineplex Odeon McGillivray
  • Vancouver, The Park Theatre

May 17 showing –Waterloo (near Stratford!) at Princess Theatre time tbd.

L’Arche Canada Statement on the film
Summer in the Forest

April 5, 2018

British filmmaker Randall Wright’s documentary, Summer in the Forest, will open in limited release in 9 cities in Canada on April 30, 2018. For a list of these and future screenings go to

Summer in the Forest is an independent film made in cooperation with L’Arche Trosly in France (where L’Arche began in 1964), L’Arche Bethlehem, and Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche. Wright invites Vanier to share his vision for L’Arche and for humanity. This vision is illustrated through Jean’s life, and through the lives of several persons with intellectual disabilities and their companions in community. We are taken on several journeys of discovery – often slow, sometimes surprising – that build into a satisfying whole by the film’s final scenes of celebration.


We are grateful to Randall Wright and his collaborators for making this extraordinary film that welcomes people with intellectual disabilities into the centre of the story where they belong, and to the producer, Richard Wilson, and all who are working to bringing this film and the message of L’Arche and Jean Vanier to new audiences.

For over 50 years, Vanier’s vision has inspired countless people around the world to discover what it means to be human and live together in peace. In this film, the witness of his life and the profound joy that Vanier shares in his community after all these years give added power to his words.

From critical and audience response in the UK and US, we know that Summer in the Forest is connecting deeply with people unfamiliar with the lives of people with intellectual disabilities as well as those who are. It’s clear that Vanier’s vision of humanity and the witness of L’Arche are as significant as ever.


We are concerned about how individuals with intellectual disabilities are portrayed at times in this film. Vulnerability, inner pain, and mental illness are aspects of what it means to be human, yet they must be portrayed in ways that don’t reinforce the negative images and stereotypes common in society.

L’Arche communities in Canada do not live a hidden life in the forest. Some members may choose a quiet life, yet the vast majority are valued contributors to their neighbourhoods, networks of friends and family, and to the many work, school, faith, social, recreational, and other communities to which they belong.

Our Position

In the stories we tell, L’Arche seeks to promote:

  • Inclusion, making known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities and their contributions to creating a more human society;
  • Respect for each person, their history, beliefs, and choices for their lives;
  • Our rich diversity while recognizing the challenges of living with difference;
  • Recognition of our common humanity and need for one another;
  • Relationships of mutual care and learning between people who are different; and
  • The power of sharing life in communities of friendship and belonging.

People with intellectual disabilities have something to say and a right to be heard. L’Arche seeks opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities to speak for themselves in their own words and ways of expressing themselves. When individuals don’t use typical forms of communication, we seek ways to ensure that their voice is heard.

The As I Am film series illustrates the L’Arche way of storytelling:

An Invitation

L’Arche Canada invites you to watch Summer in the Forest and to invite others to join you. We encourage public dialogue on the concerns and the contributions of people with intellectual disabilities who are too often left out of the conversation. We also encourage dialogue about what it means to be human, to live with difference, and to belong in community.

You can join us in this dialogue through email (, twitter (@larchecanada), or at screenings near you:

  • What did you see/hear in the film that touched or inspired you?
  • What did you see/hear in the film – or not see – that concerned you?
  • What does this film say about the issues of Canadian society/the world today?

We’d love to hear from you.

Measuring the Impact of Federal Legislation to Promote Inclusion

On December 3, the International Day of Person with Disabilities, L’Arche Canada participated in the 9th annual Federal Policy Forum on Inclusion hosted by the Canadian Association of Community Living and People First of Canada.

Canada accedes to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Accession to the Optional Protocol means that Canadians will have additional recourse to make a complaint to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, if they believe their rights under the Convention have been violated.

I Believe in You

“This book brings something new and surprising (...) I hope each reader can discover in a new way what it means to be human.” – Jean Vanier, from the foreword

Accessible Canada Act passed third reading

L’Arche Canada has joined the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance (FALA) and supports its recommended changes.

Le Sacrement de la Tendresse (the Sacrament of Tenderness) a new film about Jean Vanier

One of the film’s assets is the enthusiasm of the director, whose strength of conviction is real.

Letter from Jean, October 2018

“90 years old! My God, I can scarcely believe it. I have such a desire to shout out my thanks!”

Louis Pilotte, new National Leader

“From my very first days in L’Arche, I was convinced that I was living an experience that was part of a project for society, part of a vision of the world.”

New Community Leaders in Saint John and Wolfville

… and celebrating Homefires Community Leader Ingrid Blais

Second Reading for Accessible Canada Act

The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) legislation to ensure a barrier-free Canada

L’Arche Canada Foundation’s Fall 2018 Impact Bulletin

Top Story: Support for L’Arche Lithuania

Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying Regulations Fall Short

September 6, 2018 – L’Arche Canada supports the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) in urging the federal government to strengthen the system of monitoring Medical Assistance in Dying.

A new Community Leader for L’Arche Daybreak

L’Arche Canada and the Board of Directors present Trish Glennon, as the new Community Leader for L’Arche Daybreak

L’Arche Saskatoon’s 10th Anniversary video is amazing!

To celebrate their first ten years, L’Arche Saskatoon produced a wonderful 8-min video on “What is community?”

Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada

The Government of Canada has released the third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in Canada (July 1 to December 31, 2017)

Minister Duncan introduces the proposed Accessible Canada Act

June 20, 2018 – This historic legislation would enable the Government of Canada to take a proactive approach to end systemic discrimination of people with disabilities.

L’Arche Canada Newsletter Summer 2018

“Community is built as we become interdependent, humbly recognizing and welcoming our need of one another.”

Letter from Jean, May 2018

“Every day, I take a walk in my little garden, with my eyes looking down because I have to be careful where I walk: this means I notice the primroses.”

L’Arche Canada Foundation’s Spring 2018 Impact Bulletin

Top Story: L’Arche Toronto’s Trying It On For Size (TIFS) project for young people with intellectual disabilities

Summer in the Forest is coming to Canada

“Summer in the Forest is an extraordinarily tender documentary that asks what it means to be human. Here, even the most gentle scenes raise mighty questions.” (New York Times)

The Courage to Listen and Speak Out

As part of the campaign on fundamental values, the L’Arche Canada communications team recently published an online, illustrated account of a person who has lived through abuse. In very simple words, the account expresses a universal reality, the truth that not being heard is a source of immense suffering.

Jean Vanier Interview on CNN

Christiane Amanpour interviews Jean Vanier following the release of Summer in the Forest

First Nations – The Courage to Meet Face to Face

At L’Arche, we are all experimenting with what it means to find “the courage to truly meet difference.” We are on this journey whether we’re encountering a new person, or group, or any culture other than our own.

“Nineteen Paper Cranes”, a Film in Homage to the victims of Sagamihara, Japan

L’Arche International is launching the 9th film in its #AsIAm web series, filmed at L’Arche in Japan, in homage to the 19 victims of the Sagamihara massacre.

Growing as we Learn: The L’Arche Canada Growth Initiative

“A learning organization is an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.” – Harvard Business Review

Leadership Spring Trainings take off

The L’Arche Canada leadership development has entered a major new phase. After years introducing a model based on the core values of L’Arche and tools for reviews and team building, a comprehensive formation and training program – through over 100 online training modules – is being delivered across the country.

Communicating the Work of Outreach and Communications

It has been a challenging year of transition in the L’Arche Canada Outreach and Communications team and its work. As we move forward, new initiatives and new partnerships are emerging that promise increased impact in this important work.

Contributing Our Voices

On February 8, members of L’Arche attended an “in person” session of the accessibility consultation, as several L’Arche folk from other communities had done in their cities.

Meeting with the Minister

On April 6, 2017, representatives of L’Arche Canada met with the Hon. Qualtrough, Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities, to share our hopes and concerns – and express our gratitude and support – for new federal, accessibility legislation.

Revelations of Abuse in Trosly, France

In a letter dated March 24, 2015, the Leaders of L’Arche International informed the communities of L’Arche around the world of the results of a canonical (Church) inquiry into accounts of sexual abuse by Père Thomas Philippe who was involved in the beginnings of the first community of L’Arche in Trosly. (Père Thomas died in 1993 so there was no trial.)

Love at Second Sight

AboutFace, an organization providing supports to individuals with facial differences and their families, as well as public awareness and education to increase understanding and acceptance, recently hosted the Toronto premiere of this powerful film that transforms attitudes about appearance and encourages students to accept themselves and others. It’s about difference and belonging, judgment and inclusion.

What does an Accessible Canada mean to you?

The Government of Canada has launched a consultation process that will be open until February 2017. Canadians are encouraged to participate in the consultation by visiting:

L’Arche Canada response to Bill C-14’s

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Physician-Assisted Dying, and as the Federal Government works on drafting legislation on this issue, L’Arche in Canada has re-committed itself to providing the best possible supports for the people with intellectual disabilities in our communities, both in life and as they approach death.

Jean Vanier: Logician of the Heart

An excellent new book on Jean Vanier by Michael W. Higgins is available from Novalis.