Barbara Sears 1946-2009

I received very sad news today; Barbara Sears, who I had the pleasure of knowing through my years with the Visual Researchers Society of Canada, died of Cancer yesterday.

Barbara was a bright and fun spark, who was always generous with her time and knowledge.

My deepest sympathies to her family and friends.


Barbara Ann Sears died of cancer of the pancreas at Toronto Grace Hospice on 25 August 2009, in Toronto after an illness of five months. She was a person of great talent. An editorial and visual researcher, Barbara was a founding member of the Visual Researchers’ Society of Canada - Association des recherchistes en audiovisuelle du Canada.

Over the course of her career, she worked not only in print, but also as a documentary film director, producer, writer and narrator. She worked for many years with journalist and historian Pierre Berton. Her contribution to Canadian history is evident in her work on dozens of books and many documentaries created by some of Canada’s best producers and directors, including the late Donald Brittain.

An endowment to further editorial and visual research has been set up in Barbara's name, to be administered by the Visual Researcher’s Society of Canada (VRSC/ARAC)

September 1st, 2009

UPDATE: Details about the Barbara Sears Endowment Fund may be found here:


  1. Oh, that is sad to hear... I did not know of Barbara, but my, what a legacy she has left behind...
    Thank you- my sympathies to her family and to all her called her friend.

  2. Thanks for your kind comment Red Bird, she certainly was an incredible lady

  3. do you know if she attended elementary and high school in Los Angles? Thanks.

  4. No, Barbara was educated in England and emigrated to Canada in the early 70s.

    Best wishes

  5. I am terribly saddened to hear of Barbara's illness and consequent passing. I knew Barbara only orally (we spoke a number of times on the telephone). I realize this message is coming quite late but I only learned of her passing today. May she rest in peace.
    kim, montreal

  6. Emma,
    I knew Barbara for many years -- we met in 1984 when I was working on a film she was directing -- but saw her only a few times a year after i moved away from the city. I usually stayed at her house when I came to the Film Festival or for some other reason. The last time must have been just before she fell ill.
    Is there any way to contact her friend Brigid Callowell (don't know the spelling) who was the one who had to break the news to me. I never got to thank her, I was in such shock. Still am really.

  7. Hi Rita,
    I'm sorry, but I don't know Brigid myself.
    I hope that you can find a way to reach her.

    Warmest wishes,


  8. Did this Barbara Sears research the book about the Dionne Quins? If so I have just learned about the death of my cousin.We made contact once since childhood after my reading that book, noticing her name as researcher and contacting the publisher.

  9. It is very likely that she did, as I believe Barbara worked extensively on book research, especially early in her career.

    I'm sorry to bring you this sad news, your cousin was a very talented and lovely woman.