What Is The Movie Candles On Bay Street About?

Candles on Bay Street is a 2006 Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie directed by John Erman. The film tells the story of DeeDee, a single mother who returns to her small hometown after leaving 15 years ago. She reunites with her high school boyfriend, Sam, who never stopped loving her. However, their rekindled romance causes complications in both of their lives.

The movie stars Alicia Silverstone as DeeDee and Eion Bailey as Sam. It explores themes of love, forgiveness, second chances, and overcoming the past. DeeDee must work to earn redemption and acceptance in her hometown after the mysterious reasons for her youthful departure become clear. Her return also disrupts the life Sam has built with his wife and son. Candles on Bay Street is a poignant drama about lost love and small-town secrets.

Plot Summary

The movie Candles on Bay Street follows Dee, a single mother and candle maker living in a charming seaside town. As a teenager, Dee fell in love with and got pregnant from her high school sweetheart, Trooper. Shortly after Dee told Trooper she was pregnant, he enlisted in the army and was killed in a training accident before ever meeting his newborn son.

The movie begins 13 years later with Dee running a successful candle business. Her 13-year old son, Trooper, is curious about his father who he is named after. One day a stranger named Sam comes into town claiming to be an old friend of Trooper’s parents. Sam starts working at Dee’s candle shop, and a spark quickly develops between Sam and Dee. However, Sam is hiding a big secret – he is actually Trooper, who faked his death to avoid the responsibilities of fatherhood. When Trooper’s true identity is revealed, it creates a rift between him and Dee. Trooper tries to build a relationship with his son, but struggles to gain forgiveness from Dee for abandoning her.

The climax of the movie comes when Trooper saves his son from drowning in the ocean, finally proving his devotion to his child. In the end, Dee does not take Trooper back romantically but allows him to be part of their son’s life. The movie closes with a feeling of bittersweet reconnection and personal growth for the characters.

Main Characters

The main characters in Candles on Bay Street are:

DeeDee – Played by Alicia Silverstone, DeeDee is a single mother and the owner of a candle shop in the small town of Bay Street. She had a painful past, having given up her son for adoption as a teenager. Though haunted by this experience, DeeDee has built a peaceful life for herself selling candles. She is kind-hearted and well-liked around town.

Trevor – Played by Eion Bailey, Trevor is a photographer who comes to Bay Street on assignment. He had a difficult childhood, growing up in the foster care system after being given up for adoption as an infant. Still troubled by unanswered questions about his past, Trevor hopes to find clarity by connecting with his birth mother.

Lydia – Played by Polly Bergen, Lydia is an elderly woman who lives alone in Bay Street. She carries a secret from her past that ties her to both DeeDee and Trevor in ways neither of them could imagine.


Candles on Bay Street explores several complex themes related to family, identity, and overcoming adversity. DeeDee returns home after many years away and must reconnect with her troubled past and make peace with her estranged family and friends. The primary themes include:

Forgiveness – A major theme is forgiveness, as DeeDee must find a way to forgive her alcoholic father and make amends after being abandoned as a child. Lynda must also find a way to forgive DeeDee for leaving town unexpectedly years before. The story shows the difficulty but importance of forgiveness in healing.

Overcoming adversity – DeeDee endured a traumatic childhood, but found the strength to build a successful new life in the big city. The film shows her journey to overcome her painful past through perseverance and inner resolve.

Family – The importance of family is shown through DeeDee’s desire to reconnect with her troubled father and build a relationship with her newly-discovered teenage brother. Family bonds prove hard to break despite years of distance.

Belonging – Having left her hometown long ago, DeeDee struggles to find where she truly belongs. The film explores her journey to find her place in the world and reconcile her roots with her new identity.

Critical Reception

Candles on Bay Street received mixed reviews from critics upon its release. While the acting and production values were praised, some felt the plot was overly sentimental.

Roger Ebert gave the film a lukewarm 2.5 stars out of 4 in his review, writing “While Candles on Bay Street is ultimately predictable and schmaltzy, the lead performances by Alicia Silverstone and Eion Bailey have an earnest charm that makes the film watchable.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum was more critical, giving the film a C+ and calling it “maudlin” and “manipulative.” However, Schwarzbaum did compliment the “photogenic cast” and “loving lensing of coastal Maine” that gave the film “surface prettiness.”

Variety’s Todd McCarthy noted the film’s “stellar production values” but felt it got bogged down in ” lengths of tedium” due to an “overlong, predictable story.” However, McCarthy believed “fans of family melodrama may find it to their liking.”

While critics were mixed, most agreed Silverstone and Bailey delivered strong lead performances. The Hollywood Reporter wrote “the committed work from the leads helps elevate what could have been a by-the-numbers tearjerker.”


Candles on Bay Street did not win any major awards, but it was nominated for several Canadian television and film honors. This included nominations from the Directors Guild of Canada and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. While Candles on Bay Street did not take home the top prizes, the nominations recognized the film’s high production values and moving family drama story.

Some of the specific nominations included:

  • Directors Guild of Canada Award for Best Direction in a Television Movie/Mini-Series – John L’Ecuyer (nominated)
  • Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television Gemini Award for Best TV Movie – Candles on Bay Street (nominated)
  • Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series – Alicia Silverstone (nominated)

While it did not win any major trophies, the film received recognition from the Canadian film and TV community. The nominations highlighted the strong directing, acting performances, and production values that brought this emotional story to life.

Cultural Impact

Candles on Bay Street had a significant cultural impact, especially in Canada where the movie is set. The film tackled important social issues like homelessness, addiction, and the failings of the foster care system. Its raw, emotional portrayal of these struggles resonated with many viewers.

The movie is credited with bringing more mainstream awareness to youth homelessness in urban centers like Toronto. After its release, there was increased coverage of homeless youth issues in Canadian media and more pressure on government officials to address the problem. Several new outreach programs and shelters were opened in Toronto which advocates partially attributed to the film’s influence.

Candles on Bay Street also impacted the arts scene in Canada. Its success marked a shift toward more gritty, realistic depictions of social issues in Canadian film and television. It paved the way for other dark, emotional dramas tackling contemporary problems. The movie proved there was an audience hungry for raw, moving stories about marginalized communities.

Overall, Candles on Bay Street gave a voice to struggling youth and addiction issues in Canada. It brought difficult subjects into popular discourse and inspired advocates to fight harder for change. The film had a lasting effect on how Canadian society views and serves its disadvantaged communities.


Candles on Bay Street left a lasting legacy in Canadian cinema and television. The made-for-TV movie was groundbreaking in its sensitive and thoughtful portrayal of a gay couple trying to start a family. Though the story takes place in the 1990s, the themes of love, loss, and belonging resonated strongly with audiences.

The performances of the two lead actors, Eion Bailey and Alicia Silverstone, were universally praised. Their emotional depth and nuance brought heart and humanity to Dave and DeeDee’s relationship. Though the characters struggle with societal prejudice, they maintain an unbreakable bond. This positive representation of a gay couple paved the way for more LGBTQ characters in mainstream media.

In the decades since its release, Candles on Bay Street has become known as a pioneering LGBTQ drama. It handled the subject matter with grace and authenticity. The movie demonstrated that love is love, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Its message of tolerance and compassion continues to influence Canadian television and cinema today.

Remakes or Spinoffs

There are no known remakes or spinoffs of Candles on Bay Street. The film was released in 2006 as a standalone made-for-TV movie on the Hallmark Hall of Fame. Writer Thomas Michael Donnelly and director John Erman did not create any sequels or related productions. As a single drama film produced for television, Candles on Bay Street has remained a standalone title without any expanded universe or media franchise attached to it. There is no indication that the creators or producers have plans to revisit the story or characters through future remakes or spinoffs at this time.


Candles on Bay Street is an emotional drama that touches on timeless themes of love, loss, and redemption. Though not without flaws, it tells an uplifting story and features strong performances by its lead actors Alicia Silverstone and Eion Bailey. Viewers looking for a heartwarming tale of reconnection will likely appreciate this film. However, those seeking an edge-of-your-seat thriller may want to look elsewhere. Ultimately, Candles on Bay Street is recommended for romantics and anyone who enjoys a good tearjerker. While not a cinematic masterpiece, it succeeds as a feel-good melodrama worth watching for fans of the genre.

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