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Sara Canning is the Canadian actress who portrays Gretel on ABC's Once Upon a Time.


Canning was born in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, the daughter of Wayne and Daphne Canning.[1] She lived in Brown's ArmNewfoundland until age eleven, and was then raised in Sherwood Park, near EdmontonAlberta.[2][3] She competed as a figure skater in her childhood and early adolescent years, and became interested in theatre as a student at F.R. Haythorne Junior High.[4] Canning starred in several stage productions while attending Bev Facey Community High School,[5] and acted in shows at her hometown stage at Festival Place.

Canning made her professional acting debut in George Orwell's 1984 at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton at the age of 18. She began studying general arts at the University of Alberta, and considered going into journalism. Still interested in performing, Canning left university at 19 and moved to Vancouver to pursue a career in acting.[1] She graduated from a year-long screen acting program at Vancouver Film School in 2007.[6]

Canning found an agent and began acting in television series and TV films produced in Vancouver. She worked in a restaurant and would take time off to film. Her first role was in 2008, playing Nicky Hilton in Paparazzi Princess: The Paris Hilton Story.[7] In 2009, she guest-starred on Smallville and Kyle XY, and starred in the based-on-real-events TV movie, Taken in Broad Daylight.

In 2009, Canning starred in the feature film, Black Field, a 19th-century gothic period piece directed by Danishka Esterhazy.[8] In the same year, she enroled a starring role on The Vampire Diaries as Jenna Sommers.[9]

Canning is interested in writing and directing. As of September 2010, she was co-writing a love story set in the Western time period.[7] In 2011, she worked on a short film noir, titled Corvus, and shot the Lifetime network film, Hunt for the I-5 Killer, in Vancouver.[10] She filmed the Hallmark Movie Channel Western, Hannah's Law, in Calgary, Alberta in late 2011, starring alongside Greyston Holt.[11]

Canning appeared in I Think I Do, which began filming in January 2012 in Edmonton. She filmed the independent romantic comedy, The Right Kind of Wrong, in Banff, Alberta in late 2012.[12] She starred in the 2012–2013 Space channel television series, Primeval: New World, a Canadian spin-off of the British sci-fi series Primeval.[13] Canning also starred in 2012 with Aaron Ashmore in the dark romantic comedy, I Put a Hit on You.[14] In 2013, she joined the cast of the psychological drama film, Eadweard, starring Michael Eklund.[15]

Canning played general surgeon Mel Conner in the Global medical drama, Remedy, co-starring Sarah Allen, Dillon Casey, and Enrico Colantoni.[16] Canning won the 2014 UBCP/ACTRA best actor and the 2015 Leo Award for Best Lead Performance for her role.[17][18]

Canning co-starred in War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), a sequel to 2014's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.[19] She appeared in On the Farm, a Rachel Talalay-directed TV film about serial killer Robert Pickton, and in Hello Destroyer, which premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Canning portrays Jacquelyn Seleszyka in the 2017-18 Netflix series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on Daniel Handler's book series of the same name.[20]



External links


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