Tag Archives: CBC

Halloween in Canada

Happy Halloween everyone!

Halloween in Canada by the numbers



For more information I recommend Statistics Canada, and


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It Began with Station XSW1!

Are you a fan of science fiction?  Do you like the ones, especially tv or movie format?  What about the early ones in the 50s?  Even if you answer no, I expect you will enjoy today’s post; if you said yes, you are in for a treat.

Space Command was a CBC original Canadian children’s science fiction television adventure series.  It aired beween 1953 and 1954, making it the first time the network aired its own dramatic series in Canada. The program presented a depiaction of life on the fictional space station XSW1 operated by the worldwide Space Command, featuring the activities of Frank Anderson (Bob Barclay).

Another character on the show,  Phil Mitchell, was portrayed by James Doohan (born on March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia, who gained international attention as a regular on the 1960s television series Star Trek as Chief Engineer Scotty. He died on July 20, 2005 at the age of 85).

William Shatner (born on March 22, 1931, in Côte Saint-Luc, Montreal, Quebec) the leading actor on Star Trek as Captain James Kirk, also appeared on episodes of Space Command.

Early Photo of William Shatner

Promotional photo for the aborted 1959 CBS television series Nero Wolfe
Self scan of CBS promotional photo appearing in the January 1968 issue of Movie Life magazine (Vol. 31, No. 1), page 35

Another cast member was Austin Willis. He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1917, and died on April 4, 2004. An interesting note is that he achieved attention for his appearance as Simmons, the man whom Auric Goldfinger beats at cards in the opening scenes of the James Bond film, Goldfinger. Originally he was to have played Felix Leiter but at the last-minute, fellow Canadian Cec Linder switched roles with him.

Yet another cast member you might know, especially if you are a sci-fi enthusiast, is Barry Morse who went on to be a part of the TV series The Fugitive and Space: 1999.

The series taught about topics such as asteroids, space medicine, meteorites and evolution.

Unfortunately, we can’t see the episodes online.  Nova Scotia media historian Ernest Dick lamented the loss of recordings of nearly all the series episodes, despite the production of kinescopes for distribution to CBC stations across Canada. The only known extant recording is that of one November 1953 episode. You can read his thoughts with the .pdf: Vanishing Media: Space Command


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Black History Month Part Ten

In honour of the gold medal earned today in Sochi’s Men’s hockey, and still continuing with Black History Month, allow me to introduce you to Willie O’Ree, NHL player.

Willie Eldon O’Ree was born October 15, 1935, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player, and is known best for being the first black player in the National Hockey League.

On January 18, 1958, he skated on the ice at the Montreal Forum to play his first game in the NHL — and made history.

Like any Canadian kid, Willie played hockey with his friends, and dreamed of playing professionally.  For O’Ree that dream came true. He became the first black player in the NHL. As a matter of fact, he was the only black player until another Canadian player, Mike Marson, was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 1974.

He played from 1957 to 1979 and was known for his speed and checking abilities.   Unfortunately, his career was cut short by an injury.

To learn more about Willie O’Ree, I would suggest going to Internet Hockey Database, and there is a CBC interview with him at YouTube. They are good places to start.


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Lady Franklin’s Rock

English: Graves of the dead crewman from the 1...

English: Graves of the dead crewman from the 1845 Franklin Northwest Passage expedition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are few more dramatic stories in Canadian history than the account of Sir John Franklin‘s death in the Arctic on June 11, 1847.  His expedition to discover the Northwest Passage sailed from Britain in May, 1845.  His ships, the Terror and Erebus, were last seen at the entrance to Lancaster Sound in July.  It took fourteen years of searching by many expeditions before it was learned what had happened.  A record was found in a cairn at Point Victory giving the history of the expedition until April 25, 1848.

After spending the winter of 1845-1846 at Beechey Island, North Devon, the expedition reached the west side of Cornwallis Island and followed a route that had been especially assigned before Franklin had left Britain.  He navigated Peel and Franklin Straits southward, but had been stopped by ice coming down McClintock Channel.  The ships were ice-bound on September 12, 1846.  Franklin died the following June.  By that time, the death toll of the expedition was 9 officers and 15 men of the total of 129 who had sailed from Britain.

The survivors stayed in the Erebus and Terror until April 22, 1848, when it was decided to trek overland to Back’s Fish River.  Not a single man survived.  Eskimos saw them trying to make their way over the ice, but said they died as they walked.

At one stage of Franklin’s career, he had been Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, Tasmania, where British convicts were sent.  When he was lost, the colony gave Lady Franklin £7,000 to finance a search.  She not only sent out expeditions but went on one herself.  It tried to get to the Arctic by going up the Fraser River from the Pacific, but was stopped at what is now known as “Lady Franklin’s Rock.”

The record found at Point Victory included the information that Franklin had discovered a channel leading south along the west of North Somerset, discovered by Parry in 1819.  Franklin knew he could reach the Bering Sea through it, the long-sought Northwest Passage. Discovery of the Passage, however, was officially credited to Captain McClure who charted it when searching for Franklin in 1850.  His was only one of forty expeditions sent during the fourteen-year search.

Some of you will certainly want to learn more than what’s in this post, so I can suggest a few sites. You can begin with Sir John Franklin Was Here – it’s a real treat! Then, there’s The Canadian Encyclopedia  for a complete look at Franklin’s life and legacy. Another very interesting site, I suggest visiting Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society written by Russell A. Potter, Ph.D.. I found another good article at Canadian Geographic. Of course, another source that you can always depend on is CBC!


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The Newtsuit!


Newtsuit (Photo credit: corydalus)

Metis R.T.  “Phil”  Nuytten was born in 1941 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Since his early childhood, Neytten has had a passion for diving.  He  knows how dangerous diving is, as many of his friends died when they had surfaced too quickly, without letting their bodies adjust the change in pressure that occurred  as they came up.

While in his teens, he began to design diving gear and opened Western Canada’s first dive shop.  It was such a successful business that he became a millionaire by his early thirties!

He has worked with NASA for many years on applications related undersea and space technologies.  Nuytten has also worked in many countries as a commercial diver. In his work for the commercial, scientific, and military industries, he has developed equipment and deep-water diving, and technical diving techniques.

In the 1970s, he co-founded Oceaneering International Inc. This company became one of the largest underwater skills companies in the world.

In 1979, Nuytten started work on the Newtsuit, a one-atmosphere diving suit. The revolutionary new design features fully articulated rotary joints. This patented breakthrough design is now used in many later atmospheric diving suits.

In 1983, Dr. Nuytten appeared on the cover of National Geographic Magazine for his dives into arctic waters.

Nuytten has appeared in other print media many times, including: Time, Newsweek, Popular Science, Discovery, Fortune, Scientific American and Business Week.  He’s also been featured in, and worked on the production of films and television programs based on technology he developed, such as Descent of Man (CBC) Mysteries of the Sea (NBC).

Nuytten provided the submersibles and was the senior technical advisor for the film The Abyss. His Newtsuit is featured in the IMAX movie Flight of the Aquanaut.

In 2000, Nuytten announced that he is developing a new type ultra lighweight powered exoskeleton called the Exosuit. This new designed is being considered for use as a submarine escape device by the Canadian Department of Defense.

Nuytten received many awards and commendations:
Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences (Hall of Fame membership)
American Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Life Sciences Award)
Canadian Advanced Technology Award
Canadian Award for Business Excellence
Contractors International’s Commercial Diving
Diving Association of Diving Contractors
Diving Hall of Fame
Explorers Club (Lowell Thomas award)
John Galletti Memorial Award
Jules Verne Award
Order of British Columbia
Simon Fraser University (honorary Doctor of Laws degree)

Dr. Phil Nuytten, founded, and is now president of Nuytco Research Ltd, one of the pioneers of the diving industry worldwide.


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Dave Foley

Dave Foley

Dave Foley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On January 4, 1963, comedian Dave Foley was born Etobicoke, Ontario (near Toronto).

He’s actually also a writer, director and producer.

You could know him from Kids in the HallNews Radio, or even  A Bug’s Life.I also quite enjoyed his guest appearance on Stargate: Atlantis in 2008. He was also on the popular Desperate Housewives

In 2002, Dave Foley received his 10th Gemini Award nomination for the CBC’s The True Meaning of Christmas, which he wrote, produced, directed and co-hosted.

Happy birthday, Dave! You can send your wishes or keep up with him on his twitter account: @DaveSFoley. To find out where to catch his act, visit his Facebook page.

You can read more about him at The Canadian Encyclopedia Online webpage. Another place to read about his career is Internet Movie DataBase ( Just Google him, and you’ll find lots of sites!


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La Sagouine, Acadian Cleaning Woman

English: Antonine Maillet, novelist, playwrigh...

Antonine Maillet, novelist, playwright, & scholar, December 12, 1984. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

November 26, 1971 marks the day Viola Leger put on a performance of Antonine Maillet’s famous play, La Sagouine for a Moncton, New Brunswick radio station.

La Sagouine is a series of dramatic monologues by an illiterate but philosophical Acadian cleaning woman. It was brilliantly written in French Acadian.

It was first performed on stage at Moncton, New Brunswick’s Les Feux-Chalins, by a troupe founded by Father Jean-Guy Gagnon, in 1969. The first English performance was on CBC, in 1979, in Moncton.

To get a preview of the English La Sagouine e book, visit Google Books.


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