Canada as it was

June 30, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Keith Schell


Only one TV network for the entire country, the publicly-funded CBC. (Eventually privately-owned CTV and Global sprang up over time. Nowadays we have far too many television networks for our own good.)

‘The National’ CBC News broadcasts at 11pm. For anything important that happened in Canada and around the world that we had to know about we turned to Lloyd Robertson and George Finstad (And later Knowlton Nash and Peter Mansbridge. We knew who we could trust back then.).

Made-in-Canada CBC-TV shows Front Page challenge, Wayne and Shuster, the Beachcombers, Mr. Dressup, The Friendly Giant, The Forest Rangers, Chez Helene, The Tommy Hunter show, Country Canada, The Galloping Gourmet, Reach for the top, Man Alive, The Nature of things, Don Messer’s Jubilee, Take 30, and W5 (produced by CTV).

The original six (and soon to be twelve team) National Hockey League!

Black and white (and later colour) Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts on Saturday nights with Ward Cornell, Danny Gallivan, Bill Hewitt, Bob Goldham, Howie Meeker, Dick Irwin and later on Dave Hodge, Bob Cole, Harry Neal and the bombastic Don Cherry. (Hard to believe, but in the very earliest days of Hockey Night in Canada the broadcasts actually went to air in the second period!)

Stanley Cup playoffs that finished long before the end of June.    

Black and white (and later colour) Esso gasoline (put a Tiger in your tank) and Molson Beer TV commercials.

The National Anthem being played after the late-late movie to indicate that the TV station was going off the air.

Pancakes for breakfast with Canadian Maple Syrup.

Butter tarts, Wagon Wheels, pea meal bacon, poutine and other Canadian delicacies not available to our neighbours down south.

Sunday night dinners at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

Weekend kids’ hockey tournaments.

Weekend small town curling bonspiels.

The Brier National Curling championship and the Air Canada Silver Broom World Curling championships.

Wondering if Quebec was really going to separate.

Incessant Newfie jokes all across the entire country (which these days we have thankfully outgrown).

One cent bubble gum.

Ten cent packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey cards and trading those cards in the schoolyard to make a full set!

Twelve cent (and later fifteen and twenty cent) comic books.

Kids playing with tabletop hockey games!

The gravel voice of Stompin’ Tom Connors.

Anne Murray and the rock groups Lighthouse, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, the Guess Who and the Stampeders.

Two lane highways with better drivers and far fewer cars.

Clean, plentiful and beautiful lakes and rivers and waterfalls.

Kids spending summers jumping off docks and swimming in lakes.

Paddling a canoe on a lake or a river in the summer.

Fishing with your Dad off a dock in the summer.

Beautifully stunning sunrises and sunsets (especially on the lakes).

Voracious blackflies and mosquitoes (some things never change).

Regular season CFL games annoyingly being blacked out in their home regions. (The present-day CFL is now paying for that short-sighted policy.)

The Grey Cup football game being a shared broadcast by both CBC and CTV, each network taking one half of the game.  

Playing outdoor hockey in the winter on a frozen lake, pond or swamp.

Playing road hockey on the streets or in the driveway with your friends or your Dad and your brothers (and sometimes even your tomboy sisters).

All of the schools and many of the workplaces in the country shutting down to watch the weekday afternoon games six, seven and eight of the 1972 Summit Series from Moscow, USSR (and witnessing the incredible comeback of Team Canada!).

Blinding snowstorms up to your neck when you were a little kid.

Throwing snowballs, making snowmen and snow angels, and carving tunnels in the snowbanks in the winter.

Downhill and cross-country skiing.

Tobogganing and Krazy Karpeting down a hill without a helmet. (If we were heading towards a tree, we all had enough brains back then to steer out of the way or to roll off and save ourselves!)

Seeing your breath and pretending you were smoking when you were playing outside in the winter.

Snowmobiling through the bush in the winter.

Ice fishing with your Dad in the winter.

Snowshoeing through the bush in the winter.

Before clothes dryers, freshly washed laundry freezing as stiff as a board when you hung it outside to dry in the winter. 

The Snowplows rumbling past your country house in the winter at two o’clock in the morning to keep the highways plowed and clear and safe! 

Still having a picture of the Queen on all of our money.

Still having a penny as a part of our currency (a penny for your thoughts!).

For better or for worse, many things have changed, but a few things have mercifully still stayed the same (although they might have been updated to stay current with the times).

And God only knows what else is going to change in the future.  

For all that she gloriously was and for all that she currently is, God bless Canada, the best damn country in the whole wide world!

Happy Canada Day to all!   

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