Tag Archives: Justin Trudeau

Canada celebrates 150 years with CBC’s The Story of Us

Julie Bristow told me she was aiming to get some big-name Canadians to participate in Canada: The Story of Us and she came through. Sunday’s debut, at 9 p.m., opens with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau teasing what the next 10 weeks will explore.

“Tonight, and throughout this series, we meet some of the extraordinary women and men who shaped our country’s unique character,” Trudeau begins. “I hope that, like me, you’ll be inspired by these heroic Canadians so that together we can write the next chapter in the great Canadian story.”

Trudeau is just one of over 80 Canadians—among them Susan Aglukark, Lorne Cardinal, Paul Gross, Eugene Levy, Duncan McCue, Peter Mansbridge, Tatiana Maslany, Rick Mercer, Candy Palmater, Christopher Plummer, Lilly Singh, Georges St-Pierre, Clement Virgo, Colm Feore and David Suzuki—who participate in telling key stories from the country’s past as we celebrate 150 years as a nation.

“As a producer and journalist, this is the perfect combination for me,” Bristow Global Media president and CEO, and Story of Us executive producer Bristow says. “It’s mixing up modern ways of storytelling with CGI, celebrity interviews and re-creations of personal stories is a fresh take on documentaries. I really like doing shows that demand different skill sets and different teams.”

Samuel de Champlain

Stunning in scope and with so much history to cover, Bristow says over 150 stories were pitched and 50 were chosen for the 10, 60-minute instalments to spotlight everything from Canada’s birth to where the country’s future lies. Sunday’s debut starts, naturally, at the beginning with “Worlds Collide,” covering pre-1608 to 1670, as French settlers arrive and make an immediate impact on the Indigenous peoples who have lived there for centuries. Corner Gas‘ Lorne Cardinal and film and television producer Jennifer Podemski help outline the First Nations people of the time, a community with advanced democracies in place.

Samuel de Champlain is the first European sent to The New World specifically to settle the area and name it New France. His crew of 27 men contend with the elements, and an assassination plot, as the set down roots in an impressive settlement at the site of what is now Quebec City. Britain gets in on the action, and it’s a race between the countries to claim as much land and befriend as many First Nations communities as they can. This, ultimately, leads to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

Using stunning CGI, well-done re-enactments and under the guidance of historians and academic consultants—including renowned Canadian historian and author John English and Indigenous Arts Scholar Gerald McMaster—Canada: The Story of Us is informative and immensely entertaining. It’s certainly more thrilling than any history class I’ve sat in, no matter how good the teacher.

“In every episode, there are five personal stories that echo a theme,” Bristow says. “While every episode is loosely chronological, it’s not comprehensive. Each is a coming-of-age episode. Against all odds, we’re here as a country and a lot of the story is, ‘Can you believe it?!'”

Canada: The Story of Us airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.


CTV welcomes a new day with Your Morning

It’s been just over two months since Bell Media announced Canada AM was being cancelled, replaced by a new morning show called Your Morning and hosted by the team of Ben Mulroney and Anne-Marie Mediwake, with Melissa Grelo as Late Morning Anchor, Lindsey Deluce as News Anchor and Kelsey McEwen handling the weather.

So, how did the new crew and show do on its first day on the job? Anyone expecting an innovative way of delivering morning news and entertainment was going to be disappointed. There are only so many ways you can package news, interviews, weather and talk into a three-hour program, though Your Morning does it with a glitzy, energetic vibe. Boasting a lead-off sit-down with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and performance by Florida Georgia Line, Mulroney and Mediwake welcomed Monday with smiles, sitting on a bright set highlighted by blue with yellow piping. (Your Morning‘s theme music—a jaunty affair—was composed by Grammy nominee Stephan Moccio.)

“Here’s what’s topping your morning,” Mulroney said before the headlines of the day were presented in a package like an eTalk bundle, with music and pictures covering a Summer Olympics wrap-up. National and regional headlines and weather were presented in an easy-to-read crawl at the bottom of the screen. After a brief back-and-forth between Mulroney and Mediwake, Lindsey Deluce jumped in to cover more serious news stories before throwing back to the co-hosts, who chatted about what Deluce had just reported. Like other morning shows, Your Morning is big on reaction to the news, aiming to connect with viewers over something they’ve said.

Kelsey McEwen from CTV Calgary was doing her thing with weather across the country. McEwen used easy-to-read map icons and augmented her delivery by utilizing YouTube video of a volcano spewing ash and Twitter images of weather that was reminiscent of Canada AM‘s Jeff Hutcheson.

Mulroney’s much-ballyhooed interview with Trudeau wasn’t the love-in I was expecting. He queried the PM on his inquiry into murdered Aboriginal women and girls tied to possible police misconduct and Indigenous boys and men in Manitoba in jails connected to a racism issue in Canada. Filmed in Gatineau, QC, with Parliament Hill in the background, talk turned to back-to-school issues for Trudeau’s kids and how he’s urging them to listen to The Tragically Hip.

Your Morning‘s first show ended with country duo Florida Georgia Line playing just before 9 a.m. in the Bell Media parking lot in front of a hundred or so fans, and this is where the program sets itself apart from competitors. Being at the corner of Queen St. and John St. rather than Canada AM‘s Scarborough digs means access to big stars staying in the downtown core. That will make a big difference in a few weeks when the Toronto International Film Festival arrives and celebrities drop by.

Like I said, Your Morning isn’t doing anything innovative, but what it is doing is packaging it via a new look with new voices. And it is entertaining. Say what you want about Mulroney—and many, many do—but he’s a capable ringleader, able to drive conversation and elicit responses from the rest of the team. I feel like Mediwake may be figuring out exactly where she fits in—she’s used to reporting the news and is being called on to be more personal here—but that will come with time.

What did you think of Your Morning? Comment below or @tv_eh.

Your Morning airs weekdays between 6 and 9 a.m. ET on CTV (Ontario, Québec and Eastern Canada) and nationally on CTV News Channel.

Image by Adam Scotti