MuchMusic: The Revolution will be televised

August 31, 1984 was when MuchMusic signed on to fulfill its promise of a 24/7 music video service for Canada. The Nation’s Music Station’s creation involved a fascinating nexus of people and events—and this special edition Retrontario newsletter will take you back. Channel 79, Cable 7 After he launched Citytv in …

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Read All About It! With interesting people there’s a mystery to be solved…

September 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of TVOntario’s barmy science-fiction edutainment serial Read All About It!, which was shown as part of Ontario curriculum for Grade 5 reading and writing up until the early 1990s, and almost daily on TVO: Created by Clive Endersby, and directed by Jeremy Pollock, Read All About …

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The wistfully wonky world of Uncle Bobby

Uncle Bobby was a legitimate local institution: a real-life Krusty the Klown whose alleged misadventures involving scotch, mothers, and school buses have been the stuff of legend since the 1970s—even though the conversations about him shifted long ago from the playgrounds to the pubs around Toronto. (He’d heartily approve.)   March 1970 was the height …

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The Littlest Hobo: Maybe tomorrow forever

October 11, 1979 was when The New Littlest Hobo debuted on CTV. It was the third iteration of the adventures of a nomadic do-gooder German Shepherd, following the U.S film The Littlest Hobo (1959) and the black-and-white syndicated TV series The Littlest Hobo (1963-65). The new Hobo was shot on videotape and ran for six seasons. But it’s been immortalized …

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Who Created Multicultural TV in Toronto?

Here at Retrontario, we were saddened to learn of the passing of former Rogers Media Television CEO Leslie Sole and his wife. However in the news item posted online at CityNews.ca, it is claimed that Sole was “the architect” of Canada’s first multicultural television station – Omni. To take nothing away from …

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That time when Master T gave MuchMusic its groove

Pop quiz, hotshot: Can you name the very first Canadian hip-hop music video as listed in the MuchMusic archives? Hint: It’s not Michie Mee, Maestro Fresh Wes or even the Dream Warriors. It’s Master T and the Super Hip 3’s colossal MuchMusic Groove, a part station promo, part party-anthem that …

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Goofball City: Toronto mascots past and present

Derived from the French word “mascotte” meaning bringer of good luck, mascots have amused, embarrassed and terrified us in equal measure since the 1800s. Usually affiliated with sports (dutifully illustrated by The Simpsons in the form of the Capitol City Goofball), and meant to embody the spirit of any given …

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That time when Star Trek fever gripped Scarborough

Stardate 1993 — television series Star Trek: The Next Generation is midway through its celebrated 6th season, and about to launch its first spin-off show in the form of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Airing in the GTA on “Your Federation Station” Citytv, ratings are cruising at Warp 10, grown …

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Museum of Television flips switch in Liberty Village

Toronto’s own visionary prophet of the airwaves Moses Znaimer re-opened his Museum of Television yesterday, and now welcomes all curious and card carrying fans of the medium to visit this weekend as the MZTV Museumof Television & Archive participates in the citywide Door’s open program. Not just content with pioneering …

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That time when the Jays had songs, anthems & albums

Where have the all Blue Jays songs gone? For much of their formative era, campy odes and anthemic ballads about the Toronto Blue Jays and their star players were aurally ubiquitous in the city: major airplay on the radio, music videos on TV, and even a series of pop albums …

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