TV comes to (English) Canada on September 8, 1952, but not without some teething problems as the station ID is broadcast upside down, and backwards
Photo Credit: CBC

TV’s Canadian debut, September 1952


The new technology of television had been amazing visitors to the annual Canadian Nation Exhibition in Toronto since before the Second World War.

CBC first broadcast ad 52-09-08From 1947, residents in the populous area around Toronto Ontario, could receive TV signals from the US. Few households had TV sets though as the cost for this new technology in today’s economy would be the equivalent of a few thousand dollars.

Still there were enough sales that the local newspaper began printing the broadcast schedule of the American station in Buffalo

Then, on September 6, 1952, the first TV station in Canada went on the air in Montreal, the French language public broadcaster Radio-Canada CBFT.

September 8, saw the first TV broadcast was made from the public broadcaster’s English service,  the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation station CBLT

Eaton's department store advert which appeared in the Toronto Daily Star newspaper. Cost per copy was 5 cents. Note the advert says, Eaton's technicians will come to your house to set it up and ensure you can receive signals from Buffalo

Eaton’s department store advert which appeared in the Toronto Daily Star newspaper in 1949, (which cost 5 cents at the time). Note the advert says, Eaton’s technicians will come to your house to set it up and ensure you can receive signals from Buffalo

After an inauspicious debut with the station ID, upside down and backwards, the night’s programming began at 7;15 pm and featured a weather forecast, and a puppet sketch.

A “news magazine” was presented with highlights in the development of CBC TV, various speeches by dignitaries including the Prime Minister, a variety show featuring a young genius pianist, Glenn Gould, followed by a half hour with a the Leslie Bell female choir, another variety show from Montreal and then to end the night the half-hour repeat of the 7;30 show was aired starting at 10pm.

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One comment on “TV’s Canadian debut, September 1952
  1. Avatar Peter Ashcroft says:

    It was in the early 50’s that my family moved down from Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, to Shepshed, in Leicestershire, and in range of the second T.V. transmitter at Sutton Coldfield, north east of Birmingham, so watched black & white tv on a 7″ screen. The interval, in a film, was supplied by fish swimming in an aquarium, while viewers got a snack in time for the continuation of the film. Ah! Memories.