Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 30, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
TVSPOTLIGHTGBC celebrates Canada Day In a whole new way
By Brian Gorman © Tribune Media Services
It’s a perverse thing that some of the best Canadian television we’ll see this summer is going on the air July I, the country’s Great Outdoor Party Day.
If it rains - and for those who prefer to demonstrate their patriotism from the comfort of the couch - there are live music, celebrity celebration, drama, biography and fierce creatures.
The big news this year is that CBC Television is abandoning its longstanding tradition of broadcasting live the evening concert from Parliament Hill.
In its place is an hourlong blend of variety, comedy and documentary, anchored in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
“It will be a lighthearted look at Canada from the time of Confederation to today,” says show producer Pam McNair.
In Charlottetown, plans include a concert in Confederation Park, featuring Rankin Family alumnus Jimmy Rankin, folk singer Murray McLauch-lan, Celtic singers the Ennis Sisters, and Toronto-based Caribbean percussionists Muhtadi and the World Drummers.
The show also features live performances from Parliament Hill - notably, Juno Award-winning pop star David Usher - and from Canmore, Alta., where native actor-singer Tom Jackson is performing with country star Amanda Stott. The stage is a flatcar pulled into the town by a 19th-century steam locomotive.
McNair won’t go so far as to say that the Parliament Hill galas were beginning to go stale. But she does admit that having to come up with a new format for the Canada Day show gave her the chance to be a bit more creative in her thinking.
“One of the great things about doing a show like this is being able to bring Canadians together,” she says, “and this is a really different way of celebrating Canada Day. I think the challenge of the production is to come up with new and innovative ways to make TV, to make it different from other Canada Day shows. This will be very different, very theatrical.”
Blended in with the performances is a series of comic-historical vignettes with actors doing tongue-in-cheek impressions of such past personalities as Sir John A. Macdonald and Thomas D’Arcy McGee.
There is also a series of documentary featurettes, taped with Newfoundland comic Shawn Majumder. He’s
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Canada Day: Magic of Life celebrates the holiday with a variety* comedy-documentary show on the nation’s history, symbolized by the Peace Tower (pictured). The show airs Monday on CBC Television.
been driving across the country in a vintage red Mustang convertible (nice work if you can get it), looking for stories off the beaten track.
“Shawn will be capturing the quirky stories from the present, and the actors will be capturing the quirky stories from the past,” McNair says.
Jonathan Torrens is host of the event, working the crowd in Confederation Park.
While the evening gala may not be on for this year, CBC is doing its usual noon-hour concert from the Hill - but it also is a departure from formats past.
This year, instead of the usual mix of folksy and youthful performers designed to represent grass-roots Canada, there is a concert celebrating the past half century of Canadian music.
Why 50 years? Because the CBC is 50 years old, and Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson - who presides over the show -is marking a half century of Canadian governors general.
The acts include: from the 1950s, crooners the Four Lads; from the ’60s, folk singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie; from the ’70s, Montreal’s Lady Marmalade, Nanette Workman; from the ’80s, Quebec rockers Offenbach; and from the ’90s, Toronto rapper Maestro. The show also features the first reunion in almost four decades of the original Travellers folk group (best known for the Canadianized version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land”).
Elsewhere on the dial ...
CTV is rerunning the two-hour TV movie, “Dr Lucille: The Lucille Teas-dale Story,” starring Marina Orsini and Louis Gossett. It tells the story of one of Canada’s first female surgeons.
The Global Television Network is airing "Canada’s Walk of Fame,” a tribute gala - taped May 28 at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre - to honor this year’s inductees to the walk. Performers include Bruce Cockbum and Paul Anka.
History TV is running a marathon of its biography series “The Canadians” with episodes on athlete Bobbie Rosen-feld, actor Jay (Tonto) Silverheels, cosmetic queen Elizabeth Arden, strongman Louis Cyr and shipbuilder Joshua Slocum.
Showcase has a 24-hour Canadian movie marathon of short films and such features as Bruce McDonald’s “Dance Me Outside” and Don McKellar’s “Last Night.”
Discovery Canada is running an “all-Canadian Critters Marathon,” with an evening of documentaries about goats, bears, moose, beavers and “Sharks of the Great White North.”Brandon Sun 53