Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 16 – CBUT is on the air

When I am researching one topic I often come across random historical tidbits that I think might be interesting to research one day.  These tidbits sometimes end up as full-fledged stories and sometimes they just stay as random historical tidbits.  I have collected quite a few, so I thought it might be fun to present them in the form of “treats” for a local history advent calendar. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder – 24 facts about Vancouver history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.

Day 16: 65 years ago today, CBC-TV in Vancouver first started broadcasting…

CBUT, Channel 2, Vancouver, officially began programming at 6.00 p.m., Wednesday, December 16th,1953 when a button pressed by A. Davidson Dunton, chairman of the CBC Board of Governors, set the inaugural transmission into motion. Prior to CBUT, the only television stations available to lower mainland residents originated from Washington State – KING Channel 5 in Seattle and KVOS Channel 12 in Bellingham. Another Seattle based TV station, KOMO Channel 4 began operation 6 days prior to CBUT on December 10, 1953.

Newspaper print ad for the CBUT opening.

This Vancouver station was the fourth CBC-TV station in Canada and the first in Western Canada. The plan for CBUT included studio and production facilities downtown (in a converted Packard dealership), a few blocks from the existing radio (CBU) studios in the Hotel Vancouver and a transmitter on Mount Seymour.

Several special programs marked the initial transmission of the station on Wednesday, December 16th, at 6.00 p.m. They consisted pre-taped (filmed) special greetings to the new station and entertainment programs that featured many “Vancouverites”.

Rear slide projection graphic image for CBUT.

In 2013, wrote a series of vanalogue posts commemorating the 60th Anniversary of CBUT television (CBC-TV) in Vancouver and British Columbia. I invite you to check them out if you want to learn more about local early television. You can look at them here: Part 1 – CBUT on the Air, Part 2 – All that Jazz, Part 3 – 1954 Commonweath Games, & Part 4 – Drama from the Left Coast

The following video shows excerpts of the opening comments from the first broadcast for CBUT (CBC-TV Vancouver) on December, 16th 1953. Also, excerpts from the 1960 CBUT program “Image of CBUT” showing some of the behind the scenes of early TV production. “Image of CBUT” was produced to promote CBUT to potential advertising clients.

NFB celebrates 75 years!

Documentary films and filmmakers are currently being celebrated in Vancouver at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival (May 2- May 11, 2014). DOXA is presented by The Documentary Media Society, a Vancouver based non-profit, charitable society “devoted to presenting independent and innovative documentaries to Vancouver audiences”.

Screen still from "Creative Process: Norman McLaren" - NFB.
McLaren demonstrating his creative process. Screen still from “Creative Process: Norman McLaren” – NFB, 1990.

Canada’s oldest documentary film institution the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is also celebrating this month. The public film producer and distributor turns 75 this year. Started in 1939, the NFB has in the past 75 years produced over 13,000 productions and has earned 72 Oscar nominations. The NFB has won more than 5,000 awards, including 12 Oscars and 90 Genies. An agency of the Government of Canada the NFB/ONF reports to the Parliament of Canada through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Representing Canada’s two official languages, the NFB has English language and French language (ONF) production branches. Though the NFB is known for much more than just documentary films, documentaries are truly the backbone of the institution. Continue reading “NFB celebrates 75 years!”