Crashing the CBC

Oliver and I are in Halifax this weekend, having some important Father and Son Bonding Time before he and Catherine head off to Ontario for almost a month for some much needed grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt and uncle visiting.

On our way to the ferry we were listening to CBC Radio and heard Bill Richardson invite listeners to come down to the special CBC Train at the station in Halifax. The train, a joint project of VIA Rail and the CBC, is a celebration of CBC television’s 50th anniversary.

So, at ten o’clock this morning we headed to downtown Halifax to visit the train. Except when we arrived, there was a sign at the door that said Private Function. Given that we had a personal invitation from Bill Richardson, we were not daunted by this.

And so we opened the door and walked in.

Are you a CBC employee?,” the friendly gatekeeper asked.

No,” Oliver and I replied.

Are you a former CBC employee?,” she asked.

Ahhh,” I thought quickly, “yes!”

Go right in,” she replied, handing us CBC-branded brown paper bags as she did.

The secret employees-only inner sanctum turned out to be the morning preview of the attraction open to civilians in the afternoon. Besides free pastries and juice, it appeared as though the public and the employees (I mean “we employees”) got the same fun.

Inside the train was a neat, if abbreviated, collection of CBC artifacts, including Mr. Dressup’s tickle trunk, The Friendly Giant’s castle and set of small chairs, and, oddly enough, Fred Roger’s first “Land of Make Believe Trolley,” which I didn’t get the whole story on (although my guess is that we traded Fred Rogers to PBS for Ernie Coombs and a first round draft pick).

It was as odd being in a train station full of CBC people as it was being in a hotel full of librarians at the APLA conference a couple of years ago: CBC people are certainly of a type, and it was odd to have all that CBC energy concentrated in one place.

Fortunately Oliver and I didn’t win the door prize, so we didn’t have to claim that I was the weekend anchor on Compass or a key grip on Land and Sea.

Later in the day we ate Japanese for lunch, Indian for dinner, and Oliver and Yolanda (the daughter of our friends Bob and Yvonne) held hands.

As I type this by LCDlight in our room in the Holiday Inn, with Air Force One on the television and Oliver asleep in his pen, I’m prone to think, for the 1000th time, how strong Catherine must be to look after Oliver day in, day out, day after day: I’m exhausted.

The down side of our trip: Catherine and I celebrate our 12th anniversary today, she in one province and me in another. We’ll be home tomorrow.


steve's picture
steve on October 7, 2002 - 16:29 Permalink

I’ve been pretending to work for the CBC for four years now….

steve's picture
steve on October 7, 2002 - 16:29 Permalink

I’ve been pretending to work for the CBC for four years now….

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on October 8, 2002 - 15:43 Permalink

Two posts with the same message. Is that some of the infamous CBC excess and waste I keep hearing about? :)

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on October 11, 2002 - 13:08 Permalink

Pete, you’re beginning to remind me of Evie Davidson’s on-air personality. Maybe it’s just that my memory of Evie is getting garbled, and it was distinct from her in person (which was twice as energetic and wonderful). It seems just the kind of thing she always did — just musing about the ebbing and flowing of contented thoughts with just enough adversity to punctuate the parts one’s supposed to appreciate. Nice.