CBC Television Network

Canadian Establishment, The

Network: CBC Television Network

Broadcast Run: 1980 to 1981

Broadcast Medium: Television

Aired Sunday nights at 9PM from September 21 to November 2, 1980; repeated from May 31 to July 12, 1981 in the same time slot.

This was a series of seven hour-long documentaries about Canada’s business elite. It was narrated by Patrick Watson, and was based on the book by Peter C. Newman. The series profiled the men behind some of the most successful businesses in Canada: how they started and what made them unique. A typical program offered insight into the daily office lives of the men involved, with interviews from colleagues and friends to soften the portraits. Nevertheless, it was a series that offered viewers a new history of the business elite, often rarely seen or heard from.


  1. Ten Toronto Street concerned the death of Bud McDougald and the succession of Conrad Black to the chairman’s seat at Argus Corporation.
  2. Shoemaker to the World concerned the career and power of Thomas Bata.
  3. Store Wars was an account of the competition among department store chains in Canada, and documented the takeover of Simpson’s by Hudson’s Bay Company.
  4. To Whom Much is Given contrasted new and old wealth in Canada.
  5. The Best Job in Canada revolved around the chairman of CPR, Ian Sinclair.
  6. The Little Guy from Sudbury was a profile of Paul Desmarais, head of the Power Corporation of Quebec.
  7. The Establishment Challenged concerned the new business elite from Calgary.

The Executive Producer was CBC veteran Cameron Graham.

Written by John Corcelli – April, 2002