Joel Aldred (1920-2011)

Year Born: 1920

Year Died: 2011

Joel Aldred was born in Toronto on June 18, 1920. He served as a bomber pilot, squadron leader and acting wing commander in World War II. Aldred joined the CBC in 1945 as a radio announcer. He was fired by the corporation in 1949 after calling the network a “socialistic monopoly”. He moved to Hollywood in the 1950’s and became one of the highest paid and most in-demand advertising Broadcasters. Aldred performed live on-air commercials for major sponsors on the Perry Como Show, Bob Hope Show and the Dinah Shore Show. His commercials received awards at the Cannes International Film Festival. Joel provided narration for Television and Film publications such as Studio 57 (1955), The Secret Door (1964), and The Fighting Men (1977). In 1960, Baton Aldred-Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. was formed to apply for a television station licence for Toronto. This consortium consisted of the Baton group (the Eaton family – owners of the department store chain, and The Telegram Corp. – owner of The Toronto Telegram which was published by John Bassett) 40%; Aldred-Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. (Joel Aldred and Ted Rogers – owner of CHFI-FM) 34%; Foster Hewitt Broadcasting (“the voice of hockey” and owner of CKFH-AM) 10%; and Sovereign Films (Paul Nathanson) 10%. The remaining 6% was held by Heathcourt Boulevard Investments (lawyers Eddie Goodman & Charles L. Dubin). The group was awarded a licence and CFTO-TV went on the air at the end of the year, with Joel Aldred as its first President. Aldred sold his shares in CFTO in 1961 when the station was having financial problems, but his legacy included having acquired colour camera equipment for the station many years before its use would be approved in Canada. One of Joel Aldred’s proudest achievements was his national Canadian video “I am a Canadian”, which was produced for Expo ’67. He served as a director and a member of numerous boards and organizations including Rothmans of Canada, WWF and the National Advisory Council on Aging, and of course, CFTO-TV. Aldred had close relationships with two Canadian prime ministers: Louis St. Laurent and John Diefenbaker, and was one of the executors of Diefenbaker’s will, and helped to establish the Diefenbaker Museum. Joel Walkden Aldred died at Port Perry, Ontario on October 12, 2011.