CICA-DT, TVO, Toronto

Ontario Educational Communications Authority

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CICA-DT201119.1 (19)TVOOntario Educational Communications Authority
CICA-TV197019TVOntarioOntario Educational Communications Authority


The Government of Ontario had plans for an educational television station at Toronto as early as this time. It would operate on channel 19. Education Minister William G. Davis hoped the station would be operational within a year. 


T Ranald Ide was apppointed Director of Educational Television at the Ministry. Initially he purchased airtime from CBC Toronto, pending the establishment of the province’s own educational network.


The ETV branch of the Dept of Education said an ETV network of 34 stations covering 95% of the populated areas of the province would be developed within five years. 


The federal government again was taking applications for new television stations in Toronto and Montreal. Leslie Allen of CHIC Radio in Brampton was seeking a Toronto TV licence (channel 25) and suggested his proposed station could be used for educational television during the daytime and might substitute for government operated ETV, saving taxpayers money. However, the Ontario Department of Education was going after channel 19 as the anchor for a proposed ETV network. The department did make an application for a licence but a hearing was likely to be delayed pending federal legislation governing educational television in Canada. 


In June, the Ontario Education Communications Authority (OECA) was established as a Provincial Crown Corporation by an Act of the Ontario Legislature. OECA’s mandate was to use electronic and associated media to provide educational opportunities for all people in Ontario. Funded by the provincial Ministry of Culture and Recreation and the Ministry of Education it was therefore commercial-free. T. Ranald Ide, who had spent 4 years as head of the Ontario Ministry of Education’s TV Branch, became TVO’s first chairman. 

T.R. Ide announced that channel 19 – Canada’s first full-time educational TV station – would open on September 27. Regular programming would commence the following day. The station would actually go on the air with test pattern on September 14. ETVO was preparing for a minimum of 3,220 hours of programming to fill 13 1/2 hours per day, Monday thru Friday and at least five hours per day on Saturdays and Sundays during the first season. Channel 19 was expected to cover an area of about 3,200 square miles – about 40% of Ontario’s population. Cable companies within the signal area would carry the new station.

On September 27, CICA-TV, Channel 19 went on air, with an effective radiated power of 423,000 watts video and 84,600 watts audio. Studios were at 1670 Bayview Avenue and the transmitter was on the CBC tower at 354 Jarvis Street. Antenna height was 550 feet. CICA was Canada’s first high powered UHF-TV station.

French language programs constituted 5% of channel 19’s schedule. Initial audiences: 200,000 unduplicated viewers per week. Viewing was hampered early-on by the inability of many sets to receive UHF signals.


Polka Dot Door launched. Eventually became one of TVO’s longest-running shows and was seen as far away as South Africa, West Virginia, British Columbia through sales. French language programming increased to 10% of TVO schedule. After only one year of operation, OECA signed a contract with NBC to distribute programming in the U.S.


Cable systems in Sault Ste. Marie, Pembroke, Brockville, and Belleville were showing OECA programs, bicycled on videotape from city to city.

By the end of the year, OECA had applied to the CRTC for UHF rebroadcast transmitters at Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Chatham, and Windsor. The applications were submitted because of high competition for the few remaining channels in those cities.

Studios relocated to 2180 Yonge Street (at Eglinton).


OECA produced North America’s first metric news and weather report, Report Metric.

Ran Ide undertook to maintain French-language programming at 17% of the schedule.

Average daily broadcast hours: 15.

Saturday Night at the Movies launched in March, 1974 with Elwy Yost as host. The first film was Igmar Bergman’s Through a Glass Darkly.


OECA introduced the daily current affairs program, The Education of Mike McManus, and On the Line, a weekly current affairs series hosted by writer, politician, lawyer and broadcaster Judy LaMarsh. Experimental series Media Circus launched (explored the art of tv by scanning airwaves at the time of broadcast and commenting on programming and advertising appearing on other networks.)

Chez Nous introduced, a first step towards producing an informal education series aimed at the general, rather than curriculum-based, French-speaking audience.

OECA became “unofficially” known as TVOntario, reportedly at the suggestion of Elwy Yost. OECA network was initiated (see dates below). By 1995, TVO and La Chaîne networks included 27 transmitters and 213 low-power rebroadcast transmitters. By 2002, through a combination of transmitter and cable distribution, TVO reached 97% of the province’s population and La Chaîne reached 72% of the French mother tongue population.

When funding was withdrawn for new transmitters in Sudbury and Thunder Bay, arrangements were made to deliver the TVO signal to cable head-ends in the north and northwest via microwave.

TVO introduced a successful low-season learning programming.

Rebroadcast transmitters were approved for Sudbury – Channel 19 with 62,000 watts video and Thunder Bay – Channel 9 with 17,000 watts video ERP. There had been concerns about OECA using channel 9 in Thunder Bay but the CRTC ruled that the area had sufficient VHF channels to meet its needs.


TVO opened its first high power transmitter (CICO) in Ottawa on October 25, on channel 24.

The Kitchener-Waterloo CICO transmitter on channel 28, opened in January. CICO channel 18 London began broadcasting in April. CICO Chatham, channel 59, opened in June. CICO channel 32 Windsor went on the air in July.

David Walker, one of the early founders of TVO, became Executive Director.


On May 31, CICA began broadcasting from the new CN Tower, 301 Front Street West. Power increased to 1,080,000 watts video. Antenna height (ehaat) was 1,605 feet.


TVO was now the world’s largest producer of French-language programs for schools.

Speaking Out, TVO’s flagship audience participation, current affairs program was a tremendous success, hosted by Harry Brown. By the early ’80s, it would attract nearly 30,000 regular viewers and register as many as 10,000 calls in one program.


David Walker left TVO.


The French Language Division was created to better coordinate TVO’s service to francophones.

Family viewing period from 5-8 p.m, Mon-Fri. introduced. It included Polka Dot Door, Sesame Street, Readalong and Magic Shadows.

With the federal Department of Communications, TVO pioneered the use of satellites for educational teleconferencing and direct-to-home transmission through the Hermes project. It was the first time the Ku band was used for satellite transmission. The experiment allowed students in California and Toronto to interact via electronic classrooms.


On June 30, CICO transmitters opened in Sudbury (channel 19) and Thunder Bay (channel 9).


Ran Ide retired; replacement was Dr. Jim Parr. (1979-85) TVO became the largest foreign supplier of programming to the U.S. instructional TV market. TVO succeeded to have reserved cable channel 2 as the uniform channel on Ontario cable systems, where feasible.


17% of total revenue was derived from sources other than base funding, such as co-production ventures and program sales. More strategies to be developed. Sunday noon to sign-off French-language programming began, bringing together programming previously spread throughout the schedule. TVO began to market program-related records: Polka Dot Door etc.

TVO participated in the Anik B satellite experiment along with the Department of Communications and 3 provincial ministries. The experiment brought 87 hours of OECA programs to homes, institutions, cable systems and one low-power transmitter in northern Ontario.

TVO participated in Telidon field trials, the first broadcaster to do so. Telidon, an alphageometric videotex information system used modified TV sets to display text and graphics. Intent was to demonstrate and develop educational applications for videotex and teletext systems. The trial lasted until 1982.


TVOntario officially adopted as OECA’s working name. Rogers Cable distributed TVOntario programming in Metropolitan Toronto on a repeat channel called TVO2. The channel also carried programs produced by colleges and universities. The CICO channel 20 transmitter in Sault Ste. Marie, opened in October.

Gene Lawrence became GM of the educational media division, succeeding Ron Keast.


Public membership campaign was launched with a test mailing to 40,000 Metro Toronto homes resulting in 1,100 members. TVO became the first broadcaster to be made an associate member of the Canadian Cable Television Association.

TVOntario, Triwave Productions of New York, and NHK Japan agreed to co-produce a two-hour special, Alvin Toffler’s The Third Wave. This was the first time in its 50-year history that NHK Japan co-produced with western countries.

U.S. Sales office opened in Dallas, Texas to handle the increasing program sales to U.S. clients; in 1986-87, the office moved to Chapel Hill, N.C.

A merchandising campaign began which included toys, records, books and live shows. 


Rebroadcast transmitters were approved for North Bay (channel 6) and Owen Sound (channel 12).

It was announced that satellite coverage by TVO would be extended to 170 northern communities in a three year plan funded by the Ministry of Northern Affaris. Low power rebroadcast transmitters, maintained and operated by TVO, would be provided to communities of 300 or more population.


First year of on-air membership campaign raised $600,000. By 1994-95, there were almost 71,000 members and revenue of more than $4-million.


20 low power transmitters were approved for locations in Northern Ontario. 

New transmitters were approved for Huntsville (channel 13 with 24,900 watts) and Penetanguishine (channel 51 with 60,000 watts).
Rebroadcasters were approved for Fauguier (channel 29), Harty (53), Mattice (9), Moonbeam (35), Opasatika (47) and Val Rita (25).

Coverage of the province was expected to increase to 93% by late in the year. 


TVO became the first broadcaster to beam its signal from the new Anik C satellite, at the time the world’s most powerful domestic satellite. This replaced the microwave feed to isolated northern communities and allowed TVO’s signal to reach the growing network of low-power rebroadcast transmitters (LPRTs) across the province. Through a series of project grants from the Ministry of Northern Affairs and later the Ministry of Culture and Communications, TVO built over 200 of these LPRTs to serve small communities in remote locations throughout Ontario. 


On January 27, the CRTC approved the applications by the Ontario Educational Communications Authority for licences for the following television stations, to rebroadcast TV Ontario programs originating from CICA-TV Toronto: Bearskin Lake (channel 9, 5 watts), Dorion (channel 6, 10 watts), Redditt (channel 5, 10 watts), Sachigo Lake (channel 9, 5 watts) and Sandy Lake (channel 8, 10 watts). 

On February 13, the CRTC approved the applications by the Ontario Educational Communications Authority for broadcasting licences for the following television stations, to rebroadcast TV Ontario programs originating from CICA-TV Toronto: Massey (channel 24, 20 watts), Mindemoya (channel 42, 20 watts) and Whitefish Falls (channel 27, 20 watts). The Commission noted that these applications formed part of a long-term project to extend the TV Ontario service throughout northern Ontario by satellite. 


John Radford, president of CFJR-AM Brockville and CHUC-AM Cobourg, was named acting chair and CEO. He had been a director of TVO for nine years, the last three as vice-chair. Radford replaced Jim Parr who had become director general of the Ontario Science Centre. Radford took up his new role in May. Later in the year, Radford was succeeded by Bernard Ostry who had been associated with the CRTC. 

Janice Currie was named manager of sales and marketing. She had been with CFTO-TV and Glen-Warren Productions. David Walker left TVO after ten years as executive director.

In its 15th year of operation, TV Ontario was reaching more than 2.3 million viewers weekly.


On February 10, the CRTC approved the application by The Ontario Educational Communications Authority to add transmitters at Lake Helen (channel 21), Pic-Mobert (channel 18) and Red Lake Road (channel 29). Transmitter power for each would be 20 watts.

Ditta Cuzy joined TVO to sell non-educational programs to Canadian TV stations and would be working closely with Antoinette MacDonald who was selling to international clients.

TVO transmitters went on the air March 1 at Belleville (channel 53) and Kingston (channel 38). 

On March 3, the CRTC approved the applications by The Ontario Educational Communications Authority for licences for the following television stations, to rebroadcast TV Ontario programs originating from CICA-TV Toronto: Algoma Mills (Channel 45, 20 watts), Minaki (Channel 10, 10 watts), Pearl (Channel 19, 20 watts), Rainy Lake Reserve I.R. No. 26A (Channel 27, 20 watts), Rossport (Channel 18, 20 watts), Savard (Channel 19, 20 watts), Serpent River (Channel 51, 20 watts), Spragge (Channel 31, 20 watts), and Wikwemikong (Channel 53, 20 watts). The Commission noted that these applications formed part of a long-term project to extend the TV Ontario service throughout Northern Ontario by satellite. Licenses were issued to September 30, 1987. This term would enable the Commission to consider the renewal of these licences at the same time as that of CICA-TV. 

On April 15, the CRTC approved the application for a broadcasting licence for a television station at Peterborough on channel 18 with an effective radiated power of 191,870 watts, to rebroadcast TV Ontario programs originating with CICA-TV Toronto. The Commission issued a licence expiring September 30, 1987. This term would enable the Commission to consider the renewal of this licence at the same time as that of CICA-TV.

On December 3, the CRTC approved the application by The Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVOntario) for a broadcasting licence to carry on a French-language educational television network operation. The licence would expire September 30, 1991. TVOntario operated as a non-commercial educational broadcaster, established by provincial legislation. Since its inception, TVOntario operated on the principle that its service should be available in both official languages. With only 5% of its schedule initially in French, TVOntario expanded the range of its French-language programming to 17%, including 15.5 hours per week scheduled from noon to midnight on Sunday, as well as 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. Thursday and 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. The new French-language network was the result of a joint initiative of the governments of Canada and Ontario which committed $30 million for its establishment and operation, with the federal Department of Communications and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture each contributing $15 million. This is in addition to the $8.6 million that TVOntario allocated for French language programming in the projections it submitted with the application for the renewal of the English language television network service. The new network would draw on TVOntario’s existing programming, technical and administrative facilities, and would be distributed via satellite to cable systems throughout the province.


TVO’s French service, La Chaîne Française, opened at 12 a.m., January 1. This service was available mainly on cable, via satellite, but would also have some over-air transmitters in remote areas. 

On January 20, the CRTC approved the application by CICA-TV for a licence to operate a rebroadcast transmitter at Armstrong, on channel 13 with a transmitter power of 10 watts. This application formed part of a long-term project to extend the TV-Ontario service throughout northern Ontario via satellite.

The Peterborough-Cobourg area began receiving TVO via CICO channel 18 on October 12.

TVO received the largest grant ever from the Secretary of State for French-language programming — $3.9-million.

A number of technical upgrades were under way or completed at TVO: A new master control room with two master control booths for distribution of English and French services and the proceedings of the Ontario legislature. A new suite for transmission equipment to uplink the three signals to Anik C3. Distribution of CJRT-FM Toronto on two subcarriers enabling carriage by cable throughout the province. Installation of a electronics still frame system, replacing telecine slide facilities. Distribution of a weekly half hour program for the Wawatay Society to 27 native communities in northern Ontario. Director of engineering Bruce Read reported TVO’s services were now carried by more than 180 transmitters (mostly LPTV’s in the north) and 100 cable systems; la chaine francaise and the Ontario legislature were carried by virtually all cable systems equipped to receive signals from Anik C3.

Peter G. Bowers returned to TVO as chief operating officer. He would be responsible for financial, legal, operational, administrative, and human resource services, as well as management information systems. Bowers first joined Ontario ETV as chief engineer in 1967. He later served as general manager/operations of OECA. With the reorganization into TVO in 1980, Bowers became managing director of Educational Telecommunications. He left TVO in 1984.

Patricia Fillmore was promoted to sales manager, marketing. She had been manager of marketing services.


With La Chaîne in full operation and the expansion of its daytime schools schedule, French-language production increased by 65% over the previous year.


Donald Duprey moved to the post of managing director of English programming services from the same position in French programming services. Bill Roberts was appointed senior managing director of external relations. He would be responsible for dealing with government, corporate relations, marketing, information and publications services. He had been senior vice president of television for the CAB.

The McArthur Mills transmitter opened September 30, on channel 42. The Cloyne channel 55 transmitter went on the air November 5.


Jacques Bensimon was named managing director of French-language programming.


Mimi Fullerton, director general of TVOntario, resigned from the network on August 1. The position of director general, considered second only to that of the CEO, was created for Fullerton when she was hired in 1986. Mary Martin was named director of community development and liaison. Judy Davies was appointed manager, Canadian-International sales and marketing.

TVOntario launched its long-awaited transmitter at Kenora, increasing available off-air signals in the region from two to three. About half of the households in the area only had access to CBC Winnipeg and CTV Kenora. The TVO transmitter was available on channel 44 and transmitted from McCallum Point. It served more than 12,000 residents in Kenora, Keewatin, Norman, Rat Portage and Jaffray-Melick.


The weekly documentary series “Human Edge” and literary series “Imprint” were launched. Early hosts for Imprint included Daniel Richler and Guy Lawson.


On November 1, the CRTC gave CICA-TV Toronto permission to increase effective radiated power from 1,080,000 to 1,288,200 watts, using a beam-tilt antenna.


The internal affairs department was created to better position TVO within the changing global broadcasting, education and technology environments.

TVO signed a 3-year cooperative agreement with NHK Japan, the world’s largest public broadcaster.

TVO celebrated its 20th anniversary with numerous special events. 


On January 4, the CRTC approved the application for a licence for a transmitter at Pays Plat to rebroadcast, on channel 23 with a transmitter power of 39 watts, the programs of TVOntario, received via satellite. The licence would expire on August 31, 1992. This term would enable the Commission to consider the renewal of this licence at the same time as that of TVOntario’s licence.


TVO established the Distance Learning Division to offer skills training and professional development.

In partnership with the Ministry of Education, TVO developed a direct teaching series aimed at students wishing to complete their high school diplomas at home. High School on Air was born.

Through strong relationships with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA and space agencies in Europe and Japan, TVO produced the award-winning Space Journals: One Moment in Time.

The communications minister of France studied TVO with a view to establishing a similar service in that country and to discuss cooperative opportunities.


Peter A. Herrndorf became TVO’s chairman and chief executive officer in March, replacing Bernard Ostry. Herrrndorf had been the publisher of Toronto Life magazine, and in the past was a vice president and general manager with the CBC.

Steve Paikin joined TVO to host the political series “Between the Lines”.

On November 27, TVO opened a transmitter at Pembroke – on channel 29 – sharing the CHRO-TV tower. TVOntario was now reaching 98% of the population of Ontario.

Concern was being expressed in the legislature about the cost of the French service. It got about a tenth of the viewing but took about a third of TVO’s $80 million budget.


TVO established a $3-million documentary programming fund to finance independent productions over the next three years.

“Fourth Reading”, a current affairs program on provincial political matters, hosted by Steve Paikin was launched.

On September 26, TVO held its first Open House, attracting over 25,000 visitors.

La Chaîne’s Ottawa office opened – serviced by TVO’s mobile production unit.


TVO named independent producer Rudy Buttignol as commissioning editor of documentaries. He was to develop and assign more than 40 independent productions during the next three years. TV Ontario producer-director Adrian Mills became creative head for children’s programming. He joined TVO in 1992 after eight years with the BBC. Mills was now developing new programs for children in morning and after school hours. Doug Grant was appointed head of current affairs, succeeding Christa Singer. A 20 year CBC veteran, he would develop TVO’s plans for a daily current affairs show to launch in the fall of ‘94 (That program would become “Studio 2”). Clive VanderBurgh was named executive producer (development) for children’s programs.

TVO Kids was launched in the spring – the first step in re-focusing the 4 to 7 p.m. afternoon children’s block.


“From the Heart”, TVO’s documentary strand showcasing the work of 12 Canadian filmmakers premiered.


The political program “Between The Lines” came to an end.

“Studio 2”, a nightly current affairs program, launched in the fall, hosted by Mary Hines and Steve Paikin, and became the flagship weeknight program. Former pollster Allan Gregg joined the team with a regular segment called “Gregg & Company”.

Peter Warth became senior project engineer at TVOntario. He had been with Imagineering Ltd.


TVOntario’s on-air membership campaigns (Nov. ’94 and Feb.’95) saw a record-breaking 26% increase in funds donated from the previous year.

TVOntario announced plans to lay off 130 administrative staff – 115 full-time and 15 contract workers – in the fall. Just before the announcement, the province’s new Tory government said it was prepared to sell off TVO if privatization delivered the best service at the best price. Faced with this threat, self-generated revenue strategies were increased to reduce reliance on government grants. These to included: achieving a significant, long-term reduction in cost structure; generating an operating surplus to apply to anticipated government funding cuts; increasing net revenues by 15% each year; and creating public-private sector partnerships. Plans called for a reduction of staff to about 350. Government grants had been reduced in recent years and were now about $58 million annually.

Diana Bennett Gale was managing director of corporate affairs. Drama critic Richard Ouzounian became the new creative head of arts programming at TVOntario.

1995-96: TVOntario’s chief engineer Christopher T. Bell moved to the Movie Network where he was appointed vice president, technology.


The province announced TVO would receive $55.5 million for 1996-97, down $6 million from the previous year. The network’s total budget was $67 million, down 14%. TVO chairman Peter Herrndorf said programming would have to absorb a cut in excess of 20%. The province was considering privatization of the network.

Paula Todd replaced Mary Hines as co-host of “Studio 2”. 


Adrian Mills left TVO as head of children’s programming. He went to the CBC.


The TVO and TFO broadcast signals were switched from analog to digital, which led to a reduction of more than 50% in ongoing satellite transmission costs.


There were concerns the province might privatize TVOntario. Rob Sampson, the minister with responsibility for privatization, said TV Ontario would be retained and its mandate refocused on lifelong learning. He said new revenues were being looked at. It was possible there would be commercial advertising during blocks of programming not funded by the province.

Pat Ellingson was the new creative head of children’s and daytime programming for TVOntario.

Steve Paiken began hosting “Diplomatic Immunity”, a foreign affairs commentary show.

The Ontario government announced that TVOntario was being restructured into two divisions: broadcast programming and a new Centre for Advanced Technology in Learning to explore the use of technology in support of lifelong learning. Earlier, it had been announced that responsibility for TVOntario would be transferred from the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.


In September, Isabel Bassett was appointed Chair of TVOntario. She replaced Peter Herrndorf, who had left earlier in the year.

Elwy Yost announced that he would retire in the fall. He had been host of the popular Saturday Night at the Movies program for 25 years. Yost had recorded over 1,000 conversations with film legends over those years. He would be replaced by Shelagh Rogers (only for one season). 

TVO started to service and maintain transmitters for CHCH-TV, Global and Rogers Cable in Ontario.


David Walker, 73, died. He helped to launch TVO, and was executive director from 1975 to 1985.

As of September, 1,405 episodes of “Saturday Night At The Movies” had aired incorporating 1,450 movies. SNAM was the longest still-running series in Canadian television history apart from the news and remained TVO’s most popular adult series; every movie ran uncut and uninterrupted.


In September, Isobel Bassett was replaced by Lisa de Wilde as CEO and Peter O’Brian became Chair of the orgaization.

On June 29, TVO cancelled “Studio 2”. It was replaced in September by “The Agenda” with Steve Paikin. When Studio 2 ended, Paula Todd was let go.


In August, TVO started broadcasting in high-definition via a direct-to-cable HD feed. 

TVO celebrated 40 years of service to Ontario. As part of the celebrations, Ontario’s public educational media organization, announced plans for a free, online Public Archive set to launch later in the fall. “We’ll be unlocking some of TVO’s best educational content from the last 40 years and making it available for free in our new public archive. This includes rare interviews, Ontario stories and kids content that stands the test of time,” said CEO Lisa de Wilde. “Many people receive gifts for their birthdays; at TVO we thought we would celebrate ours by giving a gift to all Ontarians.” 

Rob Crocker was the new CFO at TVO. He had been vice president of online backup and sharing at Radialpoint.

Peter Warth, the Manager of Engineering at TVO retired March 31 after 16 years with the organization. Upon retirement, Warth intended to work in a consulting capacity. Before TVO, Warth was with Imagineering, Ryerson Polytechnical school in Toronto and with the BBC in England. 

Glen Craven, formerly of Corus Entertainment in Toronto, became Manager, Digital Media Services. Katie Walker was the new Manager, Research. She moved from CBC, where she was responsible for key strategic analysis of broadcast and digital research.

The new Manager of Engineering and Maintenance at TVO was Serdar Alkin. He succeeded Peter Warth who retired earlier in the year.

John Delazzer died of a heart attack. He was the voice of TVO for many years and, before that, an announcer at CKKW Kitchener.

Denis Simpson died at age 59. He was a host of the TVO children’s show, Polka Dot Door, which went off the air in 1993 after running for 22 years. 


The CRTC announced approval of an amendment to the licence of CICA-TV in order to add a post-transition digital television transmitter at Toronto, operating on channel 19 with an effective radiated power of 106,500 watts maximum and 79,000 watts average. A directional antenna would be used from the existing CN Tower site. Effective antenna height would be 491 metres. Programming would be fed to the transmitter site by fibre-optic cable. The Commission also approved a post-transition digital transmitter for CICO-TV Ottawa, operating on channel 24 with an effective radiated power of 95,000 watts maximum and 52,200 watts average. A directional antenna would be used at the existing CBC tower in Camp Fortune, Quebec. Effective antenna height would be 340.7 metres. Programming would be received by fibre-optic cable. 

On March 7, the CRTC approved the application by The Ontario Educational Communications Authority to amend the licence for CICA-TV Toronto to add a post-transition digital rebroadcasting transmitter to serve the population of London. The transmitter would operate on channel 18 with an effective radiated power of 2,400 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 316 metres).

The CRTC approved an amendment to the licence for conventional television programming undertaking CICA-TV Toronto, to add post-transition digital transmitters at Kitchener, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Belleville, Chatham and Cloyne.

CICO-DT-28 Kitchener would operate on channel 28 with a maximum effective radiated power of 20,200 watts (14.500 watts average), directional. Effective antenna height above average terrain would be 289.5 metres and the existing Global tower would be used. Program service to the transmitter would be by VHF/UHF radio line with satellite back-up. CICO-DT-9 Thunder Bay would operate on channel 9 with an effective radiated power of 4,500 watts. Effective antenna height above average terrain would be 218.7 metres (non-directional), using the existing TVO-owned tower. Program service to the transmitter would be provided by satellite. CICO-DT-32 Windsor would broadcast over channel 32 with an effective radiated power of 19,000 watts (non-directional). Effective antenna height above average terrain would be 214.3 metres and the existing CBC-owned tower would be used. CICO-DT-53 Belleville would broadcast over channel 26 with a maximum ERP of 13,000 watts (average of 7,800 watts), directional. Antenna height (EHAAT) would be 184.7 metres and the existing CBC-owned tower would be used. Programming would be received by satellite. CICO-DT-59 Chatham would operate on channel 33 with ERP of 2,500 watts, non-directional. EHAAT would be 218.5 metres and the existing CBC-owned tower would be used. Program service to the transmitter would be provided by VHF/UHF radio link with satellite back-up. CICO-DT-92 Cloyne would operate on channel 44 with maximum ERP of 12,000 watts (average of 5,890 watts). EHAAT would be 168.7 metres and the existing TVO-owned tower would be used. Programming would be provided by satellite.

Michael Magee passed away in July. He was 81. In the 1970’s he starred in the TVO series “Magee & Company”. He played numerous characters in the show, including Fred C. Dobbs. Former TVO broadcaster Jim Reed passed away at the age of 75. Piya Chattopadhyay, most recently a fill-in host at CBC, joined TVO as a fill-in anchor on The Agenda with Steve Paikin. She would also anchor the summer format of the program. 

The deadline for the conversion of analog television to digital in mandatory markets was August 31 and TVO did it in two phases, earlier in the month. On August 16, CICO-TV-28 Kitchener, CICO-TV-18 London, CICO-TV-24 Ottawa and CICO-TV-9 Thunder Bay made the switch. The analog transmitters were turned off so that the existing channels could be used for digital. Kitchener remained on channel 28 (virtual 28.1), London on 18 (18.1), Ottawa on 24 (24.1) and Thunder Bay on channel 9 (9.1). The second phase took place on August 18 when CICO-TV-53 Belleville, CICO-TV-59 Chatham, CICO-TV-92 Cloyne, CICO-TV-32 Windsor and CICA-TV Toronto made the move to digital. Windsor remained on channel 32 (32.1)and Toronto remained on channel 19 (19.1) when the analog transmitters were switched off. The remaining three had to change channels. Belleville moved from analog channel 53 to digital channel 26 (virtual channel 53.1), Chatham moved from 59 to 33 (59.1) and Cloyne moved from 55 to 44 (55.1). 

With the transmitters at Belleville (ch 26), Chatham (33), Cloyne (44), Kitchener (28), London (18), Ottawa (24), Thunder Bay (9), Toronto (19) and Windsor (32) converted to digital, TVO announced that it would move forward with a plan to decommission its analog over the air transmitters over the coming two years. TVO still operated 100 analog low-powered relay transmitters and 14 analog medium/high power transmitters. These analog transmitters served an estimated 1% of Ontario households. More than 90% of Canadian households subscribed to cable or satellite, and online and mobile media consumption was growing fast. Given the very small number of analog OTA viewers, the fiscal reality and TVO’s need to reduce its reliance on Government grants, there was no means to convert the analog transmitters to digital or to spend limited resources on maintaining ageing equipment. 

The LPRT sites were installed in the late 1980s with special one-time funding as part of the Television Extension in Northern Ontario (TENO) initiative. A decade later, Direct to Home (DTH) satellite subscription services came to market with the ability to provide a broad selection of television programming services to the North. As a result of the increased choice, more than half of the originally installed TVO LPRTs would be removed or transferred to the community at the request of the community. Many communities that formerly had TVO LPRT transmitters now used the tower for local wireless services. TVO expected to complete the decommissioning of its LPRT sites by October of 2013.

On July 31, TVO ceased transmission at its 14 medium/high power sites. Viewers in the following communities could now receive TVO by subscribing to a local television service provider: Bancroft channel 42, Hawkesbury channel 48, Huntsville channel 13, Kenora channel 44, Kingston channel 38, North Bay channel 6, Owen Sound channel 12, Parry Sound channel 42, Pembroke channel 29, Penetanguishene channel 51, Peterborough channel 18, Sault Ste. Marie channel 20, Sudbury channel 19 and Timmins channel 7.

Monica Creanga joined TVO’s Distribution Services as Business Manager, Distribution Services. Guy Laporte was the new Director of Philanthropy & Sponsorship and Jeff Halden was promoted from Transmission Officer to Transmission Manager.


Ed Holmes left TVO as manager of technical operations to become director of engineering at Maple Leaf Sports + Entertainment. 


Ted Coneybeare died at age 86. He had worked with producer Peggy Liptrott and others to create Polka Dot Door for TVO, and had produced it for several years. The long-running show was picked up by PBS in the U.S. and by provincial broadcasters across Canada.

Dorothy Elizabeth “Dodi” Robb died at age 91. Robb’s career in television began when CBC first aired in 1952. She went on to become head of both daytime and children’s programming. She wrote musicals for children’s theatre, created award-winning shows at CBC, TVO and CFTO, and continued to work as an on-air commentator for Vision TV after her retirement from CBC in 1985.

On July 27, the CRTC approved the application by the Ontario Educational Communications Authority to amend the broadcasting licence for TVO (CICA-TV Toronto), in order to delete reference to all analog transmitters, effective August 1, 2012.

The OECA planned to cease operation of these transmitters on July 31, 2012. The following analog low-powered relay television transmitters located in Ontario would be removed from OECA the licence: Alberton CICA-TV-56, Armstrong CICO-TV-90, Barclay CICO-TV-17, Barwick CICA-TV-57, Batchawana Bay CICO-TV-82, Beardmore CICA-TV-82, Belle Vallee CICA-TV-40, Bergland CICA-TV-84, Brethour CICE-TV-13, Bruce Mines CICA-TV-43, Caramat CICA-TV-72, Chamberlain Township CICO-TV-83, Charlton CICO-TV-21, Constance Lake CICA-TV-20, Dack Township CICO-TV-65, Desbarats CICO-TV-66, Devlin CICA-TV-62, Dobie CICA-TV-33, Dymond Township CICO-TV-31, Eagle River CICA-TV-88, Earlton CICA-TV-34, Emo CICA-TV-76, Englehart CICA-TV-36, Evansville CICE-TV-20, Evanturel CICO-TV-67, Fauquier CICA-TV-92, Fort Hope Indian Reserve CICA-TV-25, Gore Bay CICA-TV-21, Goulais River CICO-TV-77, Gull Bay Indian Reserve CICO-TV-47, Hanbury (Harley) CICA-TV-41, Harty CICA-TV-93, Hilliardton CICA-TV-4, Hilton Beach CICA-TV-5, Hudson CICA-TV-89, Hudson Township CICA-TV-15, Ignace CICA-TV-26, Jellicoe CICA-TV-81, Kaboni CICE-TV-23, Kagawong CICA-TV-16, Karalash Corners CICO-TV-84, Kasabonika Indian Reserve CICA-TV-27, Kenogami Lake CICO-TV-70, Kerns Township CICO-TV-1, Killarney CICO-TV-85, Kitigan CICO-TV-43, Lac Ste-Thérèse CICO-TV-2, Laird Township CICO-TV-3, Larder Lake CICA-TV-38, Latchford CICA-TV-39, Lee Valley CICO-TV-71, Little Current CICA-TV-22, Longlac CICA-TV-71, Mackenzie CICE-TV-1, Manitowaning CICA-TV-44, Massey CICA-TV-53, Matachewan CICA-TV-61, Mattice CICA-TV-94, Michipicoten River CICE-TV-2, Missabanie CICO-TV-72, Moonbeam CICA-TV-95, Moosonee CICA-TV-91, Morson CICA-TV-64, Nairn CICO-TV-5, Nakina CICA-TV-80, Nestor Falls CICA-TV-79, Nipigon CICA-TV-74, Opasatika CICA-TV-96, Pays Plat CICE-TV-15, Pearl CICO-TV-56, Pic Mobert CICO-TV-51, Pickle Lake CICA-TV-75, Pinewood CICA-TV-86, Rainy Lake Indian Reserve CICO-TV-73, Rainy River CICA-TV-77, Red Lake CICO-TV-41, Redditt CICA-TV-49, Richards Landing CICO-TV-75, Rossport CICO-TV-58, Sandy Lake CICA-TV-52, Searchmont CICO-TV-8, Shakespeare Township CICE-TV-7, Silver Water CICO-TV-10, Sioux Lookout CICA-TV-85, Sioux Narrows CICA-TV-78, Tehkummah CICO-TV-11, Temagami North CICO-TV-12, Temagami CICA-TV-19, Thessalon CICA-TV-46, Thormloe CICO-TV-13, Tobermory CICO-TV-95, Val Cote CICO-TV-14, Val Rita CICA-TV-97, Vermillion Bay CICA-TV-87, Virginiatown CICA-TV-98, Wabigoon Lake Indian Reserve CICE-TV-9, Walford CICO-TV-44, Watten CICO-TV-45, Weagamow CICA-TV-99, Webequie CICA-TV-28, Wharncliffe CICO-TV-16, Whitefish Falls CICA-TV-55, Wikwemikong CICO-TV-63, Wild Goose CICO-TV-94, Wunnummin Lake CICA-TV-29. Analog medium and high-powered transmitters located in Ontario: Hawkesbury CICO-TV-96, Hunstville CICA-TV-13, Kenora CICO-TV-91, Kingston CICO-TV-38, McArthur Mills/Bancroft CICO-TV-93, North Bay CICA-TV-6, Owen Sound CICA-TV-12, Parry Sound CICE-TV-11, Pembroke CICE-TV-16, Penetanguishene CICA-TV-51, Peterborough CICO-TV-74, Sault Ste Marie CICO-TV-20, Sudbury CICO-TV-19 and Timmins CICA-TV-7.

Chris Coghill, formerly of Alliance Atlantis/Canwest, was the new Manager, Technical Production Operations at TVO. Also at TVO, Laura Hughes became Manager, Public Relations. Previously she’d been at CTV/Bravo. Marie McCann was TVO’s new Executive In Charge of Gisele’s Big Backyard.

 In November, TVO marked Steve Paikin’s 20 years with the station with some special programming.


TVO’s new director of innovation and business development was Alia Lachana. In Europe, she worked for such companies as Macromedia, Microsoft and AOL. Since moving back to Canada in 2011, Lachana worked with start-up and early stage companies in digital strategy, social media product development, branding and design.

TVO CEO Lisa de Wilde was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for support and dedication to scientific literacy. The award recognized de Wilde’s leadership in “engaging the public and advancing education, science and citizenry”. 

Suzanne Wilson joined TVO Kids as the children’s acquisitions officer. Her broadcast background included a stint with BBC Canada. She succeeded Frances James, the 23-year holder of the position, who retired. 


Angele Arsenault died at age 70. The singer was host of several TVO shows in the 1970s. 


Peter O’Brian was re-appointed by the government to serve as chair of the TVO board for a two-year term. O’Brian, an independent film producer, served as chair since 2005.

TVO received a $2 million donation from Goldie Feldman and the Barry and Laurie Green Charitable Trust that would create a new network of TVO Local Hubs in the province to expand and deepen news coverage. The donation was aimed at increasing the overall presence of Ontario issues, ideas and events on TVO’s broadcast and website.


TVO became the first media organization in Canada to offer nightly Periscope streaming on Twitter. The Agenda with Steve Paikin was now available to watch on Twitter @TheAgenda.

In early February TVO announced it would be decommissioning eight transmitters and cutting seven maintenance positions on July 31. It was hoped the move would save the broadcaster an estimated $1 million a year. The transmitters to be shut down: Belleville, Chatham, Cloyne, Kitchener, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Windsor. CICA Channel 19 Toronto would be retained for the purposes of the CRTC licence and to minimize distribution costs. Before the end of February, the Government of Ontario agreed to flow an additional $1 million to TVO to ensure continued transmitter operation. TVO announced it would not shut the transmitters down.

TVO received international recognition with an International Serious Play Award for mPower (creative online games that teach fundamental K-6 math skills).


TVO, Global News and Postmedia would benefit from the first-round of Google News Initiative YouTube Innovation funding. Google said many of the 87 projects, selected in 23 countries, were focused on expanding newsroom video operations and trying out new ways of reporting news through video.


On October 1st, after 14 years as CEO of TV Ontario, Lisa De Wilde announced she would be leaving at the end of October, when her current contract expired. 

On October 23, TVO kicked off its eighth annual fundraising gala, the start of a year-long celebration leading up to its 50th anniversary. The event honoured Lisa de Wilde, who would be stepping away after 14 years as the network’s CEO. Government ministers and former premier Bill Davis recognized de Wilde’s impact on the public broadcaster. began translating Indigenous stories into Indigenous languages, as part of its commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission call to action. had published stories from its Indigenous Hub reporters in English only.


On March 20, the Ontario government unveiled online learning plans for students who were at home because of the COVID-19 school shut down. The province released a modified TVO schedule, after it asked the public broadcaster to boost educational programming for younger students during this time. Jennifer Hinshelwood, TVO’s acting chief operating officer, said that “TVO’s suite of digital learning products are designed to engage young minds in learning – a mission that seems doubly important at times like this when many of our traditional learning environments are not accessible.”

COVID-19 hit the TVO building in late March. As the facility had to be sanitized, the network had to air a repeat of The Agenda on March 23. After that date, Steve Paikin hosted the program from his home.

TVO launched a new podcast “TVOat50” which looked at the 50-year history of Ontario’s public broadcaster. The podcast went behind-the-scenes of then Education Minister Bill Davis’ fight for creation of the educational television channel, and shows like Polka Dot Door, Today’s Special and Saturday Night at the Movies.

Jeffrey L. Orridge was named the new CEO of TVO, effective November 30. A former CFL commissioner and CBC Sports executive, Orridge was most recently Chairman of Tiidal Gaming. He succeeded Lisa de Wilde, TVO’s longest serving CEO, who stepped down at the end of 2019 after 14 years at the helm.

The story continues elsewhere…
Effective September 1st 2019, we will only be adding new material to these station histories in exceptional circumstances. Our intent to chronicle the early days of these radio and television stations has been achieved, and many new sources and technologies, from the CRTC website to Wikipedia, and others, are now regularly providing new information in these areas.

Contact this station