Winnipeg 1955-56

Peter winnipeg
                      cbc newsroom

Here I am in the CBC  Radio Newsroom in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Note the cigar ( this is years before the smoking ban) the white shirt and tie,and the photos behind me - CF 100 fighter plane, polar bear.

I had not  chosen Winnipeg  as a place to work. I went there because the CBC National Newsroom in Toronto, where I was working as an editor, needed to make room for an editor in Winnipeg.  His name was Bert Cowan and he is in one of pictures on this site.

Charlie Gunning, head of the National Newsroom in Toronto, promised that if I stayed in Winnipeg for at least a year he would bring me back to Toronto.  He did.

Years later Charlie and I  met up in the CBC office in London, England  - he representing News, myself representing Public Affairs.

winnipeg newsroom

Winnipeg newsroom staff (that's me fourth from the left.)

I returned to Winnipeg briefly  to help with the coverage of the The Red River Flood in1956.

My memories of  Winnipeg are sketchy perhaps because I wasn't that keen on being there.

I drove my Triumph Mayflower to Winnipeg from Toronto, going through the United States. I remember I carried a large two-piece black and white tv set in the back seat. The English -built Mayflower did not like the Winnipeg cold so it spent most of the winter parked and out of commission.  Even an engine block heater could not keep it going.

I lived in a motel at a low winter rate my first weeks in Winnipeg, then moved to a boarding house downtown. I joined the library and seem to remember spending a lot of spare time with borrowed books.

It was in that library I read the original newspapers reporting on the trial and execution of Louis Riel and discovering, as most Canadians now realize, that Riel was not the villain we were taught he was.

Near the CBC building was a short order restaurant which served a delicious plate of fried eggs and fried potato paddies.
I would eat breakfast there on incredibly cold Winnipeg mornings when I was on an early shift in the newsroom. I remember policeman coming in wearing huge Buffalo fur coats that steamed in the heat of the restaurant.

Another cultural hotspot was the local beer parlour which was a favorite hang-out of newsroom staff.  You could order as many draft beers as you wanted at one time so the table was always crowded with beer bottles.   ( In Ontario  you could order only one glass at a time.)  The room was brightly lit as required by the law, and always a line-up at the toilet. 

lloyd robertson 1952

Lloyd Robertson, CBC Winnipeg, 1952

Lloyd Robertson, who I first met in Windsor where he was a CBC summer relief announcer, was working in CBC television in Winnipeg when I arrived, and we hung out a fair amount.  Lloyd, of course, went on to national fame and acclaim as the host of CTV Newsroom and was crowned "The most trusted voice in Canada", or something like.  I always found Lloyd to be a decent guy and our paths crossed several times in my career, including  the  investiture of  Prince Charles as Prince of Wales  at  Carnarvon Castle in 1969. Lloyd, Gregg Oliver and I (and I think Joan Donaldson) observed the ceremony from the walls of castle.

I definitely remember we drank a lot of Drambuie liqueur in a local pub before returning to London by train.