CBC Digital Archives

Opening of CBC Atlantic

On a summer's day in 1927, Canadians coast to coast sat enthralled before their radio sets as Prime Minister Mackenzie King spoke to them from Parliament Hill. Through the 1930s radio kept them entertained, and in wartime radio kept them informed. Then, Canadians were captivated all over again by television. In 1952 a bald puppet named Uncle Chichimus ushered them into the TV age, and in 1966 an animated butterfly made Canadian TV a more colourful pace.

The East Coast is now plugged into CBC Radio. CBC Maritimes is transmitted over the airwaves by a powerful 50-kilowatt radio station situated near Sackville, N.B. In this CBC Radio excerpt, CBC Chairman Leonard Brockington celebrates the inaugural broadcast as part of CBC's long-term strategy to link the country together with a national radio network. "The CBC hopes that this new modern station will bring refreshment, entertainment, enlightenment and some merriment to those of our fellow citizens," he says.
• The opening of the CBA radio station was part of a larger cross-country communications plan. CBL Toronto and CBF Montréal took to the airwaves in 1937. The CBK transmitter in Saskatchewan linked Central Canada with the prairies in July 1939.

• The inaugural broadcast of CBA radio ran just over one hour long and featured speeches by the Liberal Minister of Transport C.D. Howe, New Brunswick Premier Allison Dysart, PEI Premier Thane Campbell, Nova Scotia Premier Angus MacDonald and the president of the Radio Corporation of America David Sarnoff. Musicians and choirs also performed in the celebrations.

• Though CBA's studios and transmitter were originally located in Sackville, N.S., they were later relocated to Moncton, N.B.

• When the CBC opened shop in 1936, the corporation was modestly manned by 132 staff. Operating with low-watt stations, CBC Radio was only available to 42 per cent of the country. But by 1939, the CBC staff roster had tripled and a whopping 85 per cent of Canada could tune in to the public broadcaster thanks to new, high-watt stations across the country.
Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio Special
Broadcast Date: April 8, 1939
Speaker: Leonard Brockington
Duration: 4:51
Photo: CBC Design Library

Last updated: March 7, 2014

Page consulted on March 26, 2014

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