CBC Digital Archives

Kate Aitken: Mrs. A in Paris

For busy housewives in postwar Canada, Kate Aitken's singsong voice was a welcome diversion from their everyday duties. Three days a week, Mrs. A and a rotating cast of male sidekicks shared advice on cooking, child care and fashion and offered a perspective on the broader world of women and politics. Only eight Kate Aitken programs from 1948 to 1950 survive, but they allow a glimpse into an era when "women's programming" was its own category at CBC and the ads were just part of the conversation.

Springtime has come to Paris - and so has CBC Radio's Kate Aitken. She finds a beautiful sunny city full of people embracing life, seemingly untouched by the war that ended five years ago. From the global fashion capital, Mrs. A eagerly tells her listeners what Frenchwomen are wearing in 1950. Then it's on to the nation's politics, including a just-passed ban on Coca-Cola in the country.
• In 1950, an estimated 32 per cent of Canadians listening to the radio were tuned into Kate Aitken when she was on the air. 

• Despite a daily audience of 1.5 million, Aitken retired from broadcasting in 1957. She published her childhood memoirs, Never a Day So Bright, the same year. In 1959 she was appointed to the CBC Board of Directors, where she remained for three years.

• Kate Aitken died in December 1971.
Medium: Radio
Program: Kate Aitken
Broadcast Date: March 31, 1950
Host: Kate Aitken, Mac McCurdy
Duration: 14:23

Last updated: January 25, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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