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Peter Mansbridge on The National: Here's to Another 25 Years!

Cake and coffee with friends and fans: it's the humblest way you could celebrate the most trusted name in Canadian news, and that's how Peter Mansbridge marked 25 years of The National.

Fans, CBC colleagues included, gathered at the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto Thursday afternoon to applaud his quarter century as anchor.

"I've been tremendously lucky," Mansbridge told the crowd, telling the short version of how he was discovered by a CBC radio manager in a Manitoba airport in 1968, eventually becoming The National's anchor 20 years later.

"I'm not going to speak here at length. I will only say that my success has been because of the people I work with," Mansbridge told the audience, a crowd that included George Stroumboulopoulos, Tom Harrington, Jian Ghomeshi, among many others. His speech greatly acknowledged the team at The National, and thanked CBC News editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire, as well as friends and mentors Knowlton Nash, National director Fred Parker and the CBC's Mark Starowicz, hailed by Mansbridge as "perhaps one of the finest journalists I've ever known."

"The National is The National. It's not The National WITH somebody - although I see it is up there on that sign," joked Mansbridge, pointing out one of the ads in the CBC atrium.

"On the air, you just hear 'The National.' And that's what it is. It's about all the people who work on that program."

Mansbridge's colleagues, including The National's executive producer, Mark Harrison, and CBC's executive director of news content, Jonathan Whitten, presented him with gifts during the informal event: a plaque commemorating his 25 years as anchor and a CBC sweater, monogrammed with his "P.M." initials.

"Put it on!" George Stroumboulopoulos hollered from the crowd as soon as Mansbridge got it out of the bag.

In an essay published Thursday to his website, Mansbridge wrote about his 25 years as anchor. The sign-off? "I can't wait for the next 25."

As he cracks in that same story, he was just joking. And the 64-year-old alluded to his impending retirement in his speech Thursday.

"The question I get the most is: 'How much longer?' Well, you know, it's getting close," Mansbridge said. "Because as I've always said, 'When the Leafs win the Stanley Cup..."

Apologies to Leafs Nation: Here's to another 25 years!

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