The best Canadian podcasts to listen to — according to podcasters
All time favourites and under-the-radar recos from industry insiders
With upwards of 700k active podcasts out there, it's not always easy to choose what to listen to. So we went to the source. This week podcasters from across the country and beyond gathered in Toronto for the Hot Docs Podcast Festival. We asked them for their all-time favourite Canadian podcasts, as well as an under-the-radar pod you may not have heard of. This is what they said.
Kristi Lee, Canadian True Crime
- All-time favourite: Night Time
"The Night Time podcast comes from Halifax and the host, Jordan, investigates true crime, weird stories, and UFOs. He just explores the weird stuff on the fringe of Canada and I love his style and his journalism."
- Under the radar: Crime Beat
"It's hosted by Nancy Hixt, who's a journalist in Calgary and she just covers stories in podcast format that she's covered as a journalist, as the crime happened and all the way through to the trial. It's a great show, so take a listen."
Andrew Norton, Personal Best
- All-time favourite: Wiretap
"This was originally an old CBC radio show. I remember tuning in in the car late at night and saying, 'What is this? This is so bizarre and weird" - and it got me really interested in radio and doing different stuff with radio."
- Under the radar: At the letters
"This isn't exactly under the radar but it occupies a lot of my time. It's a Blue Jays podcast on Sportsnet and for me it's such a nice place, as a podcaster, to listen to a podcast that's not really been produced and you're not trying to dissect it. It's just people talking about trades and stuff and it's something I can just zone out on."
- All-time fave: Personal Best
"Personal Best is a really inventive format that incorporates performance elements and humour into the narrative in a playful way. It's really singular. It's something that people mention a lot to me when they hear that I'm from Canada. "
- Under the radar: Crackdown
"It's out of Vancouver, BC, and its log line is: 'The drug war covered by drug users as war correspondents.' It's an incredible example of where I really want this medium to go, which is collaborative audio storytelling. People who have had the mic held to them are the ones holding the mic. I've learned so much from this podcast that I wouldn't from the mainstream media and it's very formally interesting."
Phoebe Wang, artist and independent radio producer
- All-time favourite: Constellations
"Constellations is an audio art project podcast by Michele Macklem and Jess Shane. They've been able to get a lot of different people to make stuff for them. I think there are very few places for experimental narrative radio to appear."
- Under the radar: Constellations
"I don't think enough people are listening to Constellations."
Kasia Mychajlowycz, Canadaland
- All-time fave: White Coat, Black Art
"It's a CBC radio show, also released as a podcast. It's Doctor Brian Goldman interviewing other doctors and they go really deep. I love the way that people can get into communities they are already a part of and I love to have some of that related to me."
- Under the radar: Crackdown
"Crackdown is about the drug war told from the perspective of people who have drug addictions.
It's from the perspective of opioid users, so it gets to go places where journalists don't get to. It's a new way of doing journalism that I think that podcasting can do because of the intimacy of the medium. We should all be listening to it, because it's amazing journalism, but also to gain a bit of humanity when talking about opioid use."
Duana Taha, Show Your Work
- All-time fave: I Hate It But I Love It
"IHIBILI is about watching media that is both ridiculous and deeply entertaining and it's super funny and you should check it out."
- Under the radar: Black Tea
"Andray Domise and Melayna Williams have a podcast on Frequency I believe called Black Tea that I am super excited to dig into."
Kate Spencer, Forever 35
- All-time fave: Show Your Work
"This would be my everyone's-already-heard-it-podcast but I love it and I listen to it. It's both soothing and informative, which is everything anyone wants out of a podcast."
- Under the radar: Breaking Beauty
"I also love the Breaking Beauty podcast which is Canadian and is hosted by two beauty editors."
Nelu Handa, Yas Kween
- All-time fave: Yas Kween
"It's my own podcast, which interviews women of colour in comedy."
- Under the radar: The Sonar Network
I recommend anything from The Sonar Network which is a network run by Toronto-based comics.
Maria Blasucci, The Big Ones
- All-time fave: What's Your Drama?
"What's Your Drama is my favourite Canadian podcast."
Takara Small, I'll Go First
- All-time fave: TheSecret Life of Canada
"It's hard to pick a fave, but I think that The Secret Life of Canada is doing really great things. It's shedding light on Canadian history that a lot of us weren't told or didn't have a chance to learn."
- Under the radar: Mo' Money
"As the name implies, it's about money. After our teens or twenties, a lot of us aren't really told how to save or to invest or how to take care of our money. Talking about money can be really dry, but Jessica Moorhouse [host] makes this one entertaining and educational."
Clifton Mark writes about philosophy, psychology, politics, and other life-related topics. Find him @Clifton_Mark on Twitter.