Jan. 15, 1987: Home shopping channel hits Edmonton TV screens

The launch of the Canadian Home Shopping Network brought a new way for Edmontonians to shop — from their living rooms.

‘A piece of plastic tied to a toll-free 800 number, the end of the month could be a disaster'

On Jan. 15, 1987, cable TV providers began airing the Canadian Home Shopping Network, bringing hundreds of items into the living rooms of Edmontonians. 1:21

The launch of the Canadian Home Shopping Network brought a new way for Edmontonians to shop — from their living rooms.

Customers only needed a phone and a credit card to buy a wide range of products featured on the channel.
Phone operators at the shopping channel taking calls in 1987. (CHSN)

Dinnerware, eel-grained purses and jewelry were all showcased on the first day of the channel. Phone operators were standing by to take customers' orders.

It was so easy for customers to make purchases they hadn't researched that Sally Hall, president of the Consumers Association of Canada, issued a warning.

"It's advertised in such a way that they don't do their homework," Hall said. "That could be a large pitfall, especially with a piece of plastic tied into an 800 telephone number. The end of the month could be a disaster."

Shaw Communications Inc., a cable supplier in Edmonton, was confident the shopping channel was what their customers wanted.

"We think the subscribers will enjoy the variety of service. It's a new one, it's unique, it's different," said Ernie Poscente, Shaw's vice president of programming.
The shopping channel's first day featured a variety of items for sale. (CHSN)

The Canadian Home Shopping Network was a success. Renamed The Shopping Channel in 2000, it continues to operate today.

In the video, CBC's Alf Cryderman explains what home shopping is and how it works, all over pictures of some of the deals up for sale.

About the Author

John Zazula

Associate Producer

John Zazula is an associate producer at CBC and has been with the Corp. for more than 15 years. As a lifelong Edmontonian, John brings that experience to the job.