Canadian Screen Awards 2017: The National, CBC Olympics win top awards

CBC's flagship newscast The National, CBC's broadcast of the Tragically Hip's emotionally-charged Kingston show and CTV's highly-rated The Amazing Race Canada were among the winners at this year's Canadian Screen Awards (CSAs).

CBC's The National, CBC Olympics coverage, Tragically Hip concert among first CSA winners

The interviewer gets interviewed. CBC's chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge took questions after accepting the award for best national newscast at the non-fiction night of the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

CBC's flagship newscast The National, CBC's broadcast of the Tragically Hip's emotionally-charged Kingston show and CTV's highly-rated The Amazing Race Canada were among the winners at this year's Canadian Screen Awards (CSAs).

The night marked Peter Mansbridge's last CSAs as host of The National before he leaves the post this July, something referenced in his speech while accepting for best national newscast, one of the night's big prizes.

Later on the red carpet, he called the award "a nice way to head out." The show scored four additional awards. 

"It's a very competitive business. This is one of those rare opportunities we all get to sit together and think about the work we've done, admire the work we've done, no matter what network we're in," he said. "Tomorrow we'll be back beating each other over the head trying to do a better job than everybody else."

The public broadcaster was a big winner, nabbing 18 of the night's 49 awards, for shows, stories and specials that aired on CBC or CBC's Doc Channel. The wins included:

  • Best host or interviewer in a news or information program or series: Wendy Mesley, CBC News: The National.
  • Best reportage, national: CBC News: The National — Trapped at the Border.
  • Best news or information segment: CBC News: The National — Catching Up with the Farwans.
  • Best live sports event: Rio 2016.
  • ​Best science or nature documentary program or series:Moose: A Year in the Life of a Twig Eater.
  • Best factual program or series: Still Standing.
  • Best local newscast: CBC News: Here and Now.
  • Best national newscast: CBC News: The National​.
  • Best host in a lifestyle, talk or entertainment news program or series: Jonny Harris, Still Standing.
  • Best live entertainment special​: The Tragically Hip – A National Celebration.

Not 'partying the way we used to'

The CBC's Wendy Mesley beat out Mansbridge for her hosting duties on The National, winning best host or interviewer in a news or information program or series over the chief correspondent, who was also nominated.

A thankful Mesley said the award comes at an interesting time for the industry.

"Journalism awards used to be a huge deal in this country and in the last little while, we've kind of been eclipsed a little bit," she said, post-win. "It's been a really rough year for journalists so to be part of this parade and to be one of the people who is honoured for trying to do a good job really means an awful lot to me."

The dampened mood was brought up several times during the ceremony, including by retired CTV host Lloyd Robertson, who was a presenter.

"You people aren't partying the way we used to," he told the crowd, to laughs.

Canada's Smartest Person host Jessi Cruickshank was all smiles on the red carpet. The show was nominated for two awards on the non-fiction night of the Canadian Screen Awards. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

CTV's Lisa LaFlamme also brought up the state of the industry during her acceptance speech for best national news anchor but struck a more serious tone.

"It is more important than ever that we deliver on fact-based journalism against ideology that is masquerading as truth," she said.

The CSAs continue Wednesday night with a gala for creative fiction content, including drama, children's and youth, comedy and variety categories.

That's followed by Thursday's digital and immersive storytelling gala and Sunday's flagship awards show for film and the remaining television show awards. The show, hosted by comedian Howie Mandel, will be broadcast on CBC-TV starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Daily Planet, Amazing Race awarded

Tuesday marked the first night of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's week-long awards program. The Toronto ceremony recognized non-fiction television in news, sports, documentary, lifestyle, factual and reality categories.

CTV's The Amazing Race Canada was the non-news television show that dominated, earning five trophies for photography, picture editing, writing and directing achievements. It also won best reality/competition program or series, the night's final prize.

Rob Stewart, the Canadian documentarian who died while shooting a sequel to Sharkwater, was given a moment of recognition during the documentary awards

Some of the evening's other big winners included:

  • Best news or information program: CTV's W5 for Healing Hands.
  • Best biography or arts documentary program or series: HBO Canada's Hip-Hop Evolution.
  • Best documentary program:TVO's My Millennial Life.
  • Best national news anchor: Lisa LaFlamme, CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme.
  • Best sports play-by-play announcer: TSN's Chris Cuthbert for the 2015 Grey Cup.
  • Best news or information series:Discovery Channel's Daily Planet.
  • Best talk program or series:CTV's The Marilyn Denis Show.

Documentary filmmaker and journalist Simcha Jacobovici was presented with the special Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism. Jacobovici, visibly moved by the honour, received a standing ovation. He ended his speech by stressing the importance of honesty in reporting.

"I've tried to be an honest reporter and I will continue to try."

About the Author

Haydn Watters

Haydn Watters is a roving reporter for Ontario, primarily serving the province's local radio shows. He has worked for CBC News and CBC Radio in Halifax, Yellowknife, Ottawa and Toronto, with stints at the politics bureau and the entertainment unit. He also ran an experimental one-person pop-up bureau for the CBC in Barrie, Ont.


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