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Celebrating 50 years of the CBC

By Archives October 2, 2002

Some of the Canada’s most recognizable personalities in journalism were at Concordia’s Oscar Peterson Concert Hall on Sept. 26 for the taping of a CBC panel discussion to be included as part of one of the company’s broadcasts celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.

Students, staff and other guests looked on while Dennis Trudeau led the hour-long discussion as a tribute to 50 years of CBC television, not to mention some fantastic journalism.

Invited guests included David Halton, senior correspondent for The National in Washington; Doreen Kays, the first woman to join the CBC; Mark Kelley, host of Newsworld Morning; Wendy Mesley, former co-host of CBC News: Disclosure; and Lynne Robson, a reporter for The National.

All reminisced about the ‘good old days’, including Mark Bulgutch, senior executive producer for Newsworld from 1974-83, via a taped testimonial. He explained that when he asked then-mayor of Montreal Jean Drapeau if the city would be ready in time for the 1976 Olympics, a concern at the time, that Drapeau literally told him to “Shut-up!”

Old footage of Dorren Kays interviewing a Playboy bunny at the Playboy Club in Montreal amused everyone. “I had so much self-confidence,” she said in the midst of her laughter.

Mark Kelley’s Gemini-nominated coverage of the 1998 Ice Storm “almost killed [him],” he said. The audience and panel watched on a big screen television as a tree branch crashed down, missing him by a hair.

As footage of Wendy Mesley flashed on the screen, she explained how she could not help but jump at the opportunity to cover politics in Quebec City when no other Anglophone reporter wanted to. “My French was okay [when] I got there, [but] by the time I left, I was dreaming in French,” she said.

Over the years, the CBC has covered many interesting politicians, but according to Mesley and Halton, none was more fascinating – perhaps with the exception of Pierre Trudeau – than Ren