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CBC Broadcast Centre etc

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(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

The CBC Centre 


The CBC Centre 


The entrance to the CBC Broadcasting Centre is off Front Street West in Toronto.  The centre provides the local and regional television and radio for Toronto and the surrounding area of Ontario.

The entrance leads into the main foyer with reception desk to the left and stairs on the right hand side that lead down to a display area.  From the display area visitors and staff can also access Toronto's Pathway - the under city walkways that connect all parts of the main central Toronto area.  The CBC display area has exhibitions of old broadcasting equipment that was used by the organisation in years gone by, such as studio and portable tape recorders, microphones and historic radio sets and all sorts of advertising and promotional materials.

Moving forward through the foyer leads into the main atrium area.  There is a pleasant eaterie here on the right hand side.  Moving to the left takes visitors the the little CBC Museum and past windows that look into the CBC Radio studio and production areas.

This part of the building also seems to be used as a set for a television production; When we arrived there were signs everywhere indicating its use as a hospital.  Shortly after we arrived we saw staff removing the various signs and notices, revealing the true CBC signage underneath!

The large poster for CBC Radio One, shown below, was on display in the CBC foyer.

The CBC Centre 


CBC operate two radio networks.  CBC Radio One is the serious informational and news station and while some programmes are broadcast nationwide the Radio One service is divided in to regions across Canada to provide locallised programming.  The second CBC radio network is CBC Radio Two which provides a more general entertainment, music and information service.  Both stations are of good quality.

What does CBC Radio One sound like? (asks a promotional leaflet) 

Feed your curiosity.

It sounds like a dynamic, informative, urban, distinctly Canadian radio station that gives you everything you need to know as you go through your busy day.  News, current affairs, weather, entertainment, sports and traffic are all part of the mix.  CBC Radio One connects with you with your community, your city and your world.

For local radio information, check

For updated national programming information, check


CBC Radio One



Apart from radio and television services CBC, Canada's national broadcaster, like The BBC, has extensive online presence with over 350,000 web pages available.  CBC Online

CBC Online

CBC Online

The CBC Centre 


Walking down the stairs off the foyer leads visitors to a display area which, as mentioned, has exhibitions of old broadcasting equipment that was used by the CBC in years gone by, such as studio and portable tape recorders, microphones and historic radio sets and all sorts of advertising and promotional materials.

The CBC Centre 


CBC Museum 

CBC Museum 


  CBC Museum

A look back in time at the sounds heard on CBC Radio and the images seen on CBC
Television over the decades.  The exhibition has interactive audio and video displays,
old radio equipment, microphones, sound effects devices, recording machines
and sets from children's TV dramas.

 CBC Museum

Radio Sound Effects
The Radio Sound FX exhibition celebrates the artisr-try of sound illusion, and shows
the technicians used unlikely objects to create familiar sounds such as a crackling fire
and footsteps in the snow that would breathe life into radio drama.

CBC Museum

Growing up with CBC:
The CBC produced many programmes for children, among
them were The Friendly Giant, Mr Dressup and Seame Park

CBC Hockey Night

Hockey Night:
Covering the national sport of Canada - (ice) hockey





CBC  CBC's  general entertainment television service, which also airs Coronation Street.

CBC NEWS WORLD  The general news service from the CBC



The first CBC Radio Network was launched on November 2 1936, when the Canadian Broadcasting Act came into force, creating The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).  The Canadian Broadcasting Act replaced the previous Canadian Radio Broadcasting of May 26, 1932, that established the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC).  The new Act gave CBC authority to operate a national radio network.  The CBC network operated from 8 a.m. to midnight Eastern time each day - Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC stations received programs produced in the west until midnight local time (e.g.- BC to 3.00 am Eastern time).

In 1939 CBC developed a basic network of 34 private and public stations, and had agreements with private station owners - CBC would pay them a portion of station rates for the carrying sponsored network programs, agreeing to reserve a  number of hours per week to broadcast of CBC programs containing no advertising. Now that CBC a commercial operation it was able to import programmes from the NBC and CBS networks in the USA that were already listened to by many Canadians able to tune these U.S. radio stations.  The better reception of Canadian stations playing American programmes was very popular.

Most Canadian stations were limited to maximum power of 1000 watts - apart from CFRB Toronto and CFCN Calgary, which already used and retained their 10000 watts status, and CKLW Windsor and CKAC Montreal retained 5000 watts.

By 1938 CBC had increased coverage from 40% to a national coverage of around 76% of Canada's population.

In the 1940's CBC, due to commercial pressures, recognised that it needed to set up a second national radio network in order to satisfy advertisers demands, so thirty four private radio stations and affiliates were involved in the new network.

As time progressed during the 1960's and 1970's the CBC was able to establish a network of its own FM transmitters and thereby no longer needed to rely on cooperation from private radio stations that transmitted mainly on the AM bands.  The private AM stations could once again become independent of the CBC and the CBC could broadcast all its programming over its own FM network.  In 1975 the CBC French network opened with the CBC English network opening in 1976.

Adapted from an article by  J.Lyman Potts


Much as I am the biggest supporter of the BBC in the UK [see save the bbc] sometimes its output can suffer from just a little too much of liberal-political-correctness that seems to infect so much of society today, so when P.C. becomes just too much to bear the radio gets re-tuned to something else, such as the the middle-to-right ground of Talk Sport Radio.  So just for the sake of balance we also sampled the commercial broadcasters that were available in the Toronto area - or the GTA as it is referred to.  The most listened to radio stations are listed below, although AM 640 TORONTO RADIO CFMJ was the firm favourite, I also enjoyed the output of NEWSTALK 1010 CFRB, NEWSTALK 610 CKTB and 680 NEWS CFTR.

There are dozens of radio stations available on both AM and FM in Toronto.  I did not sample many of the FM stations, apart from CBC Radio One and Two and the classical music station CFMX which is a very pleasant listen.  Rather than music stations, I prefer to listen to news and spoken word radio, and the AM dial is where these tend to be found.  Reception of AM radio was excellent in Toronto with all stations sounding crystal clear and very strong. 

There seemed to be nothing like BBC Radio Four, however.  Talk radio is more like Talk Sport or BBC Radio Five Live and some of the UK local talk radio stations.

Most FM radio stations are broadcast from the CN Tower or BMO building, while many AM transmitters seem to be located on the Toronto Islands and other sites around the area.  For example some AM stations use transmitter sites that are many miles from Toronto, but beam their signal directionally and with great power towards the city.  Such as in the case with Toronto Radio which at one time (as station CFGM Broadcasting Ltd) used sites at or near Richmond Hill and which, today, uses a site at Lincloln near St Catharines.  Radio stations that beam their signals northwards in this way prevent unncessary overspill into the USA to the south.


Toronto Radio

AM 640 TORONTO RADIO CFMJ   This was our favourite radio station, with excellent local news and information, good debate and a sponsored programme about audio, radio and television on Saturday mornings.  The powerful transmitter is located at Lincoln, south of Toronto near St Catharines.  The antenna system consists of eight 111 meter high masts arranged in two rows of four and blasts out 50,000 watts of power directionally over the Lake north towards the GTA (Toronto).  This highly directional arrangement ensures that there is minimal overspill into the USA which is not far away to the south of the site.  Toronto Radio is owned by Corus Radio. Our favourite show was The John Oakley Show.  The station proclaims to be home of The Maple Leaves, the NHL Hockey Team.  Ice Hockey is, of course, the main sport in Canada.

CFMJ transmitter masts
Masts at Lincoln Ontario of CFMJ
Above:  The CFMJ transmitter masts at Lincoln, between Vineland Station and Beamsville near St Catharines, they beam a directional signal northwards across Lake Ontario towards Toronto, in a similar way the the masts at Grimsby do for CFTR (see below).  There are eight 110 meter high masts forming the aerial system. (The photos were taken through the window of a speeding coach at dusk south of the QEW!)

CKTB Newstalk 610

AM 610 NEWSTALK CKTB   This is a great news and information station that covers the St Catharines and Niagara area, across the two lakes of Ontario and Erie from a huge 10,000 Watt transmitter at River Street, Port Robinson.  CKTB has a very long history in the area, being a rather historic 'heritage' radio station and is now owned by the Standard Radio Network. CKTB is heard well very good strength in Toronto.  [This from Wikipedia:  CKTB is a radio station in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Broadcasting at 610 AM, the station airs a news/talk format. CKTB was launched in 1930 by Edward Sandell at 1120 on the AM dial. As with most early AM radio stations, the station changed frequencies a number of times in its early years, moving to 1200 in 1933, 1230 in 1941, 1550 in 1946, 620 in 1950 and its current 610 in 1959.  Sandell passed away in 1943, and the station was acquired by Niagara District Broadcasting the following year. Niagara District Broadcasting subsequently launched CKTB-FM in 1949.  The stations were acquired by Standard Broadcasting in 1980. Standard sold CKTB to Affinity Radio Group in 1997. Affinity was in turn acquired by Telemedia in 2000; Standard reacquired the station when it purchased Telemedia in 2002.]


AM 680 NEWS TALK CFTR  This was also a good news and debate station from Rogers.  The Rogers stable also included the DJ free music station 92.5 Jack FM, 98.1 CHFI the lite music station and CJCL THE FAN 590.  Rogers is a massive radio, television and telecommunications conglomerate.  CFTR broadcasts from a similar antenna array to that of CFMJ - Toronto Radio; A massive eight mast antenna array blasting out CFTR with a highly directional 50,000 watt beam of power towards The GTA (Toronto), which protects the USA from interference.

The station began life in 1962 as CHFI-AM on 1540 kHz AM as a music station from a transmitter site with two 200 foot towers in Mississauga.  In time the owner, Ted Rogers, persuaded other stations to move frequencies so that CHFI could gain a clear channel to broadcast on day and night without night time power restrictions - the station moved from 1540 to 680 kHz.  The station's call sign was changed in 1971 to CFTR, the TR standing for T ed Rogers.  In 1985 the tranmitter site was moved from Missassauga to the newly built site at Grimsby, shown below. In 1993 the station changed format from music to the all news format of '680 NEWS'  that we heard on our visit.

CFTR Grimsby
Above:  The CFTR masts at Grimsby - built by Rogers for AM680 NEWSTALK.  There are eight masts arranged (unusually) in four rows of two to provide a very concentrated and directional beam across Lake Ontario to Toronto which lies about 50 km to the north - the right of this picture.  (Again the photo was taken from the middle of the coach, looking forward through the windscreen, at some speed and at dusk! approx 300mm f4 1600asa)

See this blogspot for more stories about the Grimsby masts:

1010 Newstalk

AM  1010 NEWSTALK CFRB  I tuned in a number of times to CFRB, it is a serious powerhouse station and is a major player in the talk radio stakes.  The output of Newstalk 1010 seemed rather more 'liberal' in its outlook compared to other stations available.  Like the excellent 610 CKTB, CFRB is owned by the Standard Radio Network.  Again CFRB is a truly historic 'heritage' radio station. CFRB was started by Ted Rogers' "Rogers Vacuum Tube Comany" the forerunner to the now vast Rogers Communications company that operates TV, radio and telecommunications across Canada.  The CFRB transmitter is located at Clarkson, near Oakville and beams the signals north over Toronto and covers a huge area around Lake Ontario with its 50,000 watt output.  The four transmitter masts are 550 feet high and they could be clearly seen, with their red flashing aircraft warning lights, from the "360 Restaurant" on the CN Tower at night.  CFRB also run a Short Wave transmitter, CFRX, from the same site that operates on 6070 kHz with 1kW. CFRX rebroadcasts the same programme material, but with different call-sign identifications. [It was in 1927 tha E.S. (Ted) Rogers modified his 3BP amateur radio ("Ham") radio transmitting station by moving it from the 1800 kHz Amateur band onto 1030 kHz with the experimental commercial call-sign of 9RB. A voice as strong and clear as though it were in the room with you - pure, with strong strains of music and the words, "This is 9-R-B Testing."  It was an exciting time for  those listening in eastern Canada and the United States who heard it. The event ushered in era in radio. In February 19 the Jack Arthur symphony orchestra transmitted music with excellent power and clarity as the experimental 9RB station became a real commercial radio operation and was launched as radio station CFRB, making Canadian radio history.  By 1933 CFRB was transmitting on 630 kHz and erected two steel antenna towers at Aurora,which replaced the original wooden masts.  Power was also increased to 10,000 watts. See also hammond museum of radio ]

Photo by Steve Canney
The four masts at Oakville for CFRB could be seen from the CN Tower
(This particular photo is not my own and is the work of Steve Canney
of The Ontario DX Association )


CHWO - AM 740 PRIME TIME RADIO  All time favourites music station.  CHWO started in 1956 by Howard and Jean Caine on 1250 AM with 1000 watts from Oakville, near Toronto.  The two transmitter masts were actually at White Oaks (Oakville) hence the WO of CHWO.   By 1970 the station had incereased power to 10,000 watts, with six new 200 foot masts being erected at a new site nearby at Palermo in 1979
- a site shared with CJMR 1320.  CHWO changed to the important 'clear channel' frequency of 740 kHz AM in 2001 after this frequency was vacated by the CBC station CBL in 1998.  AM 740 CHWO is now a powerhouse 50,000 watt station with a vast coverage area around Lake Ontario and uses the CBC transmitter facilities at Hornby (west of Missisauga) - the former CBL site which is, apparently, a single 640 foot high mast.   The studuios of CHWO are in Oakville and they are also home to CJMR 1320 and CJYE - JOY 1250.

AM 590 THE FAN CJCL   If you like sports radio then this may be the place to tune.  Another part of the Rogers network.

CFMX CLASSICAL 96.3  A great way to relax or a really pleasant station to have playing in the background all day long.

Toronto Islands
Above: The towers at the AM transmitting site on the Toronto Islands
This photograph, taken in 1996, was kindly sent in by Phil Rayner in Australia

Map showing locations of some of the masts we saw


Being on holiday we did not watch much television.  However, as with most of the rest of the world, when you are treated to BBC television, Canadian television really seems pretty dire.  Commercial advertisements interrupt the programmes seeminly every five minutes without any warning - one second you are watching a programme the next second you are transported to a furniture store commercial!  Fairly dreadful.  The highlights are once again are the CBC channels, though even these are not quite up to BBC television standards.

The commercial TV channels seem to exist on a diet of programming imported from the USA - interrupted every few minutes by those commercials!

The best commercial stations are those producing local news output.

CBC  CBC's  general entertainment television service, which also airs Coronation Street.

CBC NEWS WORLD  The general news service from the CBC

THE WEATHER NETWORK  Weather news and commentary all day long!

CP25 News
  (Cable)  Rolling news, weather, sports and travel information from the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario
(Formerly PULSE 24 from CHUM Television

CTV  General entertainment shows and news

CITY TV   Local news and entertainment shows - mainly from the USA


The CN Tower is where the CBC's radio and television services for the Toronto area are transmitted from:

The CN Tower Toronto



CFRB - 1010:

CHWO - 740:

CFTR - 680:

canadian communications foundation - history of CFTR  (website unavailable - this was cached on Google)

CKTB - 610:

COAST TO COAST WITH GEORGE NOORY - Syndicated programme from the USA - on CKTB CANADA:

LISTS OF CANADIAN RADIO STATIONS + INFO:     - List Of Early Radio Stations      -  Lists radio stations in the Standard Radio Network      -  Corus Radio and Entertainment Network

GENERAL INFORMATION      -  General list of masts worldwide

Top Toronto Museums

Livegreen Toronto

City of Toronto News & Information


The Other Stuff Page

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