There were moments, on the CBC’s Seven Wonders of Canada set, where the three of us fell totally silent and simply stared at one another hopelessly. Staff from ‘The National’ and ‘Sounds Like Canada’ and a large crew of technicians looked on, cameras rolling, as the complete impossibility of our task began to sink in.
We had been chosen by the CBC to be judges. I believe they made excellent choices. Roberta L. Jamieson is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. She was the first Canadian aboriginal woman to earn a law degree, the first woman to serve as the chief of the Six Nations and the first woman appointed as Ombudsman for the Province of Ontario - a position she held for ten years. We arm-wrestled on the set.
Roy MacGregor has been covering the Stanley Cup Finals for the Globe and Mail recently. We hung out backstage together at game four in Ottawa. His books have been short-listed for the Governor General’s Award and include both fiction and non-fiction. He wrote the acclaimed “Home Team: Fathers, Sons and Hockey”, the popular Screech Owls Mystery series for young readers and has recently released “Canadian” in which he attempts to explain us to ourselves. If Google is to be trusted, he’s an Order of Canada recipient. He’s also a helluva guy.
None of our credentials could have prepared us for the surreal showdown we were facing. Starting with a “short list” of fifty-two truly inspiring Canadian “wonders”, we were given just over three hours to discard fourty-five of them. Our every deliberation was being filmed for TV and recorded for radio, and would be presented in an edited form, right across the country, four days later.
To be continued …
UPDATE - “Seven Wonders of Canada” - Jonathan Whitten Executive Producer of the National - CBC Inside Media UPDATE 2 - “What is more wonderfully Canadian than a snowflake?” - Roy MacGregor Globe and Mail