Canada’s Most Memorable (English) TV Thing: The Elite Eight

We’re not at the end of our strange tournament to crown Canada’s most memorable TV show in English, which ended at least five years ago.

But we’re probably at the most *important* stage.

In the semifinals and finals, we’ll be pitting different shows against each other that are somewhat hard to compare. As such, it’ll be more about goofy discussions, rather than passionate genre debates.

But here in the Elite Eight? We’re deciding what the memorable comedy, drama, and children’s show in Canadian history is.

(And also the most memorable interstitial program. But that’s somewhat less cool)

So breathe deep. Important decisions are about to be made.

(Polls close at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Tuesday)


Oh god.

Oh god.

What have I done.

Are you of the early 80s, or early 90s? Appreciate broad SNL-esque comedy, or weird character art comedy? Value cast members who go on to American fame, or those who have a one-time cult hit that defines them forever?

Ugh. I’m sorry for forcing this upon us.

Kids In The Hall: defeated Double Exposure (95% of the vote), Royal Canadian Air Farce (67%), Trailer Park Boys (80%)

SCTV: defeated The Trouble With Tracy (98% of the vote), The Newsroom (86%), Corner Gas (74%)


Here’s the thing, Canada.

I know that this competition excluded shows where the original series was still on the air, or ended after 2012, so we missed out on some pretty good current dramas.

And I know this is ultimately just a silly internet poll.

But if we’re gonna declare The Littlest Hobo the most memorable Canadian drama ever — as in, EVER — it’s just a little weird.

And I know I made it the #1 seed for a reason. But it’s ultimately a minimalist anthology show with overbearing background music about a dog with strange powers that provided warm fuzzy feelings to millions of Canadians who cannot remember anything about the show other than an (admittedly) kickass theme song.

And if that’s our most memorable dramatic output, that’s a thing, I guess. But I do know that Degrassi — and remember, we’re only counting the original, Degrassi Junior High, and Degrassi High, SO YOUR DRAKE LOVE IS INVALID — while not as universally beloved as Hobo, meant real things to people.

Littlest Hobo received 56% over Anne of Green Gables, while Degrassi received 54% against the Beachcombers. So this is unpredictable, but I have a feeling that most people will have pretty strong feelings for one or the other, but not both.

Littlest Hobo: defeated Night Heat (89% of the vote), Due South (63%), Anne of Green Gables (56%)

Degrassi: defeated Traders (88% of the vote), Danger Bay (65%), The Beachcombers (54%)

I wonder if the next round will be easier?



Nope nope nope.

this tournament is cancelled

I’ve been thinking about this matchup far too much in the last week, its near certainty of happening staring me straight in the face and mocking the idea I could get through this without having emotions.

But I’ve accepted the fact that Mr. Dressup, despite what I thought would be the ultimate Canadian Sophie’s Choice, is probably going to win this matchup by a fair amount.

Now, I could be wrong! But Dressup has been stampeding through the children’s bracket of nostalgia overload matchups in massive blowouts, while The Friendly Giant has gotten workmanlike wins, but nothing more.

And I think the reason Dressup will win is that both shows were ultimately perfect … but the Friendly Giant was perfect for children between the ages of three and six (slow conversations, introduction to music, repetitive structure, 15 minutes long), while Mr. Dressup was perfect for children from six to nine (faster conversations, introduction to crafts, playing in costumes, 30 minutes long). And Mr. Dressup kept cranking out new shows until 1996, while The Friendly Giant ended a decade earlier.

So it’s easier in our collective brains to remember why we loved Mr. Dressup a little bit more, why he taught us a little more, why he and Casey and Finnigan are just a little more memorable than the Giant and Rusty and Jerome, even if they’re impossible on the merits to choose between.

Or at least, that’s what I’ll keep telling myself to avoid thinking that I’m responsible for declaring one of these better than the other.

The Friendly Giant: defeated You Can’t Do That On Television (73% of the vote), Polka Dot Door (69%), Fraggle Rock (58%)

Mr. Dressup: defeated The Edison Twins (93% of the vote), Reboot (75%), The Raccoons (79%)


And, now, after three terrifying matchups, we come to Weird Bracket Of Less Meaningful Stuff.

But first, do you have something to say, Wayne and Shuster?

Alright, I guess you could breakdown Heritage Minutes vs. Body Break, as though it were a real competition.

But after the previous three votes, we’re all probably too exhausted for that.

Also I’ve watched every Heritage Minute dozens of times and could not name a single Body Break segment for you, so I’m the wrong person to analyze this.

Heritage Minutes: defeated Hinterland Who’s Who (59% of the vote), National Film Board Shorts (60%), Wayne and Shuster (68%)

Body Break: defeated Téléfrancais (85% of the vote), Jonovision (77%), Street Cents (57%, Body Break is the Jonathan Torrens bracket buster)

Lead image by Virginie Menard

Categories: FeaturesTags: , , , , , , , ,


  1. Steve Cloutier

    I’m wondering about the voter demographic. Being 50 SCTV is embedded in my brain more than KITH much as I liked them because I grew up with SCTV. People a decade younger than me might have the same response to KITH.

  2. Betty

    The amazing puppeteer Rod Coneybeare animated both Rusty and Jerome and spoke (possibly ad-libbed) all their lines. Compare with the whiny-voiced Casey and silent (but cute) Finnegan. If the contest came down to the puppets, Friendly Giant would win every time.

  3. Jane Maskell

    It would be interesting to have some demographic info. I’m 60 and so I remember The Littlest Hobo and The Friendly Giant, but my 26 year old son doesn’t.

  4. Theresa Cody

    Can’t do it. Love Mr dress up and the Friendly Giant but no Fred Penner? The Buckshot Show Ctv Calgary is the longest running Cdn children’s show. Loved it and rushed home from school to watch it. The Toronto Legsl show is missing and can’t remember the name. Littlest Hobo helped me to never give up and Body Break kept me active

  5. I’ll go around back and open the big doors and lower the drawbridge just for you. Welcome to my castle.
    I always thought Casey was creepy and wouldn’t have felt comfortable leaving my children with Mr. Dressup for the morning.

  6. crys

    “Lesli Boldt
    I implore everyone to vote for Anne of Green Gables – an essential building block of my personal identity – over the charming but not-even-in-the-same-category (figuratively), Littlest Hobo.”

    Yeah, well, I voted for the one I actually watched. The one that helped build MY personality.

  7. Tim A.

    I must say, not including Popular Mechanics for Kids feels like a major omission in the Children’s bracket. Calls the whole thing into question.

  8. Barry

    Putting the Friendly Giant up against Mr. Dressup reminds me of those stupid ethics exercises of the late 70s where you had to decide which of your parents you’d toss off the lifeboat to the waiting sharks.

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