As I mentioned way back in March, the CBC is emulating the BBC and running a Greatest Canadian show. Tonight is the premier episode, in which they count down from the top 50 Canadians to the top ten. Then, as in the BBC show, there will ten hour-long documentaries, each hosted by a celebrity advocate.
At the end of each documentary or the end of the series, the Canadian public will vote, Canadian Idol style, to choose the winner. Among the celebrity advocates are Rex Murphy, Paul Gross and Mary Walsh, so it ought to be entertaining and informative viewing.
Back in March I speculated as to who might be on the top-ten list. I’m amending it now–here’s my guess. This doesn’t necessarily reflect my personal preferences, just my figuring of likeliest choices):
- Pierre Elliot Trudeau
- Sir John A. MacDonald
- Wayne Gretzky
- Terry Fox
- Glenn Gould
- Margaret Atwood
- Maurice Richard
- Timothy Findlay
- David Suzuki
- Celine Dion (sorry, but she might make it)
If that were the list, I’d definitely pull for Terry Fox.
UPDATE: I caught most of the show. It was kind of hokey (and was all that Canadian pop music necessary?), but it appealed to the patriot in me. As I was watching the top 50 (I don’t see that list anywhere on the site at the moment), I was increasingly worried that the CBC had let the public chose the top ten. That was a risky move, and they might have been better served by a panel of experts or something.
Ultimately, though, they did a good job. I’d only object to two: Don Cherry, for obvious reasons, and Alexander Graham Bell, because it feels like cheating. Here are the top ten (links go to details on the CBC site):
Alexander Graham Bell
I got half of them right (I think Richard was about #13 and Dion was #23 or so). As for the celebrity advocates, Paul Gross seems to be the most promising. He’s a decent actor and writer–and that seems to have made him a decent orator, too. I look forward to his show on Lester B. Pearson, about whom I know shamefully little.