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Eleanor Collins

Eleanor Collins (née Procter), 104, on March 3. Known as Canada’s “first lady of jazz,” Collins was the first Canadian woman and Black entertainer to have her own national television show, “The Eleanor Show” on CBC TV. Born and raised in Edmonton, she was a natural talent, starting her career singing with a dance band in Edmonton and on CFRN radio. She moved to Vancouver in the late 1930s, going on to sing from 1940-42 on CBC Radio with the gospel group Swing Low Quartet, which included her sisters Ruby Sneed and Pearl Brown. A long association with the CBC followed, which included performances on “Serenade in Rhythm,” broadcast to troops overseas. She made her television debut on CBC Vancouver variety show “Bamboula: A Day in the West Indies,” the first Canadian series with a mixed-race cast and the first live music television show to be broadcast from the West Coast. The Eleanor Show debuted in 1955, with Collins appearing on numerous other TV and radio shows through the 1950s and ‘60s, including as a frequent guest on the popular “Juliette” and “Quintet” with the Chris Gage Trio. From 1963-64, she was a regular on CTV’s “Network.” Her second TV series, “Eleanor” aired in the spring of 1964, featuring show tunes, standard pop songs and contemporary hits. Collins was a Member of the Order of Canada and BC Entertainment Hall of Fame. Canada Post released a commemorative stamp in her honour in 2022.

John Gibson

John Newsome Gibson, 98, on March 2. Raised on a farm in rural Manitoba, Gibson started his working life at Standard Aero Engine in the Accessories Overhaul Department, before joining Winnipeg’s CKY Radio which became a career defining moment. Gibson went on to become part of the engineering team that helped launch CBC TV (CBWT) Winnipeg in 1954 out of the public broadcaster’s new 50,000 sq. ft. facility at 541 Portage Avenue. He eventually ascended to the role of Director of Technical Operations. In 1983, he retired from the Regional Engineering Department, where his attentions were largely focused on studio design.

Broadcast Dialogue
Broadcast Dialogue
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