(March 8, 2017 – Toronto, ON) Last night was the first night of the Canadian Screen Awards, which are administered by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Held at the Westin Harbour Castle’s Convention Centre in a ballroom capable of holding 1000 guests, the room seemed packed as producers, directors, writers and talent involved in the production of non-fiction television (news, sports, documentary, lifestyle, factual and reality categories) gathered to celebrate their work and each other even though in these sorts of affairs the night will produce few winners compared to the impressive list of nominees.
Hosted by Arisa Cox (pictured above) it should come as no surprise that Canada’s national network garnered the lion’s share of coveted CSA trophies. Their haul began with the very first award announcement when Wendy Mesley was given the Best host or interviewer in a news or information program award for her work on CBC’s flagship news program, The National. In accepting her award, Mesley said, in part, “It’s been a really rough year for journalists so to be part of this parade and to be one of the people who is honoured for trying to do a good job really means an awful lot to me.” Meanwhile, during her acceptance speech for best national news anchor, CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme, commenting on the current state of affairs and the seemingly unstoppable proliferation of alternate facts, said, “It is more important than ever that we deliver on fact-based journalism against ideology that is masquerading as truth.”
Other high profile news anchors at last night’s event included CBC’s Peter Mansbridge and Heather Hiscox and CTV’s Lloyd Robertson. All three were presenters during the show, which was not televised.
A total of 49 awards were handed out last night with the CBC taking 18 awards. Following is a partial list of winners:
Best reportage, national: CBC News: The National — Trapped at the Border.
Best news or information segment: CBC News: The National — Catching Up with the Farwans.
Best live sports event: Rio 2016.
Best science or nature documentary program or series: Moose: A Year in the Life of a Twig Eater.
Best factual program or series: Still Standing.
Best local newscast: CBC News: Here and Now.
Best national newscast: CBC News: The National.
Best host in a lifestyle, talk or entertainment news program or series: Jonny Harris, Still Standing.
Best live entertainment special: The Tragically Hip – A National Celebration.
Best news or information program: CTV’s W5 for Healing Hands.
Best biography or arts documentary program or series: HBO Canada’s Hip-Hop Evolution.
Best documentary program: TVO’s My Millennial Life.
Best national news anchor: Lisa LaFlamme, CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme.
Best sports play-by-play announcer: TSN’s Chris Cuthbert for the 2015 Grey Cup.
Best news or information series: Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet.
Best talk program or series: CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show.
CTV’s The Amazing Race Canada earned five Canadian Screen Awards for photography, editing, writing and directing achievements. It also won best reality/competition program or series, the night’s final prize.
Documentary filmmaker and journalist Simcha Jacobovici was presented with the special Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism. The filmmaker was visibly moved by the honour when he received a standing ovation. Rob Stewart, the Canadian documentarian who died while shooting a sequel to Sharkwater, was given a moment of recognition during the documentary awards segment last night.
The CSAs continue tonight with a gala for creative fiction content, including drama, children’s and youth programming, comedy and variety categories. The Broadcast Gala on Sunday night will see the awards for film and the remaining television show awards. Hosted by comedian Howie Mandel, the Broadcast Gala will be carried on CBC-TV starting at 8 p.m. ET.