Canadians Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis created the Canadian quintessential cultural touch-stones, The Mckenzie Brothers, for SCTV (1980). Created originally as filler to both satisfy and mock network Canadian content demands, the duo became a pop culture phenomenon in both Canada and the United States. Though initially intended for Canadian TV only, some of the two-minute “Great White North” segments would find their way into U.S. versions of the 30-minute shows due to a shortage of content that week. When NBC ordered the 90-minute shows for the 1981 season, they specifically cited good affiliate feedback on the “two dumb Canadian characters” and requested that the characters be included in every program.
One of the characteristics of the pair was their exaggerated Canadian dialect, made up of a mixture of Ottawa Valley and Toronto dialects. It incorporated real and imagined idiom ( Hoser – false etymology ) to satirize the expectations of Canadian culture & image. The most famous expression is the ubiquitous “eh”.
“And we thought if we’re going to do these characters, we’re going to slow down our speech a little, certain words we’re going to over-pronounce and we’re going to tag a lot of sentences with ‘eh.’ ” – Dave Thomas
For an more expansive article on this topic see Toronto Star-So you’ve heard all about this Canadian myth, eh?
Photography functions both as a Mass Medium and as content for other Mass Media. It can be used as a means of documenting events and as an artistic medium to entertain/comment . The CBC News has been running a series of articles exploring Ottawa‘s past through archival photography. As with any form of Mass Media, these pieces of media reveal target audience, values. beliefs & ideologies, and convey intended and unintended messages.
The Anglo-Irish police officer in front of a French Canadian owned store reveal/suggest the cultural-socioeconomic structural lines of Canadian society . To further cement this image a truly Canadian, note the shop window. Red Rose Tea, advertised for sale in the shop window, is a classic emblem of Canada. Red Rose Tea was a beverage company established by Theodore Harding Estabrooks in 1894 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. It is considered an iconic part of Canadian culture and many consumers have a strong emotional attachment to the brand ( Only in Canada, eh ? Pity….. ).
The white working men pose depict their social class and the style of clothing of the time. Notice the little girls to the left dressed in very adult clothes of young ladies. Childhood was seen as miniature adulthood and girls & women had roles to fill that were as defined as the men posing in the shot.
The young girls in the following shot, infant Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and her sisters, resided in Ottawa during the WW II, they too had roles to play, even as children. They were emblems of a social structure, a society & people under threat, and the Yousuf Karsh portrait is intended to portray/represent a mother and her children who have sought sanctuary.
The potential of heroism & compassion can also be portrayed in scenes of tragedy and calamity , as the following images demonstrate.
Clicking the images will take you( new tab) to original CBC articles which include more images and information. Consider the values, beliefs & ideologies the that the CBC is trying to convey about Canada, Canadian culture and Ottawa, in our 150th year.