Milestone-Nomination:First television broadcast in Western Canada
Docket Number: 2009-10
First television broadcast in Western Canada, 1967
On 16 December 1953, the first television broadcast in Western Canada was transmitted from this site by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBUT Channel 2. The engineering experience gained here was instrumental in the subsequent establishment of the over 1000 public and private television broadcasting sites that serve Western Canada today.
We propose to mount the plaque on a wall near the main gate of the CBC Broadcasting Site on Mount Seymour. CBC conducts frequent tours for students and the public. All tours include a stop at this location.
The site is located on the south slope of Mount Seymour, just below the Mount Seymour Ski Area. It is owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The geodetic coordinates of the site are Lat: 49°21′13″N, Lon: 122°57′24″W.
Historical PhotographsThe following historical photographs were provided by Dave Newbury, Senior Manager - West, CBC Transmission, Vancouver.
The original transmitter building burned to the ground a number of years ago and was rebuilt. The original garage, parts of the kitchen area and the original stone work from the original building were saved and are still apparent.
Historic significance of this work: its importance to the evolution of electrical and computer engineering and science and its importance to regional/national/international development.
Although many other television broadcasting sites were established in Western Canada during the 1950’s, CBUT was the first.
The CBUT broadcasting site on Mount Seymour was both the first television broadcasting site in Western Canada and the first high elevation/mountain top broadcasting site in Canada. As a result, CBUT provided an important training ground for and contributed to the principles and practices that guided the engineers who went on to deploy the over 1000 public and private broadcasting sites that serve Western Canada today.
(Western Canada refers to the four provinces west of the Great Lakes: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is physically separated from Central Canada (Ontario and Quebec) by the Great Lakes and the relatively inhospitable Canadian Shield.)
Although VHF broadcasting sites had been established in Western Canada earlier, their transmitting sites were generally located atop tall buildings in urban areas, e.g., VE9FG (later CBU-FM), a 1-kW FM broadcast station that became operational on 21 November 1947 and which was located at the Hotel Vancouver. The three television broadcasting sites that had been established in Canada previously (in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa) were also installed at relatively low elevations. For the CBC managers of the day, establishing the network’s fourth television transmitter so far West and at a high elevation was a bold and significant decision.
The relatively complicated topography of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia required that considerable care be taken to choose a broadcasting site that would provide the best coverage. Predicting and evaluating the coverage of a VHF broadcast transmitter in mountainous terrain is much different from the corresponding task for the MF broadcast transmitters that had been widely installed at low-level locations in the Lower Mainland during the 1930‘s and 1940‘s.
The quality of the initial site selection and engineering is underscored by the longevity of the CBC Broadcasting Site on Mount Seymour and the large number of other television and FM broadcast transmitters that are installed in the same general area today, including:
CBU-1-FM 88.1 (CBC Radio One)
CBUX-FM 90.9 (Espace Musique)
CKYE-FM 93.1 (Red FM)
CJJR-FM 93.7 (JR-FM)
CFBT-FM 94.5 (The Beat 94.5)
CKZZ-FM 95.3 (Virgin Radio 95.3)
CHKG-FM 96.1 (Fairchild Radio)
CKLG-FM 96.9 (Jack FM)
CBUF-FM 97.7 (Première Chaîne)
CFOX-FM 99.3 (99.3 The Fox)
CFMI-FM 101.1 (Rock 101)
CFRO-FM 102.7 (Co-Op Radio)
CHQM-FM 103.5 (103.5 QM/FM)
CFUN-FM-2 104.9 (104.9 Fun FM)
CBU-FM 105.7 (CBC Radio 2)
CKAV-FM-2 106.3 (Aboriginal Voices Radio)
CBUT-TV (CBC): VHF 2 (NTSC), UHF 58 (ATSC)
CHAN-TV (Global): VHF 8 (NTSC) UHF 22 (ATSC)
CIVI-TV-2 (rebroadcaster of CIVI-TV, A): UHF 17 (NTSC)
CBUFT-TV (Radio-Canada): UHF 26 (ATSC)
CIVT-TV (CTV): UHF 32 (NTSC), UHF 33 (ATSC)
CHNM-TV (OMNI): UHF 42 (NTSC)
 Recollections of Dave Newbury, Senior Manager - West, CBC Transmission, Vancouver. (Dave has been a CBC employee for 40 years and knew many of the engineers and technicians who worked at the CBC Broadcast Site when it began operation.)
 Photograph collection of Dave Newbury, Senior Manager - West, CBC Transmission, Vancouver.
 Canadian Communications Foundation (Official site) at http://www.broadcasting-history.ca
 "CBC Chief in City", 15 December 1953. Television Transmitter, Mount Seymour Docket 1, Vancouver City Archives.
 Broadcasting in Canada: History and Development of the National System, CBC, 1962, 92 pp.
[A Brief History of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC, 1976, 40 pp.
Anne Kloppenborg, Ed., Vancouver's first century : a city album 1860-1960, Vancouver : J.J. Douglas, 1977.
Distinguishing features or characteristics of this work
Only three television broadcast stations had been established in Canada prior to CBUT in Vancouver; all were located in Eastern Canada and all were installed at relatively low elevations. For the CBC managers of the day, establishing the network’s fourth television transmitter so far West and at a high elevation was a bold and significant decision.
The relatively complicated topography of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia required that considerable care be taken to choose a broadcasting site that would provide the best coverage. Predicting and evaluating the coverage of a VHF broadcast transmitter in mountainous terrain is much different from the corresponding task for the MF broadcast transmitters that had been installed at various low-level locations throughout the Lower Mainland during the 1930‘s and 1940‘s.