CBC is preparing a big 75-day celebration for its 75th anniversary, which kicks off with a two-hour documentary chronicling a day in the lives of Canadians across the country.
The documentary, entitled 1 Day, airs on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET and is the start of more than 10 weeks of special programming reflecting on the public broadcaster's big anniversary.
"It's a celebration of who we have been to get to where we are today and a look forward to what we can be and how we can function as a modern broadcaster," said Kirstine Stewart, executive vice-president of CBC's English services.
"But we didn't want this to be a self-oriented celebration. This is actually a celebration of CBC's life within Canada, so we're celebrating Canadians."
For 1 Day, camera crews scattered out on April 30 to follow a number of Canadians throughout their day, while CBC viewers and listeners were also invited to send in their own video footage documenting that day.
A series of statistics help connect the stories from across the country. One notes that 3.3 million Canadians work at night, and the program opens by following two Vancouver police officers as they patrol the city's drug-plagued Downtown Eastside in the wee hours of the morning. Soon after, the scene jumps to a serene – but still pitch black– ranch where a woman tends to a pregnant horse at 1 a.m.
Most scenes are light-hearted, particularly the viewer-submitted clips that recount birthdays and parties and briefly profile cute kids and pets. But there's also a gripping story of a new mother, only 35 years old, who's rushed to hospital after suffering a stroke. Her case highlights how 38,000 patients head to an emergency room each day.
Making sense of all the footage that was shot and submitted and stringing it into a coherent story line was no easy task, said executive producer Sue Dando.
"We got submissions form every province and territory ... and we had way too much footage, it was a huge editing job," she said.
"I won't say there were tears in the editing suite but there were certainly arguments and heartache because we couldn't put in everything we wanted to."
Other television specials will include: Long Story Short, an hour-long look through the CBC archives hosted by Martin Short; Wayne & Shuster Legacy III, recounting the careers of the comedic duo; John A: Birth of a Country, a movie about Canada's first prime minister; and a live performance by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Cirque Eloize, which will also be carried online and on radio.
Special CBC Radio programs will include looks at the broadcaster's history of programming and journalism and a special edition of Vinyl Cafe.
The CBC also plans to have a number of open houses at its facilities across Canada and is working with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian War Museum, the Canada Science and Technology Museum, and Library and Archives Canada to stage special anniversary exhibits.
The Royal Canadian Mint also plans to issue a collector coin honouring the 75th anniversary.