What we do

Celebrating Canadian Content

We’ve compiled a number of facts on kids’ television that make us proud to be Canadian!
Celebrate with us on Twitter with #RocketKids150 and #Canada150.

Build Beyond is an interactive initiative from Mega Construx and YTV that aims to empower Canadian children to share their community-building stories. 10 winners will work with architect Jean Beaudoin in Ottawa to construct a monument out of Mega Construx bricks that celebrates diversity, unity and acceptance.
Did you know? Drake got his start on the Canadian show Degrassi back in 2001. He’s won three Grammy awards!
Canada’s first children’s program, Pépinot et Capucine, made its debut on September 7, 1952. This French-language puppet show was filmed in Montreal and dubbed into English.
TVO’s iconic series Polka Dot Door (1971-1993) featuring the beloved Polkaroo, and Today’s Special (1981-1987), inspired generations of kids to learn through song and dance and nurtured their social and emotional development. Today, TVOKids carries on this legacy of learning on every screen – reflecting the Ontario school curriculum in engaging and innovative ways.
The Canadian kids TV show Mr. Dressup ran for almost 30 years, from 1967 to 1996.
The Air Buddies franchise is the #1 selling live action DTV franchise of all time.
Startoon lets Canadian creators submit cartoon character ideas. 2016’s winning character was a duo called Sonny & Bently.
Did you know: The longest running Canadian kids TV show was The Friendly Giant, which premiered in 1958 and ran until 1985.
TVOKids gives kids their best start even before they start school. Preschool programming in Gisèle’s Big Backyard, including shows like Hi Opie! and Opie’s Home (produced in association with marblemedia and The Jim Henson Company), gets young learners ready for the world of kindergarten.
Back in 1997, Elisha Cuthbert and Jay Baruchel starred in the Canadian kids TV show Popular Mechanics for Kids.
Bobino, a French-language marionette program, was on Radio-Canada from 1957 to 1985, spanning generations.
In 1995, The Walt Disney Company located major animation studios in Toronto and Vancouver due to Canada’s strength in the field.
TVOKids’ The Space is the only live-hosted kids programming in Canada. TVOKids hosts have been interacting live and directly with kids since 1994.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood debuted as Mister Rogers on CBC in 1963. It ran for three years in Canada before Fred Rogers bought the rights and moved it to Pittsburgh.
The original Air Bud movie, filmed in Vancouver, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Canadian show Bookaboo won BAFTA awards in 2009 and 2011 in the Pre-School Live Action category.
In 1941, Norman McLaren established an animation division in the National Film Board. Since then, Canada has been known for groundbreaking animation production.
Much of the production of Arthur was done in Boston, but the animation and voice acting was handled mostly in Toronto and Montreal.
Canadian kids ages 2-17 watch an average of 17.5 hours of television every week.
In 1956, Hidden Pages began airing on CBC. It stimulated children’s interest in reading and at times it actually caused more library books to be checked out.
Are You Afraid of the Dark, co-produced by Cinar (now DHX), filmed mostly in Montreal. Ryan Gosling, Elisha Cuthbert and Jay Baruchel all made appearances in the series.
Did you know that TVOKids premiered Paw Patrol in Canada and it is the most-watched series on the TVOKids YouTube Channel?
Air Bud Entertainment’s films are sold in over 80 countries around the world.
There are over 100 Canadian production companies making great content for kids TV.
The Phantoms, produced by Dream Street Pictures in Canada, won an International Kids Emmy Award for Kids: TV Movie/Mini-Series in 2013.
The Friendly Giant‘s theme song was once voted the 2nd-most recognized TV theme song in Canada, after “Hockey Night in Canada.”
CBC’s first English fiction program was a puppet show called Uncle Chichimus.
The multi-Emmy Award/Canadian Screen Award-winning series Odd Squad and multi-Emmy nominated series Annedroids (both produced by Sinking Ship in association with TVO) help kids STEAM toward success in the 21st century – on multiple platforms..
Calgary children’s TV program The Buck Shot Show debuted 50 years ago. It ran for 30 years, from 1967 to 1997.
Wapos Bay, a children’s stop motion animation series, was produced for 8 years and won several Canadian Screen Awards. It launched the career of Metis talent Trevor Cameron, who has won a Canadian Screen award and now writes and directs episodic TV in Toronto.
GAPC has won numerous awards and is a trusted brand when it comes to children’s eduational programs. Nothing beats seeing a clip of your show in Turkish, like The Prime Radicals, or Hindi, like Spellz!
Spellz aired on TVOkids for 10 years! It’s hosted by internationally renowned magician Jay Sankey (who has designed tricks for David Copperfield; Criss Angel’s “Mindfreak”) with assistance by Ottawa teen Bridget Hall.
The Air Bud franchise includes five movies and the spin-off franchise, Air Buddies, has spawned nine movies.
Production company GAPC says: “We have the opportunity to contribute on so many levels to the education of young learners, from curriculum-based STEM content presented in an engaging and accessible way, to nurturing values of diversity, kindness and caring, through our programs — it is a great job and a huge responsibility. How many people have the privilege of doing that? We are so lucky!”
My Babysitter’s a Vampire won the Shaw Rocket Prize, a Canadian award that was voted for by children across Canada. The TV movie was a huge hit on Corus Kids’, Teletoon and a breakout hit in the US and around the world, showing that Canadian values and content are loved worldwide. It featured Atticus Mitchell and Vanessa Morgan.
Thunderbird Entertainment produced a total of 80 episodes of Mr. Young in front of a live studio audience in Vancouver. It was picked up by DisneyXD shortly after its Canadian premiere.
The Total Drama franchise premiered in 2007 and has been on the air ever since. It has been sold to 150 countries worldwide and continues to generate top ratings across all of them. Fresh TV has created over 140 episodes of the franchise – and counting! It featured Sarah Gadon, Dan Petronijevic and Cle Bennett.
Fresh TV takes satisfaction in creating non-condescending content for children and tweens. They actively participate in panels, workshops and seminars that put Canadian kids’ TV on the forefront.
Air Bud Entertainment’s films have starred several Hollywood veterans including Abigail Breslin, Emma Roberts, John Ratzenberger, Debra Jo Rupp, Fred Willard, and Christopher Lloyd.
Guru Studio’s Justin Time was a Shaw Rocket Prize Finalist in 2012 and won in 2014! The show has also won a Canadian Screen Award & Banff Rockie Award for Best Preschool Program.
After casting Mckenzie Small, Josh Bogert and Aviva Mongillo on Backstage, they were all signed to a Canadian record label called Cardinal Point. They are currently getting airplay around the world for their hit songs, and toured Canada on the Big Ticket Tour.
TVOKids celebrates Canada 150 with “Summer of Canada” programming featuring new co-productions: Canada Crew, Kid Diner and Giver 150.
Arcana Studio’s Kagagi, created by Jay Odjick, is an animated TV series based on the comic book series and in 2016 was recognized in the Library and Archives Canada exhibition of Alter Ego: Comics and Canadian Identity, showcasing six comic book properties in Canadian history. Also on the list were Scott Pilgrim, Nelvana, Captain Canuck, Johnny Canuck, and Capitanine Kebec.
9 Story began in 2002 with the production of its first animated series, the Emmy award winning Peep and the Big Wide World. Since then, the company has created over 2,500 half hours of animated and live action programming and has distributed its shows to over 200 broadcasters and digital platforms around the world, across 180 countries.
Brittany Raymond was awarded a 2017 Canadian Screen Award for Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series for her role on The Next Step.
Guru Studio’s PAW Patrol won a 2017 Canadian Screen Award for Best Preschool Program & won Best Director two years in a row.
Emmy award winning show The Big Comfy Couch aired almost 25 years ago and ruled the kids’ TV world with 7 successful seasons. Its 100 half-hour episodes have aired in over 100 countries in 16 world territories for over 10 years.
Wild Kratts, co-produced with the Kratt Brothers Company, is one of 9 Story’s longest running shows – five seasons and counting! It has been sold to over 180 countries.
Shaftesbury’s Life with Derek won the Shaw Rocket Prize in 2008, and has been sold in 120 countries worldwide in more than 18 languages.
Did you know? The Lookout Tower in PAW Patrol‘s fictional city Adventure Bay is modelled after Toronto’s CN Tower.
The Next Step‘s loyal fans don’t just view the Canadian cast as celebrities, but as role models – not only for their extraordinary dancing, but for the relatable characters they portray. The show has over 600k followers across their social media platforms.
In partnership with toy brand giant Mattel, 9 Story is currently in active development on new series of the iconic kids’ brands Barney and Angelina Ballerina.
Ollie! The Boy Who Became What He Ate, from Radical Sheep Productions and Mickey Rogers Media, promotes trying new and healthy foods. The new series is based on the popular children’s property by Sheena Macrae.
The Next Step cast will travel on a multi-nation tour that includes stops in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in spring 2017, proving that The Next Step is a truly Canadian project with an international fan base.
Justin Time premiered in September 2011 and is now seen in more than 200 countries in over 20 languages – and it isn’t stopping!
When it aired on the Disney Channel in the U.S., Shaftesbury’s Life with Derek averaged between 950,000 and 1.5 million households per telecast or more than 12 million households per week!
9 Story is producing the revival of the classic Magic School Bus series, along with Netflix and Scholastic. The original series was also produced in Canada! Current series director Rich Weston worked on the original series as a designer and 9 Story CEO Vince Commisso was a producer.
Shaftesbury’s upcoming multi-platform digital series, Emerald Code, is aimed at raising awareness of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) among girls 8-12, with partners Shaw Rocket Fund, Ubisoft and Let’s Talk Science.
Stella and Sam has won four awards, including a Juno Award in 2013 for Children’s Album of the Year.
One to watch: Michela Luci voiced the title character in Guru’s upcoming True and the Rainbow Kingdom and is now the lead on Dino Dana.
Dot, created by Industrial Brothers, recently won a Kidscreen Award for Best New Preschool series. It’s based on a book by Randi Zuckerberg, who sings part of the theme song and has guest starred in an episode. Chris Hadfield has also guest starred!
9 Story is producing a new animated series based on Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter children’s book characters.
Boulevard and Shaftesbury’s live-action preschool series The Moblees aims to turn viewers into doers by getting kids up and moving! A 2016 study called “Can the Moblees Move Canadian Kids?” found that over 75% of participating parents reported that their child engaged in physical activity while viewing The Moblees.
Jenna Warren’s first voice over role was portraying the thoughtful problem-solver Olive in Guru’s Justin Time.
The Prime Radicals won eight awards from 2011 to 2013, including three Gold Prestige Film Awards for the series and its website.
Peg + Cat helps get kids interested in STEM, and has won six Emmy awards, including Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Animation Program. Common Sense Media even named Peg one of TV’s best role models of 2014!
Did you know? In the show Dot, the main character uses an app called Dotopedia. It’s real app kids can download, and it has won a YMA Award of Excellence for Best Cross-Platform Interactive Content.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood was inspired by a beloved character from the classic Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood. It’s one of the top 3 children’s shows in the US, and won the 2016 Television Critics Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming.
Did you know? Gage Munroe is the voice on two Guru Studio productions: he was the original Justin in Justin Time, and Marshal on PAW Patrol.
YTV’s sitcom Mr. Young, created by Dan Signer (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody), premiered in 2011 and was a ratings hit throughout its three season run.
Brain Power Studio’s latest kids film, A Witches’ Ball, has been selected to participate in the 2017 Bentonville Film Festival, which champions women and diversity in all areas of film.
Popular TVO kids food and science show Gastro Blast was made into a cookbook, filled with easy everyday food recipes that encourage kids to help in the kitchen while learning about science that happens when they are cooking.
In 1994, Graham Greene won a Gemini Award for his role as “Mr. Crabby Tree” in Breakthrough Entertainment’s preschool series Dudley the Dragon. In his acceptance speech, he noted that it was rare for an actor to win an award for such a “wooden” performance.
In 1995, Canadian pre-school icon Dudley the Dragon (in giant balloon form) starred in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
In its five seasons, Breakthrough Entertainment’s pre-school series Dudley the Dragon featured a who’s who of legendary Canadian acting talent, including guest star turns by Jackie Burroughs, Patrick McKenna, Saul Rubinek, Sheila McCarthy, Cathy Jones, Mary Walsh, Rick Mercer, Jan Rubes and Ann-Marie MacDonald.
Actor Elyes Gabel, star of the CBS drama Scorpion, got an early start as “Nuff” in Breakthrough Entertainment’s Canada/UK co-production I Love Mummy.
One of Canada’s original animated girl super-heroes, Atomic Betty, aired around the world. Canadian legend William Shatner voiced Betty’s grandfather!
The French-language version of Breakthrough series Zoubi Doubi (airing on TFO) has hundreds of millions of hits online. If you watch the credits to the new season closely, you’ll notice that everyone on set gets a Set Dec credit. Producers felt it was a nice, fun way to pay tribute to a crew who wouldn’t hesitate to pitch in when needed.
The theme song for Breakthrough Entertainment’s series for TVO, Science Max: Experiments at Large, was composed by the same Art Director who built many of the experiments.
Star Martin Sheen decided to re-locate from his luxury Toronto hotel to the Best Western in Milton, Ontario during the filming of Rocket Prize winning TV Movie L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, in order to be closer to set. He became part of the community there, and drove himself to work every day. He was gracious enough to move out of his room and into another a day early, in order to accommodate a bride who was coming in to prepare for her wedding!
Finding Stuff Out is a show that answers the questions that kids ask. There was even an episode all about poop! The first three seasons were hosted by Harrison Houde, and in season 4, ukulele-playing Zoey Siewert took over.
Did you know? Look Kool and C’est Wow were shot and produced in English and French for TVO and TFO respectively.
Prank Patrol (YTV) was one of the first kids’ series to be formatted, and local versions were produced in the U.K. (CBBC) and Australia (ABC).
Did you know? Harrison Houde, host of Finding Stuff Out, wrote the songs for the show and he won a CSA Award in 2016 for Best Host in a Pre-School, Children’s or Youth Program or Series.
Mystery Hunters was formatted in India and produced in Hindi for Discovery Kids Asia.
Gotcha! 18 Amazing Ways to Freak Out Your Friends, a Mystery Hunters book written by David Acer, was published in 2008.
Rainmaker was the first animation studio in Canada (and in the world) to produce a fully CGI animated children’s series: ReBoot. They are breaking new ground again by producing a new live-action / CGI animated ReBoot series, where the animation is produced in a game engine.
Rainmaker has been paramount in defining Canada as the best and brightest producer of children’s content. As a creatively driven studio which supports and acts as an incubator for up-and-coming talent, the company contributes to both the training of, and support for, writers and animators.