If you’re a parent, chances are you have to sit through more children’s programming in a week than you ever would in your life if you had the chance. That’s not to say all of it is bad – in fact, some of it is quite good. In Canada, we’re fortunate enough to have a number of excellent channels at our disposal that commit part of their programming to childrens television. With each of these channels being so different, it’s hard to know which of these is most suitable for your family. Luckily, we here at SmartCanucks have the inside track, and we’re going to share it with you in our seven part series “The Best Canadian Kids Channels.”
For more than half of the day, from 6am-7pm, Ontario’s publicly-funded channel TVOntario transforms into TVOKids – a toddler friendly place featuring a good variety of shows for kids aged five and under. It’s a pretty solid lineup, with it’s only weakness being its lack of original content. Gone are the days of Polkaroo and Today’s Special — TVOKids focus nowadays is on bringing universally recognized children’s shows to the network.
In place of original programming TVO does offer fresh content in the form of Gisele’s Big Backyard and The Space, both of which offer quick 2-3 minute vignettes between the shows throughout the course of the day.
TVO also makes up for it’s lack of original content with it’s inclusion of syndicated shows that aren’t available anywhere else — Bali, Mustard Pancakes, and Tigga & Togga are perfect examples of this. The main staples of this channel though, are the big names you’ve come to expect in children’s programming, like Dora the Explorer and Bob the Builder.
In the evenings, TVO switches back to original adult programming, and it’s arguably some of the most thought-provoking on television. I’ve recently discovered The Agenda with Steve Paikin, and I can’t get enough of it. Instead of just repeating a 30 second news item like all of the talking heads on cable news do, Steve assembles a group of experts on a certain subject that’s currently in the news and hosts a solid half hour debate.
You can check out the TVOKids schedule as well as games, contests, and information for parents and teachers on their official website tvokids.com. If you’re interested in the adult side, check out the TVO website at TVO.org.
This article was written by our very own Jim Squires. To check out more of his writing visit the pop culture blog Fjetsam, now updated daily.