Early 2000s Canadian childhood summarized
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Growing up in Canada means having a very niche collection of memories, partly because of CRTC laws regulating entertainment broadcasters to air at least 50 percent of their daily content to be of Canadian origin until 2011. Here are some products, television, and places that kids who grew up in the early 2000s may have buried in the depths of their memory.
Starting with the old Canadian bills and the infamously outlawed Canadian penny, if there’s anything a Canadian child didn’t understand but will remember anyway, it’s money. That, and probably chicken pox.
Onto the television. Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat was a cute show about, well, a Siamese cat. This show’s rarely, if ever, talked about, but anyone who watched it will remember this little dude.
6Teen may have been about teenagers, but most of the viewers of this show were probably too young to really understand these teenagers’ angst and peril. Luckily, 6Teen was the kind of show to ingrain itself into the minds of young kids, thus, making it a forever classic. Despite airing only until 2010, my 16th birthday in 2016 consisted of texting up my buddies and taking the SkyTrain to Metrotown to find and drink some lemonade together.
Hockey Night in Canada isn’t exactly a “2000s kids only” broadcast since its original release was as a radio show in 1931 and it’s still running. It holds importance to anyone who’s grown up in Canada just the same.
Other classics from this time include Timothy Goes to School, Rolie Polie Olie, The Big Comfy Couch, Totally Spies, Mighty Machines, and The Berenstain Bears.
A plethora of public service announcements from the Canadian CCA (Concerned Children’s Advertisers) made a mark on the minds of millions of Canadian children. The TV ad featured “An important media literacy lesson that uses animation to teach kids that they are smarter than the television.” As written in the caption for the YouTube video posted by CCACanada.
“Health Rock,” another PSA from the CCA, is captioned by the CCA as “A lively sixty second animation with an entertaining theme song that explains the importance of balancing food and activity and encourages kids to ‘eat smart and move more.’”
“The House Hippo” has and always will be my favourite painful ad to indulge in. The CCA states it is, “An inventive spot that reminds children that not everything on television is real. Children are encouraged to think about what they see on TV and to ask questions.” Ironically, as a child I thought house hippos were real and I wanted one bad, so watching it now after having realized that they’re not real at some point in my childhood keeps the pain fresh. It’s like finding out Santa Claus isn’t real—but worse.
If kids still watched TV, ads like these would’ve been fantastic to keep running to remind children that they have the capacity for critical thinking and that they should use it when absorbing information from the media.
Go Bananas is an indoor playcenter located now in Langley, Surrey, Richmond, and North Vancouver, BC. Childhood for a lot of Canadians included visiting these fun playroom attractions such as Chuck E. Cheese, the McDonald’s PlayPlace (with the McDonald’s character chairs), and for those in the Lower Mainland, Crash Crawly’s.
Now, everyone knows Zellers. In fact, I’m sure many Canadians still use “It’s close to where the Zellers was,” in giving everyday directions to someone, but only the real ones remember the Zellers ferris wheel. My mother used to bribe me to go to Zellers with her just to ride this thing, and I have a vivid memory of sitting on my friend’s lap going on it, while being far too old to have been going on this tiny ride. However, I’m glad we did since this infamous landmark is gone forever.
Finally, we have some reading material. Robert Munsch was easily my favourite author when I was a wee lad and going to the library during elementary school class to be read his books by the librarian was truly some of the best times. Sure, there was also Dr. Seuss and Goosebumps and plenty of others, but they don’t feel as Canadian childhood as this. The Paper Bag Princess has my heart out of all Munsch classics.
Saving the best for last, Scholastic Book Club newsletters were the epitome of happiness in elementary school. You’d get one of these bad boys, hype up all the products with your friends, take the newsletter home to your parents (who were probably thinking “not this again”), and buy all the weird spy gadgets, science experiment books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid collections, and toys to your heart’s desire.
Growing up in Canada was a wild time, and these strange niche memories can connect you to any other Canadian, making for a fantastic conversation starter if you’re tired of talking about the rain or the snow.