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CBC Television 2009.svg
Toronto, Ontario
Branding CBC Television (general)
CBC News: Toronto (newscasts)
Slogan Canada Lives Here
Channels Digital: 20 (UHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
Affiliations CBC Television (O&O; 1952–present)
Owner Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
First air date September 8, 1952
Call letters' meaning Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation
Great Lakes
Sister station(s) CBLFT-DT, CBL-FM, CBLA-FM
Former callsigns CBLT (1952–2011)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
9 (VHF, 1952–1956)
6 (VHF, 1956–1972)
5 (VHF, 1972–2011)
Transmitter power 106.9 kW
Height 491.0 m
Transmitter coordinates 43°38′33″N 79°23′14″W / 43.64250°N 79.38722°W / 43.64250; -79.38722 (CBLT)
Licensing authority CRTC
Website CBC Toronto

CBLT-DT, virtual channel 5 (UHF digital channel 20), is a CBC Television owned-and-operated television station located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that serves as the flagship station of the English language broadcast network. The station is owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as part of a twinstick with Ici Radio-Canada Télé owned-and-operated station CBLFT-DT (channel 25), which is operated through corporate subsidiary Société Radio-Canada.

CBLT-DT maintains studio facilitied based of the Canadian Broadcasting Centre on Front Street West in downtown Toronto, which it shares with national cable news channel CBC News Network and also houses the studios for most of CBC's news and entertainment programs; CBLT's transmitter is located atop the CN Tower in downtown Toronto. This station is also available in the Greater Toronto Area on Rogers Cable channels 6 and 127, and in high definition on digital channel 514.


CBC logo 1940–1958.png

The station first signed on the air on September 8, 1952, originally broadcasting on VHF channel 9. It is the oldest television station in the province of Ontario, and the second oldest in Canada after Ici Radio-Canada Télé flagship station CBFT-DT in Montreal. The station's first broadcast was prefaced by the inadvertent incorrect display of the CBC's national network logo. Conflicting accounts say it was either displayed upside-down or backwards, due to the incorrect insertion of the slide. No such error was made two days earlier when CBFT first launched.[1]

On January 19, 1953, a microwave link between Buffalo, New York and Toronto was activated, allowing the live telecast of programs from the American television networks. A few months later, on May 14, 1953, CBC Television stations in Montreal and Ottawa became the first connections within the Trans-Canada Microwave system.

In 1956, CBLT moved to VHF channel 6 and increased its effective radiated power from 25 to 100 kW. The change in frequency was made to accommodate the eventual licensing of a second privately owned local station for Toronto, which eventually became CFTO when that station was licensed at the end of 1960. Then in 1972, CBLT relocated to channel 5 in order to allow two new stations (CKGN – now CIII-DT – in Paris and a repeater of Ottawa-based CJOH in Deseronto) to use channel 6.

The CN Tower opened in 1976, and CBLT moved its transmitter facilities to the tower; its signal was transmitted from there for the first time on May 31, 1976. It currently broadcasts from studios at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre on Front Street. However, it originally broadcast from a series of smaller studios (which were torn down and replaced by a building that now houses the National Ballet School) on Jarvis Street next to its old transmitter.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) licensed CBLT on January 30, 2004 to use UHF channel 20 for its digital signal; CBLT's first high definition broadcast occurred on March 5, 2005.


CBLT has used a variety of on-air brands since its inception. From 1957 to 1972, it was known as "Channel 6". Following its move to channel 5 in 1972, it became known as "CBLT Five", later shortened to "CBLT/5". In the late 1970s, it was known as "Toronto/5". During the 1980s, it was known mainly as CBLT-TV, although it used a "CBC 5" logo. Starting in late 1985, the station was identified in print ads as "CBC Television Toronto/5", but the CBLT name was used for its local programs including its supperhour newscast CBLT Newshour. By the 1990s, it was known simply as "CBC Toronto", although the CBLT calls were used from time to time in local programming, and on the CBC website. As with most Canadian television stations, the use of the analogue channel placement was phased out of the station's logo and advertising, as most cable placements did not match up with its VHF frequency.

News operation[edit]

CBLT-DT presently broadcasts ten hours and 40 minutes of locally produced newscasts each week (with two hours on weekdays, a half-hour on Saturdays and ten minutes on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the lowest local newscast output out of any English-language television station in the immediate Toronto market and the second lowest among the stations in the expanded Toronto-Hamilton-Barrie market as a whole (behind CTV Two owned-and-operated station CKVR-DT, which airs seven hours of newscasts each week). CBLT's newscasts have consistently faced very stiff competition in the Toronto market, consistently rating behind CTV station CFTO since it surged to the number one spot in 1970, and behind CITY-TV since 1982.

Between September 10, 1984 and April 4, 1986, CBLT had one of the only locally produced morning television programs in Canada, CBLT Morning, which aired weekdays from 7 to 9 a.m. The program was co-hosted by Dale Goldhawk and Leslie Jones, with news reported by Kevin Marsh.[2] At the time of the program's cancellation of it was watched by 20,000 viewers, more than the Canadian viewership of ABC's Good Morning America, but less than CTV's Canada AM.[3]

In the spring of 1995, according to BBM Canada, CBLT's evening newscast CBC Evening News had 117,000 viewers in the Toronto-Hamilton market, putting it in fourth place behind Global News on CIII at 141,000, CITY's CityPulse at 229,000, and CFTO's World Beat News at 409,000. Only CHCH, the only other station based in the market with a 6 p.m. newscast, had fewer viewers throughout Toronto-Hamilton than CBLT, at 77,000 viewers.

On October 15, 2011, CBLT debuted a half-hour 6 p.m. newscast on Saturdays, and launched a ten-minute news bulletin on Sundays at 11 p.m. the following day. A 30-minute newscast at 11 p.m. on weeknights was introduced on September 17, 2012. The additional local newscasts were part of a five-year strategic plan by the CBC called "2015: Everyone, Every Way", which will feature local service improvements across CBC's television, radio and internet platforms.[4]

News team[edit]

Current on-air staff[5][edit]

Weather team
  • Claire Martin - meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m.
  • Craig Larkins - weather specialist; Saturdays at 6 and Sundays at 11 p.m.


  • Charlsie Agro - weekend videojournalist
  • Mike Crawley - provincial affairs reporter
  • Ivy Cuervo - videojournalist
  • Steven D'Sousa - general assignment reporter
  • Natalie Kalata - videojournalist
  • John Lancaster - general assignment reporter
  • Debbie Lightle-Quan - general assignment reporter
  • Lucy Lopez - general assignment reporter
  • Stephanie Matteis - general assignment reporter
  • Jeff Semple - videojournalist
  • Jamie Strashin - general assignment reporter
  • Marivel Taruc - general assignment reporter
  • Genevieve Tomney - general assignment reporter

Notable former on-air staff[edit]


The station's signal from the CN Tower adequately covers the immediate Greater Toronto Area, from Oshawa in the east, out to Halton Hills/Georgetown in the west, and from Hamilton and Niagara Falls in the south, to roughly Bradford. The station is also carried on cable in several American communities, similar to CBUT in Vancouver, CBET in Windsor and CBMT in Montreal.

In the Caribbean, CBLT is carried on cable providers in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Bermuda, Grenada, Turks and Caicos Islands and Jamaica.


CBLT served much of Ontario through a network of over 35 rebroadcast transmitters, including all of Northeastern Ontario and most of Western Ontario with the exception of Windsor. The station only served Southern Ontario and a few rural Northern Ontario communities until 2002, when it took over the CBC affiliates of the MCTV twinstick.[6] CBLGT in Geraldton and the CBLAT transmitters operated since the early 1970s, while others were added as other CBC affiliates disaffiliated from the network or were bought by CBC.

On August 16, 2011, the CRTC granted the CBC permission to continue operating 22 repeaters in analogue within mandatory markets, including in London and Kitchener. These analogue transmitters were given an extension until August 31, 2012, by which time the transmitters had to be converted to digital or shut down. CBC did not seek an extension for its Barrie transmitter, which it shut down on August 31, 2011, however the remaining satellite rebroadcast stations remained on the air.

However, reportedly due to federal funding reductions to the CBC in April 2012, the CBC made substantial budget cuts in their transmitting budget, including shutting down CBC's and Radio-Canada's remaining analogue transmitters on July 31, 2012.[7] This included shutting down all the remaining CBC and Radio-Canada's rebroadcasters that had been 'held over' using analogue transmitters in 2011-2012. All have been decommissioned by the CBC, leaving rural Canadians and U.S. border regions with no free over-the-air CBC coverage, and those viewers have been instructed to subscribe to a cable or satellite provider or have been directed to the website available through (pay) internet providers.[8]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[9]
5.1 1080i 16:9 CBLT-DT Main CBLT-DT programming / CBC Television

Analogue-to-digital conversion[edit]

CBLT shut down its analogue signal, over VHF channel 5, on August 31, 2011, the official date in which Canadian television stations in CRTC-designated mandatory markets transitioned from analogue to digital broadcasts. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 20.[10] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analogue channel 5.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]