Fil Fraser

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Felix Blache-Fraser CM AOE (August 19, 1932 – December 3, 2017) was a Black Canadian broadcaster, non-fiction author, film producer, film festival founder, public servant, and educator in Alberta.

Broadcasting and journalism[edit]

Born in Montreal in 1932, Fraser began his career in broadcasting in 1951, when hired at the age of nineteen by Foster Hewitt for his radio station CKFH in Toronto. In 1952, he worked as a radio announcer in Timmins, Ontario, for six months before being hired as assistant news editor at CKBB radio in Barrie, where he would become the station's sports director and play-by-play announcer, calling games for the Barrie Flyers.[1]

In 1955, Fraser moved back to Montreal, where he attended McGill University and hosted an all-night show at CKVL in Verdun. In 1956, he worked as a news editor at CFCF radio, eventually becoming chief writer.[2]

Fraser moved to western Canada in 1958, and initially worked in public relations for Saskatchewan Government Insurance. However, he also remained involved in radio broadcasting, hosting between-period hot stove league discussions on junior hockey broadcasts and sometimes doing play-by-play announcing. In 1960, he founded a newspaper called the Regina Weekly Mirror.[2]

He moved to Edmonton in 1965, where he became program manager and senior producer of the Metropolitan Edmonton Educational Television Association (MEETA), Canada's first educational television channel, which aired on CBXFT. Fraser subsequently became producer/host of Newsmakers, a weekly public affairs program on ITV Global Edmonton, and then served as president and CEO of VisionTV, Toronto.[3] In 1974, Fil moved over to the ‘opposition', to host a one-year run of his own eponymous talk show on Dr. Charles Allard's newly-launched CITV private television station, and also began what would become a five-year stint as host of a talk show on CJCA-AM radio Edmonton. In 1980 he took his talk-show host talents across town to CKXM-FM Edmonton, which had just changed its call-sign from CFRN, to avoid confusion with the AM station that used the same call letters. This series ran for three years; in 1983 he became host of Alberta Morning, the daily program that ran on CKUA-AM, then operated by Access Alberta. Later, in 1987, he became Director of Development for Access Alberta, in Edmonton.[4]

Fraser served on the Alberta Task Force on Film and the Federal Task Force on Broadcasting Policy (Caplan/Savageau) and was the Governor of the Canadian Journalism Foundation as well as a member of the Canadian Association of Black Journalists.[3]


Fil Fraser died in Edmonton on December 3, 2017 of heart failure, aged 85. He was survived by his wife, Gladys Odegard; his four children, three siblings and extended family. He was predeceased by his parents, Felix and Marguerite Blache-Fraser, and three siblings.[5]


In the 1970s, Fraser formed a production company to produce educational television films. He then went on to produce four feature films, from 1977–82, including Why Shoot the Teacher? (executive producer), Marie-Anne, The Hounds of Notre Dame (producer), and Latitude 55° (executive producer). He was a founding member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.[citation needed]

He organized the first Alberta Film Festival in 1974, which later became the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association, and founded the Banff International Television Festival in 1979.[3][6]


Fraser's published non-fiction works include Alberta's Camelot: Culture and the Arts in the Lougheed Years (2003), which looked at how programs by the government of former premier Peter Lougheed helped the provincial arts sector to flourish from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s.[7]

His 2006 book, Running Uphill: The Fast, Short Life of Canadian Champion Harry Jerome, looked at the pioneering Black Canadian track star Harry Jerome.[8] In 2009, he completed the book How the Blacks Created Canada, part of a series of books from publisher Dragon Hill about how different cultural groups have contributed to the development of Canada.[9][10]

Public service and academia[edit]

Fraser served as Chief Commissioner for the Alberta Human Rights Commission from 1989 to 1992 and served on the Spicer Commission.[11]

A writer and educator in the field of alcoholism and addictions, he served as head of alcoholism prevention programs for both Alberta and Saskatchewan.[2][12] He was an adjunct professor in State and Legal Studies at Athabasca University.[3]


Fraser was a member of the Order of Canada and received the Alberta Achievement Award.[3] In 2015, he was made a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence.[13]


  • Fraser, Fil (2003). Alberta's Camelot: Culture and the Arts in the Lougheed Years. Lone Pine Publishing. ISBN 1-55105-393-4.
  • Fraser, Fil (2006). Running Uphill: The Fast, Short Life of Canadian Champion Harry Jerome. Lone Pine Publishing/Dragon Hill Publishing. ISBN 978-1-896124-13-1.
  • Fraser, Fil (2010). How the Blacks Created Canada. Lone Pine Publishing/Dragon Hill Publishing. ISBN 978-1-896124-43-8.


  1. ^ "Fil Fraser | The Alberta Order of Excellence". Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  2. ^ a b c Wedge, Pip. "Pioneer: Fraser, Fil (1932- )". The History of Canadian Broadcasting. Canadian Communications Foundation. Retrieved February 23, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e Wyman, Marlena (Summer 2003). "The Provincial Archives of Alberta, Fil Fraser and the AV Preservation Trust Fund". Archives Society of Alberta Newsletter. Calgary: Archives Society of Alberta. 22 (4). Retrieved February 22, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Fil Fraser's Obituary on Edmonton Journal". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 16 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Why Shoot the Picture? The Films of Fil Fraser". Metro Cinema Edmonton. Retrieved February 22, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Gill, Alexandra (17 March 2009). "Alberta arts on the cusp". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 February 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Lem, Val Ken (22 June 2007). "Running Uphill: The Fast, Short Life of Canadian Champion Harry Jerome". Canadian Materials. The Manitoba Library Association. XIII (22).
  9. ^ Peters, Joanne (1 October 2010). "How the Blacks Created Canada". Canadian Materials. The Manitoba Library Association. XVII (5).
  10. ^ Fear, Jon (29 October 2010). "Books: How the Blacks Created Canada". Waterloo Region Record. Metroland. Retrieved 24 February 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ MacGregor, Roy (2 May 2008). Canadians. Penguin Canada. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Takach, Geo (2 December 2010). "Rednecks or Radicals?". Will the Real Alberta Please Stand Up?. University of Alberta. p. 109. ISBN 978-0888645432.
  13. ^ "Fil Fraser - The Alberta Order of Excellence". Retrieved 16 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]