Sesame Park

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Sesame Park
Also known asSesame Street Canada (1972-1980's)
Canadian Sesame Street (1980's-1996)
Created byDaniel McCarthy
Country of originCanada[a]
Original languagesEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes340
ProducerDaniel McCarthy
Running time60 minutes (1972–1996)
30 minutes (1996–2001)
Production companiesSesame Workshop
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Original release
NetworkCBC Television
ReleaseMay 15, 1972 (1972-05-15) –
August 24, 2001 (2001-08-24)
Sesame Street

Sesame Park is the Canadian[b] version of Sesame Street co-produced by Sesame Workshop and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The series originally functioned as a re-edited version of the original American series, and was named Sesame Street Canada and later, Canadian Sesame Street, with some of the segments replaced with ones produced in Canada and later featuring Canadian-exclusive Muppet characters. In 1996, the series adopted a new format and was renamed Sesame Park.[1]

Canadian Sesame Street[edit]

Muppet Chaos

Daniel McCarthy, the director of the CBC Sesame Street Project, developed Sesame Street Canada for CBC Television.[2] The series, which debuted in 1972, was originally a hybrid of American and Canadian production segments. McCarthy partnered with the Children's Television Workshop to introduce new, CBC-produced segments to the show's original American footage. He also introduced distinct Canadian themes and set designs to the show.

The series was later titled Canadian Sesame Street. During the 1970s and 1980s it anchored a three-show block that included Friendly Giant (later replaced by Fred Penner's Place) and Mr. Dressup.

Most of the production of the Canadian segments took place in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Halifax, and Montreal.


In 1972, the bulk of Sesame Street's content was licensed out to CBC Television, originally as five-minute interstitials during commercial breaks. CBC then added live-action and animated segments teaching about Canadian culture and French bilingualism, replacing segments on Spanish and American history on the original program. Some Spanish segments still aired in Canada, although fewer in number and usually related to the show's Hispanic main-cast characters, Maria and Luis.

In 1981, the amount of Canadian content per show was increased to 30 minutes.

In 1990 a seasonal special was created for the series, titled Basil Hears A Noise.[3]


In 1987, a series of specially made Canadian Muppet characters were introduced, including Basil the Bear, French-Canadian Louis the Otter, and Dodi the bush pilot.[4] The following year, additional new characters included Dr. Bazuki, Fern, Robert, and wheelchair-user Katie.[5]

The Henson Muppet shop also provided some Anything Muppets which could be redressed to become whatever characters the script called for, including Barbara Plum (a parody of CBC broadcasting legend Barbara Frum). Beau Beaver, an animated character, would discuss national symbols, particularly those appearing on Canadian money. In 1994, anchorman Peter Londonbridge and storyteller Margaret Redwood were added to the cast.[6]


The 1987 season focused on multiculturalism, family, and the environment.[5]

Sesame Park[edit]

Muppet Katie on display at the CBC museum dressed as a princess
Basil the Bear from Sesame Park, in a knight's armour. This puppet, along with fellow characters Katie, Chaos, and Louis are all on display in the CBC Museum.

In 1996, the CBC decided to take on the job of producing different kinds of content for the series; specifically to have their own "street". Producer Shirley Greenfield and screenwriter Jill Golick decided to set the show in a park, rather than on an urban street. A new half-hour series entitled Sesame Park was born. The series premiered in September 1996.[1] It joined the CBC Playground lineup on October 21, along with Wimzie's House.[7]

The show's animated sequences were created in Toronto, while live-action segments were shot in Regina, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.[8]

Sesame Park was cancelled in 2001 for undisclosed reasons.[citation needed]


Added to the cast were a Muppet kitten named Chaos (who is similar to Elmo, serving the same role, and is named after Golick's own cat[citation needed]), and a human character named Ray. Basil was now played by Bob Stutt.

Guest appearances included Red Green, a Canadian situation-comedy character played by Steve Smith, Eric Peterson as Old King Cole, and Janet-Laine Green as Goldilocks.[8]


About sixty percent of the new series was produced in Canada, with the remaining forty percent being segments from Children's Television Workshop.[1]


In 1999, the series received its nomination and win from the Gemini Awards, for Best Preschool Program or Series (Wendy Smith, Susan Sheehan, Duncan Lamb). Bob Stutt was nominated that year for Best Performance in a Preschool Program or Series. In 2000, Sheila McCarthy won Best Performance in a Preschool Program or Series, for her role in an episode of the show, beating out fellow guest star Pier Kohl, as well as others. In 2001, the series won Best Preschool Program or Series (Wendy Smith, Susan Sheehan, Duncan Lamb), beating out Land O' Hands and The Nook Counting Network. Guest Eric Peterson won again for Best Performance in a Preschool Program or Series, beating out Pier Kohl, James Rankin, Natasha LaForce and Gisèle Corinthios.


As with the original Sesame Street, some segments of Canadian Sesame Street and Sesame Park were farmed out to other versions of Sesame Street, in particular, Sésamo, the Latin American version of Sesame Street. In addition, since the rise of cable television in Canada in the 1970s (and before that for communities close to the US border), the original American Sesame Street could still be viewed on PBS-affiliated stations.

Sesame Street now airs on Treehouse TV, a Canadian channel aimed at preschoolers, with specials airing on the Global Television Network, one of Canada’s major terrestrial broadcast networks. Various segments, including Global Grover and Elmo's World, have aired separately on the channel for many years after Open Sesame.



  1. ^ a b c "Sesame Street to become Sesame Park". Hamilton Spectator. 15 February 1996. pp. F4.
  2. ^ "Friendly Giant producer Daniel McCarthy dies, Former head of CBC children's programming also developed Mr. Dressup". CBC News. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  3. ^ "Yule love it". The Toronto Star. 8 December 1990. pp. S5.
  4. ^ "Celebrate National Citizenship Week with an extra measure of Canadian TV". Montreal Gazette, April 11, 1987.
  5. ^ a b "Canadian kids Sesame Street smart". The Toronto Star. 2 July 1988. pp. F8.
  6. ^ "Now The News". The Toronto Sun. 24 June 1994. p. 94.
  7. ^ Quill, Greg (2 October 1996). "Kids' CBC". The Toronto Star. Toronto ON. p. B3.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Gorman, Brian (31 October 2000). "Sesame Park's cast and crew - small but mighty; All-Canadian series consists of five talented puppeteers". The Chronicle Herald. pp. M19.
  9. ^ a b c Greer, Sandy (7 March 1987). "Cuddly new Canadians". The Toronto Star. pp. S4.
  1. ^ The original series was produced in the United States. Originally, only the especially-made segments were Canadian, but after the Sesame Park rebranding, the show became fully Canadian.
  2. ^ The original series was produced in the United States. Originally, only the especially-made segments were Canadian, but after the Sesame Park rebranding, the show became fully Canadian.

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