Nooooo, say it isn’t so!!! Then sudden deflation. That was my reaction to the CBC News alert that popped up on my phone announcing Peter Mansbridge's was retiring after close to 30 years as anchor of The National.
Word spread quickly. The minute my husband walked through the door he asked, “Did you hear Peter Mansbridge is retiring?” Facebook exploded, and my friend kindly thought to tag me with a crying face on his retirement post.
Most people know me as an ardent fan of The National. Not many nights go by that I don't fall asleep to my necessary dose of Canadian-style news. I've been teased about this by my friends for years. Most don't quite understand my choice of nighttime television — especially given the array of tempting reality shows and available escapism.
Peter — we're on a first-name basis — has become like a pair of slippers for me. Comfy, familiar and dependable. I know he's going to be there every night at 8 or 9 or 10 — whatever time I can catch him. The authoritative sound of his voice, his take-charge yet nice-guy way with the At Issue panel, the way his eyes twinkled when he chuckled with former weather person Claire Martin. I'm going to miss it all.
He's had quite a run. According to the CBC, Peter has, "covered 14 federal elections, hosted eight Olympic ceremonies and conducted an estimated 15,000 interviews, sitting opposite countless Canadian and global leaders, along with numerous personalities from the worlds of politics, sports and entertainment."
Peter commands a newscast like nobody's business, and he's been rightly recognized by viewers and his fellow journalists as one of the best there is. That said, I've been disappointed with some of Peter's interviews. I thought he got his lunch handed to him by uber-intelligent criminal lawyer Marie Henein, who represented Jian Ghomeshi, and recently he was unnecessarily callous and sensationalistic with former cabinet minister Hunter Tootoo. But outside of some slight imperfections, he's still done an outstanding job at the helm of the CBC staple.
Truth be told, I remember vividly when Barbara Frum retired from The Journal. I'm really dating myself with that one. But she held the same place in my heart, and I was sad to see her go. Who knew I would come to love Peter just as much? And now who'll be next? Rosemary Barton? Mark Kelley? I'll have to stay tuned.