Sesame Park

From Academic Kids

Sesame Park was a Canadian version of Sesame Street. In its first format, it was referred to as Canadian Sesame Street and was a re-edited version of the American series; it adopted a new format and the Sesame Park title in 1996.

In 1972, the bulk of Sesame Street's content was licensed out to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (the CBC), who 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. Most of the production of the Canadian segments took place in Winnipeg and in Quebec. Between 1972 and 1995, this hybrid of American and Canadian production was known as Canadian Sesame Street and became an institution for preschool Canadian children.

In the early 1990s, a series of specially made Canadian Muppet characters were introduced, including Basil the Bear, French-Canadian Louis the Otter, Dodi a bush pilot, Katie a disabled child, Barbara Plum (a parody of CBC broadcasting legend Barbara Frum), and Beau Beaver.

In 1995, the CBC cut the show to a half-hour and removed most of the American segments, instead airing mostly Canadian content. Added to the cast was a cat puppet named Chaos and a human character named Ray. Many guests made appearances on the series, including Red Green, a Canadian situation-comedy character played by Steve Smith.

However, the show performed poorly in the ratings after this major revamp. Many families, some of which having parents who grew up on Canadian Sesame Street, chose instead to watch the original American series on PBS, which is widely available via cable in Canada. It was cancelled in 2002.

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