Canadians will truly miss Robertson’s smooth voice

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JOHN MacNEIL

Independent editor

The timeless voice of Lloyd Robertson was silenced last week as the legendary CTV News host retired from his post as the national nighttime news anchor.

As he said in his parting comments during last Thursday’s signoff show, Robertson sat in “a front row seat to history” through his 57 years in front of the camera.

“If someone had told me 60 years ago that this would be my life, I would have said they were crazy,” Robertson said in his closing commentary.

“Most of all, it’s been fascinating to watch our country grow in confidence and stature. We have developed a unique place in the world. We can brag, in that modest Canadian way, of course, about our AAA credit rating, about the success of the Vancouver Olympics, and look forward with some assurance that we won’t have to undergo the near death experience of another Quebec referendum.”

In typical Robertson style, he deflected praise to the CTV crew, including the news, production and technical professionals who helped deliver the news from across Canada and around the world. And he thanked the generations of Canadians who grew up watching the national newscasts, many from an era when the nightly TV news was a staple in Canadian households.

“Thank you a thousand times over for all of your touching messages, some that speak of watching through the generations,” Robertson said.

“There is the woman from Ontario that tells me that, as a student, our familiar opening music would take her from studying at 11 o’clock to join with her parents for the newscast and discuss the events of the day. She now does the same with her own children.

“Without her, and people like her, I would not have been around for so very long.”

Canadians were all the better for having Robertson around for so long. His calm and yet authoritative voice was comforting to so many people for so many years as he chronicled major political, national and international events each weekday night.

In each case, he would end his newscast with his standard, “And that’s the kind of day it’s been …”

Robertson, 77, signed off with those words on Sept. 1, though his TV days aren’t entirely behind him. He plans to contribute to the W5 current-affairs program.

On his final show, Robertson talked about jailed media baron Conrad Black, the Vancouver hockey riot and the death of recently retired NHL defenceman Wade Belak, along with other stories making headlines last week.

Robertson’s departure was marked with “thanks for the memories” music and a photo reel, along with tributes from politicians.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the obvious when he stated that Canadians from coast to coast would miss Robertson.

Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae took it one step further.

“When I think of Lloyd Robertson, I think of one word, and only one word — integrity,” Rae said.

“His word is everything. He is authenticity. He is authority. He’s a good-humoured guy, he’s a great Canadian and a great broadcaster. And dare I say it, he’s a good friend.”

In many ways, Robertson was a good friend to Canada. He will indeed be missed.

Lisa LaFlamme, a competent news veteran who took over the CTV News anchor’s chair on Labour Day, has a tough act to follow.

— MacNEIL

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