History Prof Discusses Sesame Street with CBC Radio

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Matthew Hayday

Prof. Matthew Hayday, Department of History, spoke to CBC Radio’s The Current about the special role the beloved TV show Sesame Street has played in Canadian television history.

Hayday researches many aspects of modern Canadian history, including the media, and has studied the twisted journey the U.S.-produced show made to reach our airwaves in an era concerned with CanCon.

He told the program he watched Sesame Street regularly as a child, noting it was one of the first shows of its time that had explicit Canadian identity messaging. That was because of the team of the curriculum team who were hired to add more Canadian content to the show, he said.

Hayday studies many aspects of post-war Canadian history, including nationalism and identity politics, and the history of bilingualism. In 2016, he published a paper about Sesame Street’s influence on Canadian identity, entitled “Brought To You by the Letters C,R,T, and C: Sesame Street and Canadian Nationalism.”