Vicki Gabereau (1946-)
Member of CAB Hall of Fame
Gabereau, Vicki (1946- )
Vicki Gabereau was born Vicki Frances Filion in Vancouver B.C. on May 31st 1946. Her father, a photographer for the Vancouver Sun, was at that time Pierre Berton’s closest friend. In 1964 she moved to Toronto, where she stayed for a while with the Bertons, and spent the next 12 years doing a wide assortment of jobs, including cab driver, bartender and clown (with Puck Rent-A-Fool). It was in her clown character, as Rosie Sunrise, that she ran unsuccessfully against David Crombie in 1976 as a candidate for mayor of Toronto, losing handsomely in the process.
Later that year, as a consequence of a mayoralty race interview on a Brampton, Ontario radio station, she was offered her first talk show. Later, she joined the CBC in Toronto, where she was the summer replacement host for Don Harron on Morningside in 1980. In 1981 Vicki was back at the microphone again, this time as host of CBC Radio’s two-hour nightly talk show, Variety Tonight. This was the precursor to Vicki’s own two-hour daily CBC radio talk show, Gabereau, which started in 1985 and ran for 12 years. During this time she did over 15,000 interviews, and her superlative work earned her three ACTRA Awards as best Radio Host-Interviewer.
In 1992, Vicki found time to play a small part as “Bingo Nun” in Mortal Sins, a television movie shot in Vancouver by Blake Edwards’ production company.
In 1997 she accepted an offer from CTV to host her own daily one-hour television series, Vicki Gabereau Live (later retitled simply Vicki Gabereau). Produced at CTV’s Vancouver studios, the series ran for eight seasons, totalling over 1000 episodes and featuring appearances by over 3000 guests. The show won the Gemini for best Talk Show in 2005, and Vicki herself was honoured with Geminis in 2001, 2002 and 2004. She also received four LEO awards, which recognized the best in television and film production in British Columbia.
In 1997, Vicki was also honoured with the Jack Award, given annually to individuals in the Canadian publishing industry or media who have “made a significant contribution to the promotion of Canadian authors and books.” In 1999, she was the subject of a CBC Life and Times episode, and also appeared on another Life and Times, Canada’s Arrogant Icon, which explored the life of her friend Pierre Berton.
In 2005, the Jack Webster Foundation named Vicki as recipient of the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award, which celebrates excellence in British Columbia journalism, and she also received the 2005 Woman of the Year Award from Women in Film and Video Vancouver.
During the 2000s, Vicki guested as herself on several CTV series, including Corner Gas, Cold Squad and Robson Arms.
She holds Honorary Doctorates from Athabasca University and Okanagan University College, and has been a strong supporter of The Parkinson Society and the Raymond John Hnatyshyn Foundation. She has also been on the Boards of the Governor-General’s Performing Arts Awards and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. She has written two books, an autobiography, This Won’t Hurt a Bit, and a recipe collection titled Cooking Without Looking.
In November 2006, Vicki Gabereau was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.
Written by Pip Wedge - October, 2006