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End of an era: CTV Kitchener leaves its longtime home

The CTV News Kitchener building at 864 King Street West on June 3, 2022. (Terry Kelly/CTV Kitchener) The CTV News Kitchener building at 864 King Street West on June 3, 2022. (Terry Kelly/CTV Kitchener)

CTV News Kitchener will soon celebrate 70 years on your television screens, with a rich history of local programming and reporting about our growing community.

While times have certainly changed since CKCO-TV hit the airwaves in 1954, one thing has always stayed the same -- our studios at 864 King St. W.

The cameras used for broadcast have come a long way.

After 69 years, however, we’re ready to say goodbye to our longtime home and move to a brand new location in Kitchener.

We're excited for CTV Kitchener’s next chapter, and to, for the first time, work alongside our colleagues at Bounce Radio 99.5 and Virgin Radio 105.3 in the same office.

Before we leave 864 King St. W., we thought we'd take a look back at the history of the station in its first seven decades.


CKCO-TV's fate was sealed by the flip of a coin in 1907.

Arthur Bell (A.B.) Pollock was living in Kitchener (which was then known as Berlin) and had a choice -- stay and make "hornless" phonographs or seek his fortune out west. One coin toss decided that Pollock would stay in Berlin and start his own business, which became the Electrohome Corporation. The company produced record players and later, the first colour TV sets in Canada.

His son Carl Pollock, along with the business group Central Ontario Television, applied for a television broadcast license in 1953 and he was CKCO-TV's first station owner.

The station was originally affiliated with the CBC but switched to CTV in 1964.

Its call letters -- CKCO -- derived from the abbreviation of Canada, Kitchener, Central Ontario.

864 KING ST. W.

CKCO-TV's first real home was 864 King St. W., across from K-W Hospital (now known as Grand River Hospital).

The Concordia Club, an event space for the German community, had operated out of the building since 1951.

The club continued to rent out the basement of the station until the end of 1954.

CKCO-TV employees recalled some interesting run-ins with polka partyers who got a little lost and wandered into the newsroom on occasion.

The Concordia Club then moved to its present location at 429 Ottawa St. S. in Kitchener.

The CKCO TV logo as seen during its first-ever broadcast.


"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the opening ceremonies of our Kitchener-Waterloo television station."

Those were the first words spoken by Winston Barron to kick off the inaugural CKCO-TV Channel 13 broadcast on March 1, 1954.

Pollock proclaimed that the new station would “provide an entertaining and an educational service which, we hope, will become a welcome and an interesting home companion for you.”

Then: Federal election coverage. Today, much coverage is done online.

Don Willcox first appeared on air in 1963 and eventually took on the role of general manager.

"Kitchener-Waterloo was very much an industrial community," he told CTV in 2019. "The community revolved around manufacturing."

Willcox was also there as CKCO-TV entered an exciting new era.

"I was working at the station when it went from black and white to colour," he added. "I was at the station when we went from 16 mm film to video tape."

The CTV Kitchener studio


Television was an exciting medium for a growing community and the focus at the CKCO-TV studios was on local programming.

To this day, viewers fondly remember many of the big personalities like Big Al and Miss Fran.

There was also a wide range of programming produced at 864 King St. W., such as Canadian Bandstand, Provincewide, the Kinsmen Auction and Oktoberfest celebrations.

Romper Room was produced at CKCO-TV for 20 years, and had the longest run of any program on the CTV network.

Other beloved programs included Bowling for Dollars and Camp Cariboo.

CKCO-TV wouldn't be what it is today without all the hardworking journalists who brought breaking news and in-depth reporting to the community.

Many called CKCO/CTV Kitchener home for decades, including Bill Inkol, Betty Thompson, Brent Hanson, Ron Johnston, Dave MacDonald, Gary McLaren, Janine Grespan, Art Baumunk, Reg Sellner, Frank Lynn, David Imrie, Lisa LaFlamme, Joy Malbon, Nancy Richards, Jeff Hutcheson, Randy Steinman, Daiene Vernile, Johnnie Walters, Elaine Cole, as well as innumerable employees who worked in our newsroom, edit suites, control room, studios and on location.


CTV Kitchener is saying goodbye to 864 King St. W. in October.

Viewers will see a different studio setup as our equipment and employees transition to the new building over a period of several weeks.

For a look at our new home, click here.

As for 864 King St. W., the property was listed for sale, and its future has yet to be decided.

-- Special thanks to our former colleagues at the CKCO History website for preserving CKCO/CTV Kitchener's past, which was used as a resource for this story.

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