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Pénélope McQuade (#116)

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I may miss a couple of days of posts… had to drive to Montreal and Québec City for work meetings.  For those of you who are not from Canada (or even Eastern Canada), winter blizzards when driving can be interesting…

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But I made it, so lets get into this next post…

If you go back to the first post in this series, “Our roots… “Qui êtes-vous?”, you’ll recall a major part of the idea is that modern Québécois roots are from everywhere – and this notion definitely comes through with a name like McQuade.

Pénélope McQuade has a popular evening television talk show named after her – simply named “Pénélope McQuade”, which airs on Radio-Canada It has been on the air since 2011, and for the average person, she is likely most associated with her talk show.  She interviews famous personalities (many of the subjects of my blog posts to date have been guests on her program at one point or another), and she relates their appearances to trending topics of the day.  In that sense, McQuade incarnates pop-culture.   However, her public career started many years before she became one of the Queens of late night talk.

Much of her career was spent on TVA’s television network.  In the 1990s, she was a host in popular TV shows such as Automag Plus, Salut Bonjour (TVA’s morning news and talk program), and Star Système (sort of like Montréwood’s equivalent of “E” or “Entertainment Tonight” in English Canada).  She also had prominent host positions on some of the highest rated hit-music radio stations in Montréal, such as Rythme FM, NRJ, and Rock Détente.

Even though McQuade was born in Québec City, she spent part of her childhood growing up in Toronto.  Her father, a relatively well known Francophone reporter for Radio-Canada was one of the network’s reporters for the French component of the network in Ontario.

Something that always strikes me is that even though she’s 44, McQuade looks more like 34 (I think most people are surprised to learn she is not much younger).

In the show “Qui êtes-vous?”, Pénélopé McQuade traced her family roots to Ireland, and physically travelled to both New Brunswick and Ireland in her quest.   She learned that certain branches of her family were some of the earlier colonialists of New France, but that the women at the time were practically slaves to their husbands (an emotional discovery for McQuade).    One of her great grandfathers won a Stanley Cup, and another ancestor was an Irish immigrant to St. John, New Brunswick.

The official website for her evening talk show can be viewed at:  http://ici.radio-canada.ca/emissions/penelope_mcquade/2014/


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