Breakfast with the President

Did you know that from time to time a handful of employees are chosen to have breakfast with the President?

While this may sound as dubious as winning a date with Scott Baio, employees are not to simply bask in his Chachiness but rather converse with the man. Exchange ideas.

Better understand each other.

Back in the old Jarvis Street building, the CBC cafeteria was crammed but you could see Peter Kent or crazy Alan McFee sitting at a small table with radio technicians and TV film cameramen and suits from the “Kremlin.” If you were on the early shift you always got a great smile from Ruth who ran the joint, and when Ruth died, Peter Gzowski opened Morningside with a loving tribute to her. Remember that?

We used to have a cafeteria in the TBC as well. But this was all seen as a money loser and a waste of space for something that was not part of our “core business.” That is, eating together.

But these were places where people who didn’t know each other could meet and talk and laugh and exchange ideas.

Better understand each other.

Rather than places to germinate new ideas and cross-pollinate with people you don’t know, you now have to race the furtive Chinese IT guy to the microwave in the hallway.

Getting rid of the cafeteria was a dumb idea that not only made employees upset and killed morale, it possibly drained some of the CBC’s creativity.

If I ever get to have breakfast with the President, I’ll have to bring it up.


  1. CBC Frank
    Posted October 28, 2006 at 10:34 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You’re right about morale taking a serious dive after the cafeteria closed. When the free coffee was first done away with, we could shrug that one off, but the shutting of the cafeteria just told us we were no longer a family, just minions in a large corporation.

    The whole idea of a meeting place serving as a clearing house for corporate info meant we might overhear how other departments are doing. Now all we get are far too many appointments coming from god knows where…

  2. Jason Paris
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 1:23 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Just curious…what is where the cafeteria once was?

  3. hugh
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 12:46 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    in the it world in mtl so much creative & interesting stuff is happening at this little cafe across the street, where everyone meets, talks, exchanges ideas etc. it’s always hopping with people sipping coffee eating tapping on laptops discussing stuff – some work related some not. but it’s a mini hotbed. how can you run a creative enterprise and not let people interact.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 11:17 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The cafe in Vancouver was/is the news studio out in the CBC plaza when they yanked the cafe (great idea, come up for air and look out the wall to wall windows at the clouds (of rain), and chat to people outside your work-unit.

    Then it became that bane of TV, a barely noticed windowed studio with traffic rushing by in the summer and car-lights in the dark winter evenings for the benefit of cameras.

    Better to have the cafe and build something else for a news cast considering how small the ‘casts are becoming these days.

    Miss the Garage and the Hotel Van “cafe.”

  5. Allan
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 10:53 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    No joke, as reported by Toronto Star, Oct. 18th

  6. Anonymous
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 5:09 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The Sun reports this morning that the judges for the CBC’s newest talent/reality show will be Garth Drabinsky (multi-tasking or double dipping), Cynthia Dale and Marvin Hamlisch. This first appears to be some sort of joke but, given other recent decisions… No, it’s a joke, right?

  7. Anonymous
    Posted October 24, 2006 at 8:15 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    well, the cafeteria in Montreal is terrible. Consider yourselves lucky you at least have access to real food.

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