On July 1, 1927 history was made when Canada’s first nationwide radio programme was broadcast, marking the country’s Diamond Jubilee – 60 years after Confederation. The undertaking was a huge one, involving telephone and telegraph companies and 23 different radio stations.

Events at Parliament Hill in Ottawa were transmitted live across Canada and, via short wave radio from Drummondville, Quebec, to Britain. According to the CN history of the event, “The signal in the western hemisphere was so strong that the broadcast could be heard throughout the United States, in Mexico, and even in parts of South America.” You can hear a brief extract of the broadcast on the CBC Digital Archives site.

William Kenneth Detlor (1903-1930)

The Deseronto connection with this landmark event comes in the person of William Kenneth Detlor, whose photograph we featured in an earlier blog post. Kenneth (as he was known) was born in Deseronto on January 20, 1903 and graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston in 1922 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

He went on to work for the Bell Telephone Company and it is clear that he quickly made a name for himself, as only five years after leaving university he was placed in charge of the Ottawa end of Bell’s Diamond Jubilee engineering work, with overall responsibility for the whole network, at the tender age of only 24.*

Detlor’s promising career was cut short by his untimely death from meningitis in Toronto in 1930.


*This information from an article on the Jubilee transmission in Bell’s publication The Blue Bell, Vol. 6, No. 10 (August 1927)

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