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BBC First (Canadian TV channel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BBC First
BBC First Foxtel logo.svg
BBC First logo
Broadcast areaNationwide
HeadquartersToronto, Ontario
OwnerHigh Fidelity HDTV (2006–2013)
Blue Ant Media
(branding licensed from BBC Studios) (2013–present)
Sister channelsBBC Earth
LaunchedMarch 12, 2006; 15 years ago (2006-03-12)
Former namesTreasure HD
HIFI (2011–2021)
WebsiteBBC First
Available on many Canadian cable systemsCheck local listings, channels may vary
Bell Satellite TVChannel 1623
Shaw DirectChannel 462 / 632
Bell Aliant Fibe TVChannel 450
Bell Fibe TVChannel 1660
Bell MTSChannel 1603
Optik TVChannel 551
SaskTelChannel 472
VMediaChannel 111

BBC First is a Canadian English language high definition Category B television channel owned by Blue Ant Media. It is a localized version of the international BBC First service, which broadcasts a variety of drama, comedy, and film programming originating primarily from the BBC.[1][2][3]


In August 2005, John S. Panikkar (co-founder of the channel's original owner, High Fidelity HDTV), was granted a licence by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to launch ArtefactHD, described as "a national English-language Category 2 high definition (HD) specialty programming undertaking... devoted to collectors and their collections, and would showcase creations, celebrate beauty, intricacy, aesthetics and the merits of an object for its own sake. The programming would also include tours of museums and galleries open to the public and behind-the-scenes, celebrate unique architecture and design, and highlight the dedication and knowledge of the committed collector."[4]

The channel launched on March 12, 2006[5] as Treasure HD. Much of its programming was purchased and its name licensed from Rainbow Media, original owners of the now defunct Voom HD Networks, who owned the originating Treasure HD in the United States. Like its American counterpart, the channel originally broadcast factual programming on primarily collectibles, artifacts, and other art-based programming. Programming included such programs as Secrets of the Exhibit, Art in Progress, Treasure Divers, and Romance in Stone. When the American channel, Treasure HD, ceased broadcasting in 2009, the Canadian channel broadened its programming to include music (primarily focusing on the classic rock, jazz, classical music genres) and films.

The channel was rebranded as HIFI in August 2011.[6] The rebranded channel would put an emphasis on music and art-based programming, including films, exemplified by its slogan, music+art. On December 21, 2011, HIFI's parent company, High Fidelity HDTV, announced that it had entered into an agreement to be purchased outright by Blue Ant Media, majority owners of Glassbox Television and minority owners of Quarto Communications. While initially purchasing 29.9% of the company, the remaining 70.1% was purchased after CRTC approval.[7][8][9]

Blue Ant announced in March 2021 that the channel would be rebranded as a Canadian version of BBC First on March 16. The relaunch is an expansion the company's partnership with BBC Studios, which saw sibling channel radX relaunch as a Canadian version of BBC Earth in 2017.[10][11]


Though the BBC First brand is primarily dedicated to scripted programming, the Canadian version also carries unscripted, factual, and reality programming, as well as reruns of shows from Blue Ant's programming libraries to fulfill Canadian Content requirements.[12] BBC First effectively succeeds the now-defunct BBC Canada channel, carrying several programs previously seen on the latter (such as Top Gear and Antiques Roadshow [10]), while continuing to air The Graham Norton Show, which had already moved to the channel in 2018 prior to its relaunch.[13]


Treasure HD.png
Treasure HD Canada.svg
HIFI logo.svg
BBC First Foxtel logo.svg
2006-2008 2008-2011 2011–2021 2021–present


  1. ^ Middleton, Richard (18 October 2013). "BBCWW to scrap global iPlayer". C21 Media. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  2. ^ Middleton, Richard (27 January 2014). "BBCWW unveils new Brit brand". C21 Media. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  3. ^ Parker, Robin (27 January 2014). "BBC Brit unveiled by Worldwide". BroadcastNow. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2005-364 CRTC 2005-08-02
  5. ^ Bell ExpressVu Invites Canadians to Explore New High Definition Oasis and Visual Treasures Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine BCE press release 2006-03-13
  6. ^ High Fidelity rebrands Treasure HD to HIFI Archived 2012-03-31 at the Wayback Machine 2011-09-06
  7. ^ Blue Ant Media Enters Agreement to Acquire High Fidelity HDTV CNW press release 2011-12-21
  8. ^ Blue Ant Completes Acquisition of High Fidelity HDTV Archived 2012-08-03 at the Wayback Machine, Broadcaster Magazine, August 1, 2012.
  9. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-419 CRTC 2012-08-01
  10. ^ a b Ramachandran, Naman (March 3, 2021). "BBC Studios, Blue Ant Media Team to Launch BBC First Channel in Canada (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  11. ^ Craig, Sean (December 6, 2016). "Blue Ant Media to launch BBC Earth channel in Canada, shut down adventure-focused radX". Financial Post. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  12. ^ BBC First
  13. ^ HIFI Brings Canadian Fans of The Graham Norton Show New Episodes, October 01, 2018

External links

This page was last edited on 28 October 2021, at 18:35
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