Donald Graham Tremaine
Donald Graham Tremaine
Doctor of Civil Law
Born in Boston of Canadian parents, Don came to Canada, specifically to Halifax in 1931, and was educated at Rockingham School and Queen Elizabeth High School where he gained some experience as a radio announcer - the prelude to a forty-two year career. Leaving school after grade eleven, he joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Marine Division) where he served for eighteen months, having discovered that this life was not as glamorous in reality as it is in a young man's dream. Upon discharge, he signed on a radio announcer with CHNS in Halifax where he remained for three years prior to joining the staff of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Sydney in 1951. One year later, he was back in Halifax with the CBC, where he would stay for the next thirty-five years. He literally grew up with this Corporation as it decentralized its operation. Permitting more and more programming to be done at the local station's level. It was this period in his life when he became the best known radio announcer in the area.
He has a number of "firsts" in his career, including the first television news reader when the station opened in 1954. He recalls the first time that the CBC television went live in Halifax with the evening news. The CBC Regional Director had to begin with an apology, saying that CBC Halifax was not on full power because there "was a bloody steel strike on, and we couldn't finish the tower." He also recalls that when Toronto signed on in 1952, they came on with a test pattern that was upside down. Hence, he always maintains that CBC is, at least, consistent.
Many of his loyal fans will remember his interesting presentations with Max Ferguson and Rube Hornstein on the news interview show Gazette. In 1959, he added Don Messer's Jubilee to his other duties, and was the first announcer for this favourite show for the ten years that it appeared on the network. In 1972, he was assigned co-host of Information Morning, where he remained for the next fifteen years. In 1987, he retired officially from the CBC with many a listener in the Maritimes wondering if the hole he left would ever be filled in that he had become the most recognized broadcaster in the Maritimes. Credited with not being a "rip and read" announcer, i.e. one who would take it cold without reading it ahead of time, and then sometimes stumble, Don would always read it through a few times, and then he would read it extremely well.
Both while he was working on a full-time basis, and now that he is in retirement, he has devoted endless hours to a number of charities in the Halifax Regional Municipality. The list is eclectic and includes: The Canadian Cancer Society; The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia; The Canadian Kidney Foundation; The Grace Maternity Hospital (where he helped raise $75,000.00); for ten years, he hosted the IWK Children's Hospital Annual Telethon (which raised in excess of $26,000,000.00); in addition, he has served on the Board of the Restoration Committee for Saint Paul's Cemetery (helping raise $850,000.00); and annually introducing the Tattoo in the Halifax Metro Centre. Notwithstanding these activities, he lists as his hobbies; painting, puttering and travel.
His stellar contributions to the quality of life, both as a paid employee and as a volunteer, have not gone unnoticed, in that he was honoured with the Confederation Commemorative Medal in 1994, and the next year, was made a member of the Order of Canada.
He and his wife Jean, have two sons (Dr. Robert and Scott), and one daughter (Janet) living in the Halifax Metropolitan area.