64 shows, 2 weeks, 400,000 votes—The Great Canadian TV Thing concludes with the nation deciding a clear winner

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      More than 400,000 votes were cast and a definitive winner emerged.

      The most memorable television show in Canadian history is Mr. Dressup.

      The afternoon children’s show that ran from 1967 to 1996 defeated Kids in the Hall by a sizable margin.

      It’s possible you don’t know what I’m talking about. Allow me to take a step back.

      Through much of November, heated debates raged across certain corners of the Canadian internet.

      On November 13, Justin McElroy, a Vancouver journalist employed by CBC News, published a poll on his personal website. Thirty-two polls, actually.

      McElroy created a sports-style bracket that pitted 64 Canadian television shows against one another in what began as a friendly competition.

      He called it “Canada’s Most Memorable TV Thing” and, well, it escalated from there.

      Fast forward two weeks and a few days and the contest had become the subject of headlines in national publications. Canadian celebrities from television shows spanning several decades weighed in with passionate arguments for their favourites. Pundits from across the country tossed aside traditional decorum and joined the fray with zeal.

      The final four came down to Kids in the Hall versus Degrassi and Mr. Dressup versus Heritage Minutes. Then the last round of voting was held over the weekend of November 25. This morning (November 27), a winner was announced.

      “It’s been decided,” McElroy wrote on Twitter.

      By this point, the contest had moved from McElroy’s blog to the country’s national broadcaster, the CBC. “Mr. Dressup crushes Kids In The Hall in the final round of The Great Canadian TV Thing,” its headline read today.

      McElroy first floated the idea as a joke he posted on Twitter on November 10.

      That message was in reference to a comment by Bruce Arthur, a sports columnist for the Toronto Star.

      We can keep going back even a little further.

      Arthur’s joke was posted in reply to a tweet by Peter Goffin, a reporter and editor with Canadian Press.

      And Goffin posted that message in response to a CP article about a new YouTube channel called “Encore +” that features a large archive of old Canadian television.

      “You’ll discover or rediscover memorable Canadian movies and TV shows,” the channel’s description reads.

      Many words have been written about the extent to which McElroy’s bracket divided a nation. But it also brought people together.

      Mr. Dressup is all about the broad strokes: your childhood, a feeling a comfort, a bonding of generations, 30 years of repetition, 30 years of crafts and sketches and costumes that are geared towards young children, but fundamentally accessible to all ages,” McElroy wrote on his website.

      Kids in the Hall is, um, not Mr. Dressup. It’s focused, passionate, character-driven sketch comedy, a cult hit that went big if there ever was one, a show of weird and daring conceits, a show for when you were 15 to 24, and somewhat difficult to understand if you didn’t love it during those years.”

      Mr. Dressup and Kids in the Hall were both fine shows, and now it’s fair to say the country might appreciate them both just a little more than it did two weeks ago.

      Competitive spirit is a powerful force but so is nostalgia. Furthermore, people really like to waste time on the internet. In the end, maybe that's what this was really all about.

      As for McElroy, he’s said he’s going to take a short break from blogging and continue with his job at CBC News.

      “Until the next time I feel compelled to rank stuff, which will probably be way sooner than is actually healthy,” he wrote on Twitter today.

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