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Vol. 49 No. 2 (2020)

“Let’s drop in on our friends at Sunnybrae”: CBC Radio’s The Gillans, Agricultural Reform, and Rural Change in the Maritimes, 1942-1972

  • David L. Bent
January 31, 2021


CBC radio’s long-running serial The Gillans (1942–1972) was conceived as a popular means to encourage Maritime farmers to make their operations more efficient, scientific, and market-oriented. In doing so, it was hoped the show could help bolster the Maritime provinces’ struggling farm economies and their winnowing rural societies. Examining the content and messages of program’s scripts offers insights into the process of agricultural modernization that was underway in the Maritimes during the mid-20th century, and also into how farmers coped with the impact modernization had on agriculture and on rural life in general.