The Shaw Fire Log: The mysterious hand has been stoking the fire since 1986

The famous Shaw Fire Log.
The famous Shaw Fire Log. Shaw

It’s a holiday tradition watched by more than three million people.

It has its own Twitter account.

It’s been featured on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart in a skit with Steve Carell.

And the mysterious hand that stokes the fire has even had letters from women asking if he is single.

The Shaw Fire Log is now a feature of many TV screens during the holiday season, but that was not always the case.

JR Shaw was granted his initial broadcasting license from the CRTC in 1970. In 1972, a man named Ernie Poscente joined what was then called Capital Cable, and eventually he became the Vice President of Community Programming.

With a channel that ran content 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, Poscente wanted to find a way to keep some content on the TV but still allow employees to take time off to be with their families on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

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So in 1986 the idea of the Shaw Fire Log was born.

Every year at Christmas, Poscente invited all of the community programming employees over to his house for a celebration and to tape a new version of the fire log. Originally played back on a ¾” broadcast cassette tape, Shaw technicians were able to ensure the log ran on a continuous loop. The Shaw Fire Log was originally only broadcast to Edmonton customers.

Within a couple years, during the expansion of Shaw Cable to new markets, each community would eventually create and tape their own version of the fire log.

Now the fire log airs continuously until Jan. 7, 2014.

“The Shaw Fire Log has been a part of our customers’ holidays for the past 27 years. Because of this rich history, many of our customers have different memories associated with the fire log, whether opening presents in front of it or sharing in its glow with family and loved ones. It has even seen a marriage proposal or two happen in front of it over the years,” says Greg Scollon, Vice President, Operations for Shaw Communications.

WATCH: The Shaw Fire Log featured in a segment on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

The identity of the hand that stokes the fire remains a closely guarded secret. Shaw says they can tell us the hand likes flannel, gloves, manicures, S’mores, campfire smell and log rides, but dislikes singed arm hair, hang nails, splinters and ember burns.

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And the hand doesn’t wear a ring, which Shaw confirmed means he’s still available.

“We’re certain that this holiday season will see many new special memories made in front of the Shaw Fire Log in millions of living rooms across Canada,” says Scollon.

With the advent of social media, the Shaw Fire Log has grown in fans. It is available to cable and satellite digital customers through a free rental on Shaw On Demand. It has a Twitter account, and it’s own Shaw Fire Log online app via Facebook.

The Shaw Fire Log can be found on channels 165 SD and 222 HD, while Shaw Direct customers can tune into channels 299 SD and 955 HD. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day all Shaw customers have 48 hours of access to the Shaw Fire Log on Shaw TV channel 10.

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