She’s been in Edmonton media for 36 years, almost as long as the Global Edmonton station has been in existence. On Tuesday, Global Edmonton said goodbye to legendary broadcaster Lorraine Mansbridge.
So, how do you say goodbye after 36 years? Or more accurately, how do you say goodbye when the person who’s been here for nearly four decades also happens to be Lorraine Mansbridge?
Let me tell you, it’s darn near impossible.
After 36 years of telling other people’s stories, it was finally time we sat down with Lorraine so she could tell her own.
Back in 1977 Lorraine Mansbridge was modelling full-time. The former Miss Manitoba made the last minute decision to attend a “cattle call” (that’s what they used to call casting calls).
“I know it’s so politically incorrect but that’s what they called them,” Lorraine said about the language used at the time.
WATCH MORE: Lorraine on Location
She auditioned for a part as the “remarkable mouth”, a TV commercial to promote a Winnipeg radio station.
“They were shooting all the other girls first and they were dropping like flies because they couldn’t lip sync properly for what they had to for the commercial,” she said. “So, I ended up doing all of the commercials for the radio stations across western Canada.”
The next day she received a phone call asking if she would do the voice-over work for the campaign, and the day after that they offered her a summer position as a disc jockey. What she didn’t know is that Winnipeg was a testing to market to see if women could be DJs in Canada.
“At that time they didn’t have a woman doing top 40 rock and roll radio as a disc jockey and they wanted to test the market and they said ‘do you want to do it?'” Lorraine smiled.
“I thought ‘I’ve got the summer free, I’m modelling, but I’m going back to school in the fall for university and Ya! I would do it. I would be delighted!” she said admitting it wasn’t an easy transition.
“I played an Alice Cooper song and at the end of it I said, ‘My what a husky voice she has!'” she laughed.
That wasn’t her only mistake.
“Everything was sort of abbreviated. It said Eng Dan and J. F. Coley so I played a song and said, ‘That was Eng Dan and J.F. Coley’. No, it wasn’t! It was England Dan & John Ford Coley.”
She worked hard and soon became number one in the ratings. She later moved on to host two television shows before making the move to Edmonton.
It was 1982 and at the time she didn’t have a job.
But as fate would have it, the week she arrived, a spot opened up as host and producer of an ITV morning show. It was the yet to be named Good Good Morning.
“God just sort of parachuted that into my life and I was so grateful and I was so happy and so excited!” she said. “From then on, it was five days a week, Monday to Friday an hour every day live. Who’s gifted something like that?”
Over the years, ITV’s focus turned to news, and Lorraine, after anchoring for a few months, decided that wasn’t for her.
“Someone had the wisdom to say what do you want to do and I said ‘I want to do good news stories’ and they said ‘invent it, create it’ and I did,” she said.
Lorraine has done just about everything and interviewed just about everyone in her position at the now named Global Edmonton. She’s interviewed politicians and celebrities but said her favourite interviews came from “everyday people.”
“Everybody has a story to tell and if you take the time to get to know them and to hear their story, you can bet you are going to be a richer person,” she said.
Watch below: After 36 years, Global Edmonton is saying goodbye to Lorraine Mansbridge. Quinn Ohler takes a look back at her broadcasting career.
Lorraine recalled one time in particular that she was moved. She was driving home from an event she was hosting when a homeless man started to shout her name.
“I rolled down the window and said ‘How are you?’ and he said ‘you know Lorraine I don’t have a complaint in the world!’ and I thought out of all the people that I could have dinner with tonight, that would have been the person.”
“If there’s one thing this world needs more than anything, it’s a kinder gentler place in which to live,” she said.
And Lorraine has worked to create it, by donating countless hours of her time to local charities and organizations.
Lorraine wants to say thank you to the viewers and to those she’s interviewed who’ve opened up their lives to her
“They’ve become my friends. They’ve become my family,” Lorraine said. “I can’t imagine if I hadn’t been doing what I was doing the people I would not have had a chance to meet.”
Watch below: For more than 35 years, Lorraine Mansbridge has been a staple in broadcasting. Now, she’s moving on from Global Edmonton. Gord Steinke sits down to talk about some of Lorraine’s highlights.
She may be moving on, but she’s not planning to slow down any time soon.
“There wasn’t one day where I didn’t want to get up and go to work,” she said. “I don’t sit still it’s not my nature.”
“I’m going to continue every day to have a reason to get up and find a way every day to celebrate this community, to highlight this community, share it with others because it’s what I do, not for a paycheque… for a passion,” Lorraine said at the end of her interview.
So after 36 years, we won’t say goodbye. Instead, we’ll say see you later, good luck and we’ll miss you.