Seth Rogen offers to be voice of Ottawa LRT, but local actor already got the job
With confirmation Tuesday that the voice of Canadian-American actor Seth Rogen would be heard in Toronto’s subway stations — as well as across Vancouver’s TransLink network — it didn’t take long before Ottawa residents and social media users started asking whether the Vancouver-born comedian or a famous Ottawa native would record announcements for the new light rail transit system.
Among those interested was the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s cyberspy agency.
At 4:18 p.m., somebody behind the CSE’s Twitter account tweeted at the City of Ottawa, suggesting Jeopardy host Alex Trebek or television actor William Shatner “be the voice of the soon to be completed #Ottawa Light Rail Transit.”
Two minutes later, Rogen piped up.
“If they’re not around I’ll do it,” Rogen wrote back — a reply that got Shatner’s vote of confidence.
What Rogen and some residents in the national capital may not know, however, is another actor — Ottawa native Julian Doucet — was contracted years ago to be the voice of OC Transpo.
David Pepper, OC Transpo’s manager of customer services, suggested in a statement that the arrangement with Doucet isn’t changing anytime soon, and the transit service isn’t in the market for a new or additional voice for the LRT system.
“[Doucet] can already be heard on buses and on O-Train Line 2, the Trillium Line, and customers will soon hear his familiar voice on O-Train Line 1, the Confederation Line,” Pepper wrote.
The announcement system for transit stops featuring Doucet was launched in 2010, Pepper said, after the actor was “chosen through a process that involved customer focus group testing.”
In a follow-up request, Global News flagged Rogen’s tweet and asked OC Transpo if it had anything to say in response to the offer from the actor, who recorded a series of public service announcements on transit etiquette for Vancouver’s TransLink and the Toronto Transit Commission, free of charge.
In a second statement Wednesday morning, Pepper said the City of Ottawa is focused, for now, on launching the new LRT system later this year and “the timing is unfortunately not right to explore, develop, and implement a new program” for transit announcements.
“We appreciate Mr. Rogen’s interest, as well as the feedback from the Ottawa community,” Pepper wrote. “Once O-Train Line 1 is operational, and as we develop future customer-focused campaigns, we would be happy to explore new and creative options.”
Doucet is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and Ryerson Theatre School; he also trained with Soulpepper Theatre. As a bilingual actor, he has done everything from films and theatre to voice-overs and commercials.
In addition to acting, Doucet is also a screenwriter. He’s the son of former Ottawa city councillor Clive Doucet, who is running for mayor in this fall’s municipal election.
The consortium building the Confederation Line — which will run east-west from Blair to Tunney’s Pasture — is expected to hand over the keys to the LRT system to the city on Nov. 2. OC Transpo has said it’s aiming to open the tracks later that month.