The Anik Satellite Series

As you’ve likely heard, Anik G1 successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on April 16, 2013. G1 is the newest member of the Anik family, which has a proud spot in Canadian satellite history. Here’s a brief rundown of the rest of the Anik series:


The name “Anik” means “little brother” in Inuktitut. The name was submitted in a national competition in 1969 by Julie-Frances Czada of St. Leonard, Quebec. It was selected due to the symbolism of bringing Canadians together and building a national brotherhood. The Anik series has been developed by Telesat, a Canadian company headquartered in Ottawa.

Anik A Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik A1 November 9, 1972 July 15, 1982
Anik A2 April 20, 1973 October 6, 1982
Image from Telesat Canada

CBC was able to reach the Canadian north, and allowed extended phone service to the region as well. CBC was the first broadcaster to use a satellite for distribution of service on a full-time basis.

Anik B Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik B December 15, 1978 December 1, 1986
Image from Online Journal of Space Communication.

Anik B was used by the Globe and Mail to transmit copy to printing plants across Canada, and carried eastern and western feeds of CBC, CBC Parliamentary Television Network, CITY-TV Edmonton, CHCH Hamilton, and TVOntario.

Anik C Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik C1 April 12, 1985 May 5, 2003
Anik C2 June 18, 1983 January 7, 1998
Anik C3 November 11, 1982 June 18, 1997
Sally Ride in space. Image from NASA.

Anik C3 was used to carry Canada’s first pay-TV networks, including Superchannel (now Movie Central), First Choice (now The Movie Network), Premier Choix (Now Super Écran), Knowledge Network, and more. C3 was launched by the Space Shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated during re-entry on February 1, 2003. Anik C2 was launched by the Space Shuttle Challenger, which disintegrated after launch on January 28, 1986. The mission that launched C2 was also saw the first American woman in space, Sally Ride.

Anik D Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik D1 August 26, 1982 December 16, 1991
Anik D2 November 8, 1984 January 31, 1995
Image from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

The D series carried channels from CANCOM (now Shaw Broadcast Services), who was the first carrier to offer consumers direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services for their television needs.

Anik E Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik E1 September 26, 1992 January 18, 2005
Anik E2 April 4, 1991 November 23, 2005
Image from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Anik E1 was the most powerful satellite in commercial use for North America at the time of its launch. It was able to carry 56 television channels, compared to the standard of 16 during this period.

Anik F Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik F1 November 21, 2000 Still in service
Anik F1R September 9, 2005 Still in service
Anik F2 July 17, 2004 Still in service
Anik F3 April 10, 2007 Still in service
Image from Boeing.

When it was launched, Anik F1 was the most powerful communications satellite ever built. This was Star Choice’s (Shaw Direct’s) first satellite in the Anik series. The solar panels degraded faster than anticipated, so Anik F1R was launched as a replacement for North America; F1 is still in use for South America.

Anik F2 is more than ten times larger than A1, and is still one of the largest and most powerful satellites in use. It introduced the use of Ka-band transponders, which allowed low-cost two-way satellite delivery of broadband Internet in remote regions of Canada through Xplornet.


Rookie Blue

Missy Peregrym and Gregory Smith on a visit to Calgary to meet fans.
Missy Peregrym and Gregory Smith on a visit to Calgary to meet fans.

Good news to all fans of Global’s hit series Rookie Blue: Season four starts tomorrow night at 10 p.m. ET on Global.

Season three ended with Andy (Missy Peregrym) and Nick (Peter Mooney) accepting offers to join an elite, covert task force without being able to tell anyone. The pair winds up working to infiltrate a meth pipeline, when things go awry.

The new season will see actor Gregory Smith (who plays Dov Epstein on the series) taking his first crack at directing a handful of episodes.

Can’t wait until tomorrow to get a sneak peek of the new season? Check out the season four trailer from Global.

Sci-Fi Home for Actress Lexa Doig

expo08After playing the roles of a warship, a terrorist, a chief medical officer, an alien, and more, Lexa Doig has become one of Canada’s best known actresses in the science fiction genre.

Toronto-born Doig splits her time between her hometown and Vancouver in order to film Showcase’s hit series Continuum, and CBC’s Arctic Air. Doig has also been in Andromeda as the series’ namesake, and Stargate SG-1 where she met her future husband, Michael Shanks.

Although she enjoys the occasional chance to jump between science fiction and contemporary dramas such as Arctic Air, Doig’s passion lies in sci-fi.

“I happen to love sci-fi because you get to tell these amazing stories, and you get to do cool stuff like fire lasers, and be on wires, and wear funky costumes that you would never wear in real life, “she said with a chuckle.

The demand presented by many characters featured in the genre is also a draw to the 39-year-old actress.

“I remember looking at Andromeda and I’m like ‘okay, she’s a warship… oh boy.’ It’s quite challenging in that respect.”

According to Doig, the same can be said for her current role as Sonya Valentine on Continuum. The character is a member of a terrorist group known as “Liber8.”

“[T]his is a character who has committed some pretty heinous crimes by my estimation, and yet by her they’re completely justified.”

Doig got her start in entertainment as co-host of YTV’s Video & Arcade Top 10 in 1991, and shortly afterwards landed a role on William Shatner’s TekWar.

The audition process normally includes the hopeful candidate, a camera, and an off-stage reader for the other parts, but at the tender age of 19, Doig was surprised to find herself in front of Shatner with no one to read the other roles.

“I literally just read my dialogue with big, long spaces of silence in-between,” Doig said. “I fully thought I blew the audition, so when I got the part, I was shocked.”

In regards to the second season of Continuum, Doig said she is excited for what’s coming up for her character, and the show in general.

“Stay tuned… It’s quite a ride, and there are quite a few mind-bending kind of moments.”

Continuum is on Showcase (521 Classic/163 Advanced, or in HD on 277 Classic/341 Advanced) every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo

expoWith an estimated 60,000 in attendance at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo between April 26 and 28, fans were excited to attend a variety of thrilling panels, photo ops, autograph sessions, and a market featuring almost every bit of movie, television, and comic memorabilia you can think of.

The panels offered fans an opportunity to chat (as much as one can in a crowd of 10,000) with stars including Carrie Fisher, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Stan Lee and Gillian Anderson, just to name a few. Our team was lucky enough to be able to go to a handful of the panels over the weekend. Here are some highlights!

Carrie Fisher:

Although she’ll forever be known as Princess Leia in from Star Wars, 56-year-old Carrie expo15Fisher now makes a living as a screenwriter, novelist and lecturer, and is an outspoken advocate for mental health.

Fisher made no bones about her own struggle with bipolar disorder.

“It takes a lot of balls to be mentally ill,” she said. “It takes a certain kind of heroism. I only have bipolar, I don’t even think that’s one of the ones that requires the most chutzpah.”

The former heroine of Star Wars reminisced about her favourite moments in the saga, with special focus on getting the opportunity to slay Jabba The Hut.

“You know, they ridiculously asked me if I wanted a stunt double to kill [him],” Fisher said with a laugh. “Can you imagine? I got to saw that neck off. It was really, really fun and one of the highlights of my career.”

On the topic of Disney’s recent purchase of Lucas Films, she half-joked that she hoped it would help her get to the front of the line at Disneyworld.

While it has been confirmed that Fisher will be reprising her role in the upcoming Star Wars movie, no details have been released as to what can be expected beyond this.

The X Files:

expo16The panel for The X Files featured Robert Patrick (John Doggett), Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully), and Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner).

Agent Scully’s legacy of being a strong, female role model is what 44-year-old Anderson said she is most proud of. At only 5’3”, she had to stand on an apple box to shoot many scenes in the sci-fi series.

Patrick started his career as T-1000 in Terminator 2 in 1991, and said he was typecast for about a year and a half afterwards, stating that he had to completely change his looks in order to land a different (non-android) role. Now 54, has since been featured in Last Resort, True Blood, and The Men Who Stare at Goats, among other titles.

After his role as Skinner, Pileggi, now 60, has moved on to titles such as Grey’s Anatomy, and Sons of Anarchy, and has now been signed to continue his role in the third season of the remake of Dallas.

The trio ended their panel by auctioning off a signed X Files script for $800 and a kiss from Anderson.

Game of Thrones:

Featuring Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) of the expo20novel-triology-turned-hit-series, the Game of Thrones panel was packed with diehard fans.

Headey, who reprised the role of Sarah Connors in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles recently had the chance to meet the original.

“How can you not love Linda Hamilton?” said the 39-year-old actress when asked about the experience.

Headey spoke lovingly of the rest of the cast of Game of Thrones, referring to them as “this crazy, joyous, dysfunctional big family.”

When asked whether they were surprised by the widespread success of the series, Dinklage, 43, stated that he really wasn’t.

“I enter into everything I do with the idea that it will be a phenomenon,” he said.

It has been confirmed that Dinklage will be featured in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, yet his exact role has yet to be announced by director Bryan Singer.

Walking Dead:

expo23Despite a last-minute change in the lineup removing Norman Reedus, fans were beyond thrilled to have a chance to hear from Steven Yeun (Glenn Rhee) and Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier) about the hit series The Walking Dead.

“We all knew we were working on something really special,” said 47-year-old former commercial casting director McBride.

Playing a survivor of more than just the zombie apocalypse, McBride turned briefly serious to discuss the impact that domestic abuse has, and is happy to have seen the growth of the character.

“It was very important to me to see [Carol] live long enough to become strong.”

When speaking about his character, Glenn, Yeun described him as a “hard-headed kid with a lot of gumption.”

Although sometimes a point of contention among fans, Yeun stated that he was a huge fan of the plot differences between the comics and the series.

Stay tuned for an article about Canadian actress Lexa Doig.