Townships on Prime Time TV

by Morri Mostow

TravelTravel_small.jpg (29363 bytes)

Travel Travel sets up in front of the Auberge Lakeview
Inn in Knowlton: (from left) cameraman Daniel Desrosiers,
host Don McGowan and producer Gerry Dixon


Travel Travel, Canada’s longest running travel show, is on a whirlwind five-day shoot of the Eastern Townships. The Record caught up with them on Tuesday on Knowlton’s main street, as they filmed a walkabout. Don McGowan, the show’s host, writer and co-producer, producer Gerry Dixon and cinematographer Daniel Desrosiers have just returned from a 21-day shoot in Europe.

“Travel Travel did a Townships show 14 years ago and it was time to come back and take another look,” says Don McGowan, who is remarkably youthful and debonair at 63. “The show will focus on the area’s famous inns and auberges, but will also feature many of the region’s attractions, from its bike paths to its wineries and golf courses.”

Don McGowan is a well-known Quebec TV personality. He retired from a 35-year broadcasting career at CFCF Montreal three and a half years ago and has never looked back. He now spends five months a year, including about 60 days on the road, doing Travel Travel. When he’s not traveling for the show, McGowan and his wife divide their time between their homes on the West Island of Montreal and in Vermont.

McGowan and Dixon are about to embark on a new TV project: hour-long travel specials that concentrate on one destination. The first one, called A Taste of France, tentatively scheduled for summer 2002, will be followed by A Taste of Quebec, A Taste of Austria and A Taste of the Islands. Dixon intends to offer these “A Taste of…” specials as DVD guidebooks from a Travel Travel Web site, now under construction.

Now in its 15th season, Travel Travel is one of the top 10 programs on CFCF Montreal, where the half-hour show first aired. Every week, the show attracts some 350,000 Canadian viewers in the 35-plus age group — great exposure for the Townships’ tourist industry.

Travel Travel runs on nine CTV stations in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C., and nationwide on the specialty channels Canal Évasion (in French) and Global Prime TV (as Goodtimes Travel). Local viewers can catch the show on CFCF on Sundays at 6:30 p.m. or on Global Prime TV on Mondays at 7:30 p.m.

The Travel Travel episode on the Eastern Townships will air in late November or early December. Stay tuned!