You may recall that my friend Julie and I were part of the studio audience for the program Cityline earlier this year (written about in this post). It was a lot of fun and we were given some very nice gifts to boot, with Julie winning the grand prize of an awesome Canon camera and accessories package. We would have enjoyed the experience even without the gifts, though.
So, we did it again last week, after Julie got us tickets to join the audience for the taping of The Marilyn Denis Show.
The way it works is you apply for tickets (which are free) by filling in an application and giving them three different days that you’d be able to attend. Then, because more people apply to join than can be accommodated, your name is put into a raffle to determine who gets to participate. Julie was offered two tickets for the program that was filmed a week ago Thursday, but we were sworn to secrecy about what went on at the show, because it wasn’t airing until the following Thursday (which was yesterday).
We arrived at the beautiful historic building where the CTV studios are at 9:30 am, where we were asked to complete a form allowing them to show us on television. Then a fellow walked us through what would happen during the taping, and who the guests were for the episode. He also told us about all the smiling, clapping and cheering we would be doing.
Then, they walked us into the beautifully decorated studio in groups of ten or so at a time. Julie and I were part of the first group to be seated so we got a good chance to look around and watch all the goings on, as a flurry of technicians got everything ready to go. Some helpers offered to take photos of people in the audience, which is how the top picture in this post came about.
There was a table set up on stage, with a tray of things to make a cocktails with.
Filming began with the welcoming the host, Marilyn Denis. She quickly introduced her first guest, Debbie Travis, who was going to make some drinks. After a brief chat, she got down to it, only to discover the small bottle of champagne she was going to use was empty, so she turned to ask for another one. That’s when a doorway suddenly opened, and with much fanfare, a dancing elf and christmas tree and a huge prop of a bottle of bubbly that was a confetti cannon, were revealed. Some people in the audience, including Julie, recognized what was going on — we were part of a lucky audience who would be winning 10 prizes, as part of their “10 Days of Giveaways” feature, which they do around Christmastime. We were there for day one of it, with the remaining nine days to be held randomly between that day and the end of December.
↑ The camera caught Julie filling me in. ↑
They commenced to bring package after package onto the stage for unveiling, to a gleefully cheering audience.
Everything was selected by Debbie Travis. They posted photographs of all the great stuff we got, which amounted to a value of over $1,900, on their site here.)
We were each given:
– A Vitamix Blender (this one We don’t have a blender, so Nick was quite thrilled about that.)
– A copy of Jamie Oliver’s new book, Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook.
– A gift certificate for a monogrammed marble cutting/serving board (this one) at Williams-Sanoma.
– A really nice pepper mill and some gourmet black pepper, from Drom. (If you’re in the market for a pepper mill, it is a good one, indeed.)
– Two “Try the World, Culinary Culture” boxes – Each box contains authentic ingredients from another country to bring you a unique dining experience right at home. We got Italy and Japan boxes. They were fun, and in the case of the huge pickled radish in the Japan box, funny, to open and discover all the neat ingredients and gadgets that were in them.
– A silver bracelet by Links of London, called The Sweetie xs Bracelet (no longer available).
– A $500 voucher to take the train anywhere Via Rail goes, anytime during 2017. (Hello Quebec … here we come!)
– A $100 gift certificate for Bentley Luggage.
– A gorgeous electric throw blanket by Sunbeam (like this one but with a grey print). This will certainly make those Netflix watching sessions nice and cozy! I think I’ll be busting it out tonight.
Following the 15 or so continuous minutes of generous gift giving, we settled down to watch the rest of the program, which included Charles the Butler giving tips on entertaining at home over the holidays and a look at his beautiful new home. There was also a segment on atypical Christmas decorating, hosted by interior designer Glen Peloso. And then there were the promised cocktail recipes, with Debbie Travis mixing us some delicious sounding drinks, and Marilyn, Charles and Glen being the taste-testers.
During commercial breaks audience members were given their gift cards and Via Rail voucher, and a bracelet that we were to take to their gift depot for our huge bag of things plus the box with the Vitamix.
The taping was done …
What a blast it all was! If you’d like to watch the episode we were on, it is posted online here. It turned out that Julie and I got our fair share of airtime — clearly we got the message that we should clap and smile a lot, lol.
We were quite loaded down with goods to carry home, but that didn’t stop us from heading across the street to The Queen Mother Cafe for lunch (their site is down so I won’t link).
This restaurant is very popular and gets quite packed at lunchtime, however we arrived at about quarter to 12, so were able to nab one of their lovely booths, piling our packages on the seat beside us.
They always have great art in there. Right now, until December 10th, they have paintings by Toronto artist Francis Domingue.
Julie had a Thai chicken dish and I went with what I always end up choosing at The Queen Mother, their vegetarian grain and bean patty in a pita. Nom, nom.
We both love this restaurant in general, and have been here together before (written about in this post) but this particular day was made special by the exceptionally friendly service.
Thanks for reading. Wishing you a happy weekend.
Follow up : Nick and I did end up using our VIA Rail Voucher to go to Quebec City and had a wonderful time! We stayed in the old section. Read about our trip in these posts : Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. Thanks again to The Marilyn Denis Show and to VIA Rail for the gift!