In predictable fashion, Lloyd Robertson’s signoff on his final newscast Thursday night didn’t change from the one he has used for years.
In saying, “That’s the kind of day it’s been” Mr. Robertson ended his four-decade-plus career as the longest national news anchor in North America.
He did take a few minutes at the end of the half-hour newscast to reminisce about the stories he’s handled; the natural disasters, Olympics and royal weddings.
The 77-year-old talked of his time as anchor calling it a rare privilege to have “a front row seat to history.”
Mr. Robertson talked about watching Canada grow over the years “in confidence and stature” and he said “thank you a thousand times over” to Canadians who sent him messages and talked of watching him deliver the news over the generations.
He showed no visible signs of emotion during his last newscast, though during a commercial break off camera he generated much laughter in the newsroom when he joked that he was halfway through the broadcast and his palms were getting sweaty.
Mr. Robertson said in an earlier interview that he didn’t want to steal the spotlight away from the daily news. It was something he stuck to, aside from starting Thursday night’s broadcast with the greeting: “Good evening, one last time for CTV National News.”
In pretaped tributes, political leaders wished him well.
“You have been delivering the news since I was a barely more than a boy,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “You have been doing it for so long and so authoritatively you have almost become part of Canada’s geography and I know that Canadians from coast to coast are going to miss you.”
Bob Rae, the Liberal interim leader, talked of Mr. Robertson’s integrity and called him a friend.
CTV played Thanks for the Memories at the end of his show and Mr. Robertson smiled and exhaled audibly as it ended.
Backstage, there was a round of applause from the staff as they popped champagne and posed for photos.
The Stratford, Ont., native has anchored CTV’s nightly national newscast for 35 years and he spent six years prior to that at the helm of CBC’s nightly news broadcast.
That run stands as the longest for a national network news anchor in North America – by comparison, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw each spent roughly 22 years as national news anchors (though Mr. Jennings had a previous three-year stint on his résumé as well), while Dan Rather spent 24 years at the helm of the CBS Evening News.
While Mr. Robertson is passing off the anchor torch to his colleague Lisa LaFlamme, he will continue to contribute to the news magazine series W5.
His final newscast was preceded by And That’s the Kind of Life It’s Been, a one-hour documentary about the journalist directed by Mr. Robertson’s daughter, Lisa.