a peek inside the fishbowl

22 Mar, 2013

A bit about Polkaroo and a brand new gig

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Publishing/writing/career stuff

My first job out of university was with a non-profit organization called the Media Awareness Network. It was 1995, and I had a freshly printed journalism degree but no clear idea how I was going to use it. My job at MNET included some writing, and research, and HTML coding of our many resources and uploading them to something called the WORLD WIDE WEB.

I was rummaging in some old boxes the other day when I found this old photo. It was from one of the highlights of my time at MNET (now known as MediaSmarts.ca). I had the opportunity to travel to Toronto to help demonstrate a video game we’d created. While I was there I got to meet Bob Homme a.k.a The Friendly Giant (who told some good stories about Rusty the Rooster), and have my photo taken with this elusive fellow:

Yes that is PolkaROO

It’s Polkaroo! That’s me on the right by the way.

If you watched TVO between 1971 and 1993 you might remember him from Polka Dot Door. The show had a male and female host and Polkaroo would appear during a segment but only if one of them was absent for some reason. HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS. And the co-host (I think it was always the guy) would return just after Polkaroo’s departure. Of course, as a kid, I’d be collapsing in exasperation on the shag carpet in my polyester pantsuit, yelling “YOU MISSED HIM AGAAAAAIN” and watching on helplessly as the adults tried to figure out what had just happened.

Why couldn’t adults just move a little faster? Or keep their eyes peeled??

So, yes. My first job – and Polkaroo – were among those life-defining experiences that helped shape me into the person I am today. I’ve always remembered my time at MNET fondly, and that’s why I’m EXTRA pleased to tell you that as of today I’m back with MediaSmarts as the brand new MediaSmarts Mom. I’m so excited. One of the things I’ll be doing is contributing to their excellent blog on a regular basis. In fact, you can read my first post right here. :)

8 Responses to "A bit about Polkaroo and a brand new gig"

1 | Loukia

March 22nd, 2013 at 3:27 pm


Congrats on the gig, Andrea! :)

2 | Gwen

March 22nd, 2013 at 3:31 pm


Congrats, Andrea! I have fond memories of The Polka Dot Door :)

3 | Brenda A

March 22nd, 2013 at 3:44 pm


Nice! I loved Polka Dot Door and still have dreams about it! Bear, Humpty, Dumpty and Marigold really did talk for those non-believers.

4 | coffeewithjulie

March 22nd, 2013 at 4:13 pm


Congrats on a great gig! MediaSmarts does wonderful work, and of course, was smart to select you as their Media Mom!

5 | Brie

March 22nd, 2013 at 5:40 pm


Awesome. What a great fit!

6 | KJT

March 22nd, 2013 at 7:01 pm


Congratulations, Andrea! It’s nice to picture you back there with that great crew. Give my best to Cathy and Jane.

7 | Marianna Annadanna

March 23rd, 2013 at 8:20 am


Polkaroo! Polkaroo! I loved this as a kid. Watched it with my nana and papa after dinner. But Mineu was my fav – I even named my big orange cat after him.

8 | Sarah McCormack

March 24th, 2013 at 8:36 am



as a family, we watched Polka Dot Door all the time when i was young- funny how the man and Polkaroo were never on at the same time …..hmmmmmmmmm?

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (17) and Sarah (15). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times, and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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