Skip To Content

    13 Reasons Canada Dominated '90s Children's TV Shows

    The golden age of TV everywhere, tbh.

    1. '90s YTV Wackiness


    Yes, the station is still around today, but '90s YTV was YTV at its prime. As YTV blossomed in that decade, it adopted a gooey, splatter-y, gross-out culture —encompassed in its "Keep it Weird" tagline — that worked like magic on us '90s kids.

    You were essentially being talked to by a CHEWED UP WAD OF GUM, but you just couldn't imagine your life without Snit.

    2. The Zones (Both Breakfast and Regular)


    Before Netflix and PVRs, there were The Breakfast Zone and The Zone.

    In the morning and after school, you tuned in in your favourite PJs. You memorized the lineups, and you knew exactly what time you had to settle in with your bowl of Trix to catch Rugrats.

    3. Local Game Shows


    The best part of Uh Oh! was that you (regular everyday commoner you!) actually had a chance of being on this show, stepping into the Punisher booth, and getting slimed.

    Even if you never made it on air, you've probably heard of a friend of a friend who still has their T-shirt.

    4. All The Smashing Intro Music


    ♪ ♫ Skinnamarinky dinky dink, Skinnamarinky dooooo ♩

    Don't even pretend like you don't know the next line.

    And the actions.

    Sharon, Lois, and Bram were our generation's The Wiggles. And they had an elephant.

    5. The Peppering In Of Our Now (In)Famous PSAs

    Concerned Children's Advertisers / Via

    Nothing beats a good '90s Canadian PSA.

    From scarring us for life with a wacked-out puppet carrying a jumble of needles, to convincing an entire generation of the validity of House Hippos, Concerned Children's Advertisers didn't disappoint and DGAF.

    6. Two Words: Mr. Dressup


    OK, the '90s definitely don't own Mr. Dressup, but our generation was the last to experience new episodes... and you really can't talk about Canadian Children's shows without a nod to Ernie Coombs.

    You made crafts, sang songs, visited the trading post, and rustled through the Tickle Trunk right alongside him. It wasn't all bright colours and striking animation, but this show was always delightful to your preschool-self. (And maybe your much-older-than-preschool-self. Whatever.)

    7. Computer Animation


    In a time before now, aka the utter dominance of computer animation, Canadian kids had ReBoot.

    It was boxy, and clunky, and totally '90s, but it was new and exciting back then. Plus, we all wanted to see what happened to Mainframe.

    8. PUPPETS. All. The. Puppets.


    The early '90s were the prime puppet era. I think it's safe to say that 98%* of Canadian preschool programming consisted of full-grown adults and crazy-looking puppets.

    AND WE LOVED IT. We probably should have been terrified of some of the creatures, but nope. Adults + weird anthropomorphic puppets = a winning combination.

    *Not actual data.

    9. Shows That Pushed The Envelope


    Ready or Not wasn't afraid to showcase some of the tougher issues facing young girls in the '90s. Aside from bras and boys, the show hinted at a potential, though unexplored, sexual relationship between the two main characters.

    10. Shows That Gave You A Thrill


    OK, let's be honest... Are You Afraid Of The Dark and Goosebumps were more likely to give you lasting nightmares than a simple thrill.

    But that was the best part.

    11. We Were Treated To Some Really Great Imagination

    Treehouse TV

    Franklin had a delightfully earthy feel to its animation.

    The colours were vivid and bold and you kind of wanted to jump into the screen and run around the forest with him and Bear.

    By the way, this is what Franklin looks like now ...

    Treehouse TV

    The travesty.

    12. We Got To "Clown Around"

    Treehouse TV
    Treehouse TV

    With Loonette and Molly, a clown and her dolly...

    ...OK, I'll stop.

    But seriously, who didn't aspire to (and even try) the Ten Second Tidy?

    13. And Finally, We Were Introduced To Some Of Canada's Future Stars


    Namely, Ryan Gosling.

    Long before Gosling was making us say "But I'm a bird too, Ryan!" in The Notebook, he popped up in Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, Goosebumps, and — of course — Breaker High. All of the Canadian gems that defined '90s TV.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form