Miss Canada, a beauty pageant for young Canadian women, was initially founded in Hamilton in 1945. However, Winnifred Blair of Saint John was declared the first Miss Canada on February 11, 1923, at an earlier, unrelated competition during the Montreal Winter Carnival. Muriel Harper of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was the runner-up in that event.
No title was awarded between 1993 and 2008, but the Miss Canada and Miss Teen Canada website states that the title was later re-established, emphasizing personality over physical appearance. Miss Canada competition holds the distinction of being the country’s oldest existing beauty pageant.
The Miss Canada pageant’s first broadcast took place in 1963 on CTV, featuring news anchors Peter Jennings and Baden Langton as hosts. Jennings continued as a solo host until 1966 and was succeeded by game show host Jim Perry, who hosted until 1990. Dominique Dufour, the 1981 Miss Canada winner, co-hosted with Perry from 1982 to 1990. Peter Feniak and Liz Grogan hosted the final pageant, which aired in late 1991.
In 1978, the Miss Canada Pageant obtained the Miss Universe Pageant franchise, sending that year’s first runner-up, Andrea Leslie Eng, to compete internationally. From 1979 until the final contest, all Miss Canada winners participated in the Miss Universe Pageant, with Miss Canada 1982, Karen Baldwin, being the only Miss Canada to win the Miss Universe title. From 2003, Canada’s representative to Miss Universe has been chosen through the Miss Universe Canada pageant.
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