CTV Ottawa's Leigh Chapple says goodbye
It was the end of an era at CTV Ottawa as Leigh Chapple sat behind the anchor desk for the last time on Friday night.
Chapple began at the station 36 years ago this week in Pembroke before moving to the nation's capital and had some words for her city as she signed off for the final time.
"If you need help in the city there is always someone there to grab your hand, point the way or find someone who can," she said. "The people of the Ottawa region truly care; it's a big reason why I love this city, I call it home and I have never wanted to live anywhere else."
"For the very last time I just want to say to you, for all of us on the night side, thank you for watching, goodnight, good morning and goodbye."
Chapple got her start in television at age 19 after graduating from Ottawa's Algonquin College, where she has taught part-time for 15 years.
"Leigh has been a mentor to so many, she has really taken all our students under her wing from the get-go - she trained, quite simply, everyone," said CTV Ottawa's Leanne Cusack.
A nominee for the Premier's Award, Chapple was named one of the capital's Top 50 people by Ottawa Magazine in 2003 and was Consumer Choice's 2004 Woman of the Year.
She has hosted Regional Contact, the weekend newscast and most recently the News at 11:30, where she said her final farewell to viewers.
"Local TV will be extrememly different without Leigh Chapple, she's pulled a long, hard shift for many many years and she's done it with grace," said CTV Ottawa's Carol Anne Meehan.
"We're all excited for Leigh as she gets set for her next chapter but before she leaves the anchor desk we want to take a look back at her long career with CTV News," said CTV Ottawa news director Peter Angione.
"I'll never forget the first day I walked into the newsroom at our old studios on Merivale Road; the first on-air personality I saw was Leigh," said Michael O'Byrne. "I remember saying to myself ‘Wow, that's Leigh Chapple' and I've been in awe every since."
Chapple said it's been an honour to spend her time at the station, starting at a very different time when few women were working in Canadian newsrooms and even fewer were on-air.
"Nowadays our reach may be global but our heart is local; I remember right after our signal became available on satellite an Ottawa snowbird in Florida called after a newscast to thank me for letting him know his house back home was safe." she said on the News at 6. "Our coverage of a fire on the street that night showed his neighbour's house gone but his still standing."
"It's the people that make Ottawa great; they're why I love this city . . . I'd like to thank you for letting me into your home every night to help tuck you into bed and give you assurances tomorrow will be a better day."