This article was written in October 2010 for my first year journalism class. It was the first time I had ever set foot in a television studio, and I was so nervous to interview CTV senior anchor Gord Leclerc. Well, as you’ll find out, there was nothing at all to be nervous about – thanks Gord, for being a great role model, twitter pal and all-round good guy.
Profile: Gord Leclerc
He opens the main entrance door, locked for the night once reception leaves. The studio is dark, but the background newsroom has lighting enough to notice he is dressed in a suit jacket with a crisp white dress shirt, black tie and blue denim jeans. He smiles, “yes, I wear these behind the desk.”
Gord Leclerc, the senior news anchor on CTV Winnipeg, walks ahead while showcasing the studio after hours. Some journalists and camera people are still filing out and he personally introduces each one.
“I have a great team. I’m not the best anchor, or the smoothest,” he laughs, before finding a spot on a nearby couch and slumping down casually.
The half-suited anchorman grew up in The Pas, Manitoba, where his parents owned a restaurant and gas station. Even though the town was what Leclerc describes as “somewhat ignorant,” he enjoyed growing up in a place where “you could run around and be free.” It didn’t hinder him professionally either: after walking by a booth at a job fair, Leclerc applied and was accepted into Western Academy Broadcasting College in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
“I never refused an assignment,” says Leclerc, who worked in smaller markets such as Swift Current before joining the CTV Winnipeg news team in 1995. He got a job right out of college in what he calls, repeatedly, an “industry of egos.” But Leclerc’s varying tastes and interests set him apart and keep him grounded; “I like Motörhead and Judas Priest and, because of the girls, Justin Bieber.”
Leclerc’s girls are Rachel, 15, and Celina, 10, and the anchorman smiles when discussing them; “I’m definitely my kids’ dad first.”
Rachel, who just started high school, says that even though her dad seems serious on TV, “at home he is the complete opposite – super funny and jokes around a lot.” The teenager brings friends by the house often and even admits that her dad isn’t that bad of a clothes shopper.
“He took me to get my back-to-school clothes and probably picked out half of them.”
When asked about his fashion knowledge, Leclerc laughs and says, “the problem is, Rachel and I have such expensive taste.”
Many of Leclerc’s former co-anchors and college classmates have left the province or country for industry work. But the anchorman has no interest in doing so, despite a much larger paycheck.
“I live a comfortable life here,” he says. “And nothing beats a bike ride down Waverley Street.”
The father of two says people do recognize him while he’s out, and that it’s a welcome interaction since the community “invites [him] into their living rooms every night.”
Despite being in the public eye, Leclerc manages to maintain a certain level of privacy in regards to his personal life; “I don’t think people really care. Some people notice at events, but that’s all.”
What some have noticed is a newly solo Leclerc and a barren wedding ring finger. “I still get to see my girls though, we share them 50/50.”
Alan Biggar, 48, president of Big Country RV, is one of Leclerc’s new single friends.
“It’s crappy, but it’s another thing we have in common,” says the recent divorcee from a 27-year marriage. “He’s one of those guys, it doesn’t matter who the hell you are, he’ll have fun and get along with you.”
The two met accidentally, when their daughters were video calling through Skype. “I walked in and next thing you know, Gord and I are skyping,” says Biggar. “I’m there eating chips and Gord is drinking wine. We talk about our motorbikes.”
Leclerc discusses his love of bikes to close our interview; which has gone on long enough that the newsroom is almost deserted. As Leclerc walks me out, with hours-old make-up still on his face, giving him comically larger-than-life black eyebrows; we part with a solemn handshake.
“Take the job seriously, but never take yourself seriously.”