You likely know Rick Campanelli as co-host of ET Canada or in his past role as a MuchMusic VJ. Throughout his Canadian broadcasting career, he has interviewed countless individuals and remained involved in current affairs, all while continuing to give back to his community. Joining the Children’s Aid Foundation as co-host at this year’s Teddy Bear Affair: Viva Italia, we took a few minutes to speak with Rick regarding his investment in vulnerable kids, what it means to be Canadian, and what he loves most about Italian culture.
Children’s Aid Foundation: You’ve interviewed many great Canadians. On a global scale, what makes Canada different?
Rick Campanelli: It’s funny, I had this discussion with American documentarian Michael Moore last week at TIFF. He says that Canadians always think about others first whereas Americans just think about themselves all the time. I do think that most Canadians put others first and are genuinely concerned with how “the other guy” is doing. Plus, we are definitely better hockey players!
CAF: Having been involved with other charitable organizations, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned about the human spirit in the face of adversity?
RC: That we never give up even in the toughest of times. We are resilient and always bounce back from tragedy. We [humans] are a tough lot and continue to move forward.
CAF: Why is philanthropy, particularly in support of vulnerable kids, important?
RC: Kids are so innocent, they haven’t fully lived life yet; there’s still so much to come for them. They are the future of our world and the future decision makers. My heart goes out to any child who is suffering in life — that just isn’t fair at all.
CAF: What did access to post-secondary education mean to you?
RC: I always knew I was going to go to university after high school. All of my older siblings went and I was of course expected to as well. It was an amazing four years for me at Brock University that really shaped me into the person I am today. I met a lot of great people and my professors were some of the best in the business.
CAF: You’re hosting this year’s Teddy Bear Affair: Viva Italia. As a member of the Italian-Canadian community, what’s your favourite thing about Italian culture?
RC: Where to start? OK here I go, in no particular order: the food, the soccer, the language, the beautiful piazzas, the coastlines, the cars, the fashion, bocci ball, the passion Italians have, the espresso, the wine, the old churches and of course Roberto Benigni.
CAF: Anything else to add about the upcoming Teddy Italy or the Children’s Aid Foundation?
RC: I am so excited to be co-hosting Teddy Italy! The Children’s Aid Foundation is such a worthy organization and I’m honoured to be involved. Ciao for now!