Fonds F0575 - Dini Petty fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Dini Petty fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Sound recording
  • Moving images
  • Object

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Dates of creation area


  • 1945-2008, predominant 1989-1999 (Creation)
    Petty, Dini

Physical description area

Physical description

3.12 metres of textual materials
982 video reels : col., sd. ; 25 mm
1636 video cassettes : col., Digital Betacam, sd.
213 photographs : col. and b&w ; 25.4 x 20 cm and smaller
173 photographs : col. ; mounted ; 34 x 17 cm and 31 x 21 cm.
102 photographic negatives : col. and b&w ; 35mm.
19 videocassettes: VHS, U-Matic, Beta
5 posters
9 mounted plaques and awards
6 miniDV videocassettes
2 DVDs
5 compact disks
3 computer disks
1 audio cassette

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Dini Petty (b. 15 January 1945) is a Canadian broadcaster, television personality and talk show host. Born in England, her family emigrated to Canada when she was four months old. In her early childhood Petty moved with her parents and two siblings to various cities in Canada and the United States, including the Rockcliffe neighbourhood in Ottawa, Ontario, Galt, Ontario, Baltimore, Maryland, and Danbury Connecticut, until settling in Toronto at the age of eleven where Dini Petty's mother Molly started a modeling agency with Sylvia Train , Producers' Services and her father Gord opened one of the country's first animation houses, Film Technique. Petty attended Park Lawn Public School in Etobicoke, and the Brown School and North Toronto Collegiate in Toronto. Petty has remarked that "I got thrown out of every high school I went to, for talking. No one mentioned this could be a career move."

As an adolescent, Petty worked as a model for her mother's agency working in local commercials, photo shoots and documentaries ("Who is Sylvia", 1957) under the name Diana Kerr (her mother's maiden name). She married at 18 and worked in Peterson Productions (one of Canada's first commercial studios). In 1968, Petty was approached by CKEY radio employee Tommy Vradenberg to join the company. Petty had been active in the Toronto Parachute Club as a skydiver and as a result, CKEY thought she would be a good candidate to fly the company's helicopter to report the morning weather and traffic for the city of Toronto. Petty acquired her pilot's license and became known as "The Girl in the Pink Helicopter" as the radio station developed a marketing strategy around Petty in which she dressed in pink, rode a pink helicopter and drove a pink car while on the job. Petty was a traffic reporter for CKEY for several years before giving birth to her first child, at which point she took a job at CITYTV in 1979, where she hosted a phone-in show titled "HELP", later reworked as "Sweet City Woman" which eventually developed into "City Line". She also worked as a reporter for City Pulse news along with Gord Martineau, Colin Vaughan, Peter Silverman, Anne Mroczkowski and Jojo Chintoh.

Dini has received the Jaycees nomination for "Outstanding Canadian." She was one of three finalists in the 1980 ACTRA awards for "best TV Documentary Writer". Her series "Incest: Scandal in the Family", won the silver medal in the nation-wide Can Pro Awards in 1980. In 1981 her documentary "Having A Baby" (which followed her own pregnancy and the birth of her son) won the gold medal at Can Pro, plus the "Award of Excellance", the highest award for the Can Pro festival. She was also nominated for "best TV documentary writer" in the 1981 ACTRA awards.

Petty anchored CITY-TV'scurrent affairs program CityWide from May 1987 to 1989 when she left to work for CFTO-TV, which launched The Dini Petty Show. Directed by Randy Gulliver, The Dini Petty show ran from 1989 to 1999. A reflection of the popular culture at the time, the daily talk show featured interviews with actors, authors, singers and performers. The show received the NATPE (National Association of Television Program Executives) International Iris Award in 1992 for an hour-long interview with Red Skelton, as well as Gemini Awards for best host (awarded in 1992, nominated in 1997 and 1998), a Can-Pro Award in 1997 for a one hour interview with Sara Ferguson, Duchess of York. Petty's contract ended with CTV in 2000 which led to a legal case that resulted in Petty being awarded the broadcast tapes of "The Dini Petty Show".

Dini Petty continued to contribute and develop documentary television as well as contributing to charitable causes such as the Coats for Kids campaign, the Pregnancy Youth Line and the Christian Children's Fund projects related to children, and as a spokesperson for Amnesty International. Petty has also written a best-selling children's book "The Queen, The Bear and The Bumblebee" which has been translated into three languages and developed into a musical by The Children's Group. She continues to speak publicly and in recently toured her one-woman show, A Broad View in Canada.

Custodial history

Accessions 2010-026 and 2010-070 were originally deposited in the University of Toronto's Media Commons and were transferred to the York University Archives in 2010.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the personal and professional records of broadcaster, television personality and talk show host Dini Petty, including broadcast and preservation tapes of episodes of "The Dini Petty Show" (1989-1999), audience member waiver contracts, binders listing episode information and promotional photographs of Dini Petty with various guests including local, Canadian and international celebrities, public figures, journalists, actors, musicians, artists, politicians and performers. Also includes Petty's personal family records, memoirs, documentation and photographs related to her training as a helicopter pilot, her work as a journalist and on-air personality at CITY TV, promotional photographs, news clippings and magazine articles, CVs, promotional material and production tapes for documentaries on incest, "Having a Baby" and other news casts and television documentaries. Also includes drafts, promotional materials, illustrations and other content related to Petty's children's book "The Queen, The Bear and the Bumblebee", script and production material related to Petty's one woman show, contracts and tapes of Petty's work on Pear's shampoo commercials, poetry, biographical information and legal documents related to lawsuits with Air France as well as plaques, awards and tributes.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Dini Petty and Uwe Petroschke in 2010.


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Restrictions on access

Access restrictions apply (participant waiver forms and legal documents). See series level description.

Some material is located off-site and requests for access must be made in advance of your visit to the archives.

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The fonds comprises the following accessions: 2010-026, 2010-070. Further accruals may be expected.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

2011/11/28 Anna St.Onge and Michael Moir:. (Creation)
2011/11/28 Awaiting review by the Data Collection Archivist
2012/05/02 Anna St.Onge. Final updates, grammar checks.
2012/11/05 Anna St.Onge. Updated immediate source of acquisition to reflect involvement of Uwe Petroschke.
2014/07/22 Migrated to AtoM
2019/04/16 KCP. Added offsite storage note.
2020/03/26 KCP, N. Somerset. Added subject access points.
2020/04/23 KCP. Post-migration metadata clean-up. Addition of GMD and accession numbers. Created series.

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