Moving in 1966 to Toronto she appeared in the 1967 Spring Thaw and starred on CTV's 'River Inn' 1968-9 and 'The Catherine McKinnon Show' 1970-1. She also was co-host in 1974 for Global TV's 'Everything Goes' and has been seen on TV in Great Britain. Though she began her career as a folksinger - her first LP and substantially her biggest seller, Voice of an Angel, was a collection of folk material - she became a skilled nightclub performer in the 1970s, adding ballads, torch songs, and contemporary folk material to her repertoire. Her voice was described by Peter Goddard (Toronto Telegram, 18 Oct 1969) as 'rich, controlled, completely sure in its sense of pitch' and later drew from Blaik Kirby the recollection that it was 'a sound so ravishingly beautiful you could worship it' (Toronto Globe and Mail, 8 Apr 1976).
McKinnon also has sung in concert with the Saskatoon and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras and the Hamilton Philharmonic. In 1972 she played the artist Emily Carr in the CBC TV musical The Wonder of It All, written by her husband, Don Harron, in collaboration with Norman Campbell. Her work in the theatre, which in the 1980s (and often alongside Harron) became the focus of her career, has included roles in several revues and at the Charlottetown Festival (Turvey, 1970; My Many Husbands, 1982), the Rainbow Stage (Wizard of Oz, 1970; My Fair Lady, 1975), and Theatre Plus, Toronto (as Marg Osburne in Don Messer's Jubilee, 1989). She has also taken dramatic roles with Harron at Theatre New Brunswick in Fredericton, and the Neptune Theatre in Halifax.
McKinnon sang on several LPs issued in the 1960s and 1970s by Arc, including cast recordings from 'Singalong Jubilee' (AS-608 and AS-659) and the CNE Grandstand show Sea to Sea (CNE-68), two volumes of Voice of an Angel (AS-628 and AS-666), I'll Be Home for Christmas (AC-27), Both Sides Now (AS-777), and Everybody's Talkin' (AS-814). She also made two LPs titled Catherine McKinnon (RCI 448 and Intercan IC-1002), the latter issued in 1980. Sales of several of her Arc LPs made McKinnon one of the leading Canadian pop singers of the day.
McKinnon's sister, Patrician Anne (b Shilo, Man, 17 Mar 1948), made her TV debut in Halifax at 14, recorded the minor hit 'Blue Lipstick' at 16, and sang on many CBC programs including 'Music Hop' and, for 11 years, 'Singalong Jubilee'. Her career was interrupted in 1973 by a battle with cancer. The release in 1984 of the LP Patrician Anne (Tembo TMT-4326), which included the popular 'Suddenly,' signalled her return to performance.
Author Maria Corvin
LeBlanc, Larry. 'Hey, look me over,' Toronto The City, 25 Nov 1979
'Beginnings: Catherine McKinnon,' Today, 20 Sep 1980
Links to Other Sites
A profile of entertainer Catherine McKinnon from the canoe.ca website.