Each morning, Jennifer Valentyne takes viewers outside the studio as she travels to locations in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond with LiveEye on Breakfast Television, Toronto’s #1 morning show on City. On any given day Jenn can be found fearlessly conquering CN Tower’s EdgeWalk, braving the Polar Bear Dip in frigid Lake Ontario, or pushing her body to the limits with the Marine Corps “O Course Crucible” test. On the Go caught up with Jenn to get the scoop on how she spends her summer season.
Is there a particular place that best captures summertime for you and your family?
The beach! Right where my family lives definitely captures summer the best. I live in the beaches, but we call it “The Beach.” We walk the boardwalk and go in the stores; we ride our bikes, rollerblade and swim in the lake.
Do you have any summer traditions from your childhood that have been carried on to your family?
We have a picnic every year that is also a family reunion on my side. It’s been going on for years, but instead of a picnic we call it a “Peck-nic” as the family name is Peck (my maiden name). Family from all over the world travel to Toronto for the annual event, including family from Dubai. It gets everyone together and it’s really the one time we see each other all year.
Have you created any summer traditions with your own family?
Something we do every summer is play backyard movies, inviting our neighbours and their children. We have a screen and a projector and show movies like E.T or Back to the Future. We like to show classics the kids may have never seen; movies we loved when we were kids. We transform the backyard into an outside theatre, putting the movie porter on an easel, and serving popcorn to the kids. Then my husband Greg and I go outside and watch our own adult movie. Not one of those movies! But you know what I mean.
What’s your favourite summertime memory?
I remember when I was about six years old and went to Disney World with my family. My mom passed away when I was a teenager, so memories of my mom in the summer and being on vacation with my entire family are really special.
How does your work as LiveEye host differ from winter to summer?
Winter is time for skating and tobogganing and other outdoor shows. I jump in Lake Ontario for the Polar Bear Dip to celebrate the first day of winter every year, but in the summer we like to do fun shows we’ve never done before. I did an old military style challenge down at Polson Pier, carrying buckets of sand, going through dirty water under a fence, jumping over logs and climbing ropes. It was so much fun. My favourite summer LiveEyes are when we visit small towns — I just went to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and received a warm welcome from everyone, even found a few Breakfast Television viewers.
Tell us more about your most recent trip to Canada’s east coast.
We were along the waterfront in Pictou and Lunenburg, and in Charlottetown we were on the beach. I went oyster fishing, which is something I’ve never done before. How many people can say they’ve gone oyster fishing? I also went sea kayaking, deep sea fishing and visited Peggy’s Cove. The hospitality was amazing. Sharon’s, a restaurant in Pictou, made breakfast for our entire crew, and the Maritime chef Alain Bossé treated our team to a backyard barbeque. You always meet the greatest people in small towns, and that’s why I love summer.
How did you start with City? Who is the “Prize Queen?”
I started as a student intern at MuchMusic on weekends while I was attending school. After graduation, I secured a full-time computer graphics job. I also started doing on-air promotions and that’s how I became the “Citytv Prize Queen.” I wore a sequinned dress and crown, and gave out prizes on-air at the end of Speakers Corner.
Being live on location everyday can be unpredictable. Tell us about the funniest/most memorable moment while being live on-air?
Rapelling down City Hall. I was so scared that during the commercial break I made Kevin and Dina talk to me in my ear the whole way down, but when the camera came on it gave me the courage to face my fears.
Give us three things people don’t know about you?
1. I wanted to be a truck driver when I was a kid.
2. I have found more than 100 four leaf clovers, and one was in Ireland.
3. If my husband had taken my last name, he would be Gregory Peck.