Business Reporter by Day, Danforth Resident by Night
by Christelle Agboka
Dianne Buckner, host of Dragon’s Den and longtime Danforth resident
Over the course of 20+ years as a writer, reporter and producer, Danforth-resident Dianne Buckner has become a trusted face in Canadian business journalism. As a young graduate of Ryerson University’s journalism program, Buckner could not have imagined finding her passion as a business news writer, reporter and producer. She also figured she’d work in magazine journalism, saying, “I just sort of fluked into television, really.”
In the early years of her career, Buckner worked as a host for various CTV news programs. In 1991, looking for a change, she applied for a reporter position at Venture, a long-running, award-winning CBC business affairs program. Despite her limited business expertise or focus at that time, Buckner jumped at the opportunity, and, happily, found her niche as a journalist. She would eventually become Venture’s host and executive producer, building on this skill set post-Venture as co-creator, host and producer of Fortune Hunter, a program on entrepreneurs.
At present, Buckner is juggling several roles, including reporting on high-profile business stories as a CBC News’ Business team member; writing a weekly small business column on cbc.ca; appearing as a host on Dragon’s Den, CBC’s successful reality program in which entrepreneurs present business ideas to potential investors; and guest anchoring on other CBC news shows.
To date, Buckner counts her work on Dragon’s Den as a career highlight. It isn’t her first time on a popular show, as Venture and Live It Up! were also well received. However, Dragon’s Den is a show people can (and do) watch with their kids and enjoy as a family. Buckner enthuses, “It’s very nice to be associated with a show that people love. Lots of people absolutely love Dragon’s Den.”
There’s No Place Like Home: Life on the Danforth
Dianne Buckner at a taping of Dragon’s Den
Working as a CBC business reporter over the years has developed both Buckner’s love of business and her taste for travel. With Venture, for instance, she was able to visit Australia, Iceland, the Netherlands and Japan. For this world traveler, however, there is no place like her Danforth home.
Buckner is a long-time Danforth resident, having found an affordable apartment in the Broadview/Danforth area through a journalism school friend in the ‘80s. Buckner loved the neighbourhood so much that when she and her husband were buying a house they decided to stay. Although she grew up in Scarborough, she’s always had a Danforth connection, as her parents attended Danforth Tech, a local high school, and went to dances at St. Barnabus Church.
Buckner appreciates the Danforth for its convenient location, close to downtown and close to a subway. Its proximity to a park and good schools has also made it an appealing area in which to raise her son and daughter, now teenagers. With her hectic schedule, it also helps that the Danforth is “like a little village” and she doesn’t have to drive everywhere.
On the weekends, Buckner loves to frequent Riverdale Perk for a latte, stroll the streets of the Danforth, and have dinner at a Danforth-area restaurant such as the new Pizzeria Libretto. Her family has also taken advantage of the Danforth’s offerings, as her husband plays hockey with friends at the East York arena every Friday and her daughter takes ballet at Pegasus Studios. Furthermore, her son worked as a rink guard at a local arena for several years.
Buckner cites a conversation with relatives from rural Manitoba who asked her how she likes living in the city. At the time she responded, “There’s a baseball field, a soccer field, a playground. You can walk up to the corner store. Everyone knows each other and greets each other. It’s kind of like living in a small town in the big city.”