People and Places

Growing Pains’ star Alan Thicke on growing up in Ottawa

“America’s Dad” Alan Thicke, best known as the star of the sitcom Growing Pains, was born in Ontario’s Kirkland Lake, but spent Grade 7 and early high school in Ottawa while his father went to medical school at Rockcliffe Air Base (the former CFB Ottawa North).

Alan Thicke passed away on December 13, 2016. He was 69. The following quotes are from an interview Ottawa Magazine did with Thicke a few months ago for a special issue.

Thicke spoke fondly about his memories of growing up in Ottawa.

Alan Thicke on working at Lansdowne Park —

“I used to sell peanuts at Lansdowne Park and then dump my tray of peanuts at half time to watch the [Rough Riders] game. I saw all the games. My buddies and I would go down there. You had to line up in a pack of people and get chosen to sell peanuts in the stands. If you were lucky enough to be chosen — and we were, as regulars — you’d go to work. We usually sold our quota by half time and then just bailed and watched the game.”

Alan Thicke on being taught by local CFL legend —

“I could never be more grateful for the upbringing and education I got in Ottawa (first) at Rockcliffe Air Base. I also loved Rideau High School. One of my highlights was that Russ Jackson — he was our standout Ottawa Rough Rider quarterback (three Grey Cups between ‘58 and ‘69) — was our math teacher. He wasn’t even my math teacher, but his homeroom was down at the end of the hall, and I used to make a point of trying to walk by that space as often as I could just to get a look at Russ… The fact that a legendary, Hall of Fame QB could possibly be at my school was a highlight.”

This article first appeared in The BIG 150 — a special edition celebrating Canada’s birthday in the capital.