Eramelinda Boquer, the longtime Montreal broadcaster who is currently heard as the weather specialist on CJAD’s Andrew Carter Morning Show, will be this year’s recipient of the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) Montreal Woman of the Year Award. The announcement took place on March 8 – International Women’s Day – and she will officially receive the award at a ceremony that will take place on May 4 at the Gesu theatre on Bleury Street.
“When I received the phone call from Amber Goldfarb of the ACTRA Women’s Committee, who told me that I was nominated for the award, I was sort of in a state of shock; my first reaction was to say ‘sorry, what did you just say?!?’. I never expected to receive this award, but is indeed a big honour for me,” said Ms. Boquer in a recent interview.
According to Elizabeth Neale from the ACTRA Women’s Committee, the award was established by Cary Lawrence, the first chair of the Women’s Committee, to highlight women in the Montreal acting community who enrich the industry with not only their artistic achievements, but also their achievements in advocacy and volunteerism. Nominees for this award are chosen according to the following criteria: a female identifying member of ACTRA Montreal; has worked towards forwarding the cause of gender equality and parity within the recorded media industry; has made significant contributions within the recorded media industry; and cannot have a role within the governance of ACTRA.
Ms. Boquer is the ninth recipient of the ACTRA Montreal Woman of the Year Award, joining past recipients such as Lucinda Davis, Felicia Shulman and Dawn Ford. She will be recognized not only for her lengthy career in radio, film, TV, commercials, documentaries and animated series, but also how she has been constantly energized by community involvement, and fueled by creative expression in her professional and personal life, not to mention how she used her years as a community volunteer as a means to overcome negativity and find a deep sense of hope, strength and energy through positive action. Some of the organizations and causes that have benefitted from her strong commitment as a community and social volunteer include the Shield of Athena – which earned her the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal — the Freedom from Poverty Foundation and Dreams Take Flight.
“I have enjoyed my years in the media very much, because I loved that sense of creativity that has sparked my curiosity,” she said. “As well, I got to meet a wide variety of interesting people, from Sting to astronaut David St. Jacques, because they were extraordinary people who have done extraordinary things, and have inspired me to do more. Having a voice in the media gives me the responsibility to be the change I want to see in the world.”
Influenced by the impact of radio and television at an early age (“I saw them as magic boxes that transported me to new places where I could dare to do things I never dreamed of,” she added), Ms. Boquer kicked off her career at the tender age of 19, while she was part of the National Arts Center Students Young Company in her native Ottawa. The Moscow Circus troupe was in town for an engagement and she opted to join their touring company instead of going onto theatre school.
When she returned from this real-life version of running away to join the circus, Ms. Boquer became an immediate local celebrity, and was interviewed by CBC Radio to discuss her experiences touring with the Moscow Circus. This became the catalyst for her multi-faceted media career, with an impressive list of credits that included production assistant on the cult Ottawa-based kids’ TV show “You Can’t Do That on Television” (which included a young Alanis Morrissette as part of its cast); a member of the production crew when the political thriller “The Sum of All Fears” (which starred Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman) filmed on location at the Olympic Stadium; stints on Canada’s Weather Network, CTV, CBC and Global television; reporter for CFGO and CBC Ottawa; one-half of the “James Gang” on 990 Hits; traffic reporter for Virgin Radio Montreal; and co-host with Al Gravelle of the popular CJAD entertainment program “Al & Era”, where they interviewed a wide range of celebrities such as Eric Idle, Jon Stewart, Drew Carey and Scott Thompson.
These days, when she is not giving her unique take forecasting the weather every morning on CJAD, Ms. Boquer also devotes her time as a Communications Consultant and Performance Coach for BDH Collective, an organization whose clients include Baton Rouge, Champlain Regional College and Beaver Tails.
“Working with BDH Collective is like an adventure for me. It gives me the opportunity to use all the experiences I have gained over the years to help me create new things, so that I can help people find their voice, not to mention clarify who they are and what their mission is,” she said.
All these years as a visible media personality and an agent for change through her volunteerism to the community at large has taught Ms. Boquer many valuable lessons towards helping others and helping herself.
“The purest value for any person is to inspire people and help them elevate themselves to a level where they can have more power and joy in their lives,” she said. “When you see an opportunity … take it. Don’t be afraid of what everyone else is going to say; be more afraid of how you feel if you don’t grab that amazing chance.”