Sioux Lookout supports former resident on national cooking show
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
A crowd of supporters gathered at Dick’s Grillhouse on Sept. 19 to watch and support former Sioux Lookout resident Wendy McIsaac as she competes on the second season of CBC’s The Great Canadian Baking Show.
“This is amazing because she’s such an incredible person. She’s pretty dynamic, and she’s definitely someone that can win this too,” said Joan Cosco, who is a close friend with McIsaac and organized the viewing party at Dick’s Grillhouse.
Following the season premier, McIsaac Facetimed the group of supporters. She shared that seeing the group overflowed her heart with joy.
“My heart was bursting. It was amazing to see so many people and so many good friends supporting me. The friendships that I made there, they have lasted the last 18 years since I’ve left Sioux Lookout and they will last for the rest of my left...I really did have tears of joy in my eyes,” said McIsaac.
Originally from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, McIsaac lived in Sioux Lookout from 1994-2001 where she taught English and drama at Queen Elizabeth District High School. She was also the coordinator for Sioux Lookout’s anti-racism committee.
Due to a health-related circumstance in her family, McIsaac felt the need to be closer to her family and moved to Cornwall, Prince Edward Island, where she’s been living since.
Her life has consisted of building new friendships, keeping old connections, and continuing her baking. Her friendships, combined with her lifelong love for baking, helped prompt McIsaac to take advantage of an opportunity that didn’t originally cross her mind.
“I’ve always made a point of keeping connections. I’ve built connections here while maintaining friendships there, and I’ve been baking the whole way along,” she shared.
“I had so many friends say to me you got to do this. The day the show started receiving applications, my social media sites exploded with people sending me the information saying I have to do this. I probably wouldn’t have thought to do it if it wasn’t for all of them encouraging me to do this, and they’ve eaten lots of my baking throughout the years so that’s actually what prompted me to do it,” she continued.
The application led to an audition where her baking would be sampled by a group of judges who would then determine the shows’ contestants. Her baking left a good impression and earned McIsaac one of ten contestant spots for season two of CBC’s The Great Canadian Baking Show.
“I was very excited and I was very honoured as well. I just love to bake. I didn’t actually think my love for baking and baking journey, which started as a child watching my mother, would actually amount to this. It’s a really wonderful and exciting thing,” she said.
Filming and production was completed throughout the summer, but episodes will be airing until late December. When asked about her experience filming the show, McIsaac described it as stressful, but the environment is supportive despite the show being a competition.
“It’s a very intense experience and, in some ways, you realize that it’s actually isolating too in a way except that you have the complete support from the other bakers...When you’re actually there, you’re so focused and you really are in competition with yourself. When I watched the show the other night, I realized that there was things that I had no idea happened because I was so focused on the task in front of me,” she explained
“I have made some friendships through this experience that, without a doubt, will last long after the show has ended. I have no doubt about that in my mind...I’ve always said baking brings people together, and this experience just proved that beyond any doubt to me,” she continued.
Throughout her journey back east and on to the show, McIsaac keeps Sioux Lookout, and the friendships she has there, close to her heart. Her goal is to visit as early as next summer.
“Sioux Lookout is such a part of my life; it’s such a part of who I am. I made friendships there that are like family. The other night, to see everybody, I felt like I was home because Sioux Lookout will always be as much my home as Cape Breton and Cornwall. It’s amazing, and I’m very grateful. I am planning to get back to Sioux Lookout hopefully next summer. It’s time for a visit again and seeing everybody the other night reinforced that it’s time to be with all those people. Maybe I’ll bake a cake,” she jokingly concluded.
The Great Canadian Baking Show airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST (8:30 NT) on CBC, the CBC TV streaming app and https://watch.cbc.ca/.