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The 2021 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest will be the 65th edition of the annual song competition organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The semi-finals will be held on Tuesday, May 18 and Thursday, May 20, followed by the final on Saturday, May 22, all originating from Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
In Canada, Rogers Communications' multicultural TV service Omni Television (sometimes stylized "OMNI") holds broadcast rights to the event, as it has since the 2019 edition. Omni is available over-the-air in major cities including Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver, and is also a must-carry channel for all packages, even "skinny" basic, on Canadian cable, satellite, and fibre-based TV providers (though with an important caveat for Quebec, as we'll explain further down). Omni's broadcast includes some advertising breaks, at least one of which has been poorly-timed (though they insist it won't happen again).
Omni also says that all three nights of the event will be available to stream live on its website, OmniTV.ca. It does not appear that a TV service subscription will be required to stream, but it will be geo-restricted to within Canada.
Alternatively, as noted on the Eurovision website, the competition is also available to live-stream, without commentary or advertising, on the official Eurovision YouTube channel. This is available in most countries worldwide, including in Canada.
What's the broadcast schedule for Eurovision 2021 in Canada?
Based on current published TV schedules for the Omni stations, Omni (specifically including Omni 2 in southern Ontario, not Omni 1) will carry the competition as follows:
- Semi-final 1 (live): Tuesday, May 18 at 3:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 noon PT
- Semi-final 2 (live): Thursday, May 20 at 3:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 noon PT
- Final (on delay): Sunday, May 23 at:
- 12:00 noon ET (1:00 AT, 1:30 NT) on Omni 2 / East
- 12:00 noon MT (1:00 CT) on Omni Alberta / Prairies
- 12:00 noon PT on Omni BC / Pacific
- Live: Saturday, May 22 at 3:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 noon PT on OmniTV.ca
While the live events themselves are hosted, Omni's broadcast is a "clean" feed (except for advertising) without the kind of local hosts or commentators provided on most European broadcasters. (Apologies, Graham Norton fans.)
You will note that the final is scheduled to be broadcast on Omni's linear TV channels on Sunday, not Saturday. Omni has confirmed that this is due to an NHL playoff game (in Punjabi) that the channel is scheduled to air on Saturday night, and they evidently do not want to be put in the position of upsetting either viewers watching a long-running Eurovision final, or Punjabi-speaking hockey fans waiting to watch their game. As noted above, though, the final will still be available to watch on Omni's website and Eurovision's YouTube channel, both on Saturday, May 22 starting at 3:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 noon PT.
Where can I find Omni Television?
Outside of the areas where Omni operates as an over-the-air station, the channel tends to be fairly high up in cable lineups. We quickly checked a few TV service providers for common channel placements for Omni, and found the following:
- Rogers Cable (for Omni 2): channel 14 in most of southern and eastern Ontario; channel 171 elsewhere; channel 150 on Ignite
- Shaw Cable: channel 197
- Bell Fibe TV: channels 1206-1208 and 1278 (HD versions)
- Telus Optik TV: channel 120
- Bell Satellite TV: channels 1056 and 1155 (HD versions)
- Shaw Direct: channels 157, 158, 182, 226 (2019 "One National" channel lineup)
If your provider isn't above (or is not listed correctly), you may have to check your listings or contact your provider directly for more information.
Regarding that caveat we mentioned above about Quebec: in that province, Omni has delegated its mandatory carriage to a pre-existing Montreal-based station called ICI Télévision (a privately-run station not to be confused with the CBC's French-language TV network, Ici Radio-Canada Télé). However, ICI only carries a few of Omni's national programs (mostly news), and as of this writing, it does not appear that ICI will be picking up Eurovision.
Finally, to reiterate once again, Omni has said that Eurovision will be available to stream on its website, omnitv.ca. Additionally, Omni may be available through provider-specific offerings like Rogers Anyplace TV (and, again, the Eurovision YouTube channel is also an option).