It was a slip of the tongue, a misunderstanding, an innocent proposition, but no matter what it’s called, it was a word CTV News anchor Andrew Johnson would like to take back.
And it was all because of a tree in Union Bay.
Last Tuesday, Janette Glover Geidt of the Union Bay Historical Society explained to CTV Vancouver Island’s Bruce Williams in a story about Union Bay celebrating 70 years, how a tree that was once near the Union Bay Hall was used for “canoodling” under in the 1940s and ’50s.
“Did people canoodle in Union Bay?” asked Williams.
“They did canoodle in Union Bay!” replied Glover Geidt with a laugh.
In a segue to the weather report following the story, Johnson accidently propositioned colleague Astrid Braunschmidt to “… canoodle before you get into it (the weather report).”
With a look of equal shock and bemusement, Braunschmidt, clearly aware of the definition, replied, “We’re not going to be canoodling … what?”
“I thought canoodle meant chat,” replied Johnson, who was then informed by a producer of what the word really meant — to kiss and cuddle amorously.
“Take it away, get me off camera,” Johnson said with a laugh.
News site gather.com called the slip-up “one of the biggest news gaffes in recent history.”
The video has gone viral and made its way on the Today Show and Anderson Cooper’s RidicuList on CNN, but Glover Geidt said all the attention on the video should put Union Bay on the international map.
“I didn’t even think about the word canoodling when I said it,” she explained. “The boys and girls would usually come out from the hall after dances and canoodle under the tree.”
As her grandchildren have kept her in the loop on her TV appearances, Glover Geidt noted she has seen some of the clips but admitted she never thought she would be featured on CNN.
Although she isn’t sure if the story has increased the number of visitors to Union Bay, she did note more people have asked to purchase ribbons to tie on to the tree — a fundraising campaign to raise money to restore the vintage wood in the Union Bay Post Office.
Despite the now-infamous video, one question remained: Do people still canoodle under the tree in Union Bay?
“I doubt it,” replied Glover Geidt. “This happened in the ’40s and ’50s when the community hall was right besides the tree (prior to the move to its current location). It’s a lot more public now.”