Jill Belland is a producer and “On Location Host” of Breakfast Television in Calgary. Her assignments have included rappelling down a 32-story building, training with NHL hockey players, and ski jumping at Canada Olympic Park. As a 15th generation French Canadian, Belland started life in the first solar-powered home in western Canada, which her father and his brothers built in Elk Island, outside Edmonton, and grew up in Calgary where she studied classical piano, trained to be a singer and dreamed of being a professional dancer.
Jill studied at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Communications and Culture with a concentration in Media Studies. She joined the Calgary Stampeders Outriders cheerleading squad, which she was part of for four years. While with the Stampeders, she sang the national anthem at home games, one of her most fondest memories. She has also worked as a stage actress, performing in local productions such as Jesus Hopped the “A” Train, The Full Monty, and Man Out of Joint.
Her TV career began after working as a summer student at the Kid’s Cancer Care Foundation, where she helped organise a fundraiser.
I had come to know the team at BT there, and when I went back to school they offered me a job to pour coffee on the morning show,” she says. “It was a great job. I worked 5:00 – 9:00am, then I’d go to class during the day studying dance.” Belland is still very active, teaching ballet barre classes and as a runner.
Jill’s rise in TV has been fast; within a month she was trained as a production assistant, then hired to produce segments before becoming a full-time PA for the 6 o’clock news. Her first job on TV came a year and a half later when MTV Canada held auditions for entertainment reporters.
I lucked out in that preparedness meets opportunity,” she says. “I had a producer who took a chance on me, so I worked for MTV for a summer and then got my own show when I was 22 years old.
She became the host and producer of The City Show, a weekend show, that won the Rosie award for “Best News Information Series” by the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association (AMPIA) in 2006. The City Show and Your City were cancelled in January 2010.
Voted “Sexiest Women” in Calgary by Fast Forward Weekly readers in 2009, she went to to win AMPIA’s “Best Host” award for 2009, 2010, and 2011. Also in 2011, she won another Rosie as Best TV Host for the Breakfast Show and was included in Avenue Magazine‘s 2011 “Top 40 Under 40” list of Calgarian’s.
Being the co-host of Breakfast Television in Calgary, Jill has a bit of an unorthodox schedule. Being live on television at 6 a.m. during the work week means a 3 a.m. wake-up call, and with the show wrapping at 9 a.m., lunchtime happens while most of us are still sipping our first coffee of the morning at our desk.
I’ve been very lucky in my career, it never feels like work to me,” she says. “Sometimes waking up it feels like work, but other than that…
Jill is also passionate about charitable organizations and is actively involved with Kids Cancer Care Foundation, Inn from the Cold, Safe Haven Foundation, Calgary Interfaith Food Bank and Breast Cancer Supportive Care to name a few.
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