Pokémon in Canada

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Pokémon in Canada
Pokémon logo English.png
Canada Flag.png
Flag of Canada
Languages English and Quebec French
Continent North America
Original anime airdates
EP001 September 1998
AG001 2003
DP001 September 7, 2007
BW001 August 1, 2011

The Pokémon franchise first reached Canada in late 1998 with the release of Pokémon Red and Blue Versions and the airing of the anime.

Pokémon video games

In English

All Pokémon games that have been released in the United States have also been released in Canada, with the exception of the Pokémon mini. New games are always released on the same day that they are released in the United States. Pokémon games sold in Canada are direct imports of the American versions, so spelling variations such as color and center are not changed to colour and centre for the Canadian releases. Despite this, some Canadian materials, such as game packaging/manuals and the official Canadian site for Pokémon Black and White Versions, use Canadian spellings in addition to the metric system for Pokémon height and weight stats.

As mentioned below, Canadian copies of Pokémon games come with bilingual (English/French) packaging and manuals, with the French text primarily using English names, despite the existence of French-language copies for the province of Quebec. A few games have trilingual packaging, with Spanish as a third language for Latin America.

In French

French edition of Pokémon HeartGold released in Canada; the actual product features a PEGI "3+" rating rather than the ESRB rating seen here.

While Canadian law requires bilingual packaging and instruction manuals to be included with the sale of all video games in Canada, Pokémon games were available in English only until the release of Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, which received a French release for the province of Quebec in addition to the regular English release. This was due to an agreement between Quebec's government and major video game publishers requiring any video games in Quebec to be offered in French if available in French elsewhere in the world. French-language games contain exactly the same content as those from France, with the packaging slightly modified to include elements such as a "Play in French" logo (upper-left corner), although they retain their PEGI ratings rather than changing them to those of the ESRB. As they are from France, the games are incompatible with some North American features. For example, the manuals for the French-language HeartGold and SoulSilver warn that Pal Park is incompatible with North American Generation III games, and due to the French versions of Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum being unavailable in Canada, Pokémon from said games cannot be transferred to French Generation V games, and the creation trio is unobtainable in the French Pokémon Dream Radar (unless European French copies of the Sinnoh games are used). However, recent event distributions have been compatible with both English and French games, in addition to other European languages if imported. Despite the content of the games being almost identical to that of the releases from France, the Canadian French versions of the games for Nintendo DS have their own country code in the serial numbers, CDF (instead of USA for English North America, or EUR for Europe, etc).

Despite this, French-language manuals, packaging and promotional materials continue to exist for the English translations of the games, in order to market both the English and French versions to Francophone Canadians. While French-language games and related material fully translate all terms and names using France's localizations, material related to English games localizes some terms but leaves all proper nouns the same, with France's equivalent provided in brackets for some lesser terms ("Trainer" is translated as "Dresseur", but "Feraligatr" is used instead of "Aligatueur" and Castelia City is referred to as "la ville Castelia City").

A poster in an EB Games store advertising the shiny legendary beasts event, the first in-store event distribution in Canada

Event Pokémon

Canadian players have had access to all Wi-Fi event distributions since the Secret Key in early 2009. There were no in-store event Pokémon distributions in Canada until the 2011 release of the shiny legendary beasts at EB Games and GameStop stores. Following this, other events have been distributed at EB Games/GameStop as well as in Toys 'R' Us stores. Events have been released to both English and French games.[1] However like most Generation V distributions, Canada has also received distributions for German, Italian, and Spanish games. Prior to Generation IV, Canada had very few event Pokémon distributions.

Pokémon anime

In English

YTV's current logo, in use since September 2009

The English dub of the Pokémon anime has aired in Canada on YTV since September 7, 1998 when Pokémon - I Choose You! debuted in Canada. In addition to airing the anime series, YTV also airs new Pokémon movies during the weekend (with the exception of Movies 8 through 11). Pokémon is very well received by YTV's viewers. Pokémon is YTV's longest running television show and YTV has aired the anime longer than any other English television network. YTV has also held a number of contests related to the Pokémon franchise (especially the main series games), with the most recent promotion related to Pokémon Black and White Versions and its Canadian tour. YTV is currently wholly owned by Corus Entertainment.

Currently, YTV airs six episodes of Pokémon Black & White: Rival Destinies on weekdays and on Saturdays. Episodes are aired on weekdays at 8:00 AM and on Saturdays at 12:00 PM.

Day[2] Time (EST)[2]
Monday 8:00 AM
Tuesday 8:00 AM
Wednesday 8:00 AM
Thursday 8:00 AM
Friday 8:00 AM
Saturday 12:00 PM

While some episodes such as The Tower of Terror, Tentacool & Tentacruel, and Holiday Hi-Jynx were aired and later banned in the United States, they had not been banned from YTV's schedule. However, YTV has not aired any episodes which were also never aired in the United States, such as The Legend of Dratini and The Ice Cave.

Ever since the start of 16:9 widescreen episodes, YTV's 4:3 channel has letterboxed the episodes to maintain the 16:9 aspect ratio of the image. With the introduction of YTV's HD feed on January 11, 2011, Canadian viewers are now able to watch 16:9 episodes of Pokémon without it ever being letterboxed.

In some areas of Canada, The WB (now The CW) is available on cable. With this, Canadians were able to watch the newest English-dubbed episodes on Kids' WB! before they aired on YTV. Since the US version of Cartoon Network became the USA's provider of the Pokémon anime in 2006, Canadians have to wait until the dubbed episodes air on YTV to watch them due to the fact that the American version of Cartoon Network is only available in the United States. There has been rare occasions however in which YTV has aired content on the same day as the US, such as the airing of Kyurem VS. The Sword of Justice.

Airing history

Original series

When the anime debuted on YTV, it aired on weekdays at 4:00 PM. When Pokémon: Adventures in the Orange Islands debuted in the U.S., YTV continued to air Indigo League episodes until Pokémon Double Trouble aired on Kids' WB!. This is due to YTV's general practice of not airing new episodes until there is a substantial amount of new dubbed episodes to air five days a week for the weekday timeslot until the end of the season. Back around this time, Pokémon sometimes schedueled blocks of "back to back to back to back" specials. The first time this occurred, the block was called "Pokemania". On Septeber 22, 2000 YTV had finally begun to air episodes of Pokémon: Adventures in the Orange Islands.

Diamond & Pearl series

YTV began airing new Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl episodes on Saturdays in August 2007. A 3:30 PM weekday timeslot starting with Following A Maiden's Voyage was added on April 7, 2008. Eventually, these 3:30 PM episodes surpassed the timeline of the Saturday episodes, starting with Buizel Your Way out of This!. Thus, Canada started getting five new episodes per week. The episode that made the weekday afternoon episodes pass the Saturday ones was Buizel Your Way out of This!. The first season of the Diamond & Pearl series had finished its chronological airing on Tuesday, June 17, meaning that Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Battle Dimension should have started on the next Wednesday or possibly Saturday. However, this did not happen, as YTV began rerunning season 10 from the beginning. This is due to YTV's episode policy as stated above.

Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Battle Dimension briefly appeared for three weeks, airing on Fridays at 8:00 AM starting November 7, 2008. At one point, YTV was constantly changing their schedule around from Pokémon: Battle Frontier and Diamond and Pearl episodes at the times of 3:30 PM and 8:00 AM. On Monday, March 2, 2009, YTV began to air Battle Dimension regularly and only aired Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl episodes on Saturdays. On Wednesday, June 3, 2009, YTV aired the last episode of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Battle Dimension.

On Saturday, October 10, 2009, YTV began airing episodes of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Galactic Battles.[3] On the same day, they aired Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time & Darkness at 12:00 PM, and also Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky - Beyond Time & Darkness at 12:30 PM (just one day after the US airing). On November 20, 2009, YTV stopped airing episodes of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Battle Dimension and began to air only Galactic Battles. On November 28, 2009, YTV aired the Canadian premier of Arceus and the Jewel of Life. Beginning in late December 2009 until March 2010, YTV reverted to airing Pokémon: Advanced Battle episodes on weekdays. Only one new episode of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Galactic Battles aired on Saturday at 12:00 PM. YTV later on switched back to airing episodes of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Galactic Battles six days a week. With the airing of Gotta Get a Gible! On Tuesday, May 18, 2010, YTV closed the gap between the US air date and the Canadian air date down to just three days, which is rare to happen on YTV. This gap however, was widened again as YTV aired from Get Your Rotom Running! on Wednesday, May 18, 2010.

On Saturday, November 6, 2010, YTV started to air episodes of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors on their Saturday time slots starting from Regaining the Home Advantage! while still airing episodes of Galactic Battles on weekdays. YTV had finished the Galactic Battles weekday run on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 and on Wednesday they started to air a run of Pokémon: Battle Frontier starting from Fear Factor Phony. After this run had concluded, YTV had gone back to episodes of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Galactic Battles. YTV started Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors on their weekday time slot on March 7, 2011. On Saturday, March 12, 2011, YTV surprisingly aired Zoroark: Master of Illusions without prior advertisements or TV listings, making most fans miss out on the movie airing.

Best Wishes series

Pokémon: Black & White aired on weekdays starting on Friday August 5, 2011. YTV aired Black—Victini and Reshiram on January 14, 2012. on April 7, 2012, YTV began to air episodes of Pokémon Black & White: Rival Destinies on their Saturday timeslot. Pokémon Black & White: Rival Destinies replaced Pokémon: Black & White weekday run on August 13, 2012. YTV aired Kyurem VS. The Sword of Justice on December 8, 2012. This was the first time since Pokémon movie theatrical releases in which Canada has had the same premiere date as the US.

YTV On Demand

YTV Anime On Demand logo used at the time Pokémon was offered.
Bionix On Demand logo

In 2005, YTV launched an on demand anime channel simply named YTV Anime On Demand. The channel contained new and old programs, including series that do not air on the normal YTV. The Pokémon anime was also available on this service. In 2008, YTV renamed its on demand service to Bionix On Demand. In December 2009, YTV cancelled Bionix On Demand[4] and returned to the YTV On Demand service, which no longer offers Pokémon in its line-up.

In Quebec French

Logo of Télétoon used from 1997-2005, used when Pokémon was aired

The Quebec dub of Pokémon is actually a modified version of the dub from France. While the Canadian dub uses most of the same dialogue as the European French version, all of the character names in the show are redubbed to match the names used in the English version (for example, "Misty" is used instead of "Ondine" and "Charmander" instead of "Salamèche"); it is unknown whether the names were simply dubbed over the European French version, or whether the Quebec dub is completely new. Despite the changes to character names, other proper names such as the names of cities remain the same as in the European French version (for example, "Carmin sur Mer" is used instead of "Vermilion City" or a translated equivalent such as "Ville de Vermilion"). All dubbing and other modifications required for the Canadian French version of the anime were conducted by Covitec in the province of Quebec.

The Quebec dub aired on Télétoon, a French-language children's network based in Montreal. Although Télétoon has removed Pokémon from its schedule, it still occasionally airs the Pokémon movies. Approximately around Pokémon: Master Quest, the Canadian French version of the dub ceased to be produced and distributed, although the movies continued to be released to French-speaking Canadians until Destiny Deoxys. The Canadian French version of the Pokémon anime currently does not air on any channel.

Volume 1 of the Pokémon anime distributed in Canadian French by Imavision Distribution Inc

The Quebec dub was released on VHS and DVD by Imavision Distribution Inc., but their license to distribute the series has expired and their Pokémon titles have gone out of print. The movies were distributed on VHS and bilingual DVD (with both French and English audio tracks) by Warner Brothers, although no movies have been released to Canadians in French since VIZ Media took over the distribution of the films.

Possibly because of the Quebec dub's retention of English character names, France-translated Pokémon media (such as the French-language games and TCG) tend to not perform as well in Quebec as in France due to their use of France's localized names. Although the official French-Canadian Black and White website specifically references the French dubs of Black: Victini and Reshiram and White: Victini and Zekrom by name, any further French-language airing of the anime in Canada (whether another localized dub or the version from France) has yet to be seen.

Cast and Crew

Many voice actors and actresses contributed to the Quebec version of the Pokémon anime. Although much of the dialogue from the European French version was reused for the Canadian dub, many proper names in the show were redubbed to match the proper names used in the English version of the anime airing elsewhere in Canada.

The voice actors who contributed to this redubbing included Sébastien Reding, who provided the voice of Ash Ketchum, Kim Jalabert, who provided Misty's voice, Martin Watier, who provided Brock's voice, and Joël Legendre, who provided Tracey's voice. Ash's mother, Delia Ketchum, was voiced by Nathalie Coupal.

Jessie was voiced by Christine Séguin, James was voiced by Antoine Durand, and Meowth was voiced by François Sasseville. Their boss, Giovanni, was voiced by Daniel Picard.

Professor Oak was voiced by Alain Sauvage. Another Pokémon Professor, Professor Elm, was voiced by Pierre Chagnon.

Other notable voice actors of the Canadian French dub include Julie Burroughs, who provided the voice for Nurse Joy, and Camille Cyr-Desmarais, the voice of Officer Jenny.

Pokémon manga

In English

All Pokémon manga which has been published by VIZ Media in the United States has been concurrently available in English in Canada. Volumes can be found at most retailers where manga is sold.

In French

A French version of The Electric Tale of Pikachu, titled L'aventure électrique de Pikachu, was published by Imavision Distribution Inc, the same company that released the Pokémon anime on VHS and DVD in French-speaking regions of Canada. The French release includes the first four monthly issues and is directly based on VIZ Media's translation, including the reversal in the publishing order of ET02 and ET03.

In addition to this, some of the newer French manga translations published in France by Kurokawa, such as Pokémon Noir et Blanc (the French translation of the Black & White chapter of Pokémon Adventures), have been available in Canada through online retailers such as Amazon.ca and Indigo Books & Music.

Pokémon Trading Card Game

Cards for the Pokémon Trading Card Game have been sold in Canada since the introduction of the Base Set. English-language cards are imported from the United States to be sold in Canadian stores. In Quebec, only English-language cards were originally available, but many French-speaking parents felt this was unfair to their children, who also did not have a French-language Pokémon video game. As a result, Wizards of the Coast, which had recently started selling Pokémon cards in France, began to import these French-language cards for sale in Quebec; however, distribution of French cards became less widespread after a few early sets, as the French cards were not as sought-after by collectors as their English and Japanese equivalents. Today, both English- and French-language cards are recognized as tournament legal in official tournaments.

Currently, English-language cards are sold nationwide. In Quebec, French-language cards are sold alongside the English ones (somewhat less commonly), mostly at retailers such as Wal-Mart and independent gaming stores such as Le Valet d'Coeur that import games directly from France; the two McDonald's TCG promotions in the province have also been in French.

Pokémon merchandise

Canada receives most of the same Pokémon merchandise that is available in the United States, such as plush toys and foods. All four Burger King promotions were available at Canadian Burger King outlets. Per national laws[5], all Pokémon toys and other merchandise come with bilingual packaging and instructions.

Several Pokémon books that have been released in English in Canada and the United States have been translated into French by Le Groupe Syntagme Inc for sale in Québec. Examples include many books from the Pokémon anime novelization series, the Pokémon Adventure Series (Pokémon Collection Adventure), Pokémon Pop Quiz (Pokémon Questions-pièges) and Extreme Pokémon: The Guide for the Ultimate Fan (Extrêmes Pokémon: Le guide ultime des vrais mordus).

A bilingual Event card from the Pokémon Master Trainer board game

In 2000, collectible cards were given away in packages of Danone yogurt products. These cards contained tips for the recently-released Pokémon Stadium and were only available in Canada - not in the United States. All cards in the series are bilingual.

All Pokémon board games released in the United States, such as Pokémon Master Trainer and Pokémon Yahtzee Jr., have been released in Canada in fully bilingual versions.

In the year 2000, YTV featured Pokémon Theme on their first Big Fun Party Mix CD.[6]

A photo of the BW Sampling Tour stop in Mississauga, Ontario


Bulbanews has an article related to this subject:

In February 2011, in conjuction with the Pokémon Black and White Sampling Tour in the United States, two similar events were held in Canada, one in Burnaby, British Columbia and the other in Mississauga, Ontario. At these events, players were invited to try a demo of Pokémon Black and White a month before it was released in Canada. There were other activities such as photo opportunities, face painting, and colouring pages.


  • Scott Ramsoomair, the author of the webcomic Super Effective, is Canadian.[7]
  • Pokémon.ca redirects to Pokémon.com.
    • There is a possibility that Pokémon.com will create a website for Canada via this page but due to the fact that TPCi's American branch manages the Pokémon franchise for Canada, there is little chance that it will happen. Currently, if the user selects Canada as their country on the map, they will be redirected to the American website.


  1. Image of bilingual Zoroark distribution cart @ GameSniped (retrieved April 9, 2012)
  2. 2.0 2.1 YTV's TV Listing (retrieved October 27, 2011)
  3. YTV - YAP! Member Boards -> Pokemon Season 12! (retrieved February 18, 2010)
  4. Bionix On Demand cancelled (retrieved February 18, 2010)
  5. Official Languages Act (retrieved February 18, 2010)
  6. Big Fun Party Mix: Big Fun Party Mix: Amazon.ca: Music (retrieved February 18, 2010)
  7. Scott Ramsooair Biography @ AnimeCons.com (retrieved February 18, 2010)

The Pokémon franchise around the world
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