Born and raised in Montreal, Alex Despatie is an accomplished diver with 42 national titles under his belt.
As one of the world’s most skilled divers, he is also a three-time Olympian and winner of two Olympic silver medals (three-metre springboard). He rose to global stardom in 1998, when he captured gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games at just 13 years old, making him the youngest gold medal winner in the history of the Games.
No stranger to being in front of the camera, Despatie, who currently resides in Laval, was part of the broadcast team for Canada’s French-language television coverage of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, where he provided commentary during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies with legendary Québec hockey commentators Richard Garneau and Pierre Houde, plus reported on sights and sounds from the Games.
Despatie also hosted a 17-part series for television, radio and online, which paid tribute to the extraordinary individuals who have helped Canadian Olympians and Paralympians overcome their personal and athletic challenges.
Joanne Vrakas has worked in the Montreal broadcast industry for a decade, most recently reporting on a wide range of local news stories for CBC News Montreal.
Throughout her career she has interviewed leading politicians and A-list celebrities including Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, and the late Jack Layton. Vrakas hails from Outremont, and graduated from L’Université du Québec a Montréal with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.
Wilder Weir is known for hosting six seasons of the national TV series Oh So Cosmo on CosmoTV and W Network and for contributing as a writer to Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Wilder was born in Montreal, Quebec and is the first of two children born to retired professional ice hockey player, Wally Weir who played 8 seasons with the Quebec Nordiques.
He is also the Creator and Executive producer of Travel + Escape’s #1 original program Paddling Bryans, currently in it’s second season.
Wilder has interviewed celebrities such as Gerard Butler, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Terrell Owens, Dr. Oz, Candace Bushnell and Chris O’Donnell to name a few. He is also known for his appearances on eTalk, ET Canada, The Marilyn Dennis Show, CMT and numerous other media outlets during his career.
Wilder earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in Film from Queen’s University playing Division 1 hockey and moonlighting as a CFRC-FM sports commentator. Wilder’s first television exposure came when he was featured on CBC’s Making the Cut in 2004. A year later he braved the fast-paced sports news room at TSN’s Sportscentre as a writer and story editor.
Weather and Traffic Specialist
Delivering Breakfast Television’s daily dose of traffic and weather is the always outgoing Catherine Verdon-Diamond.
Born in Montreal, the ambitious Verdon-Diamond grew up overseas, living in Egypt for three years before relocating to Israel for the next four years. Throughout her schooling in Israel, Verdon-Diamond regularly travelled to countries such as Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands to compete in various sports tournaments.
She returned to Montreal in 1994, where she later studied Social Science at Dawson College and Mathematics at Concordia University. In 2012, while working at CBC Montreal behind the scenes, Verdon-Diamond was offered the opportunity to present weather on the 11pm newscast. Just seven months after starting her on-air career, Catherine joined the new team at City Montreal.
Catherine currently lives in Laval with her husband and two sons, and dedicates her spare time coaching her sons’ soccer team and volunteering at their school.
New Media Commentator
With the latest from the world of technology and social media, Elias Makos will keep Breakfast Television (or as he likes to call it, #BTMTL) viewers up-to-date with what’s trending and happening online.
Born and raised in Côte-des-Neiges, Elias now lives in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. He holds a BA in Journalism from Concordia University, and worked for seven years in Concordia’s journalism department as a full-time instructor and part-time faculty member.
Before coming to BT, Elias spent six years as a regular contributor to CTV Montreal, appearing as the station’s Technology and Trends columnist and as a freelance reporter. Elias also contributed to CTV News Channel’s Express. Elias is a regular contributor to CBC Montreal’s Homerun radio show, and also does work for CBC radio’s national syndication service.
Previously, he spent three years as the media relations coordinator of Major League Baseball’s now-defunct Montreal Expos. During the 2004 baseball season, he joined Expos’ play-by-play man Elliott Price in the broadcast booth for four games. Elias also worked for the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens from 2002 to 2011.
Elias is the proud owner of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Otis.
Born and raised in St. Leonard, Laura Casella dreamed of being on television from a very young age. She began her broadcasting career in 2007 as a freelance reporter and overnight newscaster at CJAD 800 where she quickly moved up the ranks to produce the Tommy Schnurmacher Show. In 2011, she was hired to be the station’s morning reporter and also worked as a freelance reporter for CTV Montreal.
Throughout her career, Laura has covered a wide range of local and international stories, from protests against the Montreal Canadiens’ Anglophone head coach controversy to language tensions raised by the election of the Parti Québécois. Laura also made her mark reporting from the front lines of the heated Quebec student protests over tuition increases, and most recently covered the papal conclave from Rome for CJAD 800 and other news/talk radio stations across Canada.
As a second-generation Italian-Canadian, Laura is proud of her roots. Most recently, she appeared on the cover of PanoramItalia, an Italian-Canadian cultural magazine based in Montreal. She has also contributed to the magazine as a writer for several years.
Laura joins the BT Montreal team as news reporter. From early morning fires, to murder investigations, and multi-car pile-ups, Laura gives viewers a first glance at the top news stories making headlines in and around the city.
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, 2007- Broadcast Major- Concordia University