Department of Foreign Affairs
Is corporate Canada too timid to venture overseas? Here are 10 companies that have the guts-and occasionally reap the glory
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P32


Almost every communications satellite in space has the company's components on board


You can find the modest head office and flagship factory of one of Canada's most sophisticated space technology companies on a narrow road on the outskirts of blue-collar Cambridge, Ontario. Down the street is a hot rod shop. Next door is a supplier of manicure chairs and pedicure benches for beauty salons. Across the road is a maker of dental surgery supplies. Like a lot of people who work in the neighbourhood, employees on Com Dev's assembly floor wear hairnets. But they also have some of the most intriguing jobs in Canada.

"We're in a sexy business--it's neat to be able to talk about the fact you're building stuff that goes on spacecraft and gets launched," says Mike Pley, CEO of Com Dev since 2010. He's a big and avuncular engineer, with a quick smile and a ready pitch for his company. "We've been doing work on the James Webb Space Telescope," he says, "and every communications satellite known to man seems to have Com Dev equipment on board." More than 80% of what the industry calls buses--the hundreds of communications satellites that orbit the Earth--have components made by the company at one of its seven plants in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and India.

The long-delayed $8.8-billion (U.S.) Webb orbiting telescope--successor to the Hubble--is scheduled to be launched in 2018. NASA is leading a collaborative effort by 17 countries, and the Canadian Space Agency awarded Com Dev a $39-million contract in 2007 to build the telescope's Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) and Near-InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph. The FGS is basically two high-tech cameras that will help the telescope position itself. The spectrograph will analyze even the faintest light from very distant planets, stars and galaxies.

Com Dev delivered the FGS/NIRISS unit to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where the telescope is being assembled, in 2012. This past March, the company got another $2.6-million contract from Ottawa for follow-up work.

As snazzy as the Webb project is, it's not typical of what Com Dev does. "Most space companies are more government-focused, with a commercial element to it," says Pley. "We're mostly commercial, with a little government." As a result, Com Dev's revenues have been remarkably consistent over the past decade: about $200 million a year. That's much less volatile than revenue at many rivals, who've been squeezed as the U.S. Congress has forced the Obama administration to cut back on space spending.

Still, Com Dev is not running high-speed production lines. "We don't make widgets," says Nabeel Mirza, Com Dev's director of lean systems and industrial engineering, as he shows me around the assembly floor in Cambridge. The company uses an approach known in the industry as engineered to order (ETO). The basic design of components and systems Com Dev makes is standardized, and so is the manufacturing process, but all of the assemblywork is done by hand, and clients can customize their orders. Racks of parts, benches loaded with scopes, half-assembled switches and large vacuum chambers are spread across the floor. The company has never had an equipment failure in space.

Com Dev has also been adept at keeping up with changes in demand. Its traditional business has been large geosynchronous satellites, of which a few are launched each year; they hang in stationary orbit some 36,000 kilometres above the Earth and cost upwards of $100 million. All the buzz in the industry, however, is now about low-Earth-orbit satellites, for which Com Dev also supplies parts; scores of these cheaper satellites are assembled into "constellations" just a few hundred kilometres above Earth.

Pley calls this burgeoning market "new space"--a super-entrepreneurial commercial boom led by the likes of Elon Musk and Richard Branson. Both men have proposed networks of 700 to 4,000 micro-satellites that would provide worldwide broadband service. "We're at an inflection point in the business, where there's a huge opportunity for people who can make equipment," says Pley.

In March, Branson's outfit, OneWeb, said it was evaluating bids from five aerospace giants, including Airbus and Lockheed Martin, to build its system. It will announce the victor this summer. "I actually know who's won the competition," says Pley, with a big Cheshire cat grin. No matter who wins, Com Dev will be receiving orders. /Shane Dingman


The 128-year-old insurance giant now sells half of all its policies in Asia


In the 28 years that Roy Gori worked throughout Asia for the U.S. banking powerhouse Citigroup, he often heard the name Manulife. After all, the venerable Canadian insurer has a long and rich heritage along the Pacific Rim. Manulife opened offices in East Asia when many jurisdictions were still under colonial rule. It established operations in Shanghai in 1897, Hong Kong in 1898, and Japan and Singapore in 1899. When Manulife opened a small representative office in Myanmar last year, it marked the end of a 70-year absence from the country, which gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1948.

Yet Manulife doesn't fit the mould of a swashbuckling giant in the hotly competitive global financial services market. Gori, a genial 46-year-old Australian, was Citi's head of retail banking in the region before leaving to become CEO of Manulife Asia in March. But until he began negotiating to get his new job, "I didn't really appreciate the magnitude of the business," he says.

Most Canadians probably don't either. Manulife-known to many at home as the folks who pay for your root canal-has roughly seven million customers across Asia. Last year, Asia accounted for about a third of the $2.9 billion Manulife classified as its core earnings. More than half of Manulife's sales of insurance are now made in Asia, through a network of 57,000 agents of its own, and more than 100 sales partnerships with regional banks. In Hong Kong, roughly one in every five people is a customer. In Indonesia, a massive Manulife billboard looms down as you grind through the gridlock into Jakarta from the city's international airport.

Manulife is confident that those earnings will keep expanding because Asia's middle class is surging. From about 525 million people in 2009, the middle class has grown to an estimated 1.2 billion, and is forecast to hit 2.5 billion by 2025. Populations continue to grow, and incomes are rising. From Manila to Bangkok, millions of people are leaving subsistence farms in the country and crowding into megacities. There, they are determined to create better lives for their children.

In established wealth management and insurance markets like Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, digital-savvy customers often arrive at meetings after doing their own research and shopping around online for other options. Beyond those markets, however, the whole idea of insurance is a bit of a new concept. "Many years back, the unstated rule-or, in many cases, it was a stated rule-was that the elderly would be taken care of by their family," says Gori. "The idea of retirement planning was alien, or, frankly, quite offensive." But he says that younger Asians have the confidence to re-evaluate cultural norms, and the wealth to save for their own retirement. "Now, you've got a more modern generation coming through," he says. And Manulife will be there to tap that new and burgeoning market. /Iain Marlow


Paul Desmarais and Albert Frère built an empire in Europe-Buffett-style


Over more than 30 years of doing business together in Europe, Canada's Desmarais family and the Frère clan of Belgium have built up an eclectic collection of blue-chip investments that includes a manufacturer of traditional clay roof tiles, the world's biggest cement maker and a renowned distiller that began producing absinthe in 1805.

Paul Desmarais met Albert Frère in the late 1970s, after Desmarais's Power Corp. of Canada bought a stake in Compagnie financier de Paribas, one of Paris's oldest banks. Desmarais joined Frère on its board, and the two of them hit it off. Both were self-made men in their mid-50s, yet still considered outsiders by established financiers in Toronto and Paris.

Desmarais got his start in the 1950s by dropping out of law school to rescue his family's troubled bus company in Sudbury. He then moved to Montreal and bought Power, a utility that had transformed itself into an investment company, in 1968. He used Power as a base to acquire newspapers, radio stations, and pulp and paper companies. He was also famously rebuffed by Bay Street old boys in 1975, when he tried to take over Argus Corp.

As for Frère, he dropped out of high school in Belgium at 17 to run his father's nail and scrap-metal business. He built that into a steel conglomerate, then sold it to the Belgian government before a worldwide crisis hit the industry in the mid-1970s.

In 1981, Desmarais and Frère launched Parjointco, a Netherlands-based holding company, each of them owning half. The strategy was classic value investing-make large yet friendly investments in established European companies that looked like bargains, some because they were struggling.

Through two other European holding companies, Parjointco's biggest investment is a 56.5% share of Imerys, a Parisbased multinational that mines and processes minerals, which are then used in a vast range of products, including paper, paint and the familiar red roof tiles still used by builders across Europe. It also owns 21% of Lafarge, the No. 1 global cement producer, and minority stakes in French oil giant Total and venerable spirits and winemaker Pernod Ricard.

Indeed, both Desmarais and Frère have often been compared with Warren Buffett. Like the Oracle of Omaha, Desmarais built up a hefty core of holdings in insurance, which generates plenty of cash, and has used it as a foundation for patient, long-term investing in other businesses. Great-West Life, which Desmarais bought in 1969, now also owns Investors Group, Canada Life, London Life, Irish Life and Boston-based Putnam Investments. In the 1970s, Desmarais was one of the first Canadians to begin doing business in China.

Desmarais and Frère stuck to a long-term strategy in Europe as well, and deftly avoided fads like the 1990s tech bubble. Both also became pillars of the financial establishment and gained access to politicians at the highest levels.

Desmarais died in 2013, nearly two decades after beginning the transfer of authority to his sons, Paul Jr. and André.

Frère is 89, and he retired as chairman of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, the principal publicly-traded Desmarais-Frère company, this past February. His son, Gérald, succeeded him. Paul Jr. is vice-chairman. In an interview at the time of Paul Desmarais's death, Gérald said that the two fathers "wanted the partnership to outlast them, and it will."

Lately, however, there has been a shift in strategy. The sons are hardly reckless, but they are starting to invest in smaller European growth companies and take large positions in them-up to 30%. New holdings include Umicore, a multinational metals and materials company that has a sizable tech component, and PrimeStone Capital, a London-based activist investment management firm.

The risk is that returns from the new businesses could be volatile, while the dividends from the blue chips may slow.

"In my opinion, Groupe Bruxelles Lambert's risk profile has increased," says Hans D'Haese, financial analyst with Banque Degroof SA in Brussels.

Tech and investment banking stars often fade quickly. Roof tiles, liqueurs and cement endure. /Bertrand Marotte


Soldiers fighting chemical and biological threats need sophisticated protective gear with a "look-cool factor"


It's the Western world's most extreme boot camp. Every year, NATO puts troops from selected countries through a set of absurdly difficult exercises to get them to pull together under pressure. This spring, near a small town in Latvia, forces from that country, Lithuania, Germany, Luxembourg, the United States and Canada joined up to deal with a set of staged perils, one of which was an enemy's use of a weapon of mass destruction. In military argot, this gave rise to a CBRN situation-a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear threat.

AirBoss of America, a rubber compounds and products manufacturer headquartered in Newmarket, Ontario, supplied many of the high-tech gas masks, protective gloves and over-boots used in this year's session. The quirky company name dates back to 1994, when Iatco Industries, an Ontario manufacturer of the Australian-based AirBoss brand of heavy-duty tires for construction vehicles, changed its moniker. The company has grown by acquisition and now has two main business segments: rubber compounding and engineered products, including a wide variety of items, such as rubber auto parts that dampen vibration, and the military gear.

"Our products have been used in Syria by UN inspectors assessing whether sarin gas or chlorine was released," says Earl Laurie, president of AirBoss's defence division. "In Iraq, we've equipped soldiers getting rid of chemical agents. And the gear is worn by first responders-RCMP busting a suspected meth lab, or police forces [dealing with riots] where there might be toxic tire fires or tear gas."

The division used to be a very different company: Acton Rubber, a boot manufacturer founded in 1928 and named for its hometown, Acton Vale, Quebec. "What Sorel is to the rest of Canada, Acton is and has always been to Quebec," Laurie says. "When I joined in 1991, our military department was doing a couple of million in sales, mainly in Canada."

Laurie asked the U.K. Ministry of Defence about becoming a supplier. "I was young and ignorant. It was pre-Internet, so I filled in the forms, and we got a newsletter every month telling us about their needs." Thus informed, he pulled together a bid for chemical protective over-boots for the U.K. forces. To almost everyone's surprise, Acton won it.

So began the shift from provincial boot maker to preferred supplier to armed forces around the world. AirBoss bought Acton in 1999 and sold its consumer footwear business five years later. Defence is the smallest of AirBoss's product lines, but it has built up a global niche market. About 75% of the division's $20 million in annual sales are made to U.S. military and law-enforcement clients. Canada accounts for about 10%, and the rest goes to Scandinavia, Germany, France, Australia, Asia and the Middle East.

Gwyn Winfield edits the U.K.-based CBRNe World-the little "e" in the trade publication's name adds explosives to the already dangerous mix. "AirBoss first came on my radar in the late '90s, early 2000s," he says. "The AirBoss gloves are acknowledged to be the best CBRN gloves in the world. No one else comes close."

Retired Canadian Forces warrant officer Dave Carson is one of many former soldiers Laurie has hired. "I've used the gear in life-and-death situations," Carson says. Years ago, he was asked by the Swiss Army to test decontaminating agents that get rid of things like sarin gas. The trial was at an isolated site near Brno, Czech Republic. "The gas was enough to have killed a town of 30,000 people," he recalls. Carson put on a protective suit and AirBoss gloves, boots and gas mask. "To make sure of the seal, we went into a tent full of tear gas. If our eyes watered and we started to choke, it'd show the mask wasn't on right." Then, he says, "We went out there for six hours, spraying a decontaminating agent on the gassed areas."

Both the boots and gloves are ambidextrous. "It makes a difference in the field-you just grab them and throw them on. The gloves allow you to do delicate things-you can even take your pulse in them," says Carson. The mask has bulletproof lenses, an easy-to-use drinking system and a Lycra-and-nylon mesh bonnet with two adjustable straps. "It was a huge step forward, without the pressure points you had in old masks-after three hours, they caused you so much pain, you wanted to take them off no matter what would happen," says Carson.

The company has a new mask that Laurie and Carson demonstrated at defence industry conferences this spring in Florida and Finland. Its gear looks sharp, too. "Militaries do buy-and-try orders, and they get feedback from soldiers," Laurie says. "Function is paramount, but there is also what people call a look-cool factor." /Alec Scott


The beverage company has invested in the hot new energy drink market, but it still faces familiar problems


When Cott Corp. snapped up British food-and-drinks manufacturer Aimia Foods last year, it was part of a push beyond Cott's traditional-but sinking-soft drink business into fast-rising energy drinks. But the competition on British supermarket shelves is even fiercer than it is in North America, and Cott faces a now all-too-familiar challenge: the price gap between store brands that it produces and name brands such as Red Bull and Monster is narrowing.

Back in Cott's heyday in the early 1990s, its revenues surged as a producer of private-label soft drinks such as President's Choice for Loblaws And Sam'S American Choice for Wal-Mart. But Coke, Pepsi and other name brands fought back by cutting prices. Consumer tastes also shifted dramatically in the early 2000s-away from pop and into beverages such as bottled water and iced tea. By 2005, Cott's sales had levelled off, and it started to lose money. Its share price on the TSX skidded from a peak of more than $40 in 2004 to $1 in late 2008.

The big blow came in January, 2009, when Cott announced that it was losing its 10-year-old contract as exclusive private-label pop supplier to Wal-Mart. The following month, the company promoted Jerry Fowden, a veteran turnaround specialist who had joined Cott in 2007 as head of its U.K. business, to CEO. Since then, Fowden, 58, has been trying to diversify so that Cott no longer depends so heavily on carbonated soft drinks as a product, or on one chain as a customer. The company still has its registered head office in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, and an executive office in Mississauga. Being Canadian gives it tax advantages, but the company has actually been run from another executive office in Tampa for years. The United States is Cott's largest market by far, but it now sells beverage concentrates in more than 50 countries, and 20% of its revenues come from outside of North America.

When Cott bought Aimia for $133 million (U.S.) in May, 2014, the British Firm's no fear energy drink was one of the main attractions. Then came Cott's blockbuster $1.3-billion (U.S.) purchase last November of Atlanta-based DSS Group Inc., which delivers water and coffee to U.S. homes and offices. "We have structured a transformative deal," Fowden declared in a conference call with analysts at the time.

Shareholders had mixed reactions. New York City-based hedge fund Levin Capital Strategies is Cott's largest shareholder, with a 15.6% stake reported in a U.S. Securities filing in February. Jack Murphy, a portfolio manager with Levin, remains bullish, but he says that Cott is mainly a contrarian value play-although its share price has climbed back to about $12 lately, that is still well below historical highs. Cott has also generated strong operating cash flow in recent years. "We love companies that throw off lots of cash," he says.

The trouble is that Fowden has borrowed heavily to finance his diversification. he almost quadrupled Cott's long-term debt in 2014 to $1.6 billion (U.S.). When Cott's stock price popped this past February after it announced some strong quarterly financial results, Kamran Khan, portfolio manager at Toronto-based Norrep Capital Management, decided to get out and sold his firm's shares.

As Cott keeps expanding beyond soft drinks, it will bump up against new competitors, such as behemoth Nestlé SA's water delivery service. In Britain, supermarket chains will be pressing for lower prices as they try to fend off invasions from European discounters such as Germany's Aldi and Lidl. It leaves Cott with little wiggle room. /Marina Strauss


After the downfall of BlackBerry, its biggest customer, the electronics maker is reinventing itself


When executives from the European aerospace giant Airbus SAS landed in Malaysia a few years ago and toured a plant that belongs to Celestica Inc., Craig Muhlhauser, the CEO of the Toronto-based global electronics manufacturer, was pleased to hear about the mild consternation that came out of the visit.

The Airbus brass realized that many of their traditional Tier 1 suppliers of sophisticated equipment-U.S. heavyweights such as Honeywell and United Technologies-weren't matching the Malaysian factory on quality. "Celestica turns Airbus's suppliers into better suppliers," one Airbus executive told the plant's managers.

That is high praise at the right time for a firm trying to recharge itself and focus on more profitable businesses after years of having the margins sucked out of its core product areas by lower-cost Asian-based rivals. "We have to reinvent ourselves and move up the value chain," Muhlhauser says.

Formerly a manufacturing division of IBM, Celestica was spun off in 1996 and grew quickly by acquisitions during the tech bubble-eight during 1998 alone. But by the mid 2000s, Celestica's revenues had stagnated and its profits had evaporated. That's dangerous in an industry as fast-changing as electronics manufacturing, in which many supply contracts are huge, but also precarious.

Celestica got a boost when Research In Motion chose the firm to build BlackBerrys. But in 2012, the renamed BlackBerry Inc. was being clobbered by Apple and Samsung, and it cancelled Celestica's contract. For years, it had accounted for about one-fifth of Celestica revenues.

To Muhlhauser, who had been appointed president of Celestica in 2005, and CEO in 2006, the contract was a bit like a drug: It felt good to be along for the ride, but perhaps it was not in the company's long-term interest. Celestica built millions of BlackBerrys fast and efficiently, but profit margins in phone manufacturing had all but disappeared. The contract also distracted Celestica from pursuing higher-margin business lines. "It made us, and created us," says Muhlhauser. "[But] we got complacent."

Executives began to target companies that were outsourcing the manufacturing of more sophisticated systems, such as aerospace and defence contractors. Health care technology also looked promising. Like computer and phone manufacturers before them, these industries were shifting production to Asia to take advantage of lower costs.

Celestica already had facilities in China, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. Cost is still a major factor. This July, Celestica is scheduled to open a new factory in Laos, one of the continent's lowest-cost countries.

But Celestica is also doing more so-called joint design manufacturing (JDM), in which it is a collaborative partner in creating electronic systems. Many of its Asian facilities are quite capable of taking on those higher-level assignments. In Shanghai, Celestica now has a 300-member design team that works on complex projects such as cloud servers for corporations.

Systems integration also looks promising. As the production of more elaborate systems is outsourced, an exacting company such as Honeywell or Cisco may not want to deal with, say, a half-dozen smaller suppliers building components. Celestica can act as a middleman-co-ordinating those suppliers and maintaining quality control.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Robert Young says that managing other companies' supply chains will help Celestica establish "stickier" relationships with customers. The trouble is that lots of other electronics manufacturers have the same idea. In particular, Young says that Celestica has "faltered in health care." It's a lucrative sector in which U.S. rival Jabil Circuit is strong.

Over all, though, the trend at Celestica is encouraging. When the company lost the BlackBerry contract, the proportion of its revenues that came from the higher-margin "diversified" segment of its business was 19%. Now, it's about 30%, and Muhlhauser wants to boost that to 50%. He's also hoping to stay ahead of low-cost rivals such as Taiwan-based Foxconn. It makes BlackBerrys, iPhones and other popular consumer devices, but it is chasing high-margin businesses as well.

Muhlhauser knows that he has to offer more than low prices. "If it's purely a cost game," he says, "it's what my wife says: You get what you pay for." /Iain Marlow


The Edmonton-based firm is on an ambitious drive to expand by acquisition-swallowing 75 companies since 2000


If cricket is truly the biggest religion in India, its place of worship is Eden Gardens. The 66,000-seat stadium in Kolkata has a long, rich history. Established in 1864, it has been the site of some of India's greatest cricket triumphs, including an astonishing come-from-behind victory over Australia in 2001. It has also seen several shameful riots, the worst being when fans pelted the field with debris and set fires during a 1996 Cricket World Cup semi-final, prompting officials to award the match to Sri Lanka.

So when the Cricket Association of Bengal called for bids in 2009 to redevelop and upgrade Eden Gardens for the 2011 World Cup, it was a prime opportunity for any international engineering and design firm to add a marquee project in India. The winner of the design contract was Burt Hill, Pittsburgh's largest architectural firm, which had 14 offices worldwide. In 2010, Burt Hill was bought by an even more ambitious Canadian firm, Edmonton-based Stantec, which was-and still is-on an drive to expand by acquisition.

Since 2000, Stantec has bought more than 75 engineering, design and environmental firms, all of them in North America. Stantec doesn't seek out firms with international offices and projects when it buys, but it takes on those that come with its North American deals. In addition to about 250 offices across Canada and the United States, the firm now has four in the Middle East, two in the Caribbean and one apiece in Barbados, the U.K. and India.

For the most part, Stantec's overseas projects have been prestigious and profitable. Only about 4% of its $2 billion in revenues in 2014 came from outside North America, but that's double the 2% portion in 2009. "We are generally doing more specialized or higher-skilled types of projects," says Carl Clayton, Stantec's executive vice-president, international. "We can compete at world-class levels, and clients see that and are happy to hire us." The margins are also higher than those on more basic civil engineering contracts, where there's often a lot of local competition.

The Eden Gardens makeover, however, was far from a success at the start. The goals were to replace concrete seating with plastic chairs, and reduce the stadium's capacity from 90,000 to make room for restaurants, shops and more corporate boxes. But work was so far behind schedule in February, 2011, that the opening World Cup match between India and England was moved to Bangalore. However, three matches were played in the incomplete Eden Gardens in March.

Stantec was responsible for design, but not construction, so it couldn't prevent the delay. About half of the stadium's old seating was replaced in the first phase of renovations. The next phases will upgrade the rest.

For Stantec's staff in India, the assignment is another high-profile opportunity to showcase their abilities. Eden Gardens is home to Indian Premier League's Kolkata Knight Riders, owned by Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan. "There are few things that tie all of the states throughout India as one nation," says Jayesh Hariyani, a senior principal at Stantec's office in the city of Ahmedabad. "Cricket is one, the other is Bollywood movies." /Brenda Bouw


The company's workforce in Mexico is surging, along with the country's auto industry

The school bus that pulls into the Magna Assembly Systems plant in Hermosillo, in Northwest Mexico, several times a day brings in many men and women from nearby farming communities. Factory work has its advantages, including steady pay, a free cantina and air conditioning (it's more than 40 C outside in June). They change into uniforms-khaki pants and navy polo shirts-and start eight-hour shifts in an industry that has transformed the country into a manufacturing powerhouse. "You would not know you're in Mexico," says Scott Paradise, Magna International Inc.'s vice-president of marketing and new business development for the Americas. "You could be in Brampton, Ontario, or Akron, Ohio. You really wouldn't know the difference."

Well, not exactly. The sprawling 170,000-square-foot factory has a few agave plants in the front walkway, and the cantina serves up Mexican dishes such as Arrachera, Carne Asada And Pescado Empapelado. On the shop floor, more than 500 employees work in three shifts, six days a week, supplying injection-moulded plastic parts for the front-end modules of Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZs. There is a constant hum as state-of-the-art machinery pushes heated plastic into moulds. Each day, 30 trucks arrive, delivering parts and resin, while 68 trucks depart for the local Ford plant, where about 300,000 Fusions are assembled each year.

Magna is based in Aurora, Ontario, but has more than 300 factories in 26 countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia; about 85% of the company's workforce of 130,000 is now employed outside Canada. The company makes parts for virtually every major car manufacturer-turn signals in the outside mirrors on the BMW I8, seamless sliding windows on the new Ford F-150 and thermoplastic liftgates for the Nissan Rogue.

Magna opened its first Mexican factory in Puebla, 100 kilometres southeast of Mexico City, in 1991, to make bumpers and radiator supports for Volkswagens. It now has 30 factories in the country. Virtually all the major automakers have also built or upgraded plants in Mexico since then. Cheap labour was-and still is-an attraction, for sure. Mexican assembly-line workers earn about one-fifth the typical wage of a U.S. worker. As well, Mexico has free trade agreements with much of the world, making it an ideal platform for global auto exports.

The country is now the world's seventh-largest automaker-far ahead of 10th-ranked Canada-and as its auto industry matures, locals are landing high-level jobs, too. Most of the top executives at Magna's Hermosillo plant are Mexicans. The company also runs tool-and-die apprenticeship programs-they are cost-effective and show a commitment to the country. "That is quite helpful," says Paradise, "when we're talking to the state, federal or local governments, looking for financial support."

Further expansion in Mexico and other overseas markets is quite likely as manufacturers rely more on Magna for increasingly sophisticated roles, including research and development. The automakers "want everybody to be global," said Magna CEO Don Walker in a conference call with analysts in May. "The suppliers are being asked to get involved much earlier in vehicle programs to develop the new technology and to help define the vehicle."

The Magna name is still largely under the hood. But the company's international reach is getting bigger. /David Berman


One hundred and sixteen years after entering Brazil, the infrastructure giant is still adding to its holdings


Ben Vaughan takes out a printout of a map of Brazil and traces a line along a 320-kilometre stretch of the BR101 highway running north from Rio de Janeiro to the state of Espírito Santo. He's demonstrating how Brookfield Asset Management identifies opportunities and controls risks in South America, despite its history of political and economic upheaval.

The company invested in nine toll-road segments in Brazil in 2012, and boosted its stake in them the following year. The stretch of BR101 is "a critical transportation corridor that links Rio with important industrial regions and ports in the north," Vaughan says. "It has a good mix of commuter traffic and trucking."

Vaughan, who is a senior managing partner and Brookfield's chief investment officer for South America, likes toll roads for the same reasons that he and Brookfield like electrical power plants and other utilities. They're capital-intensive and barriers to entry are high-chances of a competitor setting up shop next door are slim. Rates and tolls tend to be stable, and cash flows grow faster than GDP.

South American infrastructure also fits in with two of Brookfield's fundamental investing principles: Take the long-term view, and be contrarian. Vaughan says that foreign and domestic investors often get overly excited or pessimistic about Brazil, where Brookfield can trace its lineage, via the Brascan and Edper conglomerates, back to the founding of São Paulo Tramway, Light and Power by Canadian investors in 1899. "The realities on the ground are often different than the sentiment," remarks Vaughan, who lived in Brazil from 2012 to 2014. Looking at the past 20 years, he says there has been "a steady progression forward and the development of a middle class." On the other hand, pessimism can help create investing bargains.

Since hard-driving CEO Bruce Flatt took charge in 2002, Brookfield has focused its efforts on four strengths: real estate, hydroelectric power, infrastructure and private equity.

Over the past decade, Brookfield has expanded its assets under management tenfold, to more than $200 billion. Its stable of more than 250 office properties around the world wins a lot of publicity, but Brookfield has also more than doubled its holdings in South America over the past seven years. It now owns and operates $20-billion worth of assets in Brazil, Chile and Colombia, including offices and shopping malls, hydroelectric plants, wind farms, toll roads, ports, farmland and timberland. /John Daly


A Montreal dairy dynasty is positioning itself to satisfy Asia's growing appetite for cheese


You can understand why a successful Canadian business would choose the giant U.S. market for its first push outside the country, but why did giant Montreal dairy processor Saputo Inc. then leap to Argentina and Australia?

CEO Lino Saputo Jr. says makers of cheese and other dairy products have to "follow the milk." There are only a handful of countries around the world with mature, low-cost dairy farming regions, including North America, South America (Brazil and Argentina), Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) and several countries in Europe.

But to sell globally, you also want those regions to serve as platforms for exports, especially to fast-growing new markets. That's why the company bought Argentina's third-largest dairy, which exported to more than 30 countries, in 2003.

Even then, Saputo also had its eye on Australia. In January, 2014, the company won a politically charged bidding war and spent $450 million to take over the country's oldest dairy, Warrnambool Cheese & Butter. The goal is to use it to boost sales in China, Korea and Japan. But what about the stereotype that consumers in those countries don't drink milk and eat cheese? "That's a myth," says Saputo. "This next generation is going to be consuming more and more dairy products."

Indeed, pizza is quite literally the new Chinese food. Annual sales in the country more than doubled to $2 billion (U.S.) between 2007 and 2012, and Pizza Hut is the biggest Western family restaurant chain, with 1,300 outlets.

Lino Jr., 49, is the third Saputo to run the family business, founded by his grandfather, Giuseppe, a cheese-maker from Sicily, in 1954. In a time-honoured tradition of any family-executive-in-waiting, Lino Jr. worked at various jobs that each gave him increasing responsibility-in a cheese plant when he was 13; driving delivery trucks in university; as administrative assistant for his dad, Lino Sr.; as a manager of a plant in Cookstown, Ontario; and, finally, as vice-president of operations in 1993.

Still, Saputo says he was no shoo-in as the new CEO in 2004. The company had gone public in 1997, and the family got 58% of the shares (that has since declined to about 34% as the company has grown). Those shares have just one vote apiece-the Saputos wanted to ensure an orderly succession in management and avoid the controversies over multiple-voting shares that have plagued other Canadian dynasties. "The HR committee selected me as CEO not because my name was Saputo, but because I understood the business very well," he says.

Saputo, however, had his headaches after assuming the top job. The company had entered the United States in the 1980s. Unlike Canada, there is no supply-management system there to control prices for dairy farmers. U.S. milk and cheese prices were volatile in 2005 and 2006. He also bought two small cheese plants in Germany and the United Kingdom, but then realized that the European market was too mature and tough, and eventually shut them down in 2013. Vachon snack cakes, which Saputo had bought in 1999, also continued to disappoint. The company sold it to Mexico's Grupo Bimbo last December for $114.3 million.

Over all, though, the company has grown impressively in Saputo's decade as CEO. Revenue has tripled to $10.7 billion for the 2015 fiscal year ended March 31, and profits tripled, too. That puts Saputo among the top 10 global producers, and it now sells in more than 40 countries, although about half of those sales are in the U.S. and 36% in Canada.

In many ways, Canada is the most problematic market-the only one that maintains strict supply management. That keeps milk prices high. Saputo says the company pays about $70 a hectolitre here, compared with about $35 to $40 in the U.S.

Australia deregulated its dairy sector in the early 2000s. Saputo thinks the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal between Canada and 11 other Pacific Rim countries could prompt Ottawa to do that, too. "The opening up of borders would be favourable, because we are an international player," he says.

And as he contemplates prospects in Asia, Saputo has yet to reach hundreds of millions of potential new customers. /John Daly

Associated Graphic







Democracy, interrupted
Caught between China's sphere of influence and the West's hopes for reform, Myanmar is at a critical juncture. Elections are slated for the fall, but many fear that the dictatorship will retain its grip on power. Nathan VanderKlippe reports
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

RANGOON -- On Nov. 11, 1990, Soe Myint and some friends hijacked an airplane. The foursome brandished a laughing Buddha stuffed with soap and wire, and called it a bomb.

Their operation was not flawless. Some had never been in an airplane before, and they accidentally broke into a bathroom before barging into the cockpit.

But they succeeded in diverting the Thai Airways flight, forcing the A300 jetliner and its 221 occupants to land in Calcutta instead of Rangoon.

Terror was not on their minds. What they wanted, instead, was to draw attention to Myanmar, then called Burma, a country they had fled after the military overruled an election won by the country's icon of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi. The amateur hijackers freed the passengers when the Indian government let them hold a press conference. They released a handwritten statement saying they had staged the airplane drama "to make the world carefully listen to the cry of the Burmese people for democracy and human rights inside a closed and little-known country."

For many years, that cry went unanswered, as Myanmar languished under severe military rule that shut it off from the outside world. Inside its closed borders, it was a society rotted through with informants and filled with fear. Violence racked its rural regions, and its impoverished people risked jail for sins as mild as the penning of poetry.

Then, in 2010, after winning a sham election, the country's military-backed leadership released Ms. Suu Kyi from house arrest and, a few months later, transferred some power to a civilian government. Its leadership has since brought changes once considered impossible, including new media freedoms that stoked hope that a fundamental transformation was under way.

Mr. Soe Myint joined a rush of exiles who moved back to Rangoon, bringing with him a small media empire he had built abroad. Myanmar today enjoys "more and more space" for rights and freedoms, he says.

Yet, for Myanmar's sitting government - ruled by former generals now dressed in suits - this year represents a critical juncture, as the country seeks to shake off the darkness of past decades with the promise of elections in the fall that offer a real choice between the militarybacked current administration and Ms. Suu Kyi's pledges of a very different future. If the vote is held successfully, it will mark another major step toward a freer, wealthier, more peaceful place.

Ms. Suu Kyi says the country is on the "brink of democracy" - but it's a precarious spot, not just for its more than 50 million people, but for other nations who see far-reaching consequences to its rehabilitation.

Myanmar is among the world's most prominent testbeds for democratic reform at a time when elected governments are struggling from Thailand to Egypt. An oddly shaped country - a diamond with a teardrop, as one writer lyrically described it - it occupies a broad river plain wedged between China and India.

That gives it economic importance, but has also made it into a battleground of sorts for competing ideologies. If Myanmar can find a way past its problems and embrace fuller democratic freedoms - in particular, if Ms. Suu Kyi wins - it stands to emerge as a Southeast Asian stronghold of Western ideals. If it is unable or unwilling to move past a government heavily influenced by the military, on the other hand, it will come as another vote of confidence in a style of governance that resembles China's.

If Myanmar offers a setting for the construction of something new, it is on shaky ground. For six decades now, civil war has brought bloodshed and, despite efforts at a ceasefire - recently completed in draft, but not yet finalized - heavily armed ethnic groups still stand to threaten peace for many years to come.

The generals have released their chokehold on free expression but haven't rewritten archaic rules that enable the jailing of those they dislike. Virulent racism has spread from a clique of nationalist monks and into the legislature, which has codified ongoing persecution of minorities in new race-based rules, further inflaming ethnic tensions.

Perhaps nothing better underlines the scale of problems facing Myanmar than the desperate attempts by the Rohingya, leaving on boats to flee persecution.

The flight by members of a Muslim ethnic group Myanmar calls interlopers and to whom it refuses citizenship has created a regional crisis and brought international pressure for change.

The problems facing the country may be rooted in its decades of isolationism and dictatorship.

But as Myanmar attempts to move forward, questions of fault are fading in importance next to the burden of fixing things, which will weigh heavy on the country's next leader.

There is some hope: A flourishing civil society and the promise of peace suggest it may be possible for Myanmar to go from Southeast Asia's darkest corner to one of its brightest lights. But as it sits on the precipice of further change, Myanmar must also contend with the possibility that its history of violence and prejudice could drag it to failure.

A past that lives 'in their bones'

On the banks of the Rangoon River, opposite the nation's raucous commercial hub, the view from Sein Win's ramshackle welding shop offers an unsettling reminder of how Myanmar's ugly past could overtake the promise of its future.

The 56-year-old Mr. Sein Win sells bolts, nuts, screws and wires, and uses his welding torches - sparked with the flick of a cigarette lighter - to repair cars, motorbikes and fishing boats. "It's a happy way to live," he says, sitting sandal-footed in the shade, a sleeveless white shirt untucked over a longyi, the traditional Burmese sarong. "People break something, I fix it."

The problems he sees outside his door, however, offer no such easy solutions.

As he works, a naked young boy wanders by, a stark picture of abject poverty. A new road is being poured in front of Mr. Sein Win's shop, but it's less a picture of hope than it may seem: its sides are foot-high concrete cliffs that would destroy the axle of any car. The government is pouring the roadway concrete, but to actually link the road with his store, Mr. Sein Win will have to pave the shoulder himself. He's not convinced the whole project is much good, either. He points behind his shop.

"They built a street over there two years ago, but now it's totally destroyed. In other countries, roads last forever and they are maintained. Here, they focus on quantity, not quality."

Mr. Sein Win is a rare educated man in Myanmar, where the military effort to squelch dissent was so sweeping that it shut down universities for a time. He graduated from high school and paid his way through mechanical school by fixing umbrellas, collecting scrap metal and selling water door-to-door. His daughters have done well, too: One holds an IT diploma; the other is an engineer.

He has sought a better life and, like most of his generation, marched in the streets during nationwide uprisings that led to an election in 1990. "Life was really hard, and I wanted changes," he says. "It was like survival of the fittest. I was educated, but the country was so closed, and I couldn't even earn enough money." Little changed after 1990 and, when a new round of elections was conducted in 2010, he held out little hope.

He hasn't been disappointed.

"It's the same as it was in the past," he says. "The only difference is that I'm getting older."

Corruption remains rampant, a "VIP system," as Mr. Sein Win calls it, that ensures great privilege for an elite who experience a country very different from that of the 41 per cent of children stunted from malnutrition - a statistic that is worse here even than in North Korea.

Salaries have gone up with roaring economic growth, some of the highest on the planet in past years, but inflation has soared, too, and with it, the price of goods. A bag of rice costs nearly four times what it did five years ago, swallowing income gains.

Improvements to desperate conditions in schools and hospitals have been so sluggish as to be nearly imperceptible.

Mr. Sein Win knows Burma was once the most literate country in Southeast Asia, a place whose airport was a global hub and whose universities were among the best in the region. He thinks it can rise again to become "a great nation."

But he offers a bleak outlook on the current generation's ability to bring change that is more than skin deep. The hermetic Myanmar of the last half-century, the place where the generals sealed the airport and tortured prisoners still lives "in their bones," Mr. Sein Win says, referring to the country's leaders.

He offers a bleak assessment of his country: "If you want to really make change, you have to kill everyone over five years old, and start a new generation."

A ceasefire to the sound of gunfire

On March 31, in an airy meeting room in downtown Rangoon, generals in olive uniforms stood across from rebels with thongs on their feet to conclude a piece of history - and prove that change in Myanmar is possible. The landmark ceasefire text was intended to secure a peace that has eluded the country after six decades of sectarian conflict. Looking on was President Thein Sein, underscoring the importance of the document.

But even as the ink dried, shots were ringing out in Myanmar's northern hills, where fierce fighting broke out earlier this year between the military and a local ethnic rebel group called the Kokang.

The fighting has killed hundreds and sparked a desperate flight to safety by local villagers.

In February and March alone - as the final details were being added to the ceasefire agreement - 20,000 people arrived seeking shelter at the Shan Mansu monastery in Lashio, a northern outpost 100 kilometres from the border with China.

Among them was Wang Jia, who fled home with five others, including Xiao Tian, her ninemonth-old son. They crammed into a three-wheeled tuk-tuk, their few possessions stuffed into bags and boxes. "All my neighbours also left," she says, sitting on an elevated wooden plank at the monastery, surrounded by adults staring off into the distance and kids whiling away the hours on a cellphone.

Others have told her that her home has since been looted: "They stole everything nice." She is not sure when she will ever go back. So she waits at the monastery, which offers two meals a day. Many who come seeking shelter stay only briefly, before moving farther away. "If they go back home, there is fighting and people are dying," says Pon Nya Nanda, the monastery's head monk.

The grim confluence of events - the sound of guns echoing as a ceasefire deal was completed - underscored the immense challenge of securing peace in a country still ravaged, in places, by the civil war that began in 1948, and the numerous war machines that have built up around it.

The fighting has been driven by a long string of disputes over territory, trade and ethnic identity - not in a continuous war, but in a series of conflagrations between different groups that, over time, have brought bloodshed to many of the country's distant corners.

The difficulty Myanmar faces in securing peace lies in the number of groups involved, the complexity of their conflicts and the immensity of the fighting forces they have assembled.

Experts estimate that Myanmar's military, known as the tatmadaw, is now 300,000 strong.

Scattered around the country, well-equipped ethnic forces together number well over 50,000, according to a calculation by Anthony Davis, a security analyst at defence consultancy IHSJane who has travelled through some of Myanmar's more isolated areas.

"If you're a government trying to rule a country, it's a hell of a lot. That's the dilemma Burma is facing," he says.

Each corner of the country holds armed groups, and "this is not some sort of ragtag bunch of folks who are back in the 1950s," Mr. Davis says. Some "are a serious semi-conventional force," equipped with heavy artillery, surface-to-air missiles, rocketpropelled grenades and 120-mm mortars capable of attacking targets kilometres away.

The path to peace is further complicated by the profit those armed groups protect: an illicit trade in jade, timber and opium that forms what Aung Naing Oo, a former rebel fighter who is now associate director of the Myanmar Peace Center, calls the country's "war economy."

It "is big," he says. "My estimate is somewhere around $7-billion to $10-billion (U.S.)." Ethnic groups have created parallel states, complete with taxation regimes and the delivery of health care and education. Their armies protect not only economic but cultural interests. Their resistance is, in many ways, to assimilation. "There is a strong sense of territorial control, and also control over language and culture," says Zaceu Lian, a Canadian Burmese who has returned home to work for peace.

What they want is federalism, a deal that would provide individual states not only political control and a cut of revenue from local mines and forests, but also their own constitutions. "I usually compare Burma with Canada, saying this is a country made up of eight Quebecs," Mr. Zaceu Lian says. "Each group considers itself distinct."

It's complicated enough that an agreement one day is not necessarily upheld the next. Take the ceasefire, a seven-chapter document that carefully details steps toward ending fighting and seeking new political solutions.

Months after the draft was finished, it has yet to be finalized and signed - and in early June, ethnic groups brought in new negotiators to once again start up talks that were supposed to be over.

Even if the deal is eventually concluded, securing compliance will be tougher still. Those who are most optimistic about peace acknowledge that it's likely decades away. "It would take a long time," says Mr. Aung Naing Oo, "to bring peace to Myanmar."

But the stakes are high. And Myanmar's future will remain clouded so long as fighting continues. "You can have all the economic reforms you want, but if the country is still at war with itself, you won't attract investment," says Harn Yawnghwe, who escaped Myanmar to Canada as a boy, and is now back as executive director of EBO Myanmar, which promotes democracy and peace.

"If the peace process doesn't work, who knows what will happen again."

Stoking fear against 'foreigners' within

Dusk approaches as the final preparations are made for the monk who wants Myanmar's Muslims gone - a man whose incendiary views stand to be as dangerous to the country as is the violence in the jungles.

"Tonight is the night - and the man giving the sermon will be Wirathu. Ashin Wirathu," a man with a megaphone says as night falls, his voice echoing across a northern Rangoon neighbourhood as he presses for donations.

Most of those who come drop a few crumpled bills in his bowls.

Last year, in a measure of Ashin Wirathu's popularity, he took in $100,000 in a country where many still live on hundreds of dollars a year.

As the crowd swells and Ashin Wirathu approaches, the loudspeakers pump out a catchy, keyboard-heavy tune. "We may need to use our bones as a fence" to stand against those who want to destroy the nation or "insult our generation," the lyrics warn, with the refrain: "Our country is a Buddhist nation. We must stand up for our religion - hey!"

Then Ashin Wirathu arrives. His smile lights up a room - and masks a darkness that he has worked to spread across Myanmar. He is one of the architects of a nationalist movement whose philosophy of ethnic purity holds common ground with nazism. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, he calls the Koran the "mother of terrorism" and accuses Muslim men of raping Buddhist women and forcing them to convert.

He has been the inspiration behind four race and religion bills - some already passed by the national parliament - that would require government authorization for religious conversion and would regulate interfaith marriage. Amnesty International has called the bills, which are aimed squarely at Muslim groups, "grossly discriminatory."

Muslims are vastly outnumbered by Buddhists in Myanmar.

But Ashin Wirathu compares them to "a tiger among deer. It's dangerous."

His teachings have helped to stoke a virulent backlash against the Rohingya. Angry mobs have burned homes and mosques, causing families to flee. At least 140,000 Rohingya are now in refugee camps, in conditions so desperate that tens of thousands have fled on boats, landing in such places as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. In May, Tomás Ojea Quintana, the former special rapporteur on the human-rights situation in Myanmar, said that "the Rohingya are in a process of genocide."

In person, Ashin Wirathu says he condones no violence. But he has long preached a venomous dislike of Muslims. The son of a truck driver, he became a monk at 14. He grew fixated on stories of Muslim men forcing their wives to step on images of the Buddha, and began such an effective nationalistic campaign that the military jailed him in 2003 for inciting anti-Muslim violence.

He was released in 2010, along with other political prisoners, and today lists icons of liberty and democracy as key influences.

"Democracy is the best revenge," he says, citing Benazir Bhutto.

But Ashin Wirathu's understanding of democracy is different from those he claims as his inspirations. He sees it as a majoritarian tool, useful in imposing the will of the many upon the few. It's why he is already thinking beyond the four race and religion laws.

He wants Myanmar to codify immigrants as second-class citizens with laws to bar foreigners - he cites Chinese and Indians - from owning land. "They should just be renters," he says. In Myanmar, Chinese and Indian settlers date back centuries; many today speak only Burmese. But Ashin Wirathu wants the country ruled to the benefit of what he calls its sons and daughters. "The cousins should not have equal rights to the inheritance."

His is not an outlier view. "Parts of our country are flooded by foreigners - by China, by India, even Bangladesh," says U Htun Aung Kyaw. A member of parliament who belongs to the Arakan National Party, he sits on the legislature's international-relations committee and has toured Canada as part of a parliamentary delegation. He says people in Myanmar fear they will be made to forfeit land that is a generational heritage to outsiders. "It is very dangerous to lose our traditions, and the rights of our indigenous people," he says.

The anger that Ashin Wirathu inspires threatens to be as damaging to the country as the armed conflict it has long endured. "It's a question of trying to keep the pot from boiling over," says Mr.

Harn Yawnghwe. He points to the danger of Muslim resentment providing fertile ground for recruitment by Islamic State.

Anti-Chinese sentiment poses equal risks. "If anti-Muslim sentiment boils over into anti-Chinese sentiment and there are violent clashes, the worst-case scenario is that China can't sit back and do nothing," he says, pointing to Russia in Crimea as a chilling precedent. Worries about just that kind of scenario were reinforced when China began live-fire military exercises near the Myanmar border in early June.

"It's not there yet. I hope it doesn't get that far - and there are ways to resolve it," Mr. Harn Yawnghwe says. "But the potential is there."

Media curbs, and LGBT advances

Hijacking an airplane, Mr. Soe Myint discovered, was easier than printing a newspaper in Rangoon.

In 2013, President Thein Sein told exiles they were welcome back, and Soe Myint decided to return. He knew that his country's problems were far from over.

But as editor-in-chief of Mizzima Media Group, he was eager to test out the new liberties that promised freedom of expression and a free press. In the process, he found himself confronting a place where openness and repression still co-exist in often uncomfortable ways.

"We had to fight our way in," Mr. Soe Myint says. The country had no registration procedures for media companies, so Mizzima had to print its newspapers in Thailand and fly them to Rangoon. It bled money. The government at first allowed only weekly publication; it took another year to approve daily printing.

"Government didn't make our lives easier at all," he says. And the media freedoms are limited to newspapers and magazines: TV and radio remain under the control of authorities.

"The vision is still there," of a free country, Mr. Soe Myint says.

"But we face more and more issues."

Among them are journalists jailed for reporting that is deemed to violate the Official Secrets Act, enacted in 1923, whose list of secret - and therefore prohibited - places includes "any railway, roadway or channel, or other means of communication by land or water ... or any place used for gas, water or electricity works."

Its provisions have been used against journalists for reporting on a factory they said was used to make chemical weapons. Last year, one reporter died in custody.

In March, the authorities detained a reporter for publishing a satirical image on Facebook; others were assaulted while covering a student protest.

Reporters Without Borders ranks Myanmar 144th out of 180 countries on its World Press Freedom Index. Regression is "quite obvious now," says Mon Mon Myat, a journalist and organizer of human-rights film festivals.

Myanmar's information minister faults the jailed reporters themselves. Those who visited the weapons factory to gather information "made a mistake" U Ye Htut says in an interview, adding that the media in general have a "lack of awareness about the law."

Amending the law, he says, is not his responsibility, although he acknowledges that "some government officials still see the media as a threat."

Yet, he also argues that a freer media is proof of his government's willingness to change. "We have a better situation than most of the ASEAN countries," he says, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. "And we are moving in the right direction."

Mr. Ye Htut also serves as the presidential spokesman, and his optimism might evoke skepticism were it not shared by so many others, including those behind a flourishing civil society.

Recent years have brought vigorous new debate on politics, peacemaking and human rights.

Hla Myat has been so energized by his country's new openness that he has barely taken a day off.

"We don't have Saturdays, we don't have Sundays - we work 24/7," says the man who leads Colors Rainbow, which advocates for gay rights in Myanmar. "We are really moved by the new environment in the country."

Life isn't perfect, and discrimination remains law: Myanmar still has a Section 377 law on its books - which criminalizes "carnal intercourse against the order of nature." But the LGBT community has risen with remarkable strength, working alongside lawyers to press for changes to the law, and running workshops and film festivals - some funded by the local Canadian embassy.

Whereas in other countries gay and lesbian activism has been relegated to AIDS-related health programming, groups in Myanmar have also pushed for equal treatment.

"There's more going on than in Thailand," says Doug Sanders, a professor emeritus of law from the University of British Columbia who now lives in Thailand and is writing a report for ASEAN that looks at the treatment of the LGBT community in 10 countries.

Or, as some observers like to put it, Myanmar has, on some fronts, gone from worst to first.

Perhaps no one recognizes this potential more than those who have left and then come back.

'Re-pat' hopes and stark realities

Nyein Chan holds a PhD in mathematical cosmology and is the kind of numbers whiz whom high-finance companies covet. He is British-educated, interned at investment banks and, not long after securing his doctorate, received a job offer from Morgan Stanley in London. Starting salary: $127,000 a year.

But he turned it down and, instead, last year packed his bags for Myanmar, where he was born.

He took a teaching job at an international high school in Rangoon.

"Home sweet home. Home is the best," says the 28-year-old. "I want to contribute toward this country's development."

Decades of repression and fighting drained Myanmar of many of its most talented people, and poverty has stripped it of proper education. For every 1,100 students who enter elementary classes, barely 100 graduate from high school, leaving the country with a major shortfall of qualified people as it seeks to modernize.

But for all the problems Myanmar faces, few things provide as much hope as the trickle of people who are returning. The "repats," or repatriates, are playing increasingly prominent roles in the country's transformation.

They are senior employees at banks and airlines. They are helping to quarterback the peace process. They are running media companies.

Their return is "one very promising factor" for Myanmar's future, says Aung Tun Thet, an economic adviser to the President. "We still have a brain drain, no doubt. We have people going to work in Malaysia or in Thailand. But we now have people coming back. This is the beginning, I think."

Wanna Aung, 48, left Myanmar in 1989. He built a career selling vacuum cleaners around Asia for a Warren Buffett-owned company before moving to Paris and promoting Veuve Clicquot at a champagne bar. He had an apartment on Avenue de l'Opéra and access to some of the city's swishest parties.

It was a good life, but he could not escape the guilty feeling that he had left his desperate home country behind. So in 2009, the year after Myanmar passed a new constitution that would bring democratic reforms, he returned.

He now distributes Sprinkles, a vitamin-and-minerals supplement developed by the University of Toronto - seven in 10 Myanmar children are iron-deficient. "I said, 'For this I can stop everything I'm doing,' " he says. "I know this product is going to save this country."

He is now sketching plans for a factory to produce Sprinkles locally, working out of an office in the back of his parents' house, where 10 staff neatly organize tables with lists of distant rural schools.

The re-pats don't always have an easy path home. Those who have let their citizenship lapse cannot buy land or own a house here. A new law allows for permanent residency, but requires an initial application downpayment of $10,000, and annual payments of $1,000.

"I mean, come on," says Mr. Harn Yawnghwe. He accuses the government of making it tough for exiles to return, because it fears they will oppose the regime.

"They're scared and they want to control who comes in," he says.

And it can be frustrating to come back. Says Mr. Nyein Chan, "I feel sort of irritated, because this country was once one of the richest countries in Asia. It has the potential to go a lot further.

But it's not happening."

Myanmar's most celebrated repat is optimistic that further change is possible. Aung San Suu Kyi left Myanmar as a teen, only to return nearly three decades later in hopes of bringing about change. Today, she sees a population that still remembers, and longs to return to, the time when Myanmar was literate, wealthy and peaceful.

In those memories lies power, she says. "We have been under a military regime for about half a century and, of course, that shapes our society to a certain extent," she says in an interview.

"But don't forget that the military regime was never, never accepted by the people. So the fact that there's a veneer that has been imposed by the military does not mean that our people's attitudes and aspirations have been shaped by the military at all."

She adds: "If the majority of the people are intent enough on bringing about change, change does come about."

Still, she warns as well against trivializing the problems that Myanmar faces, or the degree to which they could derail efforts to move more fully past its days of military-imposed isolation.

"Too many members of the international community just want to look at things through rosecoloured glasses," she says. "But I keep repeating that, just because you want a happy ending, it's not going to come."

Nathan VanderKlippe is The Globe and Mail's correspondent in Asia.

Associated Graphic

Sein Win runs a welding shop on the banks of the Rangoon River. When a new round of elections was conducted in 2010, he held out little hope for change. 'It's the same as it was in the past. The only difference is that I'm getting older.' HTOO TAY ZAR FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Nationalist monk Ashin Wirathu speaks to a crowd on the outskirts of Rangoon. Wirathu's anti-Islam messages have helped stoke anger against Myanmar's Muslim minorities.


From left: Members of the National League for Democracy party sit in their office in the city of Meiktila; Soe Myint, who once hijacked an plane to raise awareness of his nation's problems, is now head of Mizzima Media Group; workers pick garlic near Lashio, in the country's north; welder Sein Win at work in his shop.


Residential school reboot
More than 150,000 children were forced into a system designed to strip them of their identities. As Madeleine White discovers, a new generation is trying to reimagine indigenous education Photography by Fred Lum
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F4

THUNDER BAY -- In the girls' washroom on the first floor of Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School, the lighting is harsh. There's a communal sink for handwashing and a row of aging toilets. In the stall at the end of that row, the door doesn't quite fit the frame. In other words, it's like high-school girls' washrooms everywhere - right down to the graffiti on the wall of that final stall. But rather than calling someone a slut or spelling out random vulgarities, this bit of scrawl asks a simple (if exuberantly punctuated) question: Do you know your potential?!

Getting students to answer that question in the affirmative is what DFC High is all about. The school is one of two (the other is almost 400 kilometres away in Sioux Lookout) run by the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council, a First Nations nonprofit organization established by the bands of more than 20 fly-in reserves in Ontario's northwest.

The organization's "vision statement" aims to help bring into being "a world in which First Nations people succeed without the loss of their identity, and have the courage to change their world according to their values."

DFC students come from those same reserves - some of the most isolated communities in Canada.

The school sets them up in Thunder Bay boarding homes, assigns them a "prime worker" (equal parts guidance counsellor, social worker and parental figure), and enrolls them in courses approved by the Ministry of Education.

It also strives to have graduates leave not only with a diploma but the skills, knowledge and confidence to help their home communities heal - by setting positive examples, showing a pride in indigenous culture and identity, and fostering employment on reserves.

About 2,000 students have walked its halls in DFC's 15 years of existence. They come from families that have survived the destructive legacy of the residential school system, but DFC is a residential school in name only. It is funded by the bands it services, its direction and administration is run by aboriginals, and the students leave home to attend this high school by choice, and with their families' permission.

"Most of us, as parents, would not choose to have their kids up and moved from their community and home at the age of Grade 9," says Sonia Prevost-Derbecker, vice-president of education for Indspire, an indigenous-led charity based in Toronto. She realizes that boarding schools present a challenge to remote communities but, in some cases, sending children away to school is their parents' only option.

"The experience can be most isolating and terrifying and, without some sense of belonging, kids fall through the cracks all of the time," she says. "It's a risky time in a kid's life to be doing that."

Unfortunately, many of the grandparents of the students at DFC are all too aware of this, as they are survivors of a residential school system that saw more than 150,000 youngsters torn from their homes. For the century it was in existence, it employed shame, violence and deprivation to teach indigenous children that their traditional way of life was not only wrong, but evil.

That abuse, disguised as legitimate education, led to the loss of countless cultural traditions and many indigenous languages. It also left a legacy of broken families. Students were robbed of the experience of growing up in a loving home; then when they had children, they often didn't know how to be parents. It is a pattern, survivors say, that continues to repeat itself.

"How do you learn in an environment of trauma, fear and shaming?" asks Marie Wilson, a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), which released its momentous final report on the legacy of the system this month.

Ms. Wilson sees in experimental initiatives like DFC the potential to help to heal the lasting trauma.

As well, the new schools can play a role in erasing the stigma around education for many indigenous people who still distrust the system.

DFC has had its share of tragedy, and is by no means a perfect solution - but Ms. Wilson says any experience that "helps to put students' minds to learning as opposed to protecting themselves and surviving," is a great opening, adding that schools like DFC "definitely have to be better than the historic alternative and [should] be appreciated in being bold and therefore important."

Principal Jonathan Kakegamic also believes his school can help with the healing, and says the key to that process is rebuilding a connection between culture and identity because, without it, students can't be successful.

"For residential schools to say, 'You're no good, you can't speak your language' - that does something to your identity, to your psyche," he adds.

Mr. Kakegamic is originally from Keewaywin First Nation northwest of Thunder Bay near the Manitoba border, but grew up in the city. Although his parents went to residential school, they didn't tell him about their experiences until he was in his 30s.

Hearing their stories of survival helped him to solidify his identity. And he hopes that fostering a positive learning experience for the kids at DFC will have a similar effect.

"They know who they are when they leave here. ... They need to know they are First Nations, that you can be proud of who you are."

Appearances and assumptions

DFC is housed in a former vocational school that, from the street, doesn't look much different from nearby Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate. But around back is the first clue that this is a unique place. There is an open tepee and fire pit, where Bella Patayash, the in-house elder responsible for teaching traditional skills, sometimes cooks.

When the bell rings in the morning, students funnel in after cascading off public buses. They shuffle-walk down the halls, and file neatly into their classrooms.

With only 150 kids (ages 14 to 21) in the entire school, the classes are smaller than normal, maxing out around 20. That allows for more bonding between teachers and students.

DFC follows a curriculum the province sets out and has a full roster of teachers for all the standard topics: English, math, business, gym, science and shop. In addition, students study indigenous language and spend their spares in the Elders' Room, where they sip Red Rose tea and practice traditional activities, such as beading and bannock-making.

In so many ways, however, it is just like every other high school - kids hang out in the hallways during lunch, goofing off and giggling; they populate the gym after school, practicing basketball. If one thing sets the atmosphere apart, it's the quiet, calm vibe that permeates the building.

The students are soft-spoken and more polite than most teens - opening doors for teachers, patiently waiting in line for lunch, and paying attention during school assemblies.

"When the school first started, the Thunder Bay police wanted to put an office in here - a gang office," says Mr. Kakegamic.

"They thought they knew us.

They had assumptions of how it was going to be."

But the school has not been without its troubles.

Since it opened, seven students have died while enrolled, in many cases found in one of the rivers that run through the city.

Students and staff believe these deaths were accidental - the victims were probably intoxicated and fell in. But one student was found hanging from a tree in a public park with a noose made of Christmas lights around his neck.

In 2011, the province's chief coroner heeded indigenous leaders and called a joint inquest into the deaths, with hearings to begin this fall.

Two years earlier, the situation was so grim there was talk of closing the school. Instead its leadership was changed - Mr. Kakegamic was put in charge - and new support teams were developed to help the students deal with some of the challenges they face: loneliness, addiction issues and depression.

"For students who are away, it doesn't change one element of the residential-school period, which is that emotional distance between the student who is away and the parents left behind," says Ms. Wilson. "The issue of homesickness is still a factor."

Daniel Levac wasn't homesick.

"He was one of the students I never had to worry about, whether he was in class or at home at night," says his prime worker, Lyle Fox. "He was the kind of guy who would ask how your day was - but he wasn't just asking, he would sit and listen. And he did that to everybody. It wasn't just me or just his friends. It was the quiet student in the corner, too."

But Daniel's time at DFC ended abruptly last fall, when he was fatally stabbed on the steps of the SilverCity cinema. A young man also from a remote northern reserve has been charged with second-degree murder.

Mr. Levac, 20, was set to graduate this year. In his honour at last month's ceremony, the school had a memorial cap and gown placed on a chair alongside the other grads as his parents watched from the audience.

The cap and gown were brought on stage by his grieving prime worker. "It took a lot out of me because I have a lot of guilt that comes with it," says Mr. Fox, 32.

He realizes he couldn't have stopped what happened. "But I was responsible for him; he was in our care."

Breaking the cycle

Juliet Aysanabee's favourite saying is "Just kidding." In fact, she says it after pretty much every sentence, whether she means it or not. It's almost like a special teenage punctuation - part goofy, part shy, part playful.

She is tall and thin, mostly limbs. Her long brown hair is pinstraight and generally hangs over her glasses. She likes to wear leggings and hoodies, and she carries headphones wherever she goes. When she arrived, she was shy, but has opened up, and especially enjoys drama and gym classes. After school, she hangs out with her friends at the mall; in the evenings, she plays sports.

Like some of her classmates, Ms. Aysanabee, 18, came to DFC after spending most of her youth in foster care. She cannot pinpoint exactly when she left home in Sandy Lake First Nation (across the water from Keewaywin, about 600 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay) and her six siblings, but knows she spent eight or nine years being bounced from foster family to foster family, sometimes spending as little as a month in one home. "For as long as I can remember, I was always moving around," she says.

"But here I am." She is embarrassed by this part of her history.

"When my friends talk about what their moms did when they were younger," she says, "I don't really have anything to talk about."

Ms. Aysanabee wasn't reunited with her mother until she was in Grade 8. And then, just two years later, she was off again. But this time, things were different. This time, the move was her own choice, part of a bigger decision she had made: to get her highschool diploma.

Since arriving, she has integrated herself into the school's family. She has participated in plays, joined the broomball team, made friends. She even got a job with the foot patrol, a group of current and former students hired to walk the downtown core and riverbanks Thursday, Friday and Saturday night during the fall and spring terms - on the lookout for classmates up to no good.

"We're walking around and telling on people who are drinking.

Being a rat - a snitch," she says with a giggle. "I just hope I don't bump into any of my friends."

Prime worker Lyle Fox's sister Clarissa is part of another team, one made up of adults who patrol the city in minivans all night responding to student emergencies.

She, too, is motivated by personal experience. "My father has shared his stories with me," says Ms. Fox, 39, referring to the "mental, emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual" abuse he says he endured while at Shingwauk, a residential school in Sault Ste.

Marie, Ont. "He was basically broken down."

After growing up, "my father didn't know how to be a parent how to love people. So when he and my mom got together, all they did was drink and fight. I think a lot of families were like that."

By understanding this legacy, Ms. Fox is able to relate to the students who come to DFC. She knows what it is like to be stuck in the destructive cycle from the residential school system. She knows what it is like to have a broken family and loved ones who struggle with addiction. But she also knows that people can be healed, as her father has. And as a result of his strength and his story, she and most of her siblings don't drink.

"We are breaking that cycle," she says.

Finding roles within the school

Mr. Fox also understands the importance of breaking that cycle and reclaiming his indigenous identity. He says that learning about a traditional way of life saved his life when it was spiralling out of control.

Now he is working to bring cultural teachings to the school that go beyond the current program, through which an in-house elder teaches students such traditions as beadwork and bannock.

But at 21, he had been an addict for nine years. Using drugs (such as cocaine and Percocet) and alcohol, he says, "filled a gap in my self-esteem. It made me feel good, made me feel better about myself. It gave me courage so I didn't have to walk home at night feeling scared."

Mr. Fox hit bottom after three suicide attempts that followed his 19th birthday - the day his older brother, Darryl, died of lymphomatic cancer. But his life turned around at the Benbowopka Treatment Centre in Blind River, Ont., a facility that combines traditional indigenous health practices with Western medicine.

"That's where I was introduced to the traditional side of me. I started to learn about my culture, my identity and the spiritual side of our life," he says. "My culture saved me. My teachings saved me." Now sober and a father of four, Mr. Fox is being initiated into the Midewiwin, a society that practises traditional medicine and healing through ceremony.

For him, part of the antidote to the poison that was the residential-school system is providing students with opportunities to discover their heritage of harmony, respect and spirituality; his efforts at DFC have prefigured part of what the TRC has asked for in its report. The 64th of its 94 recommendations calls on all levels of government to work to provide indigenous students with instruction in traditional spiritual beliefs and practices.

This past school year, Mr. Fox built a grandfather drum (big enough to be played by several people) with the help of students, many from reserves where traditional lifestyles are neither common nor celebrated. Next year, he hopes to hold afterschool sessions so students can learn to make and play smaller drums of their own.

But he has a lot of convincing to do. "In our area in the North, a lot of young people are following the footsteps of their parents and grandparents - the residential school system told them that our ways are evil," he says.

In fact, the first time he held a drumming session, only four or five students came by and, the next time, there was just one. "I think that whole mentality is still lingering."

Downright Dirty

The lingering is hardly limited to indigenous people. The residential schools were built on racism, and created ripples of damage, violence and entrenched prejudice.

"Sometimes, I feel like people judge me cause I'm aboriginal. I don't like the way they look at me. They look so grossed out or something," says Ms. Aysanabee.

"I was walking on the sidewalk, and some person walked by me and pointed at me and called me a butthead."

To say she feels alienated from the city at large is an understatement, and perhaps not surprising, considering the existence of something like Thunder Bay Dirty. Comprising several Facebook pages, a Twitter feed and YouTube channel, it is effectively an online forum for shaming indigenous people who are either in desperate situations or appear to be.

Thunder Bay Dirty is full of racist assumptions, one of which had a direct impact on DFC student Frank Kakepetum, a friend of Ms. Aysanabee. He was featured in a photograph that was snapped as he happened to being leaning against a brick wall, his head tilted back, his mouth agape and his eyes closed.

In person, he seems very much like a normal high-school kid - as the spring term wrapped up, he kept busy by building a tikinagan, a traditional bassinet, for his sister's baby. But the caption for the photo on Thunder Bay Dirty accused indigenous people of being so lazy, they can sleep on their feet. "Ha ha lil Oxy nod," read one particularly caustic remark.

Mr. Kakegamic realizes that stereotypes die hard. "A citizen of Thunder Bay, a non-native - if he doesn't know anything about us, he is probably going to be on guard. And he is going to have these presumptions of how Indians are. When you have that assumption, you're already eliminating any acceptance."

There are, though, benefits to having DFC located in Thunder Bay, according to Ms. Prevost-Derbecker of Indspire.

"They have the ability to retain teachers and they are in a city with a fairly significant indigenous population, so they have the ability to get some demographic representation in the classroom, which is very important," she says.

Having indigenous teachers, even if they are from the city and not from the students' home communities, she adds, can make it easier for the kids to connect, build trust and act as a role model.

But one criticism of the school is that even city residents who want to get to know its students don't have the opportunity. To one observer, it's a "reserve bubble" sitting in the midst of the city.

And it's true, says Mr. Kakegamic, that, when classes are out for the day, many students stay on the property. Rather than, say, participating in local sports leagues, they take part in afterschool programs run with the help of the Dilico Anishinabek Family Care group.

When the bell rings at the end of the school day, Dilico workers set up shop in a dedicated room.

What they offer is more somewhere to hang out - with TVs, video games, and plenty of popcorn and hot dogs - rather than a set of activities. They also help out with the sports teams and attend school dances.

But in reality, at least part of the reason the school shelters its students so closely is to provide a greater degree of safety. If they go to after-school jobs or an outside community centre for programming, there are many unknowns to take into account.

Measuring success

In 2011, the National Household Survey conducted by Statistics Canada showed the high-school graduation rate among non-aboriginal Canadians sat at about 89 per cent. In 2012, Statistics Canada found that the graduation for off-reserve indigenous people was 72 per cent.

At DFC, though, Mr. Kakegamic doesn't measure success using percentages, in large part because his students arrive with a broad range of educational backgrounds and progress at a pace that is more fluid than in a regular high school. Instead, he points to the actual number of students that his team has managed to help make it through to graduation. This spring, there were 20 - about the average in recent years, although 2014 reached 29, setting the record.

Graduation rate is only one measure of success, says Ms. Wilson of the TRC.

"There is room at this point in our history for lots of [indigenous education] models. I think this is a time for bold experimentation and patience for things that may or may not be perfect off the top.

"But we do know that doing things the same old way, with the same old structures and the same old people in charge is not leading us to good results."

And it is true that the school is not perfect yet. Every year, anywhere from 30 to 50 students return home before classes end.

Some leave by choice, usually citing homesickness; others, because of their behaviour (usually related to acting recklessly while intoxicated).

Getting to the roots of that behaviour can be a complex task, but according to many who work with DFC students, it can also involve basic building blocks, such as one truly important part of their identity: the Oji-Cree language.

Sarah Johnson teaches it and says that "the federal government's aim" with the residential schools "was to have the language disappear. But it survived because those students that survived were able to speak the language among themselves under their blankets in their beds."

Respecting language is one of the key elements of healing pointed to by the TRC, which calls for "protecting the right to aboriginal languages, including the teaching of aboriginal languages as credit courses."

Ms. Johnson is originally from Weagamow Lake First Nation, and her classroom looks like any language-teaching space.

At the beginning of each term, DFC students are given a worksheet and a speaking activity to assess what they know. "Most come in with very little knowledge," she says. "There are some who understand what is being said, but they cannot speak it. It seems language is not valued, especially by young parents - and the elders are slowly dying."

One encounter still bothers her a decade later. She was working at a language centre in Sioux Lookout when a young boy asked: "How come you're teaching us a foreign language?" "It was upsetting," she says, "because that's who we are."

For Ms. Johnson, it's simple: If you erase the language, you erase the culture.

Graduation day It's a sunny Wednesday afternoon as this year's 20 graduates shuffle into a conference room - a space usually off-limits to students - to change into red and black gowns and don feathered and beaded mortarboards. Once everyone has put on the celebratory garb, the photos begin: both official group shots and then a whole lot of selfies.

As the graduates spill out into the hallway - giddy, and a bit nervous - as smiling, teary-eyed staff fuss with the caps and gowns, making them just right.

But with the arrival of summer, there is also a tinge of worry in the air. "We do so much work with them through the year and then they have to go back," says prime worker Saturn Magashazi.

"There's no continuity through the break."

Still, for the students, summer promises exciting times - and a chance to be with their families.

Ms. Aysanabee is especially pumped to see her mom and her siblings back home. And this summer, she plans to work so she can save for her final year at DFC.

After that, she has big plans.

"Sometimes, I think about what I can do when I grow up - I mean, I am grown up - so when I get older," she says with a smile, sitting on the floor in the hallway, her legs wrapped up under her. "Maybe I'll be a teacher. I've been thinking about that. Or a hair stylist. I don't really know yet."

One thing she does know is that graduating is key to even the most basic of her goals. "I am the first one to come out for school. My mom and my older sister dropped out when they were in high school," she says. "I don't think anyone in my family ever graduated."

Despite their long separation, Ms. Aysanabee's mother fully supports her life in Thunder Bay, and hope it brings her daughter closer to her dreams.

"She is proud of me," says Ms. Aysanabee. "She was telling me over the March break that she wants me to do this for me."

Madeleine White is a digital editor with Globe Video.

Associated Graphic

Since arriving at DFC, Juliet Aysanabee has integrated into the school's family, joining teams and the foot patrol.


Principal Jonathan Kakegamic presents a grinning Kaiyah Duncan, 21, of Muskrat Dam First Nation, with her diploma.

Proud graduate Kyle Kakekagumick, left, shows Mr. Kakegamic a certificate for his partication in a youth leadership program.


Samson Fiddler, 19, of Bearskin Lake First Nation models his cap and gown.

Teacher Sarah Johnson is battling to keep native languages alive.

Above: Lyle Fox carries in the gown that Daniel Levac would have worn: 'It took a lot out of me,' he said later.

Left: Mortar boards are tossed in the air by students after they graduated from Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School on May 13.

Home at last
In 2004, reporter Marina Jimenez and photographer Louie Palu accompanied a family of Afghans from Peshawar to Islamabad and on to Canada. Eleven years later, The Globe and Mail revisits the Dosts, who arrived as penniless refugees but have forged successful, if complex, lives in Winnipeg
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

WINNIPEG -- In northeast Winnipeg, in a five-bedroom bungalow with an angel ornament on the front stoop, a family of Afghan-Canadians is preparing to host a party that would have once seemed unimaginable.

More than 200 guests have been invited for dinner in a rented community hall, in honour of Farhan Dost's first birthday. There is nothing the family won't do to make the celebration complete.

Farhan's mother, Nargis, 28, her three sisters and their mother, Lailoma, have been cooking for 30 hours. They have peeled heads of garlic, skinned bags of carrots and pistachios, fried up nine legs of lamb, 18 chickens and 400 kofta meatballs, and carefully hand-rolled multiple trays of mantu dumplings. Now, with hours to go before the party starts, all that's left to cook is 50 pounds of rice. Lailoma carries bowls of water into the garage and dumps them into an industrial pot as big as a rain barrel that sits on a propane cooker. "Who is going to do the work if I sit here and talk?" says the 50-year-old, immaculately groomed even as she works.

The five Dost brothers are also doing their part, the older ones picking up the rented sound system, while the youngest, Waheed, 23, decorates the hall with streamers and giant red and blue helium-filled balloons.

Their boundless hospitality is a way of rejoicing in how far they've come. The Dosts arrived in Winnipeg 11 years ago as refugees from Pakistan, with no more than the clothes and dishes they could cram into their suitcases. For the first few years in this prairie city, the Dosts and their nine children shared a two-bedroom apartment. The children slept on the floor, worked as convenience store cashiers, and tried to adapt to a new society that was different in every way.

"The family is so happy to be hosting this party," says Said Azim Dost, the 59-year-old patriarch. "When we left Pakistan, we were crying to leave our old friends even as we were happy to get out, and now we are so grateful. We have a new life and a new community."

The Globe and Mail accompanied the Dosts on their 2004 journey, from Peshawar to Islamabad and then on to Winnipeg. The family has made remarkable sacrifices to get where they are today.

Tajiks from Kabul, they were forced to flee their homeland in the 1990s, after Mr. Dost fell on the wrong side of a warlord. He was imprisoned and Lailoma had to sell their home to pay a bribe for his release. The family then escaped by bus to nearby Peshawar, a conservative and often violent city in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province. There they lived for more than 10 years, the children unable to go to school, the girls forced to wear chadors in public, the father fearful he'd be killed. The city was - and is - wracked by sectarian violence and Taliban suicide bombings.

Often, they had no electricity or water, and had to carry tubs of water up four flights of stairs to their rented apartment.

The family is eternally grateful to Mr. Dost's nephew, Said Ahmadi, their Canadian angel. He brought them here under Canada's private refugee sponsorship program, agreeing to support them for a year, and giving them a one-in-a-million chance to rebuild their shattered lives.

(After three decades, more than 1.5 million Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan, despite efforts by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees to repatriate them or convince Western countries to grant them asylum.)

Outwardly, the Dosts' transformation from refugees to Canadians has been successful.

Everyone except Lailoma is a citizen. The children have all graduated from high school and have jobs - except for Sheela, 16, who is an advanced placement Grade 10 student. The parents own their home. So does son Jev, 27; Mahnaz, 30, and Nargis have bought one together.

But the internal transformation is more complex. When the Dosts departed Pakistan, they didn't just leave behind their rice cookers and mantu pots, but their very identities. Forging a new one is a journey that never really ends.

For some, like Said, who doesn't speak English and has stage four diabetes, the scars of war and terror remain. The warlord who threatened his life has since died in a suicide bombing, but he still has nightmares. He is always smiling and dapper, but his hands tremble as he sips his tea and watches TOLO, an all-news Afghan TV channel. He frets over the Taliban's latest attacks in Kabul. Lailoma, who also has diabetes, spends her days cleaning and cooking and caring for her husband and his 83-year-old infirm sister. Every weekend, the entire clan gathers for dinner at home base.

For the Dost children, the shock of moving as teens from Peshawar, a city with sharia law and 40degree Celsius days, to multicultural Winnipeg, with its long winters and windswept streets, took months to overcome. At school they were outsiders, with unfashionable clothes and strange lunches. Slowly, though, their outsized personalities and charisma broke through the culture barrier.

Yet even as they move beyond their past, there is a need to honour it. Some of the children yearn for the rich traditions they left behind. For others, there are only new people to meet and new adventures to be had: skateboarding, ice skating, snowboarding.

Canada has been good to them.

"Here you can sleep in peace, wake up the next morning and know you're still going to be alive," says eldest son Wais, 29.

"Life is really sweet and you should take every advantage to live it. You can achieve your dreams here."

'Freedom clothes'

Now that the cooking is out of the way, the four Dost sisters are primping for the birthday party at the home of Nargis and Mahnaz.

A makeup artist fastens false eyelashes on Khatool, 31, and pencils in dramatic grey eyeshadow and eyeliner to draw out her brown almond eyes. A Bollywood film plays in the background, while a visiting aunt from Calgary carefully irons a tiny linen shalwar kameez sent from Kabul for baby Farhan. The girls all have form-fitting, glittery long gowns for the occasion, six-inch stiletto heels and designer handbags. Nargis wonders if she should wear a violet camisole underneath her gown so she doesn't reveal too much cleavage.

"We never wore freedom clothes before," says Nargis, laughing.

"You know, low-cut blouses, form-fitting pants and short skirts." Embracing femininity and style is a deliberate choice.

"Honey, I do what I want now," says Nargis, who sports a silver nose ring and Ray Bans. "Nobody tells me what to do. I am my own boss." The sisters curl their hair, reapply nail polish and final dabs of bright red lipstick. Nargis has two gowns: a sequined silver and purple one, and a grey one she will change into partway through the evening.

At 6:30 p.m., the invitees begin to arrive at nearby Holy Eucharist Parish hall, with photos of both Queen Elizabeth and the Pope adorning the walls. Almost all the guests are Afghans, and the Dosts stand in a receiving line, kissing each one three times, in the traditional way. Male relatives are welcome, and so are female friends and their children, but they have been gently told to leave their husbands behind. "This party is really kind of a ladies' party," Nargis explains.

It's a way to respect the gender sensitivities of their Muslim faith, while also creating a space for the women to have a good time and dance to modern Afghan music.

The food is plentiful and delicious: butter chicken, meatballs, rice decorated with pistachios, samosas, lamb, a spinach dish, watermelon, grapes and strawberries, and flats of cream soda, Fanta and Pepsi, though no alcohol, in keeping with their religion.

Wais is here, chasing his two young children as they tear gleefully around the community hall.

His wife, an Afghan-Canadian he met while working at Subway, is beautifully turned out in a fashionable pantsuit and blue stiletto heels. For years, Wais played the role of family worrywart. Today, he is at peace, as proud as if he'd raised eight children, instead of eight siblings. "As soon as my brothers and sisters reached a certain age, I could let go. Everyone could stand on their own two feet," he says. While he regrets he didn't have a chance to go to university, he is proud of all he has accomplished: He lives in a bungalow with his in-laws and is a crew leader at MX Group, a restoration company.

After platefuls of food, the women get up to dance, swirling around like so many colourful flowers in front of the stage. So, eventually, do the men. Waheed, dashing in a traditional shalwar kameez and gold shoes, looks like a whirling dervish, gracefully moving his hands and arms around in circles, then his whole body, with a subtle flirtatiousness.

Only brother Jev doesn't join in, joking: "I'm too masculine to dance."

Growing up fast

Through crisis comes reinvention. And the Dosts are nothing if not driven. Since the day they arrived, all the children except Sheela have worked: at their uncle's restaurant, Flying Pizza, at Subway, Chicken Delight and 7-Eleven.

They have saved, they have travelled across Canada, and they have shopped: a house for their parents; several 60-inch televisions; a $2,000 BMX bicycle for Sheela; a variety of Ford vehicles; $200 Steve Madden designer shoes; game consoles, iPads, phones and watches. Lots and lots of watches.

"I have 13," says Jev, showing me a $500 Burberry model. Of all the Dosts, Jev, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Prince, stands out as the most "Western." He changed his name from Javid to Jev because he was tired of being mistaken for David, and wanted a short, memorable moniker. He lives alone in a house decorated with leather couches and a modern coffee table, has a Siberian husky named Tyson, and is an exercise fiend with long, styled hair and a carefully trimmed beard. "I adapted so fast to Canadian culture. I really broke outside my community," he says. "We all chose a different path."

He traces his metamorphosis to a pivotal moment 11 years ago when he was a poor Afghan teenager at London's Heathrow Airport, en route to Canada. "I saw a man I'll never forget. He was sharply dressed in a black suit.

And he looked like he knew where he was going. He looked happy. Right there and then, I thought, I am going to be that man. I always want to look sharp, and I always want to pursue my passions."

After high school, Jev moved to Toronto to study marketing and real estate. Partway through his program, his mother called him.

"My father had just had a heart attack," he says. "And she asked me to move back."

Jev didn't hesitate. It was important that his parents, who had suffered so many hardships, not feel abandoned. It was also time for Jev to take over the mentoring role of elder brother Wais, who was now too busy with his own life to care for all of his siblings.

"We had to grow up so fast. I broke the mold, but I am a still a family guy," Jev says.

He quickly found work, and his own Canadian mentor: Ryan Monczunski, general manager at River City Ford. Mr. Monczunski saw a glimmer of ambition and determination in the eyes of his new employee. "Jev wasn't afraid of me at all. In fact, he would argue with me. I thought, here is a leader," he recalls.

"Slowly Jev has learned to focus on other people's success and not just his own. He has a reason to work hard and he does. I know he won't be here forever."

Jev has been promoted several times and is now the floor manager, in charge of 16 employees.

Through Ford's leadership training courses, he has learned how to read introverts and extroverts, risk takers and plodders. He is comfortable chatting with anyone. He has recruited two brothers to the dealership, Farhad and Nazir, 24. They have worked hard to adapt, taking time to learn about hockey and asparagus farming. "Watch TSN, attend live Winnipeg Jets games," Farhad's action plan reads. He admits he had to change his tone when he started here. "I was too dictatorial.

Now I give people 100 per cent of my attention and expect nothing in return." With his matinee-idol looks and flowing hair, he is often confused with Jev.

Nazir, who trained to be a train conductor, quit his job with CP Rail in Medicine Hat, Alta., earlier this year because he found it difficult living apart from his family.

"I would call my parents every night. I was lonely," says Nazir, describing himself as the shy one in a family of extroverts. "Now I'm living back at home, focused on learning about sales here at Ford and saving up for a house of my own."

The sisters' hopes

For the Dost sisters, work and personal life are more deeply intertwined. While their parents support their independence, they also want to honour the old traditions, including an openness to arranged marriage. A few years after arriving here, Said and Lailoma received proposals for Khatool and Mahnaz from local families in Winnipeg with relatives back in Kabul. The sisters were considered good catches, not just because of their beauty and industriousness, but because they could bring their husbands to Canada under the spousal sponsorship program.

Their father resisted the matches at first, but finally in 2010, with the sisters' blessing, he consented.

The mother and sisters flew to Kabul, where they hired security and rarely strayed from the compounds of relatives. Khatool married on July 10, 2010, Mahnaz seven days later. The following year, Nargis returned to Kabul to marry a young man she had met during her first trip. "For me, I needed to see my husband beforehand. I needed to watch his reactions before I could agree to marry," she says.

The celebrations brought tears of joy, as well as sorrow. After so many years together, it was heart wrenching for the Dost sisters to break away. The delay in the husbands' arrival also caused difficulty.

Khatool had to wait 16 months for her husband, a physician, to get his visa. She went through childbirth and the first seven months of her daughter's life without him, relying mainly on her mother and sisters. Once her husband arrived, in 2012, she had to help him adapt to a new society where men also wash dishes and vacuum. Now they have a second child and her husband is working towards rebuilding a medical career here. He wants Khatool to go to college, but she is tired out. Coming to Canada opened many doors, but her daily reality is one of a stay-at-home mother. "I still have lots of hopes.

I still have a wish list," she says.

"Working in an office, travelling."

Mahnaz, whose husband arrived in 2013, decided to delay having a family, and focus on building a nest egg. For the last decade, she has worked as a manager at a Subway in a mall near her house. In charge of six employees, she does the paperwork, inventory and scheduling.

She prefers the 6:30 a.m. shift, when she puts in the first batch of cookies and bread of the day. A regular customer in work boots and a fluorescent construction vest comes in, his order scrawled out on a piece of cardboard: "I'll have three wraps and a footlong," he says. "Only four today?" teases Mahnaz, whose earrings match her forest green uniform.

"He usually orders 10."

One day, she'd like to buy her own franchise. But for now, she is waiting for her husband to return from Kabul, where he has been for the last three months, looking after a hotel his family owns.

"Yeah, I'm sick of him being away," says Mahnaz, sighing. "It's time he came home."

The boundaries of culture

A curious mix of rebel and watchful observer, Sheela has had a different life trajectory than that of her siblings. She speaks English without an accent and has never felt alienated at school, instead hanging out with the so-called popular kids and with girls whose families are also first-generation immigrants. "I'm not going to be stuck at home with kids, or marry young. I want to do my own stuff, live my own life," says the teenager, dressed in sweats, with a choker around her neck.

Her family expects her to go to university, and she aims to fulfil that ambition and become either a journalist or a flight attendant.

For now, though, the youngest Dost is focused mainly on sports, and plays on her school's badminton and volleyball teams.

Every Sunday, she goes swimming, and even took up boxing for a while, until a male competitor knocked her out with such force she ended up in the hospital.

She can bench-press 180 pounds with her legs and secretly signed up for an auto mechanics class at school (not that her parents minded, but she was afraid her brothers would object). The purple walls of her bedroom are decorated with posters of a cheetah, and a sketch of Muhammad Ali.

So far, Sheela has no appetite to test the boundaries of her culture, and readily accepts her sisters' ban on parties, dances and dinners out. "I am adventurous," she says. "At the same time, I embrace family values. I ask permission before going out. I help my mother clean the house.

Sometimes I can't believe how rude my friends are to their parents."

She is closest to brother Waheed, who taught her to play soccer. Reflecting on his own teenage years, Waheed says he definitely felt like a fish out of water. "I had never talked to girls back home and I was afraid to approach them," he recalls.

"Then I got over my shyness, and by the middle of Grade 8, the tables turned. I changed my hairstyle and the way I dressed and suddenly, from a nobody, I become a popular kid. All the girls had a crush on Farhad [his brother]. I spent a lot of time out of the house for a while. Then, I came around and found the middle path."

Today, Waheed is the most religious of all the Dost children, and regularly posts sayings from the Prophet Mohammed on Instagram, and practises the tabla and harmonia in his room in his parents' basement, which is decorated with Afghan carpets, sleeping mats and cozy blankets brought over from Peshawar.

The Dosts miss the relatives they left behind. They send money and offer support. But no one wants to move back to Afghanistan. Since they left in 2004, conditions have only deteriorated.

While U.S. forces continue to support the country's National Unity Government, the Taliban commit what seems like weekly terror attacks. So, increasingly, do foreign jihadis, trained by Islamic State. In March of this year, a mob brutally attacked and killed a woman near a shrine in Kabul, falsely believing she had burned a copy of the Koran.

Neighbouring Pakistan is almost as bad. Sectarian violence and Taliban suicide bombings have escalated, leaving, by some estimates, as many as 25,000 dead in the last decade. In the worst attack in the country's history, Taliban gunmen slaughtered more than 140 people, including 132 children, at a school in Peshawar last Dec. 16.

"We are so glad we have left that all behind," says Wais.

All in the family

On the Sunday afternoon after Farhan's big party, the family has gathered in Lailoma and Said's living room to sip tea and reminisce. They look at photographs taken 11 years ago of their old flat, and their journey to Canada.

Waheed is moved to tears, as he gazes down at images of his scruffy brothers sleeping on the floor of their home on the fourth floor of Peshawar's El Sayeed plaza, their feet streaked with dirt. "I did nothing there but play. All the responsibility was on my brothers," he says.

Wais too sheds tears thinking about many hardships. "I can't believe eight-year-old children have to work in Peshawar selling bread to support their parents," he says.

Jev remembers leaning out over the balcony, bored and trapped, staring down at the cars in the street below.

"We used to rip up pieces of paper and pretend it was money and barter and trade with one another," Farhad says. "Sometimes we would put our faces in a bucket of water and hold our breath and pretend we were swimming. Or we would play a game to see who could remain the longest time without smiling.

Wais always won."

Wais breaks into a grin at this, and the family's mood lightens.

The brothers talk about the night Farhad broke his arm in an argument with Nazir over 50 cents.

"Can you imagine?" he says, laughing. The parents nod and laugh too, Lailoma saying: "Thank God you all changed. No one was good-looking back then except Sheela and Nazir. Look how skinny you were."

Said Dost sits on the floor in the centre of his family, in a freshly ironed shalwar kameez, smiling gently, while his wife hops up to make more tea, offer fruit and nuts, and ensure everyone has what they need.

Despite the immense hardships the Dosts have been through, they have always been able to count on one another.

Maybe it takes escaping a war, not once, but twice, to forge such unbreakable bonds of loyalty and unity. It is surely something other families would envy.

"My parents taught us simplicity, and that we all have each other," says Khatool. They all nod in silent agreement, as Lailoma pours more tea.

Marina Jimenez is a Toronto-based writer and editor.

Associated Graphic

Outwardly, the transition from refugees to Canadians has been successful for the Dost family, but the internal transformations have taken a long time.

Lailoma and Azim Dost in 2004, just after arriving in Canada.

Lailoma Dost, right, and her sister Anisa Sofizada prepare food at a banquet hall for Lailoma's grandson's first birthday party. Every weekend, the entire clan gathers for dinner at her home.

Top: Sheela Dost, now 16, was a young child when the Dost family came to Winnipeg. Unlike her older siblings, she speaks English without an accent and has never felt alienated at school.

Above: Wais Dost's children, Emaan, left, and Dunya take a break on the couch at their grandparents' house.

Dost, right, and her sister Anisa Sofizada prepare food at a banquet hall for Lailoma's on's first birthday party. Every weekend, the entire clan gathers for dinner at her home.

After being promoted a number of times, Jev Dost (centre) is now a floor manager at River City Ford. 'He has a reason to work hard and he does,' says his boss. 'I know he won't be here forever.'

Edmonton used to be the City of Champions, but that was a long time ago. The Oilers, once a dynasty, haven't won in what feels like forever, and it has gnawed at the city's psyche. Now along comes Connor McDavid, the newest saviour, whose arrival can't be underestimated, Marty Klinkenberg writes
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

EDMONTON -- It was the summer of 2011 when Jeff Jackson heard about the next great prospect in hockey.

The former assistant general manager of the Maple Leafs had only recently launched a career as an agent. One of his clients, Sam Gagner, was training at a rink in Oakville, Ont. Then a centre with the Edmonton Oilers, Gagner was approached by a skinny 14-year-old who asked if he could join him on the ice. "Afterward, Sam called me," Jackson says. "He said, 'You have to find this kid. I have been in the NHL five years, and he can do things I can't do. His name is David O'Connor.' " Gagner remembered the bantam-aged youngster had told him he was about to begin playing for the Midget-AAA Marlies of the Greater Toronto Hockey League. So Jackson made an inquiry with the club.

"I asked about the O'Connor kid, and they chuckled," Jackson says. "They said, 'Oh, you must mean Connor McDavid.' " Four years later, there is no confusing the teenager with blazing speed and supernatural skills. He is hockey's most promising prodigy since Sidney Crosby - and potentially the greatest player to enter the sport since Wayne Gretzky.

"In the history of the NHL, how many players have been so highly touted?" asks Andrew Ference, the Oilers' captain. "There are not many. Probably only Crosby and him."

Although nobody from Edmonton will confirm it, the playoff-starved Oilers are poised to pick McDavid first at Friday's NHL draft in Sunrise, Fla. It is the fourth time in six years the team has had the No. 1 pick, which is not so much an honour as an embarrassment. In the NHL, it is not unusual for teams to prosper through futility, but somehow the Oilers have bucked that trend. Edmonton players have not hoisted a Stanley Cup since 1990, and they have not played a postseason game in nine years.

But the near-certainty of adding McDavid to a roster stocked with other top young talent is giving rise to fresh dreams in the NHL's most beleaguered outpost. The team recently took a wrecking ball to its front office and hired a new coach, general manager and director of hockey operations. At the same time, a $480-million arena is taking shape.

"A lot has happened with the organization in the last six weeks," Jackson says. "There is a sense of excitement there. For a player to go to Edmonton, it's pretty exciting."

After tracking him down four years ago, Jackson called McDavid's father, Brian, and asked to represent the NHL's next anointed one. The family had already decided to sign with the Orr Group and declined, but Jackson became a partner in Bobby Orr's firm a year and a half ago and was appointed his agent.

"It is funny the way things have worked out for me," Jackson says. "It is just fabulous."

One of the greatest players of all time, Orr recognized something special in McDavid when he first saw him about five years ago.

"We had a camp in Toronto where we brought prospects in to do drills - really difficult ones I'm not sure I could even do," the Hall of Famer says. "I arrived a bit late and noticed this little guy on the ice and asked, 'Who is that?' Connor's older brother had come to the camp and brought him along, and he was the one I was watching. My first thought was, 'Wow, does that kid ever have great hands.' " ..

'Suddenly, all these amazing things happened'

Oilers gnomes sit on a shelf below a lamp in the living room, and an Oilers blanket is draped over one chair. Two of Brian and Cheryl Stuart's dogs are festooned in Oilers bandanas, and a blood-stained sweater Ryan Smyth wore when he had his teeth knocked out during the 2006 finals hangs in the den.

Edmonton has felt the pain since then - of failure, of expectations dashed, of a once-proud franchise reduced to a league doormat. The town - and the Stuarts - are ready for a saviour on skates.

Together since 1988, the Stuarts live on the outskirts of Edmonton and have turned their home into an Oilers shrine. There are autographed pictures of Gretzky here, paintings and pencil drawings and Oilers sticks, ball caps and collectors plates there. A banner celebrating five Stanley Cups won between 1984-90 is strung from the ceiling.

An insurance underwriter from Toronto, Brian settled in Alberta and has been cheering for the Oilers since 1979, the year four World Hockey Association teams joined the NHL. His collection of memorabilia is so extensive it once caught the eye of producers at Hockey Night in Canada, but he refused to appear on the air because he feared someone would steal it.

Brian is now 70 and retired and has owned season tickets more than half his life. Cheryl is 66 and a social worker - and taking Friday off to attend an NHL draft party for the first time. The shindig is being hosted by an Oilers fan site and is being promoted as "the most important party in the history of the world."

"At the end of last season there was nothing on the horizon to make next season look exciting," Cheryl says. "Then suddenly, all these amazing things happened."

At home in Edmonton on April 18, Brian Stuart watched the lottery unfold with his 19-year-old son, Dougie. "When the Oilers won it, neither of us said anything," Brian says. "We were both in shock. I just sat there thinking, 'My God, what just happened?' " Once one of the most successful franchises in professional sports, the Oilers have finished an average of 30 points out of the playoffs in four of the past five seasons. The team has had six head coaches in as many years and has played so poorly that its owner, Daryl Katz, wrote fans an apologetic letter in 2014.

"We all thought this was going to be the year the Oilers turned the corner," starts the letter, posted on the team's website. "Obviously, that hasn't happened, and it hurts."

With increasing regularity, jerseys tossed in protest are raining down on the ice like caps after one of the Great One's hat tricks.

"I have felt bad for my buddies because I know how badly they want to win," Gretzky says. "People [in management] like Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish want to be successful and love the city and want the team to do well. But now I think the page has turned."

'He brings something to the table you can't teach'

By the winter of last year, the hysteria surrounding Connor McDavid prompted his OHL team to hire a retired police officer as a bodyguard.

After Christmas, every rink the Erie Otters visited was sold out. Fans waited for hours after games to take a picture of the baby-faced teenager or to get his name scribbled on a scrap of paper.

Eating at a restaurant without being interrupted became nearly impossible for him in Erie, an industrial city of 102,000 in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Each night, when he returned home, a stack of photos on the dining room table awaited McDavid's signature.

"It was beyond anything you could imagine," says Otters' general manager Sherry Bassin, who is 75 and has been involved in hockey for five decades.

"I've never seen anything like it."

Born and raised in the Toronto suburbs, McDavid was a proficient skater at 3, began playing hockey a year later, competed against 9-year-olds when he was 6, and 17-year-olds at 13, a progression eerily similar to that of Sidney Crosby. Granted a rare exemption by Hockey Canada, he was permitted to enter the OHL as a 15-year-old and became its most dominant player.

Now 6-foot-1 and about 195 pounds, he concluded the recent season with 120 points in 47 games and finished third in the league in scoring despite missing six weeks after suffering a broken hand in his first on-ice fight. Blessed with soft hands, almost otherworldly stickhandling skills and remarkable speed, McDavid skates around and through opposing players. His first few strides are among the fastest in the sport, and he is able to go full speed and in almost any direction - unflinching and irrepressible - at any time.

"He is the type of guy you think you have covered and then he has another gear and he's gone," one scout says. "He brings something to the table you can't teach."

In one game during the second-round of the OHL playoffs, McDavid scored five goals against the London Knights - his first on a snap shot, tucking in the second, wrapping a third around the goalie for a natural hat trick, flipping the puck over him for the fourth and tapping in a rebound from a nearly impossible angle for the last.

In 20 postseason games, he had 49 points and was chosen the league's playoff MVP, even though the Otters were beaten in the final round by the Oshawa Generals.

For the second successive season, one of his Erie teammates led the OHL in scoring. That was Dylan Strome, also expected to be among the first players chosen on Friday. The preceding year, Connor Brown, now one of the Leafs' top farmhands, won the title, largely because of McDavid's unselfish play.

"We had 11 rookies this year and started 16-1-1, and all Connor did was talk about how great his linemates were," says Bassin, once an assistant general manager of the Quebec Nordiques. "That's how humble he is."

A deputy clerk of courts in Erie County, Bob Catalde opened his home up to McDavid at the suggestion of Bassin and a mutual friend. For three years, the mop-haired sensation lived with Catalde and his wife, Stephanie, their daughters Caisee and Camryn, and son Nico.

"The experience we had couldn't have been better," Catalde says. "Connor talks in terms of how he owes a debt of gratitude to myself and my wife, but I see it as the other way around."

On game days, Catalde would don an apron, take over the kitchen, and prepare McDavid's meals. The menu never varied: eight scrambled eggs with a heaping helping of fresh berries and a whole-grain bagel for breakfast, grilled chicken breast with brown rice and quinoa for dinner.

"The boy can eat," Catalde says.

Afterward, McDavid would help clear off the dining-room table. "My own kids wouldn't do it, but he would get up and put his plate in the dishwasher every time," Catalde says. "He has this ability that was passed down to him through his parents to keep everything grounded."

On the ice, the frenzy around McDavid kept growing. He was besieged everywhere the Otters played.

After a game in Guelph, Ont., Bassin tried to steer him out a side door and away from a huge crowd.

Showing the disposition of an elite player who is conscious of his acclaim, McDavid ignored Bassin and signed autographs for 45 minutes outside in minus 28 C temperatures.

"He stopped me and said, 'No, Bass, I was a little boy once, too,' " Bassin recalls. "How many 17- or 18-year-olds, when given an out, would say that? In getting him, the Oilers didn't just win a lottery, they won the jackpot."

'When they are successful, the whole community benefits'

Bob Black has a bird's-eye view of the Oilers' new arena from a conference room on the 17th floor of an office tower in Edmonton's city centre.

Construction on Rogers Place began in March, 2014, on a former rail yard, and the steelwork is scheduled to be finished this September. Cranes rise around the site. Crews recently began installing glass on the exterior of the structure - an 18,641seat rink set for completion in time for the 2016-17 season and designed to be the centrepiece of a revitalized downtown arts and entertainment district.

The site will include a link to a new rail line, an outdoor plaza with a surface for public skating, an enclosed pedestrian corridor over one of the city's busiest thoroughfares and a space for pregame parties, concerts and other gatherings.

"We will have everything in there," says Black, the executive vice-president of the arena corporation established by the Katz Group, which owns the club. "Product launches, corporate events, Stanley Cup celebrations."

Black was 23 when the Oilers won their first Stanley Cup in 1984. The team won four in five years before Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, but has won only one - in 1990 - since then.

The drought has lasted so long that Edmonton councillors voted this spring to remove the slogan "City of Champions" from a half-dozen highway signs. Put up during the 1980s to celebrate civic pride, they quickly came to trumpet Edmonton's sporting success, the Oilers' especially.

But now the slogan seems as stale as the team, which finished 28th, 28th, 24th, 29th, 30th and 30th over the past six seasons.

"It has been the same for Edmonton fans almost every year," says Bryan Anderson, a long-time city councillor who voted against changing the City of Champions nickname. "Positive anticipation grows over the summer, and then fall happens and punctures our balloon."

Intersected by the North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton sits in a lush and lovely valley. It boasts a wonderful heritage festival, one of North America's oldest and largest street theatre festivals and popular summer music jamborees. None of which truly differentiates it from most other major cities. But a championship sports team unifies the population in ways other things can't.

"The Oilers making the playoffs in 2006 showed the younger generation what it was like here in the 1980s," says Cheryl Stuart, who locked herself in her office and cried the day Gretzky was traded.

"You walked around the city and everyone was wearing an Oilers jersey. When they are successful, the whole community benefits."

Tongues firmly in cheek, Edmontonians have suggested the City of Champions slogan should be replaced with something more relevant. "We have gophers in our zoo" and "Bring a scarf" are among the recommendations.

"Once the Oilers and Eskimos weren't winning so much, attempts were made to say that Edmonton is a champion in so many ways," Anderson says. "People tried to find other reasons to justify the name."

'It's a slightly surreal atmosphere'

With so many hopes hanging in the balance, the Connor McDavid Sweepstakes was held on the evening of April 18 inside a studio at CBC headquarters in downtown Toronto.

Despite having only an 11.5-per-cent chance, the Oilers leapfrogged over the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes to secure the rights to draft the most anticipated player in a generation. An official of one desperate team snapped his pencil as lottery balls propelled out of a machine dashed his hopes.

"There is far more emotion in the room than you see on TV," Rogers CEO Guy Laurence says.

"The tension is unbelievable."

Laurence acknowledges he was rooting for the Maple Leafs and Oilers because his company sponsors both of their arenas. The other reason is that Rogers has just recently signed a two-year marketing agreement with McDavid.

Across the country, 1.6 million viewers tuned in to the proceedings on TV, four times as many as usual. Inside the studio, there was a 15-minute gap between the lottery's conclusion and the time it was telecast - just before the puck dropped in Game 2 of the Penguins-Rangers opening-round playoff series.

"When it is all over, the guy that got the golden goose has to stand there with everyone who lost making polite conversation before you are allowed out of the room," Laurence says. "It's a slightly surreal atmosphere."

In the moment after the Oilers won his draft rights, McDavid, on camera in the studio, looked shocked. His father later explained it was not because he did not want to play in Edmonton, but rather because he was overwhelmed.

In South Florida, six days from now, the Oilers will welcome him to the family, and soon after McDavid will sign an entry-level contract worth nearly $4-million (U.S.), bonuses included. His team hopes he will do for it what Crosby has done for the Penguins. The NHL is equally excited.

"Having a young talent of his stature raises the profile and brings attention," Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, told The Globe and Mail. "But I think these things have to play out. This isn't the first time we have seen a heralded star come into the league. Go back to Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, think about John Tavares.

"I mean, Connor McDavid is supposed to be a great player and we are excited to have him. I think, though, what's going to determine his impact, not only on the league but especially the Oilers, is how he does when he takes the ice."

'I hope people dial back the expectations a bit'

McDavid visited Edmonton last weekend with his parents, Brian and Kelly. He was taken into the dressing room at Rexall Place and given a tour of the new arena where he will skate with Taylor Hall and the team's other young stars.

"It makes my heart pound just to think about it," Cheryl Stuart says.

A big city, but one without pretenses, Edmonton has been frozen in its hockey past. Rachel Notley, Alberta's popular new NDP premier, was away at college and backpacking across Europe, but vividly remembers the Oilers' Stanley Cup years.

"I was articling as a law student in 1988 when Gretzky got traded," says Notley, 51. "Everyone in the firm stopped working and there was a collective mental breakdown. There was a lot of wailing and airing of grievances."

She remains an optimistic Oilers fan. "I am excited Connor McDavid is coming here, but I feel for a kid his age with so much pressure on his shoulders," she says. "I hope people dial back the expectations a bit."

Ference, a veteran of 16 years in the NHL and a Stanley Cup winner with the Bruins in 2011, says he will invite McDavid to move in with him and his family.

"I will offer him a place to live if he needs a spot," Ference says. "I have a stable home and it will offer him a pretty normal atmosphere. As far as hockey goes, there is not a lot I could teach him. But I can help him with real-life stuff. That is where I can see myself connecting with him, as a guy who has been there and done that."

Gretzky, meanwhile, doesn't doubt Edmonton will embrace McDavid.

"I think he's a special player, and I think Edmontonians are going to adopt him, and that he is going to love the city," the Great One says.

"People will allow him his privacy while they are enamoured with his ability. I think it will be a perfect fit."

Follow me on Twitter: @globemartyk


A year-long project about Canadian hockey sensation Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, the team expected to pick him first overall in the NHL draft. The Globe and Mail's Marty Klinkenberg will tell the story of the teenager as he breaks in with one of the league's most storied and struggling clubs.


The Oilers have chosen first overall in the NHL draft four times in the past six years.

For their futility they got Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, and will almost assuredly pick Connor McDavid with their selection on Friday in Sunrise, Fla.


The Oilers won five Stanley Cups in the Eighties, prompting the Hockey Hall of Fame to bestow dynasty status on the franchise. Sixteen years later in 2006 they made the finals but lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games.

They have not been back to the playoffs since.


The Oilers have had six head coaches in as many seasons: Craig MacTavish, Pat Quinn, Tom Renney, Ralph Krueger, Dallas Eakins and Todd Nelson. Among them they won 457 games and lost 494. The club hired former San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan in May, to lead McDavid and Co. into the future.

Scout's honour (1)

Connor possesses electrifying speed and acceleration. He gets his feet moving instantaneously and gets everything out of his stride, allowing him to pull away from good skaters quickly. You would think he has a turbo button for his skates. His vision is outstanding and he always seems to know who's around him. He is more of a passer than a shooter and is the type of player who can make anyone better. He can blow you away with his puck handling ability. Emerging from the corner is one of McDavid's signature moves. He is so dangerous with his passing and shooting options cutting to the net, it makes him nearly impossible to stop.

Source: NHL Draft Black Book

Scout's honour (2)

Connor isn't overly aggressive or a stud defensively, but he isn't a big liability either. He seldom cheats and he spent time on the penalty kill and used his anticipation skills to force turnovers.

What makes Connor so dangerous in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill is his ability to blow past defenders in the blink of an eye if anyone so much as fumbles a puck. He makes teams pay when he's given breakaways.

He will instantly make [Edmonton] better. Connor is a future star in the NHL and we fully expect him to live up to all the hype.

Source: NHL Draft Black Book

Associated Graphic

Connor McDavid is expected to be picked first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in Friday's NHL Draft.


Cheryl and Brian Stuart, above, have turned their St. Albert, Alta., home into a shrine for the Edmonton Oilers. Season ticket holders since the team's first year in the NHL, 1979, the couple witnessed the team's heyday in the '80s when the Oilers won five Stanley Cups and have weathered the losing years, too.


A rendering shows a completed Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton, which is slated to open in time for the 2016-17 season.

Connor McDavid was granted exceptional player status and allowed to play as a 15-year-old in the Ontario Hockey League with the Erie Otters, who picked him first overall in the 2012 OHL draft.


Anatomy of a Merger
The newly united Penguin Random House enjoys a position of influence over the literary industry like no other. But will the behemoth weaken Canadian publishing, or save it? Mark Medley reports on a company with one roof, but many houses
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1

The most powerful man in Canadian publishing is leading me on a tour of his new cubicle. It's early afternoon on Tuesday, and Brad Martin, the president and CEO of Penguin Random House Canada, has just finished delivering remarks to his staff welcoming them all to their new Toronto office. Although the last of the employees moved in the previous week, Martin was in Berlin for meetings, meaning this past Monday was his first day in the office with the entire team in place. "So, the furniture hasn't arrived," he says, excusing the lack of seating. "But this is my new space." Even the CEO has lost his office in the move to an openconcept floor plan, though the south-facing windows, looking out toward Lake Ontario and the Rogers Centre, offer a much better view. There are certainly fewer books. He heads over to the adjacent meeting room, where some of the 2,000-odd titles that lined his old office have found a home. He gestures hereand-there, positioning soon-to-arrive bookshelves, imagining art on the walls, explaining where the couch will go - at this point, the near-empty room is mostly potential. In a way, the surrounding office is the same thing. What will Penguin Random House Canada become?

In interviews with more than three dozen editors, publishers, authors, literary agents, current and former PRH employees, and other industry observers, a picture emerges of a company still unsure of its new identity. Although the merger was announced in October, 2012, and finalized July 1, 2013, Penguin Random House - here and around the world - remained a house divided. The long-distance relationship, in Canada, at least, came to an end last week. The vast majority of the 229 employees comprising the country's largest publisher are now working together under one roof. The company enjoys a position of power and influence that is without peer, and others in Canadian publishing are watching, carefully and cautiously, to see how the merger affects the industry.

Will Penguin Random House Canada lead to the downfall of Canadian publishing or be its salvation? It is a near-monopoly, able to dictate financial terms to writers who now face fewer places to publish their work; a company that possesses "a staggering amount of talent," in the words of one editor, yet has also shed employees since the merger; and one whose split history exists in tension with its future.

"Penguin have been very successful on certain kinds of books, and Random House has been very successful on certain kinds of books," says Kevin Hanson, president of rival Simon & Schuster Canada. "The challenge they have is to be even better together.

Does one and one make two?

Does it make three? Or does it make one-and-a-half?"

The final "purge" day at Random House of Canada's Toronto Street office took place on a Friday morning in mid-May. Flattened cardboard boxes and stacked red plastic bins lined the narrow halls, waiting to transport staff belongings across town to the new office in two weeks' time.

Each employee was provided with three of the red bins, and some were having a harder time than others deciding what to bring with them to the new space. While some offices and cubicles were empty, as if their occupants were leaving that very day, others were still in disarray.

One office was full of poster-sized framed covers - Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient leaned against a desk, while David Adams Richards's Mercy Among the Children rested near an empty bookcase.

Anne Collins, a long-time publisher with the company, looked around the office where she'd worked the past 15 years with a mixture of bewilderment and sadness. She was still trying to figure out what to do with her books, with her manuscripts, with the art on the walls. During the purge, she'd uncovered a museum's worth of publishing relics: a Chris Hadfield mustache-on-astick (from An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth), an autographed photo of a young Julian Barnes; a note from Carol Shields; a "chi machine" gifted by the wrestler Bret Hart from when Collins published his autobiography. ("I've never actually used it," she admitted, a bit confused. "Apparently it balances your chi. I don't know why he thought I needed my chi rebalanced.") First editions of every single title Random House Canada has published were lined up on one bookcase - these were coming to the new office - but there wouldn't be room for much else she'd found.

Collins showed me the floor plan, pointing to a small spot I estimated was about 1/10th the size of her current digs: "That's me," she said. "That's my space."

The history of publishing is a history of mergers. Just a few months before the Penguin-Random House amalgamation was announced, another merger was completed when McClelland & Stewart and Tundra, their chilren's books imprint, moved into the building, Random House having taken full control of the company in January, 2012. That's one reason former M&S executive editor Lara Hinchberger (she left the company last October) wasn't surprised when news of the merger broke on Oct. 29, 2012.

"There had been rumblings," she says. "It wasn't a shock." Her colleague, senior editor Anita Chong, thinks it was "something that was inevitable." Still, she adds, "when we first got the news, there was a bit of stunned silence." Meanwhile, uptown at Penguin Canada's Eglinton Avenue offices, associate publisher Nick Garrison (a former Random House editor) was at his desk, meeting with a colleague from Penguin U.K., when he learned of the deal. She was scrolling through Twitter and "went ashen," he recalls. His reaction was a bit different, perhaps illustrating the incestuousness of the Canadian publishing world. "I was just thrilled. As soon as [the editor] left I called up Anne Collins and said, 'This is amazing!' I love so many people down there. I couldn't wait to get into the same building with them again."

On June 15, employees of Penguin Canada and the staff working out of Random House's Sherbourne Street office moved into the new building on Front Street, a few blocks west of the CBC headquarters; employees of the Toronto Street office moved a fortnight before. Penguin Random House's Canadian operation, with the exception of India, is the only one to physically consolidate thus far, a process that began soon after the merger was finalized. The address, one of seven they considered for their new HQ, is quickly becoming the heart of Canadian publishing; the Cooke Agency, whose international arm sells foreign rights on behalf of PRH, is also in the building, as are the offices of DK Canada, also owned by PRH, which specializes in lavishly illustrated coffee-table and reference books. Earlier this week, it was announced the McDermid Agency, one of the country's leading literary agencies, was also moving to 320 Front St. West. ("No, nothing to do with PRH," wrote founder Anne McDermid in an e-mail. "Separate space, separate entrance, no reason to do any more business with PRH than we do already.") "There were, I'm not going to lie, dark times over the past 18 months in this office move process," says president and publisher Kristin Cochrane, listing off the time that went into potential site visits, office design and the logistics of the move. "So there were moments when [I] thought we really have our eyes off the business too much."

Unlike the drab Penguin Canada offices, and the rather cramped Random House offices, the new space is airy and aesthically pleasant, if nothing else. It occupies 53,500 square feet and three floors, with a (still under construction) winding staircase linking the 12th and 14th floors.

Almost every employee has a seat near a window, which, walking around the perimeter, offers a 360-degree view of the city. During my first visit, I asked one publicist how they were finding it.

They gushed about it being "bright and beautiful" before leaning close to whisper: "But it's open concept."

If there was one overarching concern among staff in the leadup to the move - a concern confirmed by internal surveys conducted by a firm hired to help manage the move - it was the switch to open concept, which Cochrane admits was a "bold decision." No one - not Martin, not Cochrane, not a single editor or publisher, no matter their seniority - has an office, though there are 35 meeting and "phone" rooms scattered throughout the three floors. The decision is part of a mini-trend in the publishing industry; Hachette's New York operations switched to open concept when they moved into their new office last October, following the lead of several British publishers, including Penguin U.K.

"Everybody in the beginning had some trepidations, because they couldn't really visualize the space, and hadn't necessarily experienced being in an open-concept office," says Ellen Seligman, publisher of McClelland & Stewart. "For people with offices, of course it's a big adjustment."

"I think what struck us all was how open 'open' meant," Collins says. "Everybody felt a little bit like a turtle who had their shell ripped off suddenly."

On the second-to-last day in Penguin Canada's seventh-floor office in midtown Toronto, where they'd spent the past decade, publisher Nicole Winstanley stood at the head of the company's main boardroom and offered a toast.

"We did so many things together here," she said, looking around the crowded room. "The beautiful, the infuriating, the ingenious.

And we did them all together.

And I don't know about you, but I feel very proud of them, and I hope you do, too. We know, now, that things are going to change.

That's the nature of publishing - things do change. But we're ready for it."

Penguin Canada was established in 1974, the domestic arm of one of the publishing industry's most storied houses, and perhaps the industry's one household name. "The Penguin brand is something we can leverage in this country," Martin says.

Although the iconic black-andwhite-and-orange bird is featured prominently on PRH's new logo, the sense is, if a merger has a winner and a loser, that it's Penguin being absorbed by Random House. (Penguin's British parent, Pearson PLC, controls 47 per cent of the company; German multinational Bertelsmann, which acquired Random House in 1998, owns the rest.) In Canada, Random House had been the larger concern, with approximately four times as many employees.

When, sitting in her near-empty office later that afternoon, I asked how the staff are feeling, Winstanley admitted that "people have been a bit nervous," and agreed with me when I suggested her team felt the need to prove themselves to their new colleagues.

"But I can't wonder if the people on the other side feel that way, too, with us coming into the building," she said. "We've been a leaner organization, and we've done some scrappier, riskier, bolder things, because we didn't have the same structure in the place. Our bosses were in New York, and sometimes we'd get a little crazy.

"We had to be a little more thoughtful, and devious, and ingenious in the ways we could work with what we had," she added. "I'm going to miss the way we did that together, and how close we all became in doing that.

The joy and the heartbreak."

Winstanley arrived at Penguin Canada in 2005, an agent-turnededitor who quickly developed a reputation for a shrewd editorial eye, publishing the likes of Joseph Boyden (winning the company its first Giller Prize in 2008), acquiring Canadian rights to Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, and launching the prestige literary imprint Hamish Hamilton Canada. She was named to the top spot after the tumultuous departure of her predecessor, David Davidar, who left Penguin after being accused of sexual harassment by another employee.

"So much of Penguin becoming such a powerhouse is due to Nicole," says Boyden, who has published three bestselling novels with Winstanley. "I don't want Penguin to be looked at and seen as the bastard stepchild."

Winstanley is on maternity leave for the remainder of the year, and will return to a changed company. Earlier this month, it was announced that she will now report to Cochrane, a decision regarded by some as a demotion. Cochrane, who is widely viewed as Martin's eventual successor, now heads up the entirety of Penguin Random House Canada's publishing group, which includes 18 separate imprints, ranging from nonfiction (Signal and Allen Lane) to paperbacks (Emblem, Anchor Canada, Vintage Canada) to lifestyle (Appetite by Random House). Former M&S publisher Douglas Gibson describes the assembled imprints as the equivalent of "the Montreal Canadiens mixed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. It's almost inconceivable."

"You cannot deny that this is an incredible wealth of talent in terms of editors and publishers," Cochrane says. "The collective publishing experience in our building now is just extraordinary."

But editors do not lack ego; it wasn't that long ago that those on the 14th floor (where Penguin editorial resides) and the 12th floor (where the rest of the editorial team is located) were competing for some of the same books. Collins, for instance, says she always considered Penguin "as one of our most vigorous competitors, someone who would often swoop in and take something off the table." Winstanley admits, "there are things that they won that I still see on their shelves, now that they're my colleagues, and I feel a tinge of pain." She describes it as "a collegial battle," however: "You fight to the death to get a book.

And then one of you would get it. And you'd see each other two days later at a party, and that person would buy the other a drink."

The collegial battle will continue. Even though all 33 editors employed by PRH are, technically, on the same team, "it's really important for us to preserve the competition between the imprints," Cochrane maintains.

"I can understand the perception, or the reaction, that there might be less competition, or more top-down decision making, but I really firmly believe that what we owe writers and what we owe their representatives is choice."

This means, as Knopf Canada publishing director Lynn Henry puts it, she looks at her co-workers "both as colleagues and competitors."

"We still compete with each other for books," she says. "It's just that the terms of the competition have changed. We don't really compete so much financially as we do in terms of the vision. And often our publishing visions can be very different."

"I'm not interested in a book that is going to generate less than $100,000 in revenue unless the editor or publisher has a compelling vision for the book and/or the author." Brad Martin, sitting in one of the small meeting rooms scattered throughout the new office, taps the table with almost every word. "If the person that's championing that book in the acquisitions meeting doesn't have a compelling view of it, it's just trying to fill a slot, then I'm not interested in doing it.

"I don't subscribe to the, 'Well, it's not going to cost us very much,' " he says. "I don't care what it's going to cost you - what's your vision of this book?

Because, no, we can't afford to do a lot of small books without a vision, because they take as much time to put through the system as a big book does."

There is a fear, from those outside the company and others in the writing and publishing community, that Penguin Random House will publish fewer books than Penguin and Random House did when they were seperate entities. "I suspect that, over all, fewer writers, and certainly less variety of writing, is going to be published there," says former Doubleday Canada editor-in-chief John Pearce, now a literary agent.

Martin doesn't necessarily disagree.

"Just the way the industry has moved will mean there will be a few less books published," he says. "I've always thought that there are books that could be published that may only need to be published digitally. The space available for books in this country, when you've got one chain, you've got a small, strong independent [bookstore] group, and then you've got your online sites, there's only so much space.

And if you can't get merchandising space for your books in the retail stores, you can't sell them.

So I would rather publish two books instead of three, and give both of those books a chance to win, than publish all three of them. Because it's a numbers game."

Despite pledges of editorial autonomy, and promises of competition between imprints, there are worries, especially among agents, who fear it will result in lower advances. While the various imprints can compete against one another for the same book, agents and authors will have to choose between competing visions, rather than different bids, something literary agent Denise Bukowski characterizes as "the most devastating thing for authors and agents." ("In Canada they're not going to be different, and that's just the way it's going to be," Martin says when I raise the issue. "Why would you bid against each other? Scale is supposed to mean something. This is a small market.") Several agents I spoke to say they are increasingly taking manuscripts to editors in the United States before showing them to their Canadian counterparts. (Imprints at Penguin Random House U.S. and U.K. can still offer competitive bids, as long as an outside publisher is also pursuing the book.) When submitting a book in Canada, says literary agent Martha Webb, "you just sort of pray that HarperCollins or Simon & Schuster is going to be interested, too."

There is a fear that the publishing landscape in Canada could evolve into one of haves and have-nots; there will be authors who publish with Penguin Random House Canada and those who find a home elsewhere, though Martin bristles when I suggest they control the domestic market. "Control is a strong word, but our market share is about 32 per cent." And PRH Canada is but one element in an enormous corporation, employing more than 12,000 people around the world, that includes nearly 250 individual imprints and publishing arms, which churn out more than 15,000 new books each year. The company, according to its latest annual report, increased revenue 25.2 per cent to 3.3-billion ($4.6billion) in 2014. While the company would not provide financial information specific to Canada, Martin claims that "PRH Canada is a profitable company." Domestically, Penguin Random House Canada published 542 books in 2014. They publish many of Canada's best living writers (Margaret Atwood, Joseph Boyden and Alice Munro, who used to publish in hardcover with M&S and release paperbacks with Penguin) and the vast backlist includes many of our best dead writers (W. O. Mitchell, Margaret Laurence, Alistair MacLeod, Hugh MacLennan, Pierre Berton, Carol Shields, Mordecai Richler).

Since the Giller Prize was first awarded in 1994, Penguin Random House Canada has published 16 of 22 winners.

"I do become nervous about one publishing group becoming so marketplace-dominant," says Steven Galloway, chair of the University of British Columbia's School of Creative Writing and a Random House author since 2001. "If for some reason the people at Penguin Random House ever decide I'm loathsome and don't want to deal with me any more, one's options for moving and still publishing are somewhat more limited than they used to be. That's not a great thing.

"Consider what Canadian publishing would be if either of those two companies went down. There are those who would rejoice. I would argue that they're just plain idiots. Anansi can't be Anansi without Random House. Their whole brand doesn't work if there's no Random House. All the different publishers in Canada have a role to fill.

"Monopolies are not good things," he says. "Not in publishing, not anywhere."

It's a word Martin has heard tossed around since the merger was finalized. Sitting in the meeting room earlier this week, he put the issue of size in context. Canadian publishing is partly being shaped by forces outside his cubicle, he argues, and the questions posed by the merger - of power, of influence - are not unique to this country.

"In the modern era, if you will, no, nobody's been as big," he says. "Then again, nobody's been as big as PRH is in any of the English-speaking markets, nor has there been a company that has had German, Spanish, Portuguese and English-speaking publishers as big as we are. We're a manifestation of the way that the business has changed globally."

Associated Graphic

Penguin Random House's Canadian operation, with the exception of India, is the only one to physically consolidate thus far.


Brad Martin and Kristin Cochrane in PRH's new Toronto offices.


'I think what struck us all is how open 'open' meant,' editor and publisher Anne Collins says of PRH's new workspace.


Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B6

NEW YORK, TORONTO -- Few people would notice the drab industrial building that sits on a pothole-strewn road in Secaucus, N.J. There are no signs indicating what's inside.

And yet this factory-like property is at the centre of a growing trend in the advertising world, where ads are bought and sold by computers.

This location is one of 100 data centres owned by Equinix Inc., a Silicon Valley-based firm that processes billions of advertising deals every day through its global network of computer servers.

"The financial exchanges are what we originally built our platforms on," Frank LoPilato, senior business development executive at Equinix, said of a similar move that saw high-speed computerized trading change the stock market. "When you look at that data, it's all about protecting that from security threats."

As anyone with a computer or a smartphone knows, advertising is everywhere online. How ads are bought, displayed, tracked and sold is critical to just about every player on the Internet, from giants like Facebook and Google to the smallest publisher.

And that process is going through a revolution that is already having sweeping implications, from how ads are targeted to consumers, to what safeguards are needed to prevent fraud.

Advertising deals used to be made by phone, fax and e-mail.

Now much of that work is being done on purpose-built digital marketplaces. Known as "programmatic advertising," this process involves computerized systems to sell online ad space to advertisers and their agencies. It is comparable to a stock market, though instead of trading shares, these markets trade digital ad space, or impressions.

The method has been gaining speed since roughly 2009 in the United States and 2011 or 2012 in Canada. Today, roughly half of the global spending on digital display ads is automated. And the figure is growing, fast.

Google's exchange, Adx, alone receives billions of queries - that is, bids for ad space - every day.

The world's largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, last year targeted 70 to 75 per cent of its digital advertising spending to be automated, and Verizon Inc.'s $4.4-billion (U.S.) acquisition of AOL announced in May was driven largely by the need to get its hands on the automated ad-selling technology AOL has built.

The disruption has widespread consequences for the industry, shaking up the traditional power dynamic among its key players.

Since the global economic downturn, marketers have been under pressure to cut their budgets and to demonstrate the value of their ads. Automated trading offers cost savings, but also the potential to finally better target people who might actually want to receive their message. Media agencies have been challenged to keep up with the changes. Middlemen have attempted to cash in by handling the technology side on advertisers' behalf. But that daisy-chain buying has also opened up the industry to fraud, misleading data and other shady practices. Meanwhile, publishers are working to guard the value of the ad space they sell and to hold on to their negotiating clout in this new world.

"A high, high component of our buys are in programmatic," Kristi Karens of snack-foods brand Mondelez Canada said. "... Everyone needs to understand where the industry is going."

The old way was 'silly'

For all the Internet's promise of a paperless world, online advertising was sold in a rather old-fashioned way for a long time.

Buyers at media agencies had to pick up the phone when they wanted to place ads on a website on behalf of their client. The final deal was often a paper transaction that involved multiple, cumbersome steps.

"The process was silly," Andrew Casale, president and CEO of Toronto-based automated adseller Index Exchange, said.

As the Internet grew, the number of sites soared along with the amount of advertising. Enter advertising networks. These precursors to the current automated exchanges were created in the late 1990s but began to be widely used around 2005. They built buckets of ad space - on certain types of Web pages such as finance or lifestyle - to sell to advertisers as a convenient package.

With the networks acting as middlemen, though, it was not always clear to buyers where those ads were ending up. Automated exchanges popped up to give advertisers more control, offering auctions where buyers could bid on an audience with certain characteristics, as well as a particular website's space.

Automated bidding now happens in a few different ways.

In "real-time bidding," advertisers or their reps register to place ads that target a specific audience, for example a 35-yearold woman who needs diapers for her baby. They also punch in the price range they are willing to pay for that digital ad space, and a host of other parameters. That information is processed in the exchange and in fractions of a second, the auction is done and the winning bidder's ad is placed on a website.

There are also automated auctions that happen, not instantaneously as a page loads, but ahead of time. And there are "programmatic direct" deals: Advertisers who buy a lot of ad space from a publisher can negotiate specific prices for future deals. Then, publishers can give advertisers those guaranteed prices through a digital exchange.

Marketers began to take automated advertising seriously in Canada about three years ago.

Now, there are very few advertisers who are not dedicating a portion of their digital ad budgets to this type of buying, or at the very least considering doing so. Automated spending is expected to reach $1.2-billion in Canada this year, or nearly 30 per cent of total spending on digital advertising, according to research firm Magna Global. That's double the spending just two years ago, and the firm predicts it will more than double again by 2019.

And yet, some of the people making these buying decisions - and throwing real money around - are still confused about what programmatic can and cannot do.

"There are a lot of people who know it's important and gaining momentum, but aren't sure exactly what it is," Harvey Carroll, CEO of IPG Mediabrands in Canada, said.

Meanwhile, dozens of ad-tech companies are fighting for a piece of this market.

"I think the smart, savvy marketer is going to question the role of all of that tech and I think there will be significant consolidation towards models that provide real value," added Alex LePage, a marketing executive with Los Angeles-based Rubicon Project, which operates an automated exchange as well as a buying platform for advertisers.

Toronto-based buying platform Chango was one piece of that consolidation: Rubicon bought it in March for $122-million.

Waste not

Just as there is a difference between being able to compare hotels and flights online versus picking up the phone to call a travel agent, there are also pricing efficiencies in using technology to buy advertising. But cost savings are just one part of the picture.

Coming to terms with this complex technology is worth it, advertisers believe, because it brings them closer to what has always been the great potential of digital advertising: the ability to speak to the right people who might buy their products, and at the exact moment when it is least likely to be considered an annoyance.

Traditionally, brands fired messages at huge audiences based on assumptions about who was reading a particular newspaper or watching a certain TV program. The Internet was supposed to make this process more exact, and in some ways it did. But so far, it's been mostly blunt instruments. Through "re-targeting," advertisers look at cookies showing where you've been and may then pummel you with ads for, say, that pair of shoes you looked at once.

But because of the volume of data that is now being gathered through automated bidding, the picture is becoming clearer. Marketers hope to be able to bid on ad space on a page where they see a 40-year-old in Red Deer, Alta., who is in the market for a truck, for example.

"They can buy the four users that really matter ... and try to find the right moment to show them the right ads," Drew Bradstock, senior product manager for Google Inc.'s Ad Exchange, said.

Marketers can also study a campaign's performance in real time, and tweak those campaigns based on what's working best.

"We now have a lot more visibility as to how our campaigns are doing," Elaine Li, digital marketing manager with Clorox Canada, said. Her team can watch, in each geographic or demographic segment of people seeing the ads, how many of them clicked through or visited the website, or signed up for a newsletter. For video, they can see how much of an ad people watched. If something is lagging, Clorox can change its campaign parameters within hours of launching.

As recently as two years ago, none of Clorox Canada's buying was automated. Now it makes up roughly 60 per cent of the company's digital ad spending. Ms. Li foresees it growing to at least 90 per cent soon enough.

It's much easier now for marketers to launch two ads, track the response, then put more money behind the more effective ad. This strategy, called A/B testing, is an old concept in advertising. But in traditional media environments, it was more expensive to do those tests, and the old media buying processes didn't allow advertisers to change campaigns as quickly.

"There was a more static approach to understanding audiences in the past because you couldn't optimize on the fly," Mr. Carroll of IPG Mediabrands said.

"... Now, because you can do things in real time, there's a whole industry that's been built behind having that information available. Because it has tangible commercial value now."

More testing is happening on the publisher side too. At Index Exchange, analysts sit in front of computer screens combing through lines of data. They're trying to figure out the absolute optimal price for each publisher to sell ad space - not just the highest price they can sell at, but the highest price that has commanded the most sales for a given piece of ad space.

"This helps the publisher understand what they can sell for.

Exactly," Paul Zovighian, an analyst at Index Exchange, said. This level of analysis - with the volume of information on each bid and sale - was hard to come by when deals were done manually.

But it's not all a race to the bottom in prices: On exchanges, bids show up as low as a penny CPM (cost-per-mille, or per thousand people who see an ad) and as high as $40, or even more. For generalized campaigns attempting to reach many people, advertisers can get space for cheap, throwing out bids to see what sticks. But for more targeted campaigns where an advertiser wants that audience - a bank looking to speak to young couples in the market for a mortgage, for example - the bids climb higher.

"The days of [broadcasting] one 30-second or 60-second commercial to all people should be over," Mondelez's Ms. Karens said. "What we are delivering is more customized messaging that is relevant to every consumer, and we're using programmatic as a tool to get there."

The fox in the henhouse

The gold lettering is still visible on the Google Inc. headquarters in Manhattan, reminding visitors that this Goliath structure taking up an entire city block was once Inland Terminal Number One for the New York Port Authority. It's a fitting heritage, given that Google is now terminal No. 1 for so much of the money flowing into online advertising.

In this automated world, Google has its hands in everything.

Its Adx, launched in 2009, is the largest exchange in the market by far. Its ad server, DoubleClick for Publishers, works for sellers; it handles the buying side as well, with its DoubleClick Bid Manager. Because of its scale, the company has been able to invest heavily to tackle some of the problems that have arisen because of computerized trading.

Those problems include ads that publishers fear will make their websites look bad (such as those warning about belly fat, or promoting "one weird trick" to reverse aging). Meanwhile, advertisers fear placing ads on sites with fake or poorly tracked audience data.

"We're the cleanest, bar none," Google's Mr. Bradstock said.

That's worth a lot of money in what can be a dirty trading environment.

Because trades are moving so fast, fraud has become worse.

That's when hackers create bots to look like humans online, luring automated ad spending to low-rent sites where criminals pocket the money. Because the fake humans need to be convincing, bot traffic visits established websites too.

A study commissioned by the U.S. Association of National Advertisers last year estimated that globally, $6.3-billion (U.S.) will be spent on ads that no human ever sees.

Google is fighting another problem: high-speed arbitrage.

All Google real-time auctions happen in a 100-millisecond window, so that someone with a faster connection cannot snap up an ad and turn around to resell it at a profit, siphoning more of the dollars that already fall away in the automated path between the advertiser and the publisher.

Players in between - including agency trading desks, demandside platforms, the ad exchange itself that also takes a cut, audience targeting firms, verification and fraud-prevention services, and others - take as much as 60 per cent of an advertiser's media budget, according to a report last year from the World Federation of Advertisers. That leaves the publisher that actually provides the ad space with just 40 per cent of the price paid for it, compared with significantly more in the past.

But even when high-speed arbitrage is prevented, reselling still happens. Some of the trading desks that media agencies operate are taking an extra cut by buying ad space from publishers and reselling it to clients later.

This is different than the typical media agency structure, which has been to buy media space on behalf of clients and take a commission. But as marketers have been under pressure to cut budgets, agency fees have also been squeezed, leading some to find other ways to make up the difference. Competing media agencies have criticized arbitrage.

"We want to be completely focused on client objectives," Tessa Ohlendorf, managing director for Cadreon in Canada, said. "... We don't want to be motivated to make money off our inventory as opposed to buying CBC or Kijiji or The Globe and Mail because it does better for the client."

The speed and volume of automated ad-buying makes it hard to track. Marketers cannot check hundreds of thousands of transactions. "They may not even have auditors check randomly," Brian Wieser, an industry analyst with Pivotal Research in New York, said.

"It creates an environment that's rife with activities that were not contemplated contractually, shall we say. ... [Marketers] don't necessarily have the resources to do proper audits at this scale."

Publishers are scrambling to keep up with the changes.

"Now that the advertisers can identify the specific characteristics of the consumers they want, and find them across properties, easily, for less, the negotiating dynamic has changed radically," Mr. Wieser said.

Some publishers have created alliances to try to protect their negotiating power. A Canadian group - including Rogers Media, Shaw Media, CBC Radio-Canada and Postmedia - have banded together to form the Canadian Premium Audience Exchange (CPAX) in an attempt to command higher prices from advertisers that want a guarantee of higher-quality ad space. Bell Media has so far opted out of the automated marketplace altogether.

The Guardian, the Financial Times, CNN International, Reuters and The Economist formed an automated selling collective called the Pangaea Alliance in March, using Rubicon's technology.

Publishers in France launched a similar group, La Place Média, in 2012. These alliances are an attempt to build up a fraction of the kind of scale that has allowed tech giants such as Google and Facebook to wrest ad spending away from smaller players.

"If you're the publisher of a legacy title, in print and digital," Mr. Wieser said, "you don't have anything like the negotiating clout you used to."

That clout is all moving in one direction: toward the tech giants that dominate the space. Some say this is not a fair fight.

Mr. Casale, for one, believes that players like Google and Rubicon have a conflict of interest.

"If you're giving all of your data to Google, who is also trying to price intelligently, who is also a publisher, there's a conflict there," Mr. Casale said.

Google insists there is no problem. "The exchange is extremely neutral," Mr. Bradstock said. "... We've gone out of our way to ensure that all buyers are treated equally."

Ian Hewetson, vice president of client services for demand-side platform Eyereturn Marketing, is concerned that allowing some players to become too dominant could leave others without any leverage in the market - whatever their reassurances about neutrality.

"The fox could tell you, 'I'm going into the hen house, and it's going to be fine.' Maybe it's a very tame fox, maybe it's a pet fox. ... It's just set up in a way that encourages trouble."

Changing the game

It now seems inevitable that automated buying will take over the majority of the online advertising space within a few years.

The next step is to automate buying in other media: Billboards that have digital displays already have the pipes to process sales this way. In the U.S. especially, there is also talk of automated buying moving into TV.

The most obvious way in is through broadcasters' streaming services such as Rogers GameCentre Live, where viewers could be targeted with video ads attuned to their interests, said Alan Dark, senior vice-president of media sales at Rogers Media.

"In the future, we don't know if we're going to be selling 30-second spot units program by program. We may be selling very specific audiences to marketers who don't really care if they're running in show X or show Y."

There is still work to be done with online ads, too. Targeting is becoming more difficult as people spend far more time online via mobile devices.

The traditional method of tracking was through cookies on laptops and computers; but on mobile, cookies often don't exist.

It's one reason why digital subscriptions are valuable for publishers: Log-ins offer both identity and trackable interests.

"In these walled-garden environments, the publisher might know a hell of a lot more than the buyer. That can be leverage," Mr. Casale said.

The next big thing will be to build user IDs that can identify people across devices.

The tech companies that have made billions in online advertising are envisioning a future beyond just being publishers, or sellers of ad space on behalf of others. Their big bet is on data.

"We know more about our users than any other publisher or player in the ecosystem, and we know them across devices," Steve Irvine, global head of Facebook's Marketing Partner Program said.

Facebook wants to take the information it has about the 1.4billion people who use its service - such as age, gender, location and interests - and track them even outside of its social network. To maximize that leverage it bought ad-measurement company Atlas from Microsoft in 2013 for almost $100-million.

The race to perfect the technology for more targeted advertising is just getting started. There are billions of dollars up for grabs for the winners. If it works, consumers could notice ads becoming even more personal. The ultimate goal is to know who you are, and what you want - not using a primitive tool like a cookie, but a much more detailed cross-device profile - and the best time to advertise to you, wherever you are.

"That will be a game changer," Mr. Bradstock said.


The programmatic advertising process

Data firms provide services including preventing fraud, verifying that ads are placed correctly and seen, tracking consumers' responses to ads, and helping advertisers target ads by using customer information.

Data firms Advertisers

Media agencies have traditionally been responsible for buying ad space on marketers' behalf, and that's also true in automated buying. Many have also created Agency Trading Desks to manage automated buys. A few marketers are experimenting with bypassing both the agencies and the trading desks and buying through demand-side platforms themselves.

Media agency Trading desk

Demand-side (buy-side) platforms are what buyers use to plug into the marketplace (exchanges) where ads are sold.

Demand-side platforms (DSPs)

Where the buyers and sellers meet and automated bidding happens. Supply-side platforms (SSPs), the opposite of DSPs, represent sellers, but the market has evolved such that many SSPs also operate exchanges, and they're very rarely separate entities anymore.

Ad exchanges Website publishers

Associated Graphic

Equinix sales engineer Elios Astudillo, left, and vice-president of marketing Tom Polley examine a data transfer cage.



Digital content, media and advertising companies accelerate real-time bidding for online ads at one of Equinix's data transfer centres.




As Greenpeace makes amends, a daughter makes peace
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

HANSON ISLAND, B.C. -- This spring, I said farewell to my father, 10 years after he died.

I was standing in one of those magical pockets of the West Coast, a bay framed by ancient cedars on Hanson Island. The water was still and clear; the volcanic rocks on the beach radiated the sun's warmth. For the godless child of hippie parents, it was a cathedral.

I had always expected that scattering his ashes would be a private moment. Instead, I surprised myself and invited a disparate group of two dozen people to join me. Some were familiar, some were strangers. A photographer and a video crew recorded the scene.

It was in this moment that I made peace with the fact that, to be in Bob Hunter's orbit, you have to share a crowded path.

My father, a founder of Greenpeace, died on May 2, 2005, at the age of 63. He had taken countless risks in his lifetime - honestly, there has to be a better way to establish that whales are sentient than to allow an orca to wrap her teeth around your neck - but it was prostate cancer that killed him. Gathered together in his Toronto hospital room were his four children (my brother Conan, and I; and Will and Emily from his second marriage), his wife, Bobbi, and his brother, Don.

I still talk to him in my head, and regret that my children, now 9 and 12, didn't get to know him.

His funeral was a grand affair in Toronto. Friends sent me obituaries from newspapers around the world - glowing tributes to his efforts on behalf of the planet.

But those public accolades offered little to salve my grief. In my heart, my dad inhabited an entirely different landscape, and I returned to the West Coast with a sense of disquiet, like a tiny pebble embedded in the sole of my shoe.

Then, an invitation, extended by the Kwakwak'wakw people earlier this year, to a traditional potlatch ceremony in the remote Vancouver Island community of Alert Bay opened the door for my own reconciliation.

Bob (even as a child, I was always on a first-name basis with my parents and their friends) had been invited into this community 44 years ago, and was granted a symbol of protection: a flag bearing the image of a two-headed serpent, known as the Sisiutl. It was a moment that profoundly shaped both him and the future of the environmental organization he went on to lead.

Over the years, that image was reworked and adapted by various agents of Greenpeace. Then, at the ceremony this spring, Greenpeace was worked into the agenda of the potlatch, so that a group of activists in attendance could properly acknowledge the original gift and restore the image to its proper form. The invitation to stand in my father's place, to walk for a moment in his shoes, thus provided me with an unexpected gift.

Here on the shore, I connected once more with my dad.

A public figure's private moments

The path to this beach began in 1971, when activists, organized under the banner of the Don't Make a Wave Committee, chartered a boat to sail from Vancouver harbour to Amchitka, an Aleutian island off Alaska, more than 2,000 nautical miles away. Their goal: to drop anchor in a nuclear-blast zone, in a bid to stop a test.

My memory of that departure has long disappeared into a blur of similar departures that followed. I was 5 then, and my mother, Zoe, had brought me down to the dock with Conan to wave goodbye as Bob sailed off on an aged halibut seiner called the Phyllis Cormack. Conan, then 7, had been allowed to tag along on the dock, as Bob hunted for a skipper willing to take on this risky charter. Those trips - along with the pungent scents of creosote and fuel - remain imprinted on my brother's mind.

Zoe was the one who had introduced Bob to the nuclear-disarmament movement, but was nervous about this mission. If I was anxious, I don't remember. But my brother was older, and he had not been spared Bob's doomsday prophecies. Conan had a poster hanging over his bed of a mushroom cloud from a French nuclear test over the Mururoa Atoll of Polynesia. Bob had shown him black-and-white photographs of the victims of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and told my brother they were somehow going to stop this from occurring in Alaska.

My father's day job at the time was as The Vancouver Sun's counterculture columnist.

I remember seeing his face on billboards around town, and I still have a yellowed page from the Sun with a full-page house ad featuring his picture: A serious, penetrating gaze was framed by his long hair and shaggy beard. The headline read, "Bob Hunter writes as if our lives depended on it."

He convinced his editors to allow him to report on the voyage with a strong activist voice - he would report the news and make the news. He would use this platform to plant "mind bombs" in the media aimed at the Nixon administration's nuclear-testing program.

On the day of departure, he wrote in The Sun: "Those of us on board the Greenpeace will be deliberately ignoring the warning [to stay out of the blast zone] ... it remains to be seen whether the Americans will try to tow us away or decide to leave us there, perched on the edge of an underground explosion equivalent to five million tons of TNT."

He wrapped the piece up with a warning about the risks to British Columbians of earthquakes, tsunamis and the "radioactive hell which the U.S. will be deliberately creating in the unstable ground of Amchitka ... We won't be the only ones in danger.

You will be, too."

The strident tone he channelled in his writing was balanced by a life-of-the-party personality. I can still hear in my head his explosive, raspy laughter - imagine Popeye after a night of drinking whisky and smoking. His constant quest to tame his ego came out in self-deprecating humour.

The 1971 trip set the wheels in motion for the formation of Greenpeace, and over the years, I saw the toll that the organization and the campaigns took on my father and on others in what would become our extended family. Intense battles over leadership and the growth and direction of Greenpeace eventually strained friendships; and Bob, a deeply emotional person, was battered by those rifts. Years later, he would retreat from the organization, writing in a tiny cabin he built on a hobby farm near Vancouver. But he was eventually pulled back into a series of campaigns.

The treasures in my memory, however, are the private moments. Camping in our old Volkswagen van on Long Beach, where we would explore the secret lives of barnacles at low tide or scan the horizon for the spouts of grey whales. Puttering up Burrard Inlet aboard Bob's boat, The Astral, a police vessel from the 1930s. Talking together in his writing cabin about whatever topic had captured his interest. If there is a theme here, it is that those moments when I had his attention, I soaked it up greedily.

An ill-fated, propitious voyage

The crew on that 1971 voyage included Captain John Cormack, Bill Darnell, Patrick Moore, Ben Metcalfe, Jim Bohlen, Terry Simmons, Bob Cummings, Dave Birmingham, Dr. Lyle Thurston, Robert Keziere and Richard Fineberg, whose place was later taken by Rod Marining, and Bob.

Capt. Cormack was a familiar face to the people of Alert Bay, and on this journey the crew was invited to dock there to receive a gesture of support for their campaign. First Nations communities on B.C.'s west coast, who are currently battling the expansion of oil-tanker traffic, were at that time alive to the risks of nuclear tests. The crew were given gifts of salmon and a blessing for their journey, and were invited to come back on their return voyage.

The Phyllis Cormack sailed as far as the Aleutian island of Akutan before the crew learned that the test was to be delayed.

Winter weather was closing in and supplies on board were running low; they had been outmanoeuvred. Divided and bitter, the crew turned back for home, putting in once more at Alert Bay.

"We came back feeling like we failed," recalled Mr. Darnell, as we sat on a bench in the Big House for the potlatch this spring.

He was the ecologist who coined the term Green Peace. We hadn't spoken in many years, but his gentle demeanour made up for any loss of familiarity. When we talked about my father, he didn't trot out the usual tales of bravery. He spoke instead about how well Bob related to people, and about his almost clairvoyant ability to see through them. (I can appreciate that talent now, although there was a time, as a mischief-seeking teenager, when it was less welcome.)

When the defeated crew landed back in Alert Bay, "the ground was still swaying beneath our feet," recalled Rod Marining, also there for the potlatch. They had fallen into vicious infighting, but in the Big House, they were counselled to abandon their egos in a traditional dance.

The Phyllis Cormack crew was, as well, bestowed a rare honour: They were sprinkled with eagle-down feathers, dressed in button blankets, and named honorary brothers of the Kwakiutl, one part of the Kwakwaka'wakw. From what those present can remember, it was here that they were given the serpent flag, known as the Sisiutl.

It was as if they had returned from their ill-fated voyage victorious. And, in fact, they had achieved victory - they just didn't know it yet. It was on the floor of the Big House, in that moment, that the seed of Greenpeace as a broad environmental organization was planted.

"These people who have fought colonialization for more than a hundred years, they took the long-term view," is how Bill Darnell put it this spring. "They had a much better perspective of the significance of what we had done."

Added Mr. Marining, "We had tears coming down, we were humbled. The women put their cloaks around us and asked us to dance. Now, we were dancing together. The animosity that came from our failure was dissipating."

It was more than a healing experience. As he performed a shuffling dance around the fire, Bob later wrote, his thoughts were floating - perhaps he was as mesmerized as I would be, at this spring's potlatch, by the ashes rising from the heat of the massive fire in the centre of the room. What's more, five months after the Phyllis Cormack returned to Vancouver, the international attention generated by the protest led to the cancellation of the Amchitka test program, and the voyage was recognized as the first Greenpeace campaign.

"Bob," noted Mr. Marining, as we sat side by side on a long bench, surrounded by more than a thousand members of the Kwakwaka'wakw community "said this was the spiritual home of Greenpeace."

As Mr. Marining spoke, I noticed he was wearing one of the original green and yellow Greenpeace buttons that were sold to raise campaign funds. That, in turn, prompted a memory for me of standing on a street corner with a family friend, tin can in hand, attempting to raise funds for Greenpeace, and being scolded by a passerby who felt this was not an appropriate activity for children. I was humiliated but also confused - I was surrounded by people who felt so much passion for the planet; how could someone be angry about that?

Another well of memories was tapped by Robert Keziere, who also returned to the Big House for the event this spring. Sitting in a back row, he slipped me a precious gift - a computer memory stick containing his images of Bob from their voyage to Amchitka. When I looked at those photos later, I could see moments of joy, and of despair, and one shot of Bob in the Big House, his hands clasped and head bowed - a long-haired hippie in gumboots looking not unlike an altar boy.

My father believed in karma, and was always searching for signs to guide him.

When a book recounting a Cree prophecy tipped off his bookshelf while he packed for the Amchitka voyage, he naturally took it as a sign that he should tuck it into his duffle bag. That book, The Warriors of the Rainbow, tells of a time when the planet would be poisoned by man's greed, until people from all nations would unite to defend the Earth and its animals. And in this moment, on the dirt floor of the Big House, he decided that that story had come to pass: This was not the end of the journey but the beginning of something bigger.

Acknowledging an indigenous gift The main order of business at the potlatch this spring was to mourn the death of Charles Eaton Willie, or Ol Siwidi. The hereditary chiefs of the Kwakwaka'wakw and their families gathered to see the name and chieftainship passed to his grandson, Mike Willie: Ol Siwidi is a name that has been handed down for generations; it is a tradition carried on through the potlatch, a ceremony that the Canadian government outlawed in the late 1800s. The ban lasted for more than 60 years.

Witnessing the Willie potlatch, I confronted the scant extent of my own cultural roots. Asked to sing a song of my culture in elementary school, I had stood up and sung a part of Legend of a Mind, the Moody Blues' tribute to Timothy Leary and LSD.

I'm not sure I could find anything more meaningful now. Little wonder that Bob was so touched by his moment in the Big House.

The gathering in March, however, was very different from the one the crew had experienced. "The 1971 ceremony involved just a few folks, several dancers, singers, drummers, a dozen or so in the audience," Robert Keziere recalled following the potlatch. The masks, the regalia, the carved house poles that anchor each corner of the Big House - they were recognizable. But what he experienced in 2015 was a vibrant and renewed culture. "I kept thinking," he told me, "that this treasured art is, without question, worth a fortune, in every sense."

Mr. Marining, Mr. Darnell, Mr. Simmons and Mr. Keziere were the four members of the original crew present. They were joined by Kumi Naidoo, the executive director of Greenpeace International, and other Greenpeace officials, including First Nations women - this was more of a rainbow assembly than the all-male crew of the past, and it is no accident. Just like resource companies and governments, Greenpeace today is seeking to develop a new relationship with indigenous people, one that offers partnership, not token recognition.

Mr. Naidoo, a human-rights activist from South Africa, had come from Greenpeace headquarters in Amsterdam to lead this reconciliation bid known as the Greenpeace Sisiutl Project. The blessing that was bestowed on the crew in 1971 "is what inspired Greenpeace to become what it is," he told the gathering. "What we learned from you helped us to understand that, in fact, the struggles of indigenous peoples all over the world, and the struggles that Greenpeace is fighting for - to protect our forests, to protect our oceans, to then find change, to make sure our food is not contaminated - all of these struggles, we share together."

Sharing memories, and a goodbye

Amchitka would be the first of many campaigns, for Bob and for Greenpeace. He would become the first president of the organization, and would continue to put himself in harm's way - standing in front of moving icebreakers or placing himself between a harpoon and a whale.

I recall once charging into the surf at Jericho Beach when one of the Greenpeace voyages returned to Vancouver. I got only a brief hug before Bob disappeared into the crowd to give a speech. Saying farewell to him was something I should have been good at - I had lots of practice.

I eventually followed my father into journalism, with his encouragement, but our professional paths diverged. Over the years, I have kept myself out of the stories I write as much as he wrote himself into his.

I suspect I have avoided trying to compete with his extraordinary life. It is easier to be ordinary.

Bob's ashes have, over this past decade, been scattered from pole to pole by members of his family. As I packed for the trip to Alert Bay, I tucked the little wooden box with my share of those ashes in my bag, with the idea that the right moment was near. Once again, the hospitality of the Kwakwaka'wakw people would shape my family's story.

On the morning following the potlatch, those of us in the Greenpeace contingent prepared to board a boat bound for nearby Hanson Island, one of the gateways to the Great Bear Rainforest. One of our group, Mark Worthing, spotted an orca pod speeding across the sparkling waters, bringing us all to our feet to watch. If it was a sign, I didn't have the gift to interpret it. But it was encouraging.

Since 1970, Hanson Island has been the home of Paul Spong's OrcaLab. It was Dr. Spong, a neurologist studying a captive orca named Skana at the Vancouver Aquarium, who convinced Bob and others in the Greenpeace movement that whales should be saved from slaughter. It was he who persuaded Bob to sit calmly at the edge of Skana's little tank while she "tested" my dad by gently closing her jaws around his head.

With that, clever Skana had planted a mind bomb of her own.

Hanson Island is also the home of David (Walrus) Garrick, whose worship of nature helped to inject the protection of forests into the DNA of Greenpeace.

He was there to greet us on the island, and I placed a handful of Bob's ashes in his wizened palm. He patted them into the soil around a 1,300-year-old "grandmother" tree where his children had held their wedding ceremonies. As he circled the cedar, its towering crown hidden from view in the surrounding canopy, Walrus spoke directly to Bob, as if he were in conversation. I felt a twinge of envy.

I invited anyone who wanted to accompany me to scatter Bob's ashes on the beach below OrcaLab. As we shared stories about my father, it occurred to me that I needed to share portions of his ashes as well.

Mr. Naidoo had never met Bob, but he spoke of his courage. "I think that some of the early spirit that Bob and the founders had, I have to quite bluntly say, got lost along the way. Part of what I've been trying to do is reinfuse that spirit of courage. As we move forward, the planet needs at least a billion acts of contagious courage if we are going to stand a chance to reverse the trajectory we are on."

Greenpeace campaigner Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation, then offered to sing. The prophecy of the Warriors of the Rainbow came from her nation, and her sendoff for my warrior father, spontaneous and beautiful, would have brought Bob to his knees.

"In Cree, we don't say goodbye; we say farewell," she explained. "It's more like they are going down the path and their spirit is still with us."

Then she sang, her clear voice echoing across the bay. It gave me the courage I needed to accept that it was time to say farewell, to be content with my share of Bob's life. I took a handful of ashes and swung my open hand over the waters of Blackfish Sound, and let go.

Justine Hunter is The Globe and Mail's political reporter in the B.C. legislature.

Associated Graphic

Justine Hunter's father, Bob, on the bridge above the crew sailing on the first Greenpeace protest voyage in 1971.


Clockwise from top: Justine Hunter gathers a group for an informal memorial service for her father, Bob, on Hanson Island, B.C.;

Four original members of Greenpeace: From left to right, Bob Hunter, Robert Cummings, Dr. Lyle Thurston and Patrick Moore;

Justine Hunter spreads her father's ashes off the shore of Hanson Island; Bob Hunter as seen in the documentary How to Change the World;

A member of the Kwakwak'wakw First Nation dances during a traditional potlatch ceremony in Alert Bay, B.C.


Robert Keziere, a member of the original Greenpeace voyage in 1971, says the potlatch ceremony in Alert Bay this spring was evidence of a vibrant and renewed culture. 'I kept thinking, this is what treasured art is.'


Class is in session
The plan to help kids prepare for brave new financial worlds
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B8

Tenille Lafontaine was in the middle of a mall food court flanked by two hungry kids when a moment of realization dawned.

Her 10-year-old son Elijah was craving a burger, while her fouryear-old youngest daughter Everleigh's eyes were on a dish in another direction. Caught in the middle, Ms. Lafontaine opened her wallet to find no cash - only plastic. She'd never taught her kids how to pay without coins and bills so handing a bank card to her son wasn't an option. It was a simple lapse in her lessons on money that made a huge impact.

"We live in a cashless society and we're teaching our kids about dollars and cents with a piggy bank. It was kind of a light-bulb moment where I thought, what am I doing here? We've evolved!" said Ms. Lafontaine, 38, who has spent a lot of time thinking about parenting and saving money, penning a blog called Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous from her home in Regina.

After lunch, Ms. Lafontaine took her kids to a nearby store and turned to Elijah. "I told my son, 'I'm going to teach you how to use a debit card.'And he looked at me like a deer in the headlights - even though he'd seen me do it for years. He had no clue."

The Lafontaine family's concern over how to best prepare their children for financial success later in life is increasingly common as rapid changes in technology alter the way money trades hands, and educators struggle to keep up and reach students in meaningful ways. With many parents hesitant to impart money lessons because of their own financial missteps and lack of knowledge, the government has recently ramped up its efforts to encourage new programs aimed at improving young Canadians' financial literacy. But some believe bolder reforms are necessary if Canada is to prevent the next generation from repeating financial mistakes of the past.

As scars from the Great Recession begin to fade, Canadians still face mounting financial challenges. They are more burdened by debt than ever before. Soaring housing prices, persistent public equity market volatility and an interest rate cut by the Bank of Canada have added more pressure on consumers to make wise financial decisions. At the same time, increasingly complex financial products, lower savings rates and changes to workplace pension plans leave Canadians more vulnerable to financial mishaps.

For young people especially, navigating the new financial landscape can be daunting. University students face soaring tuition and studies show they graduate with around $25,000 in debt on average. Married couples under the age of 34 have a debt-to-income ratio of 180 per cent, compared to 125 per cent for couples in their 50s, according to Statistics Canada.

Canadian youth - those aged 18 and younger - have more resources to help them learn about money than ever before, from websites to apps. But getting kids to care about how much they spend and save can be a tall order, especially when other temptations like online shopping and Xbox downloads are a simple click away. It's also tough to gauge how prepared young people are for their financial future, since there's no national system to measure their financial literacy levels and education on the topic differs across provinces. Also, parents from different cultural backgrounds sometimes have their own philosophies on things like allowance, for example. But one thing the government, private sector and not-for-profit groups do agree on is that kids don't know enough about saving, spending and preparing for their financial futures.

Research shows Canada isn't doing enough to prevent young people from making costly financial mistakes. One study commissioned by the British Columbia Securities Commission in 2011 showed that many students are currently leaving Canadian high schools with "weak financial skills and little knowledge of the financial realities they will face."

Less than half of high-school graduates polled remembered learning about personal finance, and that those who did receive financial literacy training only benefited if they had a good experience and found the material interesting.

The financial services industry has positioned itself alongside schools and parents as one of the major supporters of financial education in Canada, launching new seminars and information resources for all ages. But consumers are also bombarded with millions of dollars worth of advertising for financial products like credit cards, bank accounts and investment products that are more complex than ever.

The urgency around addressing financial literacy reached a peak when the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada launched a national financial literacy strategy on June 9 called Count Me In, Canada. It's the product of more than five years of government focus on strengthening Canadians' financial well-being, with an intense round of consultations conducted in the past year by Jane Rooney, the country's first financial literacy leader. Special attention was paid to at-risk groups such as seniors, aboriginals, newcomers to Canada and youth in the year-long process.

The strategy set broad goals for improving financial well-being for Canadians, and roughly 50 new initiatives such as seminars and workshops that teach personal finance topics were instituted. Canadian banks have also committed to a $10-million fund to sponsor community groups working to improve financial literacy.

But it fell short of setting specific targets for boosting kids' and teen's financial literacy. The government could deliver a stronger recommendation in its followup action plan in the coming months.

"The challenge really became greater than probably everybody who jumped in in recent years anticipated," says Gary Rabbior, president of the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education.

"It's not just getting in front of people, getting a website done, getting a book in people's hands.

It's really touching them in their lives and showing how the material relates to their lives."

'An important life skill'

It was the financial crisis that put Canadian financial literacy into the spotlight. As asset values collapsed and economies were thrown into turmoil, attention turned to preventing the same financial havoc in the future.

In 2009, then-minister of finance Jim Flaherty suggested Canadians could strengthen the national economy through better daily financial decisions. "Recent events have shown us that there are major risks and that financial literacy is an important life skill," he said in an announcement of his new Task Force on Financial Literacy.

By 2010, one of the task force's recommendations was to formally integrate financial literacy in the provincial and territorial education systems, from elementary school to high school. It also suggested that teachers should be provided financial literacy professional development opportunities. Helping kids understand financial risk now could provide a cushion for the next generation.

"One of the most important areas we see to address is kids," said Mr. Rabbior, who has researched how to address financial education in schools as part of the government's initiative. "People obviously care about kids. Sometimes they'll smoke, but they won't want their kids to smoke.

You may drive too fast, but you don't want your kids to drive too fast."

British Columbia was at the forefront when it made money management a core topic in the province's health and career education curriculum in 2006. Ontario moved the bar forward in 2011 with a new plan to boost financial literacy education for Grades 4 to 12, with a revised curriculum in subjects from career education to social studies, mathematics and Canadian and world studies. And more provinces are stepping up.

Prince Edward Island's Career Exploration and Opportunities course will be mandatory for 10th graders starting in the next school year. A significant portion of the class will cover topics such as budgeting skills, financial products and services, and credit ratings.

Still, many believe provinces need to do more to integrate unbiased financial education into schools. "If you think about the other things they teach in the school system, whether it be music, art ... all of these things are as important as academics. And certainly I think financial skills are just as important," said Robert Stammers, director of investor education at the CFA Institute. "But they're not getting them in the school system. And so there's a greater responsibility for parents to build in that training as early as possible."

We did hear the importance of kids learning through the school system," Ms. Rooney said of her consultations across the country.

But she says financial literacy is being taught in all jurisdictions.

Some provinces have an opportunity to prioritize financial education on their own.

Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and British Columbia are among the regions in the midst of curriculum revisions or consultations.

Quebec's Ministry of Education said it is developing a draft curriculum for a financial literacy program that could be available for secondary school students in the September, 2016, school year, if only as an elective.

Everyday experiences

Aly Hirji, a teacher at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute in Toronto, has witnessed highschool students' need for financial education first hand.

"We just got a Tim Hortons across from our school. A lot of students will grab breakfast from there, instead of bringing breakfast from home," said Mr. Hirji, who teaches business, careers, guidance and math, and has trained other teachers across the Greater Toronto Area to deliver financial literacy lessons in their own schools. When he sees those cups and wrappers, Mr. Hirji breaks down for students how much they could save if they forgo their daily fix, adding in the change they'd save if they pocketed bus fare and walked to school.

"You could have saved $2 on a bus trip each way, $4 per day, times five - $20 each week, $80 per month," he tallies. Mr. Hirji also adds in an entrepreneurial edge: Why not use that seed money to rent equipment to clear snow or aerate lawns to earn more cash?

Mr. Hirji is concerned that some students are lured into financial mistakes such as signing up for a credit card just to get a free T-shirt at sporting events, only to be stuck with debt later. "That's what I show my Grade 12s. Yeah, this can be a good way to build your credit, but it's very easy to get carried away with the crowd and realize - how am I going to pay this back?" He knows how tough those decisions can be - his parents collected the money he earned handing out flyers as a teen and used it to help fund his university education.

Alicia Webber wishes her school system had taught useful lessons about managing money and saving. "My financial life and professional ambitions have been a bit of a roller coaster," said 27-yearold Ms. Webber. "I wish I had figured it out before now. I wouldn't have acquired as much debt."

As a kid, her parents struggled with their finances and didn't offer many money lessons. At school, the personal finance teachings she can recall never felt practical.

After high-school graduation, the high cost of living and socializing in Toronto made it tough to manage money. "I thought it wouldn't bother me because everyone was in debt, so why did it matter if I was, too? Honestly, I just ignored my problems," Ms.

Webber said of maxed-out credit cards and unpaid bills.

But in 2012, she hit a wall and moved home to Brantford, Ont., to regroup. That pushed Ms. Webber to take control, hiring a financial planner who developed a savings plan. "Now I know how to balance my budget - for instance, no more than 30 per cent should go towards rent," she said.

Having made a big dent in paying down debt and loans from film school, Mr. Webber feels financially stable and optimistic about her future. But she worries about the next wave of students.

"I wasn't able to continue working in film because it was not financially viable for me to do full time," she said, noting that unpaid work is common in that field. "I would hope that in the future, kids, and teens more specifically, are taught how to manage their finances. Nobody prepares you for the sheer amount of debt you can get into during school."

Reaching the kids

But it's not enough to just talk about financial literacy - the lessons have to be useful.

Wichita, Kan.-raised band Gooding has taken rock and roll on the road as a way to connect financial literacy with teens. "Control your money or it will control you!"

says the band's lead singer, who also goes by Gooding, from a gymnasium at Salisbury Composite High School, about half an hour east of Edmonton.

He has 20 minutes to win students over with a talk about predatory lending and debt. Gooding shows the audience how many sports stars have trouble keeping a handle on their finances and wind up broke - even after they've signed major-league deals. And when the lecture is done, a rock concert begins.

By high school, teens are amassing cash through allowance, gifts and part-time jobs. Most also have a savings account and are thinking about personal finance, according to the Investor Education Fund. By Grade 12, these students are interested in buying cars, what it costs to live on their own, and how to manage debt such as student loans. But the majority won't graduate with a strong level of knowledge in those areas. And topics like buying a home or building a financial plan score even lower levels of financial know-how.

There is no shortage of materials designed to help youth learn about money, but what really counts is reaching these kids in a way where they can apply what they've learned. In the same vein as Gooding's rock concerts are programs like Funny Money, for Grade 11 and 12 students in North America where comedians offer "fun-ancial advice," an initiative of the IEF.

For younger kids, there's the annual Talk With Our Kids About Money Day in April. This financial literacy program aimed at seventh graders was created by the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE) and supported by Bank of Montreal. It also has a home program, with online resources for children as young as five years old, to help parents continue the conversation at home.

"I'm a parent of three young children so I can immediately get how hard it is to talk about money matters," said Joanna Rotenberg, chief marketing officer at BMO, who works on Talk With Our Kids. "Money is a deeply personal thing."

The technological challenge

As parents, teachers and schools seek to connect with youth, technology is rapidly changing the way goods are bought and sold in a way that can make it challenging to show young kids where the money goes.

The rise of smartphones has added new financial pressure for Canadian youth. Agreements tethering young people to their mobile devices are often their first experience with signing a contract, and their first major financial responsibility.

It's also an chance to discuss which plans provide the best value, how to negotiate prices and ways to avoid racking up hundreds of dollars in data overcharges or game downloads. Parents can use this as an opportunity to teach kids how to pay the monthly bills and talk to them about interest, terms and conditions, and cancellation policies.

"Before some of these young people sign contracts for cellphones or other financial products like credit cards, I really think there needs to be some assurance that they understand what it is they're doing," said Greg Pollock, chief executive officer of Advocis, an association of Canadian financial advisers and planners.

For Ms. Lafontaine, technology has changed her children's lives, especially her youngest. Her fouryear-old uses the family iPad, which didn't exist when Elijah, who is now 11 years old, was younger. Changes like those are making it difficult to teach kids about money, she says, because it's harder to teach a lesson without a physical experience.

"When I was a kid and I wanted an item, I had to leave my house to go get it," Ms. Lafontaine laments. "You went to the mall with your friend and you saw an item you really wanted and then you went home and talked to mom about it." Back then, maybe a parent would agree to take you back to the mall later in the week, or maybe you forgot about it after a day or two. "Now? That virtual item is right there in front of you, that instant gratification of buying it with no time to really think about it or convince mom you really need it."

But alongside these challenges, Ms. Lafontaine says the virtual world brings opportunities for the next generation of spenders, including being able to quickly shop around for a better deal.

The financial institutions link

In teaming up with the private sector, the government has an imperfect partner that is both connected with Canadians making financial choices and reliant upon their business. Banks, telecommunications companies and insurers have financial products and services Canadians need, and they connect with consumers at key points in their lives such as getting their first account, first job or first car, which all provide an opportunity to teach a financial lesson. "They're a network we can leverage to provide financial literacy and education to Canadians," said financial literacy leader Ms. Rooney.

On the other hand, leaving consumers in the hands of businesses presents challenges because their interactions with consumers aren't unbiased - they involve selling a financial product, or in the case of investments a commission may be on the line.

"Because it's such a transactional environment, there's a glaring hole in the private sector when it comes to advice and literacy and I think that Canadians as a result need to arm themselves with their own knowledge and understanding," said Jason Heath, managing director at Objective Financial Partners Inc., which offers advice-only financial planning for a fee.

Mr. Heath says he encounters many people who are highly skilled in fields linked to financial services, from lawyers to financial advisers, who are not well versed in personal finance, and don't understand their own various tax, insurance or savings situations.

"So, I think it's incumbent on consumers of financial advice to empower themselves and be as educated as possible and I really do think it starts, even if it's just a little bit of financial education, at a young age," he said, adding that many of his clients' money habits and beliefs have roots in their upbringings.

The government has been pushing banks and credit card companies to be more transparent.

"The financial institutions have a responsibility to disclose information around those products and services," Ms. Rooney said.

Last year, the federal government got major banks to agree to offer no-cost banking accounts for youth, students and low-income seniors. Ottawa also proposed an increased consumer protection framework for banks this year, which could require simpler disclosure of information and better reporting of consumer complaints, among other things.

Ms. Lafontaine couldn't wait for government or school programs or others to prepare her kids for their financial futures. Conversations about money, like sex and drugs, need to happen at home as soon as possible, she said. Since the day in the mall, she has opened bank accounts for her kids. Sunday is allowance night, and if the chores are done, each child gets five dollars electronically deposited in their bank account. They can watch their money accumulate online, and buy things on their debit card.

"I'm excited, and fully behind moving them to a cashless system," Ms. Lafontaine said. "I strongly feel that's how we exist today and how kids should learn."

Like cursive writing and the Rolodex, cash and piggy banks have their place in history. But for kids today, the future is digital, whether they are financially capable or not.

Personal Finance for Gen Y The Globe and Mail personal finance team is visiting university and college campuses this fall to talk to students about money. Student loans, budgeting, credit cards, saving and investing - we cover it all from an independent, unbiased perspective. To arrange a visit, please contact Globe personal finance editor Roma Luciw at or personal finance columnist Rob Carrick at

Associated Graphic

Highschool teacher Aly Hirji worries his Grade 12 students are too easily lured into financial traps.


Tenille Lafontaine sees a problem with the way we teach our kids about finances: 'We live in a cashless society and we're teaching our kids about dollars and cents with a piggy bank.'


Oh! Canada
The weather is finally better, so what are you going to do about it? Adam Bisby found adventures from coast to coast that'll help you make the most of the summer
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page T1

'I ask this Canadian how his summer's looking," a Miami taxi driver tells me, "and he says, 'Terrible. I'm working that day!'

"For many Canadians this joke cuts too close to the bone. Technically, we get as much summer as everyone else, but few nations feel as compelled to make the most of it. As a new season is about to begin, a troubling question looms: What, exactly, are you going to do with the 79 days from the official start of summer to its unofficial Labour Day conclusion?

Not that there's any shortage of options. Our national compulsion to milk the season for all it's worth has spawned a dizzying array of special events, festivals and watery, windy, outdoorsy diversions. That's where this to-do list steps in.

You won't find world-renowned annual extravaganzas, such as the Calgary Stampede or the Toronto Caribbean Carnival here.

This list favours newness, noteworthiness and curiosity, and makes the most of summer by filling it like it's never been filled before.

June 21: Is dad the strong, silent type? Or does he at least appreciate the odd moment of silence? If so, a stay at Old Quebec City's Monastère des Augustines might make an ideal Father's Day gift, what with the 376-year-old monastery reopening as a holistic, and serene, wellness retreat this summer.

June 22: Day 4 of Pride Toronto sees the rainbow flag go up at City Hall and culminates in a lecture by the renowned and iconically moustachioed, cult filmmaker John Waters. Six days later, Pussy Riot and Cyndi Lauper are slated to lead the raucous Pride Parade. Does it get any wilder than that?

June 23: In Newfoundland, the theatrical Haunted Hike walking tour through downtown St. John's promises a mix of drama, passion, horror, humour and suspense. Cod-kissing not included.

June 24: Watch contestants launch canoes and kayaks at the start of the three-day, 715-kilometre Yukon River Quest race from Whitehorse to Dawson City.

June 25: Dauphin's Countryfest, a long-running country music gathering, kicks off in its namesake Manitoba town with a dozen acts on three stages and closes three days later with Grammy Award winner Miranda Lambert.

June 26: Catch a show before the 12-day, 40-venue TD Toronto Jazz Festival ends. On this night, see NYC fusion favourites Snarky Puppy at Nathan Phillips Square.

June 27: What do you get when the land of the midnight sun hosts the two-day 24 Hours of Light mountain-bike race just outside Whitehorse? Very little sleep.

June 28: What do you get when a Game of Thrones live-action role-playing game unfolds in the epicentre of Toronto hipsterism, a.k.a. Trinity Bellwoods Park? A lot of chain mail, facial hair and ironic smiting.

June 29: Take whale-watching to the next level by heading to Churchill, Man. Thousands of friendly, curious beluga whales crowd Hudson's Bay every summer, and some tours even let you swim with them. Find one of many tour operators at

June 30: A $30-million revamp of the Canadian National Immigration Museum at Halifax's Pier 21 has nearly doubled its size, which helps it cover more than four centuries of nation-building.

9 July 1: The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg seems like a fitting Canada Day destination. Afterward, head to the sprawling grounds of the Forks historic site for one of the country's liveliest July 1 gatherings.;

July 2: The tide is high this morning on Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie River, where Whitewater Adventures offers the only tidal bore rafting excursions in Canada.

July 3: Newly bolted to the rock, the guided Via Ferrata climbing course at B.C.'s Kicking Horse Mountain Resort covers two routes up the Terminator 1 peak, and a suspension bridge.

July 4: One semi-final of the FIFA Women's World Cup will be played at cavernous Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton - Team Canada's home base for the tournament - so there should be no shortage of red and white face paint in the Alberta capital.

July 5: If you don't end up heading to Vancouver for the FIFA final, you can always head 340 kilometres north from Edmonton to Joussard, Alta., for the conclusion of the Astral Harvest arts festival, which has been called "Canada's answer to Burning Man."

July 6: The Montreal Museum of Fine Art's new 300-work Auguste Rodin exhibit, produced in collaboration with the Musée Rodin in Paris, will be the largest yet presented in Canada. It runs until Oct. 18.

July 7: Visitors to Cape Breton Highlands National Park will want to hike Mica Hill, where a new eight-kilometre loop overlooks the sands of Aspy Bay.

July 8: There are forests, and then there are enchanted forests. The Foresta Lumina in Coaticook, Que., is among the latter, with video screens, projected images and LED lights festooning the nocturnal pathway.

July 9: To admire the world's greatest purely vertical drop for yourself - on Nunavut Day no less - hike to the territory's 1,675metre Thor Peak on Baffin Island, with Iqaluit-based Inukpak Outfitting.

July 10: Al fresco lobster feasts at New Brunswick's Alma Lobster Shop, home to a 760,000-litre lobster tank, include cooking and cracking lessons on Friday nights.

July 11: You can get (almost) anything you want, music-wise, at the four-day Winnipeg Folk Festival, with Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour on Saturday, and indie darlings Wilco closing the fest Sunday.

July 12: Will you see many adorable puffins during the week-long Bird Island Puffin Festival in Elliston, Nfld.? Absolutely. Will you dine extremely well in the selfproclaimed "Root Cellar Capital of the World"? Ditto.

July 13: In the 17th century, Samuel de Champlain lost his astrolabe (an ancient astronomical computer) on his way up the Ottawa River. Found some 300 years later, it's now on display at Ste-Marie Among the Hurons, a historic site and living museum in Midland, Ont.

July 14: Who needs International Talk Like a Pirate Day when the kids can at act like swashbucklers on the "Voiles en Voiles" pirate ship playground in Montreal's Old Port?

July 15: Check out Alberta's most recently discovered dinosaur species, Regaliceratops peterhewsi (a.k.a. Hellboy), at the Royal Tyrrell Museum's new Fossils in Focus exhibit.

July 16: The new Northern Lights multimedia show will illuminate Ottawa's Parliament Buildings (if not senators' spending habits) from July 10 to Sept. 12.

July 17: If you attend just one CFL game this year, make sure you're wearing a watermelon. The hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders take on the B.C. Lions tonight at Regina's Mosaic Stadium.

July 18: The CBC called Yellowknife's Folk on the Rocks one of Canada's 10 best outdoor music festivals, and musicians seem to have noticed, what with Canadian chart-topper Corb Lund headlining this year.

July 19: The Pan Am Games' July 10 opening ceremonies sold out long ago - it's the largest event produced by Cirque du Soleil, after all - but the next best thing also happens to be free. The Flaming Lips are playing Yonge-Dundas Square as part of the 35-day Panamania arts-and-culture series, and if you've seen them live before you know Cirque du Soleil has some competition.

July 20: The world's best golfers show us how it's done at the RBC Canadian Open, which is being held at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont., for a record 27th time.

July 21: No sport says "summer" quite like beach volleyball, with the Pan Am Games men's final being played today at the Chevrolet Beach Volleyball Centre in Toronto's Canadan National Exhibition grounds. (The women's final takes place a day earlier.)

July 22: Take North America's only working stagecoach to the backcountry spa at the Outpost at Warden Rock near Banff National Park.

July 23: The Granby Zoo's new "Night Trek" lets visitors admire nocturnal cats, primates and marsupials after hours, with marshmallows and hot chocolate around a campfire at the end.

July 24: For fans of Baroque music it doesn't get any more heated than a harpsichord duel. Renowned players Jean-Christophe Dijoux and Mark Edwards are recreating the 1709 throwdown between Handel and Scarlatti at New Brunswick's Lamèque International Baroque Festival, which runs July 23 to 25.

July 25: Have you ever pined for an adult-sized Slip 'n' Slide? Your dream is becoming reality across Canada this summer, with Slide the City, bringing 300 metres of slick plastic to Halifax on July 25 and 26. Find more Canadian cities and dates at

July 26: Ladies and gentlemen, start your bathtubs! (Or whatever you do with them.) The three-day Nanaimo Marine Festival and World Championship Bathtub Race culminates with the main event.

July 27: If Yellowknife's Folk on the Rocks is up and coming, Yukon's Dawson City Music Festival is already here. This year's lineup from July 24 to 28 is as strong as ever, with a Yukon Girls Rock Camp among the new additions.

July 28: The three-week Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, Ont., stages dozens of concerts in a natural ampitheatre on the shores of Georgian Bay. This year, the fest is mixing things up by screening 1993's Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, followed by a live performance of Beethoven's Autumn Sonata. Too soon?

July 29: The Cité de l'Énergie industrial theme park in Shawinigan, Que., is hosting the fiery new Dragao spectacle in style by staging it in a revolving, heated and canopied outdoor amphitheatre.

July 30: Newfoundland's nineweek Gros Morne Summer Music festival isn't all about classical. This evening, for instance, members of the Lalun world music ensemble will show off their virtuosic skills with hand pans, flamenco guitars and Chinese violins.

July 31: The 126th Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, a.k.a., "Islendingadagurinn," kicks off in the town of Gimli. Viking battle re-enactments, midway rides and pancake breakfasts are strewn over four days. Who knows? You may even learn how to pronounce "Islendingadagurinn."

Aug. 1: Has paddleboarding become pedestrian? Try it after sunset with Vancouver Water Adventures' 90-minute Light the Night excursions.

Aug. 2: You haven't really experienced Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture until you've seen it performed at Victoria Symphony Splash, which features fireworks over a floating stage in the gorgeous Inner Harbour.

Aug. 3: Alberta's second most famous stampede, the four-day Strathmore Stampede, wraps up with an opportunity to run with the bulls, Prairie-style.

Aug. 4: New Brunswick's Grand Falls Gorge is the site of Open Sky Adventures' "deepelling" diversion, which flips rappelling around by having participants face forward while descending a 40-metre rock wall.

Aug. 5: Montreal's recently revamped Place Émilie-Gamelin summer market now includes Janet Echelman's 1.26 suspended net sculpture and various al fresco eateries in repurposed shipping containers.

Aug. 6: This is the first night naturalists in Ontario's Algonquin Provincial Park conduct weekly "wolf howls" that begin with a presentation on wolf ecology and proceed into the park for howland-response sessions.

Aug. 7: Has Fido learned to sit and roll over? See how far he has to go at the three-day Kingston Sheep Dog Trials Festival, which kicks off today. There's even a "lure" course of tubes, hoops and tunnels where Fido can show off his skills.

Aug. 8: The Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival in Almonte, Ont., features three days of family friendly marionettes, masks, hand puppets and more from around the world.

There's even an "Adults-Only Cabaret Puppet Show" tonight. You've been warned.

Aug. 9: Mumford & Sons closes the Squamish Valley Music Festival's four days in B.C.'s Coast Mountains, with Drake, Kaskade and Alabama Shakes also in the lineup.

Aug. 10: Who can resist Newfoundland's Leifsburdir, "the only sod-covered restaurant in North America"? This replica of the nearby L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site serves theatrical Viking Feasts at lunch and dinner.

Aug. 11: New Brunswick's Magnetic Hill Zoo offers weeklong "Keeper Camps" that give teens a behind-the-scenes look at the world of zoo-keeping by letting them feed, clean and care for animals.

Aug. 12: Go fly a kite, or buy or build several, at New Brunswick's Dieppe Kite International festival until Aug. 16. You'll see kites of the acrobatic and fighting varieties, along with flying lessons for children and glow-in-the-dark night flights.

Aug. 13: The flash mob, bringyour-own dinners that started in Paris in 1988 have spread around the world, with a Diner en Blanc taking place this evening at an undisclosed Montreal location.

Guests must sign up online to receive updates, and as the event's name suggests must come tastefully attired in white and bring a table, white chairs, a full picnic basket and china dinner service.

Aug. 14: The Stampede this is not: Until Aug. 16, the inaugural Interstellar Rodeo festival at the Forks in Winnipeg will pair Sinead O'Connor, Dwight Yoakam and Blue Rodeo, among other musical acts, with an array of food vendors and wine tastings.

Aug. 15: From Aug. 7 to 16, the Crankworx Freeride Mountain Bike Festival features races, concerts and other evocations of active alpine life. Today, however, the bike trails around Whistler will fall silent as the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival commandeers the slopes.,

Aug. 16: Some of the first dinosaur finds in Canada were made in the badlands of Saskatchewan's Grasslands National Park, and from Aug. 13 to 17 the Fossil Fever event will connect small groups of visitors with a crew of McGill University palaeontologists.

Aug. 17: From now until the end of September, Parks Canada biologists in New Brunswick's Fundy National Park will train visitors to conduct salmon snorkel surveys in resting pools on the Upper Salmon River.

Aug. 18: Canada is fast becoming a nation of zip liners - it must be something in the syrup - and by this date it's likely Whistler's Ziptrek Ecotours will have unveiled the two-kilometre-long "Sasquatch," the longest zip line in North America.

Aug. 19: Kilts will tilt all summer long at Prince Edward Island's new Highland Storm Festival, which features Celtic music and dance at the College of Piping in Summerside.

Aug. 20: There's little indication Shakespeare was a beach lover, but he might have approved of Vancouver's summer-long Bard on the Beach festival, which today stages The Comedy of Errors in Vanier Park near Kitsilano's sands.

Aug. 21: Alberta's Wood Buffalo National Park, one of the largest dark sky preserves, kicks off its Dark Sky Festival, a four-day series of star-gazing seminars, lectures, hikes and more.

Aug. 22: For the first time in its 52-year history, Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna, B.C., is open for the summer. Guided nature hikes begin in early July, with lifts accessing alpine meadows and scenic trails.

Aug. 23: Southern Ontario's Leamington Tomato Festival seems determined to overcome last year's departure of Heinz Co. with a parade, antique car show and, of course, the extremely messy "tomato stomp."

Aug. 24: Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper has turned heads for 75 years now, and added another jaw-dropper last year with the opening of the glass-floored Glacier Skywalk viewpoint.

Aug. 25: Can't make it to the Holy Land this summer? Go for a float in Saskatchewan's super-salty Little Manitou Lake, the so-called "Dead Sea of Canada."

Aug. 26: If René Descartes were around to take part in a half-day "I Dig, Therefore I Clam" chowder-cooking excursion with PEI's By-The-Sea-Kayaking he might just revise his famous adage. Aug. 27: The annual two-day powwow at Saskatchewan's Wanuskewin Heritage Park celebrates the First Nations ceremonies, culture and traditions surrounding this National Historic Site.

Aug. 28: If you're all zip-lined out, maybe it's time to try pedalling through the treetops at the VéloVolant in Glen Sutton, Que.

Aug. 29: Turns out you can be a kid again. Starting today, the Canadian Adventure Camp in Ontario's Temagami region is offering adults-only access to all its diversions, from rope swings to water slides.

Aug. 30: The grand opening of Nova Scotia's newest golf course, Cabot Cliffs, is slated for 2016. But sneak-preview play is available to resort guests this summer as the fescue grass matures next to its Cabot Links sister track.

Aug. 31: You've been bribing the kids with a visit all summer. Now, let them sample the new Typhoon water slide at Canada's Wonderland north of Toronto for themselves.

Sept. 1: Feeling blue about September's arrival? Hike to Banff National Park's Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House, 2,100 metres up in the Rockies, for a glass of freshsqueezed lemonade. The surrounding views are sweet.

Sept. 2: Children can play dressup, 19th-century soldier style, in the Historic Garrison District of Fredericton. Guides in period costume escort their young guests through the Guard House military office, prisoner cell block and restored barracks room, while a drill sergeant teaches parade drills and marches.

Sept. 3: Hike the unexpected in Saskatchewan's Meadow Lake Provincial Park, where the Boreal Trail covers 120 kilometres of backcountry, encompassing lakes, rivers, meadows and forests of jack pine, spruce, poplar and birch.

Sept. 4: Fan Expo Canada fills the Metro Toronto Convention Centre Sept. 3-6 with one of the largest comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming events in North America. You may even reunite with the friends you made at Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Underworld LARP in June.

Sept. 5: The Wharf Rat Rally, Canada's largest multiday motorcycle rally, runs Sept. 2-6 in Digby, N.S. There will be live music, stunt shows, time trials and tattoo competitions.

Sept. 6: Montreal's Red Bull Soapbox Races, the series' only Canadian stop, offers a decidedly extreme version of the classic summertime pursuit.

Sept. 7: A new $51-million ferry is slated to begin service to Newfoundland's remote Change and Fogo islands, with the latter now home to the eye-catching, and widely celebrated, Fogo Island Inn.

Associated Graphic

Catch a game at the FIFA Women's World Cup or catch the ferry to Fogo Island; wear your whites to Montreal's impromptu Diner en Blanc and your walking shoes to hike the scenic trails of Big White Ski Resort.


The Typhoon water slide is a new attraction at Canada's Wonderland. Gay Pride sweeps over Toronto in late June.


Banff National Park's Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House is worth the trek 2,100 metres up into the Rockies.


Twilight paddleboard tours from Vancouver Water Adventures show the sport in a new light.


Play Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia before it opens to the public.

A harassment case involving three male chefs in Toronto has opened a frank debate about sexism in Canadian restaurants. Chris Nuttall-Smith reports on an industry taking stock
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

The chef Michael Steh was working a busy lunch service this week at Kasa Moto, his Toronto restaurant company's newest project, when a server rushed to the kitchen with an urgent request for a dessert.

Within seconds, a cook plated one and passed it to her. "That's so amazing I could almost sexually harass you right now," the server said by way of thanks.

Before Mr. Steh could react, one of his young male cooks joined in, with a reference to a Toronto restaurant that's at the centre of explosive sexual harassment and abuse allegations. "You just pulled a Weslodge!" the line cook laughed.

That sort of banter - and far worse - has long passed for ordinary conversation in much of Canada's testosterone-fuelled restaurant kitchen culture, but not in Mr. Steh's company, he said, and especially not this week. The chef stopped everything, he said. He explained that he wouldn't tolerate any of his staff making light of sexual harassment. Mr. Steh then had that cook and the server apologize to Kasa Moto's kitchen brigade, he said.

Those sorts of teachable moments have been taking place in restaurants across the country this week, as well as a whole lot of soul-searching. Although cooking has been slowly professionalizing in the past two decades, it's still overwhelmingly male, close-knit and ruled by "45-year-old teenagers," as one veteran put it. With the Weslodge case, first reported in the Toronto Star last weekend, the cultural evolution grinding slowly and often quietly in Canada's restaurant kitchens has suddenly been thrown into public view.

According to that harassment complaint, filed with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, pastry chef Kate Burnham's male bosses groped her breasts and crotch and took turns smacking her rear whenever they passed her in the kitchen, in full view of their colleagues. They badgered her about her sex life, and one of the men stole her phone to search it for explicit pictures.

One of the chefs repeatedly propositioned her, threatening her employment when she refused to play along. He routinely sprayed Burnham's face with a pressurized can of hollandaise sauce after Sunday brunch service, while making ejaculation jokes, her complaint alleges.

Worse, when Ms. Burnham, who is 24, went to her superiors for help, one of those chefs decided to "wage war" on her, she said in an interview. "All bets were off," she said.

In a statement, the restaurateurs Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji, who own Weslodge, said that the chefs Kanida Chey, Colin Mercer and Dan Lidbury, all named in Burnham's humanrights application, had since "parted ways" with the company.

"There may have been lack of communication and reporting of the alleged incidents at Weslodge," their statement said, adding that the behaviour Burnham alleges was "disturbing and unacceptable."

Maria Triggiani, a lawyer for Mr. Chey, said Friday that the chef is "devastated by the allegations."

"They're completely unfounded, and for a man who's made his way up from nothing, who's built a career, to have one person with false allegations try to destroy that is heartbreaking for him," Ms. Triggiani said. "It would be nice if people would give him the opportunity at least to defend himself before the tribunal and to not prejudge the situation. Ms. Burnham had communications with Mr. Chey well after the alleged discrimination.

She touched base with him as a friend and he gave her a reference for a new job. He's completely dumbfounded why she would bring him into this."

Daniel Chodos, a lawyer for Mr. Lidbury, said his client also "denies the allegations absolutely."

Mr. Chodos said Mr. Lidbury has been approached since the story broke by female chefs who will attest that he's always treated them with dignity and respect.

The paralegal representing Colin Mercer didn't respond to requests for an interview.

All three chefs have filed responses with the human-rights tribunal, but are not publicly sharing their defences.

Fair or otherwise, the Weslodge case has ignited a conversation that too much of the industry has been happy to put off for decades. How quickly and completely should a mostly unregulated field be forced to get with the times? That conversation is taking place in texts and phone calls between restaurant staff, on social media, at waiter's stations, in cooking schools and around the stoves.

Charlotte Langley, a Toronto chef who once ran the catering arm of the company that owns Weslodge, said she knew many of the players involved, and was still trying to sort it all out.

"I've been a chef in the industry 10 years now and I recognize that behaviour; you see it everywhere," she said. "It's the bro mentality of, you're in the kitchen, you're with the bros, you get accepted by them and you're kind of like one of them. Slapping on the ass, lewd comments, air humping, whatever, that's what kitchens are like, a lot of them."

When I spoke with her Wednesday, Ms. Langley had spent much of the past few days talking with her friends in the industry. She had always stood up for herself, she said. "If somebody grabbed me in the crotch, I would punch that guy in the face," she said.

Still, like many other female chefs I spoke with, who have thrived by being tougher and better than their male counterparts, Ms. Langley wondered aloud whether she should have tolerated as much as she has.

"Am I part of the problem?" she asked.

Another female chef who once worked at a high level within Mr. Harji and Mr. Khabouth's restaurants said that she, too, had been accepted as one of the boys, and questioned whether she should have behaved differently.

"Guys didn't really want to bother me because they knew I was too tough and they wouldn't get anywhere," she said. Yet, she also accepted butt-slapping, and more, as a part of the job, as "a normal thing, it's once, twice a week. For a lot of us in these really high-level, tight-knit kitchens, most of us are friends. Most of us party together. A lot of us are sleeping together, too. It's not black and white. There are so many shades of grey."

But it's notable, too, that much of the conversation has so far been one-sided. So far, it's mostly women speaking out.

"The silence is deafening," said Alison Fryer, an instructor at George Brown Chef School who is well-connected in the industry.

"I was in four meetings yesterday, totally unrelated, and I probably saw 30 people, and every single one of them was talking about it. But only one of them has spoken out publicly. It's got to change."

Still others said they hadn't worked in abusive kitchens in years. Although the anythinggoes, outlaw male bravado schtick that's been popularized by Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsey and Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential still persists in many places, many women I spoke with said the kitchens where they've built their careers were largely respectful and professional. Emma Cardarelli, the chef and owner of Nora Gray in Montreal, said she wished this conversation happened 10 years ago, when she was starting out.

Ms. Cardarelli's introduction to professional cooking happened at the age of 22. "It was my first or second day there and I was cleaning out my station," she said. "I was washing out my freezer and I was bending over it and one of the cooks came up from behind me and was like, 'Oh yeah, I could get used to this view.' " Since then, she's had mostly positive experiences, Ms. Cardarelli said. "My kitchen's not like that. That's for damned sure."

"The whole culture has changed," agreed Andrea Carlson, the chef and owner of Burdock & Co., on Vancouver's Main Street. "The people I've worked with, they wouldn't dare do any of that to me."

Cate Simpson, the communications manager for Vancouverbased Earls Kitchen + Bar, said definitively that her company does not tolerate any harassment or abuse in its kitchens. "We can say to the people joining us that it's not going to happen to them," she said.

"We each have to own our place in this," said Peter Oliver, a partner in Oliver & Bonacini, the influential Toronto-based restaurant company. "I'm sure many of us feel we are on the right track with our values and policies in place, but something like this forces us to dig deep and see what's really happening," he said.

Yet if anything's become clear in light of the Weslodge case, it's that the industry's standards for reasonable behaviour vary widely. There are laggards, still - some of them are even proud of that. And young cooks too often have no idea what they're getting into when they accept a job.

"For a lot of people, especially in the male-dominated kitchens, you don't complain," said another female chef I spoke with. "For the most part, complaining is frowned upon: 'Oh, party pooper, you can't handle it. Uptight bitch.' " That harsh reality is borne out in Canadian law. "Human-rights jurisprudence is absolutely filled with complaints from young women who go to get their first jobs as waitresses in some restaurant and they're harassed by the cook or the barman," said Shelagh Day, the president and senior editor of Canadian Human Rights Reporter.

As for female chefs, though, there's almost nothing in the record. The career penalty for complaining is just too high. At Ms. Burnham's level - a respected chef in a high-level kitchen in a major Canadian city - I haven't found a single human-rights case. And the handful of tribunal cases that are similar to Ms. Burnham's don't offer a lot of hope.

In one of the most notable cases, from 2006, an assistant kitchen manager at a Humpty's Family Restaurant in Alberta was called a "worthless bitch" and fired after complaining about sexual harassment in the kitchen. The restaurant's chef had, among other things, dangled a breakfast sausage from his pants and waved it at a female kitchen worker, she alleged.

Alberta's human-rights tribunal agreed she'd been the victim of harassment. She was awarded just $7,000 for her trouble - minus the unemployment insurance she'd received.

"I think it will change when there are more women cooking at that level, and when it's safer to make a complaint," Ms. Day said.

The industry may finally be reaching that point. As one Toronto chocolate maker put it on Twitter this week, the Weslodge case and the reactions to it might just be the spark that's "followed by an explosion."

"I've had this outpouring of support from cooks, from people who I worked with for only a matter of weeks, three years ago," Ms. Burnham said. "I've had complete strangers write to thank me on behalf of their daughters, who were abused at work."

The timing might be why. Where even five years ago it was hard to name more than a handful of ambitious, women-run restaurants in any Canadian city, today there are scores of them, and at every level.

Michael Steh, who lectured that cook and server about their sexual-harassment jokes, pointed to his company's restaurant, Collette, a high-end French place in downtown Toronto. The restaurant's chef, Amira Becarevic, its two sous chefs and the company's executive pastry chef are all women.

Ms. Cardarelli's Nora Gray is one of the more celebrated places in Montreal; she is a star in the city. Ms. Carlson's Burdock & Co. is to my mind one of the very best restaurants in Vancouver.

Which is not meant to say that women chefs and women-run restaurants are full equals. It is still somehow okay for 12 "top chefs" in Toronto to announce a high-profile benefit dinner without including even a single woman on their roster, as happened earlier this month. And womenrun restaurants still aren't given adequate credit in some circles; Burdock & Co. hasn't won half the awards or recognition as many of its lesser, male-run peers.

"If a female cook makes it, if she becomes a chef, she's often put in 10 times more effort than a male," said Eric Wood, the executive chef at Port Restaurant, in Pickering, Ont.

"There is something so wrong about that."

The question now is what to do.

Are restaurant kitchens so different from other work environments that they should be afforded a little extra leeway?

Should chefs and restaurant managers be required to complete management and sensitivity training? Is butt-slapping ever alright? What about X-rated banter? And where do the people who don't want to participate - who only want to cook to the best of their abilities - fit in?

Ms. Langley said many of the cooks she's been speaking with this week don't quite know how to act any more, not just in the kitchen, but out in the restaurant. "In that scenario where I'm thinking of hitting on that cute new bartender," she said, speaking hypothetically, "I'm probably going to check myself more than I would before."

Peter Sanagan, a Toronto chef and butcher, took aim this week at those who think "sexual innuendo and low-grade misogyny is okay in a kitchen, as long as it's in good fun and everyone knows where the line is."

"It doesn't matter who does it," he wrote in a post on his butcher shop's website. "It's always wrong."

Mr. Wood said he spoke with his kitchen crew last Saturday after reading about the Weslodge case, and he was nearly in tears as he did. For Mr. Wood, the matter comes down to dignity. "If anyone does anything to impinge on your dignity, I want to know about it," he told his staff, before adding, "and if it's me, here's my boss's card." Mr. Wood, like many others, said restaurants managers set the tone. "If I do anything wrong in the kitchen, if I skip a step in a recipe, that's the new standard.

So, of course the way I treat people is going to be how the people who work for me treat people," he said.

And even if all that is too modern and touchy-feely for some in the industry, they may not have a choice but to play along. Nobody wants to be called out for treating female cooks badly - not now.

When one Toronto chef took to Facebook last weekend to urge his peers to "keep ur thoughts to urself," as he put it, the response online, and from his bosses, was swift and damning. "This is a conversation that needs to be had to end harassment in the workplace," the restaurant's owners tweeted, adding that the chef's opinions didn't reflect their own.

The restaurateur Jen Agg, who has argued loudly and consistently that the industry is too often stacked against women, has plans to continue the conversation. By midweek, she had lined up an impressive roster of speakers for a conference to be held in early September, including top restaurateurs and food editors from around Canada and the United States. Called "Kitchen Bitches" (the name is meant to subvert the common industry epithet), the conference will include legal advice, panels on improving the status of women in the industry and on changing the way women in hospitality treat each other, and also a forum for women who've been harassed to share their stories.

To Ms. Agg and the growing number of industry players, both women and men, who've thrown their support behind the conference, the system itself is broken: Women shouldn't have to decide between adapting or getting out.

No matter where it all eventually settles, one of Ms. Burnham's biggest fears in filing her complaint - that "nobody wants to hire a whistle-blower" - might quite suddenly be out of date.

Many of the chefs I spoke with said Ms. Burnham wouldn't have too much trouble. She should come east, Ms. Cardarelli suggested. "We like loudmouths in Montreal."

Adam Weisberg, a chef who worked briefly at Weslodge and came forward this week to support Ms. Burnham's account, said her employability shouldn't be in question.

"She could walk into my kitchen tomorrow," he said, "and I'd offer her a job, no questions asked."

Follow me on Twitter: @cnutsmith

Associated Graphic

Chef de cuisine Amirc Becarevic, left, executive pastry chef Leslie Steh and sous chefs Felicia DeRose and Emma Herrera: In an industry still dominated by men, the kitchen at Colette Grand Café in the Thompson hotel is headed by women.


Andrea Carlson, the chef and owner of Burdock & Co. in Vancouver, says she has seen improvement in restaurant culture.


Where even five years ago it was hard to name more than a handful of ambitious, women-run restaurants in any Canadian city, today there are scores of them.


The ranks of this year's Top 1000 are filled with new chief executives. We dissect the challenges, missteps and prospects of 11 newcomers
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P28

Dave McKay


NO. 1 / PROFIT UP 8%

START DATE: August, 2014

BIG BET: McKay--formerly head of RBC's personal and commercial banking unit--inked the $5.4-billion (U.S.) purchase of California-based City National, the biggest acquisition by a Canadian bank since the financial crisis.

SPREAD IT OUT: RBC has long preached diversification, and it's something McKay deeply believes in. But domestic personal and commercial banking still accounts for roughly half of the bank's profits.

DON'T GET COCKY: RBC regularly reports quarterly earnings of more than $2 billion and has long been the country's most profitable company. That can breed hubris. And McKay has publicly admitted he worries about complacency, especially when archrival TD is eyeing the throne. He's a bit boxed in, though: RBC has pledged not to let capital markets--its second-best unit--account for more than 25% of profits, for risk-management reasons.

EARLY GAFFE: RBC recently jacked fees on retail and commercial accounts. Although other banks have been doing the same, RBC looked particularly bad--as if it were gouging clients. It did relent, at least in part, but see hubris, above.

RICHES RULE: Geographically, RBC is keen on growing in developed regions--Canada, the U.S. and Europe. The latter is particularly enticing for capital markets. But with hyper-expansion in this arm off limits, and with domestic lending cooling, wealth management is in the spotlight--hence the deal for City National, which is known as Hollywood's bank and also serves ultra-high-net-worth clients in Manhattan.

Ryan Kubik


NO. 50 / PROFIT DOWN 50%

START DATE: January, 2014

CHALLENGE: Kubik knew what he was getting into--he'd held finance positions at COS for a dozen years. Its only asset is a 37% stake in the Syncrude joint venture, which has suffered chronic equipment failures and frequently disappointed investors as output came up short.

SILVER LINING: Exxon Mobil runs Syncrude under a management contract, so Kubik has no direct operating control. But he's chairman of the owners' management committee, and COS has the largest interest in the project. Lately, Syncrude's performance has improved, with operating costs down and production up for longer periods.

THE BIG "BUT": That would be reason for applause, if it weren't for the oil-price collapse. COS cut its dividend early in 2015 to preserve cash. That proved to be prudent, as its average selling price for synthetic crude in the first quarter of 2015 fell by nearly half, and cash flow was less than a quarter of what it was the year before. With the shares down sharply since Kubik's appointment, investors are waiting for an oil recovery before passing judgment.

Joe Natale


NO. 24 / PROFIT UP 10%

START DATE: May, 2014

TWO'S A CROWD: Darren Entwistle rewarded his loyal No. 2 before he could be lured away. But the long-time CEO, who led Telus for nearly 14 years, didn't exactly go far--Entwistle is now executive chairman and continues to lead quarterly earnings calls, providing high-level updates before Natale outlines operational details. Each man collected total compensation worth more than $9 million in 2014.

MAJOR NON-MOVES: Telus is based in Vancouver, but Natale opted to stay in Toronto (from where he led its consumer division) rather than trek west.

VISION: As Telus continues to gain on Rogers (which is now losing wireless market share) and steal TV subscribers from Shaw in the West, Natale says the company's unceasing focus on customer satisfaction is central to its success. As Natale puts it: "If the experience is horrible, if the interaction is lacklustre, you won't stick around for long."

Dirk Van den Berghe



START DATE: August, 2014

CRED: He's new to Walmart but a veteran of the grocery wars, with deep international experience. That includes 15 years at global food retailer Delhaize Group, where he was working to transform the Belgian division by cutting costs and refocusing on fresh, affordable food.

THE TARGET FACTOR: Van den Berghe moved quickly to cash in on the retailer's demise in Canada, scooping up 13 former Target outlets and one distribution centre. Now, he's putting pressure on other grocers (we're looking at you, Loblaws) by converting regular Walmart stores to include full supermarkets and adding fresh food to its e-commerce.

THINK SMALL: Canadians are increasingly moving to city centres and shopping locally. And Van den Berghe needed to bolster Walmart's e-commerce to fend off the fast-expanding If Amazon introduces a full grocery delivery service in Canada--which it's rolling out in the U.S.--that becomes even more critical.

NO PRESSURE: Walmart Canada has become a testing ground for senior execs. Van den Berghe took over from Shelley Broader, who was promoted to head of operations in Europe, the Mideast, Africa and Canada. Broader's predecessor, David Cheesewright, followed the same path and now runs Walmart's entire international business.

35 million: Number of people who shop at Walmart every day. It's also the total population of Canada

Victor Dodig


NO. 10 / PROFIT DOWN 10%

START DATE: September, 2014

MAJOR NON-MOVES: With both Gerry McCaughey and COO Richard Nesbitt departing immediately after he took over, Dodig figured a little continuity was in order. His team includes many faces already familiar to the bank's investors.

THINK SMALL: Dodig is pumping the pros of running a nimble lender. Global banks with far-flung operations, he recently noted, aren't generating decent returns--just look at Citigroup and HSBC. He's betting investors will reward banks with high returns on equity and less grandiose strategies.

CHALLENGES: There's a contradiction in Dodig's plan. CIBC's biggest problem is that it's already highly exposed to Canada--roughly 70% of its profits come from domestic personal and commercial banking. Diversifying revenues, then, is crucial. CIBC also has to reinvigorate its domestic bankers, who lost many high-end corporate clients when it prioritized risk management over revenue growth.

GUILT BY PROXY: In May, CIBC lost a "say on pay" vote, with shareholders frustrated over payouts to McCaughey and Nesbitt. Though that decision was made at the board level, it tainted Dodig's first few months.

HOW TO GROW: CIBC is hell-bent on expanding in wealth management (Dodig's former unit) and has been chasing acquisitions in the U.S. One problem: With the markets so hot, potential targets are pricey, forcing CIBC to hold off. Meanwhile, Canadian GDP growth has been hovering around 2%--a sign that better profits can be squeezed out of the personal and commercial unit. That's because those profits are often viewed as a multiple of GDP--if GDP grows at 2%, retail profits can jump between, say, 4% and 6%.

Julien Billot


NO. 97 / PROFIT UP 7%

START DATE: January, 2014

GAME PLAN: Billot is going all-in on digital--listing companies online, offering deals and coupons, and helping small businesses advertise their products and services. But they still print phone books, of course.

MAJOR MOVES: Since taking over from Marc Tellier (whose 12-year reign involved acquiring print-based companies and borrowing heavily to pay a hefty dividend), Billot has launched a major marketing campaign; changed the company's name back to Yellow Pages from Yellow Media; and hired 300-plus digital media and IT professionals. He has also made acquisitions focused on dining--reservation-management services, listing and review apps, and so on.

CRED: As head of Solocal Group, France's Yellow Pages equivalent, he increased digital's share of revenue to 63%.

CHALLENGES: Besides conquering the Internet? The company went through a massive restructuring to rework its debt, but leverage is still sucking up cash flow that could otherwise be used to build the business.

THE BIG "BUT": Management likes to note digital revenue is growing nicely --but it has yet to offset print's decline.

Total revenue fell 9.7% in 2014, with digital up 9%, but print down 23%.

SILVER LINING: Before restructuring, Yellow Pages sold its once-prized asset, Trader Corp., which provided hefty cash flow from its automotive publications and websites. The sale forced the company to embrace digital much earlier than other print-era relics. In the third quarter of fiscal 2014, digital revenue surpassed print for the first time. The goal now is for digital sales to reach 80% to 90% of revenue by 2018.

Pierre Dion


NO. 863 / PROFIT UP 90%

START DATE: April, 2014

ROUGH START: Not long after controlling shareholder Pierre Karl Péladeau quit to run for the Parti Québécois, CEO Robert Dépatie left abruptly, citing health reasons--taking $7.8 million in severance with him, after just 11 months on the job.

FIRST 100 DAYS: Dion declared Quebecor "ready, willing and able" to expand its wireless business across canada, but has since tempered expectations, saying he'll wait for favourable regulatory conditions and protect the company's balance sheet. that's probably smart, because by 2019, the company plans to buy the 25% stake in its main subsidiary, Quebecor Media, still owned by the caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec--expected to cost upwards of $2 billion.

MAJOR MOVES: While emphasizing success in the Quebec wireless business--the company's main shot at growth--Dion has sold off businesses vulnerable to weak advertising revenues, notably unloading sun Media's english newspapers to Postmedia for $316 million.

LONG-TERM PLAN: Meanwhile, Dion has snapped up magazine and film assets in Quebec, and affirmed Quebecor's strategy of owning both content and connectivity operations.

10.3%: Decline in Quebecor's newspaper advertising revenue in the quarter before it announced the Sun Media sale

Michael Medline


NO. 43 / PROFIT UP 8%

START DATE: December, 2014

CRED: The 14-year Canadian Tire veteran was on the fast track to the corner office--until 2010, when he abruptly left the company. He soon returned, stick-handling the 2011 takeover of Forzani Group, which owns Sport Chek. A decade earlier, he had orchestrated the Tire's play for apparel chain Mark's.

THE TARGET FACTOR: Medline helped fight off the discount retailer--and other rivals--with sports sponsorships, Canadiana marketing and digital promotions, including Facebook flyers. But it still faces stiff competition from Walmart, Costco and, which leads us to...

JOB ONE: Fixing e-commerce. In 2009, Canadian Tire ditched online sales altogether. Two years later, it began selling tires online. Late in 2013, it introduced e-sales with store pickups only. Meanwhile, it's been using its sporting-goods division and Sport Chek as testing grounds for digital initiatives, and has hired a bevy of tech-savvy new execs to update the operation and launch a digital loyalty program.

BOTTOM LINE: Medline needs to find another acquisition in a related field to keep growing and use excess cash.

Ron Boire


NO. 984 / PROFIT DOWN 176%

START DATE: October, 2014

DUBIOUS DISTINCTION: Boire is the fourth Sears Canada CEO in just over three years.

CHALLENGES: Where do we start? Revenues have fallen for seven years straight. Last year, the retailer posted a net loss of $338.8 million.

HAIL MARY PLAY: To focus on top sellers in its core categories--home goods, mattresses, children's merchandise, clothing and footwear--while beefing up e-commerce.

BIG BREAK: Target's abrupt exit from Canada eased competition--at least a bit.

QUICK FIX: Boire follows in the steps of his predecessors, raising cash by spinning off valuable real estate holdings. Over the past few years, Sears has sold some of its most lucrative store leases. You can bet Edward Lampert has his eyes locked on Canada--he and his U.S. hedge fund, which controls troubled parent Sears Holdings Corp., have collected generous dividends from assets sold by the Canadian business.

BIG QUESTION: Will Lampert give Boire the tools--and the power--he needs to turn things around?

Jerry Storch


NO. 80 / PROFIT UP 192%

START DATE: January, 2015

CRED: Storch is a seasoned merchant--former vice-chairman of Target Corp. in its heyday and CEO of toys "R" us Inc.

CHALLENGES: Competition in the upscale segment is hot, with Nordstrom invading HBC's turf and chi-chi Holt Renfrew sprucing itself up. The turnaround of the Bay--once a basket case--is still a work in progress. Lord & Taylor, an HBC-owned chain in the U.S., has underperformed other parts of the business. Storch is also charged with rolling out Saks Fifth avenue here in Canada, along with its sister discount chain, Off 5th.

THE OVERLORD FACTOR: And he'll do it all under the watchful eye of Richard Baker, the U.S. real estate tycoon and principal HBC owner who remains the so-called "governor" and executive chairman.

DIGITAL DREAMS: Storch brought online shopping to Target in the late 1990s. That's a key focus at HBC, which is investing heavily to upgrade its e-commerce (which last year accounted for about 11% of sales, mostly from Saks, compared with 18% at Nordstrom), and blend the digital and bricks-and-mortar operations. Storch has admitted some key competitors are further ahead on that score, but "we're going to fly by all of them."

NO PRESSURE: Baker bought Saks in late 2013 for $2.9 billion (u.s.), with the first Canadian store set to open in 2016. It's Storch's job to make it work.

$3.7 billion(U.S.): Appraised value of Saks's iconic Manhattan store (28% more than HBC paid for the whole chain)

Bharat Masrani


NO. 2 / PROFIT UP 19%

START DATE: November, 2014

STEADY AS SHE GOES: Of the four bank CEOs installed in the past two years, Masrani has said the least about strategy. That's because his vision is largely an extension of former CEO Ed Clark's, which means TD will stick to its roots of emphasizing customer service.

But Masrani has signalled he'll focus more on wealth management and wholesale banking.

CHALLENGE: Since spending roughly $18 billion on two northeast U.S. banks in the aughts, TD is still trying to eke decent returns out of them. That's tough, because the U.S. banking world is cut-throat, with boatloads of rival lenders chasing the same clients.

MAJOR MOVE: At home, TD recently closed another major credit card deal, buying half the Aeroplan portfolio. Now that it has addressed that last remaining weakness in its product portfolio, it's keen to beef up wealth management in Canada.

CLEAN-UP DUTY: After striking major U.S. acquisitions over the past decade, TD needs to streamline. That led to a $337-million restructuring charge last quarter--most of which was felt south of the border.

BETTING ON AMERICA: There's hope that loan growth in the States will pick up, and TD will benefit from a U.S. interest rate hike. The bank invests its excess deposits, and right now it's making minimal returns. Once rates climb, so should Treasury yields--and TD's profits.

Associated Graphic

Illustrations By Tonia Cowan

There's nothing like a week in the woods to recharge urban spirits - until it ends in tension and tears. To help both hosts and guests get the most out of their retreats this year, Danny Sinopoli canvasses a slew of Canadian nature buffs for the new rules (and tools) of blissful cottage life. Here, the top 26, in alphabetical order
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L6


There's nothing less relaxing, says Toronto designer Karen Sealy, who owns a summer getaway on Ontario's Lake Simcoe, than spending a weekend in the wilds in cramped quarters. Her solution? "When I renovated and restored my log cabin, I took out the closets to create enough room for queen-sized beds with [built-in] storage compartments." She also built up, rather than out, to maximize her space. "The open ceiling with a high pitch allowed me to add a sleeping loft. Needless to say, the kids love it."


For generations now, citronella candles have been the insect repellers of choice, but citronella can be ineffective against persistent pests such as blackflies. For a truly bug-free existence, "adding a screened porch makes a huge difference to the cottage or cabin experience," say TV decorators Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, hosts of Cottage Life TV's Cabin Pressure. Sure, a screened porch is an investment, but it's one that's easy to incorporate into existing structures and will pay off over time, they note.


Forget mismatched linens and generic beach gear: These days, the savviest cottage owners are taking their cues from the hotel industry to impress their overnight guests. McAllister and Ryan, who always give their cottages a name (their latest one, on Drag Lake in Ontario's Haliburton County, is cheekily called Grey Gardens), embroider their towels, beach bags and slippers with a house monogram to both give visitors a sense of place and evoke "an exclusive hotel." Sealy, meanwhile, provides her youngest guests with coated metal buckets for tossing wet items into; each bears a chalkboard badge inscribed with each youngster's name.


By all means pack the wieners and the chicken breasts, staples of cottage ottage grilling. But for those extra-special dinners in the rough, writer and cottager ottager Derek Finkle, who escapes to Christian Island in Ontario's Georgian Bay, n offers three words: dry-aged beef. "It's incredible. If you've never dry-aged a y-aged rack of rib eyes, you should ask your butcher to get started on it three weeks e or so before the big weekend," he says.


According to businessman Bobby Genovese, who has a cabin in Whistler, histler, B.C., the best hosts and hostesses have a plan - an activities plan. "I'm a kind m of camp counsellor," the Bahamas-based venture capitalist and founder of nder BG Signature Properties says, noting that he offers his more active-minded minded guests a range of diversions, from hiking treks to water skiing. Of course, urse, those who want to curl up with the latest summer potboiler are free to do so, but, Genovese says, "physical exercise" is paramount.


Leave the campfires to, well, campers, who are distinct from cottagers. In the view of McAllister and Ryan, "building a dedicated fire pit or outdo fireplace" is almost a must, enabling endless summer evenings outdoor with mminimum fuss and "even use into fall." These days, a number of chic por portable options, especially handy for renters, are also at cottagers' disposal; the handspun-copper Turkish Grill offered by Lee Valley ($319 through is just one handsome example.


If yo you're still scraping crud off your barbecue grills with a wire brush, take note: "When grilling fish or meat that tends to stick, I like using Gra Chef Grill Wipes," says Finkle, who stocks up on them every Grate spr spring. The wipes, which are American-made, "clean the grill and oil it at the same time. But never keep the sealable package outside with the barbecue. Critters will relieve you of your supply."


If your host or hostess has gone to the trouble of monogramming your slippers, serving you dry-aged beef and mapping out a hiking route for you, bestowing him or her with a "Kiss the Chef" apron or case of hard lemonade isn't going to cut it.

So what to give the overindulgent cottage owner (who will also have to clean up after you)? "I'd recommend a Dyson Animal handheld vacuum [$250 at Hudson's Bay, Canadian Tire and other chains nationwide]," suggests Finkle. "With kids and pets and sand, it gets a lot of use at our cottage."


For all of today's efforts to endow cottages with the comforts of home, guests shouldn't expect the impossible - and hosts must also be upfront about their own expectations, from the number of guests they're anticipating to who'll be doing any laundry. "If you don't have a washer/dryer, you can ask guests to bring their own towels and even their own sheets," says Sealy. "I have friends who do this and it really is a help." The key, she adds, is to communicate needs ("Our stock of good wine is low"), desires ("Please limit your party to four") and any site limitations ("Bring ice - the nearest supermarket is 10 kilometres away") clearly, unapologetically and well in advance. After all, you'll be spending days together, not a single evening.


Cottaging is typically a family affair, but that doesn't mean everyone has to shack up together. Sealy's sanity-saving fix: dedicated bunkies - or easily erectable outbuildings (there are kits for building them) - for adults and kids alike. "I have two bunkies," the designer says. "One is for adults; it's fully equipped with a queen bed, a kitchenette, a powder room, a TV and a DVD player. The kids' bunkie is well suited to older children who want their own space; it has four bunks and lots of age-appropriate games and reading material. It also has rolling storage units under each bunk for backpacks, etc."


"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful," William Morris famously advised. The same could be said of cottages. "I swear by the Coleman Stainless Steel Belted Cooler," says Finkle. "I have no idea how it stacks up against the boring plastic competition, but it is the only cooler my wife allows me to keep inside the cottage. All of the uglier red, white and blue jobs are put out of sight in the shed." The takeaway: When space is at a premium, as it often is in cabins, keep the tat in check.


To give guests a real taste of their surroundings, supplement food supplies brought in from home with a rich dose of cottage-country bounty, such as aromatic County Yum Club honey from Prince Edward County, Ont. ($10 a bottle through or Raspberry Point oysters in PEI ($150 for a case of 100 through If all that visitors feast on is potato chips and kebabs, they might as well have stayed in the city. (Bonus: Local delicacies make great last-minute hostess gifts that guests can pick up en route.)


On the subject of food, showing up with a big bag of groceries when staying at someone else's cottage is an appreciated and conscientious thing to do, right? Wrong. "A random mix of groceries that fill up the fridge until your host has to schlep them home or waste them isn't that useful," says food writer Bonny Reichert, who prefers that guests drive up to her door with ready-made meals that can be consumed in short order. "Ask what your hostess would like you to bring in terms of a prepared dish or a meal and bring it ready to serve without a lot of fuss," she advises. "I love it when people do this for me."


While aesthetics are important when entertaining (see Keeping Your Cool Factor), practicality is still key when it comes to cottage living. As appealing as cut crystal may be, for instance, leave it for soirees in the city. "It's best not to use glass around a lake," says Sealy. "If it breaks on the dock and ends up in the water, it will be impossible to clean up. To avoid that, suggest to your guests that they bring beverages in cans, and have some decent non-breakable stemware on hand in case they forget. I do bend these rules on occasion, especially when a good bottle of wine is opened, but then I consider using an outdoor rug under the deck chairs."


You could put marshmallow and chocolate between two graham crackers - or you could substitute the crackers with homemade oatmeal cookies. According to Reichert, "homemade oatmeal cookies take s'mores to a different universe. They're soft and chewy instead of brittle and dry, and their flavour is so much more delicious, especially if you make the cookies with a pinch of salt."


To prevent guests from stinking like yesterday's lake trout, it's important for hosts to have some elbow room and maintain a little privacy. Sealy achieves this by giving up her cabin altogether. "When I have a family come and stay, I often give them the main cottage and I move to a bunkie," she says. "This gives them the space to get up, deal with their little ones and get them fed before I've even had my first coffee." Crises - and crankiness - averted.


Despite all the speedboats, Sea-Doos and other noisemakers on cottage-area waterways, most people retreat to nature for a little R and R. As a guest, then, it is the height of rudeness to impose all manner of roistering distractions, from watercraft to musical instruments to boomboxes, on unsuspecting hosts. "My idea of a good time is sipping chardonnay and playing gin rummy," says architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace. You've been warned.


No one is going to turn down a bottle of Laphroaig Single Malt. But for Finkle's money, the new summer tipple of choice is rum, a tropical staple that screams holiday. "For those smoking-hot nights by the lake," he says, "Diplomatico Reserva [is] a beautiful sipping rum from Venezuela with the perfect touch of orange and cinnamon.

For cooler nights by the fire, crack open a twine-wrapped bottle of Barbadian Grande Reserve Plantation (we love the butter-caramel twist). And for mixing with the usual suspects, go with the masterfully butterscotched Bacardi 8 Year."


Speaking of mixed drinks, punctuating each summer with a dedicated cocktail makes cottage visits memorable for hosts and guests alike. According to Reichert, "we drink tons of rosé and cider, but we just came up with a new cocktail that I'm crazy about. We call it a St. Germain Cup: vodka, St. Germain (an elderflower liqueur from France) and soda, with lots of sliced cucumber and mint as garnish."


Some cottagers welcome guests for weeks at a time. Others can only handle them in small and prescribed doses. Taylor Eustace is in the latter camp. "For me, two nights is perfect," she says of having overnighters. "[Guests] settle in on the first night, have a perfect day the next day and then, after brunch on the third, bye-bye." Hostess, know thyself - and invite accordingly.


As with most toiletries, guests shouldn't expect cottage owners to supply them with suntan oil, sunscreen or other skin-care products.

In other words, hit the drugstore before you hit the road. "I'm partial to Neutrogena sunscreens," says beauty writer Marilisa Racco, "specifically Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Spray SPF 60 [$14.99 at drugstores nationwide]."


Not everyone, of course, is a tippler, so it behooves the diligent host (not to mention any teetotaling guests themselves) to supply a few non-alcoholic options to the drink mix. A good source for such fare is, which offers a wide range of alcohol-free beverages (including lagers, wines and ciders) and ships across Canada. This season, President's Choice is also offering a variety of quality canned mocktails, including margaritas ($2.99 per can at Loblaws).


Water conservation is a must at many cottages, so hair obsessives who need to wash, rinse and repeat under a long, hot shower every morning should probably stay home. For everyone else, there's Matrix Biolage's new Cleanser Conditioner, a low-lathering, fast-rinsing all-in-one product containing no polluting parabens, sulfates or silicones ($23.95 through Also handy for cottagegoers is a dry shampoo that refreshes tresses between washes; Batiste makes a popular one ($9.49 at Shoppers Drug Mart).


Yes, electronic games and gadgets can go a long way toward occupying squirmy small fry and sullen tweens on long car trips. But once they arrive at a cottage, cabin or chalet, all devices should ideally be set to Off. After all, isn't the whole point of dragging youth to such settings, especially as guests, to expose them to nature, to learn to be sociable and to instill a healthy respect for the low-tech. In short, books and other reading material, yes. Monopoly and Clue, definitely. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, definitely not.


Mascara and tight-lining are hardly cottage necessities - and will run all over the place during dips in the lake. To maintain a healthy glow, all you'll really need is a single nourishing day serum - try Bioeffect Daytime, an Icelandic-made formula that restores and brightens in one fell swoop ($140 for 50 ml; visit for retailers) - and lots of fresh air.


True, there are a lot of dos and don'ts when it comes to contemporary cottage-going (especially if, as a guest, you want to be asked back). But for Genovese, who retreats to his cabin in B.C. in both winter and summer, one quality among visitors is key: "I only ask one rule from my guests," he says. "Come with a positive attitude - and be prepared to have fun."

Associated Graphic


By the logic of the furious global competition in trains and planes, stumbling Bombardier should hive off its relatively healthy rail half. Looks like the story ends in China
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P22

Bombardier's Italian train operations are the perfect example of globalization in rapid motion. The Canadian company's factory, acquired when it bought Germany's Adtranz, designed Europe's fastest train, the Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) 1000, which entered service on June 5 with the Italian state railway. The trains themselves are being assembled by AnsaldoBreda, a subsidiary of the Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica. AnsaldoBreda is soon to come under the control of Hitachi, the Japanese industrial heavyweight that is trying to crack open the European market.

When Bombardier developed the bullet trains, it probably never imagined they would be banged together by a Japanese company in Italy. The question now is whether Bombardier's own train division, known as Bombardier Transportation (BT), is the next train business to swap owners in an industry undergoing momentous change.

Globalization has turned BT into one of the world's top suppliers of train systems, from subway cars and high-speed trains to signalling equipment and elevated monorails. But globalization has also hurt. As competition intensifies, austerity-mad governments demand discounts and profits take a beating. So the West's biggest established players--Bombardier, Alstom of France and Germany's Siemens--are rewriting their playbooks. BT's own profit margin, defined as earnings before interest and taxes, slumped to 5.1% last year from a relatively healthy 7.5% in 2010. The status quo, in other words, is not working.

Meanwhile, the aerospace half of Bombardier is in an even tighter spot. Bombardier is No. 995 on this year's Top 1000, with a loss of $1.26 billion last year (all currency in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted).

Bombardier's response to both problems, announced in May, is to transform BT into a publicly traded company, one that will have the freedom and currency--its shares--to form partnerships, take on new investors or make or solicit full takeover offers. When the IPO for a minority stake was announced, Bombardier's new CEO, Alain Bellemare, said the sale is designed to "strengthen our financial position while preserving flexibility to participate, if we wish, in further industry consolidation."

Clearly Bellemare is leaving every option open for BT, which had revenues of $9.6 billion in 2014--almost half of the company's total revenue--an order backlog of $32.5 billion and 39,700 employees. But the scenario everybody in the industry talks about is the possibility of effectively turning BT into a Chinese company with a Canadian face. A former Bombardier rail executive, who did not want to be identified, says the brain trust in Montreal knows perfectly well that combining BT with the train divisions of Alstom or Siemens--similar businesses with similar technology in similar markets--makes little strategic sense. What would make sense is bringing in Chinese train companies, which are desperate for a high-profile European or North American "agent" to ease their products into the West, the glaring hole in their otherwise burgeoning market. In return, Bombardier would no doubt get a high valuation for BT, as well as the use of inexpensive Chinese technology and manufacturing and greater access to high-growth Asian markets. Or Bombardier could just get a big fat cheque for most or all of BT, forget about trains and spend the rest of its days building aircraft such as the C Series, the passenger jet whose delays, cost overruns and disappointing sales probably triggered the IPO. Bombardier needs more resources to keep its cash-chewing plane division airborne. Bombardier won't talk about the BT share sale, which is expected before the end of the year, or what might happen to the train company after it hits the German stock market (BT is based in Berlin). But it's no secret that the European train industry is about to become the stalking ground for the Chinese. At one point, the Chinese were in the running to buy AnsaldoBreda, largely because they coveted its railway traffic management system. Diego Canetta, the technical project manager for the Frecciarossa 1000, says, "There is no doubt the Chinese want to get into the European market. They have nothing here, but they have money."

Bombardier, Alstom and Siemens no longer can claim top-dog status globally. The top spot now belongs to CNR and CSR, the state-controlled Chinese train makers that are set to end their rivalry and merge, creating a train colossus with a mandate to take on the world. Already, CNR has pulled ahead as the leading maker of rolling stock. The merged company will have about $32 billion in annual revenue, which exceeds the combined rolling-stock revenue of the three Western biggies. In a recent report, bond rating agency Moody's said the "merger of the two [Chinese] companies is a negative" for Bombardier, Alstom and Siemens "because it will create a stronger competitor in the already competitive global market for railway and metro transportation equipment."

As big as they are, CNR and CSR are non-entities not just in Europe but in the entire Western world. China's one notable success in the North American train market came last year, when CNR bid a lowly $567 million to replace 284 metro cars operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, in Boston. Bombardier's offer was just over $1 billion. No wonder CNR won. The Canadian, European, Japanese and Korean train makers can't compete with the Chinese on price. They will have to compete on quality, innovation, servicing, financing and job creation, areas in which the Chinese are at a distinct disadvantage in the West, especially in Europe.

Of course, that could change if they were to buy a Western company.

Bombardier's Italian factory might be the prettiest industrial site in the whole country, maybe the whole Mediterranean.

It's located on the Italian Riviera, about halfway between Genoa and the French border. The factory lies between the beach and the lush hills behind the port town of Vado Ligure. It started life in 1905 as an electric locomotive factory owned by Westinghouse. The original long, low-slung buildings, covered in pink stucco, are intact and well-preserved. A vintage electric locomotive, a hulking beast painted mustard yellow, is on display on the lawn in front of Bombardier's offices.

The only hint of modernity, at least from the outside, is the short test track just beyond the main entrance. On it sits the prototype of the Frecciarossa 1000, whose completed incarnation is now being shipped to Trenitalia, the national passenger rail company that is covering the country with one of the world's most advanced high-speed rail networks. Italy has ordered 50 Frecciarossa 1000 trainsets--400 carriages in total--valued at 1.5 billion.

The new Frecciarossa would be unimaginable in North America. It is capable of travelling at 400 kilometres per hour, or 60 km faster than the fastest Ferrari. Its "commercial" speed will be 360 km/h, allowing it to travel between Rome and Milan, a distance of more than 500 km, in a promised two hours and 20 minutes (the average Via Rail train takes about five-and-a-half hours to cover the same distance, between Montreal and Toronto). At the moment, the fastest service on the Rome-Milan run, which uses a few Bombardier trains that can hit 300 km/h, takes about three hours.

Canetta, 58, who is from Milan, provides a tour of the train. It is composed of eight carriages--collective weight 500 tonnes--that stretch 200 metres from tip to tail. The sleek interior, with its muted colours, looks like the business-class section of the newest Boeing or Airbus. The carriages have wheelchair access, 4G WiFi that will be offered free to passengers, a "bistro" car, leather seats throughout and spacious washrooms. Of the four seating types, the highlight is executive class, which comes with a sleek meeting room behind a curved glass wall, an electric shoe polisher and plush swivel chairs that would look perfectly at home in the office of a Fortune 500 CEO. "We think this class will be used by professional sports teams more than politicians or businessmen," Canetta says.

But it is the components that lie under the carriage, not in it, that make the train a technological marvel. Most regular trains, including earlier Frecciarossa models already in service, are pulled (or sometimes pushed, or both pulled and pushed) by an electric locomotive that occupies most of a carriage. The new Frecciarossa 1000 has no locomotive; instead, the electric motors are housed between the wheel sets (called bogies) in four of the eight carriages. Bombardier did not invent the system, but has refined it. The advantages are enormous. While top-end speed has not increased much, traction has, since half the carriages have their own motors. As a result, the acceleration is dazzling. The new Frecciarossa can reach 300 km/h in about eight minutes; the old ones take three times as long. That's why the new trains can knock so many minutes off inter-city travel runs.

Eliminating the locomotive leaves more space for paying passengers. The new Frecciarossa was also designed to be the first high-speed train that can be used throughout Western Europe. While the track size is the same everywhere, the voltages vary. It doesn't take much more than the flick of a switch in the driver's cockpit to go from, say, Italy's 25,000volt system to Germany's 15,000 volts.

Would the Chinese--CNR and CSR--want access to this technology? Yes and no. No, because they have a version of it already in the form of the Zefiro high-speed trains, which are produced by a Bombardier-Chinese joint venture in China. Yes, because they lack a high-speed product, indeed any product, that has made big inroads in Europe, which remains the world's largest train market. The region looks likely to retain that distinction as electric rail, not highways or planes, emerges as the most efficient and cleanest way to move large numbers of travellers.

Selling trains and all the paraphernalia that goes with them, from signalling equipment to electronic safety systems, is a sophisticated and laborious art requiring armies of engineers, designers, production employees, lobbyists, marketers and financiers. To sell a train in Europe, offering a good product is not enough. Government buyers want an entire ecosystem to go with it. To justify the expense to taxpayers, the train, or much of it, has to be produced locally to create jobs. Ideally, the technology should be homegrown, to keep engineering schools full. Post-sale maintenance teams must be in place and cheap financing available. The Chinese understand this well. No Western industrial company can get far in China without creating Chinese jobs, which means forming a joint venture.

In Europe and its other markets, BT is competitive because it is well-established and vertically integrated. In Europe, it is considered a European company in the same way that Opel is considered a German car company, even though it has been owned by General Motors since the 1930s. BT is run by Europeans. Its president, Lutz Bertling, is German. His predecessor, André Navarri, is French.

Bombardier got into trains by accident. In the early 1970s, it bought an Austrian company, Lohner, that made the small gasoline Rotax engines used in Bombardier's snowmobiles. Lohner, which at various times in its 150-year history made everything from biplanes to Ferdinand Porsche's hybrid-electric car, owned an old tram business, which Bombardier decided had great potential in a world suddenly worried about high oil prices--the Arab oil embargo hit in 1973. "I never dreamed that buying an engine business in Austria would take us into mass transit, but it turned out to be a fortuitous move," Bombardier chairman and former CEO Laurent Beaudoin told McKinsey Quarterly in 1997.

BT grew through a bewildering array of acquisitions, mostly in Europe, but also in Australia, Mexico and the United States. Its breakthrough deal came in the 1980s, when it won a $1-billion contract to supply 825 subway cars to New York City. It had some high-profile setbacks along the way, too, including the delay-plagued Las Vegas monorail, the technically flawed high-speed Acela trains operated by Amtrak in the U.S. and, in 2011, the failure to win the $2.2-billion contract to build trains for London's Thameslink line, which put the company's Derby plant in England in jeopardy.

In 2001, BT became the world's biggest maker of rolling stock with the purchase of German train giant Adtranz from DaimlerChrysler for the equivalent of $725 million. A year later, Bombardier sued Daimler, alleging that it had vastly overstated the value of Adtranz's assets (the suit was later settled). The Adtranz purchase was messy in other ways too--it came with too many mismanaged and under-utilized factories--and wiped out BT's profit margin. Under Navarri, BT went through a brutal restructuring that restored its profitability. With profit margins falling again as the competition heats up and government budgets shrink, Bertling will no doubt subject BT to another restructuring, one that could sink Bombardier's pretty little Italian factory, whose order book is shrinking.

Bellemare, the Bombardier CEO, insists that "Bombardier Transportation is not for sale. We like this business and it will remain part of Bombardier Inc." But will it?

At Bombardier, it is obvious that aerospace, not trains, is sacred, all the more so since the company chose Bellemare, an aerospace man, to run the company after Pierre Beaudoin stepped down as CEO in February. The vast majority of Bombardier's Canadian jobs are in aerospace, not trains. If a limb has to go to save Bombardier, it will be the train limb, like recreational vehicles before it. The IPO of BT indicates that decision has already been made.

Japan's Hitachi knew that making a splash in the European market would require establishing an instant local presence. So it bought AnsaldoBreda. At the same time, CNR and CSR were reportedly in discussions to buy a controlling stake in BT. Bombardier chose the IPO route instead, which is not to say the Chinese have been shunned. In fact, a publicly traded BT will make it easier for them to step on board. The globalization train has left the station and it is bound to pick up passengers from China.

Associated Graphic


At Bombardier's Italian factory, workers assemble an E464 locomotive. The factory has been making the commuter-train engine since the 1990s


The revelations of Laurie Anderson
The most famous performance artist in the world teams up with Luminato for the monstrous musical event Apocalypsis
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1

Lemi Ponifasio's words come carefully, deliberately.

"It's like sound without civilization attached to it."

The Samoan-born, Aucklandbased director and choreographer delivers the comment - instruction, really - to a pale, make-up-free, dimple-faced woman with spiky cropped hair standing before a lectern in a sound-proof booth. Her ears are covered with headphones; a big microphone is positioned close to her head; two plastic water bottles are propped on a nearby stool. The setting's a recording studio in downtown Toronto and the woman receiving Ponifasio's direction, dressed completely in casual blacks and dark grays, is Laurie Anderson. Perhaps you've heard of her? She's likely the most famous performance artist in the world, certainly the most popular.

Flying into the city's island airport from her Manhattan home earlier this morning - the day before her 68th birthday, it turns out - Anderson has been determinedly prophesying the end of the world since 11:30. Now, with the clock reading 3:05 p.m., with a return flight booked for early this evening, she's in the home stretch. "I am alpha and omega, the first and the last," she says once, twice, thrice, four, five, many times, altering the cadence and inflection ever-so-slightly with each iteration.

At one point, a man to Ponifasio's right at the recording console breaks into the repetition.

He's veteran Toronto music director David Fallis. "More neutral," he says with a certain delicatesse.

"More mantra."

"And repeat for a minute if possible," Ponifasio adds.

"It's hard to do robotic," Anderson observes, but she keeps at it: "I am alpha and omega, the first and the last; I am alpha and omega, the first and the last; I am alpha and omega ..." If the words seem familiar, well, it's because they are - drawn, in fact, from The Revelation of John, that epic book of "chaotic, polyvalent imagery" that concludes the New Testament. It's here that its author, John the Revelator, a.k.a. St. John the Divine, traditionally identified as one of Christ's 12 disciples, conjures an array of tantalizing, often bewildering, decidedly apocalyptic visions and scenarios - the 1,260 days of prophecy, the book of the seven seals, the 42month reign of the beast whose mark is 666, the seven plagues of God's wrath, the chosen 144,000, the woman standing on the moon, 12 stars on her head ...

For centuries, Revelation has been, besides a source of terror and exegetical dispute, a wellspring of artistic inspiration.

And among the most inspired has been the revolutionary Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer, who, in November, 1980, to mark the 125th anniversary of London's incorporation as a city in Southwestern Ontario, oversaw the now-legendary world premiere of a spectacular oratorio, Apocalypsis, commissioned four years previously by the CBC. The oratorio was - is - in two parts: The first and longest, called John's Vision, deals with the destruction of the world; the other, Credo, has been described as "a serene and ecstatic meditation on the majesty of God," on the heavenly possibilities of existence in contrast to the hellish.

The London Apocalypsis ran two consecutive evenings and involved more than 500 musicians, choristers, dancers, actors and conductors, both professional and non. Then there was silence - a silence that has endured almost 35 years and that will only be broken the evening of June 26 when Apocalypsis is resurrected in its full, two-part majesty as part of Toronto's ninth annual Luminato Festival.

Three performances, each lasting two hours sans intermission, are scheduled for the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, the last a matinée on the 28th.

"Fuller majesty" might, in fact, be the more apt description.

Because this Apocalypsis is enlisting the labour of 1,000 participants - as in 1980, a mix of professionals and amateurs featuring more than 900 musicians and singers, including members from 24 choirs around southern Ontario. Among this "cast" is a handful of "name roles": Canada's Brent Carver as the Antichrist, for example, New Zealand baritone Kawiti Waetford as the Archangel Michael and Laurie Anderson as John the Revelator.

With Ponifasio at the helm - his dance company, MAU, made its "brilliant, must-see" Luminato debut last year - and Fallis hand-picked by Schafer to supervise the music, it's enough to make festival artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt risk a superlative: "I think we can say, with confidence, that it's the single largest musical event in the history of Toronto. If someone can prove me wrong, I'd be interested to hear what it is. But as long as nobody can, I'm going to say that." Certainly it'll be expensive: more than $1.5-million. But what the heck, says Weisbrodt.

"To me, this is the kind of project that Luminato really, in a way, was founded to do, to do things that no one else would tackle ..." It should be noted that Anderson won't be onstage during Apocalypsis's Luminato run. At least not in her all-too-human flesh. Admittedly, this isn't what Weisbrodt and Ponifasio had in mind originally. When the two met in Toronto in fall 2014 to start discussing casting, it was Weisbrodt who suggested Anderson as John the Revelator, a role played by the now-deceased sound poet bpNichol in the 1980 production. The John in John's Vision has only eight scenes or moments, the shortest lasting around 30 seconds, the longest four minutes, but, as Weisbrodt points out, it's "the biggest part in the first part of the oratorio and the most important." To his eyes and ears, Anderson would be perfect: "Her work has that visionary side, that apocalyptic side, the telling-the-truth side, plus there's that enigmatic voice people just recognize and is so beautiful."

Ponifasio quickly agreed. "Laurie's voice is always caring, just the quality of it. Which is really useful because John can become a machine when things are not real, when things are dreamlike; there's a withdrawn quality."

A few weeks later, Weisbrodt took Anderson, a friend of long standing, to see Ponifasio's acclaimed production of Birds with Skymirrors at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Meeting Ponifasio backstage, Anderson offered kudos and, quite naturally, asked what he was doing next. Seizing the moment, Ponifasio talked about Apocalypsis, his various ideas for its Luminato showcase and ... and ... would Anderson like to be John the Revelator?

Anderson quickly assented.

But consulting her schedule soon after, she discovered "I was to be gone almost exactly the time I was supposed to be here.

"I have a habit of doing that," she confesses during an interview, "of saying 'yes' too fast."

What to do? "I didn't want to back out of it because I loved it and it's difficult to do that with people: 'Oh, I'm sorry; I didn't read my calendar right.' That's so obnoxious."

Then Ponifasio and Weisbrodt "came up with this wacky idea and I thought, 'Well, that could work.' " The idea being: Find a gap in Anderson's schedule, fly her to Toronto, get her to record John's lines in a studio here, then play the results in the Sony Centre. Remarks Ponifasio: "Hers was the right voice for John. But because it's a vision, I thought disembodying it would be an interesting thing to do. To allow the voice not to come from a person acting as John from a physical point on the stage, but to treat the sound in such a way that it moves around the auditorium, so that it seems to be in the audience's head, so to speak."

(At the same time, Ponifasio wasn't interested in going entirely body-less. So as Anderson's voice caroms around Sony Centre, Toronto dancer/choreographer Denise Fujiwara will perform a series of discreet movements inside a glass box on-stage. Observes Ponifasio: "Denise gives another dimension to the performance where we concentrate on the decay of life, the body, the transformation into another dimension. Which is what John is talking about - 'Fallen is Babylon the great.' When we first started talking about Apocalypsis, there was a lot about Ebola in the news. And I thought about the utter sadness of the disease, that you can't say goodbye once you've caught it; you're always in isolation somehow. I thought about the loss of humanity, about how, even in a very big gathering of community, there's always someone who can't be touched.") Anderson confesses she didn't have to bone up much on Revelation for John's Vision. Her grandmother on her mother's side "was into that. Hellfire. Endof-the-world stuff. Speaking in tongues. She even went to Japan as a missionary." Her father's side, by contrast, was "Swedish Mission Evangelical Covenant, which is basically all about coffee more than Jesus or Revelation. The sermons would be, 'You should be nice to people, reasonable; let live,' and we'd say, 'That sounds good,' and then we'd go to the fellowship room and drink a lot of coffee and have coffee cake." As a child, Anderson was briefly spooked by talk of "Satan's hateful dominion" and hellfire. "And then I thought, 'It's a cartoon.' And I do still see it that way, I have to say. Occasionally, I try to conjure up something truly evil, but I'm not sure that I see the world that way any more. Maybe when I was 11. Maybe now I see more it's ignorance as opposed to evil. ... That sounds really naive, but I really do feel like that."

Asked then how it feels to be John the Revelator, seer of the end times, she replies: "Feels good, feels really good. 'Cause you're crazy, right?" Anderson's arrival in Toronto is coming after doing "a month or so of shows in all sorts of places" - Brighton, Stuttgart, Buenos Aires, San Francsico, among them. Loosely gathered under the title The Language of the Future ("It's a meaningless title," she says. "I just dug it out of an old show and pasted it on"), each of the shows was decidedly different, but all featured her trademark mix of text, music and electronic effects. In Brighton, for instance, she presented a collection of her animal stories and songs. ("Turns out I've written a few things about animals. I hadn't realized that.

It's like I'm an Aesop's Fable kind of person.") In San Francisco, she performed a largely improvised program over four nights with a different artist each time. One, a long-distance duet via Skype with legendary Chicago-based word-jazz performer Ken Nordine, was a reprise of sorts of the Skype "rant" Anderson did at Luminato 2013 with Beijing's Ai Weiwei.

Earlier this year, she completed a feature-length film, Heart of the Dog, that's going to make the festival rounds in the fall. In part, it's about her pooch, a border terrier named Little Will, "and, in part, it's about ... well, I'd call it Love and Death, but I'm not Woody Allen." A "personal essay film," it was originally commissioned for TV by Arte, the French-German cultural channel, as part of a series on artists. "Many things in the series are about, 'What is your philosophy of life?' And I said, 'I don't have one.' And they said, 'Yeah, you do.' And I said, 'I don't and if I did, I wouldn't put it in a film and try to show it to you.' " On Anderson's more immediate to-do list are two things.

One's a so-far large, untitled, site-specific work she's supposed to have installed in New York's Park Avenue Armory in early October. ("A weird top-secret project" is the only thing she'll say about it.) The other is a score for Figure a Sea, a collaboration with Deborah Hay, choreographer of Sweden's Cullberg Ballet. That piece has its world premiere in September in Stockholm and, says Anderson, "I think the score was due two days ago." Hay's "a wonderful choreographer, but she has a reputation of not using music."

Anderson chuckles. "She seems to be interested in music in the beginning - I like her; she's a fan; I wanted to learn something from her - but I didn't know at the time she asked that she doesn't use music and, in fact, doesn't need it. So we'll see what happens."

Apocalypsis by R. Murray Schafer is being performed at Sony Centre, 1 Front St. E., Toronto, June 26 (8 p.m.), June 27 (8 p.m.) and June 28 (2 p.m.). Tickets and information:; 416368-4849; David Pecaut Square box office.

Associated Graphic

Laurie Anderson will provide the voice of John the Revelator in Lemi Ponifasio's take on R. Murray Schafer's Apocalypsis.


Laurie Anderson says her religious grandmother served as inspiration for her role as John the Revelator.


In the second of his essays, William A. Macdonald explains how Canada can be a global role model, but must first get its national stories straight
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F10

Use words, not force. Make railways, not war. These overly simple ideas capture a national story - the Canadian one - that differs from those of most other countries.

Canada's story has increasingly been driven by persuasion. The American story has more often been shaped by war and violence: the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Indian wars, Mexican wars, lynching and 300 million guns in private hands.

These differences in how to go about things and how to make a good society are huge. They come from the fact that the histories of the two countries are so dissimilar, as are the choices each has made along the way. Over the years the differences have been the source of both strength and weakness.

The United States has been great when it comes to freedom and science - the most transformative forces for doing things in a better way since the Renaissance. There is still more to do but science and freedom now face limits because the U.S. lacks mutual accommodation, which is the key to a satisfactory way forward.

So, while the U.S. remains unmatched, it is now less indispensable because so much is inherently beyond its reach. The world today is different and needs a different kind of country, which means Canada's special task is to help advance mutual accommodation outside as well as within its borders.

Since its beginnings - first Quebec in 1608 and then Confederation in 1867 - Canada has had three very big achievements.

First, it has survived - not just as a nation but as one that includes the distinctive province of Quebec. Second, it made itself coastto-coast. Finally, despite its divisions of nationality, culture, language, religion and class, it has developed a political and socio-cultural outlook that works.

All these achievements have been based on mutual accommodation. Today's Canada is the product of its capacity for mutual accommodation and a belief in an underlying shared order.

But how well is this historical fact understood as we prepare for the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017?

Seven key ideas

The Canadian Narrative Project is a collaboration with Bill Innes, who has spent his career in the global oil industry in Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States. He and I are not historian wannabes who think we have a better grasp of Canadian history than others. The purpose of the project is very simple: to get Canadians talking about whether Canada has a shared story; whether that story is indeed mutual accommodation and whether understanding that story will strengthen us for the future.

At the heart of the project is the notion that, in many ways, Canada is still "the unknown country" that inspired the famous 1942 book with that title written by Bruce Hutchison, the late journalist and political commentator.

That idea is one of seven that shape the notion of Canada as the product of mutual accommodation. The second is the concept of "usable history," which stems a piece in The New Yorker by U.S. historian William Pfaff soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Newly emerged Russia's problem, he said, was that it had no usable history - which comes from what has worked to get a country through something hard in its past. Interestingly, after the 9/11 terror attacks, Mayor Rudy Giuliani found New York's usable history in what Londoners did during the Second World War to endure the Blitz.

Third, the central idea that shared stories are the stuff of usable history - a vital source of strength or of weakness - comes from many diverse places.

The four remaining ideas are more original and therefore may be less familiar:

Mutual accommodation as a formal term. While Canadians instinctively understand it as a practical way to go about much of their business, it has not been expressed previously in two simple words. Amid everything that is going on in the world today, this idea becomes ever more central, not only for Canada but for other nations too.

The likelihood that Canada will have another "Sir John A. Macdonald moment" - which will demand achievements that seem completely improbable and require much boldness and patience. The first such moment was Sir John A.'s bold and improbable decision to build a railway that would make this country coast to coast and able to withstand American expansionism.

Globally, we are at another very difficult moment of change in history (as in 1815, 1914, 1945, or 2001). Moments in history come when the momentum and direction of the dominant forces that have overcome everything standing in their way start to weaken, the counterforces become stronger, and the path forward is once again uncertain.

Greatness is important for countries and for leaders. Although great leaders and great countries make many mistakes - some of them big ones - they get the most important things right.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Canada became great by getting mutual accommodation right. Canada will always be Laurier's country, unless it chooses to abandon its mutual accommodation ways or reaches an impasse where they no longer work.

As for shared stories, they can strengthen the courage needed to support bold action and confront hard challenges. These two ideas - courage and shared stories - lie behind the Canadian Narrative Project.

Mr. Innes sees Canada's mutual accommodation story as a crucial advantage at home and abroad, an idea central to what we have achieved.

I, in turn, foresee several decades of challenge ahead on the scale of what happened internationally after 1910.

We will get the policies we need to survive and thrive only if we find the story that captures where Canadians are now and how they see things - and if we put what we find to good use. This national conversation is key to everything else before us.

Global implications

Mutual accommodation is the opposite of what is happening in the United States. This great nation is being undermined by extreme emphasis on individual rights at the expense of society, on divisions among different groups, and on the never-ending struggle between good and evil.

The global order now faces serious risks of destabilization and disruption. Mutual accommodation looks more and more to be the crucial ingredient needed for the survival of the best of our world as we know it.

There are three kinds of stories: the "how" (the manner of journey), the "where" (the journey's destination), and the "what" (specific events that happen along the way). Mutual accommodation is a how story - a way of doing politics and social living.

Science is another great how story - the whats (the discoveries) and the wheres (the specific investigation goals) take place within the science way of doing things. In the years since the Renaissance, science has changed the world by the way it approaches knowledge and technology. Freedom, human rights, the rule of law, and democracy have also changed the world.

Mutual accommodation is not itself a memorable event, although it can make possible uniquely remarkable events. It has changed Canada. It has not yet changed the world. But Europe's postwar successes have come from the continent's growing capacity for mutual accommodation. Europe's current risks stem from those places where it has fallen short. With the right will, however, mutual accommodation can change the world - just as freedom and science have changed everything.

Canada's mutual accommodation story began when Samuel de Champlain arrived at Quebec in 1608. He came with a vision for a new nation based on co-operation between the aboriginal inhabitants and the incoming French settlers. Once Canada became a nation through Confederation in 1867, it spent its first 150 years consolidating its northern half of the North American continent into a viable country - again through mutual accommodation between the provinces and the federal government, French and English, Protestant and Catholic, Quebec and the rest of Canada, and settlers and immigrants, though with the glaring omission of the First Nations.

Much achieved. More to be done.

The next 100 years will likely be dominated by serious threats to the world's economic and geopolitical order and stability - a world in which Canada's rare combination of physical bounty, socio-political understanding, and living in a good neighbourhood, could make a significant contribution. The time has come for Canadians to begin talking about their shared history and how to use it purposefully in the years ahead for the benefit of Canada and the world. As the late Quebec premier Robert Bourassa put it, Canada is for its citizens "one of the world's rare and privileged countries in terms of peace, justice, liberty and standard of living."

To date, Canada's focus has been on its own internal development - on making things work - and on coping with the United States. Its development has taken place largely separated from events outside North America.

The focus in the future, however, will be more external and will extend far beyond this continent.

Canada is moving from being a largely disconnected part of the world to being deeply interconnected. This change will make it a very different country, and its mutual accommodation strength will increasingly need to be deployed abroad.

Canada has the water, food, space, minerals, resources, and the political, economic, societal, and cultural ways that are in short supply for the rest of the world. These diverse advantages carry both opportunity and risk.

If Canada is to seize the opportunities and avoid the risks, it should quickly get on with a national conversation about the shared and separate stories of its different peoples and regions - about how it got where it is, how to envisage its future and how to seize its place in the world.

The goal is to look inward

In some senses, Canada is still an unknown country - unknown to itself as well as to others. It needs to hold national conversations about many important issues.

Above all, it needs to talk about whether its mutual-accommodation narrative captures how most Canadians feel about the country.

If it is to succeed, the Canadian Narrative Project must spur Canadians to think about when mutual accommodation has worked in the past and how in the future it may help us both at home and abroad. For example, what if it were used to manage the fallout from all the current anxiety over extremists claiming links to Islam? If we articulate our narrative well and deepen our understanding of its power - and of the costs where it has yet to work - it will continue to help us and others in the future. Values, stories, ideas, dreams, purposes and choices together shape individuals, societies and civilizations. Vision - the sense of what can be and what should be - lures and drives them all.

As the great Canadian critic and thinker Northrop Frye said, identities are always about who you aspire to be, not who you are now. Moving toward some vision of the future for Canada and the world - the two now go hand-inhand - is really what the project is all about.

Central to all identities - as individuals, organizations, societies or countries - is how our particular culture shapes us to respond to what is put in front of us. We must understand both ourselves and others and the effect we have on each other. In his book, The Duel, historian John Lukacs tells the story of the 80-day struggle between Churchill and Hitler immediately following the fall of France. Although many others contributed to the ultimate defeat of Hitler, Churchill won this particular round because he understood Hitler better than Hitler understood himself.

So it is with mutual accommodation. It works best when each side understands the other side very well. It's essential to know what the opposing group wants before you can come to a deal that can last, and how best to respond if a deal does not initially prove possible.

The big questions for those who think a national conversation about Canada's mutual accommodation story is worth pursuing include these points:

Does the mutually accommodation Canada I have described feel like the Canada you live in?

If it doesn't, what does the Canada you live in feel like to you?

Do you have an alternate shared story - in addition to or instead of mutual accommodation? What is it? What are your reasons?

Do you agree with the thought that usable history comes from shared stories and separate stories, and how they may strengthen or weaken one another? If not, why not?

It's time now to get the conversation started.

William A. Macdonald is president of W.A. Macdonald Associates Inc., which consults on government relations and economic policy, and has an extensive record of public service. To bolster his campaign for a conversation about the state and nature of the country, he and associate William R.K. Innes have created The Canadian Narrative Project, with assistance from Trent University. For more about the venture - and to see Mr. Macdonald's essay, Canada: Still the Unknown Country, please visit

The hot seat
In this Kingston laboratory, one of the world's top researchers in female sexual desire is discovering what turns women on. What she and other scientists are discovering is a far cry from the message sent by proponents of the female Viagra, who say when sex drive is lacking, the fix comes in a pink pill
Monday, June 22, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

The vanguard of this country's sex research involves a La-Z-Boy chair sitting opposite a flat-screen TV, inside a cinder block room in Kingston.

Decorated sparsely with a poster of Claude Monet's Water Lillies, this is the decidedly unsexy "participant room" of the sexuality and gender lab at Queen's University. Here, psychologist Meredith Chivers mines the depths of female desire in hopes of improving women's sex lives.

Participants sit in the maroon recliner, covering themselves discreetly with a bedsheet. Laminated instructions tell them how to attach the vaginal and clitoral plethysmographs - tools for measuring genital arousal in the lab. Once they get settled in, the human guinea pigs watch porn, subjectively rating how turned on they feel using a keypad strapped to the chair. Under the sheet, the plethysmographs keep tabs on the other story.

Chivers earned fame in 2009 for her "bonobo porn" studies in which women responded physiologically to a startlingly wide swath of pornographic material, from heterosexual, homosexual and solo masturbatory human sex to bonobo apes mating - this despite saying they felt little for the visuals.

The provocative research revealed just how stunningly little we know about the mechanics of women's desire. Now, working on the forefront alongside other Canadian scientists to fill in the sizable gaps in our understanding, Chivers is homing in on arousal and desire - specifically which one comes first in women.

While the traditional view has been that people are seized by spontaneous pangs of desire and then get aroused for sex, a newer school of thought proposes that we might have it backward, at least as far as women are concerned. Some sex researchers now believe this "arousal-first" mode of desire may be more typical for women - and that it doesn't require a cure.

It's a paradigm shift that leapfrogs over the hype this month of a "pink Viagra," after an expert panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautiously approved flibanserin, a drug marketed to spark spontaneous desire in women by tweaking the brain's levels of dopamine and serotonin. Flibanserin has been rejected twice already for its troubling side effects and poor efficacy (the drug resulted in a meagre 0.7 more "sexually satisfying events" per month in trials).

Rather than pathologizing women who don't spontaneously crave sex and prescribing dubious pink pills to fix what might not be broken, some therapists are focusing instead on heightening arousal among couples - some with eyebrow-raising methods, from mindfulness therapy and prescriptions for porn to scheduling appointments in bed.

This is not exactly date night, but it's a potential therapeutic game changer, especially for women struggling with low libido in longterm, committed relationships.

"For so many women, it's such a relief to hear this," says Chivers, who punctuates her rapid-fire science-speak with bursts of laughter and deft one-liners about sex.

She sits in her office, where a Joy Division poster ("Love Will Tear Us Apart") hangs on the wall.

"Instead of this idea that there's something wrong with women because they aren't having spontaneous urges driving them to seek out sex, they're hearing that being responsive to their partner and environment is desire as well," says Chivers, adding, "It offers a whole other way of interpreting their sexuality."

The current thinking builds on decades of research about the human sexual-response cycle. In 2000, Rosemary Basson, a clinical professor in sexual medicine at the University of British Columbia, nudged the science away from a strictly linear desire-arousal-sex-orgasm model, pioneering a cyclical model instead. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), released in 2013, also reflects this shift, collapsing women's sexual -esire and arousal disorders into a new diagnosis of "sexual interest/ arousal disorder" (SIAD), after clinicians reported female patients often had difficulties differentiating between desire and arousal. Today, some researchers and clinicians believe a more common experience for women might be "responsive desire": desire that arises in response to something pleasurable, not in anticipation of it.

Emily Nagoski, a women's sexuality lecturer at Smith College and author of the new book Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life, explains it this way: "Responsive desire happens when you're not really looking for it but something sexy like your partner comes along and starts kissing your neck. You're in a good state of mind, your body lights up and you go, 'Oh right, sex! That's a good idea! We should do that.' " But if spontaneous desire isn't the norm for women, what starts the arousal process, if not a touchy-feely spouse? What does it take to turn women on? In laboratories across the country, sex researchers are trying to tease out some answers.

In her Kingston lab, Chivers is manufacturing arousal to map out the aftershocks on female desire. She's currently recruiting women with and without sexual difficulties to find out whether watching porn in that La-Z-Boy will leave them feeling more lusty later at home. Three days after the lab sessions, the women will complete questionnaires about their sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviours, repeating the process three times over three months. A 2004 Dutch study has already shown that porn-induced arousal can spur on desire and real-life sex for women, even many hours later. A group that watched pornographic videos in the lab reported having more sex (both solo and partnered) in the 24 hours that followed than a group that took in neutral material.

"The knowledge that doing something pleasant or arousing may lead to feelings of sexual desire, it's going to be tremendously helpful in therapy settings," Chivers says. "Are we going to recommend that people start using erotica? Maybe, if that's what they want to do as part of their sexual repertoire.

This could be a way to help women amplify their desire."

Lori Brotto, director of the University of British Columbia Sexual Health Laboratory, is already experimenting with pornography in her clinical practice. But first, her clients have to master mindfulness and actually start paying attention to pleasure.

Brotto, who helped steer the revision on the new diagnosis of SIAD in the DSM-5, runs an eightweek mindfulness-therapy program for women suffering from low arousal and desire. Combining a regular meditation practice with sex education and some enlightened porn viewing, the sessions are intended to get women who complain of feeling "disconnected" during their sexual encounters to focus on physical sensations and turn off their multitasking brains. The goal is to get women to let go of the nagging thoughts that inhibit sex - the piles of dishes, the unexercised body, assumptions about a partner's expectations - and zoom in on their own arousal, all in the name of triggering desire where it is wanting.

Although Brotto's technique may not increase spontaneous desire, it has been shown to jump-start sexual satisfaction among women. Claire, a 57-yearold insurance estimator in Vancouver, completed the therapy in 2013 and said she feels better equipped to let negative thoughts "flow downstream" so she can tune into sensations (and desire) instead. "Normally, I'd be like, 'Did I shave my legs today? I should have shaved my legs. Well I did them yesterday, maybe it's not so bad. I don't think he'll notice. Now he's getting to my stomach. Oh my god, I've gained 10 pounds, it's all squishy.' " Claire says the thought process now runs more like this: "Okay, yup. You didn't shave your legs today. Just let go. Okay, well that feels really nice."

For the women Brotto coaches, being in the moment allows them tap to into arousal and subsequent desire. For Nagoski, the path to arousal is largely contextual. She describes the "brakes" and "gas" of female desire: Sexual accelerators can include things such as running a bath, putting on lingerie or spending some time with an erotic novel or porn.

And then there are the brakes, the nagging thoughts Brotto also warns against: daily life stressors, poor body image or simply worrying that the kids will walk in.

"Turning on the ons and turning off the offs, both are equally important," Nagoski says.

What much of this new science of desire points to is a cold, hard reality: Good sex takes effort, not popping pink pills. That's especially true for partners in longterm committed relationships who have exited the honeymoon phase and can barely remember the spontaneous fits of desire that marked the early years.

Research by John Gottman, psychologist and author of The Science of Trust, has found that spouses who sustain a strong sexual connection over multiple decades have two things in common: They have a strong friendship and cultivate their sex life, literally setting time aside time for it. Says Nagoski: "You have to make a date and prioritize sex: 'Saturday at 2 in the afternoon, you, me and the red underwear. We're going to put our bodies in the bed and touch each other and see what happens.' " Think of it as sex homework. In the Netherlands, Stephanie Both, an assistant psychology professor and senior therapist in the department of psychosomatic gynecology and sexology at Leiden University Medical Centre gives women assignments such as reading erotic literature, watching pornographic films and masturbating "to find out what is pleasurable." For spouses, she goes back to Masters and Johnson, who prescribed "sensate focusing" touching exercises for couples.

"You have to work to get that feeling," Both said. "The therapist doesn't have a magic wand to give you those feelings. And at least at this time, there's no pill to give to you."

Yet even as science reveals that arousal manufactured this way can jump-start desire, many couples recoil at the thought of "working" at better sex. There's a reluctance to give up the myth of lifelong, spontaneous desire: we believe that if it doesn't happen automatically, someone is being disingenuous. Instead of working toward arousal - or risking talking about what they actually like in bed - many spouses would rather contend with marital-bed death.

"We have grown up in a culture that has the wanting and the craving at the centre of our definition of sexual well-being. What responsive desire tells is that's wrong. What we ought to have at the centre is pleasure," Nagoski says.

"It seems like such a simple message: pleasure. But it turns out it's a pretty radical shift for a lot of people." PINK 'VIAGRA' .

Having being rejected twice before, flibanserin, a drug dubbed the "pink Viagra," inched closer to market this month, thanks largely to a shrewd marketing strategy.

Sprout Pharmaceuticals, developers of the drug, politicized its pink pills with a media campaign called "Even the Score." The movement promised to "give women a voice," accusing the Food and Drug Administration of sexism for backing many pills for ailing male libido but none for women.

The campaign divided feminists: While some urged that women struggling with low desire and desperately trying to salvage their relationships deserve options, others argued that women deserve better than a pill with marginal benefits and troubling side effects.

As part of the pharmaceutical company's push, women suffering from low sexual desire gave emotional testimony at the FDA hearing in Washington earlier this month. Amanda Blackie Parrish, a Tennessee mother of four and one of the most vocal participants in Sprout's drug trials, had described her sexual problems (before flibanserin) as such: "Once I started, it wasn't an issue. It was getting me started."

To experts such as Emily Nagoski, director of wellness education at Smith College, that didn't ring like sexual dysfunction. It sounded more like a woman with responsive desire, a woman who might not initiate sex in spades but responds perfectly well to arousal. "Responsive desire is not a disease that requires treatment. It's healthy, normal sexual functioning," said Nagoski, who attended the hearings and believes women with responsive desire need education, not medication.

Still, on June 4, Sprout won a surprise success: approval from an expert panel of the FDA (the final decision comes in August). Despite flibanserin's moderate benefits for women's sexual desire, a committee voted that the drug be given the go-ahead, but with both label warnings and strict conditions: Side effects include fainting, nausea, dizziness, sleepiness and low blood pressure.

Associated Graphic

To map the aftershocks of female desire, psychologist Meredith Chivers has study participants watch porn in her Queen's University laboratory.


Queen's University psychologist Meredith Chivers is trying to better understand women's sexual responses.


Frank D'Angelo, the man who would be Scorsese
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1

Last week was a big one for the multihyphenate whirlwind Frank D'Angelo. His film No Deposit - which he financed, wrote, produced, directed, starred in and sang the soundtrack for - had a seven-day run on the big screen, at Toronto's Scotiabank Theatre.

D'Angelo has made films before, but they've mainly been available through his website, (His first, 2013's Real Gangsters, gets its TV debut Saturday night on CITY-TV. His second, The Big Fat Stone, is available on Rogers On Demand.)

As well, he's recorded eight albums and written an autobiography (Being Frank: The Inspiring Story of Frank D'Angelo); and he hosts a cable-access show, also self-financed, called Being Frank, which airs Fridays at midnight on CHCH.

Plus, he's a restaurateur (the Forget About It! Supper Club on Toronto's King Street; Mamma D's in Mississauga) and a beverage tycoon (D'Angelo Brands, whose energy drink, Cheetah Power Surge, was shilled by disgraced runner Ben Johnson in a TV ad: "I Cheetah all the time!").

He's had his share of troubles: His ambitious attempt to enter the beer business, Steelback Brewery, went bust, and in 2007, he was charged with sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman. (He was declared not guilty in a 2009 trial.)

No Deposit, however, represents a new leap for the 56-year-old. "I thought we'd sell about 10 or 15 tickets the whole week," D'Angelo told me in a phone interview.

"But it did way beyond any expectation. I'm not gonna disclose the numbers, but they were substantial."

In conversation, he's both selfaggrandizing ("We just held a private screening for some powerful people in the film industry, and every jaw dropped") and self-deprecating ("I'm a little psychotic"), as well as generous and wide-ranging. We covered everything from films that inspire him (Fargo, The Deer Hunter, Glengarry Glen Ross) to his beloved mastiff, who, though ailing, "just ate 15 meatballs as if they were TicTacs."

"Frank is a human Duracell battery," Tony Nardi, a Torontobased actor who's made three D'Angelo films, tells me. "I think of him as energy." He laughs.

"It's not an energy I totally understand. But Frank defines himself. He will not have anyone else define him."

"He's mad as a hatter," echoes the actress Janet Burke. "I really like him."

No Deposit is the story of a man (Michael Paré) pushed to the brink by the financial crisis, who decides to rob a bank with a pair of anti-Semite thugs (Daniel Baldwin and Michael Madsen). It begins with a long narration by someone trying to sound like Barack Obama (D'Angelo, naturally), and ends with the kind of serioso credit roll - one by one, the actors' names appear next to dramatic black-and-white stills - that you'd expect from, say, 12 Angry Men.

In between - well, it looks like a movie, and smells like a movie, but it's not like any movie you're likely to see. Scenes come and go without a lot of shape. Margot Kidder and Doris Roberts get emotional in a bingo hall. Robert Loggia delivers a monologue about forgiveness (which D'Angelo freely admits made him weep). D'Angelo plays Jimmy Valenti, who is adorned with much jewellery and a shrieking wife, but whose purpose is not strictly necessary. The tag line of the film - "Anger and hate are a total eclipse of the soul" - gives you an idea of the writing style, and the whole thing clocks in at 80 minutes.

To fully understand D'Angelo - whose oeuvre resembles the arc on The Sopranos where Christopher writes and finances a movie, only D'Angelo does it with beverage money and a lot less roughing-up - you have to understand the way he works.

Where most films shoot for three weeks to four months, D'Angelo shoots an entire movie in three to five days. Most directors shoot a scene or two a day; D'Angelo shoots 30. Most films use one or two cameras; D'Angelo uses six or eight. This requires a lot of choreographing to stay out of one another's sightlines, and it's a nightmare in the editing room. But it means he can shoot a scene in one or two takes, and doesn't have to worry about coverage (getting separate closeups and multiple angles on each actor). A scene with five ambulances and 150 extras gets as much time as a scene with two guys talking.

He's equally speedy with his own scenes. "Doing a take or two to get warmed up, that's not Frank," Nardi says. "If he could, he'd do one take for every scene."

D'Angelo won't disclose his budgets, only that they're more than $5-million. "You can spend $2-million with your eyes closed," he says. (Okay, some of his scenes look like they were shot that way, but snark is easy.)

Before a shoot, D'Angelo throws four-course, sit-down dinners for his cast and crew at his restaurant on King Street, where he takes everyone through the story of the film and the characters. Then, during the shoot, he'll change it all up - add or jettison dialogue, include new plot points or forget to include old ones. Nardi calls it "kamikaze filmmaking. Frank's a musician, and he approaches filmmaking that way.

He gathers people he thinks can jam with him."

He uses the same crew from his talk show, stands hard by the director of photography and shouts, "action," right in his ear.

He pays scale, and then some, in cash. (On the set of No Deposit, he counted out Kidder's payment while she sat in the makeup chair.) A black limo picks up actors in Toronto and drives them to his set in Hamilton, a train station converted to a soundstage of sorts. The catering is great.

Yes, it's not unheard of that an actor will speak dialogue from a different scene than the scene he's in, or that there are continuity issues. In No Deposit, for example, two bingo hall scenes are supposed to occur on two different days in the story. In traditional filmmaking, the actors would change clothes and the extras would move into different seats. D'Angelo didn't have time for that. If some of the actors cared, he didn't; bing bam boom, he's moving on.

Yet Oscar nominees such as Eric Roberts, and actors such as Paul Sorvino and James Caan - who've worked with Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola - work with D'Angelo, then work with him again. "It's the scary and thrilling feeling of improv; you have to throw yourself in," Nardi says.

"I've never done live TV, but I think it must have felt like this.

For his actors, it's a joy to be in that process of weird risk. You give over to it. The thrill of the jamming takes precedence over the final product."

While making D'Angelo's next film - Sicilian Vampire, about a mobster (D'Angelo) who is bitten by a bat released from a container of bananas (that's the official synopsis) - Caan took one look at the way D'Angelo works and said to him, "We're gonna get three more signatures and have you committed." (D'Angelo loves that line.)

But D'Angelo is fiercely loyal, and he talks to everyone the same way, whether they're a pauper or the Pope. At a restaurant in Hamilton, he didn't hesitate to shush hockey great Phil Esposito, who has a small part in Sicilian Vampire, when he was having a side conversation.

"We're not here to talk about hockey, we're here to talk about the film," D'Angelo told him. People respond to that authenticity.

D'Angelo is also a secret softie.

He's distressed when his movies wrap - "When you've gotta say goodbye" - and he's hurt when people call him a hack. "It blows my mind," he says. "I don't mind if you don't like my movies, but you don't have to be malicious."

He's just always been creative, he says. He writes songs, and they inspire script ideas ("I've got 30 scripts I'm sitting on"). So a few years ago, when friends urged him to finally make one into a film, he met with a few directors. Each one said it would take six months. "You crazy?" D'Angelo remembers thinking.

"By then I'll be selling Tupperware or something." So he "got a guy to call another guy to call a bunch of actors," rented some high-end Sony RED digital cameras ("at $200,000 a pop") and did it himself.

He bristles a bit when I use the phrase "novice filmmaker" - "I've done six seasons of Being Frank, 110 shows. I'm not exactly a novice. I've written 500 songs.

Most of 'em suck, but some are good."

But he also laughs at himself when he disconnects me to answer his call waiting: "I can make a movie in three days, but I can't work a phone." He adds that he sleeps three hours a night - "I'd love to bullshit you and say it's thanks to Cheetah, but I've always been this way" - drinks a bottle of Barolo at lunch, and won't touch a Scotch under 25 years old.

D'Angelo knows he's not making Casablanca (which he's watched "742,000 times"), but he's happy with the results. "If you buy a pair of shoes, and they're comfortable and they look good, you've got a good pair of shoes," he sums up.

No matter what you think of his work, D'Angelo raises an interesting debate about who's "allowed" to make movies. No one bats an eye at the weekend painter with her easel in the park, or office mates crooning at karaoke. People post YouTube videos and Instagram photos no matter how banal. There's no shame in asking for Kickstarter funds so you can document your road trip. But there's a snob factor in filmmaking, mostly because they're so staggeringly expensive.

D'Angelo's contribution is to be the Etsy of filmdom, with a DIY aesthetic that feels of the moment, and is celebrated in "real" movies such as Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind (video store clerks make their own nobudget versions of the films in their store) or the current Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, where high school friends riff on classic pictures. His hubris isn't like Donald Trump's, running for U.S.

president. It's just movies.

"There's nothing better in life than doing something you love and accomplishing it," D'Angelo says. "I'm blessed and lucky, because when I say I'm gonna do something, I do it. Then I pour myself a Macallan and sit down and watch one of my movies or Being Frank, and there's a huge satisfaction for me that I pulled it off."

But being D'Angelo, he can't just leave it there. "I'm making a movie in September called Red Maple Leaf," he says. "The daughter of the American ambassador to Canada is kidnapped, and the RCMP fights the FBI for jurisdiction. I'm almost finished with the soundtrack. One song combines the U.S. and Canadian anthems in R&B style. I can't tell you yet who's in it, but it's big names.

Huge. It's gonna be big, big, big, big, big."

Whatever else it is, it's gonna be Frank.

Associated Graphic

Frank D'Angelo's No Deposit looks like a movie, and smells like a movie, but it's not like any movie you're likely to see.

'This project, this adventure, this commitment here isn't finished'
As Matthew Teitelbaum leaves the AGO to head up Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, he reflects on his accomplishments, and the challenges confronting all museums in the 21st century
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L2

Friday is Matthew David Teitelbaum's last day at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where for the past 22 years he's spent most of his waking hours, working first as the Toronto gallery's chief curator, then, from July, 1998 onward, as director and CEO. Effective Aug. 3, he's the new director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. A Toronto native and graduate of London's Courtauld Institute of Art, Teitelbaum, 59, has never been less than an engaged and engaging presence. Under his auspices, the AGO got bigger in almost every way - in clout, ambition, audience reach, in the size of its collections and importance of its exhibitions and, of course, in physical size. The Globe and Mail recently met Teitelbaum in his office where he was cleaning house and eagerly anticipating a fishing trip with his son, Max, to Ontario's Baptiste Lake, former stomping grounds of a Teitelbaum art hero, David Milne.

What are you feeling at this point? Is it a mix of being eager or anxious to go and being reluctant to leave?

I've never experienced the combination of sadness and excitement at the same time the way I have over the last couple of months. And it's only intensified over the last week. Obviously, there's the excitement of Boston, but you get concentrated pretty quickly on what you're leaving behind. In practice, there's not a single thing that is pushing me away, nothing that is unsettling, nothing that is a qualification to what is possible. This project here, this adventure, this commitment here isn't finished. I can see the next step; I can see the step after that; I can see how the AGO can get to the next level both nationally and internationally.

But I have to leave that behind.

What is going to be most on the plate of your successor when he or she arrives?

At a meta level, the challenge is the one I'll have in Boston and that all museum directors have: to stay focused on what is the purpose of the museum in the 21st century. Or to put it differently, why should people come? How do you stay in that question? On the more strategic level, my successor will have to think specifically, what does this institution mean to Toronto? It's important that its commitment to growth is tied to a notion of what Toronto can be. Something like the AGO exists in a particular context, with all those things that make it work - artists, non-profits, governments, cultural advocates. Somebody needs to know the local conditions to maximize those elements.

If you could change Toronto's cultural scene, what would you change or like to see change?

I'd hope for three things that are happening, that I'd just want to encourage to happen more and more deeply. One is to create a philanthropic community that believes in culture and cultural institutions, that sees in the mix of all the various things we support - hospitals, education - that the arts are seen as even more worthy than perhaps they sometimes they are. I'd hope to develop a more sustainable commercial culture for art - more collectors, more dealers, more activity, a broadening of the market.

I'd like to encourage politicians to think about cultural institutions as useful, so that art goes back into the teaching curriculums more confidently and assertively; that the mayor articulates and owns the issue that culture is part of a tourism strategy and business relocation strategy; and when the Premier talks about innovation and thinks about new ideas, she thinks about artists.

Do you think that, since the AGO reopened in 2008 after its Transformation AGO renovation/ expansion, the gallery has achieved a kind of groove or, say, an effective balance between self-generated shows and imports, more scholarly exhibitions and popular presentations, between Canadian shows and non-Canadian?

Post-2008, I had colleagues say to me that we had prepared as much as anybody had to move into a new building. But the reality is, nobody's prepared. It took us a couple of years to get our rhythm, to know how to use this building.

I would hope people agree with me that there is momentum, that we've got the programming right, that we use the building well.

What I think we've done particularly well is we've thought about how we can be engaging for our range of visitors. Our audience is more diverse than it's ever been [attendance in 2014 was 760,000], our membership numbers are the highest they've ever been [more than 100,000 in 2014-15].

The conceptual hump was, if you say to your audiences, "This is your home; you belong here; come; be welcome," and then you have all these rules about how you're meant to behave, you're into an institutional contradiction. Which is why, early on, we allowed cellphone use in the gallery; why two years ago we decided to allow photography throughout the building except where it's protected by copyright.

It's why we have very generous incentive pricing for family attendance. Because we want people to come and be the way they should be without feeling there are 27 rules to be met before crossing the front door.

Your father, Masha, who died in 1985, had, as an artist, a fraught relationship the AGO. He even picketed the place for not showing enough local artists. Was he ever a voice in your head during the last 22 years?

Every day. First of all, I live in a house filled with his paintings.

Secondly, I remember things that he said and they pop up, often at unexpected times. Sometimes, I'll be in a meeting and I'll think: "That person doesn't know why he or she is doing this; so what they're saying lacks consistency or doesn't make sense." And then I'll remember he said to me that he spent 95 per cent of his time thinking about what to do and 5 per cent doing it because if you didn't know why you were doing it, you'd end up creating the wrong thing. His fraught relationship with the AGO was only a subset of his relationship to authority and institutional power.

"Fraught" doesn't mean "dismissive;" it means "contradictory" and "complex": He wanted the recognition that he rejected. He was asked to be an official war artist [during the Second World War] but rejected it, only to later realize that that was a huge mistake. It would have given a life experience that could have been extraordinary, as it was for Alex Colville.

Are there any exhibitions during your tenure that you regard as game-changers?

They'd fall into the category of projects that positioned the AGO to be advocating for art in a new way. Those were the ones that mattered most to me, where people came out and felt art could liberate feelings for them, give them permission to think differently. David Bowie [in fall 2013] certainly did that. With Ai Weiwei: According to What? [August through October 2013], demonstrably more families came to that exhibition than any other exhibition in recent memory. I think it prompted a cross-generational conversation; it got people talking about the role of art, China, political art, is it art? That sort of dialogue also happened with Basquiat: Now's the Time [February to May 2015].

Museum planner Gail Lord has indicated that the AGO and the Royal Ontario Museum should be regularly reporting annual attendance of one million visitors or more and she's argued that admission prices have had a negative effect on attendance. What's your view?

I don't think price is the barrier that many people think. The great barrier is, is your programming interesting enough? That's the great question of whether people will come. Remember: We pretty consistently have 100,000 visitors coming in free each year through things like our free Wednesdays. I get the point of access, particularly for those who can't afford it.

And any ticket taker at the AGO knows that if anyone comes up to him or her - because it's a value of mine - and says, "I can't afford it; can I come in?" the answer is yes. Why do people go to museums? They don't actually go because they're free. They go because they want to see what's there. Do we have to be thoughtful on price? We try to be. But we want to make sure our revenue model allows us to afford great programming [the AGO's 2015-16 budget is $61.5 million]. Our attendance is robust and we think, so far, we have it right.

You announced your departure in April and, shortly thereafter, the AGO announced the creation of a rather eccentric administration regime, a triumvirate of sorts with the board of trustees, a leadership team of eight AGO staff and something called the interim governing council (with three trustees and three gallery staff). How big a say did you have in that transition mechanism?

I recommended the interim structure. Now, the board didn't have to accept my recommendation, but they did. I recommended it for a couple of reasons. I've seen very few of what I'd call "heroic interim structures" work very well. What usually happens is the single person alters his or her relationship sufficiently that it's hard to sustain after the new person comes in. No. 2 - and people have debated me on this - I think we have a truly extraordinary board, truly experienced, incredibly thoughtful. So the idea of having board members closer to operations did not worry me. It does worry some other people in my field. At the same time, I was very clear that I would not support a board member as an interim lead. The interim governing council [IGC] suggests a group of people will come together to make a certain number of recommendations, not necessarily decisions, at key moments in a way that truly blends the expertise in the institution. Every issue coming to the IGC would normally come to the board or a board committee anyway. It also releases professional staff into another level of responsibility.

But do you feel that people in this interim period are going to be wondering who's the pitcher, who's on first, who's the one who's going to make the decisions in the day-to-day flux?

I think that's a reasonable concern or reasonable question.

Whether it's a concern depends on what happens; the test of the pudding is in the taste. I had a management guru early on who said to me something I believe is fundamentally true: The better director you are, the fewer decisions you make. Translation: Your institution would have the capability of leading at different levels; you wouldn't have to be the heroic leader. So that's what I hope we're going to find.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

Matthew Teitelbaum worked for 22 years at the Art Gallery of Toronto, including 17 years as its director and CEO.


Saturday, June 27, 2015 Saturday, June 27, 2015 CorrectionAn Arts story in today's paper on the Art Gallery of Ontario includes an incorrect first name for Matthew Teitelbaum's father. It is Mashel, not Masha as published.

Draw like no one's watching
In the mid-80s, Sylvie Rancourt began self-publishing comics chronicling her life as a nude dancer in Montreal. A new reissue of her history-making work cements her legacy as one of Canada's first, and most important, graphic memoirists
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R21

Melody: Story of a Nude Dancer By Sylvie Rancourt, translated by Helge Dascher Drawn & Quarterly, 352 pages, $26.95

'They can't play a lick," rock critic Lester Bangs once wrote of The Shaggs. "But mainly they got the right attitude." Strumming out of time and playing out of tune, the sisters who made up the infamous girl group were barely into adulthood when their father financed their only LP, Philosophy of the World, in 1969. Their rhythms were untutored, careening out of control in exhilarating ways; their lyrics came unadorned with poetry or high-flown sentiment. They were no Supremes, no Beatles - they were better, as Bangs had it. "Their and my religion is compassion," he wrote, "the open-hearted sharing of whatever you got with all sentient beings." Their record met with indifference and languished unloved for years.

Pop music's paradigm had no place for The Shaggs in 1969; the world of comics was likewise unprepared for Sylvie Rancourt in 1985. Ambitious, prolific, and wholly untrained, the artist launched headlong into Mélody, a comic book series hundreds of pages long, in which she mildly fictionalized her ups and downs as a nude dancer in Montreal dives. Out of print for decades since their original release, Rancourt's intimate, compassionate comics suffered the longtime fate of that Shaggs album: stigmatized by a "charming" but wildly unprofessional style, the work was effectively orphaned, inaccessible to all but the most dedicated collectors, who persisted in citing it as a neglected classic even when they couldn't read its French. One such highprofile admirer was Building Stories cartoonist Chris Ware, who provides the perceptive introduction to Drawn & Quarterly's newly translated Melody collection - at long last, the first full appearance in English of a landmark in cartooning history.

Rancourt actually made history several times over with Melody, though the selfeffacing comics compiled here might not betray it. In drawing these unassuming stories from life, the artist quietly staked her place as both one of Canada's first women cartoonists and one of our first graphic memoirists. Her peers in these fields have long since enjoyed the distinction conferred by their pioneering status in comics: Lynn Johnston's For Better or For Worse is still one of the few marquee comic strips, and Julie Doucet's grotty Dirty Plotte is revered by a generation of feminist followers, while Margaret Atwood has little need to tout her status as the country's first autobio cartoonist. In contrast, Rancourt's work has escaped notice in part because it didn't start off in the respectable worlds of graphic novels or the funny pages, but rather in Montreal strip clubs and porn magazine racks.

Drawn & Quarterly's handsome and tasteful new edition - appended with contextual essays, billed as "literary" on its back cover, and thick as a volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard - could not be much farther from Melody's origins. In 1985, Rancourt began selling her comics as hand-printed zines to the patrons of Club 1560 on rue StDenis, in between the dance routines she performed for them - a handbill posted outside the bar was the only fanfare announcing Mélody's debut. Her clients were her first readers (her stories extend unexampled generosity to these men in the crowd, granting them each private, poignant thought balloons). Her comics, at their outset, were another kind of performance.

Fittingly, in the opening pages of Rancourt's opus, a penniless, amateur Melody auditions for her first dancing gig. ("She seems so naïve," her lecherous boss marvels.) The character's postures are maladroit but made somehow graceful by the kindred awkwardness of Rancourt's cartooning: when Melody disrobes for the first time, Rancourt's inexperience as a cartoonist is also laid bare. "There's no way I can do this," Melody thinks. "Everybody's looking at me!" Rancourt calls attention to how keenly aware she is, as both artist and dancer, of an audience's gaze sizing up her performance. She remains resolved, determined to seize back control over her own image: "I need to show them I can dance." It's as lucid and crystalline an allegory as any for the autobiographical process, and for a woman's refusal to cede agency in her own story. Lack of training be damned: over the next several hundred pages, Melody will thrust herself into being a dancer, just as Rancourt will draw herself, by dint of sheer willpower, into being a cartoonist.

That same brand of determination carried over into Rancourt's career as an entrepreneur. Following two installments of her "barzine," Rancourt started her own publishing concern, Éditions Mélody, in order to release professionally printed, magazine-sized comics starring her alter ego on newsstands across Quebec (in comics, selfpublishing was at that time construed not as vanity, but as defiance in the face of monopolistic publishers). The writer/artist/ publisher quickly produced a half-dozen issues of the new Mélody, before disappointing sales ended the series, and a seventh issue remained unpublished. The current edition collects this entire fertile outpouring of comics - every two months, for a little more than a year, Rancourt blazed through almost the equivalent of a whole Tintin album.

The adventures of Hergé's boy reporter, as well as Archie and the Riverdale gang, served the same purpose for Melody as bubblegum pop did for The Shaggs: they provided a commercial template for Rancourt to bend and contort until it snapped. Melody's exploits often seem patterned after classic kid's comics - simple but elegant in their drawing, uncomplicated in their morality, with a resourceful but fallible ingénue at their centre - save that Betty and Veronica never danced nude. As Bangs wrote of The Shaggs, though, it's mainly the attitude, even more than the style, that Rancourt cops from such precursors. What makes her comics so charged and unusual is not so much that Melody details Rancourt's career as a dancer, or the moneymaking schemes of her criminal boyfriend, or the frequent, explicit trysts they enjoy in their open relationship - but rather that it does all this without judgment, and without apology.

Tintin, decidedly, Melody was not, but neither was it Hustler, exactly. Rancourt draws her fair share of suggestive subject matter - spread-eagled strippers, daisy-chained paramours - but the no-nonsense way that she stages these tableaux only ever invites readers to look, and never to leer. Her cartooning is scrubbed of all ornament and artifice, untroubled with niceties of anatomy, perspective, and proportion. The artist's approach has been called innocent and childish, a "little jewel of art brut," but to these eyes it reads more like minimalist prose: all nouns and no adjectives, clear and direct, something like Lydia Davis rewriting Fanny Hill. Rancourt's art merely describes, putting sex and crime and drugs on display, but refraining from any interpretive tsking. Reading Melody, we never quite know what to think. Her boyfriend Nick's gambling and dealing certainly seems reprehensible, but it's drawn in the same sunny style as Melody's frolics with her young niece. When our heroine "hits bottom" at Montreal's sleaziest club, it looks little different from when she is plunged in the throes of passion.

Perhaps it was this delicately indeterminate quality - neither moralizing nor scintillating, neither confessional mea culpa nor glitzy porn spectacle - that prevented Rancourt's cartooning from finding an audience and staying in print. Her comics couldn't satisfy readers accustomed to being told what to think, or how to look.

The comics began too "abruptly," an American editor decided, when Rancourt contacted English-language critics and publishers hoping to find a home for Melody in translation. Her cartooning, on the other hand, "though charming, would not be well received by most American readers." Thus were Rancourt's original comics assigned to oblivion.

Revising and tailoring her work to suit the comic book market south of the border (shades of The Shaggs returning to the studio to cut covers of Anita Bryant and The Carpenters), Rancourt assigned art duties to Jacques Boivin, a more polished and published cartoonist who had already drawn covers to Mélody magazines. The author also provided her comic book characters with an origin story, explaining how Nick and Melody outgrew their community in northern Quebec and arrived at their Montreal "lifestyles." With these changes in place, Melody became a small-press American comic book series, producing ten issues and one book - The Orgies of Abitibi, in 1991 - which all combined to sell over 120,000 copies, turning Rancourt's stand-in into one of the most popular comic strip characters yet to come from Quebec (this despite the fact that her comics were frequently prevented from import to Canada, the subject of police investigation in Toronto, and the cause for Rancourt's ejection from an Abitibi author's festival).

But when the comic book market imploded in the late '90s, Rancourt and Boivin found themselves without a publisher, their revised version of Melody only one quarter complete. Their prehistory of Melody and Nick's relationship had managed to catch up with Rancourt's self-published debut, but got no further. Even at that point, Rancourt's original, solo storyline was still sui generis, and it remains so today - never repeated, never revisited, never bettered.

With all that said, it's too easy to become distracted by Melody's intricate backstory.

Melody is exceptional as art, even more than as curio. I love Sylvie Rancourt's comics like I love The Shaggs' music - or Simon Rodia's Watts Towers, or Emily Dickinson's poetry, or any other such startling artwork, erected haphazardly outside the approved institutions of culture. I love Melody not because it's naïve, or innocent, or childish, or primitive, or any of the other epithets used to condescend to art that doesn't play by fixed rules. I love Melody because, like The Shaggs, it's unpredictable, complex, and rapturous pop, so unconcerned with convention that its bright-eyed self-certainty translates into real moral force.

Rancourt introduces each new chapter with a phrase that bespeaks her overall vision of perfect, contented equanimity, come what may: "This isn't the beginning and it's not the end, but somewhere in the middle with Melody." She could have put it like The Shaggs had it, too, simple and gawkily profound: "There are some things I don't understand. There are some things I do. But one thing I don't understand is why we have to be so blue." Rancourt doesn't understand why we have to be, either: Read Melody, and see what love and life look like, freed from all spite.

Sean Rogers is the Globe's comics reviewer.

Associated Graphic

Rancourt sold her comics as hand-printed zines to the patrons of Club 1560 on rue St-Denis, in between the dance routines she performed for them.


The grand seduction
Daniel Boulud acknowledges all did not go according to plan at his Toronto restaurant. With his radical overhaul of Café Boulud, he's hoping he can woo us back
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

For the great French chef Daniel Boulud, whose NYC-based 15-restaurant empire spans 10 cities and three continents, Canada has so far proved to be a mixed bag.

On the one hand, Maison Boulud at The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal is thriving, and so is dbar at the Four Seasons, Toronto. On the other are disappointments that include the failure of his Vancouver restaurants in 2011, Toronto's cool reception to Café Boulud and - more presently - my vegetable drawer.

"No fresh rosemary? Really?" Boulud asked, peering into my fridge, incredulous. "Ça va. We use something else."

My embarrassment was surpassed only by my gratitude that Boulud did not acquire his Michelin stars (two at his Upper East Side flagship, Daniel) and other honours (Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur, Lifetime Achievement Award from World's 50 Best Restaurants, etc.) in the uncouth manner of his British contemporaries, such as Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay. He is assertively not the abusive, swearing type. Instead he is calm, composed, surprisingly modest and a study in Gallic charm.

Boulud was at my house to discuss the Toronto edition of Café Boulud, and walk me through its evolving food concept the best way possible: By cooking some of his upcoming dishes-in-progress in my home kitchen.

"You are here to work, yes?" he inquired, handing me a horseradish root and a microplane.

"You want to peel me a little bit of that and shave it? Just a little - I'm not going to use much."

If you assume that this sort of one-on-one personal time is a little above and beyond Boulud's customary media offensive for a two-year-old restaurant, you would be correct. But he has big plans afoot. The future of what should be an important restaurant is at stake.

To backtrack, Café Boulud was poorly received by Toronto's critics. Some protested - fairly - that Four Seasons chairman Issy Sharp's wife Rosalie Wise Sharp's cold, modern design was soulless and generic. Its pop-art paintings had at most two fans (the person who chose to hang them and whoever painted them). But that design was already largely in place when Boulud signed to fill it. It was the criticism levelled at Boulud and his food program that was nonsensical in its collective message. One critic - at The National Post - claimed rather implausibly that a meal she was served at Café Boulud was the worst she had been served all year. Others said the place served food that was too French and rich - or not French enough. It was also too local and too trendy. It was not formal enough - while at $38 for three courses, the prix fixe was too expensive.

A year ago, restaurant industry rumours had the place imminently closing, with the chef beating a disgruntled retreat to NYC. More recently, there was talk of renovation and relaunch.

The reality is the latter and there is beauty in the details.

Café Boulud will close immediately after brunch service on June 28. It will reopen a little more than two months later - according to the schedule, just in time for the Toronto International Film Festival - with an unrecognizable, new $2-million design and build out.

Boulud and the Four Seasons have hired Martin Brudnizki, one of the genuinely great restaurant designers working today. In London, he is responsible for my favourite oyster bar, J Sheekey, as well as such institutions as Le Caprice and The Ivy. Stateside, he designed the beautiful Soho Beach House in Miami, as well as its restaurant, Cecconi's. Café Boulud is his second Canadian assignment - after Jeff Stober's Drake 150.

"I was told to start again," Brudnizki explained of his design mandate for Café Boulud, over his cellphone from New York.

Expect Brudnizki's signature confluence of warm, textured surfaces and finishes: armchairs finished with luxuriantly crumpled leather, timber, marble and Hermès wallpaper. And more significantly, a lounge at the front of the room, and a bar and dining counter running a good part of its length.

"There will be lots of social seating, places to be seen - and places to hide out," Brudnizki says.

The more comfortable setting will be reflected in a menu boasting more recognizably French cookery of the most approachable sort. It features even a section of rotisserie and grillades - for last week, a Rotisol Olympia, the La Cornue of rotisseries, was installed in the Café Boulud kitchen.

I witnessed its initial run. On its vertical spit, a plump, whole pineapple, gently caramelized as it turned. Alongside, Chantecler chickens, a veal loin and several squab turned on the horizontal spit, their fat and other hot juices collectively dripping onto the vegetables snugly nestled in the roasting tray that fits beneath.

The aromas brought me swiftly back to France - and the last, great meal of poulet à la broche I enjoyed there, at a surprisingly casual Michelin three star in Monte Carlo belonging to Joël Robuchon (who incidentally in the spring of 2016 will be joining Boulud in Montreal, with a new branch of L'Atelier Joël Robuchon at the Casino). The skin was golden and crisp, the slowly roasted flesh moist and supple, the jus a simple pure reduction. The flavour was clean, unadulterated poulet de Bresse - pure chicken perfection.

The food Boulud has in mind - and that his newly appointed, Montpellier-raised chef Sylvain Assié is charged with executing - is almost entirely French in its reference points, but completely modern in its sensibilities. If you know French food well, many dishes will remind you of the classics - but usually in a keenly contemporary culinary vernacular. You may need to think about it. Take for example Boulud's new appetizer to showcase Canadian salmon.

"I like the taste of raw salmon, of sashimi - but I don't want to make a tartare," Boulud explained as he arranged some of the mise en place he had brought over. "And I like the taste of cooked salmon, which definitely has a little bit more texture."

And thus he arrived at using both, in a newfangled chaud-froid de saumon. In the traditional dish, chaud-froid signifies a hot dish served cold (or at room temperature), invariably glazed with its reduced, cream-enhanced cooking liquid.

Boulud instead dresses a plate with a pastiche of the raw and pickled cucumber and radish, pickled shallots I had sliced up, along with chervil, dill and minced chive. One thin rectangle of raw salmon gets sprinkled with toasted pumpernickel crumbs, a lightly poached piece is placed on top and the two are glazed with horseradish-spiked crème fraiche. A scatter of tiny cubes of gelatinized pickling liquid and a pinch of espelette pepper completed the mix.

"Voilà! Delicately French," he proclaims.

Indeed: a recognizable nod to the past that is also light and fresh. The small portion of fish packed all the textural variety of salmon sashimi and poached salmon in one small bite - with a little crunch of pumpernickel besides. The scattering of vegetables and herbs brightened the picture, and the acidity and spice was judged just so - just enough to leave the palate yearning for more, not so much as to interfere with the fine white Burgundy we were drinking.

He then turned next to another classic: blanquette de veau. Just about every French cookbook on my shelves has a take - even my 1865 edition of The Modern Cook by Charles Elmé Francatelli. And while his method differs from, say, the one Robuchon published 120 years later, the end result is essentially the same: unbrowned, cooked veal gets folded into white veal stock thickened and enriched with egg yolks and heavy cream.

But not with Boulud: he creates his sauce by blending poaching liquid with chervil, parsley, spring peas until smooth, with a hint of mashed potato and soft-boiled egg added in for body. Then he plates the vividly green-sauced veal on a sauté of spring peas, snow peas and turned zucchini - with a pinch of fresh rosemary, if he has some. To finish, dabs of lemon-spiked crème-fraiche. I had never tasted a more delicate, summer-attuned stew. "What could be more banal and commonplace than a blanquette? " he asked. "But when you do it with truffles and wild mushrooms like I'm going to do in the fall ...

"Well, then it will be more indisputably French. And that is the only caveat to this venture. That the main reason that Maison Boulud has been so much better received than Café Boulud was that Montreal is 400 years into its love affair with French food, while Toronto's hasn't yet begun.

"This city's fascination is with Italian cooking, with Tuscany, Italian romance," concurs Michael Bonacini, whose company Oliver & Bonacini owns and operates Auberge du Pommier and Biff's Bistro, two rare examples of restaurants that buck the Italian trend that Franco Prevedello arguably unleashed on the city with Splendido and other restaurants in the early '90s. The only other place in Toronto that made a long, distinguished run at serious French dining has been The Fifth Grill.

"Young people here want simpler food with sauces that taste big up front, instead of developing slowly, with complexity, like a fine wine," noted Fifth owner Libell Geddes, speaking of her new simplified concept for the place. "They want plates they can share - which French food isn't made for. And they want plates they can enjoy without paying much attention, so that they can keep texting under the table."

Toronto has been a challenge for all the American chefs who have swaggered into town lately: Scott Conant, David Chang, Jonathan Waxman. The general problems are well known. Our fish markets are lousy, menu prices are low, restaurant-goers are fickle, less preoccupied with quality than by the latest thing, and the throngs of big-spending tourists to which these chefs are so happily accustomed to back home are nowhere to be found.

Boulud is well aware of all this, knows what he is up against, and at ease with his odds of success.

"Toronto always wants to follow what other cities have," he points out. "They don't want to feel like they are missing anything. So French food is never going to have the strength here of Italian or Asian. We have a challenge - but ... "

Associated Graphic

Boulud is trying out more accessible dishes for the revamped Café Boulud at the Four Seasons.


Daniel Boulud had a Rotisol rotisserie installed at Café Boulud.


The Quick And The Dead
In a straitened oil patch, it's the over-leveraged players that are feeling the hurt. Just ask legacy Oil + Gas, snatched up by forward-thinking Crescent Point Energy
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P46

The letter that Crescent Point Energy Corp. fired off to oil-field service companies in November, 2014, landed with a thud.

The missive, from Crescent Point's chief executive, Scott Saxberg, and chief operating officer, Neil Smith, asked suppliers for 30% cuts in rates for drilling wells and a host of other services in the field. At first, it looked like a pressure tactic by the busiest oil developer in Saskatchewan, where it drills the Canadian portion of the prolific Bakken shale formation. But the letter would prove to be a lifeline from the company as crude prices cratered.

"It actually created quite a shakeup with all the service providers, because it was a little bit in advance of the bigger downturn," says Saxberg, whose company (No. 47 on The Top 1000) has been resilient as crude's collapse has ravaged much of the industry. "It was interesting, because no one had done that before, I guess. But they were very receptive."

They had few options. Crescent Point, at the tail end of a bumper year for energy, had started to cut back on spending plans to cope with sharply lower oil prices. Hedging of oil and currency rates also gave it some much-needed breathing room as U.S. benchmark prices fell into the low $40s (U.S.) per barrel--more than 50% below the price of just half a year earlier. But the company and its suppliers faced a choice: Maintain the prevailing service rates and blow through much of Crescent Point's budget in the first three months of 2015, or cut costs and keep drilling through the year.

"Because we were able to get the drops in costs sooner in the year, we could then plan activity levels that could keep them busy through the downturn so they are not laying off staff. That was our rationale for sending out that letter as early as we did," Saxberg says.

Now, Crescent Point is among the rarefied oil-patch group taking advantage of an acquisition market rife with choice assets as commodity prices languish. In late May, the company acquired Legacy Oil + Gas (No. 953) for about $563 million in stock, as well as the assumption of almost $1 billion in debt.

Legacy thus became a poster child for a syndrome in the oil patch: producers that can no longer afford to plow big bucks into developing properties while also paying down debt. Such problems have shoved the oil patch into high-risk territory for investors. By December, the Toronto Stock Exchange's oil and gas subindex had shed more than 40% of its value in about six months, versus a 10% drop in the S&P/TSX Composite Index. Gains this year have been minimal, and the market is also anxious about how Alberta's new NDP government might rejig the royalty structure in the province.

Those companies riding (comparatively) high today went into the crisis looking like Crescent Point--low operating costs in prolific regions and manageable debt. They are run by experienced managers who have been through other commodity crises, such as the last downturn in 2008-'09, which accompanied the global credit crunch.

The largest players in that group are diversified, like Suncor Energy Inc. (No. 12) and Husky Energy Inc. (No. 29). They are cushioned by their refining and marketing businesses, which can counter the effect of a weak crude market so long as fuel retail prices are slower to drop. And they've been able to pull back on big-ticket projects without short-term production losses.

In exploration and production, the ranks of the prudent include Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (No. 5), Tourmaline Oil Corp. (No. 49), Whitecap Resources Inc. (No. 51), ARC Resources Ltd. (No. 62) and Peyto Exploration & Development Corp. (No. 77). Some investment pros have pinpointed such well-positioned players rather than selling out of the sector altogether.

"What we've been doing is buying the buyers," says Mason Granger, portfolio manager at Sentry Investments. "We want to own the companies that have less financial leverage--that are in a position to opportunistically acquire assets in a depressed environment. The commodity's going to come back and we want to own the ones that will be stronger going out the other side."

The crisis has been particularly tough on oil-field service companies, which spend heavily to manufacture new gear and to staff up when demand dictates, leaving them with unused capacity when the markets go sideways. Requests for rate cuts, like Crescent Point's, started to pile up early this year. Service providers such as Calfrac Well Services Ltd. (No. 187) and Canyon Services Group Inc. (No. 212), both fracking specialists, have geared down quickly. Shares in both have been lopped in half since last July.

The oil-field service companies are left with few options when commodity prices crash and producers claw back spending. They must either fight each other on rates--sometimes for less than cost--or idle equipment and crews.

There's no question the collapse in crude prices in late 2014 caught much of the Canadian oil industry napping. A large chunk of the sector, from oil sands development to shale oil and gas, was built on expectations that crude would hover somewhere above $80 (U.S.) per barrel and that investors would be happy to keep shovelling in capital. Indeed, 2014 was a bumper year for equity financing, including an initial public offering, and then a secondary deal, for PrairieSky Royalty Ltd., valued at $4.3 billion in total.

Before things got tight, some Canadian producers tried to attract U.S. investors who, finding the market picked over at home, sought explorers to discover the next major resource play--something like the Eagle Ford in Texas or Bakken in North Dakota. They are comfortable with more debt than Canadian investors typically are, and some producers did borrow more to ramp up drilling.

By late summer, though, the landscape had started to shift, as the International Energy Agency and other bodies tempered expectations for growth in oil demand due to slowing economies in Europe and, most startling, Asia. At the same time, Saudi Arabia began to signal its annoyance at the relentless gains in U.S. light crude output and threats to its market share by other producing countries. OPEC's most powerful producer had no intention of reining in its own output while the U.S., Canada and others outside the cartel pumped full out.

North American spot crude prices sank to a low of $43.39 (U.S.) a barrel in mid-March, from more than $100 (U.S.) in July, 2014. On the way down, prices forced Canadian producers to take emergency measures: cuts to spending, followed by slashing of dividends and, in many cases, the jettisoning of staff. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has estimated that capital spending in Western Canada will slump to $46 billion this year from $69 billion in 2014. Producing companies have slashed 4,500 jobs--many of them in the oil sands, home to the country's highest-cost projects. Another 23,000 energy jobs have been lost in Canada due to shrinking drilling activity.

In April and May, oil prices started a slow recovery, but the atmosphere was still anything but bullish. In fact, Goldman Sachs predicted that Brent oil, the global benchmark, will be just $55 (U.S.) a barrel in 2020, versus more than $110 last year. (It's worth remembering, however, that the investment bank's recent bearish calls have overshot the mark.)

In this environment, debt looms large as the dividing line among companies. Investors typically get nervous when total debt exceeds about two times a company's annual cash flow. And cash flow across the industry has fallen sharply with oil prices. For Legacy, the target for Crescent Point, debt had ballooned to about eight times its expected cash flow.

Several debt-heavy firms, including Penn West Petroleum Ltd. (No. 998) and Trican Well Service Ltd. (No. 644), have gone cap in hand to lenders to negotiate relief on the terms of their debt. Lightstream Resources Ltd. (No. 988) obtained breaks on its high debt in May, agreeing to cancel any dividends until lenders say it's okay to resume them. In the meantime, CEO John Wright hopes to sell assets, including the company's Bakken holdings, and has said that to preserve cash, it will drill no more wells this year.

For Peyto CEO Darren Gee, though, such actions are a world away. He has been dealing with the reality of depressed commodity prices since around 2008. Natural gas makes up nine-tenths of the company's production, and the shale-gas revolution in North America, which allowed the industry to tap trillions of cubic feet located close to large population centres, put a virtual lid on prices that remains today. Gas is now worth about a third of what it was a decade ago.

That means successful producers have to run lean. Some, like Encana Corp. (No. 7), gave up on discounted natural gas and switched focus to oil as well as gas rich in byproducts such as ethane, propane and butane. Encana's timing wasn't great, as it made more than $9 billion of oil acquisitions in 2014, just before prices collapsed.

However, Gee has maintained Peyto's course in Alberta's Deep Basin gas deposits, and the downturn allowed the firm to keep its drilling pace this year, but at lower cost, as service-providers cut rates to keep operating. The company has seen its total cash costs fall by about 29% from last year; capital costs are down 20%. "We were rubbing our hands together, thinking, 'Hey this is great. We're going to be able to drill wells cheaper and bring on the same reserves and production as we were a year ago, only we're not having to spend as much as we did,'" he says.

Now, some oil-patch veterans believe a takeover blitz could mark the next stage of the cycle of pain, as weaker players find themselves in financial hot water even as crude prices gradually recover. Legacy aside, would-be sellers are reluctant to hive off their crown-jewel properties at fire-sale prices.

"There are a lot more people staring at each other and more standoffs than anything," Crescent Point's Saxberg says. "You hear the rumours on potential transactions, but that's more of a stare-down effect that's happening between companies. I think there will be more activity in the fall."

Associated Graphic

Hotograph By Paul Swanson

With banks leading the parade and gold bringing up the rear, the rout in energy has yet to hit corporate Canada's bottom line.
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P51

Last autumn, one of the pillars of the Canadian economy--and the primary engine of its recovery coming out of the Great Recession--began crumbling. And the sharp drop in oil prices was not the end of the bad news for the energy sector. As the descent picked up speed into the new year, it became clear that global supply and demand might not get back on speaking terms for some time. Worried producers began slashing budgets, laying off thousands of people and shelving massive projects.

By this spring, the prominent victims of the oil massacre would include not only various oil sands, pipeline and other energy-related developments but a raft of activities tailored to meet the energy sector's once-voracious appetite for everything from construction, labour, materials and equipment to commercial real estate. Alberta's dizzying fall took it from Canada's economic heights to the brink of recession in a matter of months. The provincial Conservatives, who had wielded power for an uninterrupted 44 years, collapsed and their federal cousins had to scramble to recast their crucial pre-election budget. Counting on a widening stream of oil revenues into the distant future turned out to be poor public policy and bad politics.

Yet remarkably little of the oil spill trickled down to gum up corporate Canada's bottom line last year. And where it did affect results, the impact was as likely to be positive as negative.

Now comes the true test, as the energy implosion takes a rising toll. There is typically a lag between the decline of a key economic driver and its effect on the broader picture. So it is this year, not last, that we should expect the black rain to fall on the profit parade, regardless of whether global petroleum prices manage to recover more lost ground.

The damage spreading from Alberta and the other oil-producing provinces also renews the debate over whether Canada has become too dependent on hewing, drawing and drilling natural resources. The energy sector plays a much larger role in the stock market than in the economy. It accounts for under 10% of GDP and about a quarter of exports, but it's the major destination of capital investment, which is now set to shrink dramatically as big projects are shelved.

That leaves question marks hanging over the earnings outlook: Are we now condemned to ride the volatile ups and downs of these endless commodity cycles for decades to come? Or will the economy confound its critics by proving to be considerably more resilient and diverse than the doomsayers believe?

Whatever happens, it's a safe bet that 2015 won't bear much resemblance to an unexpectedly buoyant 2014 for corporate profits. "It's a completely different world this year," says Douglas Porter, chief economist with BMO Capital Markets. "I think it's going to be an absolute mirror image. We're looking at basically a double-digit decline [in profits] because of the collapse in oil prices, above all else."

By contrast, earnings last year for The Top 1000 companies in our annual survey soared 45.6% to $96.7 billion, the most black ink since 2011. The combination of a strengthening U.S. market and a slumping Canadian dollar--one of the limited blessings of having your currency treated as a petrodollar in foreign exchange casinos (aided and abetted by the Bank of Canada)--worked wonders for balance sheets. "The Canadian dollar spent most of the year in retreat, which tends to help profits," Porter says. "And after a tough start, the U.S. economy ended up having a pretty solid year. Even the Canadian economy did a bit better than expected."

Mix in another dollop of cost-cutting, negligible wage growth, improved productivity and the low cost of capital, and we had the ingredients necessary for fatter profits and healthy margins. It didn't hurt that energy prices remained fairly sturdy through the first half of the year or that Canada's financial powerhouses continued to do everything to boost their bottom line short of printing their own money.

"If you look at last year's results as a guide, energy only accounted for about 9.4% of profits [in the fourth quarter] realized on Canadian territory, versus financial [companies], which were about 25%," says Krishen Rangasamy, senior economist with National Bank Financial in Montreal. "But more interesting, non-energy, non-financial sectors accounted for roughly two-thirds of total profits."

The good news wasn't confined to the publicly traded realm. National income data, which includes privately held companies, peg the aftertax gain last year at a healthy 8%.

The oil and gas sector itself turned in near-record results, exceeded only by its 2008 performance. Revenues did reach an all-time high, thanks to the huge boost in production from the oil sands. Three energy heavyweights--Canadian Natural Resources, Encana and Imperial Oil--ranked among the top 10 corporate earners, just behind the four biggest banks. So the finance-resource duopoly at the apex of Canada's profit pyramid remained intact, accounting for 57% of total net income of the listed 1,000 companies and again dominating the benchmark S&P/TSX index.

But if Big Oil goes the way of Big Gold, the lords of finance will have a lot less company at the top. And even our intrepid oligopolists can't stay bulletproof forever, although you couldn't tell that from their remarkable performance, which has continued into the first part of this year. The Big Five alone accounted for nearly one-third of total profits racked up by The Top 1000 last year.

Quarter after quarter, the banks sail past forecasts, leaving a boatload of fuming short-sellers in their wake. Perennial chart-topper Royal Bank of Canada reported record profit of $2.5 billion in its fiscal 2015 second quarter. No. 2 TorontoDominion Bank scored a hefty gain from its retail business in the same quarter. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which slipped to 10th place from sixth in our ranking, nearly tripled its profit in the quarter compared to a year earlier; and National Bank of Canada (No. 23) boosted its net income by 12.5%.

Still, even if they manage to avoid any serious energy-related pain, the banks aren't likely to remain so fortunate. "If energy was the wild card in the profit picture in the past year, this year it's going to be the financials," says David Rosenberg, chief economist with Gluskin Sheff + Associates. "We know that households are going to be hunkering down in terms of managing their excessive debt situation [at a record 163% of annual disposable income]. So we're not going to be seeing a lot of growth in consumer or residential mortgage credit in Canada."

There will also be less resource-related financing. At a time when many other companies were content to sit on their assets, oil and gas producers were pouring every dollar of cash flow back into the ground last year and adding to that through borrowing or issuing more equity.

Back in 2012, then-Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney made headlines for urging reluctant corporate spenders to free up the "dead money" in their vaults and put it to work in the economy. But oil and gas players were already doing just that--and they kept doing it. In fact, they committed a record of close to $75 billion in Alberta last year--before the sudden reversal of their fortunes. Now, as their operating cash flow turns from a torrent into a thin stream, they have little choice but to wait out the storm. So far this year, industry players have postponed or cancelled 15 ventures. Which means investment will all but dry up in the next couple of years once work is completed on a handful of other projects too far advanced to halt.

Cash flow is the key measure of the industry's health, and in 2015 it's expected to plumb its lowest level in about 15 years. That, says Peter Tertzakian, chief energy economist with Calgary-based ARC Financial Corp., is "where the pain really shows up, because prices have fallen by about 50%. The costs have not fallen by 50%. If you look at operating costs, they probably will have fallen by 10%. So what you have is a big cash-flow squeeze."

Oil sands operators, which face the highest production costs, are taking the biggest hit, with cash flow projected to be down as much as 80% this year. When the money stops pouring in, the investment taps get turned off.

At current prices, "it's pretty much impossible" for the industry to stay profitable, adds Tertzakian. He reckons Canada Oil & Gas Ltd., as he labels the industry, will post its first net loss since 1998. How much? Oh, about $23 billion. That's sure to drive some of the less efficient producers to the bottom rungs of the profit ladder, which are occupied at the moment by a mix that includes lossdrenched former glittering lights of the gold sector Barrick Gold, Goldcorp and Kinross Gold. Barrick has managed to finish dead last for two years in a row.

Among other notables consigned to the intensive-care ward in our ranking is profit-challenged train and plane maker Bombardier, whose heavy losses caused it to nosedive a stunning 955 places to 995th, just five spots ahead of Barrick. Dundee Corp. was another that fell off a cliff, ending 940 spots below where it started last year. Right behind, at 984th, sits battered department store chain Sears Canada, down from 50th the year before. Then comes BlackBerry, light years removed from its days as the market's tech darling. Still, that's better than its previous ranking of 999th.

While Sears Canada was on the elevator to the basement, venerable rival Hudson's Bay Co. was headed in the other direction, climbing 898 rungs to 80th, just six places behind Dollarama. Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial Holdings executed the biggest turnaround, shooting up 969 slots to 20th. Acquisitive stock-market darling Valeant Pharmaceuticals International similarly soared 964 spots to 30th place.

More shafts of light will be visible through this year's foggier outlook, insists Rosenberg, burnishing his bullish credentials. Yes, profits will probably contract. "I don't think it's going to be uniform or universal. This isn't a recession type of profit decline. It's really confined to a couple of sectors related to energy. And I think that next year, we're going to bounce."

Land developer built more than homes
Not only did he help shape modern Toronto, but he also beautified it by 'bringing art where it was visible for everybody'
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S11

When his young wife was pregnant with their first child, Albert Latner dropped out of law school to work for his father-in-law on a construction crew. Before long he was helping to steer Greenwin Inc. as it rode Toronto's postwar boom, becoming one of the city's biggest real estate developers.

Greenwin helped shape modern Toronto, leaving its mark in the form of thousands of suburban houses, apartments and public housing facilities across the city.

Among its projects are the celebrated 1950s modernist houses in Don Mills, the city's first masterplanned suburb and developments such as midtown's Davisville Village in the 1960s and the Yonge-Eglinton Centre in the 1970s.

The success made Mr. Latner, who died June 11 at the age of 88 after a battle with Parkinson's disease, one of the city's wealthiest men. He also became a philanthropist renowned for his generous support of a range of causes, as well as a leading collector of art, amassing a collection of more than 1,000 paintings and sculptures that includes masterpieces by Picasso, Modigliani, Renoir and Henry Moore, among others.

Canadian Business magazine has estimated the family's current wealth at more than $1-billion.

Albert Latner was born April 25, 1927, in Hamilton to Jack and Elise Latner. His father was born in London, to immigrants from what is now Lithuania. His mother was born in Bucharest, Romania, but was living in London and visiting relatives in Hamilton when she met her husband-to-be.

He had come to Canada as a teenager, crossing the Atlantic on the 1912 voyage of the RMS Carpathia that was diverted to pluck survivors from the ocean after the sinking of the Titanic, according to Mr. Latner's sister, Zil Rumack.

The Latner family moved to Toronto about five years after Albert was born, to a house on Major Street, not far from Kensington Market, the centre of Jewish life in the city at the time.

They were better off than many during the Depression: Jack cut sample cloth at the Tip Top Tailors factory at the foot of Bathurst Street.

Mr. Latner paid his way through school with newspaper routes, eventually studying at the University of Toronto. At one point, he opened a framing shop with a friend, which fuelled his lifelong love of art.

In 1949, he married Temmy Weinstock, the daughter of Arthur Weinstock, the owner of a women's clothing factory. The ceremony, at Shaarei Shomayim synagogue, then on St. Clair Avenue West, was a big affair, and Ms. Latner became not just the love of his life but a valued confidante and business adviser, Ms. Rumack said.

Ms. Latner soon became pregnant, and in order to support her, Mr. Latner dropped out of law school at Osgoode Hall to work on a construction crew for his new father-in-law's small homebuilding company. Mr. Weinstock had founded the company with a friend, a bricklayer named Lipa Green. Originally called Greenview Construction, it was renamed Greenwin, a loose combination of its two founders' names. Two of Mr. Green's sons, Al and Harold, along with Mr. Latner, took on leadership roles in the company as it expanded rapidly in the 1950s.

Some describe Mr. Latner as soft-spoken, as someone who did not seek the limelight. Ms. Rumack, who started working at Greenwin as a teenager, said he had a temper at work, but employees still loved him.

"He could be and was in his personal life very calm and cool and collected. But in the office, not necessarily so. If you didn't do something right, he might snap at you," she said. "And the girls would be, 'Oh my God.' But the same girls would say, 'I wouldn't work anywhere else,' because he cared about his employees, and that's an unusual thing. He knew their names, even when he had 400 [employees]."

Mr. Latner and Ms. Latner had four children: Steven, Michael, Elise and Joshua. The family moved frequently, living at one point in one of the first houses in Don Mills, surrounded by farmers' fields. As the family fortune grew, they ended up among Toronto's elite in Forest Hill, later decamping to a large farm in King City, Ont.

Both Steven and Michael attended Oxford University, where Mr. Latner donated money to build a student residence at St.

Peter's College. Mr. Latner met Samuel Beckett, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970, and was a backer of a failed scheme to build a theatre at Oxford named for the playwright.

Mr. Latner sponsored a performance of two of Mr. Beckett's plays at the University of Toronto's Hart House that same year, including Breath, which is just 35 seconds long and famously features no actors, just some garbage on stage and the sound of a baby crying.

Mr. Latner acquired much of his extraordinary art collection in the 1960s. His love of Henry Moore's sculptures saw him play a role, behind the scenes, with then Toronto mayor Philip Givens in raising private money to install Mr. Moore's Three Way Piece No. 2 - also known as The Archer - in front of Toronto's new City Hall, despite the objections of some city councillors mystified by the abstract work. (Mr. Moore, whom Mr. Latner had visited in his studio in England, was a personal favourite. Mr. Latner was instrumental in bringing his works to the Art Gallery of Ontario, his family said.)

Paul Godfrey, the president and CEO of Postmedia Network Inc. and a long-time political figure in Toronto, said he became friends with Mr. Latner after the developer called him out of the blue as Mr. Godfrey was launching his first political campaign, a run for a council seat in the former city of North York in 1964.

"He was one of my very first supporters," Mr. Godfrey said, praising Mr. Latner and his partners as risk-takers who built the city's housing stock. "He called me up, said, 'I don't know you. I hear that you are running in the election. I want to be helpful. And even though I am in the land development business, I never want to ask you for any favours.' And you know what, he never did."

In 1979, Mr. Latner left Greenwin to launch his family's own management and development company, Shiplake, which also does real estate development and branched into new lines of business, including retirement homes, air cargo and gambling. In 1998, a consortium that included Shiplake, resort giant Hyatt and others was selected to build what became the massive Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ont.

One of Shiplake's companies, Dynacare Inc., a publicly traded retirement home company that moved into the medical lab business, was sold to Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings for $480million (U.S.) in 2002.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Latner's seemingly charmed life was struck by loss. Ms. Latner, who had suffered from lung cancer in the late 1980s but fought it off, died after her cancer returned in 1993. A year before, as the family dealt with the return of her cancer, an electrical fire gutted their magnificent house on the farm in King City. The Latners were away, but the flames destroyed some of their favourite art works.

Losing Ms. Latner, Mr. Latner's daughter, Elise Latner-Assaraf, said, was a blow from which her father never recovered: "After my mom died, my dad pretty much lost his compass."

The experience the family had with the palliative-care staff of Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital inspired Mr. Latner to donate money to establish the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care there.

He dated again subsequently, but never remarried. He became much more interested in his Jewish religion, something the death of his father in 1976 had also kindled.

Mr. Latner was always a passionate supporter of Israel, which he visited frequently, donating money to various causes there including a hospital centre that treats post-traumatic stress disorder in Tel Aviv. His family has photos of Mr. Latner with former Israeli prime ministers David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir, his sister said.

Over the past decade, Mr. Latner became embroiled in a family feud that bitterly divided his four children, pitting Steven and Michael, who worked in the family business, against Elise and Joshua, who were less involved.

Mr. Latner ended up suing his own offspring over money, the art collection, a collection of gold coins, a hand-embroidered chuppah or Jewish wedding canopy made by his late wife, and even a five-year-old Audi station wagon he had given a daughter-in-law.

The feud, detailed in a 2011 article in Toronto Life, saw him for years refuse to see some members of his family, as he grew estranged from Joshua, who lives in Zurich, and Ms. Latner-Assaraf, and their children. The acrimony came despite the fact he had transferred much of his art collection and fortune to his four children, who received the equivalent of $150-million each.

Following the patriarch's death, Steven Latner issued a statement on behalf of himself and his brother Michael through a spokeswoman: "Michael and I had the pleasure of working closely with our dad for 35 years.

We were there to share his lows, his successes and his extraordinary career and life."

Ms. Latner-Assaraf, who had reestablished contact with her father in the two years before his death, blamed her father's seemingly bizarre decisions to sue his own children on his "dementia" and the dynamics of the family's bitter split.

She said she will always be reminded of her father when she sees public sculpture in Toronto.

Not only did he and his partners in Greenwin give local artists studio space in their buildings, she said, they were pioneers in the provision of public art, commissioning sculptures to grace the front of their buildings.

"I get a twinkle in my eye every time I see some of these beautiful sculptures," Ms. Latner-Assaraf said. "He had something to do with beautifying the city, not just by building buildings and being a landlord, but [by] bringing art where it was visible for everybody."

To submit an I Remember: Send us a memory of someone we have recently profiled on the Obituaries page. Please include I Remember in the subject field.

Associated Graphic

Albert Latner was a lover of arts and commissioned sculptures to grace public spaces in Toronto.

Doctor pushed for screening of newborns
Her medical career began in war-torn Europe and found focus in Canada, researching causes of mental impairments
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, June 22, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S8

If ever anyone had a calling to be a physician, it was Polish-born Bluma Tischler. Through luck, courage and persistence, she vaulted over all obstacles in her path to study medicine, including poverty, war, anti-Semitism and the postwar confusion of Europe. She began her medical education in Russian in Tajikistan, continued it in Polish in her homeland, then in German in Munich and finally in English in Montreal, where she did her pediatric residency.

A job offer to her psychiatrist husband, Isaac Tischler, took the couple to Vancouver in 1955. There, she was hired as the first pediatrician at the Woodlands School in nearby New Westminster, founded five years earlier as a progressive place to care for British Columbia's mentally handicapped. She expected to stay for a year, but remained for 33, becoming medical director of the institution, which in its peak years in the 1960s had 1,400 residents and a waiting list of 800.

Dr. Tischler co-authored 36 papers in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals, adding by increments to the overall knowledge of the complex causes and prevention of mental retardation, a condition that began to be understood only in the middle of the past century.

Due in part to her work, Vancouver became an important centre for research into mental retardation, attracting top minds working in this area from around the world.

Dr. Tischler died, at the age of 90, on May 16 at the Weinberg Residence in Vancouver, where she lived for the past five years. According to her elder son, Aron Tischler, she had stopped eating, then drinking.

"She was a lovely person and dedicated physician," said Hilary Vallance, director of the B.C. Newborn Screening Program, whose earliest iteration in 1964 owed much to Dr. Tischler's forceful advocacy.

"Bluma was at the vanguard of 'knowledge translation' and 'knowledge implementation' long before these became popular terms in medicine," said Howard Feldman, a neurologist and associate dean of the University of British Columbia, where she was a clinical professor.

Bluma Gorfinkel was born on June 20, 1924, in Baranowicze, in northeastern Poland, the youngest of three children of Aron and Stera Gorfinkel. Her father ran a bank for the town's Jewish community; her mother was a dentist.

In September, 1939, the German army invaded Poland from the west and the Soviets from the east, dividing the country according to the then-secret MolotovRibbentrop pact. Two years later, the Nazis attacked the eastern half of Poland. Bluma's elder brother and sister were away studying engineering in Lwow, and she and her parents soon fled their home. They headed south and eastward by any means possible - mostly walking. At some point, Stera and Bluma became separated from Aron and never saw him again.

Mother and daughter kept moving, travelling an astonishing 3,700 kilometres before reaching Stalinabad, capital of Tajikistan. According to Bluma's younger son, Fred Tischler, the two made stops along the way so Stera could earn money as a dentist. Bluma's brother and sister eventually joined them in Stalinabad, where 17-year-old Bluma finished high school and began to study medicine.

The Leningrad medical school had been evacuated to Stalinabad and was training doctors to send to the front. As part of the curriculum, Bluma and her fellow students (almost all female) were taught to assemble and use a rifle. In her class she met a handsome Red Army soldier, Isaac Tischler, who had been wounded in the battle for Kiev. They began studying together and fell in love.

When the war ended, they married in a civil ceremony and headed back to Poland. In Lwow, they found a synagogue still standing and approached the rabbi to marry them. According to family legend, the absence of sacramental wine almost prevented the exchange of vows, until Isaac found some kvass, a fermented local tipple made from bread, and tinted it with beet juice.

The couple were continuing their studies in a Catholic hospital in Breslau when news came, a year after war's end, of the Kielce Pogrom in which 42 Jews were murdered while police stood by. "My parents and grandmother saw they couldn't live there. The hatred for the Jews was so strong," explained son Fred.

Using fake papers, they made their way to Munich where Isaac and Bluma were accepted into Ludwig Maximilian University, provided that Bluma learn German, which she did. They did their internships at a Munich hospital but when they learned that Bluma's siblings had made it to Montreal, they worked as cleaners to pay their passage across the Atlantic to join them in 1950. (All of Isaac's siblings died in the Holocaust.)

Once in Montreal, Bluma had to repeat her internship to qualify as a doctor before doing her pediatric residency at Childrens' Hospital. When she and Isaac moved west, her mother stayed in Montreal with Bluma's siblings. Vancouver was the end of the rainbow for the couple. Their two sons were born there, in 1955 and 1957.

"My father was thrilled to discover the ocean in any direction, mountains, parks. They became huge fans of Vancouver," Fred recalled.

Bluma Tischler began working at Woodlands at a time of ferment and discovery, as people grasped that impairments had multiple causes. In 1959, a French team discovered the extra chromosome that results in Down syndrome.

At Woodlands, she became interested in the metabolic errors that resulted in retardation, particularly phenylketonuria, or PKU, a condition in which a child is born normal but soon develops severe intellectual impairment, motor problems and skin abnormalities. In 1943, a Norwegian researcher identified the syndrome in two boys and devised a urine test for it.

In the next decade, J.H. Quastel at England's Cardiff City Mental Hospital gave the condition its name and explained the brain chemistry involved. PKU is caused by an amino acid, phenylalanine, present in meat, milk, eggs and other proteins, that can't be metabolized in the bodies of those affected. The buildup of this amino acid in the blood irreversibly damages the brain.

In the mid-1950s, at the Birmingham Children's Hospital in England, German physician Horst Bickel and British biochemist Louis Woolf figured out how to filter the fatal amino acid from milk, using activated charcoal. It became possible to nourish a PKU infant without damaging the brain.

At Woodlands, Dr. Tischler applied the Birmingham team's findings. She was eager to try anything to improve the condition of the low-IQ children in her care.

She put her nutrition department to work to devise safe nourishment for PKU children, and dispensed it free at the outpatient clinic. She did her own study of residents who tested positive for PKU to try to determine up to what age the special diet might be useful. Half the group ate a normal diet, the other the filtered diet. She found that the special diet had some positive effects up to the age of six, but none thereafter.

The breakthrough in prevention came in 1961, when American physician Robert Guthrie came up with an easy, reliable blood test for PKU, based on a pinprick of a newborn's heel.

Dr. Tischler's sons recall that she went to Victoria and Ottawa to urge health officials to make the Guthrie test mandatory for all newborns. Screening for PKU was introduced in British Columbia in 1964, four years earlier than in England.

"Hundreds of children and adults in B.C. have benefited from newborn screening and treatment of PKU," Dr. Vallance said, noting that newborn screening has since expanded and "now tests for 22 treatable disorders," including cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell disease.

In 1961, Dr. Tischler was appointed to the medical faculty at UBC. Her reputation grew through her publications in peerreviewed journals and many firstrate specialists were attracted to Woodlands, along with medical students who wanted to understand the management and prevention of developmental disabilities.

Dr. Woolf, from England, became her colleague at UBC in the 1970s, as did Dr. Quastel, who became the school's first professor of neurochemistry.

Dr. Tischler worked regularly at the biochemical diseases clinic at B.C. Children's Hospital, and concluded her career as professor emerita of pediatrics at UBC.

In 1977, she received the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal, and in 1978 was honoured by the province with a postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry and genetics, created in her name.

That same year, the Denverbased American Association on Mental Retardation (now the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) gave her its annual research award.

By the time she retired in 1988, large, costly institutions such as Woodlands were being dismantled across Canada, and their residents reintegrated into the community. Not all had severe handicaps, and some came forward to describe abuse they had suffered at Woodlands. One man who was in residence in the 1960s said he was wrongly labelled as having PKU, and that Dr. Tischler had experimented unethically on her charges without obtaining their consent.

On the basis of public complaints, the province commissioned a report that described overcrowding, understaffing and incidents of physical and sexual abuse by Woodlands staff. The 2001 report did not mention Dr. Tischler.

"It was a challenging time for her," recalled her son Aron, an ophthalmologist. "Woodlands got a lot of bad press which she felt was unjustified, taken out of context. She felt she and her team did everything to the best of their ability," he said.

"What she emphasized (to us) was that what they did was acceptable at the time," said Fred, a lawyer. "She was never defensive.

There may have been inappropriate actions by staff, and they were disciplined."

A 2002 class-action suit launched against the province by former Woodlands residents was settled out of court in 2009.

Woodlands, which had closed in 1996, was demolished in 2011.

Dr. Tischler, whose husband died in 2003, leaves sons Aron and Fred, their wives and five grandchildren.

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Associated Graphic

Bluma Tischler, right, as a medical intern in Munich in 1947. Her husband, Isaac Tischler, is second from left.


Dr. Tischler with Premier William Vander Zalm in May, 1978, when the B.C. government created a postdoctoral medical fellowship in her name.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 Tuesday, June 23, 2015 CorrectionA Monday obituary of Dr. Bluma Tischler included a photo with an incorrect caption. In one photo, she is shown with Premier Bill Bennett, not William Vander Zalm as published.

A contrarian's lonely quest for the truth
Anthony Scilipoti, president and CEO of Veritas Investment Research
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B4

TORONTO -- As a forensic accountant, Anthony Scilipoti instinctively looks to the paper trail. He hunches over a receipt, which lacks a crucial piece of information. "It's killing me," he confides.

Twisting a silver cufflink stamped with a cursive "V" for "Veritas," the Latin word for "truth," he seizes on the bill's single cryptic lead: "AM."

Against the guiding principles on which he's built his career, he offers up a hasty conclusion on scant evidence.

"I'm going to go out on a limb," he says. "It's Amanda, right?" "No," the server replies.

"Jessica?" he tries, scanning his memory from previous visits to the restaurant.

"It's Joelle."

It's an uncharacteristic scene for a man who prides himself on due diligence. Veritas Investment Research, the firm Mr. Scilipoti co-founded, is known for its investigative stock research, for poring over financial statements in search of accounting trickery.

Mr. Scilipoti interchangeably likens the firm's research to an umbrella, an insurance policy, and a bathing suit, the latter good to have when the tide goes out, lest one be discovered to have been swimming naked, as per the famous Warren Buffett quote.

No matter the metaphor, the message is clear: When bad things happen, investors are going to want one or the other.

It's pouring rain in Toronto when we meet at Taverna Mercatto, the latest addition to the Mercatto group of Italian restaurants, between the Air Canada Centre and the Rogers Centre. I'm told it's a "classic trattoria," with emphasis on the first and third syllables. "Italy would be like this.


That's a word that can also fairly be used to describe Mr. Scilipoti's reputation on Bay Street as a man making bold, contrarian calls against Canadian darling stocks.

His professional life is rooted in a fascination with accounting, his first lessons in which were provided by his father, Sebastian. Delivering newspapers in North York, Ont., the 14-year-old Anthony had saved up enough money for a bicycle. His father insisted that he make a business case to support his choice - a red and yellow steel-framed Coppi, named for the legendary Italian cyclist.

At more than $500 in 1984, it was far from the cheapest option, but Anthony convinced his father that it represented the best value for money. He still has the bike.

The elder Mr. Scilipoti owned a furniture manufacturing business in Markham, instilling in his son an entrepreneurial streak. Having moved on from paper routes, Anthony started a business in his late teens, selling custom promotional gear such as hats, shirts and pens to other businesses. His father showed him how to track his revenue and expenses on Accpac, the accounting software.

After earning a commerce degree from the University of Toronto, Mr. Scilipoti landed a job at Arthur Andersen, at the time one of the Big Six accounting firms, working in a small due-diligence group. His first deep dive focused on retailer Adventure Electronics, which he believed was drowning in debt. "I looked at the financial statements and said, 'This company is going to go bankrupt.' " The chain did just that in 1998, the year after he left the firm.

Taking a forensic approach to financial analysis, he found that numbers can tell stories. "I can look at financial statements and tell you what happened over the past year."

Mr. Scilipoti co-founded Veritas in 2000 as a research outfit free from the potential corrupting influence of an investment banking division. At the time, the stock market crash was taking hold as overhyped early Internet stocks crumbled. Investors awoke to the conflict of interest inherent in large brokerages, which were using their research divisions to drive business to their underwriting arms.

The so-called "Chinese wall" that was supposed to separate the two functions didn't really exist.

Research analysts were essentially paid to be bullish rather than objective. In 1999, Merrill Lynch analysts had 940 "buy" ratings on stocks and "sell" recommendations on just seven.

Investors paid dearly, as the Nasdaq Stock Market composite index fell by more than 65 per cent between March, 2000, and April, 2001. A rash of accounting scandals followed, engulfing Enron, WorldCom and Tyco International, reinforcing the need for independent equity research - a cause championed by New York's then attorney-general Eliot Spitzer.

"Accounting didn't matter," Mr. Scilipoti says, spooning spicy tomato sauce onto a stuffed risotto ball. "Auditing didn't matter.

Analysts wrote whatever. The market was primed for our type of business."

The firm built up a roster of about 60 institutional clients, such as banks and investment funds, in part through issuing scathing reports on large Canadian companies. Veritas denounced the lack of disclosure by building-products company Royal Group Technologies, which would soon be at the centre of one of the country's messier accounting scandals, beginning in 2004.

The firm was also an early detractor of the earnings reporting practices of Nortel Networks, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. Veritas was also vocal in its objections to Biovail's aggressive accounting practices, before its stock tanked.

Veritas has since extended its criticism to Biovail's latest incarnation, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, a company with such growth ambitions that should it reach its goal, it would become the single largest listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange by the end of next year.

"It's a poster child of today's market," Mr. Scilipoti says. "It has complicated accounting, it has a complicated tax structure, high leverage and a very aggressive growth-by-acquisition structure.

These are all the makeup of a high blow-up risk."

Few share those concerns. Veritas has the lone "sell" rating on Valeant's stock among the 23 analysts following the company and issuing recommendations.

Since Veritas put out its original accounting alert on the company in late 2011, Valeant's stock has risen sixfold. To be fair, Veritas didn't slap an explicit "sell" rating on the stock until last July, but even since then, the stock has more than doubled.

In the case of Valeant, and other large Canadian companies such as Catamaran Corp. and CGI Group, investors could have made a great deal of money by ignoring the risks flagged by Veritas or in doing the opposite of what the firm recommended.

With North American stocks still riding a historic updraft, risks might not be met with due punishment by investors. The bull market is now in its seventh year, having tracked a fairly steady upward trajectory since bottoming out in 2009. Stocks are seen by many investors as the only alternative in an era of near-zero interest rates and miserly bond yields.

"The last few years have been difficult for this type of work," Mr. Scilipoti says. "The market is awash with cash, and risk-free rates are negative, so investors' appetite for risk is, in some cases, extreme. That's led to investors overlooking things that in other market conditions they would not overlook."

Spooning hot peppers on a bowl of orecchiette - "they don't add a lot of flavour, they just add heat" - he says he is not pulling for a market downturn. But it's when sentiment begins to shift that less sustainable companies become exposed. "We're pushing for the truth to come out," he says.

"Sometimes, it takes years."

The interim can be tough. The firm is often the sole outlier in a chorus of analyst support, as is the case with AutoCanada, Fortis, Enbridge, Exchange Income Corp. and CAE.

Management can react strongly to finding itself the target of a Veritas offensive. They make angry phone calls, issue legal letters.

Occasionally, they blacklist Veritas analysts from participating in conference calls to discuss earnings.

Such is the lonely path of a contrarian. But the company remains one of the few sources of independent research in Canada and adding another bullish voice to the consensus would be of limited value.

A little more than half of the company's ratings qualify as "sells." The broader Canadian analyst community, meanwhile, has 1,845 "buys" compared with just 301 "sells" on the stocks included in the S&P/TSX composite index, according to Bloomberg data.

"You end up being known for making these very noisy calls.

That gets people's attention," Mr. Scilipoti says.

Even in a relentless bull market, Veritas's warnings find an audience. In September, 2013, the company raised the alarm on DirectCash Payments, advising its subscribers to "cash out" of the stock over a lack of disclosure and the company's exposure to the payday loans market. DirectCash shares then promptly fell by 24 per cent without any other negative developments and just days after the company implemented a dividend, which prompted a trading halt.

With a staff of 22, the firm's research can move the market, what he calls the "Veritas effect," showing the work is relevant and that investors are still paying attention, he says.

Eventually, the broader market will become less forgiving of accounting irregularities and deficiencies in disclosure and more receptive to the dissenting few like Veritas, Mr. Scilipoti says.

"The time will come. We're not going away."

In the meantime, he'll remain committed to the in-depth forensic research method on which the firm was founded. "Thanks, Joelle," he says, after we settle up.

"I won't forget again."


Age: 44 Place of birth: Toronto Education: A commerce degree from the University of Toronto Family: Married to Ana for 17 years; three daughters Siblings: One younger sister What he's reading:The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor by Howard Marks Favourite band: AC/DC Favourite movie: Rocky Favourite vacation spot: Used to visit Italy when he was younger but now prefers southern Spain Who he'd like to have lunch with: Steve Jobs His latest thing: A fitness enthusiast, he has recently taken an interest in adventure races. A couple of years ago, he was part of a team that completed Tough Mudder, a gruelling obstacle course that features fire, barbed wire and electricity. "Anything I can do to push myself," he says. "But I didn't really like the electric shocks. They hurt."

Associated Graphic


In the squeeze
Inventory is low, demand is high. 'Why sell now when my house is going to be worth more next month?'
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

Emma Co has been a real estate agent for several years in Vancouver, but she's never seen the market so fired up, particularly on the city's east side.

"I can't believe this market," she said, seated in a coffee shop near Kingsway and Fraser. "I was talking to one realtor, and she said, 'where is this going?' " It's a reasonable question, considering the selling prices. The average price for a detached house on the Multiple Listing Service in May was $2.23-million in Vancouver proper. In some cases, east-side houses are going for west-side prices. Urban planner Andy Yan said in March that the invisible $1-million line that once divided east from west has evaporated. We're now looking at pockets of expensive homes throughout the east side, and some pockets are hotter than others.

As agent Keith Roy says: "Every month this year, the value of the detached home has gone up. The attitude of sellers right now is, 'Why sell now when my house is going to be worth more next month?' " Inventory is low and demand is high, which is pushing prices up with each passing month. Buyers are getting anxious and so are sellers, who are questioning whether they're getting top dollar. Sellers often change their minds on the asking price and relist higher after receiving a flood of offers.

It's not often that inventory on detached houses gets this low.

"If we stopped adding new houses to the inventory and kept selling at the current rate, we would run out of houses in about 35 days - they would all be sold," says Mr. Roy. "It's super tight inventory, and we have enormous demand. Every time you hear of a story where a house sells over asking with 10 offers, it means there are nine people who didn't get a house and they are still shopping."

At 895 E. 14th Avenue, east of Fraser, a completely renovated 2,440-square-foot character house with garden suite was listed this month for $1.599-million.

It sits on a standard 33-by-122foot lot, but has no garage. The house had been renovated from top to bottom, while maintaining some original features from when it was built in 1925. It sold in 11 days for $1,751,571.

Local buyers are either panicking to get into the market to settle down, or they're investors looking for a deal, Ms. Co says.

"They want to buy because the interest rates are very low, and they are panicking because the market keeps going up."

One neighbourhood is under extra pressure because of rezoning.

The Kingsway neighbourhood dubbed Norquay Village - part of Renfrew Collingwood - has become a beehive of agent and developer interest since the city rezoned the area from singlefamily to multiple-family housing. Norquay is part of a push to transition select areas to higher density housing from single-family detached homes.

As a result of the rezoning, a couple of old bungalows that might have sold for $950,000 a year ago are now going for at least 50-per-cent more.

As part of her job, Ms. Co looks for rezoning potential on behalf of builder and developer clients.

She found two side-by-side houses on 44-by-88-foot lots for her client after drawn out negotiations with the homeowners. In the end, the house at 2396 E. 34th was listed for $1.420-million and sold for $1.440-million, and the house next door at 2384 E. 34th sold for $1.350-million. The street is zoned RM-7, for stacked townhouses or rowhouses.

Another house, a Vancouver Special at 6797 Butler St., sold for $1.220-million last June. It's back on the market and it was just relisted for $100,000 more than the price it was at a week ago. The asking price is now $1.580-million.

"It's hot right now because of the densification approved two years ago. It's now having an effect."

Rezoning for more density has the effect of turning land into gold. The intention by the city was to create denser housing that would offer affordable entry-level housing for people struggling to get into the Vancouver market.

However, if rezoning escalates land values, then development costs go higher, which means the consumer pays more in the end.

Real estate development consultant Richard Wozny is skeptical that an increase in density is the antidote to unaffordability.

"Speculation on rezoning houses into higher densities always leads to higher prices as buyers overwhelm sellers," says Site Economics' Mr. Wozny.

"Once the former house sites are redeveloped to multifamily, the units do cost a little less than the cost of the original house if no rezoning or redevelopment ever took place. While that seems affordable, it is worth noting that $1-million for a house is far better value for a family than a townhouse or condo which costs 25- to 35-per-cent less."

Economist Will Dunning, who used to work for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., is based in Toronto. He's studied Vancouver and recently wrote a report for Vancouver-based Landcor, which provides data and quarterly reports on the real estate industry. He forecasts that the B.C. market will slow, at least for domestic purchasers. He attributes the slowdown to the weak job market in the past couple of years, as well as a levelling off of mortgage rates. Rates are unlikely to go down much further. Although he expects "quite good" real estate numbers in the second quarter this year, that combination of factors should slow the current frenzy.

One of the pressures on the Vancouver resale market is the low supply of detached houses.

With the crush of new buyers on the scene, there's not enough to go around.

"What's driving Toronto is the same as Vancouver - the lack of land for construction of new lowrise housing," he says. "What are their avenues? Compete in the resale market, buy from a small [new] supply that is available, but not in the right location, or buy a small existing property and tear it down. Or buy from a builder. We had a similar pressure in Toronto, which is resulting in rapid price growth here." Perhaps a sign of an already cooling market is the recent sale of a Kitsilano house for well below asking. The two-storey renovated house on a 40-by-105foot lot at 2765 W. 8th Ave. was listed at $1.799-million and sold for $1.580-million after 34 days on the market.

"It's still active, no question, but I don't think you see the same activity we experienced about six weeks ago," says agent Christopher Rivers, who sold a house down the street for $1.569million.

Also, in terms of prices, the line between east and west has definitely blurred, he says.

"The east and the west are starting to blend. "A lot of people are going to the east side because they want a neighbourhood that still plays street hockey. Plus, you can buy something over there for $1.6 [million] or $1.7 [million] and have community."

There's a theory among some agents that the low supply is due to homeowners' fears that they won't have anywhere to go if they sell.

Ms. Co knows of a couple that is looking for a home after selling as part of an assembly land sale.

They got good value for their house, but they wanted to remain in the area. If they'd held out and stayed in their home while their neighbours had sold, their house could have dropped in value. So, they see themselves as having been kicked out of the market. Now, they're trying to get back in and are desperate to find something.

Another factor driving the market is that rents are on the rise, particularly with a vacancy rate that's almost at zero. That's welcome news for investors and buyers who can't make payments without a mortgage helper.

Agent Paul Albrighton says the majority of his transactions involve properties between $500,000 and $2-million. Few buyers put only 5 per cent down.

The majority has at least a 25per-cent down payment.

"They're taking big mortgages, but they aren't over leveraged like we saw in 2007," he says.

Mr. Albrighton says he's frequently explaining to his buyers that they can expect to spend around $1.3-million or $1.5-million for a decent house. If that doesn't scare them off, he then explains the current process.

They need to have all their financing in place before they start looking. If they want an inspection, they need to have it done prior to making the offer.

The offer needs to be presented with a deposit in hand, and without any subjects.

"It's so competitive buying these very nice east-side houses, you can't have subjects," says Mr. Albrighton.

Mr. Albrighton says the media overlook the group of domestic buyers that have good jobs and have earned money in local real estate. That group is also fuelling the market, especially those buyers who now prefer the east side to the west side.

"Interest rates are helping people to go to a higher price. And there is a lot of consumer confidence. That gets people into buying mode. And there is foreign investment from all sorts of places, because our dollar is lower. I had clients recently buying from Europe. There are quite a few reasons why this is happening."

As to whether the frenzy will continue, Mr. Roy, the agent, believes the market has plateaued and could go either way.

"Expectations keep going up, but at some point, that changes.

Over the long term, your house will be worth more than it is today. But there's going to be one day when your home is worth less than it was the day before."

Associated Graphic

An open house in Vancouver's Arbutus neighbourhood. Low housing inventory and high demand are forcing prices to rise.


Why newcomers are beginning to bypass Canada's big cities
Doug Saunders visits Hamilton to see how smaller centres are recruiting help to revive their ailing economies
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

When Zernab Yazdani, an easygoing college graduate, talks about his childhood years in Riverdale - a cluster of aging apartment towers and townhouse complexes encircled by singlestorey mini-malls - what tweaks his memories is not the evershifting mix of languages and cultures. Riverdale's 7,500 residents were mostly born in other countries, as his parents were; only one in five speaks English as a first language.

Rather, it is the unspoiled nature just beyond the concrete.

"It was a great place to grow up - we had tobogganing in the winter and trails in the forests, the lake right nearby and a lot of space to play." The hiking trails, along with the air of mutual co-operation among the newcomers here, have drawn him back as an adult.

This could be one of the wellknown high-rise immigrant districts on the outskirts of Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver: Shop signs are in Russian, Spanish, Hindi and Urdu; windows above stores advertise Sikh and Hindu temples, Russian Orthodox churches and mosques; the public primary school, with so many kids from the Indian subcontinent, recently built a cricket pitch where a baseball diamond would usually go.

But it isn't. The apartment Mr. Yazdani shares with his wife looks across a leafy ravine to Stoney Creek, a largely agricultural community. Riverdale, a fastexpanding enclave that is, by one measure, Canada's third most immigrant-heavy settlement, is in the eastern end of Hamilton, far from the city's old steel mills and a stone's throw from the vineyards of Niagara Region.

Hamilton is doing everything it can to attract people like the Yazdanis. In fact, there is a growing effort by many mid-sized, post-industrial cities to spark a new wave of immigration. Also struggling, places such as Moncton, Trois-Rivières and Kitchener are doing everything they can to open their doors, from adopting their own de facto immigration policies to, in some cases, even going abroad to recruit new residents.

While the great majority of Canada's immigrants still settle in greater Toronto and Vancouver, secondary cities have begun to grab an increasingly larger share.

In Canada's rust belt, mass immigration is increasingly seen as the hope for recovery.

A thriving destination for newcomers in the twentieth century, Hamilton has been in a long period of decline since its heavy industry dried up. To city manager Chris Murray, a revived immigration program was the only way out.

"We kept keep running into the problems of an aging population and a shrinking workforce and the question of how we're going to pay for things in the coming years with fewer taxpayers," he says. "So you'd better hope we're going to have a growing economy. And how that can be possible without immigration is hard to imagine."

So, in 2012, Global Hamilton was created: a new department dedicated to making Steel City an immigrant city once again.

The following year, the department's head, Sarah Wayland, published a two-volume Immigrant Attraction Action Plan that was enthusiastically adopted by city council.

How Hamilton made its pitch

The city then went to work, printing a newcomer's guide to finding housing in 14 languages, and launching a simultaneoustranslation service so city resources could be obtained in dozens of languages. It also created an online portal to help immigrants find settlement services and a "soft landing program" to hook foreign high-tech businesses up with McMaster University and area community colleges.

Reaching out, the city then advertised itself abroad and set up a program that draws on local immigrant networks to get the word out overseas about housing and small-business prospects. And these plans are having some success. In smaller cities whose populations dropped sharply when big industry faded after the 1980s, these newcomers are discovering housing bargains and often better opportunities in places that are eager for young arrivals.

Mr. Yazdani's family is typical of this new pattern. His father moved here in the 1990s after immigrating from Lahore, Pakistan, because the rent was half as much as in Toronto and because he wanted to upgrade his educational qualifications at Mohawk College.

Now 23, Zernab followed his father's path: After high school, he moved to Toronto for college and got married, but then grew frustrated with the rent and isolation of the big city. So he moved back to Riverdale, found an apartment in one of its lowrent, somewhat run-down buildings and got a job with an online customer-assistance company.

Things aren't perfect: most of the accommodation is rental - many tenants wish there were condos and houses to buy - and it's a long walk to the bus station, but Riverdale is "a really great place to live," he says. "Everything is within a 30-minute bus ride, and you have great forests and ravines and trails and the rent is affordable."

Other communities look at districts like Riverdale with envy. Not all post-industrial cities are having an easy time attracting newcomers. It turns out that pleasant neighbourhoods and small-business advice, while helpful, may not be the big draw.

Margaret Walton-Roberts, a geographer with the Balsillie School of International Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University, has analyzed the success and failure of local immigration policies in "second-tier cities." Her focus is Kitchener-Waterloo, a former manufacturing hub that now faces challenges a lot like Hamilton's - a smaller, older population that is straining the city's fiscal resources.

She and other scholars have found that the cities with a decent chance of attracting and keeping immigrants are the ones with universities, colleges or teaching hospitals. There's very little influx to places without post-secondary education. So Hamilton (home to a university, a teaching hospital and two colleges) and Kitchener-Waterloo (two universities and a college) have done well - especially because immigrants tend to seek home ownership at high rates and find houses increasingly less affordable in big urban centres. A smaller city with a campus hits the sweet spot.

Education - the golden ticket

"The role of the university is a really interesting one," Dr. Walton-Roberts says. "As we were doing the research into secondtier cities and interviewing new immigrants, what came out was this interesting intersection between new immigrants who were also students."

A similar phenomenon is taking place south of the border. Neil Ruiz, a scholar with the Washington-based Brookings Institution, has found that the rust-belt cities of the northern U.S. that have avoided disaster since the factories shut down also are the ones with universities, because foreign students are the only group interested in settling. Some, such as Cleveland, have cast a wide net, setting up active immigration policies, including offices in foreign capitals, but only the students come.

The phenomenon is much larger in Canada, in part because Canadian policy allows studentvisa immigrants to stick around after graduation, usually for as long as they've spent studying, and seek employment or start a business.

There's a largely unnoticed trend behind this: Increasingly, immigrants to Canada are trying to use student visas as their way in. Because Ottawa is giving priority to post-secondary student visas as its favoured immigrant class, because universities are bulking up abroad to compensate for a domestic enrolment slump, and because university towns such as Waterloo and Hamilton are pushing to attract immigrants, the student visa is seen as a golden ticket.

"We've identified this parallel process," Dr. Walton-Roberts says, "of people applying to come to Canada to study at the same time as they were applying for immigrant status, and they were aware of the fact that finding a job and having your credentials recognized was somewhat difficult for immigrants to Canada.

"So they thought, 'Okay, we're going to come, we're going to study, we'll have a Canadian credential and then, if we get status, we can be ready to get into the labour market with a Canadian credential."

Immigrant-heavy districts like Riverdale have become central to this phenomenon. As in big cities, smaller places find that formerly working-class neighbourhoods outside their core areas have become focal points for new Canadians.

McMaster geographer Richard Harris and his team recently published a report, Neighbourhod Change in Hamilton Since 1970, which shows that the landing pads for immigration have shifted dramatically from the downtown districts around the steel mills to the low-cost housing neighbourhoods on the edge of town - taking with them the locus of poverty. (New immigrants, even with university credentials, start out quite poor.)

Failure as well as success

This shows the new reality of immigrants: They aren't industrial workers (although many still wind up in blue-collar jobs) but students, service workers, entrepreneurs and small businesspeople.

They settle in places like Riverdale to have fellow immigrants around them for mutual support. But their dependence on more precarious forms of employment and risky smallbusiness ventures means they also need help with education and social services to make their start.

The heartbreaking experience of seeing families lose their life savings in marginal business gambles, says Hamilton's Mr. Murray, was one reason the city published new-business advice booklets in several languages and created a network to help immigrants with startups.

The smaller cities don't offer the huge clusters of fellow expats who can help in the larger cities. But they are more stable and affordable.

"What's different here is that most people want to stay," says Mr.Yazdani, as he walks briskly home from the bus after a day of work.

"It's not perfect, but it's more of a tight-knit community than I had in Toronto. It's a smaller place, but it feels like home."

Doug Saunders is The Globe and Mail's international affairs columnist.

Associated Graphic

Flying the flag in the Riverdale, a high-rise neighbourhood in Hamilton that has become a beacon for the new wave of immigration washing over smaller Canadian cities.

Riverdale is 'not perfect,' says one resident, who left and then came back, 'but it's more of a tight-knit community than I had in Toronto.'


Montreal mayor's cry: 'My city is open'
Sweeping 1986 win by the Montreal Citizens' Movement ushered in era of cathartic change for the city and its people
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S11

He was an enthusiastic singer, a graceful dancer and a great talker, passionately expounding upon his vision for his beloved Montreal to the point that it was often difficult to get a word in edgewise.

Along the way, Jean Doré, the city's voluble 39th mayor, literally threw open the bronze front doors of City Hall after his landslide victory in 1986 and ushered in an era of openness, change and inclusiveness.

His predecessor, the diminutive and autocratic Jean Drapeau, had ordered the doors locked at some point, effectively barring the public from visiting and asking questions. After being in power for well over a quarter-century, Mr. Drapeau was ill-prepared for 15 candidates from the upstart Montreal Citizens' Movement (MCM), the progressive party that Mr. Doré helped found in 1974, to enter City Hall as opposition in 1982.

"We didn't even have an office," recalled Marvin Rotrand, who has served as a Montreal councillor ever since. "We were confronted with a municipal government that had been run like a small shoe store, with a dearth of sizes and different styles."

Mr. Doré, who died on June 15 from pancreatic cancer, was the MCM's mayoral candidate in the 1982 election, coming a close second to Mr. Drapeau. Two years later - with a full, coiffed head of hair, an ever-present smile and a fierce sense of justice honed while leading a federation of consumer-protection groups that helped workingclass families - Mr. Doré handily won a by-election and came roaring into the chamber.

"Welcome to my house," Mr. Drapeau said, by way of greeting.

"Surely you mean the citizens' house," Mr. Doré replied.

A lawyer by training, he wasted no time demanding an office and better working conditions for his team, which Mr. Drapeau, accustomed to having things his own way, refused. But Mr. Doré would not back down; instead, in concert with other municipal opposition leaders, he managed to get the National Assembly to pass a law requiring municipalities with at least 100,000 residents to devote 10 per cent of their annual operating budgets for research and clerical expenses for all political parties with seats, not just the majority ones.

It was the right thing to do and it set the tone for the eventful two terms Mr. Doré would serve as mayor. At once a showman and canny man of the people, "Montreal for all Montrealers" might as well have been his slogan and cri de coeur when he and the MCM swept to victory in the fall of 1986, taking 55 of 58 seats. He won the mayoralty with more than 65 per cent of the vote.

"Overnight, Jean created a weekly citizens' question period," recalled Mr. Rotrand.

"There were new consulting mechanisms on council, and he introduced boroughs to deal with the specific interests and needs of each district. Basically, we moved at lightning speed - from 1956 to 1986."

Michel Prescott, who was also first elected in 1982, was even more succinct.

"Jean oversaw a quiet revolution, urban style," he said, likening Mr. Doré's initiatives to the period in Quebec history that saw intense social and political change and the secularization of the state.

Mr. Prescott noted that it is ironic that the first mayoral portrait the public sees in City Hall's hallway of honour is that of Mr. Drapeau, who quietly retired in the summer of 1986, leaving the way open for Mr. Doré to succeed him.

"It was Jean who brought people in and made sure their voices were heard," Mr. Prescott continued. "Wouldn't it be a wonderful tribute to finally switch the portraits around, so that Jean greets them at the door?" Jean Doré was born in Montreal on Dec. 12, 1944, the only son of Jean Félix Doré, an insurance broker, and Thérèse Lauzé.

Growing up in rough-and-tumble southwest Montreal, he and his sister, Nicole, were curious, bright and learned early to treat everyone equally, no matter what their background or size of their wallet.

Young Jean excelled at school and ended up studying law at the University of Montreal, where he was president of the student union from 1967 to 1968. He worked on his English and his political beliefs while completing his master's degree in political science at McGill University.

He enhanced his résumé with stints as host of a consumeraffairs program on Radio-Québec and as a lawyer with a provincial labour organization, the Confederation of National Trade Unions. And even though he had separatist leanings (he once worked as a press attaché for René Lévesque before the Parti Québécois leader became premier), he never let it affect the way he talked to people or ran the city.

In 1974, while working with the federation of consumer-protection groups, Mr. Doré became treasurer of the new Montreal Citizens' Movement, a gathering of people who had had enough of a city that was run behind closed doors. Twelve years later, the MCM was fully in charge.

As mayor, he oversaw the renewal of the historic Old Port, inaugurated the Pointe-à-Callière archeological museum, introduced recycling and ordered the protection of green spaces such as Mount Royal in the heart of the city. Public squares were built, as well as public housing.

His initiatives included a program to promote equal access to municipal jobs for visible minorities, the seeds of Montreal's enviable system of bicycle paths and the designation of February as Black History Month in the city.

His administration also opened Accès Montréal offices to promote city offerings and to provide discounts for residents on everything from admission to museums to tennis court fees.

Mr. Doré also brought into his circle people who, in earlier years past, would have been left as spectators on the sidelines simply by dint of their sex or background.

Under him, Léa Cousineau became the first woman to chair city council's executive committee (the municipal equivalent of a cabinet), and Joseph Biello, an immigrant from Italy and budding politician, was given responsibility for a new portfolio called intercultural relations.

"He changed my life, along with a lot of others. When people criticized his changes or wondered what the point was, he was adamant: 'My Montreal is open,' he declared," Mr. Biello recalled. "I was proof of that.

There I was, sitting at the table."

Mr. Doré is remembered for wiping away tears during a news conference after the Dec. 6, 1989, shooting deaths of 14 women at École Polytechnique, including one who babysat his daughters, and for exuberantly welcoming Nelson Mandela to the city in 1990 after his release from a South African prison.

In 1990, he was returned as mayor with nearly 60 per cent of the vote, but by the time of the 1994 election, his administration had become tired and lumbering and a recession had left the city's main streets looking abandoned, marked by empty stores and For Sale signs.

In his bid for a third term, he brashly warned Montrealers that they should vote for him and the majority of his MCM team rather than risk a hamstrung minority council that would force the province to place the city under trusteeship. But voters didn't buy his pitch.

Four years later, he tried for a comeback with a new party, Équipe Montréal (Team Montreal), but ended up placing fourth. He moved into private life, working in the banking sector as senior director of business development for Caisse Desjardins.

Until recently, Mr. Doré's legacy was largely overlooked or taken for granted, part of life as Montrealers know it today. But in the wake of a series of bribery scandals that resulted in the resignation of one mayor, the arrest of another and a provincial inquiry into the whole mess, his accomplishments began to stand out anew.

Then, tragedy struck. Last summer, he was in shape and playing lots of tennis when he noticed his urine was orange.

Tests soon revealed he had pancreatic cancer. At first, he was angry. Then, he settled into a gritty acceptance, deciding to give all of his energy in the fight of his life - for his life.

Last December, he was honoured at an event celebrating both his 70th birthday and the 40th anniversary of the founding of the MCM. Bald from chemotherapy, and frail, he needed lots of cushions to sit comfortably. Still, he stood at the lectern with a broad smile and said: "My life has been a success because of you."

That moment caused former city councillor Helen Fotopulos, who first met Mr. Doré when he asked her to become his executive assistant in the late-1980s, to recall an incident from 1993.

As mayor, he had taken her to the Gala des Étoiles, an annual showcase for dancers from around the world. Suddenly, there he was with Anik Bissonnette, a principal dancer with Les Grand Ballets Canadiens, performing in front of an appreciative audience, dipping, swirling and always, always supporting his partner.

"He was a man for every occasion," Ms. Fotopulos said. "He could really rock and roll - or waltz, if the occasion called for it."

Mr. Doré leaves his spouse, Christiane Sauvé; daughters, Magali and Amélie; sister, Nicole; grandchildren, Luca and Anaïs; niece, Natacha; and stepmother, Thérèse Marin.

He will lie in state at Montreal City Hall today, when his family will receive friends and dignitaries, and on Sunday, when the doors will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A civic funeral will be held Monday at City Hall.

To submit an I Remember: Send us a memory of someone we have recently profiled on the Obituaries page. Please include I Remember in the subject field.

Associated Graphic

Jean Doré celebrates his election as mayor of Montreal on Nov. 9, 1986, in a landslide win that saw his Montreal Citizens' Movement win 55 of 58 council seats.


Mayor Jean Doré wipes away tears during a Dec. 7, 1989, news conference after the slaying of 14 women at Montreal's École Polytechnique.


Freedom has bitter, baffling taste for former Guantanamo inmates
Monday, June 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY -- This began as a story of compassion and renewal. Before dawn one warm Sunday last December, six inmates from the U.S. military jail in Guantanamo Bay landed at an airstrip here in the Uruguayan capital. The U.S. flew them from Guantanamo shackled and hooded, but Uruguayan officials insisted they be unbound before they left the plane, and walk as free men into their new lives.

These six - four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian - were all identified as former al-Qaeda fighters, and theirs was a significant resettlement from the prison that bedevils the Obama administration.

They moved into a house in a slightly down-at-heel neighbourhood in the centre of Montevideo. In the first days, the six - who had spent years in solitary confinement and on hunger strikes - took wide-eyed trips to the grocery store and walks on the beachfront. Uruguayans waved and approached to welcome them and wish them well.

They were to begin Spanish classes, and a construction company and other businesses promised them jobs.

The euphoria, however, was fleeting. Six months in, the men are adrift and struggling - baffled by Uruguay in the best case, enraged and bitter, in the worst.

As the U.S. government seeks somewhere, anywhere, to resettle the other Guantanamo inmates, Uruguay's story of transcultural empathy stands as a cautionary tale.

They wound up here, in a tiny country tucked between Argentina and Brazil, because the former president, Jose Mujica, saw something of himself in them. Mr. Mujica, who left office in March, was a political prisoner and survivor of torture. He spent 14 years in jail when he was a leftist fighter and welcomed the detainees personally to Uruguay when they landed.

Mr. Mujica is a strong critic of U.S. foreign policy, so the agreement to accept the men served as implicit repudiation.

Uruguay, population 3.3 million and a byword for obscurity, has a tradition of trying to punch above its weight in international affairs. There are also rumours that Mr. Mujica was angling for a Nobel Peace Prize nomination and thought that doing the U.S. government such a sizable favour might induce support for his cause.

He agreed to take them - but did not, it now appears, do much to prepare his tiny country, with a total Muslim population of about 300, to support and resettle six men with murky pasts who endured years of brutal interrogation and isolation.

Good intentions, poor planning

There was no plan in place to provide the men with psychological care, according to a former government official who was closely involved in the file from before they arrived in Uruguay. And language was an enormous barrier - only a handful of people speak Arabic in Montevideo, and three of the men spoke no English.

"The spirit was good," the official said grimly. "The execution was poor."

Christian Mirza, a professor of social work who acts as the governmentappointed liaison to the men, said it was unrealistic to think they would plunge into Spanish lessons and jobs. They were used to the highly regimented lives of prisoners and to trusting no one, he said; autonomy, and everything else about their new life, was almost paralyzing.

By April, the situation had deteriorated.

Two of the men had moved out of the cramped house and into a cheap hotel, but couldn't pay for it. The others were anxious about money, with no fixed support program, while there was a growing chorus of discontent from Uruguayans asking why they were sitting around expecting handouts.

The nadir came when four of them set up a tent camp on the grassy avenue outside the U.S. embassy and demanded that the U.S. government compensate them financially.

"It drove the Americans crazy, of course - you can imagine," said Alejandra Costa, the director of humanitarian and humanrights issues for Uruguay's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who now manages the detainee issue.

The Ministry of the Interior had negotiated the actual handover with the U.S. State Department, but didn't think much past the men's arrival in the country, Ms. Costa said. And homogeneous Uruguay, with its limited tradition of immigration or refugees, had few institutions in a position to predict or assist with what came next.

"A lot of people approached them and started covering their basic needs but they all wound up fighting with each other over how they would be treated, who would take them to the doctor: It was all a mess."

After three weeks of protesting, the Foreign Ministry persuaded the men to sign an agreement: An NGO with experience in refugee issues would support them, administering rent payments for two years, paying for medical care and Spanish classes. They, in turn, would accept the help, try to learn the language and work toward employment.

When then-president Mr. Mujica announced that Uruguay would be accepting six detainees, public-opinion polls showed the majority of people opposed the idea. There were concerns about security. The U.S. military's own intelligence files on the men allege four of the Syrians were part of a Kabul-based alQaeda cell. They allege that the Tunisian, Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi, was an al-Qaeda explosives trainer with prior knowledge of Sept. 11, 2001, and the Palestinian, Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan, left the West Bank to join the Afghan Taliban.

But when the United States sent them to Uruguay, it was with a brief letter stating there was "no information to indicate that they were involved in terrorist activities against the United States of America."

Benjamin Farley, adviser to the U.S. State Department's Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, said the United States transfers a detainee after conversations about the "potential threat a detainee may pose after transfer and the measures the receiving country will take in order to sufficiently mitigate that threat, and to ensure humane treatment."

Ms. Costa noted that the men have refugee status, and thus are eligible for laissez-passer travel documents. In a few years, they can apply for citizenship and passports; Uruguay can in no way restrict their travel. A U.S. Defence Department official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said that Uruguay has committed to making sure they will not leave the country for at least two years.

The men are entitled to family reunification under Uruguayan law. Two applied and were approved to have their families brought there, but have since opted not to do so, apparently concluding that the transition to life in Uruguay is too difficult. They could, in theory, return home, but civil war makes returning to Syria impossible, while Mr. El Ouerghi has said he does not believe Tunisia will remain stable or safe.

Adapting to a new country

Mr. Taha Mattan appears to have made the most progress in acclimatizing. He has rented an apartment, is engaged to marry a Uruguayan psychologist and is living with a fair degree of anonymity.

Mr. El Ouerghi, 50, married in June, also to a Uruguayan convert to Islam whom he met through the Islamic Centre, a room above an auto shop. Omar Abdelahdi Faraj is also engaged with plans to marry soon.

Two of the Syrians spoke briefly with The Globe and Mail in their tidy but dilapidated house, but did not wish to have details of their lives made public. They were affable and at ease, but seemed somewhat lost, still living in a strange sort of limbo. A third said he would only speak to a reporter if he were paid, while Mr. El Ouerghi declined to be interviewed.

And then there is Abu Wa'el Dhiab, who also goes by the name Jihad Diyab.

He is, in the delicate words of Ms. Costa of the Foreign Ministry, "the challenging case."

Mr. Diyab, 43, is physically debilitated by his years on hunger strike and under interrogation. He walks with crutches, is still rail-thin and has not signed the agreement with the Uruguayan government. He can be gracious, hospitable and wry. He can also, in a matter of seconds, be truculent, hostile, aggressive and accusatory. Anyone in Uruguay who deals with him routinely will say, first, that he is difficult and evidently mental unstable; and, second, that this is totally understandable.

Indeed, the most remarkable aspect of the men's lives in Uruguay may be the degree of compassion they evoke in some quarters of society. Mr. Diyab has attracted a circle of older women with leftist politics who provide a stream of food, electronic gadgets, chauffeur services, cash loans and other help. He expresses gratitude for none of it. They seem unperturbed.

In a wide-ranging conversation with The Globe, Mr. Diyab discussed his personal campaign to try to arrange the release of other prisoners (he keeps a range of aerial photos of Guantanamo on his phone); his concerns for Canadian exdetainee Omar Khadr, whom he referred to as "my son"; his rage at the Americans and scorn for Uruguay; and his burning desire to be reunited with his wife and three children, who are in Syria. "My human rights are being violated by this," he said, of the fact that Uruguay has not arranged for him to travel to the Middle East to meet with them.

Ms. Costa said the former detainees are an emotional issue for a certain group of Uruguayans, many of whom were themselves detained or had family detained in the dictatorship era.

"It's as if we are somehow fighting the injustices of the U.S.," she said. "But [they came from the war] in Afghanistan - it's a new reality in the world. Of course, we have to help these people - we have some refugees here who have been through some trauma and we need to help them get a good new horizon."

Associated Graphic

Ahmed Adnan Ajuri from Syria, top, shares a house with several fellow former detainees in Montevideo. Above left, Abu Wa'el Dhiab relaxes in the Rambla. Above, Tunisian Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi, left, who married in June and Omar Abdelahdi Faraj, from Syria, who is engaged, walk by the U.S. embassy last month.


'Used' cars boost sales at Chrysler
Top selling car company helped by controversial bonus program that leads to pileup of barely driven vehicles on some dealer lots
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B1

Chrysler widely touts its position as the No. 1-selling car company in Canada and monthly sales figures back up the claim. But an abundance of used 2015 and 2014 vehicles on dealership lots - some with just a single kilometre on the odometer - raises questions about the tactics the auto maker has used to keep sales humming.

Several sources say Chrysler, officially known as FCA Canada Inc., employs an incentive program that encourages dealers to buy new vehicles through their own leasing or rental car companies in order to meet monthly sales quotas and earn bonuses.

Many of those cars, trucks, minivans and sport utility vehicles are then sold by the dealers as used, with just a handful of kilometres on them.

These new car purchases by dealers boost their monthly sales figures and have helped push FCA Canada to the top spot in the Canadian market, even though no end user has bought the vehicles.

A review of the websites of scores of dealerships in communities as diverse as Nanaimo, B.C., Estevan, Sask., and Mississauga, shows dealers holding dozens of "used" 2015 or 2014 model year vehicles - some are sitting on low-kilometre cars and trucks from both years - with between zero and 200 kilometres on them.

Auto makers compete fiercely for sales. Such tactics as offering eight-year interest-free loans, cash incentives and subsidized leases are embedded in almost every vehicle sale in Canada as auto makers battle for market and segment leadership titles and strive to meet internal sales targets as well as those set by their head offices in Detroit, Asia and Europe.

But many auto insiders believe so-called stair-step bonus systems, practised by FCA Canada and a handful of other car companies, are leading to risky and questionable sales methods that are causing tensions within the industry.

Under a stair-step program, the vehicles that dealers buy themselves are registered, triggering a sale notification to head office, said several dealers who own franchises selling vehicles for companies offering such bonuses. They are called that because the bonuses rise as percentages of the target sales amount are met.

Critics say the stair-step incentive programs distort the market, get dealers addicted to bonuses as their sole source of profits and can leave dealerships stuck with vehicles they are unable to sell if a hot market suddenly cools off, as it has in Alberta and Saskatchewan because of the plunge in the price of oil.

"There's nothing illegal about it," said one auto industry veteran, "but it undermines the brand value of any company. Why would you buy a new vehicle from a car dealer? If you just wait, you can buy it at a deep discount used."

The FCA Canada bonus system is called volume performance allocation. Other auto makers, such as Nissan Canada Inc. offer a similar program.

"You sell them to yourself and then you sell them on the used car lot as a used car," said one FCA Canada dealer who insisted on anonymity but described how fixated dealers are on hitting their targets.

"The last week of the month is a gong show. In the last week, are you going to start selling cars under cost to hit that number?

Of course you are."

Bonuses to dealers under the FCA Canada program can run to more than $1,500 a vehicle or $1.8-million annually for outlets that sell 100 new vehicles a month.

"Once we register them they become sold, so the next sale is theoretically a used car," another FCA Canada dealer said. "It's pervasive, it's all over."

FCA Canada president Reid Bigland refused to agree to interviews on the topic, but said in an e-mail through a company spokeswoman that he estimates a "couple per cent" of the 115,000 vehicles in dealer inventories are vehicles with fewer than 1,000 kilometres on them.

Many of the vehicles are loaners or demonstrator vehicles, Mr. Bigland said. To be counted in the company's monthly sales totals, they must be put into service, registered and have licence plates attached, he said.

He refused to say whether there are limits on the number of vehicles dealers can place in their loaner fleets.

When asked whether such deliveries should be counted as new car sales, he responded: "We 100 per cent stand behind our monthly sales numbers."

Senior executives at FCA Canada's chief rivals would not directly criticize their competitor's actions.

But Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. president Dianne Craig said she is frustrated that there appears to be no industry standard as to what constitutes the actual sale of a new vehicle.

"There isn't really a robust process to be able to make sure that there's a level playing field," Ms. Craig said.

Ford Canada offers stair-step incentives, she said, but sets targets that dealers can reach with normal sales practices.

"If we were to change our plans down the road and our dealers became so addicted to that money for livelihood and their profitability, then that's not good for them long-term."

David Paterson, vice-president of corporate affairs for General Motors of Canada Ltd., said the company agrees with concerns that accuracy, consistency and transparency in monthly sales reporting are important to the integrity of the industry.

Low-mileage used vehicles can appear to be a good deal for consumers because they can purchase a "used" vehicle that has barely been driven - if at all - for a lower price than a brandnew car or truck.

But they need to be aware that the warranty clock on a new vehicle begins ticking once it has been registered as sold. That means some of the used 2014 vehicles on dealers' lots may have less than one year of warranty left on them, depending on when the initial sale was registered.

Dealers insist that part of their sales process for such vehicles is to inform buyers that they're not getting the full three-year FCA Canada new car warranty.

The warranty issue arose last year in Ontario, where the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council, which regulates some aspects of car buying in the province, warned in a bulletin that consumers need to be informed that the full warranty on such vehicles may not be available.

"OMVIC has heard allegations from concerned dealers that some manufacturers are requiring them to purchase or to designate new vehicles as sold, even though no bona fide customer has actually purchased the vehicle," the bulletin said. If the full warranty is not available, that fact must be disclosed prominently on the bill of sale, the regulator added.

Beyond being able to market itself as the bestselling auto maker in the country, one motivation for FCA Canada permitting the proliferation of nearly new vehicles on its dealers' used car lots appears to be the age-old reason of keeping cash flowing amid high debt levels at parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

"In our view, Chrysler has prioritized volume over profit - which, thanks to long working capital terms - has allowed it to generate cash," AllianceBernstein LP analyst Max Warburton said in a research report on FCA.

Mr. Warburton noted that FCA's profit is "bizarrely poor" in light of the robust U.S. market, where, similar to its performance in Canada, the company has increased sales and market share, and benefits from the boost low gas prices has given to pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, segments where FCA is strong.

One reason for its underperformance versus Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., he wrote, is aggressive sales actions that don't appear in the incentive data issued by industry analysts.

Among those actions is "flooding dealers with excessive numbers of service loaners ... which are first booked as new-car sales and then flushed into the usedcar market with as little as five miles on the odometer," he wrote.

His report included a link to the used-car section of the website of Parkway Chrysler in Mississauga, which lists 59 used 2015 models with fewer than 200 kilometres.

Parkway Chrysler is part of Car Nation Canada, a Burlington, Ont.-based dealership group. Car Nation president Rick Paletta did not respond to telephone messages. An e-mail sent to a "contact the president" e-mail address on the Car Nation website was not answered.

Other dealers whose websites show a number of low-mileage used vehicles did not reply to telephone messages or would not comment.

"I don't want to comment on that," said Bourk Boyd, who owns Team Chrysler and Ontario Chrysler, both located in Mississauga. "They're used cars." The Ontario Chrysler dealership shows dozens of used vehicles with fewer than 200 kilometres.

Vehicles with similar low mileage are also present on the websites of several dealerships that sell Nissan vehicles and cars and crossovers for that auto maker's luxury Infiniti brand.

Dealers said Nissan Canada is aggressive when it comes to setting targets and pushing dealers to meet them. The company bills itself as the fastest-growing automotive brand in Canada. It has a target of grabbing 8 per cent of the Canadian market by 2016, as its part of a global goal set by Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn.

Through the end of May, Nissan Canada's market share stood at 6.7 per cent.

Vehicles are not included in the Canadian unit's monthly sales totals until they are bought by an end user, Nissan Canada spokesman Didier Marsaud said in an e-mail exchange.

"We are aware that a few dealers choose to sell aggressively priced, new vehicles through their used channels," Mr. Marsaud said. "This is not a marketing tactic we encourage."

As far as Nissan Canada knows, he said, dealers are not buying vehicles for their own leasing or rental companies, recording a sale and then listing the lowmileage vehicles as used.

Associated Graphic

Dealers buy autos from their own companies to boost sales, then sell them as used.



Where Bay Street meets the tip of Labrador
Stephen Fay, head of BMO's aboriginal banking unit
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B8

TORONTO -- When Stephen Fay isn't in his office on the 17th floor of a Bank of Montreal tower in Toronto, chances are he's at a business meeting far away from Bay Street's skyscrapers.

"Let me tell you a story," the 57year-old banker says with a gentle tap on my arm, one of many over our lunch at Reds Wine Tavern, near the heart of Bay Street.

After a meeting in Labrador, he went fishing on a river near Voisey's Bay with a colleague, an Inuit guide and the guide's young son. While the bankers had topof-the-line equipment, the local kid was using a busted rod and rusted red devil lure - a humble red-and-white spoon - with great success.

"I just happened to have a rusted red devil in my tackle box, and I started emulating the little guy," Mr. Fay says. "And we cleaned up.

I'm talking three-, four-pound specks."

That would be speckled trout, a freshwater beauty that's prized among anglers.

His story gets me thinking that I should really be expanding my angling interests beyond bass. But Mr. Fay is doing something far more important than scoring a shore lunch.

As the head of Bank of Montreal's aboriginal banking unit, his trips to some of the most remote communities in Canada are essential in building relationships with native people who are looking for loans to buy homes, expand businesses, build community centres, extend water supplies or add tourist resorts.

By his count, he has travelled to more than 300 communities in his 15 years at the helm of the unit. The communities are marked on an enormous map that dominates one wall in his office - from nearby Six Nations of the Grand River, about an hour's drive from Toronto, to

Nain, an Inuit community located near the northern tip of Labrador that requires considerably more effort to access.

"You fly into Happy ValleyGoose Bay, and then you get on a little plane with a door that doesn't quite close and you fly for another hour and a half north of there," he says.

He hopes to extend his travels to the communities around the Ungava Peninsula this year, located 1,800 kilometres north of Montreal.

Yes, BMO has something to gain from these trips: Annual revenue from aboriginal banking has been rising at a double-digit clip for years, and accelerated close to 20 per cent last year.

That's a standout source of growth for a bank that, like its peers, is struggling to expand in a mature domestic market and slow economy.

However, Mr. Fay believes that aboriginal banking resonates well beyond BMO's top line. Indeed, he looks puzzled when I ask him if banking is good for these remote communities.

After a pause, he responds: "Yes, why wouldn't it be?" Access to bank loans gives communities the means to build homes and develop complex infrastructure projects, raising financial stability and supporting aboriginal culture, he believes.

Canadian banks have been offering their services to aboriginal communities for years, and fullservice branches began to pop up on reserves in the early 1990s.

But aboriginal banking has grown into a multibillion-dollar business that is becoming far more encompassing.

Lenders have figured out how to offer mortgages when the communally-owned lands of First Nations people impose limits on what can be used as collateral.

As well, recent land claim agreements with Ottawa and provincial governments have given many bands far more financial resources, delivering cash flows that can be used to fund relatively large and complex projects.

The Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan concluded a land claim settlement valued at $130million. Various Algonquin communities in Ontario recently agreed to a $300-million settlement.

"Aboriginal banking is not the largest business segment in the bank," Mr. Fay says. It has just 10 people - many of them aboriginal - working directly within the unit, with about 200 more feeding into it. "But it is one of those segments where investment is paying off."

Mr. Fay began working for BMO after graduating with an economics degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. He trained in Collingwood, Ont., became a retail branch manager, then shifted to commercial lending in Brantford, Ont.

There, he worked with Ron Jamieson, a Mohawk (and now an Order of Canada member) who eventually became BMO's first head of aboriginal banking. He hired Mr. Fay, with just one aboriginal banking file under his belt, as his replacement in 2000.

"I needed somebody who had a good depth of experience in banking and had a solid relationship with the bank's credit department," Mr. Jamieson told me.

"In addition to that, Stephen is a very likeable guy and he has a personality that I knew would fit in with some of the aboriginal folks."

It didn't hurt that Mr. Fay's comfortable in the outdoors, either.

He regularly makes the five-hour journey to his cottage near Espanola, Ont., where he fishes for walleye and hunts grouse.

But he is not aboriginal and there was little in his professional background that prepared him for aboriginal banking.

"You have to develop relationships, and that is basically what I was hired to do," he says.

"They're clients and I'm a banker, but the relationships have developed to the point where we know each other quite well. And you're meeting some of the nicest people you're ever going to find."

Donald Maracle, chief of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, told me that his community, located west of Kingston, Ont., has turned to BMO for financing homes, an administration building and a water treatment plant, and that Mr. Fay has always gone out of his way to help.

"We would consider him one of our friends," he says. "We have never disappointed him and he has never disappointed us."

J.P. Gladu, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (where Mr. Fay is a board member), added that Mr. Fay has the right qualities for this area of banking.

"You have to be a humble guy, but you have to know your stuff - and I think Stephen is both," he says. "He's a listener as well. And when you have those key attributes, you can do some wonderful things."

At lunch, Mr. Fay is wearing a suit and tie that makes him look like a typical silver-haired banker (he wears a suit when he travels north, but usually ditches the tie).

However, it's easy to see the qualities Mr. Jamieson and Mr. Gladu are talking about. Mr. Fay is a warm, affable man with the big hands of someone who is more comfortable with chainsaws and snowmobiles than chilled Chablis. He also has the endearing quality of answering questions with anecdotes.

When asked about whether northern communities can feel alienated by city bankers, he responds: "I want to share a story with you," and puts aside his lobster grilled cheese sandwich for a moment.

Soon after getting his job at the head of the unit at BMO, he embarked upon his first trip to a remote First Nations community in Northern Ontario. He was invited to a council meeting, where he watched the way people interacted with each other - noting that their respect for the person talking and their embrace of silent gaps in the discussion was completely at odds with his experience in Toronto's more rowdy corporate boardrooms.

"Some people want to fill those gaps, but in First Nations culture, that's not the case," he says.

"They want that time to think.

And I quickly saw that." Two minutes of silence is nothing, he adds.

He knows the lives of aboriginals can be challenging in Canada, but points out that bad news tends to get far more attention than upbeat developments, such as the opening of a new community centre, school or business.

"I have very strong feelings in that area," he says.

He's optimistic that things are moving in the right direction: Education levels are rising and greater financial stability is encouraging the younger generation to stay closer to home, preserving their languages and culture.

"Chief Louie of the Osoyoos told me that the secret to protecting [aboriginal] culture is money," Mr. Fay says, referring to the celebrated chief who has transformed a once-struggling band in British Columbia to a thriving base for a vineyard, winery and golf course - and millions of dollars in annual revenue.

Banking, in other words, is serving a social purpose that adds another dimension to his career.

"In the past 20 years, I've seen such an improvement," he says. "I wish I could live another 50 years to see the progress ahead."


Age: 57 Place of birth: Kitchener, Ont. Education: Economics degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. Family: His wife is retired from BMO; his son and daughter currently work at BMO, in online banking and financial services, respectively. "They saw that I loved my work and that my blood pumped BMO Blue. They took note," he says.

"They are each following their own path within the organization. I could not be happier or more proud of them."

Favourite vacation spot: Agnew Lake, Ont. He owns a cottage there.

Preferred mode of transportation: Cars and planes are a necessity. He prefers his boat, a 17-foot Legend with a 90horsepower engine.

Hero: Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek. "I am a bit of a Trekkie. The stories endure because they portray mankind moving forward as one people and shedding our petty differences. I find this very compelling."

Best part of his job: "When we close a deal that will have a direct and positive impact on lives. For example, when I hear stories after, say, a large number of houses are built that relate to children finally having their own bedrooms, this seemingly small thing is not small at all. It's huge in that family life is being improved. You just know in your heart that life will be better."

Associated Graphic


Restoration renews a landmark on Rice Lake
Catch the breeze on the veranda of an 1840s inn built in classical revival style
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page G7


Asking price: $849,900

Taxes : $3,248.00 (2015)

Lot size: 3/4 acre

Agent: Ian Bowen (Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty)

The back story

In 1843, Alfred Harris arrived in Upper Canada from Cornwall, England with the notion of opening a hotel in a land of burgeoning opportunities. His search for a location led him to the western end of Rice Lake, where he built a two-storey lodge and named it the Harris Inn. The fledgling village of Gores Landing was named after Irishman Thomas Gore, who settled in the area around the same time.

When Mr. Harris's wife and sons joined him two years later, they added a couple of wings to the building and hung a new sign establishing the expanding family business as the Coach and Horses Hotel.

In Mr. Harris's day, Muskoka was not yet established as a popular tourist destination and Rice Lake was only 15 kilometres from the east-west highway that ran to Montreal.

According to the authors of Gore's Landing and the Rice Lake Plains, the business flourished and, in 1854, Mr. Harris built an imposing family home set high on a hill, next to the hotel. The White House, as the local landmark is still known, was built in classical revival style, with tiers of wraparound verandas providing views over the lake.

Current owners Ken and Judy Ross say the house also served as a long-term residence for retired British men living on family allowances or pensions. The men mainly occupied the upper level rooms, which each had a set of French doors opening to the balcony.

The lowest level housed the kitchen, dining room and tavern, Mr. Ross explains.

Over the years, Mr. Harris amassed large holdings of land in and around Rice Lake - mostly as a result of debts racked up in the tavern. Records show that he owned Black Island, Sheep Island, Sugar Island and half of Cow Island, as well as about 500 acres on the opposite shore of the lake.

"A lot of the land he acquired was literally in drinking debts run up in the hotel," Mr. Ross says.

Mr Harris's original hotel was destroyed by fire, rebuilt, and consumed by fire again. The White House is the only one of the family's empire still standing.

In the dining room, Mr. Ross shows off a collection of vintage post cards showing what the resort looked like in the tourist era.

He also has a display of souvenir pink teacups and decorative plates that commemorate the White House. The pieces were made in Germany and likely sold to visitors, Mr. Ross says. Descendants of the Harris family have passed them along when they've returned to see the old house over the years.

The house stayed in the original family for 90 years, then changed hands a few times before the Ross family took over for 26 years.

The house today

Mr. Ross was a Toronto-based dealer in antique furniture in 1989 when some of his cronies urged him to look at the White House, which was listed for sale in the hamlet of Gores Landing.

Mr. Ross recalls stepping over the threshold into the living room and seeing the view through the French doors to a woodland full of black locust trees. He looked in the other direction through a matching set of dining room doors and saw the deep blue of Rice Lake.

"I fell in love with it and absolutely had to buy it."

The couple decided to slowly work on restoring the dilapidated old house. At first it wasn't even safe to walk on the verandas, Ms. Ross recalls.

For a long time, Mr. Ross says, he wondered why the Harris family had decided to build an airy, open house that seemed more typical of the tropics than smalltown, 19th century Ontario.

His research revealed the builder was an English relative of the Harris family named Richard Harry. Before arriving in Canada, Mr. Harry had built houses on Gibraltar, which sits in a subtropical climate at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. Mr. Ross figures that the Gibraltar influence shows up in the villastyle house set on a hill above the water.

"It's a tropical pattern," Mr. Ross says. "It seems like a house that the British might have built in a warm climate."

Mr. and Ms. Ross and their three young boys used the house as an all-season country home for 15 years while Mr. Ross slowly worked on the restoration. In 2004 they left Toronto and moved to Gores Landing full-time while Mr. Ross continued the refurbishment.

"There's a vast difference between renovated and restored," says real estate agent Ian Bowen of Royal LePage Pro Alliance Realty of Cobourg, Ont., pointing out Mr. Ross's effort to preserve the original elements whenever possible.

Today the White House is designated as a heritage house by the Province of Ontario, Mr. Ross says.

Guests who arrive at the front door enter a front hall with a grand staircase curving to the second floor. A palladian window lights the stairwell at the rear.

The house has a centre-hall plan with large principal rooms and high ceilings. Ten sets of French doors open to the balconies on the two upper levels.

There are five bedrooms and three bathrooms.

"I think the layout of this house is spectacular," Mr. Ross says.

The house has 2,640 square feet of living space on the upper levels and additional above-ground space on the lower level because of the sloping lot. Today the family uses the lower level for studio space and a playroom for the grandchildren.

"The dance floor is down there too - that's where the tavern was," Ms. Ross says.

The house's two chimneys serve six open-hearth fireplaces.

The wide-plank floors are original, as is 90 per cent of the glass in the windows.

Mr. Ross gradually repaired broken plaster, added insulation and reinforced the foundation, chimneys and fireplaces.

"Those are things that are now hidden from view but are done to preserve the building," he says.

"If somebody looks after it, it's going to be around for another 150 years."

The only concession to modernity, Mr. Ross says, is the kitchen.

In that room, cherry wood cabinets and an island are topped by granite.

On the exterior, acrylic storm windows held in place by magnets seal the original windows without changing their appearance.

Upstairs there are five bedrooms - all with doors opening to the wraparound veranda.

Throughout the house, Mr. Ross displays his own paintings and those he has collected over the years. His father was an artist, and A.Y. Jackson, a founding member of the Group of Seven, was a close family friend - as well as Mr. Ross's godfather.

"It's been the great pleasure of my life - art in all its forms," Mr. Ross says. "I'd love to see an artist in this house."

Mr. Ross set up his own studio in the house and he thinks the house offers ideal space for a studio or art gallery. The setting overlooking Rice Lake and surrounded by the rolling Northumberland Hills also provides lots of inspiration, he adds.

As it was in Mr. Harris's day, Rice Lake is known for an abundance of fish and wildlife.

"The lake is teeming with fish," Mr. Ross says.

The couple at one time kept a boat at one of the marinas in Gores Landing and often took the boys out for excursions along the Trent-Severn Waterway. Summer activities on the water include tubing and water skiing.

In the winter, the lake is the setting for snowmobiling, ice fishing and skating.

"We could watch our kids skating and playing hockey on the lake," Ms. Ross says from the vantage point of the balcony. "They had wonderful toboggan runs right out the door."

Mr. Ross says the home's perch on the Oak Ridges Moraine creates interesting land forms.

Wildlife around the lake includes turtles, fish, beavers, otters, osprey, blue herons and loons.

Outside, the sloping landscape is a mix of lawns and garden and long-lived trees - including black walnut and black locust.

Throughout Ontario, Mr. Ross says, stands of black locusts are a sign of early settlement. The Europeans brought them over and planted them around their dwellings, Mr. Ross explains, and a little bit of exploring will often reveal the foundations of an old homestead.

Mr. and Ms. Ross often walk a few metres up the hill to a charming country church.

The White House is zoned for commercial use. In addition to a grand single-family home, Mr. Bowen envisions the house as a bed and breakfast inn, a tea room or an art gallery. Towns and cities within an easy drive include Cobourg, Port Hope, Peterborough and Oshawa.

The best feature

All three levels have walkouts to the outdoors. From the top balcony, the view extends 10 or 12 kilometres up the lake.

Because of the building's setting, mosquitoes rarely appear, Mr. Ross says, so the family and their guests have spent many sultry summer evenings sitting on the verandas.

Mr. and Ms. Ross hope that new owners will cherish the home's storied past. Ms. Ross would love to see another family raise their kids there.

"It deserves to be appreciated - it's an important part of history," Mr. Ross says.

Associated Graphic

The current owner, an antiques dealer, painstakingly restored the 19th-century house.

All three storeys of the house have walkouts. The top balcony has an extensive view of the lake.


'Mr. Swing' was a mentor to young talent
Influential jazz drummer fought against racial obstacles to land career-defining gig at influential Toronto bar, the Town Tavern
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

When Billie Holiday performed in Toronto, she knew who she wanted to provide the beat beneath her voice: Archie Alleyne, the drummer of choice for touring jazz greats.

During his lengthy career, the pioneering musician not only helped to break down colour barriers in the city - becoming the first black performer to take the stage in many whites-only venues - but also mentored young black musicians and spoke up publicly on their behalf.

"Mr. Swing," as he was known, died on June 8 in Toronto at 82 as a result of prostate cancer, according to his long-time partner, Elvira Fernandes.

"Archie had so many of the right instincts when it came to playing the beat and keeping it steady and just providing the accompaniment you need without drowning you out," said Joe Sealy, an award-winning jazz pianist who had performed with him since the early 1980s. "There was no one better than Archie."

Archibald Alexander Alleyne was born on Jan. 7, 1933, the only child of Archie and Jessie (née Guppy) Alleyne, a biracial couple.

Archie senior, whose parents had both emigrated from the Caribbean, worked as a railroad porter and spent long periods away from home. In his absence, Jessie's relatives would help her care for her son, particularly after he contracted polio at age four. The boy had to spend months in hospital and he was unable to walk for a time, but physiotherapy helped him resume a normal life.

Young Archie's formative years were spent in the busy Kensington Market, at the time a crowded Jewish enclave that was also home to the city's small black community. On the Sabbath, Archie would earn a dime here and there, doing work that his Jewish neighbours were prohibited from performing on that day for religious reasons.

His lifelong friend Richard Blackman was there with him every step of the way. "When you grow up with Jewish guys, they're just like brothers. If you knew them when you were a kid, you know them when you see them now," said Mr. Blackman, a retired Toronto garment worker.

The first sign that music might be Archie's future came when he was 10. He accompanied a friend to a piano lesson and was enthralled, begging his parents to let him take lessons, too. They could afford only 15 cents a week for lessons, which he took from Edmund Ricketts, a well-known member of the black community who played and taught many instruments. He introduced Archie to the piano, then to the trumpet.

Lessons ended when Archie couldn't afford an instrument. So he borrowed his father's whisk broom - a key tool for railroad porters - and with a pair of sticks began tapping out rhythms. Eventually, he acquired a used snare drum and cymbal. The self-education of one of the best hard-bop drummers in Canada had begun, though he never learned to read music.

"When Archie got into the drums, that's all he wanted to do," Mr. Blackman recalled.

"Drumming was his whole life.

Next thing you know, he's working at the Town Tavern."

It didn't happen quite that quickly, of course. While his parents believed he was attending a cabinet-making course at Central Technical School and earning a diploma, the teenager was playing hooky, listening to jazz records and practising at the home of friend and fellow percussionist Ron Rully.

At 17, Archie landed his first paying gig at a teen social in a church basement. His father told his son to get a job, but it was tough going for someone who left school without finishing Grade 7.

He found day jobs in the garment trade, but his real work was happening at night, performing at parties and social events. He would play until the wee hours, go to bed around 3 a.m. and be up by 7 a.m. for his day job.

As opportunities began to emerge for Mr. Alleyne, so, too, did racial obstacles. Black musicians were routinely denied rehearsal space by white landlords. Most jazz venues were closed to black audiences. And nightclub owners required that performers belong to the Toronto Musicians' Association, which did not admit black people. In 1944, band leader Cy McLean, a mentor of Mr. Alleyne, became the first black member of the musicians' union. Mr. Alleyne became a member in 1953.

At 22, Mr. Alleyne was hired as house drummer at one of the city's leading clubs, the Town Tavern, whose owners were considering adding jazz on a trial basis.

Mr. Alleyne was tapped to put together a sextet; the Town's foray into jazz proved successful and gave him a steady gig for 11 years. Celebrated American musicians were booked and he performed with stars such as Ms. Holiday and jazz saxophonists Ben Webster and Lester Young.

The late-night jazz scene introduced Mr. Alleyne to Toronto's underbelly, complete with loan sharks, bookies, drug dealers, bootleggers and other undesirables. After playing the late set at the Parkside Tavern, he routinely accepted a lift home from a mob enforcer who frequented the establishment.

Mr. Alleyne also played in pit bands as part of live CBC television broadcasts, toured parts of Canada and entered the recording studio many times. A 1957 engagement with Ms. Holiday at the Stratford Festival was recorded live and released years later by Baldwin Street Music. He also played in U.S. clubs and went on the road with jazz pianist Marian McPartland, with stops throughout the U.S. Midwest.

At the Town Tavern, Mr. Alleyne met a patron, Airi Mantyla, a Russian beauty of Finnish descent.

They married in 1963 and had three daughters, Tyyra, Trinaa and Tessama, and adopted a son, Ronnie. The couple divorced after 15 years.

In 1967, Mr. Alleyne was severely injured in a car accident. After lengthy rehabilitation, he resumed performing but his heart was no longer in jazz. In 1969, he shifted away from music, becoming a partner in a new restaurant, the Underground Railroad, along with Howard Matthews, Doug Cole, and former Argonauts Dave Mann and John Henry Jackson.

The soul food restaurant was first of its kind in Toronto, and the partners took an active role in its operation.

In 1983, Mr. Alleyne married writer Katherine (Kitty) Black, a regular at the Underground, with whom he had a son, Aaron. Mr. Alleyne was interested in documenting the lives of black Canadian musicians, and the couple interviewed dozens of performers, recording their experiences.

Before anything could be done with their material, Kitty became ill, fell into a coma and died in 1999.

Mr. Alleyne and Mr. Matthews sold their share of the business to the others partners in 1982, and the drummer returned to his first love. He joined vibraphonist Frank Wright, pianist Connie Maynard and bassist Billy Best to form the Alleyne-Wright Quartet.

But he noticed that a change had taken place in the club scene; in the past, a significant number of jazz-club patrons were black - now the audiences were mainly white. He rubbed some people the wrong way when he voiced his opinion that blacks weren't supporting their own. "Take it or leave it. I call it as I see it," he said in response to criticism for his blunt views.

In 1983, he publicly challenged a decision by the Canada Council for the Arts to stop subsidizing jazz recordings, at a time when the council's federal financing had increased. Mr. Alleyne believed the move would have a significant impact on black musicians, a view supported by the Toronto Musicians' Association and by Gerald Parker, head of the recorded sound collection at the National Library of Canada.

The subject drew media attention and the funding for jazz recordings was reinstated, which Mr. Alleyne attributed to his advocacy.

A six-week tour of African cities in 1989 with the Oliver Jones Trio galvanized his desire to educate young Canadians about the African roots of jazz and contemporary music such as hip-hop. Within a year of his return to Canada, he had written and produced a theatre show aimed at young audiences, The Evolution of Jazz.

In 2001, he started the Evolution of Jazz Ensemble to give young people what he had lacked as a budding musician: rehearsal and performance opportunities. Two years later, on his 70th birthday, the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund was launched to provide financial aid to music students at Toronto-area postsecondary institutions.

He was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2011 and, until a year ago, performed with his award-winning sextet, Kollage.

Mr. Alleyne leaves Ms. Fernandes; daughters Tyyra, Trinaa and Tessama; sons Ronnie and Aaron; and eight grandchildren.

In the past decade, Mr. Alleyne's focus was on bringing together the past and the future. Ms. Fernandes believes one of the things motivating him was a desire to give back to the black community.

"He never forgot his own struggles or those of his parents," she said. "He believed if he let people know the contribution others had made advancing the cause, then his struggles would have been worth it."

To submit an I Remember: Send us a memory of someone we have recently profiled on the Obituaries page. Please include I Remember in the subject field.

Associated Graphic

Archie Alleyne helped teach young Canadians about the African roots of jazz.


Jazz singer Billie Holiday with Mr. Alleyne on the drums in her last show at the Town Tavern on Aug. 10, 1957.


Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R14

A Desperate Fortune By Susanna Kearsley, Touchstone, 498 pages, $19.99

The latest time-slip romance from The New York Times bestselling Canadian author Susanna Kearsley delivers her most endearing heroine to date: Sara Thomas is an unemployed singleton whose struggle with Asperger's makes her feel like a person you might have met before and most certainly liked. The story opens with Sara at a cousin's wedding, making every attempt to avoid catching the bouquet. "Catching things had never been my strong suit, and it always seemed ridiculous to go through all that effort just to field a bunch of flowers that, while pretty, only showed which of the women at the wedding was the most determined to be married next, not which one would be." These sharp observations continue throughout the novel as Sara travels to Paris, where her amateur code-breaking skills - an advantage of her unusual mind - garner the attention of a once-renowned historian who asks for her help untangling the mysteries of the 300year-old journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas. Within the journal's cryptic pages, Sara finds information with the power to influence the present in a dangerous way. As usual, Kearsley, a former museum curator, has performed feats of research virtuosity that elevate this novel from fantastic caper to intelligent read. A Desperate Fortune educates as it entertains, and manages to be wonderfully romantic at the same time.

Killing Monica By Candace Bushnell, Grand Central, 311 pages, $30

Candace Bushnell, the author behind the fabled television series Sex and the City, is back with a new novel and it's fabulous. Killing Monica is about an author who creates a character (named Monica) who wears great shoes, has an enviable life and becomes the champagne-swilling BFF of women everywhere. The "Monica books" inspire television shows movies, and cult-like devotion among fans. Sound familiar? But Pandy Wallis, Monica's creator, wants nothing more than to get out from behind her character's shadow. She wants to be literary, she wants to be taken seriously - and thus, she wants to kill Monica and move on to the next chapter in her life. This is complicated and involves sidestepping a potentially psychotic actress, a money-grubbing ex-husband and an agent who prefers to deliver bad news in person. Especially if you were a little disappointed with the way Sex and the City ended (we all wanted Carrie to marry Big, yes, but the message that bagging the man and getting a giant shoe closet was the only happily ever after a woman could wish for fell flat once we really thought about it) you must read this book. Killing Monica delivers a refreshingly different message that isn't even remotely about getting the guy, but is about getting happy.

Tides of Honour By Genevieve Graham, Simon & Schuster Canada, 432 pages, $19.99

Canada gets to have its historical fiction moment in the sun in the form of Tides of Honour, from the international bestseller Genevieve Graham. Graham lives in Halifax and has delivered a book that reads like a love letter to a time and place that figures largely in our national identity: Halifax in 1917. This is a city full of heartbreak and loss for everyone, but especially for Private Daniel Baker. He found the love of his life in wartorn France, but then lost his leg in a horrific battle - and with it, his faith in the belief that his love for the strong and artistic Audrey Poulin could conquer anything. Feeling broken and unworthy, he tries to push her away and the chapters in his voice ache with longing, self-loathing, hopeless adoration and fear. Meanwhile, Audrey, described at one point as having a "thirsty soul," is a heroine worthy of such worship. She loves Danny with an open heart and her chapters resonate with the exquisite honesty of a young woman who knows her own mind.

In the Unlikely Event By Judy Blume, Doubleday Canada, 416 pages, $34

Perhaps it should go without saying that this is not another Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. And yet, I still squealed with delight in a way I have not done since hitting puberty when I cracked the spine of Judy Blume's late in life - and, if you listen to the author herself, last ever - novel. Blume grew up as she wrote - as did I, and all my friends, as we read her books - and this novel is certainly her most adult of the lot, even if the character at its centre is a 15year-old girl named Miri Ammerman. In the Unlikely Event is about a historical moment Blume is familiar with: the early 1950s, when three planes crashed over eight weeks and disturbed the idyllic calm of Elizabeth, N.J., where Blume grew up. The book is more fact-based than any of Blume's other novels, but the research required to write it doesn't get in the way of the emotional precision this author is so revered for. The story is told from many perspectives, and at times I found it necessary to backtrack in order to get my bearings. But in the end, as she always has, Blume proved that she knows best; each of these stories needed to be told. The beauty of In the Unlikely Event lies in the way it shows how communities are affected by tragedy and fear not just as a whole, but also as individuals. Human beings experience events differently because none of us are the same: we all have something to lose that belongs only to us.

The Unfortunates By Sophie McManus, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 356 pages, $29.99

Is it possible to grow tired of reading novels about the spectacular undoing of the very rich? I hope not, because after reading The Unfortunates, Sophie McManus's arresting debut, I was reminded of why watching the mighty fall can be both a guilty pleasure and a necessary rumination on the rot that can exist at humanity's core. Is it the excess of money that draws the rot out, to bead at the surface and start to stink (Donald Trump and his presidential bid comes to mind), or are some people simply in possession of a blighted soul one is more likely to notice when it's dressed in Versace? McManus's extravaganza of a novel joins the once-great Somner family as they begin a descent that is perhaps inevitable after reaching such heights, and eating so much caviar. Lone wolf matriarch Cecelia Somner - otherwise known as CeCe - is suffering from a rare neurological disorder that is forcing her to accept, as she is shuffling off the mortal coil, that the life she lived as socialite, philanthropist and exploiter of weaknesses was devoid of proper love. George, her son, is possibly the by-product of a cold mother and an absentee father, but it's hard to feel sorry for him: McManus paints him in deliberate strokes that reveal him to be both repugnant and dangerous. Meanwhile his wife, a former coat-check girl with depth (no, really), flounders in the face of his staggering malevolence before finding the strength to prevail in a world where sins are never paid for with anything but money.

There are truths in this novel that should not be ignored about privilege, and desire, and how to live a life that yields something other than regret. And there's also a hugely enjoyable story, delivered by a startling new talent.

I Take You By Eliza Kennedy, Harper Collins, 308 pages, $21.99

There are two types of people: those who will love Eliza Kennedy's audacious debut I Take You, and those who will loathe it. There will be no in-between, I promise.

So if you're the type who doesn't like to read about morally bereft, self-absorbed characters, if in your world, all characters must be likeable, don't bother with this one. On the other hand, if you've been longing for a Bridget Jones of the modern age - but more drunk, way more promiscuous and without even a moment of concern about her weight or how many crisps she just ate - this is your next read. Lily Wilder is a hot young New York lawyer who is about to marry a brilliant and handsome archaeologist (like Indiana Jones, but with glasses) named Will. The problem is that Lily is incapable of being faithful. She loves Will, but this does nothing to curb her ravenous appetite for sex with other men. (And sometimes, other women.) I Take You is hilarious, deplorable and difficult to look away from, even when Lily is at her most appalling - such as when she accidentally sleeps with her fiancé's boss, for example. And if you can manage to ditch the puritanical urge to judge (not easy, I'll admit; she also tries to sleep with Will's best friend), what will emerge from the narrative is a sort of feminist manifesto against slut-shaming, a riot girl cry for help in a world where women have come a long way, sure, but are still never judged by the same standards men are when it comes to sexual freedom. Whether you choose to accept what Kennedy appears to be trying to say through Lily is up to you. Either way, it's one hell of a story and the time is now to tell it.

A world's fair focused entirely on food and drink? The Globe's dining critic Chris Nuttall-Smith heads to Milan for a feast and discovers there's more to this Expo than gluttony. Cue the dance music
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page T1

Food has nearly always been a draw for the great world's fairs. When they weren't gawping at the brand-new Eiffel Tower, visitors to the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris ate a reported 400,000 oysters daily. The humble hot dog, ice cream cones, Juicy Fruit gum, Dr. Pepper, Pabst beer and even popcorn all made their international debuts at expos in the United States.

I still remember begging my dad to buy us musk-ox burgers at Expo '86 in the Northwest Territories pavilion; somehow we wound up at the floating McDonald's called the McBarge.

Yet Expo Milan, which opened last month and runs through to Halloween, is the first of the world's fairs to be focused entirely on food and drink; its theme is "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life." Which maybe sounds more high-minded than it really is. Expo Milan is a glutton's paradise; one of the best parts about a visit here is the grazing.

There are more than 150 restaurants, bars, food trucks and stalls at the Expo site. Italy alone accounts for somewhere north of 40 of them; in one area, run by the Eataly grocery and restaurant company, there are kitchens from 20 different regions of Italy. So you can snack on a cannolo filled with ricotta, artichokes and cured mullet roe from the Sardinian restaurant, follow it with fried olives from Marche, a plate of lasagna from Emilia-Romagna, a whole burrata cheese from Puglia and a few slices of the savoury chickpea flapjacks called farinata, and then wash it all down with a glass of sparkling Franciacorta from the Franciacorta booth, as I did one gloriously filling day, before heading to "Vino, A Taste of Italy" and its 1,300 wines.

The Brits have fish and chips and Pimm's cups, the French baguettes, the Mexicans tacos, the Belarusians latke-like draniki and the Argentines ridiculous amounts of meat. The Americans brought hamburgers and lobster rolls, which they serve from a collection of food trucks.

The Belgians, bless them, hand out cookies and chocolate, and bring in a different chocolate maker daily to do demonstrations, but make you wait in separate lines for Belgian fries with mayonnaise (these are pretty excellent) and Belgian beer, and then another line to get the deposit on your beer glass back. This tells you everything about Belgium that you'll ever need to know.

If that's not enticement enough, the water fountains at Expo Milan offer a choice of sparkling or still.

Canada, meantime, snubbed this Expo. Everywhere you turn, people ask with pained expressions, whatever happened to Canada? (The Conservative government cancelled Canada's $25,000 membership in the Bureau International des Expositions in 2012 as a cost-saving measure, and also refused to support Edmonton's 2017 Expo bid, and Toronto's bid for 2025.)

"Oh, Canada has no food culture or agricultural goods of any note, or ideas about how to feed the world," I joked, just once. I introduced myself as an American from Rhode Island after that.

There is more to this fair than gluttony. There is also naked jingoism, ethics-washing (the Coca-Cola "pavilion"), hangwringing, do-goodism and occasional profundity.

Slow Food's pavilion extols the virtues of microfarming, heritage seeds and small-production wines and cheeses, which are available for the tasting; the Dutch pitch the glories of entomophagy (that's a fancy name for bug eating), seaweed ("Eat Weed Live Long," a sign outside Holland's "weedburger" truck announces; they're pretty tasty) and genetic engineering.

The French pavilion is architecturally breathtaking, a cathedral of bent wood and swooping archways, but spiritually it's all smugness and trinkets. Among its many messages: France has a low obesity rate. Yay France! More than anything, however, this Expo is an incubator for sublime little interactions and experiences, for fleetingly exquisite moments, for the sorts of things that happen when the whole world (or at least a lot of it) shows up in one place with its best face on. I can't tell you what they are; you'll find your own. Here in no particular order are some of the best places to start.

1. The most profound of the displays here is called Pavilion Zero, after the United Nations goal of ending hunger globally.

In one of its most arresting areas, an enormous wall of video screens broadcasts food and beverage commercials from around the world as market tickers scroll past displaying commodity food prices. It's beautiful and unsettling and deeply fascinating; a person could spend hours with the food commercials alone.

2. Get lost in a meadow. The United Kingdom pavilion is all about bees, and culminates in a Buckminster Fuller-ish "hive" that blinks and buzzes in response to the goings on in a real hive back in Blighty. That's nice and all, but the wildflower meadow and orchard out front are the real attraction; there are nooks where you can hide away under the riot of blooms, the buzzing of insects, and the lazy, high-summer scent of flowering clover. This is landscape architecture at its magical best.

3. Go Dutch. Where most of the countries here invested in fancy architecture, the Dutch went minimalist, with a series of superb little food trucks and a youthful, party-in-Amsterdam vibe. You can get a Beemster cheese sandwich, mini pancakes, beer, beef stew or ginger-applebeet juice here. That weed burger, meantime, which gets its nutrition largely from seaweed, might just prove to be one of Expo 2015's more lasting innovations.

4. Allavita! The acrobats, aerialists, clowns, dancers and daredevils of Cirque du Soleil are in their usual stunning form with this moving outdoor production that is at least loosely built around food. There's something at the root of the production about a seed and a plant and a loaf of bread and some sort of friendship; what you're likely to remember are the impeccably choreographed athleticism and antics. By the end, your neck is sore from staring up, your voice is hoarse and your heart is racing; as the sound of Pavarotti's Nessun Dorma rises - this is Italy, of course it ends in opera - you may find you have something in your eye.

5. Fly a jumbo jet in the Etihad and Alitalia pavilion. There are two simulators here and the experience is utterly immersive.

Yes, I know it has nothing to do with food, but who doesn't want to pilot a 747? Book in advance online.

6. Climb through Brazil.

There's little more to Brazil's pavilion than a hangar-sized steel frame and a sloping, jouncing cargo net suspended inside it, which you half-walk, half-climb through to get from one end of the pavilion to the next. There are plants underneath that you're supposed to stop and look at, but nobody looks at the plants. The cargo net is too much fun.

7. Bee active. The first 80 per cent of Germany's pavilion is a miasma of failed audio-visual technology and harangues on backyard organic gardening. But the last 20 per cent is weirdly fun: It's a live show with a plucky human beatbox and a guitarist, who cajole the audience into jumping and dancing and making barnyard animal sounds, all in celebration of bees.

8. Dance for a bit. The United States pavilion is staffed by a platoon of student ambassadors - outgoing young college students in preppy Brooks Brothers jackets and Ray-Bans. A few of them were blasting English and Italian pop hits on the rooftop deck one day and got up on a stage to dance; mobs of Italian school kids quickly joined them.

It's become a thing; you can't help but grin like an idiot and shake your hips. I've never seen cultural diplomacy quite so infectious or fun.

9. Vino: A Taste of Italy. There are 1,300 open bottles here from seemingly every Italian wine region, and an army of sommeliers to guide you along. It isn't cheap: 10 (nearly $14) gets you a nice glass to keep and three tastes. I asked one of the sommeliers which three wines she'd pick if she had the run of the place. She looked shocked, and grateful, that somebody would ask her such a thing. I marched behind her with my glass in hand, drinking as we went along.

10. Eat through Italy at the Eataly food cluster. There are 80 new dishes each month from a rotating cast of Italy's major regions (there were 15 represented when I went), plus counters devoted to wine, beer and aperitivi, as well as another that's all about cured Italian meat. With a menu this wide with different kitchens (as well as cash desks) for each of the regions, a meal here demands a game plan. But if there's a better place on this planet to gorge through Italy, I've never found it.

Associated Graphic

The hive-like United Kingdom pavilion blinks and buzzes in response to the activity in a real beehive.


Countries from around the world offer their best.


At the UN's Pavilion Zero, exhibits make visitors think about world hunger.

The Franciacorta booth offers some of the Expo's wide wine selection.

Agent provocateur
Although her work remains woefully misunderstood in English Canada, Nelly Arcan, who died in 2009 at the age of 36, might just be one of the best writers this country has ever produced
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R12

Breakneck by Nelly Arcan translated by Jacob Homel Anvil Press, 223 pages, $20

CanLit marked a milestone this spring, but you could be forgiven if you missed it. In May, Vancouver-based Anvil Press published the last of Quebec writer Nelly Arcan's books to be translated into English. (Arcan, who died at the age of 36 in 2009, published four novels in her lifetime; Breakneck was her third.) A trenchant writer on sex, gender, and death, Arcan was a great provocateur of French letters. But celebrity itself is a difficult thing to translate. In English Canada, Nelly Arcan remains obscure and misunderstood. That's a shame, because she's one of the best writers this country has produced.

For evidence that the Two Solitudes are alive, well, and barely speaking to one another, look no further than the divergent receptions of Nelly Arcan. Putain made Arcan a star after it was nominated for the Médicis and the Femina, two of the biggest literary prizes in the French language. As Montreal publisher Linda Leith wrote in this newspaper, "Picture Marilyn Monroe at the age of 28 getting short-listed for the Booker Prize and the Dublin IMPAC prize for her first novel. And then writing a second novel that gets nominated for the Dublin IMPAC prize again."

I couldn't say I enjoy Arcan's books - they're not designed to trade in enjoyment. It would be like claiming to savour a 166-page typewritten letter of vitriolic jealousy, recrimination, and passive-aggressive self-pity from your ex (which is essentially what her second novel, Hysteric, is).

In an essay titled Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: The Difficult Gifts of David Foster Wallace, Zadie Smith once remarked, "There are times when reading Wallace feels unbearable." Reading Arcan can also feel at times unbearable; she too presents difficult gifts: a disquieting world, presented bluntly, stripped of pretty words that normalize.

Breakneck is the story of two women, Julie and Rose, both of whom are desperate to retain the sexual interest of a man named Charles. At novel's outset Charles is with Rose, but after years together he has grown bored and quickly drifts to Julie. Rose forms a plan to win Charles back.

Breakneck is something of an outlier in Arcan's oeuvre. Her only novel to escape the sometimesclaustrophobic first-person narratives for which she is known, Arcan's experiment with the third person is shockingly straightforward, even structurally conventional by comparison.

The twist that takes this rom-com storyline into Arcanland is that Charles has a debilitating fetish for wounds and other signs of intervention: "for women with breast implants and for bodies that had other bodies in them that didn't belong to them, for swelling lips inflated with fill ... for the scars left like signs of entering, a call to fever, for implants, injected substances, hardening, wounds, injuries of beauty beaten into the body." How Julie and Rose purpose themselves to suit Charles' desire is the basis of the book.

On its surface, Breakneck is a feminist nightmare.

Lips are "a gash," "two pieces of meat that would drive Charles wild, at least for a couple ejaculations." Rose is "Charles' excrescence" and his slave.

A vagina is "a black hole," "a corpse," an "open casket."

Gender relations are not much better. Among Rose's bizarre set of theories is her belief that since women outnumber men, women are always in competition for men. It's a scenario and a vision of female sexuality familiar from reality TV: "Rose believed that women see nothing but what men want, they think of nothing outside of what men want."

Julie dismisses Rose's theories as those of a raving lunatic, but draws similar conclusions. "Each woman was," she believes, "by her nature, another woman's bitch."

It's dispiriting reading (Arcan is basically dispiriting reading, with occasional laughter) but it's not a feminist nightmare. Instead, it's the book that should have solidified Arcan's legacy as a great feminist writer. Here's why.

Arcan is known for many things: her past as a sex worker, her fascination with death and her eventual death by suicide, her deceptively slim books, their brevity disguising the difficulty contained within. In her writing, she is principally known as an autofictional writer. That is, while fictional, her bestknown novels are highly autobiographical. When Isabelle Fortier (pen name: Nelly Arcan) moved to Montreal at the age of 21 to study literature, she took up work as an escort to support herself. Her experiences as a sex worker would greatly inform not just her debut novel, Whore, but subsequent works.

Anglos are still a bit nervous around autofiction (witness the lines of questioning that met Sheila Heti's How Should a Person Be? in 2010). There's this sense that it's cheating if you don't at least change the names. It's much more of an established genre in French. One of the points where readers struggle with Arcan is in trying to find the truth in the autofictional mashup. When is Nelly, the protagonist in Hysteric, a fictional character and when is she Nelly Arcan?

This way lies madness. Nevertheless, there are passages in Arcan that, held up to reality, glimmer with truth. One such passage is in Hysteric, a novel about a writer, Nelly, whose first book, Whore, was a great success. She writes to her ex, another writer: "With me writing meant opening the wound, it meant betraying, it meant writing what was missing, the story of scars, the fate of the world when the world has been destroyed. Writing meant showing the other side of people's projections and it meant being a sadist, to make it work I had to carefully choose who I surrounded myself with and love them with incredible passion, I had to push them to reveal the worst in themselves and try to remind them who they are. You wrote differently, you had charm. You were on the side of superheroes, the good guys, Casanovas and girls wet between the thighs, writing meant writing toward the light.

Unlike mine, your writing was meant to dissipate any uneasiness the reader might feel, he was supposed to feel at home with the Casanovas and the hot girls, writing meant compensating, raging against your own mediocrity, and making up for it with heroism."

The story of scars, the other side of projections, a sadistic refusal to dissipate unease and compensate with heroism - this, to me, holds as a statement of purpose for Arcan's work. Great artists are often characterized as those incapable of looking away. In Breakneck, the ugly thing from which Arcan refuses to flinch is a society that hates and fears female bodies. Other of her works also delved into the construction of the female other, but in Breakneck those ideas crystalized into a startling image: the burqa of skin.

Julie, a documentarian, encounters Charles and Rose, fashion photographer and stylist, while planning a documentary about the fashion industry. She calls it The Burqa of Skin: "The aesthetic fixation, Julie submitted, covered the body with a veil of constraints spun with extraordinary expenditures of time and money, hopes and disillusions vanquished by new products and techniques, operations and touch-ups that cloaked the body in superimposed layers, until the body was eclipsed. It was a veil both transparent and dishonest that denied the physical truth it claimed it was revealing, in the place of real skin it inserted skin without faults, hermetic, inalterable, a cage."

The burqa of skin arises from the unbearableness of female bodies. "In all societies, from the most traditional to the most liberal, women's bodies couldn't be shown, or not really, not the real body.

The real body of women remained unbearable, fundamentally disturbing."

Among the ways Breakneck is like the rest of Arcan's work is its concern for characters' origin stories. (Always this interest in psychological development: Whore began as notes Arcan wrote to read to her psychoanalyst.) Charles' desires originate in a horrific childhood experience involving his butcher father's meat locker. Rose's theories too are the result of childhood trauma. Julie and Rose are not the same, but a chapter title ties them together - they were "Shaped in the Same Kiln."

What is this kiln? Of particular interest to Arcan is the moment a female child enters the male gaze - it's a moment she returns to throughout her writing. This, not physical maturity, is the mark of becoming a woman, and for Arcan it is a tragic moment because womanhood is defined by the imperative to be beautiful - a beauty "soaked in men's sexuality" - which is a kind of cage. Simone de Beauvoir wrote, "one is not born a woman, but becomes one." For Arcan's characters, becoming a woman is an unhappy process associated with restriction and oblivion.

Arcan wrote about what she knew from experience. In her fiction she got to rail against it. Other people found her books provocative, but as she once responded in an interview, is it her books that provoke or do we live in a provocative world?

Jade Colbert is a regular contributor to Globe Books.

Associated Graphic

Breakneck is the last of Quebec writer Nelly Arcan's books to be translated into English.


In the world of ceramics, there has been a curious - and compelling - blurring of lines between art and craft, Laura Beeston writes. While contemporary artists embrace the medium and play with form, artisans are elevating everyday items to objets d'art
Thursday, June 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

Veronika Horlik sounds tired of defending her sculptural practice.

The dark ceramic mass in her latest work is meant to evoke charred and burned-out tree stumps after a harvest - drawn from her experience working on reforestation in Canada's North.

Nearby, a bright, four-cornered, clay recreation of the universe hangs on the wall, inspired by a legend of a small prince from a Japanese video game whose mission is to rebuild the stars. The forms work in conjunction as something "to record today's world," she says, "as part of a long lineage in a continuum that will go forth for another 20,000 years."

The Montreal artist was part of a panel discussion hosted by the Gardiner Museum in Toronto on June 16. Horlik is one of five nominees up respect in the past five years. Bolstered by the "maker movement" and the resurgence of a handmade approach across media, they feel modern on the dinner table again. Ceramics are also increasingly found on the runway (Australian Kym Ellery's fall 2015 ready-to-wear collection features minimalist ceramic discs) and in contemporary galleries (the Division Gallery in Toronto broke tradition last year to bring together big names from the avant-garde ceramics scene). And even actress and writer Lena Dunham, the so-called voice of her generation, has tweeted about "the indie ceramics renaissance that is happening NOW."

This new age of ceramics heralds work that is both informed by and resistant to its functional origins: Artists are increasingly using the medium to convey their message, while clay-throwers for the 2015 RBC Emerging Artist People's Choice Award - a $10,000 prize to be announced in August.

You might think a group of contemporary artists, hand-picked by a professional committee for an exhibition called Reimagining Clay, wouldn't have to work so hard to justify themselves. Yet over the course of the panel, they're repeatedly asked: Why ceramics? Why ceramics now?

"This is a question you'd never ask a painter."

Horlik had assumed - especially in a materialspecific museum context - that the "art versus craft" debate was good and dead, and that they'd be able to talk about the content of their work instead of what they used to make it. But here we were again, stuck in the mud.

Ceramic work has undoubtedly gained renewed are getting playful with shape. Perhaps our latest spin around this wheel finally represents the reconciliation of the "arts and crafts" camps, or at least the advent of a burgeoning market that values the physical hand of an artist. In this tension between form and function, content and material, there's an opportunity: Contemporary institutions are embracing craft in real ways, while everyday wares have been elevated to objets d'art.

"This conversation still opens up such a big can of worms," laments Canadian multidisciplinary artist Shary Boyle. Exhibiting widely, Boyle is well known for her performance and installation work, but also for her direct take on the Royal Doulton Collection in 2006, where she shocked the art world with a solo exhibition at the Power Plant in Toronto.

After studying the time-consuming craft of porcelain lace-draping in Europe, Boyle took the delicate, 19th-century technique and created a set of surreal and highly charged figurines that disrupted traditional narratives of class and gender privilege. (Her Lace Figures show featured porcelain women with slit wrists and severed limbs, a two-headed bride, a spider lady crafting a pentagram.) A decade on, Boyle says talking about the arts and crafts divide is something that she's bored by, and is tired of seeing ceramic artists "shoved into this craft thing, [since] artisans are extraordinary artists in their own right."

With an ancient history that is both functional and ceremonial, it would be silly to point to the pervasive rise in ceramic practice and call it a trend. An industry dating back to roughly 24,000 BC, this medium is as old as human experimentation with earth, water and fire. But today, its "rediscovery" by a variety of new hands is setting it apart in the art world. "What's interesting about ceramics as this 'hot' medium is that it's been embraced by a lot of different artists who are not coming from traditional ceramics backgrounds," says Rachel Gotlieb, adjunct curator of the Gardiner Museum. "Artists are stepping outside of these ghettos."

Gotlieb believes the resurgence also has something to do with our digital age. "It's a reaction to and against the computer screen," she says. "That you can have tangible connection with the materials and object is increasingly important."

A tactile element is something that RBC Emerging Artist People's Choice Award nominee Lisa Henriques relates to. Her untitled porcelain works veer toward the functional side, with large vessels characterized by more traditional shapes. "I think it's about the touch," she says of what's behind ceramic art's latest rise. "We all have a need for that in the world today. There's a distance from that, although we need it."

Seeing an artist's hand in an object is something of increasing value for the functional side of this industry, too. This is why a limited-run, Scandinavian-style coffee set will sell for hundreds of dollars. Makers are increasingly creating everyday ceramic items that are not only beautiful and deliver a meaningful experience, but are utilitarian and heritage-quality - built to last.

But the other notable characteristic of today's ceramic scene is the move toward "sloppy craft" - things intentionally made to look poorly made, and artists that reject the aspirations for perfection.

Montrealers Valérie Descarrega and Camille LeBlanc-Murray, the duo behind the quirky new ceramics line Women on Pots, are a good example of artisans experimenting with this idea.

"The beauty of imperfection" and "celebrating human mistakes" is a deliberate aesthetic choice in their pieces of tableware, which are small, wobbly and interesting for that very reason.

More interested in seeing pots "as shapes more than objects that are useful," they swear by the aesthetic of "unformed" works, turning to pottery as a way to get outside of their creative careers as an interior and graphic designer, respectively.

"Pottery is a way for us to experiment and let loose. It's more of a playground than a business project or [a work of art]," says Descarrega.

"And there is a visual quality of something handmade that's missing from industrial things."

A contemporary variation of "art brut," perhaps, the sloppycraft sensibility also discards any requisite skills and training. "Artists can be more irreverent with technique, more spontaneous," Gotlieb says. "As both an aesthetic and an approach to handle your material, I think it really reflects today's openness to move from different disciplines."

Regardless of the venue by which their ceramic work is shown, many of the contemporary makers today simply appreciate that the material can be a very direct route to a finished product.

"The versatility of dirt allows for some pretty phenomenal object-making," says David R.

Harper, another nominee for the RBC Emerging Artist People's Choice Award. Using ceramics to create piles of bones, skulls and stones, Harper's work subversively replicates what you might find in a natural-history museum, and his "eccentric fusion of nature and culture" aims to give his objects new histories and meaning.

While Harper doesn't identify as a "ceramic artist" (a seemingly touchy term among many of these creative types), he does recognize the evolving value of his choice of medium.

"No one likes feeling like they belong on the outside and that they have to defend their material ... especially when their material is older than any other material," he says. "But we do."

The exhibition Reimagining Clay runs at Toronto's Gardiner Museum until Aug. 30 (

Associated Graphic

Inspired by museums of natural history, David R. Harper, a Toronto multidisciplinary artist, aims to remind us that the study of past events can be 'tactile and felt rather than just read.'

'This is a debate we shouldn't be having whatsoever,' says RBC Emerging Artist People's Choice Award nominee Veronika Horlik, when asked if she'd consider herself a craftsperson. She sees her work, inspired by the northern Canadian landscape, as part of a long lineage of ceramic histories.

Bridging a historical study of ceramic archetypes and techniques, the work of RBC Emerging Artist People's Choice Award nominee Lisa Henriques is rooted in 'traditional hand-building methods and wisdoms.' Working extensively in Africa, Mexico, China, India, Denmark and Australia, she believes clay is a 'common language.'

The modern and minimalist lines of the ceramic forms, wood and mirrors in RBC Emerging Artist People's Choice Award nominee Zane Wilcox's work belie its earthy elements. Upon closer inspection, the cracks in the dirt reveal themselves, adding a visually rich texture and giving the geometry a grounded materiality. 'It's like they could have been buried,' he says.

A connection to the process, product and user is the 'good and necessary shift' that Winnipeg designers Jenn McCurry and Lynne Mulvihill of mud + stone are seeing in the increased interest in ceramics. From a lump of clay to a finished product, they view this work as part of a 'slow art' movement.

Why we love the art we love
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R3

In this series, The Globe and Mail partners with award-winning platform Wondereur to explore the diversity of contemporary art from a completely new perspective. The Globe and Wondereur will approach radically different minds engaged in culture across the country and around the world. Each month, we will ask them to share with us the work of a contemporary Canadian artist who deeply touches them. This month, Globe Arts deputy editor Barry Hertz talks to fashion designer Tanya Taylor about her globetrotting childhood, Gustav Klimt and the work of her chosen contemporary artist, Jimmy Limit.

Was there art in your home while you grew up?

It was definitely informal, but yes.

Both my parents had travelled for about 10 years before they had me, so they had so many textiles and pieces of art in the home from Sierra Leone, Thailand and India. They had a mix of textures and as a kid, I considered our home to be a very artful environment. I was allowed to paint on the walls. We had an art classroom, too, and I think that's how I expressed myself. I was an only child and I found painting and paper mache something I did almost every weekend, a great form of expression. Surprisingly, there were not a lot of paintings on the wall - I think I made most of our things.

Do you remember any specific pieces from that art room?

One of the first times I saw a 1960s kind of pinup drawing of women, I asked my mom whether or not I could create the entire basement into a 1960s-themed room. And I started drawing very large scale 6-foot tall women on all of the walls - it took me months - and I would go down, paint them, invite my friends over and it seemed a nice kind of committee board because everyone had a part in making it happen. Then we moved houses and my mom actually cut out the drywall. So we now have it where she lives now - these extremely heavy drawings of these women.

I think that was the first time I realized that I could just think of something and express it through pure design. That was the first time it developed into the fabrics and illustration.

It sounds like the piece of movable drywall was a precursor to a Pinterest board.

That's true. That's when there wasn't a digital way to organize your thoughts.

Did you visit many museums or galleries while growing up?

I remember going to the McMichael Gallery a lot in Kleinberg - and when I travelled as a kid, in Paris, in London. I've never been dedicated to one artist. I just liked to experiment myself with different mediums, and it became more of a hands on kind of exploratory thing at home. My dad was in Shanghai for years, and I'd go visit him and see kind of the fabrics, for example.

There's a lot of history to being able to immerse yourself in different places. I was always looking for kind of the depths of colour or the depths of texture, and that came from travelling to places that did have that quality and that kind of story behind the art.

Were there any of those stories that played a larger role in your design work today?

I was obsessed with Gustav Klimt as a kid, and I decorated my entire bathroom with every Klimt I could find. There was this kind of romance to it, and there's a lot of texture and there was an interesting story behind him and who the women were. His kind of life really interested me.

How were you first introduced to Klimt?

I was in Vienna when I was about 11 or 12 when I saw his work for the first time. I felt like I was authentically connected to him, because I was in the country and there was a lot of his work in one place. Here in New York there's a museum, an Austrian museum, that has a lot of pieces, so when I first moved here I would go to the cafe and go and at the museum and have my schnitzel and look at a lot of the different pieces.

How important is travel to your creative process?

Travel is the way that I can release my mind a little bit. Others can do it in various ways, but my favourite feeling is landing in a new city, and having 48 hours to explore and become immersed in what their culture looks like.

That's how I build my ideas. I went to Stockholm very last minute in the fall, just because I needed a burst of excitement. I found every museum that had the most colourful pieces that I could find, and hit all of them in 24 hours. It was exciting because I could then come back to New York and feel full with ideas.

That's the most personal way I can develop my thoughts.

You studied finance in university, but it sounds like artistic pursuits have remained a constant ever since.I studied finance because I love math and I love the idea of becoming an entrepreneur. Finance seemed like the easy, simple next step after high school. I enjoyed it, but within two years of being at McGill [University] I needed to find a way to express myself artistically, so I applied to Central Saint Martins [in London] and I went there for a summer. It was such a great experience because it was very hands on. One of the first classes I took, you wore a white body suit and expressed yourself by painting different colours on your body and interacting with the paper. That was obviously the complete opposite of Accounting 101.

I realized that I needed a mix of both, so when I graduated from McGill, I went to the Parsons New School of Design in New York. I wanted to find a way to mix the entrepreneurship finance background, but integrated into what I really loved. I'm obviously extremely happy and lucky that I've ended up with a mixture of both.

Tell me about Jimmy Limit, the artist you've selected for this series.

His focus on colour and shape and texture is something that immediately stands out at me. But I think when you look deeper, and obviously after reading a lot of the analysis of his pieces, there's a sense of humour that comes from this reinterpretation of common objects. I think I see things the same way, in that when I start a season it usually starts around objects that I want to communicate in a surprising way. So, for example, last season in the fall I became obsessed with fishing oars, and these shiny sparkling kind of fish hooks. I interpreted that in a collection with these holographic prints, and blew out these shapes that felt aquatic. I feel like in his work, it's like one of his first pieces with the tennis ball and the pottery vase [which appeared on the cover of cura magazine]. There's something about taking two things that shouldn't be together and finding this dynamic - it communicates something surprising to the viewer. I think that piece does a lot of commentary around the internal struggle of this tennis ball suffocating this ceramic piece that usually stuck empty: this interesting relationship that he's creating between his pieces. His work feels familiar to people - it is reinterpreting something that is common in a new way. I think that's the goal of each piece. He's doing it on so many levels. He's trying to stir a conversation, and he wants to bring up ideas, or bring up concepts that you wouldn't normally attach to one of these objects. It's an interesting connection to what I do because it's not inherently feminine or romantic or optimistic, and that's what my work is.

But I like looking at someone who has such a different perspective and getting into their heads.

All while having a unique sense of fun and play.

He's not taking himself too seriously. I think there was a story about how he went to the hardware store and bought a couple of pieces and took still photography and then returned the pieces and disrupted the life cycle of this tennis ball. To me, that's just funny, first of all. But also, you're almost playing mind tricks on yourself and the person looking at the piece. I think there's a lot of thought involved.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Documenting the future of the art world, Wondereur is a ground-breaking cultural platform capturing the creative process of the most inspiring artists worldwide and providing exclusive access to their work. To learn more about Tanya Taylor's top pick in contemporary art, continue to Wondereur's photo documentary on Jimmy Limit.

Associated Graphic

Fashion star Tanya Taylor studied finance at McGill University before pursuing her design career in New York.


The building on a coveted King West intersection is one of the last of its kind: an affordable refuge for poor men. Now it's up for sale. As developers begin to circle, Arthur White examines what the future holds for the hotel and its tenants
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

For sale: A derelict long-stay hotel at the corner of King and Strachan, its interior design scheme centred around stucco, ceramic tile and wood panelling.

In Room 8, where I've booked myself for six nights, there's a carpet stained with splotches of white and black, a sheet peppered with cigarette burns and two pictures of the Last Supper - one in 3-D. It's one of the better rooms.

The price: $14-million. The Palace Arms went up for sale last spring, when owner Bernie Tishman decided he'd had enough of the hotel game.

"My family and I have been here for 53 years," he says. "I think it's time to retire."

If the market is any guide, it's only a matter of time before a new project arrives to energize this sleepy strip of King West. The 125-year-old heritage building sits on one of the last underused sites in an area coveted by condo developers (some of whom have already met with city officials to pitch preliminary ideas). With the city aiming to conserve most of the structure in any sale and redevelopment, this Cinderella of Toronto's Victorian period might be safe - but things aren't so clear for the tenants, who say they don't have anywhere else to go.

The Palace has 91 rooms, and the manager says they're always about 90 per cent full. The mostly middle-aged men who live here scrape by with rough jobs or disability benefits. More than a few are mentally ill. Many are alcoholics.

"The accommodations are basically for men only," say the rules, but young women are a common sight, strolling along the hallways, knocking on doors. One calls me "sunshine" and asks if I want to party.

Toronto used to have a wide selection of cheap long-stay hotels.

But many, like the Gladstone and the Drake, have since been transformed from dilapidated flophouses into swanky neighbourhood hubs.

Riverside's New Broadview Hotel, once the home of Jilly's strip club, looks set to follow. As it stands, the Palace Arms is one of the last of its kind: a refuge for poor men seeking privacy and affordable downtown living.

Weekly rates are $195, with heat, cable television and weekly maid service included. With rent controls protecting existing tenants, seniority is key. One man, who keeps the exact figure secret to avoid jealousy, says he pays well under the standard $700 monthly rate. He's been at the Palace for 21 years.

"I'm doing a life sentence," he says.

Adam Murray, 40, moved in four years ago. He used to be a banker, he says, then a crack addict.

Now clean, he does odd jobs around the building. A portrait of Elvis Presley overlooks the heaps of food packaging that litter his tiny room.

Mr. Murray's main source of income is his $656 welfare check; he makes up the difference in rent by collecting bottles and saving up tax refunds. For him, it's worth the trouble: The other options in his price range don't offer the privacy he finds here.

"You think I want to live in a rooming house with a bunch of crackheads?" he asks.

Mr. Murray doesn't know what he'll do if the place sells. He says he'd have to talk to his welfare worker, but isn't confident she'd be able to find him suitable housing.

"Nobody cares where we go," he says. "I would have to live on the street. I'm not going to move into a place where I would get assaulted or murdered or who knows what."

The Palace has been around, in some form, since 1871. In 1890, Mary Ann White upgraded from the wood-framed inn her late husband George built to the playful Romanesque Revival structure that still stands today.

Two wings were added in 1897.

Blue-collar workers from factories to the southwest - since converted into lofts and office space - used to stop by the in-house tavern. But now the Palace seems out of place, the peeling, palepink paint clashing against the modern glass and steel skyline of Liberty Village.

"It isn't an A-list building," says architect Tom Bessai. His firm, Denegri Bessai Studio, prepared a feasibility study for a local construction company interested in renovating the Palace. Despite all the "architectural offences" committed against it, Mr. Bessai still sees potential, even "a kind of nobility." With its pointed turret, rounded arches and Dutch-style stepped gable, the castle-like building is a hodgepodge of forms. Through cycles of renovation and neglect, it has blended layers of Toronto's history. He calls it "a bit of a mutt."

Mr. Bessai's plan would see a mid-sized condo rise from what's now a parking lot in the back, peering over a remodelled boutique hotel with at-grade retail.

He met with city officials to discuss the plan, but it so far hasn't moved beyond the initial stages.

The construction company that commissioned him is too small to purchase the Palace itself, and is waiting for a bigger developer to lead the project.

City Hall says developers have repeatedly inquired about the property, which is listed on Toronto's heritage preservation inventory. Mary MacDonald, acting manager of Heritage Preservation Services, says her office will insist that a rebuild incorporate more than just the facade.

"We're now seeking a higher standard of conservation," she says, namely, "that the presence of the building be strongly felt."

City officials will not disclose which developers have come by to pitch their ideas, and Mr. Tishman is keeping his prospective buyers a secret. But CBRE Canada, a commercial real-estate company, confirmed that they were involved in early discussions about the Palace.

Christopher Bibby, a Toronto real-estate agent, thinks a smart redesign on the model of the Gladstone could enliven the whole community.

"King West doesn't have the vibrancy that Queen West has when you look between Bathurst and Dufferin," he says. "So if there were a Gladstone or a Drake it would improve the situation, and I think residents would welcome it with open arms."

Mr. Bibby predicts that the Palace will eventually sell. A tight market is pushing property values in the right direction.

"It's a high-demand area," he says. "We're running out of quality sites. You just look along King Street West. Where are you going to build?" Two days before I leave the Palace, a floor mate invites me into his room, crammed full of religious figurines and stacks of newspaper. Wearing nothing but a pair of tight black underwear, he pours me a glass of homemade eggnog. He loves to cook, but stoves and hotplates are against the rules here. (Many tenants boil water in the hallways - the current is stronger there than in the rooms.) He complains about the price of stamps, the syringe he says he found in the washroom and his struggle to find a decent place in Toronto. So far, he's only found damp or filthy basement apartments.

Brian Paul, manager of the housing program at WoodGreen Community Services, has worked with long-term hotel tenants like my floor mate before. After Streetcar Developments bought the New Broadview Hotel on Queen Street East, they partnered with WoodGreen and the city to rehouse the tenants. WoodGreen's housing workers used a city rent supplement to win over landlords, while Streetcar paid for moving costs and deposits. Today, 19 of the 21 tenants who entered the program remain housed.

"We see this as a model we can use in other cases," says Mr. Paul.

For the Palace, the trick will be finding a developer willing to participate.

That might help the current tenants, but it does nothing to slow the gap opening up at the bottom of the city's rental market. The Toronto Municipal Code provides conditions for the conversion of rental units and allows the city to require their replacement. But because rooms at the Palace Arms lack kitchen facilities, they don't qualify as "rental units" under Chapter 667 of the code. With no obligation to make up for the loss of yet another long-stay hotel, a redevelopment would wipe out these 91 low-rent rooms for good.

Despite the stains, the faulty current and the kitschy decor, most of the men I spoke to are thankful that the Palace is still around. Otherwise, one said, he'd be sleeping in his truck.

As my floor mate with the eggnog puts it: "Heat, cable TV and a maid who comes to clean - this place is the best for being cheap."

Associated Graphic

The Palace Arms at the corner of King and Strachan is, as one architect says, "a bit of a mutt" with its hodgepodge of building styles, but will


Top, a five-year Palace Arms resident sits in his cramped room in the long-term hotel. The building has 91 rooms which management says are usually 90 per cent full.


Canada's premier science institute is trying to jump-start a revolution in physics, in part by encouraging the randomness of human brilliance, Ivan Semeniuk reports from Waterloo, Ont. For inspiration on the way forward, the Perimeter Institute is looking 100 years in the past
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

By any measure 1915 was a grim year for humanity. A century ago this week, The Globe's front pages were crammed with news from the battlefields of the First World War, the most mechanized and destructive conflict yet known.

Yet in the heart of wartime Germany, 1915 also saw two remarkable ideas glimmer to life that today rank among the most profound insights ever granted to mortal minds.

The first is general relativity, Albert Einstein's radical rethinking of gravity that gave us warped space and black holes.

The second is Emmy Noether's first theorem, a tour de force of abstract reasoning that demonstrates the relationship between forms of symmetry in mathematics and the physical laws that govern the way the universe operates.

Both ideas are being celebrated this week as part of a unique gathering organized by Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont. - a haven for those who ponder the nature of things.

But the point is not merely to recognize the achievements of a century ago. It's to channel their daring originality to help spark a revolution.

"We want to reboot physics - globally," says Neil Turok, Perimeter's director and the driving force behind Convergence, a four-day physics summit that kicked off here on Sunday.

The meeting's premise is that theoretical physics has worked itself into the tall weeds, getting more complex and less connected to experiment than it ought to be. To get back out, Dr. Turok says, the field needs ideas as rich and startling as those that came from Einstein, Noether and their peers.

He could well be proved wrong. Results from the newly upgraded Large Hadron Collider, the giant particle accelerator near Geneva, or observations of the deep cosmos, could soon show that physics has been on track all along. Dr. Turok is betting otherwise and there are more than beautiful ideas at stake.

While breakthroughs in fundamental physics often have little practical impact at the time they are made, they can spur extraordinary technical developments a few generations later. For example, the work of Einstein and Noether, revolutionary but without application in 1915, have already enabled the development of lasers and GPS navigation, two advances that would be hard for the modern world to do without.

It's impossible to predict what spinoffs may come from the next big insight, Dr. Turok says, "But I believe we're on the verge of similar revolutions and the people who are going to bring them about are probably going to be young people."

They may also be outliers. Einstein and Noether stood apart from the mainstream Germanic culture of their day. Both were Jewish and Noether was a woman. It was their extraordinary brilliance that won them access to the leading intellectual centre of their day.

Of the two, the 36-year-old Einstein was the more established in 1915, with a prestigious position at the University of Berlin. But he was still working with the ideas he'd had when he was labouring in obscurity as a patent clerk in Switzerland.

Noether, now counted among the great mathematicians of all time, was just 33 then and far less known. Initially prevented from earning a degree because of her sex, she was awarded a doctorate in 1907 - but without a professional pathway to apply it.

Noether was invited to the University of Goettingen in 1915 to work on mathematical questions related to relativity. It was then that she forged a sweeping connection between mathematical symmetry and the so-called conservation laws of physics (such as the rule that energy can't be created or destroyed). Essentially, Noether handed physicists a tool for uncovering other rules that govern the fundamental particles of matter.

"It underlies our entire way of thinking," says Ruth Gregory, a professor of physics at Britain's Durham University, who came to Perimeter this week to speak about Noether's enduring impact.

That way of thinking led physicists to postulate the existence of the Higgs boson in 1964. The particle's discovery at the Large Hadron Collider made front-page news in 2012, but it has so far left theorists without any new clues that could take them further.

That's why Dr. Turok wants the physicists to get more creative, with Perimeter leading the charge. Central to that effort is the need to identify and foster young people who are bright enough to understand where physics is at today, but bold enough to turn it on its head.

Shaking up the status quo has been part of Perimeter's DNA since the institute was founded fifteen years ago with a $100-million donation from former BlackBerry CEO Mike Lazaridis (he has since donated another $70-million). In its pursuit of brilliant minds, Perimeter has continued to pursue both public and private dollars. This week, the institute announced it will receive more than $4-million to support its efforts, including three new faculty chairs, underwritten by Gluskin Sheff, a Bay Street investment firm; oil and gas magnate Clayton Riddell; and Alberta-based Cenovus Energy Inc. Donations from the Godsoe Family Foundation and RBC will go toward student programs.

The programs are not an afterthought, but a key part of Perimeter's strategy, says Dr. Turok. The institute's intensive 10-month master's course has become a magnet for international students whose promise might otherwise have escaped attention.

Among this year's graduates is Vasudev Shyam, a 19-year-old who entered straight out of high school in India. He discovered Perimeter by watching lectures from the institute's video archive.

"I watched these things and I eventually realized that this was probably a class that someone was sitting in," he says. He is now staying on to do a PhD with a focus on shape dynamics, a different take on relativity partly developed at Perimeter.

The challenge in working with such individuals, says James Forrest, who runs the institute's academic programs, is "how do you teach physics to the people who are already good at it?" It's a dilemma universities seldom worry about - but for Perimeter, which aims to optimize the randomness of human brilliance, the question is crucial.

Another way in which the institute has tried to leverage the global talent pool is to bring in more female researchers. Women are conspicuously underrepresented in physics, but through a funding stream called the Emmy Noether Circle the institute has significantly boosted its share of young female theorists.

"They're highly sought after by many institutions," said Patrice Merrin, a Toronto executive who helps oversee the effort. But at Perimeter, she says, "I think we have a demonstrated community that is intellectually welcoming."

Yet while the brain power streaming into Perimeter and other institutions today is more diverse, better trained and selected from a vastly larger population than German-speaking Europe a century ago, physics has not been leaping forward in direct proportion.

Dr. Turok hopes this week's meeting will help turn the corner by refocusing the community and perhaps triggering the right individual in just the right way.

"In the end, it comes down to a flash of inspiration," he says. "That's the nature of theoretical physics." Einstein's field equations What it means The entire set of field equations for general relativity can be expressed in this compact form, with the left side describing the precise way in which space and time can be bent. The right side shows how matter moves under the influence of gravity. Together they show that gravity is the product of an interaction between matter and space, with space guiding the path that matter takes while matter creates gravitational pockets that anyone in a spacecraft would require energy to climb out of. The theory shows that light is affected by gravity in the same way and bends when it passes by a heavy mass. A black hole is what happens when matter creates a pocket with sides so steep not even light can escape it.

Noether's fundamental identity What it means This expression lies at the heart of Noether's first theorem.

The left side is a group of mathematical entities that exhibit symmetry when their value goes to zero. When that's the case it implies that a property of nature described on the right side of the equation is unchanging and must be a law of physics. For example, the existence of a mathematical symmetry related to rotation is directly linked to what is known as the conservation of angular momentum - the reason that spinning tops tend not to fall down. The same approach can be used to deduce more subtle laws about the behaviour of particles and forces.

Associated Graphic

German mathematician Emmy Noether conducted ground-break king work in abstract algebra around the same time Albert Einstein developed of general relativity, which explains gravity in terms of curved space-time. Einstein's famous E=MC2 equation, first published in 1905, appears in this manuscript written by the physicist in 1912.



'The best story wins'
Social media has opened the door for patients like baby Delfina to solicit scarce organ donations. But even as Facebook leads to life-saving operations, transplant experts worry that the most savvy campaigners are bypassing those most in need
Monday, June 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

In late April, seven-month-old Delfina Budziak moved into Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children to wait for a donation to replace her failing liver.

Less than three weeks later, her father, Peter Budziak, heard from a co-worker that Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk needed a liver, too. A public appeal made on Melnyk's behalf, at a news conference and shared on his hockey team's widely followed Facebook and Twitter accounts, attracted more than 500 people willing to offer up part of their livers.

The hockey magnate didn't cross Budziak's mind again until Delfina's mother was initially ruled out as a suitable match for Delfina, who was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a condition in which the bile ducts of the liver are blocked or not fully developed. Budziak pulled out his mobile phone and tapped out a plea on his Facebook page, and asked a few friends to spread the word.

The tactic had worked for Melnyk, he thought: "Maybe that can work for us."

But even as it serves as an inspiration for some, Melnyk's case still makes others uneasy. It highlights an issue that many in the field of organ transplantation are now trying to grapple with: how to approach public solicitations for live organ donors in the age of social media. And it raises a thorny debate around whether an individual's popularity, social status or media savvy gives him or her an unfair advantage.

Melnyk's public appeal resulted in an anonymous donor stepping forward to save his life, "and that was fantastic," says Dr. Steven Paraskevas, president of the Canadian Society of Transplantation, the national organization of transplantation professionals.

"On the other hand, someone may be still waiting for a liver somewhere and say, 'What about me?' "

Answering such questions is complicated by the fact that policies and protocols for dealing with live organ donations are left up to the individual transplant programs across Canada - and not everyone is on the same page.

This lack of consistency was underscored by the case of a British Columbia baby in Edmonton that made headlines earlier this month. A public appeal to find a liver donor for Curtis and Meredith Carlow's eight-month-old daughter, Naomi, was thwarted because Alberta Health Services currently accepts liver donations only from living donors who have a close relationship with the recipient.

That policy nullified the possibility of using an anonymous living donor, unlike what Melnyk had done in Ontario just weeks earlier. (Alberta Health Services declined an interview but issued an e-mail statement, saying it is reviewing its living liver-donation protocols and procedures.)

"Having the ability to reach more people - is it something that gives someone an advantage that would be considered unfair or inappropriate? That's where it gets a little bit murky," says Paraskevas.

In Canada, most transplants involve organs from deceased donors, which must be given to whoever is first on the various provincial waiting lists or in the most urgent need.

Transplants can be performed with organs that come from live donors, too - with kidneys, a portion of one's liver and, on very rare occasions, lungs. In the majority of these livingdonor transplants, donors are family members or friends of the recipient. As Paraskevas explains, close relationships between donor and recipient are welcomed, since it can be considered in the donor's interest to help a close relative or friend.

Regularly, although infrequently, some living organ donations are made with no specific conditions about who receives the organ. These types of so-called anonymous undirected donations are then treated the same way as organs from deceased donors; they go to whoever's been waiting longest or is in the greatest need.

But questions of fairness arise when strangers direct their organ donations to a specific recipient, which is what happens with public solicitations, Paraskevas explains.

"The question is, can you know someone who you only know through social media?

And if you're going to risk your life to give them a kidney, or risk it even more to give them half your liver, should you know them better than that? And if you don't, aren't you really just giving an organ to whoever?" he says, adding, "If you're giving an organ to whoever, maybe we [transplant professionals] should be allowed to decide where it goes."

To address some of these issues, the Canadian Society of Transplantation is hoping to draw up some guidelines to present to its members at its annual meeting this October, Paraskevas says. The goal is not to discourage any kind of organ donation, he emphasizes, but to determine how transplant teams could optimize them for the public good.

"As far as we're concerned in the transplant centres, a patient's story isn't part of the allocation of organs. We don't give them to the best story or the biggest heartbreak," he says.

"But what happens on social media is that the best story wins."

It won't be easy reaching a consensus. According to Linda Wright, director of bioethics at Toronto's University Health Network, social media is merely an extension of how people have always sought out living donors, through word of mouth, over the telephone, through notices in community newspapers or through their churches.

Social media, however, can expedite the process, which is particularly helpful for patients waiting for a liver, whose conditions may be more urgent, Wright says.

She notes that people are now accustomed to using Facebook and other sites to stay in touch and maintain relationships anyway. "Why not use it for this, too?" Not only do public solicitations help increase the chances of someone finding a donor, they also tend to encourage additional donors to come forward, who can potentially help other people in need, Wright says. Moreover, a successful match takes the recipient off the waiting list for organs from deceased donors.

Approximately 4,500 Canadians are waiting for an organ transplant. The vast majority of them are waiting for kidney donations. According to the Canadian Blood Services National Organ Waitlist, 815 patients are waiting for other organs, including heart, lung, liver and small bowel.

For Peter Budziak, posting Delfina's story on Facebook was also far less difficult than individually asking friends and relatives to help his daughter. "I just didn't want to go through that awkwardness of having to ask people one-on-one - not only awkwardness for me, but obviously awkwardness for them. Because then they would maybe feel pressured to say yes."

While he initially hoped his Facebook post might be answered by cousins or other people within his social network, his appeal quickly took a life of its own. It spread online and was picked up by newspapers and television and radio stations.

The family received more than 1,100 e-mails from people interested in helping Delfina.

About 30 of them took the next step toward being evaluated by filling out a health-history form and sending it to Toronto General Hospital, part of the University Health Network that also handled Melnyk's transplant. Based on the urgency of a case, rather than the publicity it generates, the transplant program's living-donor assessment team may bring in extra people to help sort through the applicants and narrow the field.

Before proceeding with donor evaluation, a suitable candidate needs to undergo blood-type testing and blood work. Further testing would require an electrocardiogram and chest X-ray, CT (computerized tomography) scan, ultrasound and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and, sometimes, a liver biopsy, where a tiny piece of the liver is removed and tested. Only about 20 per cent to 30 per cent of interested donors actually end up undergoing surgery to donate part of their livers, according to Toronto General Hospital.

Ultimately, the social-media campaign was unnecessary, as Delfina received a successful liver transplant from her mother earlier this month. But hoping to make the most of the interest they've generated, the Budziaks have been encouraging those who contacted them to register as organ donors in the event of their deaths or even consider becoming living donors to other recipients.

"There can only be one donor for Delfina. That leaves 1,099 other people who could possibly donate to someone else," Budziak says.

Associated Graphic

When Delfina Amores was two months old, it was discovered she had biliary artesia and needed a liver transplant. The family received more than 1,100 responses to a Facebook post searching for donors.


For Delfina Budziak's family, posting a request for potential liver donors on Facebook was far less difficult than individually asking friends and relatives to help her.


A public appeal helped Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk find an organ donor.


Racked by violence, Kenya struggles to hold its economic lead
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B1

NAIROBI -- Getting into East Africa's biggest shopping mall is no easy matter. Guards block your car, fling open the doors, rummage through the trunk and glove compartment and check beneath your car with a bombdetecting mirror before you are finally granted entry to the parking garage.

Visitors suffer a similar gauntlet at Nairobi's main airport, and its leading business and tourist hotels, ever since a wave of terrorist attacks on "soft targets" across Kenya, including coastal villages, a northern university and the upscale Westgate shopping mall in the capital.

The attacks have devastated Kenya's tourism industry, triggering the loss of an estimated 60,000 jobs in coastal resorts alone.

Yet the retail sector is thriving, despite Westgate and other attacks, showing the resilience that Kenya will need if it hopes to remain among Africa's economic powerhouses.

The Garden City mall, billing itself as the largest in East Africa with 33,000 square metres of shopping, opened its doors in late May and already has shoppers flocking through its doors, even though half of its shops aren't open yet.

Among the biggest advantages of the $250-million (U.S.) mall is its location on an eight-lane highway, one of the many road and railway projects that are fuelling Kenya's economic growth.

"Super Deals on the Super Highway," say the sales tags on discount TV sets at the popular Nakumatt department store in the mall."The growing middle class is driving this," says Justin Melvin, general manager of Kuku Foods, which opened a KFC fastfood outlet in Garden City this month, its seventh in the country so far. "Expectations are higher these days. I think you'll see the top end of retail coming here, too."

Later this year, Garden City will lose its regional leadership to an even bigger mall, Two Rivers, with 62,000 square metres of shops, in an affluent district of Nairobi. The French hypermarket chain Carrefour is planning to open two outlets in Nairobi. And on July 1, the Westgate mall itself is scheduled to reopen, less than two years after the attack by alShabab gunmen that killed 67 people.

While most of its shops won't be ready for business by then, Westgate's reopening will be a rebirth for the trend-setter of Kenya's retail sector. Construction noise is audible behind a tall metal fence at Westgate these days as workers apply the final touches.

"Westgate will attract people - Kenyans have very short memories," Aly-Khan Satchu, a Nairobi investment adviser says. "There's an excitement around the retail sector. I can't tell you the number of big retail brands that have contacted me and asked how they can enter. It's sky-high."

In another sign of Kenya's economic vitality, U.S. President Barack Obama is due to visit Nairobi next month to attend an entrepreneurship summit. Kenya's economic potential is too big for the Americans and other foreign investors to ignore.

In a report this month, the World Bank forecast 6-per-cent growth for Kenya this year, followed by 6.6 per cent next year.

One of the biggest reasons is a $4-billion railway line, now under construction with Chinese financing and contractors, connecting the port of Mombasa to Nairobi and then to the Ugandan border.

Tourism slump

Yet the boom in retail and infrastructure is undermined by bad news in two of Kenya's most crucial sectors: the energy industry, jeopardized by low global oil prices and a delayed pipeline, and the tourism sector, severely damaged by the terrorist attacks and a series of travel warnings by Western governments, including Canada.

The terrorism issue, along with the closely linked issue of Kenya's military intervention in Somalia, has led to an identity crisis here. As the attacks continue, and as a wave of arrests and alleged extra-judicial killings by Kenyan security forces provokes its own grievances, Kenya's tradition of religious and ethnic tolerance is under new pressure.

This, in turn, could spur more violence and political tension, weakening the stability that the country needs for its growth. The security measures at the entrances of hotels and airports are an attempt to reassure foreign tourists, but so far they aren't sufficient to lure them back.

Tourism was already declining last year, but now the decline is gathering speed. Kenya's visitor numbers dropped by 25 per cent in the first five months of this year. British visitors, the biggest contingent of tourists here, have fallen by an even steeper 35 per cent this year.

Mombasa, the historic port and trading city at the heart of Kenya's coastal tourism sector, rarely sees any foreign tourists any more. Two dozen hotels around Mombasa have shut down because of slumping tourism.

Those that remain open have laid off staff or cut salaries to cope with the low occupancy rates.

One of Mombasa's oldest hotels, the 177-room Nyali International, has managed to stay open by catering to a domestic business and conference clientele, but its staff say its occupancy rate is just 20 per cent and it has dismissed half of the 260 staff that it employs at its peak.

Clocks in the lobby give the current time for cities from Tokyo to Zurich, but virtually no foreigners can be seen in the hotel these days. "Tourism is difficult in Mombasa now," a desk clerk says mournfully.

Mombasa is hurt not just by terrorism fears, but also by local factors, including the presence of radical Muslims and supporters of al-Shabab, the Somalia-based extremist militia. A Russian tourist and a German tourist were shot dead last year in the city centre. The killings were never solved, but many observers have blamed Muslim radicals. Travel warnings by foreign embassies have become more alarmist over the past year, scaring away more foreigners.

"Tourism on the coast is dead, completely dead," says Ahmed Shee Ahmed, a tour guide at Fort Jesus, the 420-year-old Portuguese fort in Mombasa's old town. A dozen guides sit idle at the fort, waiting for visitors who never come.

Mr. Ahmed says he hasn't seen any foreign tourists for months.

"The economy of the whole region is flat on the ground," he says. "People like me are suffering a lot."

Sam Ikwaye, head of the coast branch of the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers, is worried that tourism won't recover for several more years. "If something isn't done soon, next year will be lost, too," he said.

"We don't have many other industries on the coast - it's mostly tourism. A multitude of young people don't have incomes now."

Pipeline uncertainty

Coupled with the tourism crisis are new questions about Kenya's nascent oil boom, in which Vancouver-based Africa Oil Corp. is a 50 per cent owner in the main project.

The slump in global prices is making it harder to raise money for oil, and the uncertainty is compounded by a delayed decision on a crucial oil pipeline.

Before the oil can be developed, Kenya and Uganda must agree on the pipeline to a planned export terminal on the coast near Lamu - expected to be the world's longest buried and heated oil pipeline, with 800 kilometres in Kenya alone. Terrorism could pose a threat to the pipeline as it passes close to the Somali border near Lamu. The project, accompanied by a road and rail link, was first mooted nearly 15 years ago, yet its route is still undecided.

"We are hoping there will be a pipeline decision imminently," Africa Oil vice-president of external relations Alex Budden says in an interview in Nairobi.

"Every time we hear something is about to happen, it's 'within the next few days' - and that has happened for the last four months. Something happens, and the decision isn't made.

Pipeline certainty is what's needed to keep our project moving forward."

Africa Oil and its partner, Tullow Oil, have cut their 2015 exploration budget to about $380-million, less than half of last year's budget, and they expect to have only one drilling rig in operation by the middle of this year, compared with six at the peak last year.

Mr. Satchu, the Nairobi-based investment adviser, says the Lamu pipeline and terminal project is unlikely to proceed if the price of oil remains low.

"Until we see a sustained recovery to $80 a barrel, I think all of this is dead in the water," he said.

Associated Graphic

U.S. President Barack Obama is set to visit Nairobi next month to attend an entrepreneurship summit, a sign that Kenya's economic potential is too big for the United States or foreign investors to ignore.



A dandier approach to accessorizing is shaking up Canadian finance. Tim Kiladze takes to Bay Street to uncover how far a man can go to stand out in a sea of suits
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

Before joining The Globe and Mail as a business writer in 2010, I worked for two Canadian investment banks. In those years leading up to, and during, the financial crisis, Bay Street abided by unwritten rules of office dressing that stressed conformity. Showing off individual style often earned you a talking-to from someone senior, or chides from colleagues, who would call you a dandy.

That dress code dated back decades, and its few exceptions required lavish spending. Custom-made or Canali suits were acceptable; pastel J.Crew ties were not. As for accessories, there were few available options. Cuff links could be worn - but they were really only an option for senior people such as managing directors and partners.

Not even a decade later - and five years too late for me - Bay Street's style guide has become noticeably less restrictive. The rulebook hasn't been completely rewritten, but professionals, from bankers to lawyers to consultants, are finally free to show some flair.

Millennials, who like to challenge convention, are partly to thank. Take Jonathan Tarshis Neil, a 31-year-old vice-president in private equity at TorQuest Partners. On the second day of his first Bay Street job, he made the mistake of crossing an invisible style line. Fresh out of university and unsure of what qualified as acceptable office attire, the newly minted investment banker wore a light pink dress shirt to work.

A concerned colleague was so fearful of the repercussions that he quietly explained this wasn't just a sartorial slip-up but a major no-no.

Tarshis Neil didn't see the logic in conforming. "If you're going to wear a suit and tie everyday, you should get to wear what you want to wear, within reason," he explains.

Though he toned down his shirt colours, Tarshis Neil continued to show a little something extra. He was the first banker I knew who freely wore turquoise-framed hipster-style glasses to work - and this was in 2008, long before they were mainstream. Eventually, his colleagues, and even some of his superiors, came to respect him for it.

Today, there are many more like him in high-profile positions. Growing up in a borderless world shaped by the Internet, millennials were taught by a steady stream of technological advancements that rules and habits can shift quickly. So it was with Bay Street style.

The two-piece suit is still the de facto uniform and navy blue will never go out of style. But in boardrooms now, you see everything from purple pocket squares to tie bars to monkstrap leather shoes. Beards, once thought to be unprofessional, are ubiquitous and some men even go sockless with shorter-hemmed pants. This season, navy suiting is giving way to lighter and more eyecatching chambray.

Of course, what passes as acceptable differs from profession to profession - and from firm to firm. Investment banks are arguably still the most married to the old fashion rules; management consultancies and law firms are typically more liberal; traders rarely bother to demonstrate much style, at least not at work, because they are largely tied to their desks; and investment advisers and money managers are known to show some flash, because they are, in some respects, their own bosses.

Across the board, the new approach to style has as much to do with the clientele of the new economy as it does the millennial workforce. Twenty years ago, the rigidly enforced dress code at places like IBM - with its drab suits, starchy shirts and wingtip shoes - set the tone among employees and the scores of professionals who advised the company. In part, the latter were upholding another unwritten rule: that you should dress like your client to show you share the same values.

But now, Apple, Facebook and Tesla have the juice, not to mention tech startups, which offer some of the most promising deal flow. That means professionals are increasingly faced with the prospect of pitching 20- and 30-somethings. It can be hard to connect to a recent University of Waterloo graduate in a hooded sweatshirt when you're wearing a 3.5-inch-wide Hermès tie. That's why fat neckwear, close-cropped haircuts, and button-down collars are being replaced by skinnier ties, edgier hair styles and shorter shirt collars that look best with simple knots, not double Windsors. These changes connote a fashion currency that matters to younger clients; in some ways, they serve as a secret handshake.

Such flourishes are discovered through many avenues.

In the old economy, designers and tailors set trends. Now, the Internet and social media are equally influential arbiters of cool. "Before online shopping, and before the narcissism of Facebook and Instagram, you had to ask permission to have style," says David Simmonds, a vice-president at McKesson Canada. In this new landscape, "we're able to see ego in a way we couldn't see it before," he says - and that's made calling attention to one's clothing more acceptable.

Yet these flashes would never fly if senior Bay Street professionals weren't also experiencing a change of heart.

Not long ago, being successful often meant killing yourself for the better of your client, and socializing involved consuming heavy amounts of alcohol. That way of life is dying as Street veterans become healthier. And being fit has made them more willing to don a form-fitting suit with attention-getting accents. In other words, they are learning to embrace style in their own way.

"Big, baggy fits were a way to hide 'Molson muscles' and love handles," says Larry Rosen, head of Harry Rosen, reflecting on the days of ill-fitting suits and pleated pants. "We're a more health-and-fitness-conscious society than we were before. Cripes, when I was a young lawyer on Bay Street, nobody worked out." Now foodcourt restaurants such as iQ Food Co., famous for its healthier takeout boxes full of organic quinoa and shredded red cabbage, and Kupfert & Kim, which specializes in wheatless, meatless dishes, have the longest lines.

For all the progress, Bay Street still isn't at the forefront of men's fashion. Walk through Canary Wharf in London or La Défense, the new business district in Paris, and it is clear Toronto isn't as cutting-edge. There, suits are so slim they look painted on, and super-skinny ties are de rigueur. Even relative to Montreal - where a bold business palette is much more common - Toronto is less willing to take style risks. "Fashion is a mirror of society," says Simmonds, who travels frequently to Montreal for work. "If we hold that mirror up in Toronto, there's defi nitely a haze of conservatism."

But believe it or not, Bay Street is, in some ways, more progressive than Wall Street.

Tarshis Neil did his MBA at Columbia and lived in New York City for a few years after, only recently moving back to Toronto. "There's such a dress code there," he explains - particularly for young professionals, whose default look is a Charles Tyrwhitt shirt with a Ferragamo tie and a dark suit.

"People here," he says, referring to Bay Street, "don't have quite the same homogeneity."

It shows in what sells.

Holt Renfrew, which recently opened a men's-only store on Bloor Street in Toronto, added a bottle-green suit to its lineup this spring and it sold far better than expected, says its men's-wear director, Andrew Lepp. Even older men who are more resistant to the new trends have proven willing to experiment with colour in their own way, trying out eyeglasses with teal or cobalt-blue frames.

Yet everyone on Bay Street knows there are limits and that some boundaries are better not crossed. Even in my own head, the old-school rules still linger. When interviewing senior people in capital markets or corporate law, I make sure to wear a wider tie.

If anything, it shows respect - and it puts them in their comfort zone, which helps them to open up.

The most experimental young professionals show similar restraint. "If we have a board meeting, and I'm the junior guy there," Tarshis Neil explains, "I'm not going to take the opportunity to wear my most aggressive suit-andtie combo." That's just bad for business.

Associated Graphic

David Simmonds, vice-president of public affair at McKesson Canada, distinguishes his workday look from his King-and -Bay colleagues' with sartorialtouches such as Thom Browne specs and eye-popping neckwear.



Is Airbnb inflating the housing crisis?
Study shows short-term rentals may be eating a hole in Vancouver's housing supply
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S5

While we were busy blaming empty condos for the affordability crisis, we might have overlooked a less obvious culprit.

A Simon Fraser University master's student released her findings this week that show short-term rentals on Airbnb may be contributing to the city's near-zero vacancy rate.

Airbnb is the hugely popular site where people the world over can make money by providing accommodation in their homes, or helping people find affordable places to stay while travelling.

The accommodation can be as basic as someone's couch or as opulent as someone's yacht or penthouse. The sky is the limit.

As part of her thesis, Karen Sawatzky obtained the data from Airbnb's website, crunched the numbers and discovered that 71 per cent of Vancouver Airbnb listings are for entire homes. It's a significant finding, because it means that if the majority of Vancouver Airbnb hosts have entire apartments or houses to spare, then they're not renting them out to full-time tenants. A significant chunk of the rental stock is lost.

It means Airbnb's popularity could be contributing to the critically low vacancy rate, which is, in turn, driving up rents.

Since January, city of Vancouver Airbnb listings have increased 17 per cent, bringing the number to 3,473 listed properties. The majority of listings were downtown.

More interesting, however, is the finding that 381 of the hosts control 1,215 of the listings for entire homes. It would make sense that the majority of those rentals are investment properties.

"I thought 71 per cent was quite high, and worth poking into," Ms. Sawatzky said, in an interview.

"And the number of hosts with more than one listing is high, too. They are really concentrated close to the core, where residents also want to live. To me, that really raises policy issues."

She's right: 71 per cent is high.

Only 57 per cent of New York hosts rent out their entire homes, and in San Francisco, it's 60 per cent, according to her research.

Her numbers shed some light on the old question of empty condos. Perhaps it's not so important when investor condos go dark. Maybe the bigger issue, in terms of general affordability, is when they are turned into businesses.

Adjunct UBC planning professor Andy Yan released findings a few years ago that 50 to 60 per cent of all downtown condos are owned by investors who'd purchased them as secondary properties. The much-publicized concern at the time was the 5 or 8 per cent that were left empty.

The assumption was that all the other non-owner occupied properties were being rented to residents.

But why would anybody keep an empty condo when they can make double the average rent by renting it short term?

Considering that the resale value of the average condo has flatlined for the past several years, the condo investor would do better with a shorter-term rental instead of selling or leasing to a full-time tenant.

Airbnb, which offers rooms and properties for stays as short as on night, is only a part of the shorter-term rental market. While that online company is often criticized for shirking responsibility when problems arise, there are more secure ways for condo owners to manage a shorter-term rental. In fact, several local companies and a lot of condo owners are thriving in that bustling below-the-radar market.

Condos are being purchased for the express purpose of shortterm rentals. Rents are already high in Vancouver, but a shortterm rental can command even more money. And with resale prices so tepid, why break even when you can generate a lucrative revenue stream?

Developer Will Lin sold 12 units at the Rolston condo tower downtown to one investor who bought them for rentals that are longer than a hotel stay and shorter than a regular tenant stay. Let's call it a long hotel stay.

"It's like a hotel service but with a longer stay - longer stay meaning a month," Mr. Lin says.

Heather Wood is property manager for Rent It Furnished Realty, the company that manages the units at the Rolston.

They manage about 1,500 condo units that are owned by many individuals, she says, and the majority of them are rented for stays between three and six months long. Vancouver is such a hot destination that all units are sold out.

"The focus is mostly in downtown Vancouver," Ms. Wood says.

"But there's been such a demand from owner clients to list their properties with us that we have a presence on the North Shore and a little bit in Burnaby and Coquitlam. We have spread our geographical boundary a little bit, but mostly they are downtown core."

Ms. Woods's company does not do Airbnb rentals. The company is licensed to do a minimum of one-month stays. Their units run from mid-range to high end, with several at the Shangri-La. The owners furnish the units, including linens, dishes and towels. It's a turnkey operation.

"Most are for stays of between three to six months and we handle mostly professionals. Vancouver has gone a little nuts this summer, so we're inundated with short-term rental requests right now. We don't have any inventory - it's all sold out."

Many condo buildings are creating new strata bylaws that require a minimum stay of three months, she says.

"The stratas that govern the buildings are really clamping down on Airbnb. The residents don't want it to be like a hotel."

Some of her investors are offshore, but the majority are locals, she says.

The monthly rent for a onebedroom is $2,000 to $2,500 and a two-bedroom is $2,800 to $4,000, on average. But luxury suites go for a lot more.

"It ranges from a cute little onebedroom with nice furniture to a super luxury penthouse."

Some of the people who use their service are locals who live in the suites and rent when they go away. But those are the minority, she says.

"Most of the suites are investment properties, or people who have moved on to something else, but they decided to keep it as an investment."

Mr. Yan, the author of the empty condo report for BTA Works, was intrigued by the potential impact of the few-months-at-atime renter. That sort of condo use would not have made it into his empty condo study, which was based on electricity usage.

He said the short-term renter would have just as big an impact as the empty condo, however, because they are competing with rental stock for the working local looking for a home.

"Remember, there are about 100,000 condo units in downtown Vancouver. What is the percentage of condos for Vancouverites, hypothetically?

This is a key question for me."

He also doesn't blame condo owners looking to tap this little gold mine. "Given what happened to the stock market in '08 or '09, if I'm sitting on $100,000 and I put it into a condo and it gives me a stream of income of $3,000 to $4,000 a month, that's a heck of a return if that income can be consistent. Why not go after short-term rental?" It begs another question.

Homes, whether purchased or rented, are now established winning commodities. Ms. Sawatzky had a vested interest in conducting her research: She's a longtime renter. The gap between renter and owner is growing increasingly wide, and shorter-term rentals aren't helping, she argues.

She has appealed to the city to take steps to address the impact of short-term rentals. Councillor Geoff Meggs acknowledged the potential impact on his blog.

Ms. Sawatzky suggests an indepth look at short-term rentals on specific neighbourhoods, where vacancy rates are lowest.

"Vancouver was in a housing crisis before 2008, and there was already a wealth gap between renters and owners," she says.

"But Airbnb is exacerbating the housing inequality that was already unfair."

Mr. Yan says the discovery of this hidden short-term market poses another question in the affordability debate.

"It's fundamentally asking, 'What's the point of housing? Is it a business or a fundamental human need? And how does public policy span the two?' "

Associated Graphic

Since January, Airbnb listings for Vancouver have increased 17 per cent, bringing the number to 3,473 listed properties.


Meet me in Mimico for standout Indian food
If Scarborough and Brampton are too far for dinner, a visit to Tich in southwest Toronto should do the trick
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M2

Karan Kalia moved to Toronto from New Delhi in 2002 and faced many of the usual adjustments. Where in India she'd been an account executive in an advertising firm, here she took a job as an office administrator. She and her husband, Sunil, moved to Mississauga first, and then into a condo downtown, where they huddled up on winter weekends, braced against the shuddering cold.

They had a group of friends here, other Indians they'd grown up with, who had moved one couple after another to Canada.

They were a comfort to each other. Ms. Kalia cooked for them every other weekend. She made yellow dal with cumin; crisp, chopped okra with charred onions and ginger; a play on biryani; a proper butter chicken. Their friends often told Ms. Kalia she should open her own restaurant.

She didn't want to run a restaurant kitchen. For a good 10 years, she blew the suggestion off.

Last year, Ms. Kalia took a lease on a small space in Mimico, in southwest Toronto, on Lakeshore Boulevard West. She didn't want to regret not trying, she said. It was formerly a Polish bar, in a neighbourhood that was exploding with new condos. It was not yet exploding with good eating.

She decorated the place herself, and beautifully, with soft paisley wallpaper she sourced in Barcelona, with barn boards and Edison bulb lighting, and with ceramic rams' heads that glowered under gleaming golden horns. She called the place "Tich," after the informal Hindi word for "cool."

It would be a modern Indian spot, with pop music instead of sitars, and a wine list people would want to order from. She stuck to her guns about the cooking: She wasn't doing it. Which was wise, it turns out.

It was wise because the two chefs Ms. Kalia hired, a curry chef from Calcutta and a tandoor guy from Mumbai, are two of the finest in the Greater Toronto Area - and to my mind the best by far if you don't count Scarborough and Brampton. Curry man Sujoy Saha cooks with rare deftness and complexity, his dishes packed not with the far too common thud of dry masala blends and ghee, but often with sours, bitters, warmth from green chili and ginger, brightness from coriander, roundness and otherworldly fragrance from whole spices.

This isn't your standard, North Americanized Northern Indian, and it's a far cry from much of the "upmarket" and "modern" Indian that's increasingly common. Modern Indian too often means dull food with pretty garnishes. (I'm talking about Pukka, on Toronto's St. Clair Avenue West, though the place is just one of many offenders.) There's range and yes, spice, and freshness to what Tich does. Mr. Saha's Hyderabad-style baby eggplant, one of many standouts, comes simmered with coconut milk and roasted coconut, ginger, fresh curry leaves and star anise, lemon juice and roasted peanuts; it's cooked only enough so the flavours combine and the eggplant softens but doesn't collapse, so it's recognizably a baby eggplant dish instead of gloopy stew.

The tandoor chef, Mandy Jawle, spent two years as executive sous chef at Junoon, a Michelin-starred spot in New York. (We can thank U.S. immigration for his presence in Toronto; he couldn't get resident status in the States, he said.)

His tandoor oven cooking, from the flaky, buttery-flavoured lachha parathas to grilled, gently pickled house paneer, to wholecooked sea bream, is beyond compare in the city. I've never had better tandoori chicken than Mr. Jawle's: It's moist enough and tender enough that I had to remind myself what I was eating, and with smouldering spice and heat in the background and welcome bitterness from oven char.

But if you have to choose (by all means don't if you can help it), skip the tandoori chicken in favour of the hara mirch tikka: cubes of chicken thigh marinated for 12 hours with coriander and green chilies, grilled in the tandoor to a hard char and served with vivid green mint chutney.

It's as much a palate defibrillator as I've encountered in a year at least, one of my favourite bites of 2015. Nothing about that chicken - not the spice, not the aggressive coriander, and definitely not the bitterness from charring - would be right on their own, but taken in unison they're exquisite.

Mr. Jawle's lamb chops, done "Popsicle" style, à la Vikram Vij, (but bless him for not calling them lamb Popsicles) are spiced with restraint and grilled just to medium rare. They taste like lamb, which often isn't the case in a cuisine that favours big, flavoured mutton; Tich's lamb chops are gently grassy, and as red and tender as a bitten lip, with the same soft seam of iodine. I loved them. There's also braised-to-quivering lamb shank if that's your speed, served in ginger and tomato gravy. The lamb shank biryani, too, is excellent, though you're still better heading to Dindigul Thalappakattu in Scarborough for that.

There is a sizable vegetarian section to Tich's menu; I went mostly veg one night and swooned. The chopped okra, built on Ms. Kalia's home version, was crisp and mild, without any of the sliminess that puts people off. There was just-stewed tomato with it, as well as onions that had been seared to smoking, chopped coriander leaves and fresh ginger.

The dals are great, the yellow version light and fragrant, spiced with homemade garam masala, the dal Bukhara based on longsimmered black lentils, red kidney beans and a pleasant excess of cream. Ms. Kalia's role in the restaurant is out in front of the kitchen, inspecting all the dishes, as well as helping to shape the menu. She is obsessed with consistency and quality, and it shows.

The breads are terrific and the desserts, like so much else here, are light and delicately textured, with none of the canon's diabolical prediabetic sweetness. The rice pudding and the cottage cheese patties in sweetened cream are particularly fine.

I've been holding off on my single complaint about Tich because it sounds so personal and so minor - but it's also not at all.

Tich employs the most awkward, intrusive server I've encountered in a city restaurant. He stands at the door and greets customers, far too eagerly, with his hand outstretched, introducing himself as he clasps their hands. "And what is your name?" he demands.

He then uses his customers' names, incessantly, as though it's not food and drink he's selling but life insurance. "Steven, Richard, Rachel, are you ready to order?" he'll ask. "Steven, Rachel, Richard, I'm very sorry to interrupt you."

He presses himself into conversations. "So what's your back story?" I heard him ask a young couple the first time he approached their table. They visibly recoiled.

Where this comes from, I have no idea. He's by all appearances a young, Kensington market hippie. He seems genuinely kind and keen on service. He's trying to do a good job. He's trying about 95 per cent too much.

One night, I sent a friend in to pick up our order. When she declined to talk in detail about how her day had been, he said, "Oh, you mean you don't want to have this awkward conversation?" No, man, she didn't. She wanted to pick up dinner.

These are the sorts of interactions that kill a restaurant. Ms.

Kalia's worked too hard and done too much right for that.



2314 Lake Shore Blvd. W.(at Burlington Street), 647-349-8424,

Atmosphere: A modern, comfortable, beautifully designed room at the edge of west Toronto's condo land.

Kind but at times overbearing service.

Wine and drinks: Three good whites, all under $50; a mixed bag of reds and big-brand beers. Excellent masala chai.

Best bets: The tandoori platter, Bengali fish curry, sea bream, okra, eggplants, yellow dal, breads and rice. It's all great. And, of course, there's butter chicken. Don't skip dessert.

Prices: Appetizers, $7 to $20; mains $10 to $23.

NB: Takeout available.

Associated Graphic

Tandoor chef Mandy Jawle is from Mumbai via a Michelin-starred spot in New York; curry man Sujoy Saha is from Calcutta.


Memory fades, but life goes on
In a new memoir about his father, Jonathan Kozol contends that dementia patients are no less worthy of self-determination
Monday, June 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4

We put a lot of faith in memory, perhaps too much. When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, it's almost easier to treat them as a lost cause - they've forfeited all claims to be rational, to be fully human, and so we get to ignore their distracted pleas and increasingly absurd demands.

My stepfather kept demanding the keys to the car in which he'd been apprehended while driving the wrong way along the highway on a cross-province mission to pick up his daughter - who lived on the other side of the country and had no plans to be at the airport my stepfather could no longer find. What was the point of making an argument, of even humouring him?

He was clearly, clinically, dangerously gone, and my brother and I were left to tidy up the mess of a life that was now lost.

Our compassion recedes as their dementia advances. Memory, we believe, gives life its structure. When it fails, that's the end of autonomy, no matter how much eating and sleeping and breathing remain. This makes sense, at least to those of us who have to pick up the pieces: When someone can't remember what you told them yesterday, why should they get to dictate what will happen tomorrow? If that sounds cold, just wait until you get there.

And then I meet Jonathan Kozol and I want to take back the truths I just expressed.

Reading The Theft of Memory, his tender memoir of caring for a father with Alzheimer's, I feel wrong - if only for the self-serving ease with which I nullified my stepfather.

"I loved my father," Kozol, a former schoolteacher and Rhodes Scholar who has written movingly on the racial disparities in the American publicschool system, says. "He was one of the most interesting people I have ever known, and I wanted to know him as well as I could, right to the end."

Harry Kozol was a noted Boston neurologist and psychiatrist who diagnosed the beginnings of his own dementia when he was in his early 80s. In his prime, he had treated the playwright Eugene O'Neill, interviewed the abductee-turnedurban-guerrilla Patty Hearst as an expert witness and developed a clinical rapport with the so-called Boston Strangler. Even in his long decline (he lived to 102), he had the kind of style and bearing that commanded attention - and made his son question the conventional reactions to people with Alzheimer's.

"I hope that people who dismiss the potential avenues of communication between themselves and elderly patients with Alzheimer's will understand the feeling that it needn't be a decade of the grotesque," he says.

"It can be a very warm and rewarding experience - if you have the kind of life where you can give the patient a lot of time and continuity."

As a self-employed writer who lived on his own, Kozol had the luxury of time and the absence of obligations - or so it seems from my more conflicted perspective. He also had access to money that provided the dedicated caregivers who treated his father as more fully human than the dementia norm.

Sadly, as Kozol relates, that makes all the difference. If you're not looking and listening, you won't know what you're missing. And more to the point, what they're missing - those elderly people who keep dredging up bits and pieces of the past even after we decide that their memory has gone.

"People say, you should pray for them to die as soon as possible," Kozol says. "I never felt that way with my father. I wanted him to live for as long as he took any pleasure at all in existence."

Harry Kozol kept a detached watchfulness over his own dementia. He wrote memos about himself in medical language that didn't make complete sense but gave evidence of his engagement as a doctor - and of his frustration as a patient.

"Even when he couldn't articulate what he wanted to say with any continuity, I could spot in the midst of all his words what I called a life beneath the life," Kozol says. "You had all these amorphous ideas and emotions and memories, but some part of it could be brought to the surface if I asked the right question."

Kozol placed his father in a nursing home when he became increasingly disoriented at the age of 90 after a fall and a hip operation. But six years later, he did the unthinkable: He brought Harry home to the Boston apartment where his 98-year-old wife had remained in happy independence, watching the nightly Red Sox games in the company of caregivers while wearing her own team jersey.

It's characteristic of warehoused Alzheimer's sufferers that they beg to go home. We ignore them or put them off or play along until they forget and give in to the inevitable. Kozol listened and obeyed, like the good son he was. Where cleareyed, pragmatic people like me recognize that it's just an adjustment phase - the dementia version of the kid who sends pleading letters from summer camp - he saw the life force asserting itself, the cry of rebellion that demanded liberation.

"People said to me, 'He doesn't know what he's saying, it doesn't mean anything,' " Kozol recalls. "As if I didn't have to act on it, as if I could dismiss it. But I couldn't dismiss it."

The home his father had left wasn't the home he returned to - too much had changed in his mind to let him reclaim his old familiarity. He sat at his old desk and scratched out notes that didn't make sense. And that's what makes me think that there is inevitably an element of make-believe in how we regard people with Alzheimer's: You don't really know, so you project from the flimsy bits of information available, and the memories that remain after the person has diminished.

"There could be some wistful thinking here," Kozol allows, politely and reluctantly. "But I can only judge by my own perceptions and others who were around him. Up until his last year, he took a fair degree of pleasure in being alive, in sharing warmth and humour and good cheer with people."

As The Theft of Memory shows, the belated intensity of the Alzheimer's relationship had a liberating effect on Harry Kozol's son, almost as if he were freed from his own kind of captivity.

"Earlier in life, I saw him as a charming man," he says, "but very powerful and very authoritative and that intimidated me."

When he decided to drop out of Oxford, his father couldn't help but criticize. Later, Jonathan got caught up in the U.S. civil-rights movement, abandoned plans of going to graduate school and decided instead to become an inner-city teacher and advocate.

Again, his father told him it was too risky, even though in his professional life he always sided with young patients who wanted to flee the respectability their worried parents had designed for them.

"So for me he remained an authority figure for a long time," Kozol says. "And then suddenly after he diagnosed himself with Alzheimer's, the balance shifted. Now I was the parent and he was more dependent on me. For the first time, I felt truly responsible for another adult. And I came to know my father better than I ever knew him before."

In my own immediate experience of Alzheimer's, this makes no sense. And then I realize that I know exactly the paradox Kozol is talking about. My mother had a devastating stroke and was as good as dead. Somehow she came back, against her doctors' best guesses. She couldn't speak. She was partly paralyzed. And yet she ran my stepfather's life as he descended toward dementia.

She exuded a pure joy I had never seen in her before. She compelled me to find new ways to communicate that were more intimate and intense for being awkward and ingenious. I felt closer to her after her stroke, which worried me when I said it. It appalled me when people would talk over her or treat her as feeble. She wasn't dismissible.

Why would anyone think that about another human?

Associated Graphic


As revenue from digital downloads declines, the music industry is pinning its hopes on the all-access, flat-fee model of streaming. With Apple joining the fray, it's bound to take off. The trouble is, reports Josh O'Kane, no one really knows where it's going to take them
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

Six years is a lot of time in the Internet age. Back in 2009, when people wanted to hear new music, they usually turned to download retailers such as Apple's iTunes store. Streaming music services were just niche products enjoyed by the most hard-core of music fans. And despite releasing a bestselling album, a young country artist named Taylor Swift's biggest news that year was getting interrupted on stage by Kanye West.

Today, Ms. Swift is one of the world's biggest pop stars, and she has seized full control not just of her own narrative, but the whole music industry's. All-access streaming services have become a dominating force in music consumption, and Ms. Swift has become their chief critic, regularly withholding her smash-hit albums from major players and speaking out against their poorly paying business models.

Two weeks ago, world-leading music retailer Apple announced it was entering the streaming world with Apple Music, a $10 (U.S.)-a-month service with a three-month free trial. News quickly followed that no royalties would be paid to rightsholders during the revenue-free trial period. This, to Ms. Swift, was a merciless move for the tech giant, which has at least $170-billion in cash reserves; she took to her blog on Sunday to call it "shocking, disappointing and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company."

Just hours later, Apple relented, with software head Eddy Cue posting on Twitter that the company would pay artists during the trial period.

Streaming, the all-access, flatfee model of music consumption, is widely considered among music experts and industry optimists to be the next great hope.

It's been around for years - Apple, as usual, is riding the trend's coattails - but downloads are now declining as maturing streaming services, including Spotify, Rdio and Tidal, sign up users by the millions.

But Ms. Swift's missive is just the latest sign that the nascent business model is on shaky ground. Artists don't feel they get a fair cut, most consumers think it's too expensive and legacy industry players are effectively praying for profits. If streaming is the future of music, the road ahead will be a lot rougher than the CD-fuelled, high-margin easy streets of the nineties.

It used to be easy for the music industry to find money-making ways to solve its problems. When piracy emerged in the Internet's early days, regulated download retailers such as iTunes were considered a salvation. But like CDs, cassettes and vinyl before them, downloads are purchases that could be owned and used ad infinitum.

Streaming represents a far greater shift in technology and behaviour. To a growing number of consumers, music is no longer a product - "it's a service industry," says Catherine Moore, a Canadianraised music-business professor at New York University. For about $10 a month, usually, consumers can use Spotify, Rdio and, starting June 30, Apple Music, to listen to catalogues of 20 million to 35 million songs as often as they want.

Some services have free tiers that force users to hear ads, which are growing at a similar pace, and there are playlist-based services that are cheap or free, too - though they deliver even less money, generally, to rightsholders. Apple Music is an amalgam of both these models: users will be able to stream at will from Apple's vast catalogue or enjoy preprogrammed stations, including Beats1, helmed by former BBC tastemaker Zane Lowe.

Revenue from subscription services grew 39 per cent worldwide last year, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, but the broad adoption only served to offset declining download numbers; the $15-billion (U.S.) industry saw no growth in 2014. On a conference call with reporters in April, Sony Music Entertainment's global chief executive officer, Edgar Berger, told reporters that scaled-up streaming adoption is labels' bet on bringing money back. "The irony really is," he said, "that digital disruption through the rise of subscription services will transform the oncevolatile music industry into a stable business."

Apple, which has millions of credit card numbers in iTunes ready to convert to streaming with a single click, is poised to boost streaming adoption. Amy Terrill, Music Canada's vice-president of public affairs, says it "bodes well for Canada" that Apple is bringing mainstream attention to streaming. It's one of the last major music markets to embrace the technology, with only 8 per cent of digital revenue in 2014 coming from subscription streams, versus 23 per cent globally, IFPI data say; total musicindustry revenue fell 11 per cent here last year.

According to data provided to The Globe from Nielsen Music, this might be hard to pull off. Canadian music listeners say they're willing to pay for unlimited streaming, but only for $6.20 a month; they'd go up to $7.80, but only for high-fidelity audio. In reality, those services usually cost $10 and $20, respectively. With streaming companies struggling to profit, the price is tough to pare down. Rdio recently announced a $3.99 monthly tier, but it only allows 25 new songs to be streamed a day.

With Apple entering the ring, "competition will intensify," says Rdio CEO Anthony Bay. "Over all, it's a net positive, because awareness will go up. ... It becomes an opportunity for everyone to present their value proposition."

Artists and songwriters, meanwhile, are bracing for a change in lifestyle. Zoe Keating, a California-based Canadian cellist, calls her home "the house that iTunes built," in homage to the mortgage-paying income she gets from the retailer, but is worried the shift to streaming will leave her searching for other income streams.

Drinking from this bottomless well is a great thing for consumers, but the flat fee means suppliers - musicians - generally make less money. There's no limit to the number of albums you can sell, but when everyone streams at a fixed price, the playing field gets skewed. Ms. Keating has made a-third-of-a-cent a stream, on average, so far in 2015; 1.5 million streams has yielded less than $5,000.

The problem comes down to proportion. The vast majority of money from pooled subscription revenue goes to high-rotation hit makers such as Katy Perry and Drake, leaving the rest to be divided among millions of other artists. "People are streaming more, but I'm making less," Ms. Keating says.

When it was first revealed that Apple Music wouldn't pay artists during its trial period, indie labels worldwide shouted their frustrations. "I can't think of any other industry that bases its business model on not paying their suppliers," Canadian Independent Music Association president Stuart Johnston says. He's happy Ms. Swift threw her voice into the fray, but says paying artists "should have been a decision they made right from the start."

(Apple declined to comment for this story.)

Leaked contracts between labels and streaming services show that artists' interests aren't exactly top-of-mind as the industry adjusts to the new normal.

The Verge obtained an early contract between Sony and Spotify that outlined millions of dollars in advances to the label with no clear indication of how much flowed to musicians. Many artist contracts were drawn up before streaming services matured, so while the details may be legally sound, they're not necessarily fair for talent.

Safwan Javed, a music-focused lawyer and drummer for the band Wide Mouth Mason, says it's crucial that contracts become more fair and transparent to all players. "It goes without saying that you want an ethical model to ensure everyone in the value chain is getting their fair share," he says. "So far, the streaming model has left a lot to be desired."

With streaming's current business model, there will most likely be less money in the pot for the creative end of the supply chain.

This, Mr. Javed says, will inevitably trickle back to the consumer.

"People who spend all their time honing their craft, that number's going to shrink, and that means there'll be less - and less quality - stuff out there."

Associated Graphic


Taylor Swift has been a vocal critic of the music industry's all-access streaming services.


Get your kicks
A voyage of discovery along Route 66 in search of lost America
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, June 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page D8

Celebrated in song and story, Route 66 - the "Main Street of America" - was decommissioned as a highway in 1985. But it is still a favourite journey for those searching not only for interesting sights and quirky souvenirs, but a piece of Americana itself.

Of all the highways, mountain passes, race tracks and other routes worldwide, arguably none are linked so closely with their country more than the "Mother Road," as it is also known. It was the major east-west corridor through the heart of America, and the economies of the communities through which it passed prospered. "It was the one thing that unified this country and was probably the most responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of the United States in the 20th century," says Gary Fleshman, a Route 66 expert and tour guide.

The history of the Mother Road

Before Route 66, there was no direct route across the United States. Construction of the Mother Road of America started in 1926 and, by 1938, the entire line had been done in Portland cement, which is more dense and durable than normal cement. Route 66 would take on three different alignments over the next 60 years to improve travel before it was decommissioned in 1985. Because of this, it isn't a simple ribbon winding to the West Coast; some parts end, some have been paved over with various interstates and some are simply gone. But there are many parts of the old road that can still be explored; you have to know where to look. Road signs denote Historic Route 66, but planning the journey is essential, as it's easy to spend days getting lost and doubling back.

Starting in Chicago

The route starts (or ends) in downtown Chicago; there's even a small sign on Michigan Avenue to mark the spot. The almost 4,000-kilometre journey starts on Interstate 55 out of the city to hook up with Illinois 53, which runs parallel with the old road. There are areas where the original cement Route 66 is visible off the main artery, with grass growing through cracks, but still in amazing shape for its age. At Wilmington, Ill., there's the Gemini Giant, a 30-foot kitschy statue outside the Launching Pad Drive-In. The Gemini Giant is one of at least four "Muffler Men" roadside figures still on Route 66, once-popular advertising props used to promote businesses in the 1960s.

Kitsch is a recurring theme; the Gunnar Mast Trading Post in Atlanta, Ill., is one of many curio and souvenir shops that makes its money from Route 66 nostalgia.

Outside is another giant Muffler Man; here he's holding a hot dog.

The Cadillac of kitsch

Into Missouri (pronounced "Mizzoura" for those who want to fit in), you can stay at the historic Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Mo. In business for 79 years, it's the oldest continuously operated motel on Route 66.

After that, it's onto Kansas and Oklahoma, down through Texas, into New Mexico, the top of Arizona, and finally into California at the famous pier of Santa Monica, where the road ends. Along the way is a cornucopia of historical, geographical or otherwise notable sights and stops. It's almost impossible to see everything, but Fleshman once took more than seven weeks travelling every corner of the route. Significant attractions: the Blue Whale of Catoosa, Okla., a giant waterslide; the U-Drop Inn at Shamrock, Tex., an art deco service and food stop.

And a must-see stop is the Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Tex. - bring spray paint to add an artistic touch to the row of Cadillacs half-buried in the sand.

The world comes to Route 66

The Midpoint Café in Adrian, Tex., (open from April to November) sits halfway between Chicago and Santa Monica. The cafe's slogan is "when you're here, you're halfway there" and town signage declares that travellers are 1,139 miles away from either original Route 66 endpoint.

The café's genial owner, Dennis Purschwitz, says interest in the old route extends well beyond the U.S. borders.

"This year, we had folks from 65 countries, plus all the states and eight provinces in Canada," he says. Minutes later, he's talking to a young twentysomething couple seated in a booth. "Ukraine," he laughs. "That's the 66th country we've had in here this year."

Purschwitz recommends interacting with the locals. "You get to meet people who are the true lifeblood of the U.S.," he says. "I really, truly believe that Route 66 is one of the best ambassadors of the U.S. to the world."

"It's Americana," Fleshman says. "To experience the real America, the small towns, not the tourist stops or the big cities; it's small-town America."

The interstate effect

If Route 66 is a history lesson of small-town America, it's also a warning about unrelenting progress, with new interstates diverting traffic and, subsequently, dollars away from gas stations, stores and towns along old Route 66. Eerie ghost towns, their structures crumbling from decades of neglect, are in abundance. Glenrio, originally a railroad town established in 1903 and called Rock Island, straddles the Texas-New Mexico border. Once a thriving little centre, it was rendered obsolete when nearby Interstate 40 was built in 1973.

Cowboy country

In Texas, the landscape transforms from green plains to rocky desert; towns and rest stops are fewer and farther between. This is real cowboy country, with tall, red mesa rock formations, fine golden sand and blue sky that stretches forever. The El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, N.M., regularly housed movie stars in the 1940s and 1950s while they filmed in the state.

Lighting the route with neon

In Arizona, the natural wonders include the multi-coloured rocks of the Petrified Forest and, slightly off the path to the north, the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon.

And across the route - especially in the south - the man-made wonders include the glittering colourful neon signs decorating the many motels that beckon weary travellers; the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Ariz., is perhaps the most fun, with its concrete teepee cabins, but the main strips of towns such as Tucumcari, N.M., and Kingman, Ariz., are littered with old places to rest your head.

The old mining town of Oatway

Between Kingman and California is the Oatman Highway - a desolate and demanding 80-kilometre desert drive filled with tight curves and narrow passes through the mountains. Oatman itself is a former gold mining town turned tourist trap, where Mike Fox, a long-time resident, raconteur and guitar picker, will regale visitors with tales of how Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their honeymoon here, or about the friendly poltergeist at the Oatman Hotel. Bike enthusiasts can check out the motorcycle museum, which is basically a second-floor storage of old Harley-Davidsons from the early 20th century.

The home stretch

Through the Mojave Desert, Amboy, Calif., looms off in the distance. Once a boom town, it is today not much more than a post office, tourist shop and Roy's Cafe and Motel, all located near an extinct volcano, the Amboy Crater cinder cone.

And then, hours later, traffic builds toward Los Angeles as we weave down to the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica. Across America, from the Windy City to a modern beachfront burg, a journey across America, a voyage of discovery from a different time.

The writer was a guest of Nissan Canada. Content was not subject to approval.


To authentically immerse yourself in the Route 66 experience, a classic Corvette or even a Harley-Davidson motorcycle would seem like obvious choices - all-American muscle for the mid-west mission.

However, my adventure was achieved in a Nissan Altima and a Nissan Rogue. Now, before the eye-rolling starts, let me just say that the mid-sized sedan and crossover are both frugal on fuel and comfortable inside for the long haul - two attributes you'll appreciate on a 4,000-kilometre trip.

The Altima averaged just more than 7 litres/100 km, while the larger Rogue did 8.5 litres/100 km.

Associated Graphic

There is a plenty of kitsch to see along the historic Route 66 that stretches from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif.


Culture class, from inside a wagon
Annual youth ride through Nemiah Valley takes on symbolic meaning after Supreme Court ruling
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

FARWELL CANYON, B.C. -- Just before noon in the Chilcotin Valley, Kaitlyn Lulua has her hands full.

Kaitlyn, 8, is trying to wrest the bridle off her horse so it can drink more freely from a stream. In the process, the headgear has become tangled and she is struggling as the horse snorts impatiently for water.

Her father, Jimmy Lulua, 30, moves closer, keeping his own horse steady while he helps his daughter remove the bridle, loop it over a saddle horn and lead the horse to drink.

The exchange takes place with few words and little fuss, one of many such lessons that happen every day during the Xeni Gwet'in Youth Wagon Trip. An idea hatched by Mr. Lulua and his wife, June, the trip is now in its seventh year and has become a highlight for the Xeni Gwet'in, a First Nations community based in the remote Nemiah Valley.

The ride is particularly symbolic this time: It is taking place following a court ruling last year that confirmed the Tsilhqot'in Nation and its six aboriginal groups, including the Xeni Gwet'in, hold aboriginal title to about 1,900 square kilometres of interior B.C., including the Nemiah Valley.

Mr. Lulua isn't keen on drawing such connections, preferring to focus on the ride's role in fostering health, cultural awareness and self-confidence among First Nations youth. When pressed, however, he says there is a link between last year's Supreme Court of Canada decision and the wagon trip, one visible in the proud smiles of the youngsters who wave, unrattled by passing logging trucks,

at camera-toting families on the banks of the Chilcotin River.

"Both are about who we are as a people," Mr. Lulua says.

"When we are coming down that hill, we are telling people something about who we are."

The wagon trip comes with modern conveniences including recreational vehicles, waterproof tents and portable generators.

It also speaks to Tsilhqot'in history and culture, in which horses loomed large in trade, travel and daily life. Herds of wild horses roam the Nemiah Valley and Tsilhqot'in people relied on horses to traverse the wild terrain they have always considered their own.

Xeni Gwet'in chief Roger William, the lead plaintiff in the title case, recalls travelling to Williams Lake by horse and wagon as a boy.

Horses also bore the six Tsilhqot'in war chiefs, five of whom were hanged in 1864 and a sixth who was hanged the following year after what is known as the Chilcotin War. The conflict broke out during the Cariboo Gold Rush after the province authorized a road to be built from the coast to the Cariboo through Tsilhqot'in territory. Tsilhqot'in warriors attacked and killed the members of a road crew in April, 1864.

Within a month, 20 people were dead and a manhunt was under way.

In August, 1864, some of the warriors agreed to meet with government officials for what they understood would be peace talks. Five were arrested, charged with murder and hanged. The sixth chief was hanged the following summer.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark made an official apology for the wrongful hangings last year, part of an ongoing, bumpy process of recalibrating the relationship between the province and the Tsilhqot'in Nation.

That political context is not much in evidence on the wagon trip.

Each day begins with taking down tents, packing bags and saddling horses for the day's ride.

Cooks provide hot meals, but riders are responsible for cleaning their own dishes and utensils and making their own lunches. At rest stops, the first task is ensuring horses are watered and tethered in shade, with bridles taken out so they can munch on grass.

Evenings are devoted to games and campfire conversations. On a rest day midway through the trip, youngsters swam and played in the fast-running, icy current under a bridge over Big Creek.

"It teaches [youth] independence, about culture and about our connection to horses. The only thing they don't like is the 11 p.m. curfew and the 6 a.m. wakeup call," Pam Quilt, a Xeni Gwet'in youth worker and volunteer, says.

Mr. Lulua says the trip builds bridges - between young and old people, old and new ways, and people and horses. It also connects neighbours and communities. One key player is Roy Mulvahill, a third-generation rancher from the B.C. ranching district of Chezacut - his ancestors came from Ireland - who provides wagons and horses and carries a sheaf of photographs from past years' rides that show no-nos such as riders straying on to the wrong side of the road.

Visual reminders work better than lectures, he says.

Mr. Mulvahill and his wife, Gwen, also provide several 'kid horses' - ones docile enough for the youngest child or greenest rider to manage.

Mr. Mulvahill has the weathered hands of an outdoorsman and is missing the tip of his left index finger, having lost it to the bite of a rambunctious colt. He doesn't find anything especially remarkable about the ride, reminding a reporter that in decades past, he and other ranchers would routinely drive up to 600 head of cattle to town for auction in the fall, timing the drives so they would arrive for Halloween.

Cattle are now transported by truck.

Conway Lulua, a cousin of Jimmy Lulua, is riding an Appaloosa called Winchester and has also been on the ride several times.

"It changes people in a good way," Conway says. "I used to be an alcoholic. I used to be a heavy drinker and a heavy pot smoker.

Since going on the ride, I'm not doing that any more. It's a good life, being sober.

"For me, it's almost like going into treatment."

Skyryder Moses, 17, is from the Sugarcane reserve near Williams Lake and was invited to come on the ride by a friend from Xeni Gwet'in. Mr. Moses, 17, has just finished Grade 11 and this year travelled to Ottawa on a Rotarysponsored Adventures in Citizenship Program, in which he thinks he was the only First Nations teenager in a group of about 200 students from across the country.

So he appreciates being part of a First Nations family gathering.

"I think it's great," Mr. Moses says of the ride. "All the people here love to laugh and tell stories and have a good time, and they've been really good to me."

Jimmy Lulua, who was named after an uncle skilled with horses, says he's gratified by the community support the event has received. When he's felt discouraged or had doubts about the event, he turned for advice to elders, who told him to trust himself and keep going.

"I was always told that I would do something great with horses," he says, sitting cross-legged during a rest stop in Farwell Canyon.

"To me, this is something great with horses."


What: An eight-day, roughly 200-kilometre horse and wagon ride from Xeni Gwet'in, a First Nations community in the Nemiah Valley, to Williams Lake

When: The trip is timed to coincide with the start of the Williams Lake Stampede, which takes place each year around Canada Day.

Logistics: Support includes an advance vehicle and driver who communicates with truckers on the route; a cooking and cleanup station that travels ahead of the wagon train and a 450-gallon water tank to supplement water sources along the route 6 Cost: About $20,000 from community fundraising and donations.

This year's convoy: Six wagons, about 40 horses, roughly 100 participants including elders in their 70s and children as young as eight.

Associated Graphic

Roy Mulvahill and Marvin William ride in a covered wagon during the Xeni Gwet'in Youth Wagon Trip.


Jimmy Lulua and daughter Kaitlyn, 8, during the Xeni Gwet'in Youth Wagon Trip. The trip is in its seventh year.


Last year, the Supreme Court confirmed the Tsilhqot'in Nation and its six aboriginal groups hold title to 1,900 square kilometres of interior B.C.

Xeni Gwet'in Chief Roger William travelled Williams Lake by horse and wagon as a boy.

Give them shelter. But where?
Beatrice House is out of options. Relocation will take years. Our booming real estate market is about to displace yet another shelter
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M2

For a space that's home to dozens of children, Beatrice House is awfully quiet on this afternoon at the beginning of June. That's because it's nap time, 1:30 p.m., and all of the babies and toddlers in the colourful childcare centre are curled up inside their cribs and cots.

In other parts of the three-storey, century-old building, women are using the downtime to get things done. The kitchen manager is finally eating her own meal after the lunch rush, while a woman in stretch pants does some yoga in a high-ceilinged activity room. At a desk in the front hall, a woman with intricate braids chats on the telephone while idly leafing through apartment rental ads. There is a big stack of them, because Beatrice House is shutting down: A developer, Urbancorp, plans to start building on the site this fall.

The YWCA has run this transitional shelter for homeless single mothers and their children for 14 years. "These are women who are on wait-lists," says residential manager Alethia Lewis, who has worked here for a dozen years.

All of the women here have spent time in the emergency shelter system, which has much less privacy and much shorter residencies - families are allowed to stay in Beatrice House for up to two years while the moms work toward gaining stability in their lives. Some are fleeing domestic violence, while others have unstable immigration status. All are in line for subsidies or community-housing openings. Here, they can at least get themselves off of one list - daycare, for which about 17,000 children are currently waiting in Toronto.

Since 2003, Beatrice House has leased the former Hughes Public School from the Toronto District School Board. It's on Caledonia Road north of St. Clair Avenue W., and is big enough to house 27 families, each with private bedrooms and bathrooms.

Three years ago, TDSB put the land up for sale for $8.9-million, but the YWCA decided not to buy it. "It's never been the most suitable space," says Heather MacGregor, YWCA Toronto's CEO. For one thing, it would be extremely expensive to renovate the drafty building to be accessible, which will be mandatory for public buildings in Ontario by 2025. So eventually, TDSB sold to Urbancorp.

The closure will make Beatrice House the latest shelter to be displaced by Toronto's seemingly unstoppable real estate market.

In April, the Salvation Army closed its Hope Shelter at McCaul and College streets, after the University of Toronto bought the site. Last spring, the Cornerstone Place men's shelter at St.

Clair and Oakwood avenues also closed to make way for a condo development.

For a short while, the YWCA thought Beatrice might be saved like the Red Door Family Shelter on Queen Street East, which was almost evicted when its landlord went into receivership last year.

After much lobbying and community support, the new owner, Harhay Construction, agreed to include a brand-new, 94-bed family shelter alongside the seven-storey condo it plans for the site, as long as the shelter can raise $3-million to furnish it.

In 2013, Urbancorp approached the YWCA with a proposal: If the organization would sell the developer a parcel of land elsewhere in the city, Urbancorp would integrate a new Beatrice House into a development there.

"This was wonderful," says Ms. MacGregor, who adds that discussions, paperwork and "detailed architectural drawings" had been going on for almost a year and a half. "They said they would extend the lease at Beatrice House until the new property was built."

Then, in December, she says, Urbancorp announced that those plans were off. The YWCA learned that it would have to close the childcare centre this month and the entire residence by August. "I think they had sold the townhouses and the people who bought them weren't willing to wait," Ms. MacGregor says.

Urbancorp is going to tear the old school down and build 41 single-family homes between 2,200 and 3,200 square feet.

In a written statement, Urbancorp agrees that the developer instigated the ideas, but that it was the "YWCA which formally broke off talks."

"Urbancorp felt equally that a transaction could not address the objectives and concerns of both parties - namely timing and the levels of risk that had to be assumed by each of the parties," reads an e-mail sent by Ann Lam, the company's director of development.

City funding for the Hope Shelter and Beatrice House remains available, but finding new sites will likely take years; the YWCA hopes to find a building site they can buy, as they have for four of their other shelters and permanent housing sites. "Not-for-profit housing needs to be secure in ownerships, so we're not vulnerable to this kind of situation," Ms. MacGregor says.

"Pressure caused by the real estate market" is one reason city council is trying to find sites for 15 new emergency shelters to be built over the next five years, says Patricia Anderson, a manager in the city's shelter and housing division. The challenges are great. The vast majority of existing shelters are downtown, where land is priciest. Although land is cheaper outside of the core, users of the shelter system often have jobs, doctors and support services established in the communities where they're currently housed.

City bylaws prevent new crisis centres from opening within 250 metres of each other, so it's difficult to create new shelters in areas where they are already part of the community. But in neighbourhoods that aren't used to shelters, residents are often resistant to having new facilities built nearby. The Cornerstone shelter reopened last March at Oakwood Avenue and Vaughan Road, but only over the objections of residents and local councillor Josh Colle.

"Because of stigma, many communities don't want these services," says Stephen Gaetz, an education professor at York University and director of the school's Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. He says the historic concentration of social services downtown is problematic for a number of reasons: It forces suburbanites who become homeless to drift away from their families, friends and other "natural supports"; at the same time, the move of shelters to the suburbs because of cheaper real estate disrupts the lives of their downtown residents.

Mr. Gaetz would prefer to see governments focus on permanent, affordable housing rather than moving shelter beds, but he says that semi-permanent transitional housing such as that at Beatrice House can be crucial in helping people gain stability.

"Women and children don't have a lot of options," he says. Forty per cent of the residents of Beatrice House have no income at all.

Currently, Urbancorp is not helping the YWCA relocate any of its clients, but other developers in Toronto have offered semi-happy endings: Last year, for instance, when Streetcar Developments bought the shortterm stay New Broadview Hotel on Queen Street East in Riverside, it partnered with the City of Toronto and a local service organization to help 13 low-income residents find new places to live.

"It would be nice if [all] developers were part of the solution," Mr. Gaetz says. "A developer is allowed to purchase something, but how do you make sure people aren't displaced?"

So for now, Beatrice House is closing. About 20 YWCA staff members will lose their jobs and 44 parents, some from the surrounding neighbourhood, will lose their childcare spots. Then, of course, there are the mothers and children who came here to start climbing the ladder of stability. Ms. Lewis and her staff are determined that all of them will find permanent housing before October.

"These women have really taught us about what it feels like to have your life in flux, what it means to not know what tomorrow is," says Ms. Lewis, with tears welling in her eyes. "We're not moving them to another shelter, that's a big, big piece for me. That would be impossible to accept."

Associated Graphic

Beatrice House has space for 27 families and its closing will lead to 20 job losses and the elimination of 44 childcare spots.


McDavid, then what?
Drafting or acquiring reinforcements in goal and on defence top Edmonton's to-do list after their No. 1 pick
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S3


On NHL entry draft day, it's easy to get caught up in the Connor McDavid hype because - let's face it - generational players only come along once in a generation.

But for the Edmonton Oilers, this year's draft needs to be about more than just stepping up to the microphone and announcing that McDavid is their first choice, which will happen early Friday night.

Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli has a long list of business he needs to attend to at the draft or, if he can't make everything happen there, leading into the beginning of NHL free agency on July 1 (the courting window opened Thursday). In addition to No. 1, the Oilers also have the 16th and 33rd picks in the draft - three premium selections they can either use to draft prospects or trade for more immediate help.

Chiarelli is open to dealing any pick other than the first one, and he needs reinforcements in goal and on defence to help the Oilers get to the next stage in their development.

Right now, the trade market for NHL goalies is bursting with possibilities. Edmonton, the Buffalo Sabres and the San Jose Sharks top the list of teams desperately seeking help between the pipes, while the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars are also making discreet inquiries, prices permitting.

Chiarelli can go one of two ways in goal. He can take a chance on a younger goalie or one with a smaller sample size of work (such as Robin Lehner, Cam Talbot, Eddie Lack or John Gibson), or go with a more established veteran (Kari Lehtonen, Craig Anderson or Mike Smith).

An unproven goaltender is riskier, but if the gamble pays off, then whoever it is can mature along with the rest of Edmonton's young team.

A proven veteran might just provide the stability at the back end that is the quickest way to fast-track NHL success. Last season's Florida Panthers provided the template - the addition of Roberto Luongo was the single biggest reason a team that was really bad the year before became respectable in a 12-month span.

If Chiarelli is unable to trade for the right guy in goal, then free agency is a further option. The top unrestricted free agent is the Flames' Karri Ramo, who finished the year as the team's starter and is seeking to cash in on his playoff success. If Ramo ended up in Edmonton, that would create one more intriguing plot twist to the re-emerging Battle of Alberta, which next year will feature McDavid against childhood friend Sam Bennett of the Flames. Other free-agent options in goal: Antti Niemi of San Jose, Michal Neuvirth of the New York Islanders and Devan Dubnyk, if he doesn't re-sign with the Minnesota Wild.

The Oilers also need to solidify their defence corps and a couple of options present themselves.

The Nashville Predators are deep in blueliners and woefully thin down the middle, even if they do re-sign Mike Fisher. If Chiarelli is swinging for the fences, there might be a fit there (wouldn't Shea Weber do for this Oilers team what Chris Pronger did for the '06 squad?). Anaheim, too, has defencemen to spare, but trading within the division is always a little trickier.

Ultimately, the challenge is balancing what Chiarelli calls "the competitive juices in all of us" - the urge to get better right away - with taking the longer view and showing patience with the rebuild.

It'll be difficult in Edmonton, where the Oilers have a new set of public faces - Chiarelli as GM, Todd McLellan as coach, McDavid as the team's big star - but are nine years removed from their last playoff spot.

In Calgary, meanwhile, the Flames made the playoffs this past season, won a round and convinced the paying public they're on the right track, so there's no pressure to fast-track the process.

"There are things you do for short-term gain and analyze the cost for such," Flames GM Brad Treliving said, "but I've been clear here, a lot of my calories are spent on the long term - how do we get better beyond the next 82 games?" Following is a team-by-team look at what trade and draft moves might be in the offing.

Calgary Flames

The Flames have six picks in the top three rounds thanks to late trades that sent Curtis Glencross to the Washington Capitals and Sven Baertschi to Vancouver. The Flames have great organizational depth in goal, but their two young hotshots (Jon Gillies and Mason McDonald) are years away from being NHL-ready. Their draft-day priority is depth on defence - they need to add bluechip pieces - and they have cap space to spare, so they would consider taking on someone else's contract headache if the deal was sweet enough. That's how the Kings' Martin Jones gets linked to them.

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers are drafting first over all for the fourth time in six years, and after selecting McDavid, the key is to make better choices with their later picks than they have in the past. That said, the Oilers are open to trading both the 16th and 33rd picks to make improvements on defence and in goal.

The biggest question for Chiarelli is: Would he trade a core young player off the current team if that's the price for a major upgrade on defence and in goal?

If Ilya Samsonov, the young Russian goalie prospect everyone's excited about, is still available at 33 and the Oilers haven't moved that pick, it's hard to imagine they wouldn't pick him.

Ottawa Senators The Senators have made it clear they'll move a goalie - either Lehner or Anderson - and probably won't get the value they want in return. Lehner has had some concussion issues, which has raised some red flags with GMs, while Anderson is 34 and considered mostly just a short-term fix.

The Senators did sign two important players, Mika Zibanejad and Calder Memorial Trophy finalist Mark Stone, to reasonable contracts.

Montreal Canadiens Organizationally, the Canadiens would like to stockpile scoring wingers, big centres and maybe a left-hand-shooting defenceman at the draft. GM Marc Bergevin completed one important piece of business already, getting defenceman Jeff Petry under contract before he could test free agency. Petry's addition to a defence corps that includes two other pricey pieces - P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov - suggests Bergevin may want to offload Alexei Emelin. Forward P.A. Parenteau is also said to be available.

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks began the off-season by floating Jacob Markstrom's name on the trade block and found little interest in the goalie who got their minorleague team to the AHL finals.

Since then, they've tested the market for Eddie Lack, who appears to be a more valuable trade chip and is only a year away from unrestricted free agency. If Lack gets moved, Markstrom will back up starter Ryan Miller. One thought: If Boston decides to shop Milan Lucic, a persistent rumour, would the Canucks try to repatriate their hometown boy?

For that matter, would Edmonton go after Lucic?

Winnipeg Jets

GM Kevin Cheveldayoff did a nice bit of work just before the previous trade deadline, landing defenceman Tyler Myers and the Buffalo Sabres' 25th over all pick in this draft in the Evander Kane deal. Philosophically, Winnipeg is a draft-and-development team that operates with a tight budget, which is why it could lose versatile winger Michael Frolik to free agency. After making the playoffs this year for only the second time in franchise history, the Jets will be picking 17th, barring a trade, marking only the second time in the past eight years they're drafting outside the top 10. It'll be more difficult to find blue-chippers such as Jacob Trouba and Mark Scheifele that last in the first round.

Associated Graphic

Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack could be a valuable trade chip. Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli might be looking for an unproven goalie such as Lack to grow along with his young team.


Rocked by the deaths of thousands of migrants trying to reach Europe by boat this year, European Union leaders are meeting to agree upon one common solution. Joanna Slater reports
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

BERLIN -- With each passing week, the breadth of the migrant crisis facing Europe and the strains it is creating among countries becomes starker.

On Tuesday, a strike in the French port of Calais slowed down truck traffic heading toward England. Seizing their chance to make the hazardous crossing, hundreds of migrants waiting near the coast jumped into the vehicles.

Just as Europeans were digesting the dramatic images from France, they received another shock: In an unprecedented move, Hungary briefly suspended its cooperation with European Union asylum rules, claiming it was being overwhelmed by illegal immigration.

On Thursday, political leaders from the 28-member bloc began a summit meeting in Brussels with the goal of forging a fresh response to the challenge.

The EU has already stepped up rescue operations in the Mediterranean and is exploring ways to disrupt smuggling networks. The task this week: figuring out how to share the responsibility for the thousands of often desperate people who are flowing into a handful of European countries, primarily Greece and Italy.

But finding a plan that the assembled countries can agree upon turned out to be excruciatingly difficult. After hours of discussion Thursday and into the early hours of Friday in Brussels, there was still no deal.

A draft proposal circulated earlier would make only a modicum of progress. Under the proposal, the leaders would agree to relocate about 40,000 asylum seekers currently in Greece and Italy across the EU over the next two years. How many each country would accept and whether that commitment would be binding remains unclear.

Countries such as Germany had pushed for a mandatory scheme that would distribute refugees based on a country's size and economic heft. That ran into adamant opposition from smaller countries in central Europe and the Baltics.

A voluntary scheme "cannot be an excuse to do nothing," Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, the body composed of the 28 EU leaders, said earlier Thursday. "Solidarity without sacrifice is pure hypocrisy."

Experts and activists say the numbers under discussion by EU leaders - relocating 40,000 asylum seekers and resettling a further 20,000 from their countries of origin - are far too small. Last week, the United Nations said that 60 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes, the highest level since records started being kept.

The proposal under discussion at the summit "is a step forward for the European Union," Elizabeth Collett, director of Migration Policy Institute Europe in Brussels, said. But in the global context, the numbers "are really tiny with respect to protection needs."

Judith Sunderland, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch in Europe, said the EU debate had "degenerated into a race to see which country would do the least, rather than the most." The next stage will be "more unbecoming haggling, with the lives and well-being of some of the world's most vulnerable people in the balance."

Since the start of the year, nearly 100,000 migrants have entered Europe via the Mediterranean, according to data from the International Organization for Migration. It estimates that 1,865 people have died attempting the crossing in the same time period. Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea are the sources of the largest numbers of migrants. The EU considers the vast majority of those from Syria and Eritrea to be bona fide refugees.

Under the current system, known as the Dublin Regulation, refugees must request asylum in the European country where they first arrive. But in practice, overburdened countries at Europe's periphery tacitly or not-so-tacitly encourage them to move on. Many asylum seekers, too, prefer to apply for refugee status in countries such as Sweden or Germany, or in countries where they already have relatives or support networks.

The current system, conceived in the 1990s, is straining under the rising flows.

Last year, 626,000 people applied for asylum in the European Union, the highest figure in more than two decades and an increase of 45 per cent over 2013. In three EU states - Italy, Hungary and Denmark - the number of asylum applicants doubled in 2014 compared with a year earlier.

In Hungary, the rising number of refugees and migrants entering its territory has turned into a political firestorm. For about 24 hours earlier this week, it suspended its co-operation with EU rules, which provide that asylum seekers can be returned to the country where they first arrived to have their refugee claims processed. The country's government also said it plans to build a wall on its border with Serbia to keep out migrants, sparking the ire of its neighbour.

"Europe must decide whether the time of building walls belongs to the past or to the future," Serbia's Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic, said on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. "I thought the Berlin Wall has fallen, but now new walls are being constructed."

Hungary fiercely opposed any mandatory pan-European quota for relocating refugees. The draft proposal under discussion at the summit also envisions a special "high-level" conference to address the issue of migration via what's known as the Western Balkan route, which leads to Hungary.

The debate over migration raises difficult questions about how much responsibility EU countries owe to one another, Steven Peers, a law professor and immigration expert at the University of Essex, said. Are the challenges posed by higher migration up to each country to tackle, or "do we see it as an EU-wide issue and really make a significant contribution?"


1 WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN Sea passage from North Africa to the Iberian Peninsula as well as overland to Ceuta and Melilla, two autonomous cities belonging to Spain. This route is most commonly used by Algerian and Moroccan migrants trying to reach Spain, France and Italy, but increasing numbers of sub-Saharan Africans have used the route in recent years. Many migrants attempt to cross into Spain hidden in trucks and containers on ferries headed to the ports of Almeriaand Algeciras.

2 CENTRAL MEDITERRANEAN Migrants primarily from Northern Africa cross the Mediterranean Sea often in old, unseaworthy boats for Italy and Malta, Vessels are often poorly equipped, lack proper navigation systems and sometimes have insufficient fuel. Last year, more than 170,000 migrants arrived in Italy, the European Union's largest influx into one country ever. Many departed from Libya, where lack of law enforcement allowed smuggling networks to thrive.

3 EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN This route is used by migrants crossing through Turkey to the EU via Greece, southern Bulgaria or Cyprus. Since 2008, it has become the second-largest migrant entry point. Relaxed Turkish visa policies allow migrants to fly to Turkey with legal visas before crossing illegally into the EU. Although most of the migrants were Syrians fleeing conflict zones, the migratory flows were mixed.

4 WESTERN BALKAN The two main migratory flows on this route are from Western Balkan countries and in-transit movements of migrants who entered the EU through Bulgaria, Turkey or Greece and then proceed into Hungary. In 2013, nearly 20,000 migrants illegally crossed the Hungarian- Serbian border and almost all applied for asylum. The influx was in response to a change in Hungarian legislation that allowed migrants who submitted an asylum claim to be transferred to open centres, which many of them left soon after.

5 EASTERN BORDERS The EU's 6,000-km land border between Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, the Russian Federation and eastern EU states of Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania and Slovakia sees more abuse of legal "ravel channels than illegal border-crossing. But the scale of illegal migration is much smaller "ban other migratory routes, amounting to around 2 per cent of 'he total, Ukraine remains the main transit country.

Associated Graphic

Europe's migrant issue is widespread. Clockwise from bottom: Migrants run in front of a train at a border crossing in Serbia; in Greece, migrants walk along tracks near the border; riot police in France spray tear gas; migrants travel by train and bike in Macedonia; and rest in Italy in a Milan train station.



Saturday, June 27, 2015 Saturday, June 27, 2015 CorrectionA Friday map showing the main routes migrants use to enter Europe incorrectly labelled Sicily as Malta.

In Oxford 150 years ago, an imaginative author turned the everyday into entertainment. To celebrate the anniversary of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Amanda Ruggeri goes looking for Lewis Carroll's Wonderland in the city today
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

OXFORD, ENGLAND -- The three-tiered tray was piled high with smoked-salmon sandwiches and marzipan mushrooms, clotted-cream scones and cookies iced "EAT ME." Playing cards, a red-soaked paintbrush and a miniature top hat were strewn about my place setting.

All I was missing to make the Wonderland-themed tea complete was a dozing dormouse - although my napkin had been folded neatly into the shape of a white rabbit.

I had come to Oxford to celebrate the 150th birthday of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: the tongue-twisting, beloved children's book known around the world. Perhaps suitably for the author of a novel in which up is down and right is left, in which a caterpillar smokes a hookah and a baby turns into a pig, Carroll's name wasn't really Carroll. Nor was he, by profession, a writer. His name was Charles Dodgson, and he was a mathematics professor who lived for most of his life at Christ Church, Oxford, where I now sat ("and, with only slight trepidation, sipped from a miniature jar labelled "DRINK ME").

Dodgson came to Christ Church as an undergraduate in 1851. The college, by then, was already more than 300 years old; Cardinal Thomas Wolsey founded it in 1524 and, after the cardinal's fall from grace, King Henry VIII took over. From a portrait, the monarch still looms over the college's High Table today. It's not hard to imagine Henry, the infamous executioner of two of his wives, crying, "Off with her head! Off with her head!" - not unlike Dodgson's crazed Red Queen. ("Nor is it hard to imagine any royal trial carrying on like that under the King and Queen of Hearts, one in which the King exhorts a witness, "Give your evidence and don't be nervous, or I'll have you executed on the spot.") In 1855, Henry Liddell became the college's dean. Dodgson became a close friend of his family, particularly his three little girls: Lorina, Edith and Alice.

("Some researchers have said he may have been too close. In the absence of any evidence, however, and with Alice herself recounting the relationship as innocent in her old age, those theories remain speculation.)

Dodgson loved photographing the girls - he had a passion for gadgets, cameras in particular, and even had his own darkroom at the college - as well as telling them fantastical stories.

One of those stories, of course, became the kernel of the book that has sold millions of copies.

One day in 1862, often said to be July 4, Dodgson took Alice and her sisters on a rowboat ride for a picnic down the River Isis. While rowing, he told them a tale of a little girl who, while half-dozing on the riverbank with her sister, suddenly saw a white rabbit run past her with a pocket watch - and followed him right into a rabbit hole to Wonderland. Alice begged him to write the story down for her.

Three years later, copies of it hit bookstores in England.

But the boat trip wasn't Dodgson's only inspiration for the story. As I began an Alicethemed tour of the Christ Church grounds, the 17th-century clock tower chimed. Our guide pointed out the college runs, literally, at a different time from what we have on our watches: Since technically Oxford is five minutes off Greenwich time, the college's clocks have moved at a different time from London's for centuries. Even today, church services are still held at 9:05, not 9. In other words, if you have your watch set to Greenwich time, you'll always be five-minutes late - like the white rabbit.

("Alice's father, the dean, was also known for being frequently late, making him perhaps Dodgson's inspiration for the pocketwatched animal.)

Other hints of Alice - and examples of how Dodgson's mind may have turned everyday details into entertainment - hide throughout the grounds.

There is the particularly striking tree just around the back of the college, called a Syrian plane tree, that has such massive, twisted limbs that, if you squint, it looks just like John Tenniel's original illustrations of the Jabberwock. ("As the tree was planted in 1620, Dodgson certainly would have noticed it.) In another of the drawings from Through the Looking-Glass, in a section where Alice is "standing before an arched doorway, over which were the words QUEEN ALICE in large letters," the illustration, complete with the arch's particular carving, is lifted straight from the college's door into the Chapter House.

More moving, though, is a nod to the Liddell family that has nothing to do with Dodgson at all. In the college's cathedral, a striking, soaring space that dates back to an eighth-century Saxon church but was largely rebuilt in the 16th century, is a stained glass window of St.

Catherine. The saint is a portrait of Edith - Alice's sister, who was also one of the girls on the boat trip - who died suddenly at age 22, shortly before she was to be married.

A book as bizarre as Dodgson's, though, doesn't easily lend itself to finding specific biographical details, even in a place where he lived for 47 years. Instead, finding Wonderland in Oxford means using your imagination.

My pocket-sized version of Alice's Adventures in hand, I left the college behind to wander the Christ Church meadows. The air smelled green. Fluorescent shoots, their daffodil buds just starting to yawn, rose thick along the riverbank. It was still early spring and the leafless arms of trees stretched against the sky. In the distance, I saw the fairy-tale crenellation of Merton College, founded in 1264.

Oxford was, after all, the "city of dreaming spires," or so it was called by the poet Matthew Arnold. I could see how a place like this would light up the imagination of a child - or a writer with a childlike imagination.

And, perhaps, even lend itself to stories that are especially fantastical, set in surreal worlds governed by their own rules.

Because that, in many ways, is what Oxford is, too: a place where walking on the grass is forbidden, where port always gets passed to the left, where May Week is in June, where the clocks run five minutes ahead.

It's unsurprising that it has stood in not only as inspiration for Dodgson's bizarre Wonderland, but also for other fantastical places. Much of the Harry Potter series was filmed here, particularly at Christ Church; the nearby Botanic Gardens play a role in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials; C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien both were professors here.

Now, as I walked along the river, an enormous goose crossed the path in front of me, less than a metre away. It stopped and looked me straight in the eye. I stared back, thinking I'd never seen one venture so close to a person, so unafraid. Beyond, a weeping willow drowsed in the wind. I thought about how, at the end of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice wakes up, telling her sister, "Oh, I've had such a curious dream!"

After she runs off, her sister stays on the bank, thinking about the tales. As a result, Dodgson writes, "The whole place around her became alive with the strange creatures of her little sister's dream."

I could tell how she felt as the goose and I stood there. Suddenly, it opened its beak and let out a loud, warning honk. I started to laugh. For a moment, I realized, I'd half-expected it to speak. I was, after all, in Wonderland.

The writer was a guest of Christ Church College for the Alice tea and tour. It did not review or approve the story.

Associated Graphic

Oxford, the 'city of dreaming spires,' honours Alice with special teas and tours. But watch out for the geese.


Oxford's fairy-tale-like architecture, above, has inspired generations of writers. Charles Dodgson is believed to have woven his tale about Alice and Wonderland during a boat ride on the River Isis, below.


From Meech to Greece, markets hate uncertainty
More deadlines and dire warnings, but 'Grexit' risk may have already been priced in, writes Colin Cieszynski
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B6

Winston Churchill once said, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it," and the way the Greek debt negotiations have unravelled over the last few weeks reminds me of how the Meech Lake accord collapsed 25 years ago this month.

I don't think at the time Canadians would have thought we would mark the 25th anniversary of that event by watching a replay unfold somewhere else, but the parallels between 1990 in Canada and 2015 in Europe are in some ways quite striking.

The Meech Lake accord was agreed to in the spring of 1987 with a three-year deadline for ratification by federal and provincial parliaments. Over time, public disillusionment with the deal grew andchanges in governments reflected increased opposition. By June, 1990, with the ratification deadline approaching fast and three provinces still not on board, an emergency first ministers' meeting cobbled together an amended deal, but two of the three remaining provinces failed to ratify it in time and the deal died on June 23, 1990.

Between 2010 and 2012, Greece entered into two bailout agreements with the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank as it became unable to repay its debts. These deals included stiff austerity requirements that drove Greece's economy into the ground, leading to the election of a new Greek government with a mandate to negotiate for changes to the deal. The second bailout agreement runs out on June 30 and an emergency summit has been called for Monday. But it may be too little, too late to prevent a "Grexit" or withdrawal from the euro zone - even if a deal is reached, there is no guarantee it can quickly be ratified by the various national parliaments.

Then and now, the runup to the deadline was accompanied by dire warnings of what could happen if a deal wasn't reached, including the possible breakup of Canada or the euro zone. These predictions turned out to be overblown - the sun did rise as usual the day after the collapse of the Meech Lake accord and life went on, but there were major political effects that played out over the next several years.

Meech Lake's failure led to the rise of regional and separatist parties in Canada, and a desire for change that saw the federal government of the day plus the governments of the three largest provinces shown the door the next time they faced their unhappy voters. It also led to the near collapse of two of the three leading national parties.

This trend toward regionalism has already started to emerge in Europe in recent months. In addition to Syriza in Greece, Euroskeptic parties have either won elections or made big enough strides to worry the EU establishment over the past few weeks in Britain, Spain, Italy, Poland and most recently Denmark.

This shift to a more combative mood may also make it more difficult for others seeking change in the EU to get anywhere.

Britain is looking for a better deal ahead of a potential "Brexit" referendum next year, but it's hard to see how countries outside of the euro zone will be able to make much headway when countries within it can't get any accommodation.

But how did markets respond to the Meech Lake collapse, and what can we learn from this for trading today? To figure this out, I looked at the performance of Canadian stocks, the Canadian dollar and the Canadian Treasury yield (a proxy for the price of risk).

In 1990, Canadian market action showed that the risk of the Meech deal collapsing had already been priced in by markets earlier in the year. In the first four months of 1990, the TSX composite fell by 15.8 per cent, the dollar fell by 0.54 per cent and the 10-year Treasury yield rose by 2.05 percentage points from near 9.5 per cent to near 11.50 per cent - very high levels compared with today's.

During the twists and turns that June, market reaction was more mixed. The TSX fell by 1.06 per cent, but the dollar actually rose by 0.8 per cent and the Treasury yield was basically steady, falling just 0.11 per cent.

Over the following year, results continued to be mixed. The TSX fell 2.23 per cent and underperformed the S&P 50, which rose 3.63 per cent over the same time frame. The Canadian dollar rose 1.9 per cent, benefiting from the Persian Gulf War (which drove up oil prices). The Treasury yield fell by 0.57 percentage points, although it still remained above 10 per cent, higher than where it was in late 1989. Over all, the long-term impact of the Meech Lake collapse on Canadian markets was negligible as global forces asserted themselves.

By comparison, over the first four months of this year, Greek stocks fell 0.5 per cent, but they have dropped 16.7 per cent so far this month. The euro dropped 7.3 per cent against the U.S. dollar between January and April, but has rebounded 1.1 per cent since. Greek Treasury yields have climbed up from near 8 per cent back in December to near 12 per cent today, but remain short of their peak near 13.2 per cent back in April.

Trading action around the death of the Meech Lake accord 25 years ago shows just how much markets hate uncertainty.

The biggest stock market and currency declines took place and Treasury yield increases took place in the early months of the year. By June, failure had largely been priced in, and the market reaction to the actual news was fairly quiet.

Similarly, Grexit risks appear to have already been priced into the euro, and action in European indexes over the past few days and weeks suggests increasing speculation on the impact a Grexit could have on corporate earnings.

In other words, the old adage of enter on rumour, exit on news, still applies.

Bond markets could react differently and potentially be more volatile this time.

European bond yields are much lower now than they were back in 2010 to 2012, when the bailout deals were negotiated.

This suggests a lot of complacency in the system that could be in for a rude awakening. On the other hand, having the European Central Bank in the market, with its quantitative easing program, gives it the ability to manage the fallout.

The lessons of 1990 also remind traders that it's important to be flexible, since things can rapidly change dramatically.

Six weeks after Meech Lake collapsed, Iraq invaded Kuwait, the price of oil soared and focus shifted elsewhere. Right now, markets are fixated on Greece, but this could change at any time.

Canada is also a very different place than it was in the middle of 1990. The period between 1988 and 2002 was a time of massive political, economic and financial upheaval, but the hard decisions made during that time by all parties turned Canada into one of the world's strongest and most stable countries in the 21st century.

Through this period of national restructuring, Canada benefited from having a flexible currency exchange rate, which enabled the currency to fall through the most difficult periods and helped with the rebalancing, then rebounded as the economy strengthened.

Although constitutional change is still a non-starter to this day, Canada has had a lot of successes in other areas. It remains one of just nine countries left in the world with a triple-A credit rating from all three major agencies, and at 1.71 per cent, it has the lowest Treasury yield of all the English-speaking countries.

Turmoil comes and goes, but even after the oil-price collapse, Canada is widely considered by the markets to be one of the most stable places in the world to invest, even more so than the United States or Britain. A lot can change over time.

Colin Cieszynski is chief market strategist for CMC Markets in Toronto.

Theatre of glamour
Thursday, June 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L2

Glamour used to be a thing done by witches; if they put "a glamour" on you, your sight was disturbed with dazzling illusions. Glamour in the modern sense is a mass-media creation, invented by the likes of Horst Bohrmann, the German photographer who, under the single name Horst, shot countless pictorials for Vogue magazine over five decades.

From the start of his career in the 1930s, Horst developed a very specific vision of what glamour looked and felt like. The first few rooms of his big retrospective exhibition at Montreal's McCord Museum are filled with shadowy, dramatic black-and-white photos of icy Nordic models posed like statuary in geometric compositions. The variety and formal invention of these images, shot for Paris Vogue, is impressive. But they are so consistent in look and effect that, in the quantity offered by this show from London's Victoria and Albert Museum, they resemble so many postcards from the same remote fantasy world.

Horst's glamour world was not a place you could reach in daylight.

His models emerge from a prevailing studio gloom, lit with spotlights that may sharpen a silhouette or brush a cheekbone, but that never flood the whole figure with light. These women look assertive and proud, but Horst's night-world settings also give them a furtive air. They seem to hide as much as they reveal, which makes sense, because "glamour requires distance," as Virginia Postrel says in her book The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion.

"I have been lecturing Horst about the lack of light in his photography," one Vogue editor-inchief reported in a 1937 memo.

Horst was an attentive student of many things, including classical sculpture, Baroque and Orientalist painting, Bauhaus aesthetics and surrealism, all of which drifted in and out of his photography.

But there's no evidence that he was susceptible to lectures on lack of light in his photos of costumes by Chanel or Lanvin.

"I accentuated the important parts," he said. The full meaning of that statement only comes clear when you look closely at a Horst photo in which a dress or hat have become a black sculptural mass with no detail whatever. In Horst's studio, the dress, the model, the pose and the lighting were all more or less equal causes aimed at the effect of putting a glamour on the viewer.

Horst had the luck to arrive in Paris just as photography was beginning to displace illustration as the main visual medium for transmitting fashion. Style photography was still an exploratory practice, pioneered by the art photographer Edward Steichen and George Hoyningen-Huene, the aristocratic Vogue photographer who met Horst while the latter was working as an architectural draftsman. Hoyningen-Huene showed his young protégé (and lover) how to craft the kind of cool neoclassical images favoured by designers and the fashion press.

"The woman's expression was hermetic, closed; no emotion was permitted," wrote Alexander Liberman, a Vogue art director at the time. This was another feature of glamour as developed by Horst: it bloomed where all display of emotion faded. It generated its own emotion, a shared but solitary desire not so much to be the woman in the photograph or even to own the clothes but to share deeply in what they represented. Horst invited his public to enter "an illusion known to be false but felt to be true," as Postrel says in another of her attempts to define glamour.

Horst said his real subject was elegance, which he defined as "a form of physical and mental grace that has nothing to do with pretension or overrefinement or an excess of money to spend."

But in reality, Horst almost never photographed anyone but the rich, the titled, the beautiful and the famous, including Hollywood stars. Hoyningen-Huene introduced him to the Parisian aristocracy, many of whom appear in his photos. He documented what they wore for costume balls during what Philippe Garner, writing in the exhibition catalogue, calls the "carnival of luxury" that wealthy Parisians enjoyed during the Depression.

These fascinating images from the 1930s are now often hailed as art, but they are more like brilliant displays of arty visual rhetoric. Horst's art was one of persuasion, for which he relied heavily on the theatrical means of staging and lighting. But his theatre of glamour celebrated stillness, not motion, which in the beginning had something to do with using plate cameras in low light but which soon became a habit and a barrier.

The big Oz moment in the McCord / V&A show occurs when you leave the sombre black-andwhite Paris section and enter the full glare of the rooms devoted to recent poster-sized prints of the colour transparencies Horst shot for American Vogue after decamping to New York in 1939. Condé Nast, Vogue's far-seeing owner, had seized on Kodachrome soon after this revolutionary film appeared in 1937, and it had a seismic effect on Horst's photography. The suggestive shadows of his Paris photos vanished in a riot of well-lit colour, which also emphasized the surface details he used to suppress. Nast wanted Horst to express a more informal, "American" idea of glamour, but Horst's compositions continued to be sculptural and static.

The formality and perfection of his American photos now gives them a look that many call classic, and there's no doubt that others learned from his technique.

The Horst style became a trope that could be revisited, as it was by Horst himself in a series of black-and-white images from the 1980s that look just like his Paris shots from the 1930s. As Oliver Winchester argues in a catalogue essay, Horst's black-and-white male nudes from the 1950s influenced the likes of Bruce Weber and established "the untouchable nature of much of the photography that employs the male body in the service of fashion."

Untouchability mattered, because when Horst made these decorous sculptural photos, gay men like him were still at risk of prosecution and public disgrace.

The male nudes throw an interesting light on the equally untouchable women in Horst's Paris photos, for whom "no emotion was permitted." Horst's sexual orientation was officially considered a "social plague" in France at the time, so he was well aware of the need to keep a protective distance from the object of desire.

You could say that his whole Parisian output was a visual allegory of gay life and the need to keep your longings under strict control.

The last big act in Horst's career was his Fashions in Living series, shot for Vogue in the 1960s and '70s, with texts by his lover Valentine Lawford. The photographer finally left his studio for the equally controlled home environments of the rich, the titled and the famous. Daylight came into his photos for almost the first time, along with profusions of stuff collected by his subjects.

There's so much stuff that it often seems to overwhelm the owner, posing awkwardly in his or her paradise. Horst's Paris photos had focused the construction of glamour on solitary figures, but here it's spread across the whole visual field. The centre cannot hold; the image becomes a bland luxury advertisement for a consumer society fixated on things. The dream world of glamour disappears into the solid empire of commodities.

The McCord show is beautifully laid out. The Paris rooms are as dim and hieratic as a temple, with a case full of 1930s couture, a big Ansco plate camera, and a newsreel clip of Horst at work. The vivid American rooms include a digital table at which you can scan Horst's Fashions in Living series issue by issue.

Horst: Photographer of Style continues at the McCord Museum in Montreal through Aug. 23.

Associated Graphic

Horst's colour photography dispensed with the suggestive shadows of his black-and-white Paris portraits.


Head of the class
MIT electrochemist Donald Sadoway's liquid battery could be the solution to the storage woes of the renewables sector
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P7

Donald Sadoway is the Mr. Chips, the Mr. Holland, the Miss Jean Brodie of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The elfin 65-year-old from Oshawa, Ontario, is the sort of teacher who alums discuss fondly at reunions. Remember the class on the chemistry of Champagne, when he wore a tuxedo and served flutes of bubbly? Or how he blasted Handel's Water Music at the start of the class on how hydrogen bonds with oxygen?

Sadoway has won almost every teaching award they have at MIT, some of them multiple times. But he also explodes that nasty old distinction between teachers and doers. He is an inventor with 19 patents, and he's about to launch a battery that could change the world. "As we try to wean ourselves from fossil fuels, what's the big question everyone is trying to answer?" he asks, one of many rhetorical questions he poses in our interview. "It's this: How do you store the energy generated by turbines when the wind isn't blowing, the power from solar panels when the sun isn't shining?"

We meet on the spring day Elon Musk announces Tesla's plan to release a line of batteries for use by homeowners and utilities. (1) It's chilly, but he's wearing khaki shorts. Looking out from his beach house on the California coast, it's hard to discern the line between ocean and sky. Neither the day's gloominess nor Musk's announcement curbs his enthusiasm. "It's a big market," he says. "I'm not the least bit bothered that there are other people out there trying to commercialize batteries." (2)

From Edison's day on, every would-be inventor has had a revolutionary, fail-safe battery in mind. (3) But Sadoway has cause to be optimistic about his molten metal battery. For one thing, it's got Bill Gates backing it.

It is fitting that it was Sadoway's teaching that drew Gates to him: The Microsoft founder took a Sadoway chemistry class online, and had an assistant propose a meeting.

"I ignored the e-mail," Sadoway says. "I thought it was a student prank, but when she wrote back, saying she was in fact writing on behalf of Bill Gates, we met in Cambridge and talked about many things: the role of the Internet, engineering education, climate change. I sketched some theory out on a whiteboard. He said if you ever decide to spin this out as a company, let me know."

Sadoway did decide to spin it out, and Gates duly came through as a backer (as did the hotel-owning Pritzker family). And now, some 50 employees at a plant in Marlborough, Massachusetts, are producing the first batteries under the Ambri brand (a name derived from Cambridge). The batteries will generally be eight-inch-square, two-inch-tall units, joined together in varying sizes and able to store one megawatt. So far, a mix of utilities, renewable power generators and military bases have placed orders--Pearl Harbor has bought a supersized one. Phil Giudice, the long-time energy executive Sadoway persuaded to head the start-up, says pricing is yet to be determined. "We'll probably come in at a slightly lower rate than the competition," he says. In our interview, Sadoway outlines his battery's progress. He used MIT students, not battery experts, to refine the concept and move from idea to prototype to product. "Students are idealistic and don't recognize that something is impossible."

When one grad student informed him that an initial proposed battery--involving a metal and sulphur gas--couldn't work, he remembers staring at the periodic table on his desk and realizing "we needed to have two metals that were as different as could be in behaviour. There were strong metals in the northwest part of the table, weaker ones in the southeast. To get a bit technical, one needed to be a good electron donor, the other a good acceptor."

He also wanted the source metals to be both common and readily available in North America. "Petroleum is abundant, but it's maldistributed globally. I wanted our materials to be as common as dirt here." And so the battery will rely on low-cost materials whose identities remain secret. At 500 C, these mystery metals liquify and send current through a layer of molten salt.

The battery's other key strength, according to Sadoway, is its ability to be recharged frequently, which he contrasts with the popular lithium-ion batteries used in many smartphones and electric vehicles. "Those are high-cost and tend to retain their capacity of charge for two to three years--long enough for a phone, but not for a home, or even a car."

The house on Monterey Bay is a recent purchase by Sadoway and wife Rebecca Rosenberg. There are no other houses visible from this lonely stretch, only sea and sand and sky. The bookshelves are lined with poetry (Seamus Heaney), fiction (Mordecai Richler) and history (much about his ancestral homeland, Ukraine). It's an ideal spot to think big thoughts, and Sadoway closes with a few. #8220;We have the ingenuity to solve the problems we've created. But there's political paralysis--you're a traitor if you reach across the aisle. When I started, all the big companies had massive research departments: Alcan, Stelco, Falconbridge. These have been decimated--and privately funded research now tends to be short-term. It's all about the quarterlies. Still, I remain optimistic. With people like Gates, there's this determination to leave something better behind."

(1) Tesla reportedly hired another Canadian academic-inventor, Dalhousie's Jeff Dahn, in connection with its forthcoming nickel-manganese-cobalt battery.

(2) Navigant Research projects revenues for the global battery market to rise from last year's $452 million (u.S.) to about $16.5 billion by 2024.

(3) Inventors so pestered Thomas Edison that he once commented: "Just as soon as a man gets working on the secondary battery, it brings out his latent capacity for lying."


A mixed bag of companies--big and small, established and start-up--is seeking a share of the growing battery market


Modus Operandi: Charged electrolytes move by osmosis from one solution through a membrane into another | Made by: Cellenium, Gildemeister, Sumitomo | For use in: Factories, utilities | Nutshell: long-lived and pollutant-free, but expensive, operate at high heat and need to be big


MO: Current moves from a lead peroxide solution, via a conductor of sponge lead, to a sulphuric acid solution | Made by: Walmart (EverStart brand), Sears & Kmart (DieHard) | For use in: Cars, homes | Nutshell: oldest rechargeables (circa 1859), most ubiquitous (make up nearly half the market) and low-cost. Inefficient and contains toxic materials


MO: Lithium ions move from negative electrode (anode) to the positive one (cathode) during discharge--and back | Made by: Exide, Panasonic, Sanyo | For use in: Cellphones, electric and hybrid cars | Nutshell: Known and reliable, but heavy and short-lived


MO: One molten metal donates electrons, through a liquid salt layer, to another | Made by: Ambri | For use in: Utilities, solar and wind farms | Nutshell: Efficacy in the field is unknown, but prototypes can recharge for years and constituent materials are cheap


MO: Named for the elements in it--nickel, manganese, cobalt--it's a type of lithium-ion battery | Made by: Tesla (at its new Nevada gigafactory) | For use in: Utilities, solar-powered homes | Nutshell: Moderate cost and usage can be monitored on the Internet. Release is supposedly imminent


MO: Electrical current moves from liquid sodium to sulphur through a solid (but porous) membrane | Made by: NGK (pioneered by Ford in the '60s) | For use in: Heavy vehicles and the grid | Nutshell: Long-lasting, with high energy storage capacity but contains corrosive materials. An early version caught fire in 2011 at a factory in Japan

Vapour lounges: Where a little dab'll do you
Cafés with high-tech smoking devices make getting high a social occasion, but Vancouver says they are illegal and plans to ban them under forthcoming dispensary regulations, Mike Hager reports
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

Neil Blake does a lap of the bar, bumping fists with friends and cracking jokes, before sidling up to a vaporizer for a "dab" of wax so concentrated with pot's psychoactive ingredient that he likens it to smoking a whole joint in one breath.

The affable 37-year-old says he started dabbing to ease pain from his multiple sclerosis that a cocktail of steroids and pharmaceutical drugs cannot always alleviate. The former software engineer has been coming to this location in Vancouver's West End every day since the end of April, when his regular vapour lounge in Chinatown run by the Eden dispensary chain was damaged by a fire at a neighbouring restaurant.

"It's honestly to medicate in a social environment: Instead of being at home myself all day, I get to be with people," Mr. Blake said when asked why he keeps coming back to the lounge, which is connect to an Eden dispensary on Davie Street.

A few cannabis cafés run by legalization activists tested the leniency of authorities over the years. Several vapour lounges, similar to the cafés but offering high-tech smoking devices, have opened more recently, including some run by dispensaries, as illegal pot shops exploded throughout Vancouver. The city has made it clear the vapour lounges will banned under forthcoming dispensary regulations, which will create a new business licence for marijuana dispensaries and restrict where they can open.

The Vancouver Police Department, which is more concerned with violent gangs trafficking harder drugs, typically raids only the cafés and vapour lounges that consistently let in minors or violate the industry-wide BYOB (bring your own bud) rule by selling product on site.

While the city is preparing to hand out business licences to dispensaries, it says it is not prepared to show the same tolerance for vapour lounges. The difference, says city manager Penny Ballem, is the health risk posed by inhaling the drug - something the city and local health authority view as just like tobacco smoke or e-cigarette vapour.

"What we know is the publichealth people in this country and in other places in the world have determined that vaping has a real risk to people's health," she said.

Ms. Ballem said officials can shut down the lounges under an anti-smoking bylaw amended last fall that bans vaping in public spaces, "whether it's marijuana or anything else." Dispensaries that allow customers to consume any cannabis products on site would not be able to get the special business licences, she said.

Staff estimated that it would cost about $1.4-million in the first year to implement the proposed regulations. Some of that money will pay for extra bylaw enforcement officers, Ms. Ballem added.

Still, Ms. Ballem acknowledged that "we're not able to visit everybody every day." She said dealing with a rush of dispensaries applying for the new business licences will be a "quite significant stress" on the city's bylaw enforcement and building inspection branches.

Back at the Cannabis Culture lounge on Davie Street, Mr. Blake happily mingles with recreational users, but says he would rather vape with a friend or two on the leather sofas than join the crowd at the bar oohing and ahhing when the latest metrelong bong is unveiled.

A monthly membership costs $39, and the daily drop-in fee is $5.

Those prices do not include any cannabis products, but those can be easily bought by walking up to a desk across the hazy second floor from the dab bar.

Anyone with Eden dispensary membership can enter a separate room, where a host of edibles, buds and waxes can be purchased and then brought back into the lounge or taken outside. (In the street-level bong shop below, Cannabis Culture also sells mind-expanding, and legal, natural drugs such as peyote.)

Criminologist Neil Boyd of Simon Fraser University, who has written extensively on illegal drugs, said if it is legitimate for people to drink alcohol at bars, then vapour lounges should also be allowed, as they pose much less risk to public health.

"I remember talking to a police officer once and he said, 'You know, Neil, if it wasn't for alcohol, I'd only have a part-time job,'" Prof. Boyd said. "You couldn't actually say that about cannabis. Cannabis doesn't produce the same kinds of social disruption that alcohol abuse does."

In the absence of any regulation from an "obstinate" federal government, he praised the "creative approach" taken by the City of Vancouver to monitor the dispensaries and vapour lounges.

"Commercial promotion of marijuana is one extreme and criminal prohibition is the other," Prof. Boyd said.

"So we need to find a middle ground that doesn't treat people who use as criminals, but acknowledges the public health consequences and makes sure that young people are wellinformed about the risks of constant use."

The basement smoking and vapour lounge run by David Malmo-Levine, a philosophical pot evangelist, was raided 20 years ago for letting anyone toke, including teenagers as young as 13.

Mr. Malmo-Levine, who fought and lost his drug trafficking charge from that raid in the Supreme Court of Canada, now owns the Stressed and Depressed Society Association dispensary.

At the East Vancouver pot shop, clients must have a Skype consultation with a naturopath before getting a membership - a comparatively strict barrier to entry compared with the "smoke-easy" that landed him in jail.

He said he still believes Canada should legalize marijuana, even for recreational use.

"I don't want to go to jail again, it's not very nice there.

The food leaves much to be desired and I can't say much for the view either."


Of the roughly 20 vapour lounges operating in Canada, the vast majority serve medical marijuana patients and recreational cannabis enthusiasts in Toronto and Vancouver.

Most of Toronto's approximately six vapour lounges operate below the radar of the mainstream public and are upstairs from or in the back of bong shops. Last month, Ontario passed a bill banning smoking e-cigarettes in nonsmoking areas, but it remains to be seen whether the law will be used to crack down on vapour lounges, as Vancouver has pledged to do using a similar civic health bylaw.

Ottawa's first vapour lounge was forced to close last month for violating building codes.

Its owner has pledged to have his paperwork in order and reopen as early as the end of next week. Meanwhile, another vapour lounge has opened in the city, despite the mayor voicing his displeasure at the idea of vapour lounges.

In Halifax, a swanky vapour lounge that opened last fall is still operating without any reported issues with the authorities.

A handful of compassion clubs in other cities are allowed to offer their medical marijuana patients areas to smoke or vape, because they have a right to take their medicine in a safe place away from landlords who may not allow them to do so at home, according to Dieter MacPherson, executive director of the Victoria Cannabis Buyer's Club.

He said any regulations of vapour lounges must clearly distinguish between recreational users and be careful not to restrict patients' access to their medicine.

"Progressive regulation is a benefit to everybody involved," he said.

Associated Graphic

Neil Blake, left, uses a vaporizer to smoke shatter, a form of medical marijuana, at Cannabis Culture lounge in Vancouver.


Travis Williams uses a vaporizer at Cannabis Culture lounge in Vancouver on Wednesday.


Chad Rowsell prepares shatter at Stressed and Depressed Association in Vancouver.

Mr. Rowsell smokes marijuana from a Volcano Medic vaporizer, a medical device approved by Health Canada.

The big draft moment was no surprise, but for Connor McDavid, the most heralded junior hockey player in a decade, it was still momentous to pull on his first pro jersey and begin his NHL career
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1


A season with teenage Canadian hockey sensation Connor McDavid, and his impact on the Oilers, the NHL, and the city of Edmonton.

A journey that started when Connor McDavid strapped on skates at age three in the Toronto suburbs concluded Friday night when the 18-year-old was selected by the Edmonton Oilers with the first pick of the NHL draft.

In the minutes before his name was called at the BB&T Center, the prodigy who has drawn comparisons to Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky bounced one leg nervously and seemed to hold his breath. "I'm going to throw up, I think," he said to his parents, who were seated on either side of him.

At the moment hockey's most-talked-about prospect became a professional, he hugged his father, Brian, his mother, Kelly and older brother, Cameron. Then he walked up onto the stage and pulled on the No. 97 Oilers jersey he is likely to be wearing when the puck drops in October at the start of the 2015-16 regular season.

"I didn't know how I would feel, but it was even better than I expected," McDavid said. "I was anxious. It is hard to describe what it is like to hear your name called.

"It's a dream come true."

The Oilers' fourth No. 1 pick in six years, McDavid ended his major-junior career with the Erie Otters this season as the most decorated player in Ontario Hockey League history.

Despite having only an 11.5 per cent chance, Edmonton won the right to choose first in a lottery that dashed other struggling teams' hopes on April 18.

Only minutes after picking him, the Oilers announced they will give all long-suffering season-ticket-holders a replica McDavid sweater. Once one of the most successful franchises in sports, Edmonton has not reached the postseason in nine years and last won a Stanley Cup in 1990.

In the 69 days since winning the lottery, the team fired and hired a new president and general manager in Peter Chiarelli, a new coach in Todd McLellan, and took a broom to its coaching and scouting staffs.

"It's exciting, of course," McDavid said of the many moves within the organization. "It's a great change. I am an Edmonton Oiler and I couldn't be any more proud."

After rolling up 120 points in 47 games and leading Erie to its first conference championship since 2002, the lightning-quick centre added 49 points in 20 postseason games and was chosen the most valuable player in the OHL playoffs.

Baby-faced and extremely softspoken, he attended his senior prom at Sir William Mulock Secondary School in Newmarket, Ont., several weeks ago, and only last week completed his final exams. He missed his highschool graduation Wednesday night while taking part in predraft activities in South Florida.

Before beginning his career on what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called "a night of opportunity, renewal and anticipation," McDavid had breakfast with his family, spent some time drinking coffee and staring at the Atlantic Ocean and went jet-skiing to help make the hours pass more quickly.

He was cheered loudly at the Panthers' rink, which was crowded with more fans than attend on many game nights. Florida was last in the NHL in home attendance this year with an average of 11,265 spectators a game.

The crowd included a smattering of Oilers fans who made the long trip from Alberta to see the team get their man.

Randall Kemp, who is getting married in August, came from Edmonton as part of a prebachelor party celebration with his father, Murray, prospective father-in-law, Doug Coulter, and friend, Sean Piper.

"It is almost like the draft is our Stanley Cup," Piper, an engineer, said. "Nobody celebrates tiny victories like Edmonton Oilers fans."

Randall Kemp was at lunch with Coulter on April 18 when the Oilers overcame long odds to win the McDavid sweepstakes.

"We didn't think the Oilers would win and then the whole place erupted," he said. "I told Doug we won the lottery and he thought I meant the 6/49."

Standing outside in sweltering 33 C heat, Piper fretted that the Oilers may do something unexpected.

"If Peter Chiarelli walks on stage and announces a trade, we are going to burn the place down," he said.

With amplifiers blaring canned music by Miami's KC and the Sunshine Band, hundreds of spectators dressed in team sweaters waited outside for more than an hour for the doors to open.

Once inside, they quaffed brews, downed shots of Stoli at a bar in the lobby, lined up for autographs from Panthers' stars Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad, and booed lustily any time the Bruins, Canadiens, Rangers or Bettman was mentioned.

The rink was decorated for the draft, with photographs displayed of Guy Lafleur (1971), Mike Modano (1988), Vincent Lacavalier (1998), Alex Ovechkin (2004) and other No. 1 picks. Perhaps next year, when the draft convenes in Buffalo, McDavid's picture will be added to the exhibit.

The Sabres used the second pick to take defenceman Jack Eichel, while Arizona, picking third, chose McDavid's linemate in Erie, Dylan Strome.

Before the draft began, the two waved and made faces at one another from their seats.

Only the third 15-year-old ever given permission by Hockey Canada to play in the OHL, McDavid played in Erie for three years before ending his spectacular amateur career. He won awards as the OHL and CHL's top player this season, and helped Team Canada win a gold medal at the world junior championship.

Fans crowded into Rexall Place in Edmonton and bars and house parties raged around the city on Friday night to welcome him to the family.

"Ever since [the Oilers] won the lottery and I got the job, I have told myself that I have to temper expectations to help Connor," Chiarelli said earlier Friday during a news conference in Miami. "He is a terrific player and will help our franchise when he gets up and running.

"This is an exciting day."

McDavid said he is not worried about those expectations getting out of control. He has them, too.

"I think my expectations exceed any of those that anyone else puts on me," he said. "I just have to make sure I am playing my game. If I meet my expectations, the chances are I will meet everybody else's as well."

NHL Hall of Famer Bobby Orr, whose agency represents McDavid, said he expects great things.

"He is going to be a great player for a long time," Orr said. "He is going to represent our game so well.

"I look at what he has gone through these last three years and am impressed at how well he has handled it. He hasn't changed a bit since I met him."


No. 2 JACK EICHEL Buffalo Sabres

No. 3 DYLAN STROME Arizona Coyotes

No. 4 MITCHELL MARNER Toronto Maple Leafs

No. 5 NOAH HANIFIN Carolina Hurricanes

No. 6 PAVEL ZACHA New Jersey Devils

No. 7 IVAN PROVOROV Philadelphia Flyers

No. 8 ZACHARY WERENSKI Columbus Blue Jackets

No. 9 TIMO MEIER San Jose Sharks

No. 10 MIKKO RANTANEN Colorado Avalanche

Associated Graphic

Connor McDavid is presented with a team jersey after being selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on Friday.


Connor McDavid hugs family members and friends after being picked No. 1 in the NHL Draft last night.

McDavid said he is not afraid of the high expectations being placed upon him by others.


Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, June 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page D1

LE MANS, FRANCE -- Mark Webber is being mobbed by reporters. The handsome Australian with the chiselled face and dark windswept hair could have been a Hollywood hunk had he not spent his days racing Formula One cars. Today, he's jumped into the world of endurance racing, competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time. It's a traditional career path for exF1 pilots.

Meanwhile, Webber's young co-driver, Brendon Hartley, is entertaining a lone reporter by his table in Porsche's trackside hospitality centre. The New Zealander with scraggly blond hair looks like he belongs in a Red Bull commercial. No, he looks like he should be playing Frisbee on the quad between bong rips.

"Saying you're a racing driver never works with women. It's a myth," says Hartley. "Either they don't believe you, or they don't care. But, for the record, I've had the same girlfriend for 10 years."

Where Webber is poker-faced about the challenges of Le Mans, Hartley is nerves and enthusiasm. But they both want they same thing. They just want to get on with it.

"We've been preparing so long - since the end of the race last year - I'm sick of talking about it," Hartley says. "I can't wait for Saturday, when it'll just be me, alone in the car."

Le Mans is among the longest-running races in the world, staged annually since 1923 with the odd break for war or economic depression. It takes place in the town of Le Mans, to the west of Paris, on a mix of public roads and dedicated track which make up the 13.6-kilometre Circuit de la Sarthe.

In the old days, it was a victory just to finish, with drivers and car both surviving the night. Today, as the announcer says over the PA, "what you are about to witness is 24 one-hour grand prix sprints."

Teams don't pace themselves any more because the competition has become so fierce. Some 80 per cent of every lap is spent at full-throttle.

What would happen if Greenpeace ever caught wind of all this: how much carbon dioxide do 55 race cars produce in 24 hours? And for what? The enjoyment of 250,000 odd spectators?

Corporate bragging rights? Won't somebody think about the trees?

They'd have a point, but Porsche claims racing here helps to develop eco-friendly technology.

It has dubbed 2015 "Mission Future Sports Car." While such claims smack of green-washing, Porsche gets the benefit of the doubt here. Le Mans is a good test of durability and reliability, and reducing fuel consumption leads to fewer pit stops - which can lead to victory.

Le Mans is a first draft for future automobiles. There is speculation BMW will enter a hydrogen-powered contender in the future. And an all-electric entrant - swapping battery packs instead of refuelling - seems more a question of "when" rather than "if". And what about an autonomous entrant? The 2037 Audi e-tron e-brain, a digital driver/car that makes no mistakes and does not get tired.

At exactly 3 p.m. on Saturday, the race starts.

On the third-floor balcony of Porsche's newly minted trackside Experience Centre, an elderly man in a Gulfstream G650 baseball hat is having his picture taken with two younger blond women.

Downstairs at one of the bars, a waitress - a student from Munich - is nearly at the end of her 6 a.m.-4 p.m. shift. Between work and wanting to watch the race, she says she'll probably only get an hour or so of sleep. Asked how she will survive the 24-hour race, she says with coffee and caffeine pills.

On track, an early crash: a Porsche 911 RSR misses a turn and skips across the gravel, taking out two other cars. One looks like Webber's red Porsche 919, No. 17.

A 13-year-old boy answers the question on everyone's mind.

"Ohhhhh, was that a 919? No, no, it's not. Phew." He's watching the race with his dad, Pancho Meyer.

They've come from Arizona, invited by a local Porsche dealer because he's such a good customer. Meyer's son, who just wants to watch the race, knows all the cars from video games. The boy says it's a dream come true to be here.

"It's smart marketing," Meyer says. Le Mans is featured heavily in the Forza and Gran Turismo series on Xbox and PlayStation respectively.

"Porsche is basically the best team," the boy says, reeling off statistics. He knows more than your assigned reporter about this race.

Later, as darkness falls under cloudy skies, spectators around the track are calm, placated by the hypnotic effect of an endless stream of headlights dazzling and then disappearing around the next bend. The sheer variety of folding chairs is impressive.

Spectators set them up in front of a trackside TV screen. It looks like a game of musical chairs, except the music never plays.

Only Radio Le Mans broadcasts non-stop.

Morning dawns, and a teenager is asleep on the ground near the start/finish line. How his foam earplugs block out the head-splitting explosions these race cars emit as they rocket past is a mystery.

Porsche staff are still on duty, running the team's private shuttles around the track. One says she was lucky to get a five-hour block of sleep. Others have been sleeping on and off when they can.

You tend to think about the drivers in a 24-hour race. But the top drivers have massive support: team doctors and physiotherapists at their disposal, plus a quiet place to relax between stints in the car.

Spare a thought for the team strategists who spend the race looking at computer screens monitoring live telemetry from a windowless room, or the mechanics who are on duty the entire race. When a Porsche 919 comes in from the wars with broken nose section, they can have it off and a new piece fitted in less than a minute.

Twenty-three hours into the race, inside the No. 17 car, Hartley is again driving. Telemetry data says he's experiencing two times the force of gravity as he steers the car through a particularly high-speed corner. The lateral force makes his head feel twice as heavy as normal while pushing it against the side of his seat.

This year saw record attendance: 263,500 spectators, according to organizers. Imagine Toronto's Rogers Centre filled five times over. Now, imagine everyone all hungover and tired and deeply satisfied as if the Jays had just crushed the Yankees.

That's what Le Mans feels like.

"If Porsche wins, it'll be their 17th win at Le Mans, and 17 years since their last win," the 13-yearold videogamer says over a late lunch. He called it. At 3 p.m. on Sunday, the No. 19 Porsche takes the chequered flag.

Webber, Hartley and Timo Bernhard in the No. 17 Porsche finish second, exactly where they started 24 hours earlier.

What was the point then? Why did all these people work so hard and lose so much sleep? To put us one step closer to building zero-emissions sports cars? Sustainable fun.

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.

Associated Graphic

Some 80 per cent of every lap raced at Le Mans is spent at full-throttle.


Mark Webber, left, is poker-faced about the challenges of Le Mans while Porsche teammate Brendon Hartley is all nerves and enthusiasm.

Is Arctic oil a losing gamble?
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B5

Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of International Law and the Arctic, which was awarded the Donner Prize in 2014.

Eighty-three billion barrels: That's how much oil could be present in the Arctic, according to a high-profile U.S. geological survey report released in 2008. But the wave of excitement from the report is now receding, as some harsh realities sink in.

First, 83 billion barrels is not actually that much. It would provide enough oil to satisfy world demand for just three years at our current level of consumption.

Second, the report was an estimate of undiscovered reserves, based on some broad geological assumptions, since most of the Arctic has not yet been subject to exploratory drilling.

Third, 83 billion includes reserves that are technically, but not necessarily economically, recoverable. This distinction matters because the challenges associated with finding, extracting and transporting Arctic oil are considerable due to ice, severe weather and a dearth of infrastructure, services and search-and-rescue capability across most of the region.

Most of the projected 83 billion barrels are located offshore, in waters covered by sea ice for most of the year. Exploratory drilling can only take place in late summer and early fall, and drilling for a month or two in the Arctic costs more than a similar year-round endeavour elsewhere.

Although Arctic sea ice is receding, detached remnants of the ice pack continue to drift into the path of ships and drill rigs. In 2012, a drifting sheet of sea ice forced Shell to stop its operations north of Alaska. That summer, Shell failed to complete a single well, despite deploying two rigs and more than a dozen other vessels.

Unlike sea ice, which forms on the ocean surface, icebergs calve from land-based glaciers. Icebergs pose a serious threat to offshore oil operations only in the Eastern Canadian Arctic and around Greenland, where such glaciers are present. But icebergs are becoming more common, not less, due to climate change, as melt water lubricates the glaciers' movement into the sea.

Then there is "icing," which occurs when ocean spray freezes onto the superstructure of ships and rigs during Arctic storms, rendering them unstable and prone to capsizing.

As climate change progresses, Arctic storms will become more common. In December, 2012, Shell lost control of a drill rig while towing it from northern Alaska to Seattle in severe weather. The rig was forced onto the rocks and has since been destroyed.

Shell was towing the rig 5,000 kilometres south because the infrastructure and personnel needed to service and upgrade it were absent in Alaska. Operating at such immense distances adds greatly to the costs and risks of Arctic offshore oil.

Search-and-rescue capabilities are also scarce in the Arctic. In 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard deployed two helicopters to Alaska's north coast to provide coverage for Shell drilling operations. But three years earlier, on the Canadian side of the border, BP was forced to hire Cougar Helicopters to provide search-and-rescue coverage for its seismic program in the Beaufort Sea; the nearest Canadian government search-andrescue helicopter was based 2,200 kilometres away.

Moving Arctic offshore oil to market would also be a challenge. Ice-strengthened tankers are expensive to build and cost more to operate than regular tankers. After leaving Arctic waters the oil might have to be transferred - at additional expense - to regular tankers.

A major spill in Arctic waters would have devastating environmental consequences, not least because oil disperses and degrades very slowly in cold water. More than two decades after the Exxon Valdez spilled over 80 million litres on Alaska's south coast, some of the oil remains present in the ecosystem.

Across much of the Arctic, distance, sea ice, seasonal darkness, rough weather, limited coastal infrastructure and a small and widely scattered population make a successful cleanup improbable. In 2011, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Robert Papp warned Congress that the United States was unprepared to respond to a major oil spill in the region.

Oil companies face potentially massive cleanup costs in the event of an Arctic spill.

In the United States, a $134-million (U.S.) liability cap applies to spills from offshore drilling operations. However, the cap does not apply in cases of fault or gross negligence, which is why BP accepted full responsibility after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

In Canada, the liability cap for Arctic operations was raised from $40-million (Canadian) to $1-billion in 2013. In Greenland, oil companies are required to post a $2-billion bond in advance of exploratory drilling. Calls are now being heard for all Arctic countries to eliminate liability caps, thus imposing the full cost of a cleanup on the responsible company.

Yet some countries and companies are still moving forward with Arctic drilling.

The Norwegian government has issued leases in the southwest Barents Sea, although only in waters that are free of sea ice throughout the year as a result of the warming effect of the Gulf Stream. Norway is also unusual in that it has good ports, sizable communities and excellent searchand-rescue coverage along its Arctic coastline, all of which reduces the cost and risk and makes it possible to envisage at least a partial cleanup in the event of a spill.

In Russia, state-owned Gazprom is already shipping oil from an ice-strengthened drilling platform in the southeast Barents Sea. But it is doing so at a monetary loss, as the Russian government strives to offset steep declines in land-based production. For Russia, it's not just an economic imperative - Arctic oil offers a way to maintain status and geopolitical influence.

The U.S. government has supported Arctic offshore oil exploration as a route to reducing American reliance on imports from Venezuela and the Middle East, thus improving national security. But the development of domestic shale oil and gas, along with more stringent fuel efficiency requirements for vehicles, has lessened this imperative. The United States is now likely to become energy self-sufficient without Arctic offshore oil.

Shell, however, seems determined to pursue its campaign north of Alaska. By the end of this summer, the company will have spent more than $7-billion over five years on exploratory Arctic offshore drilling - despite there being no possibility of recovering that investment unless and until the current world oil price doubles or triples.

So what is this about?

The stock prices of publicly traded oil companies, such as Shell, are partly based on their reserve ratios - that is to say, the difference between the amounts of oil they are currently exploiting and the amounts they have found but not yet tapped. If Shell can demonstrate that its leases north of Alaska contain vast reserves, this will boost its stock price even if it has no plans to actually extract and sell that oil.

For all these reasons, betting on Arctic offshore oil involves two big gambles. First, that oil will be marketable in the long term at much higher prices than today. And second, that high-cost, high-risk oil will continue to receive government support - in the form of liability caps, low royalty rates and an absence of carbon pricing.

Investors should take note. Arctic offshore oil could be stranded oil.

Associated Graphic

A Shell rig is shown near Seattle en route to the Arctic this month. An estimated 83 billion barrels of undiscovered oil could be in the Arctic, says a 2008 geological survey.


Urban designer reshaped Canadian cities
From the Toronto waterfront to a Vancouver university campus to the nation's capital, his designs were marked by respect for nature
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

In an age of specialization, urban planners are by definition highly multidisciplinary, cultivating or enlisting others with skills in architecture, urbanization, landscaping and project management. But few in the planning field have been as widely and deeply skilled as Roger du Toit. His wide-ranging expertise helped make him one of Canada's most important and influential urban designers, who was bestowed a rare triple official recognition as a professional architect, landscape architect and planner.

From the creation of vast campuses to small parks, his firm, du Toit Allsopp Hillier (now known as DTAH), improved the look, feel and function of communities across the country. When Mr. du Toit died on May 31 in Toronto at 75, from injuries suffered in a bicycle accident, the design profession lost one of its most prominent players.

He was instrumental in reshaping both the iconic and the everyday aspects of Canadian cities, beginning with his home base of Toronto. His early career milestones including serving as project architect for the CN Tower and project captain for the proposed redevelopment of the downtown railway lands that surrounded it, both while working with architect John Andrews from 1965 to 1972.

Mr. du Toit was a member of the high-calibre team working with architect George Baird to produce the first design guidelines for downtown Toronto, published in 1974. The two men took some of the Toronto study's concepts regarding view corridors and streetscaping to Vancouver in 1982, when they devised the urban-design templates for downtown Vancouver's north and south sections.

"The defining feature of Roger's career is his understanding of the fabric and landscape of a city, as opposed to the individual buildings that make it up," Mr. Baird said.

In collaboration with other designers and consultants, Mr. du Toit oversaw long-term planning frameworks for universities in Vancouver, Nanaimo, B.C., Regina, Minnesota and Kuwait - large-scale projects that required consideration of small-scale detailing.

He paid close attention to how people used, and travelled through, communities, and devised shelter overhangs, lighting, greenery, streetscaping and strategic pedestrian connections, said Andrew Brown, a consultant who worked with Mr. du Toit on campus planning at both the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Island University.

"His fundamental commitment was to the spaces between buildings," Mr. Brown said.

Roger Terence du Toit was born in Cape Town on Dec. 20, 1939.

He earned an bachelor of architecture from the University of Cape Town in 1963, but left shortly after graduation. Toronto architect and fellow South African emigrant Shirley Blumberg noted that the brain drain prompted by the country's apartheid laws of that era had a strong effect on many of her compatriots.

"When you grow up in South Africa and leave at a time like that, you tend to carry with you a sense of social responsibility, and I think that characterized his work," Ms. Blumberg said.

Mr. du Toit's career began at a time when the importance of urban planning was gaining recognition and fostering intense debate. Jane Jacobs's 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, argued that existing urban-renewal strategies were stifling street life and ignoring the needs of ordinary people.

The writings of Ms. Jacobs, who moved to Toronto from New York in the late 1960s, were a strong influence on Mr. du Toit throughout his career.

After a short time working for an architect in London and a year spent teaching at the College of Technology in Oxford, England, Mr. du Toit moved to Toronto in 1965. He received his master's degree in architecture from the University of Toronto in 1966 and joined Mr. Andrews's practice that year.

In May of 1967, he met Sheila Kingston at a dinner party. He made an indelible impression that evening, she recalled, by give her a twig teeming with spring buds: "How could I not fall in love with him?" The couple married within a year and lived for decades on Toronto Island.

In 1972, they established the firm du Toit Associates Ltd., with his wife serving as business manager for the burgeoning practice.

Her steadfast professional and personal support would prove to be a crucial factor in Mr. du Toit's success throughout his career.

The firm evolved into Roger du Toit Architects in the late 1970s, as John Hillier and then Robert Allsopp joined the partnership.

In 1985, the partnership became known as du Toit Allsopp Hillier and, since 2012, by its acronym DTAH to reflect its expanding team, which now boasts 10 partners and 35 employees in total.

From repurposing Toronto's 19th-century Gooderham and Worts distillery site to managing the complex environmental assessment of the city's Queens Quay revitalization, Mr. du Toit had a hand in some of the most distinctive projects in recent urban history.

In Vancouver, his ambitious 1990 framework for UBC's major building expansion favoured preservation of the site's oldgrowth forest. Working with a team that included worldrenowned landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, he sought to integrate plantings and pedestrian walkways.

"He told me how important [it] is that we keep the old-growth forest as part of the plan," said Ms. Oberlander, who is based in Vancouver. "He said that the trees should come through the campus 'like fingers,' as he put it.

He recognized how the trees connect you to the past, as well as being magnificent specimens of ecology."

A vivid manifestation of his respect for nature is DTAH's current greening of the Toronto waterfront, done in joint venture with the Dutch firm West 8, which includes a tree-lined promenade, an extension to a walking trail and a series of "wave decks" hovering over Lake Ontario. And since 1979, Mr. du Toit had been overseeing the long-range plan of the Wascana Centre in Regina, which offers a network of parks, community buildings and bird sanctuary centred around Lake Wascana.

Mr. du Toit also left his mark on the National Capital Region, beginning with a 1983 siting study for the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Civilization (now the Canadian Museum of History). The firm then devised the ceremonial route connecting Ottawa and Gatineau, now known as Confederation Boulevard. The final stage, designed and implemented by DTAH, was completed and dedicated in 2000 as a millennium project.

Since 1985, Mr. du Toit had been leading the firm in its longterm plan of Ottawa's parliamentary and judicial precincts, including the siting of the future federal court building, which the government is now considering scuttling in favour of a memorial to victims of communism. In a previously arranged presentation at Ottawa City Hall earlier this month, DTAH partner Mr. Allsopp fervently defended the rationale and integrity of their original vision for the government precinct, and the value of maintaining a carefully considered plan for the most symbolically important place in the country. Mr. Allsopp's presentation, titled "Heart of the Nation," was dedicated to Mr. du Toit.

Mr. du Toit leaves his wife, Sheila, and sons Rob and André.

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Associated Graphic

Roger du Toit understood 'the fabric and landscape of a city, as opposed to the individual buildings that make it up.'


From left, partners Mr. du Toit, Robert Allsopp and John Hillier with the model for the Gooderham and Worts distillery site in Toronto.


Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R18

Mini-reviews rated on a system of 0 to 4 stars. Full-length reviews were published on the dates indicated.


In 2012, The Avengers - a smart, lively film with a lot of personality - became the third-highestgrossing movie in history. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, writer and director Joss Whedon again shows his considerable gifts for multicharacter air-traffic control with a massive 3-D spectacle, while demonstrating reserves of insouciance. In an era when "bigscreen entertainment" sounds quaint, Whedon offers 21st-century image spinning of high complexity and commitment to craft.

For degree of difficulty, his accomplishments earn respect, as does his all-star cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson. That said, Whedon can't quite work the same miracle twice and it isn't long before superhero fatigue sets in. At 142 minutes, Avengers: Age of Ultron really does feel like an age. PG (May 1)


Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander star in this futuristic film where artificial intelligence observations spark an inter-species love story.

Protagonist Caleb (Gleeson) arrives for a week at the modernist fortress of creepy Internet tycoon Nathan Bateman (Isaac, of Inside Llewyn Davis), where his job is to get as close as he wants to Ava - Bateman's pet creation, a super-smart robot with female body parts played by Vikander - and determine if she has a conscience.

Both cerebral and B-movie-formulaic enough to include shapely fembots and daring escapes, Alex Garland's Ex Machina is a clever film with one indelible performance from Isaac. 14A (April 24)


Can fans of Twilight and The Hunger Games find thrills among 19th-century barn fires and sheep stampedes?

Possibly, though director Thomas Vinterberg's earnestly realistic treatment of Thomas Hardy's 1874 novel feels like a missed opportunity to do a country romantic melodrama in grand style - despite a great performance from Carey Mulligan as heroine Bathsheba Everdene.

While screenwriter David Nicholls (Great Expectations) provides a bullet-point summary of the book's melodramatic spikes (stampede, fire, storm, murder) in a brisk 119 minutes, it misses the heart of Hardy, the portrait of 19th-century English rural society, the rapturous celebration of nature and the novel's many deeply conflicted characters. PG (May 1)


George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road is an exercise in relentless, pedal-to-the-metal momentum that can qualify only as savagely pleasurable. It's also Miller's first return to the postapocalyptic action-movie terrain of Australian automotive mayhem in three decades. With Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson in the title role, this is a film that accentuates the thrill of the chase and reduces plot to the barest of Mad Maxian minimalisms. Ultimately, Mad Max: Fury Road really isn't about much more than momentum, the methamphetamine of motor movies. 14A (May 15)


If Steven Spielberg's first Jurassic Park faced the daunting prospect of resurrecting dinosaurs, the new Jurassic World, produced by Spielberg but directed by Colin Trevorrow, has a more modest ambition: to resurrect a fraction of the wow factor of the original movie for a new generation.

In effect, Jurassic World is the sequel as fan fiction, with a bigger, badder dinosaur on the loose and a self-referential talk about the trouble with maintaining a franchise ("Nobody's interested in dinosaurs any more").

Chris Pratt does a fine job mixing mischief and gravity as a macho ex-Navy dinosaur trainer who has to contend with the latest massive killosaurus escaped from its island pen, while Bryce Dallas Howard, as the corporate head of the operation, is mostly obliged to get more dishevelled and sweaty as the film progresses. PG (June 12)


Pixar returns to form with Inside Out, Pete Docter's conceptually ambitious animated journey into an adolescent girl's head, where five animated emotions - Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) - co-operate or vie for control. When 11-year-old hockey-playing tomboy Riley is moved from Minnesota to San Francisco, her exterior world becomes lonely and threatening.

The world of her brain is depicted like a giant theme park with a maze of huge gumball machines that hold her stored memories.

When Joy and Sadness get locked out, they must work together to save themselves and their host.

Inside Out gets somewhat manically overstuffed in its middle section, but mostly the film hits the right balance of kid-pleasing fun and adult wit and insight. G (June 19)


Competitive a cappella groups score points for snazzy reinventions of the recognizable, but sequels rarely try for such innovation. And so Pitch Perfect 2, the sparky enough follow-up to the surprise musical comedy from 2012, doesn't stray from the original. What we have is a fun update that is tighter, slicker and fine-tuned in more ways than one - no doubt music to the ears of the fans of a flowering franchise.

The narrative - in which Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and the rest of the Barden Bellas aim for a world singing title - is skimpier than a Beyoncé gown, but Pitch Perfect 2 hits the notes it needs to hit. PG (May 15) - Brad Wheeler .


This sequel to the 2012 hit about a group of British seniors retiring to a rundown hotel in Jaipur, India, sticks to a sentimental Britcom formula, with a blue-chip cast led by Maggie Smith as sharp-tongued pensioner Muriel, who shares ownership of the hotel with a young Indian entrepreneur, Sonny (Dev Patel). In a myriad of predictable misunderstandings, the central story sees Sonny fawning over a handsome American visitor, Guy (Richard Gere), whom he believes to be an inspector who could allow him to franchise the hotel operation. PG (March 6)


In this boisterous action-comedy Melissa McCarthy gets the kind of double-barrelled role she was born to play: part cherubic auntie, part two-fisted biker mama on the rampage. McCarthy plays a CIA office drudge who helps James Bond-like agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) look brilliant.

When he's taken out of commission, she's put into the European field and she surprises everyone, including herself, when she taps into her gift for verbal and physical aggression. With strong ensemble work from Jason Stratham as a macho fellow agent and Rose Byrne as a haughty Bulgarian crime princess, Spy could easily become the cornerstone of a franchise. 14A (June 5)


In early-20th-century Vienna, Adele Bloch-Bauer was a prominent Jewish socialite and arts patron. Decades later, Gustav Klimt's famous portraits of her, looted by the Nazis, became the centre of a landmark art-restitution case - and now, of a clockwork Hollywood film. In Woman in Gold, Helen Mirren plays Bloch-Bauer's niece, who teams with lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) to become an "odd couple" David against the Goliath of the Austrian government. Director Simon Curtis milks the predictable drama, thrills and heartache of the Holocaust-era story, but it's a paintby-numbers triumph, a copy of something we've seen many times before. PG (April 3)

Associated Graphic

Carey Mulligan portrays heroine Bathsheba Everdene in Far from the Madding Crowd.

Anna Kendrick returns to lead the Barden Bellas to a world singing title in Pitch Perfect 2.

Carpenter built famous B.C. jazz club
Big names and young singers such as Diana Krall and Nelly Furtado took centre stage at Victoria nightspot
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

Hermann Nieweler was an immigrant carpenter who became a hotelier by accident and later still became proprietor, also by accident, of one of the best-known jazz clubs in Canada.

His eponymous Hermann's Jazz Club remains a Victoria landmark, an eccentric downtown space that has survived changing tastes in music, not to mention a disastrous fire 15 years ago.

The club's corner stage has featured bluesmen ("John Hammond, David Gogo), folk singers ("Mae Moore, Stephen Fearing, Jane Siberry) and, of course, a who's who of jazz headliners ("Jane Bunnett, Hugh Fraser, Michael Kaeshammer, Renee Rosnes, Bria Skonberg, among many others). A young Diana Krall was a frequent performer early in her career, while Wynton Marsalis once dropped by for a late-night jam after completing a show at a less-homey venue elsewhere in the city.

Mr. Nieweler, who died on June 10 from complications related to cancer at the age of 79, was a tall, balding, moon-faced figure who favoured cardigan sweaters and, when moved by a particular piece of music, might join the band on stage to rub a washboard he would wear around his neck.

The decor of his street-level club consists of brick walls and thick wooden beams, undoubtedly inspired by the owner's Rhineland origins. The walls are decorated by knick-knacks, including framed publicity photographs and decorative brass plates, as well as a cornet, a trombone and a banjo.

Mr. Nieweler made the club available for many charitable causes, regularly opening his door to local high school jazz and rhythm-and-blues bands.

Some of the teenaged musicians he welcomed have gone on to musical careers of their own, including singer Nelly Furtado.

"He had a passion for creating a space for young people, so they could do something with their lives," said Stephan Nieweler, a son who is among four people now operating the club.

After Mr. Nieweler ("which he pronounced knee-WELL-er in Canada, but knee-VELL-er when in his native land) underwent a kidney transplant in 2010, he became a tireless advocate for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Three years after the operation, he rappelled a 13-storey bank building in downtown Victoria to raise money for charity.

Hermann Josef Nieweler was born on Aug. 25, 1935, in Neuenkirchen, Germany, about 35 kilometres northwest of Muenster.

He was the fourth of five children ("two sons, three daughters) born to Theresia and Josef Nieweler, farmers who put their son to work at an early age. Young Hermann milked cows, gathered eggs, fed pigs and helped with the grain harvest.

His boyhood memories included the sound of Allied bombers flying overhead and explosions from a munitions plant not far from the family farm. He also remembered Canadian soldiers as being the kindest of the Allied troops, some giving chocolate to German children.

Young Hermann dropped out of school by Grade 9 to begin training as a finishing carpenter.

An aunt visiting from Canada told the young man about many opportunities in her home province, Alberta. Though his parents wanted him to stay in Germany, and his father even gave him a piece of land to farm, he immigrated to Canada in April, 1957, working on job sites in Edmonton; Uranium City, Sask.; Terrace, B.C.; and Yellowknife.

While in the Northwest Territories, he helped build the circular Our Lady of Victory Church, the famous landmark more popularly known as the Igloo Church.

For a time, he lived in the church rectory. And while in the Far North, he was exposed to Inuit drum-dance troupes, a reminder of his own brief time as a drummer in a marching band in Germany.

In 1964, he married Gertrud Rohling, a seamstress he had met at a carnival in Germany. He built their home in North Vancouver and eventually launched his own business as a contractor. One of his customers was Hy Aisenstat, the stogie-chomping restaurateur who was expanding his steakhouses, including one in Victoria, a city Mr. Nieweler much enjoyed.

Years later, he was working as a contractor on the renovation of a Victoria hotel when the owners, strapped for cash, gave him a quarter interest in the hotel. In a short time, he entirely owned the Bastion Inn ("now the Bedford Regency Hotel) in the historic Hibben-Bone Block on Government Street.

It was his fate as a hotelier to be asked by Barry Stubbs, a local impresario, to provide free lodging for the Island City Jazz Band, visiting from Friday Harbour on nearby San Juan Island in Washington state. Mr. Nieweler agreed, asking in return for the musicians to entertain paying guests by playing in the lounge. To his great surprise, some 200 customers showed up.

"I couldn't believe it," Mr. Nieweler told reporter Roszan Holmen in 2011. "During the period they were playing, I would bring them schnapps. It has to be done at the right moment. If you give a [musician] a shooter, he plays twice as good."

The resulting party was so enjoyable, he decided to rename the lounge the Dixieland Inn, booking local bands such as the Dixieland Express for a regular Friday-night engagement and the Al Pease Trio on Saturday afternoons.

After five years, Mr. Nieweler bought a building on View Street, opening Hermann's Jazz Club in 1986. He was a regular figure at the club, although he maintained his residence in North Vancouver ("necessitating a twice-weekly journey by ferry and a stay at a downtown motel).

The club's stage was framed by wrought-iron gates to give the 125-seat room the feeling of New Orleans. It was more often likened to a clubhouse, or a rumpus room, than a French Quarter club, but it was a comfortable space with a "gritty, film-noir ambience," as one review noted, reliably providing top-notch musicianship at an affordable price.

In 2000, firefighters extinguished a fire set on the roof of the building by a suspected arsonist. Although the building was saved, the club suffered extensive water damage. Mr. Nieweler spent $1.5-million to renovate the room, acting as his own contractor, even while receiving treatment for prostate cancer.

The club reopened to great fanfare after 18 months, a relief to local jazz musicians and to budding high school musicians whose regular Thursday-night spotlight was a testing ground far more enjoyable than any exam.

Widely appreciated for his contributions to the jazz scene, Mr. Nieweler was not particularly knowledgeable about the genre, his enthusiasm for Dixieland more that of the fan than the connoisseur. ("Until the day he was asked to provide free rooms to the itinerant musicians, his home music library consisted of polka and oompah band records.) What he enjoyed was to party in the company of freespirited musicians.

Mr. Nieweler's wife died in 2013.

He leaves a daughter, Ingrid; sons, Edward and Stephan; four grandchildren; and a sister, Paula Voss. His death on June 10 came just four days before a planned retirement party, which instead became an informal memorial.

To submit an I Remember: Send us a memory of someone we have recently profiled on the Obituaries page. Please include I Remember in the subject field.

Associated Graphic

Hermann Nieweler, with his signature washboard, performs with the CanUS Hot Jazz Band at his jazz club in 2006.

Hermann Nieweler is seen in Edmonton in 1957, a few weeks after arriving in Canada at 22.


Reviving the Argos and making every team profitable are high on Jeffrey Orridge's to-do list, and the commish has a wealth of experience to help him, Rachel Brady writes in Toronto
Thursday, June 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

Jeffrey Orridge knows plenty of commissioners.

The former head of sports at CBC has done business with Gary Bettman (NHL) and Adam Silver (NBA) for years. He has picked the brain of Roger Goodell (NFL) and dined with the former boss of the Canadian Footbal League, Mark Cohon. But the new CFL commissioner insists that while he's learned from each of those men, job comparisons don't really apply since each commissioner has to address issues specific to their sport.

The CFL that Orridge is taking on, in fact, is entering an entirely new era. Its 2015 season kicks off Thursday, less than two months after his first day on the job. And one of the things that makes it different is Orridge himself: The 54-year-old New York native is the first black commissioner of a major North American sports league, not to mention the first CFL commish who didn't grow up in Canada.

He inherits a league that made strides under Cohon. The league welcomed Ottawa back into the fold with the birth of the RedBlacks in 2014, and teams have replaced their crumbling stadiums with $2-billion worth of new facilities. The CFL struck a fresh TV deal with TSN, implemented its first drug-testing policy, and hammered out a new salary cap and fouryear collective bargaining agreement with the players.

But there's still plenty to do. Three-down football badly needs to attract younger fans, create rules aimed at making the game more exciting, make all nine franchises profitable and fix the Toronto Argonauts' dwindling popularity in the league's most vexing market.

Orridge, a Harvard-educated lawyer, draws on a diverse list of professional experiences, including stints working for brands such as Reebok, Mattel and Warner Brothers. He was on the marketing team behind USA Basketball's superstar-loaded 1992 Olympic Dream Team, he strategized for Right To Play when he first came to Canada, and he negotiated sports broadcast deals for the CBC.

"The league has advanced leaps and bounds from when Mark inherited this role eight years ago - we're no longer in turn-around mode," said Orridge, settling in for a lengthy interview at a park across the street from the CFL's head office. "Not every team is profitable yet, so that's the idea. And I want the fan experience inside and outside the stadiums to be the best in North America."

Orridge grew up in the borough of Queens, just a stone's throw from Shea Stadium, and he was wild about sports.

His father was a subway conductor, his mother a nurse and social worker. The man who today stands 5 foot 8 often jokes that he never got that growth spurt his parents promised him.

He played loads of sports anyway, starring in track and field and as a point guard through high school and at Amherst College.

Previous jobs, whether working for Reebok on Shaquille O'Neal's first branded shoe or promoting basketball's Dream Team stars, were far different than marketing Canada's working-class football players, but the appeal of heroes is universal.

"We have guys who should be household names and on cereal boxes in this country, but they're not," said Scott Flory, president of the CFL Players Association. "People need to get a better sense of how good our athletes are in the CFL. I think promotion of our players can be done a lot more."

During his tenure at CBC, Orridge helped to land broadcast rights for Olympic Games from 2014 through 2020 (as well as the upcoming Pan American/ Parapan American Games in Toronto) after other broadcasters lost their appetite for bidding wars. CBC was lauded for the popularity of its digital coverage in 2014 of the Sochi Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup.

But under Orridge, CBC also lost its long-standing national rights to NHL broadcasts. But he arranged a deal with Rogers Communications Inc., the new rights-holder, to keep CBC staff involved in hockey production.

Some blamed Orridge for letting the NHL rights get away, while others said CBC never had a prayer of competing with Rogers' deep pockets.

"There were 5.2 billion reasons why CBC wasn't able to retain the rights to the NHL," Orridge said, alluding to the price Rogers paid in a 12-year deal. "I think the great thing was being able to salvage the relationship that hockey has with the Canadian public, that hockey is still on the national broadcaster and that it's free to air on Saturday nights. We turned something that wasn't ideal into optimizing revenue for the CBC."

The commissioner says he researched the CFL at length while he was at CBC and would have bid for its rights had they become available.

"Part of my strategy at CBC was to focus on properties that were uniquely Canadian, and the two most quintessentially Canadian were hockey and the CFL," Orridge said. "I knew how iconically Canadian it was, so it was really exciting when I got the call to be considered for the CFL commissioner's role."

Orridge was among the candidates identified by an executive search firm the league hired.

"He brings a lot of different perspectives than we had at the table before he joined us," said Andrew Wetenhall, who represents the Montreal Alouettes on the CFL's board of governors.

"We already have lots of people who remember Grey Cups from 30 years ago, but that's not all that helpful in securing fans in 2015 and beyond. I think we've found someone who understands the Canadian media landscape in a way that can really lead this league forward."

Since assuming the job, Orridge has presided over his first player entry draft and announced an extension to the CFL's deal with TSN through 2021. He has also had to address harsh criticisms of the league's drug policy after three university players who tested positive at this year's CFL combine this past spring were still drafted into the league.

He has announced a couple of deals that were well in hand before he took office. First was a partnership with Whistle Sports, a fast-growing online network that's reaching millions of millennial subscribers with unique sports content on its network of YouTube channels. Second was the sale of the Toronto Argonauts that includes their move from cavernous Rogers Centre to cozier BMO Field in 2016.

"[Former Argos owner] David Braley owning two teams gave the CFL a rinky-dink feel, and a sense of unsophistication, but the sale of the Argos helps with legitimacy," said Richard Powers, a professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. "The pieces are all in place for this commissioner.

Now it's up to him to pull everything together and build on a successful rejuvenation of the league's brand."

"Throughout my career, I've been surrounded by really intelligent people who fostered my interests and marketing intelligence," said Orridge, who lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons, ages 10 and five. "I know I'm going to face challenges that are totally new, but I'm a problem-solver at heart, and I want to add value to this league."

Associated Graphic

A track man while at Amherst College, Orridge will have to be nimble in his new job.


The information gap in fee-based accounts
While this type of investment advice has strong momentum in the industry, comparison shopping is arbitrarily difficult
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B10

Only on Bay Street would they push something called feebased investment advice and then treat actual fees like classified information.

In fee-based accounts, investors pay a percentage of the value of their account to cover the cost of advice. Sit down with a fee-based adviser and you will certainly be told what fees you'll pay. But finding out what other firms charge so you can assess the competitiveness of your own fees is pretty much impossible. You'll sooner crack the Caramilk secret, or turn the Toronto Maple Leafs around.

Fortunately, the information gap on fees is partly addressed in the latest edition of the annual State of Retail Wealth Management report from PriceMetrix, a consulting firm that works with wealth-management companies.

The report shows the average fees paid by investors with household assets ranging from less than $250,000 to $2-million and more. You're looking at an average of 1.43 per cent for smaller accounts, and 0.79 per cent for the largest ones. PriceMetrix's data mix numbers from both Canada and the United States, which traditionally has significantly lower fees for investors.

However, the firm said there's not a significant difference between the two markets on fees.

PriceMetrix's fee data is muchneeded context for investors at a time when fee-based advice is on the rise. For one thing, PriceMetrix calls 2014 a "breakthrough year" for the fee-based model.

Also, securities regulators are considering changes in advisory fees that would have the effect of making fee-based the default model for most people in paying for investment advice. Without greater clarity on fees, a feebased world would be tilted to the adviser's advantage.

In addition to fee-based accounts, the investment industry offers transaction-based pricing, where you pay for trades of stocks and other products, and a mutual-fund model where fees are included in the cost of owning funds. Fund companies scoop their fees off the top of the returns their products generate, and pay advisers from that money. Investors see net returns after fees.

Fee-based advice is where the momentum is in the investment industry today. PriceMetrix says the percentage of fee-based assets rose to 35 per cent in 2014 from 31 per cent in 2013, while the percentage of total fee revenue from fee-based accounts rose to 53 per cent from 47 per cent.

"More and more advisers are realizing that operating on a feefor-service basis is simply a more productive way to grow your business," said Patrick Kennedy, co-founder and chief customer officer at Toronto-based PriceMetrix.

Mr. Kennedy said fee-based advice has higher levels of client retention, and it gives advisers flexibility in matching services provided to fees charged. He said it's also good for clients because it removes conflicts where investments are recommended to clients because of the fees and commissions they pay. With feebased advice, the fee is transparently based on the assets in the account. When those assets grow, both advisers and clients benefit.

The general unavailability of fee information is a problem, though. Try this: Google the name of an investment firm you know and see if there's a "fees" or "pricing" tab on their website.

Outside of some online robo-adviser firms, I couldn't find a single example of a company doing this. The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, the self-regulating body for investment dealers, says there are no rules to prevent firms and advisers from posting fee information online. The Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada says likewise for its members.

Fee secrecy is good for business.

Clients are told what the costs are and they have no context to judge them. They can negotiate, but without the knowledge that there may be other firms doing the same kind of work for half a percentage point less. On a $500,000 portfolio, that difference amounts to $2,500 per year.

Beneath the PriceMetrix average fee data is a wide variance on costs charged to investors. "Fees can range a fair bit from adviser to adviser, even within the same branch, let alone across the country," Mr. Kennedy said.

Portfolio mix has a big influence on fees, he said. A portfolio heavy on bonds or guaranteed investment certificates may not need as much tending as one based on stocks or funds, and thus the fee would be lower. Simple math also argues for low fees on bond and GIC-heavy portfolios. After fees, there isn't much left over for investors in this low interest-rate world.

PriceMetrix's data shows that fees on average declined to 0.99 per cent from 1.14 per cent from 2011 to 2013, then edged a little higher last year. High-net-worth investors always pay the lowest fees, and yet costs for this category are largely responsible for the overall increase. For portfolios of $2-million and up, the average rose to 0.79 per cent from 0.75 per cent.

Mr. Kennedy said these price increases are about advisers reacting to a competitive marketplace by doing more for their high-net-worth clients and charging more. "Also, advisers are choosing to work with fewer clients," he said. "So clients are getting access to more of their adviser's time and expertise than they have historically."

At the low end, specifically portfolios valued at $250,000 and less, prices went down very slightly in 2014 to 1.43 per cent from 1.44 per cent. Mr. Kennedy suggested that competition from robo-advisers may account for this marginal decline.

Robo-advisers offer a mostly online service where clients are set up with a portfolio of exchange-traded funds based on how they fill out a questionnaire about themselves. Robo-advisers are mainly portfolio-builders, not financial planners, so they're not directly comparable to the best advisers out there. But they do offer fees that are comparatively low and made available to the public. A quick check of three different robo-firms found that each had a "pricing" link on their websites.

When comparing fees, remember to consider value as well. The higher-fee adviser who does financial and estate planning may be a better value than the 1-per-cent adviser who simply maintains your portfolio with annual reviews. "If you're evaluating fees as an investor, you have to think about all the things your adviser is doing for you," Mr. Kennedy said. "Financial planning is obviously a big one."

More on fees We're developing a Globe and Mail database on advisory fees that should be ready this fall.

Contact me if you have any thoughts or data to share at .

Follow me on Twitter: @rcarrick


Who's paying what for investment advice?

The consulting firm PriceMetrix describes 2014 as a breakthrough year in the popularity of fee-based financial advice, where clients pay their advisers a percentage of the assets in their account. The problem with fee-based advice is that it's hard to get a sense of what other investors are paying. To get some context for the fees you pay, check out these numbers from PriceMetrix for the North American market (Canadian and U.S. fees do not differ significantly).

Associated Graphic



'We have to show we are prepared to push back'
The South China Sea is the next global flashpoint, argues a specialist in international affairs, and the U.S. must meet the challenge - but with great care
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F3

This is part of an ongoing series in which Rudyard Griffiths, chair of the Munk Debates, a semi-annual public forum in Toronto, examines issues and trends just over the horizon with leading international thinkers and policy-makers

Why do you consider the South China Sea one of the world's more important pieces of geopolitical real estate?

The South China Sea is to China what the Greater Caribbean was to the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The United States became a great power, geopolitically, by dominating the Caribbean. Once it could do that, it could dominate the Western Hemisphere, and once dominating the Western Hemisphere, it could affect the balance of power in the Eastern Hemisphere, which was what the world wars and Cold War were all about.

The South China Sea is no less important for China. If China can gain dominance, it then can have access to the wider Pacific and, through the Strait of Malacca, into the greater Indian Ocean, which is the global energy interstate, bringing all the oil and natural gas from the Middle East to the population zones of Asia. So this is really big stuff. Also, if China can dominate the South China Sea, then it will, effectively, "Finlandize" countries like Vietnam and the Philippines, which would affect the entire balance of power in Asia.

Talk about this idea of Finlandization. Is this China's grand strategy?

During the Cold War, Finlandization was a successful Soviet imperial strategy. Essentially, it allowed Finland to be democratic, free, but constrained its foreign policy, so that Finland could not join NATO and/or do other things that would undermine Russian interests. It was a cheap form of colonialism, in a way - unlike the expensive form, which was the Warsaw Pact from Poland south to Bulgaria, which ultimately failed. Finlandization, in the case of Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia would mean that these countries would remain nominally independent, but the parameters of their foreign policies would essentially be written in Beijing. This strategy would also bring China two or three giant steps forward to dominating Taiwan.

Why is China suddenly escalating tensions with its neighbours?

After the Second World War and during the Cold War, the nations of the South China Sea were internally focused. Japan, China and Vietnam all had their wars, Malaysia had its insurgencies. For decades these countries could not project power outward. That has all changed. They are now building large navies and air forces and, lo and behold, they now have active conflicts in terms of who owns what in the South China Sea. The other thing that's driving this is that China, as we know, is no longer experiencing double-digit economic growth rates year after year. As a result, China's going to face a more restive population at home, and one of the ways you deal with economic and political discontent is you dial up nationalism, and that is what they're doing. So a more aggressive posture gives Chinese leaders more of a political cushion. Even autocrats are dependent on public opinion, in the 21st century.

Given its interdependence with China, isn't it inevitable that America will back down?

Yes. What American policy has to do is steer between two extremes. One extreme is to try to prevent the Finlandization of the nations of the South China Sea, but the other extreme is to avoid a shooting war with China, because the U.S.-China relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and will be for the foreseeable future. So the U.S. has to defend a treaty ally, like the Philippines, but it cannot allow a country like the Philippines to lure the United States into a military conflict with China. It's a very tricky passage, so to speak, to navigate your way through, but that is the challenge right now, especially for the U.S. Defence Department.

Is there a strategy here for the United States to marshal the nations of the South China Sea basin into an anti-China bloc?

The United States has to show that its navy is not going to withdraw, and may even ratchet up its presence in the South and East China Sea. This is not the time for any kind of a pullback in terms of our military presence in the region, because anything like that would indicate weakness. We have to show that we are prepared to push back against China, to a degree, without getting into a military conflict. The real challenge for the Pentagon is slowing down China's transformation into the dominant military power in South Asia. Simply because you cannot prevent something from happening does not mean you cannot delay it for 10 years or 15 years. In a decade or a decade and a half, the whole world may shift. China may have an internal rebellion due to an economic crisis, or the nature of the Chinese system itself could change.

Is there a risk that future tensions could be Vietnam-China as opposed to U.S.-China?

It could. Vietnam is the most serious challenger to China in the South China Sea. The Philippines may be a treaty ally of the U.S., like Japan and South Korea, but the Philippines is a very weak institutionally and has little in the way of real military power.

Vietnam, on the other hand, is a much stronger actor. Vietnam has a long tradition, going back hundreds of years, of conflicts with China. What Vietnam is trying to do is ensnare the United States in its power play with China by providing American warships with resupply capabilities along its South China Sea coast. Vietnam needs the United States as a de facto balancer against China.

Most people think of naval power as some 18th- and 19thcentury concept. You think it's still the key to geopolitical influence?

Absolutely. In 2007, when everyone was engaged in counterinsurgency discussions and dirty land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I published a long piece in The Atlantic Monthly talking about the importance of naval power. Remember, we are in an age of globalization - and an age of globalization is an age of container shipping and an age where navies are very important to protect the sea lines of communication and commerce. Most human beings, the overwhelming majority, live near coastlines, so we know navies will be key to the future. Also navies and air forces, used as a combined force, can project power over large swathes of the globe. Ground forces, like armies or marine corps, are there really for unpredictable contingencies. It's really your navy and your air force that make you a great power. The U.S. Navy is America's primary strategic instrument, much more so than its nuclear-weapons arsenal.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Podcast: To hear the entire conversation with Robert D. Kaplan, subscribe to The Next Debate podcast on iTunes, and to see a full transcript, visit

Associated Graphic

Robert D. Kaplan is a contributing editor at The Atlantic, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington and the author, most recently, of Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea And The End of a Stable Pacific.


Mud, sweat and coca leaves: A jungle hiker's survival guide
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4

EL MAMEY, COLOMBIA -- This is the first in a new series of first-person stories from the road. Dispatches is a place where readers can share their experiences, from the sublime to the strange.

The Lost City, or Ciudad Perdida, is Colombia's version of Machu Picchu, except even more ancient, and only accessible with a four-day trek through thick jungle. It's located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest coastal mountain range in the world, and home to four indigenous tribes, the Wiwa, Kogi, Arhuaco and Kankuamo, who escaped Spanish colonization by seeking refuge in higher altitudes.

My friend had done the hike a few years back. She's not very sporty, and hadn't mentioned any difficulties, so I expected a fairly easy four days, as I consider my level of fitness far superior to hers. If she can do it, well, I can do it easily.

Before Sara and I meet the rest of our tour group, we sit on a terrace in El Mamey, sipping cold beer and eating a lunch of plantains, rice and overcooked chicken. Four hikers finishing the trek walk, or rather, waddle, by. Their boots and legs are splattered with thick reddish mud; each step looks painful; their bodies stiffen with every impact. Every inch of the back of their legs is covered with large, red insect bites. If I were more informed, this sight might be alarming. But I haven't really bothered to do any research.

The tour company has put me and my friend Sara in a large group. We are the only two Canadians - there's an Australian, and everyone else is European. Most, like me, are escaping their day jobs to play Indiana Jones under the tropical sun.

We set out after lunch in the village of El Mamey with our guide, Javier. The heat is humid and stifling. Within a few minutes, the trail starts a steep and unrelenting climb that will last at least 40 minutes. Boulders and mud, which alternates between sticky and slippery, make things more difficult. It takes just 15 minutes to be drenched in sweat and gasping for breath. It feels like hiking in a sauna. Barely an hour later, as the heat subsides, a torrential downpour crashes down and the mud turns into a slow running river. All I can hear is the rain and the squishy, sloppy noises of my own footsteps. I turn around every so often to let others catch up, not wanting to be too alone in this place.

We arrive after sundown at the first camp. The row of bunk beds draped in mosquito nets is covered by a thatched roof with no walls. My mattress smells of wet dog. Javier tells us to use flashlights at all times, "The snakes are poisonous here. If you step on one, you'll die quickly. And check your beds to make sure there are no scorpions or spiders. Those, too, are deadly." He's not joking.

Not surprisingly, sleep is elusive.

The next day offers no reprieve.

The climb is less steep, but the day much longer; we're up at 5:30 and walk for eight hours. Along the way we stop at a cluster of a dozen huts, a village of the local Wiwa tribe. A small woman with long, shiny black hair, dressed in a white robe, is standing in the middle of tall bushes, holding a small child, and staring back at us from the other side of a fence.

"Those are coca plants," Javier points. "The women collect the coca leaves in their bags, then dry them. Only the men are allowed to chew it."

Coca is an integral part of the culture of the local Indians. They don't consider it addictive and believe that chewing the natural coca leaves civilizes men, keeping them in harmony with nature and allowing them to communicate with their ancestors. In this harsh mountainous environment, it also allows them to walk long distances without food or sleep, especially at high altitudes.

By early afternoon, I'm spent.

My legs are sore, and I've got stomach pains. During one of our breaks, I point to a bush: "Javier, is that a coca bush?" He takes a close look. "No, it's not. The leaves are different."

"Oh." I'm disappointed.

"Do you want to try some? I can get some leaves from one of the Indians."

I try to mute my enthusiasm: "Umm ... sure. Yeah."

Javier takes off and quickly reappears with a handful of dried coca leaves. While I normally like to respect local customs, my physical state and curiosity get the better of me; I grab a few pinches of the leaves and hesitantly put them in my mouth. As I chew, my mouth goes numb.

The taste is unpleasantly bitter.

We head back on the trail and, as I chew, I feel stronger. What a few minutes ago was an encroaching jungle, waiting for me to falter so it can swallow me up, is now benign greenery shrinking from me. My steps, until now hesitant and fearful of slipping, are confident and strong. The pain in my stomach seems remote, an afterthought. Is this just a placebo effect? It doesn't matter. It will get me to the next camp. ("It's the only day I try the coca leaves as Javier doesn't offer any more, and I don't insist.)

The morning of the third day we reach the lost city.

The site gives an expansive view of the jungle-coated mountains, and while I try to enjoy the scenery and listen to Javier's history lesson my legs are being swarmed by giant mosquitoes and itchy, red welts are popping up all over.

The lost city is a series of grasscovered platforms where the houses used to sit, interwoven by stone pathways, like an ancient blueprint amid the jungle. Javier points to a large rock with lines carved in it. "Archeologists think this is a map of the area, and this city is one amongst a network of others." He points to a circle in the rock. "This is supposedly another, larger city, but the Indians refuse to reveal it's location."

The descent back is quick and we stop to swim in the river that follows the trail. The jump from the rock is six metres high. I hesitate, then launch myself off the rock. As I crash into the water, the coolness soothes my mosquito bites, dissipates the hot, searing pain in my feet and legs, and washes away my sweat and that persistent smell of wet dog. I savour the crispness of the water that comes from the snow melt on the highest peaks, and emerge fresh and re-energized. There are two more hours to go to reach El Mamey, and by then, I'll again be covered in mud and sweat, the mosquito bites swollen and itchy, and my legs stiff with pain, but I'll have a new-found respect for the harsh beauty of the jungle and the people who still make it their home.

Send in your story from the road to

Associated Graphic

Colombia's Lost City is accessible only via a four-day trek through thick jungle.


A live performance that thrives on risk
A single tracking shot, a livestream to the TIFF Lightbox and a morphing story aim to help My One Demand make the familiar new
Thursday, June 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L2

When people talk about risky theatre, they usually don't mean it literally.

The misfortunes that can befall a play tend to occupy a narrow band of bad luck. Maybe there's a power outage or a missing prop.

Or an actor rips his or her costume, or knocks over a piece of scenery, or gets food poisoning.

But the other day, when the artistic team behind My One Demand, a filmed live performance piece receiving its world premiere at Toronto's Luminato festival on Thursday night, convened for a so-called "premortem" to discuss everything that could go wrong during their show, the possibilities ran on for pages.

There could be rain. The police might suddenly intrude. Maybe Brielle Robillard, an 11-year-old actor who rides a bike through the Cabbagetown neighbourhood during an early segment of the piece, will be accosted by a drunk as she crosses Allan Gardens. Perhaps the cameraman tracking her - his livestream signal beaming back to an audience at a TIFF Lightbox cinema - will be hit by a truck. Or his Steadicam will suffer a mechanical failure, his streaming kit will overheat or his batteries will fail. Or he and his focus-puller, both of them being British and therefore unfamiliar with Canadian mosquitoes, will react poorly to a swarm that wafts in off the Don River.

Or maybe - as Matt Adams, a partner in Blast Theory, the British company behind the show, admitted the other day - those watching will simply get bored.

"Clearly, for us to engage an audience in a work that has no story arc to speak of, for an hour and three quarters, that's a massive, massive challenge," he acknowledged.

But, he noted, the show does have a few natural advantages: Starting at 8 p.m., it will unfold during the so-called "Golden Hour" beloved by cinematographers for its unique warmth. It will take unexpected turns as it follows a daisy-chain of seven local actors, including the wellknown performers Julian Richings and Clare Coulter, who end the show.

And most startlingly - and, okay, riskily - it will comprise a single tracking shot that begins at Toronto General Hospital, travels eastward, lopes south along River Street, descends a set of stairs to the bike path beside the Don, ducks into a tangled thicket of woods, happens upon a temporary encampment next to disused railway tracks and then hops into a car to zip down to Cherry Beach.

For Torontonians who think they know their city well, a recent evening walk of the route with the cast suggested that the show will do what art does: take the familiar and make it strange and new.

"We are trying to make a film with none of film's advantages - no editing, no lighting, no control of our set," Adams said, as he strolled past Riverdale Farm, his cast trailing behind like a flock of ducklings. "The audience may think: 'Ooh, I wonder whether they'll get away with this? That seems foolhardy!' " But then, My One Demand was inspired by an equally quixotic event. While it begins as a show about unrequited love, it morphs into a piece about the 2011 socialjustice protest known as Occupy Toronto.

"The unrequited love is designed to draw you from a traditional understanding of - well, we all have those romances, the people who got away - to a broader set of feelings that are not requited in other ways," Adams said.

"Speaking very personally, that is the history since the financial crisis - where, even for someone who was relatively jaded and cynical about the world, I thought it was only a question of what level of massive political change there would be. The idea that there would be no political change never occurred to me. The idea that there would be a marked shift to the right, and that it would be the poor's fault, was something that I just did not foresee. I just could not believe that that would be the way the conversation would go."

He hopes that My One Demand - the title echoes the original Occupy poster of a ballerina balancing atop a Wall Street Bull, with the question "What is our one demand?" - will lead audience members to ponder broader questions of social justice. But he can't say for certain yet: One week before the show opened, as he sat for an interview in a downtown office space, Adams didn't even know how the piece would end. Though it had been in development for the better part of a year, he had wanted to base the characters on the actors themselves - and he had only begun working with most of them this month.

"We're trying to walk this line of staying true to each of our performers as individuals, while moving them into positions where they serve the broader goals of the project," he said.

Over the 20-odd years of Blast Theory's existence, he has been here before. "There are times when you're this close [to opening], when that problem is real, white-knuckle fear," he said. "For some reason, I don't feel that. It may be because Clare and Julian are both super experienced, and are really confident. They're, like - 'no, let's keep working on it, we'll find it.' " For those who can't make it to the cinema, My One Demand will also stream online. (Users need to register in advance.) Blast Theory has done a lot of digital work in recent years: Its most recent piece, Karen, is a beguiling, free interactive app in which a woman who purports to be a "life coach" opens the camera to her own shambolic personal life.

But it has been years since Blast Theory created work for a communal audience and Adams is curious about the effect My One Demand will have in that setting.

"Theatre has this incredible power to create a communal experience in a room, and for ideas to change in real time in that room," he said. "At its best, you have this thing where people are changing, individually and collectively, through this experience.

That's the aspiration of that art form. And, you know, one of the things we've always been looking to do is to try and find that kind of electrical performative moment, in an age of interaction and of participation and of technological change."

He added: "I think there's an opportunity to explore what that live performance might feel like, in a different way. And to give the audience a curiously slippery experience, where [the piece is] moving around between something that feels live and feels cinematic and feels theatrical and feels real - because the script is verbatim from interviews with [the actors], so it's like their own lives. And yet it's constructed and fictional.

"So, yeah, I think from my point of view, I think there's an opportunity to give people a sense of a very particular version of 'Now.' "

Associated Graphic

Julian Richings is test-filmed by Ruben Woodin-Duchamps before a run-through of My One Demand in Toronto last Friday. The performance piece receives its world premiere Thursday at 8 p.m.


Hard-won renewal on Red River waterfront
Success of boutique hotel and café on Waterfront Drive marks a turning point in Winnipeg's decades-long redevelopment of its historic warehouse district
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B7

WINNIPEG -- The sight of parents pushing their children in strollers on a pathway along the Red River is a small, but important, victory for developer Bill Coady.

"You wouldn't have seen that here a few years ago," says the chief executive officer and president of Sunstone Resort Communities.

Mr. Coady is referring to how far Winnipeg's Waterfront District has come since the city built the road - Waterfront Drive - on the eastern edge of downtown about a decade ago.

Where a rail line once ran along the banks of the Red, serving the city's thriving warehouse district more than 100 years ago, Waterfront Drive is now home to more than a dozen condominiums and fledgling enterprises.

Among them are the Mere Hotel, a 67-room boutique establishment that opened in 2013, and the adjacent Cibo Waterfront Cafe, a Mediterranean-style restaurant. Both developed by Sunstone, the hotel and café represent the latest chapter in the birth, decay and renewal of Winnipeg's historic Exchange District - an 80-acre collection of heritage buildings on the northeast side of downtown.

To Mr. Coady and others involved in Waterfront Drive's development, the projects are a turning point. Soon after opening, Sunstone realized it had hit a home run. The restaurant is busy with local traffic and tourists, particularly on weekends. And the hotel is booked through most of the summer.

"We're in the top five in Winnipeg on and popular with our target market: business travellers and millennials," Mr. Coady says.

A little more than a decade ago the Waterfront District did not exist. Instead the boulevard winding along the Red River was a no-man's land separating decaying warehouses and an underused riverbank park.

Construction of low-rise condominiums along Waterfront in recent years has breathed life into the area. Yet until Mere opened, it had little to offer for tourist accommodation.

Built on a former parking lot, the modernist three-storey hotel, with its distinctive exterior of yellow and green vertical bars, offers luxury essentials.

That's in stark contrast to the 95-seat restaurant Cibo, housed in the restored City of Winnipeg Pump and Screen House. The 1950s brick structure, which once fed water to Winnipeg's steam heating plant that kept downtown warm, closed in the 1980s.

"This property traded hands many times before we came along," Mr. Coady says, adding that the addition of the café, which can serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to hotel guests, helped the developers get funding for both projects.

Government incentives have been crucial for many developments, including a $40-million condo building also by Sunstone, says Angela Mathieson, CEO of the city's CentureVenture Development Corp. "Effectively, developers get back property taxes toward covering costs."

But they did not play a role for Mere and Cibo. Constructed for about $14-million, the hotel and restaurant did, however, benefit from the fact Sunstone could lease the land. "The city still owns it, which made it easier for them to approve it and rezone it," says Mr. Coady. "It made our costs lower, too."

Still residents had to come on board, and once the boutique hotel and restaurant began operating, the community saw the benefit.

"We're bringing business and leisure travellers who want a different experience," says Ben Sparrow, CEO of Sparrow Hotels, which manages the hotel. "There is a lot of interesting design elements in the Exchange District as well as really good food and art."

Mr. Sparrow's company had long been eyeing a hotel in the area. Yet it took years of layered development - condos, cafés, art galleries, offices - to make the economics work.

Moreover, a long-held perception the area was unsafe, because it had been so sparsely populated, had to be overcome. That changed with residential development, Mr. Sparrow says.

"Our belief in the safety was a big part of our support for this project."

Challenges remain. The area was recently in the news after the body of Tina Fontaine was found at the now condemned Alexander Docks - a hub for a oncethriving riverboat industry. The teen's tragic end has come to symbolize the plight of missing and murdered aboriginal women, and the docks are next to the Mere Hotel in full view of many of its rooms.

Yet to its boosters, Waterfront is safer than ever because more people now live there.

Waterfront and the entire Exchange District's population now exceeds 1,600 residents, with about 780 living in condos on Waterfront Drive. And it will continue to grow as more residential projects are completed in the next couple of years, according to CentreVenture.

"For us it's always been about more people living in the district," Ms. Mathieson says.

Also essential to success has been redevelopment of old warehouses in the adjacent Exchange District, named after the Grain and Produce Exchange located there until the 1970s. Home to one of the largest collections of heritage buildings in Canada, many of the more than 130 stone and brick structures sat derelict for years, says Cindy Tugwell, executive director of Heritage Winnipeg.

"In many ways the Exchange was saved due to lack of redevelopment over decades," she says.

During the 1960s and 1970s it was cheaper for owners to let buildings sit derelict than demolish them.

"There had been some demolition by neglect, but it wasn't pushed by redevelopment that happened in cities like Toronto."

Not until the late 1970s did the public begin to perceive them as cultural assets to be preserved, Ms. Tugwell says.

Renewal efforts eventually took off in the 80s and 90s with a tripartite government agreement to redevelop the area, she adds. Artists moved into lofts bringing arts and culture. Then the federal government designated the Exchange District a national historic site in 1997.

"I don't ever think Waterfront Drive on its own could have been enough to create that critical mass needed to animate the street," Ms. Mathieson says.

Mr. Coady agrees, adding the hotel and the restaurant owe much of their success to the adjoining neighbourhood's hardwon renewal.

"No one was thinking of putting a hotel here 10 years ago," he says. "But that whole idea where people used to think, 'Is it safe?,' is gone. It's the safest part of downtown."

4.8% Biggest one-week REIT gainer: CAP REIT. CIBC

22.5% Biggest one-week REIT decliner: Lanesborough. CIBC

4.5% Retail vacancy rate in Victoria.

The city is becoming more of a tenant's market with all retail classes showing decreasing rental rates and increasing vacancy rates.

Colliers survey of brokers/Retail report spring 2015

1.5% Retail vacancy rate in Calgary.

The city's rental rates and vacancy rates have stabilized, possibly indicating a reversal of the landlord market prevalent in the past decade.

Colliers survey of brokers/Retail report spring 2015

Associated Graphic

The 67-room Mere Hotel with its distinctive modern exterior contrasts with the 95-seat Cibo Waterfront Cafe next door which is housed in an old pump house. Both, developed by Sunstone Resort Communities, are representative of urban renewal projects along the Red River.


A harassment case involving three male chefs in Toronto has opened a frank debate about sexism in Canadian restaurants. Chris Nuttall-Smith reports on an industry taking stock
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A13

The chef Michael Steh was working a busy lunch service this week at Kasa Moto, his Toronto restaurant company's newest project, when a server rushed to the kitchen with an urgent request for a dessert.

Within seconds, a cook plated one and passed it to her. "That's so amazing I could almost sexually harass you right now," the server said by way of thanks.

Before Mr. Steh could react, one of his young male cooks joined in, with a reference to a Toronto restaurant that's at the centre of explosive sexual harassment and abuse allegations. "You just pulled a Weslodge!" the line cook said with a laugh.

That sort of banter - and far worse - has long passed for ordinary conversation in much of Canada's testosterone-fuelled restaurant kitchen culture, but not in Mr. Steh's company, he said, and especially not this week. The chef stopped everything, he said.

He explained that he wouldn't tolerate any of his staff making light of sexual harassment. Mr. Steh then had that cook and the server apologize to Kasa Moto's kitchen brigade, he said.

Those sorts of teachable moments have been taking place in restaurants across the country this week, as well as a whole lot of soul-searching. Although cooking has been slowly professionalizing in the past two decades, it's still overwhelmingly male, close-knit and ruled by "45-yearold teenagers," as one veteran put it.

With the Weslodge case, first reported in the Toronto Star last weekend, the cultural evolution grinding slowly and often quietly in Canada's restaurant kitchens has suddenly been thrown into public view. According to that harassment complaint, filed with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, pastry chef Kate Burnham's male bosses groped her breasts and crotch and took turns smacking her rear whenever they passed her in the kitchen, in full view of their colleagues. They badgered her about her sex life, and one of the men stole her phone to search it for explicit pictures. One of the chefs repeatedly propositioned her, threatening her employment when she refused to play along. He routinely sprayed Ms. Burnham's face with a pressurized can of hollandaise sauce after Sunday brunch service while making ejaculation jokes, her complaint alleges.

Worse, when Ms. Burnham, who is 24, went to her superiors for help, one of those chefs decided to "wage war" on her, she said in an interview.

In a statement, restaurateurs Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji, who own Weslodge, said that chefs Kanida Chey, Colin Mercer and Dan Lidbury, all named in Ms. Burnham's humanrights application, had since "parted ways" with the company.

"There may have been lack of communication and reporting of the alleged incidents at Weslodge," their statement said, adding that the behaviour Ms. Burnham alleges happened was "disturbing and unacceptable."

Maria Triggiani, a lawyer for Mr. Chey, said Friday that the chef is "devastated by the allegations."

"They're completely unfounded, and for a man who's made his way up from nothing, who's built a career, to have one person with false allegations try to destroy that is heartbreaking for him," Ms. Triggiani said.

Daniel Chodos, a lawyer for Mr. Lidbury, said his client also "denies the allegations absolutely."

Mr. Chodos said Mr. Lidbury has been approached since the story broke by female chefs who will attest that he's always treated them with dignity and respect.

The paralegal representing Colin Mercer didn't respond to requests for an interview.

All three chefs have filed responses with the human-rights tribunal, but are not publicly sharing their defences.

Fair or otherwise, the Weslodge case has ignited a conversation that too much of the industry has been happy to put off for decades. How quickly and completely should a mostly unregulated field be forced to get with the times?

Charlotte Langley, a Toronto chef who once ran the catering arm of the company that owns Weslodge, said she knew many of the players involved, and was still trying to sort it all out.

"I've been a chef in the industry 10 years now and I recognize that behaviour; you see it everywhere," she said. "It's the bro mentality of, you're in the kitchen, you're with the bros, you get accepted by them and you're kind of like one of them. Slapping on the ass, lewd comments, air humping, whatever, that's what kitchens are like, a lot of them."

When I spoke with her Wednesday, Ms. Langley had spent much of the past few days talking with her friends in the industry. She had always stood up for herself, she said. "If somebody grabbed me in the crotch, I would punch that guy in the face," she said.

Still, like many other female chefs I spoke with, who have thrived by being tougher and better than their male counterparts, Ms. Langley wondered aloud whether she should have tolerated as much as she has. "Am I part of the problem?" she asked.

"For a lot of people, especially in the male-dominated kitchens, you don't complain," said another female chef I spoke with. "For the most part, complaining is frowned upon: 'Oh, party pooper, you can't handle it. Uptight bitch.' " The career penalty for complaining is just too high. At Ms. Burnham's level - a respected chef in a high-level kitchen in a major Canadian city - I haven't found a single human-rights case.

But the industry may finally be reaching a turning point. Whereas even five years ago it was hard to name more than a handful of ambitious, women-run restaurants in any Canadian city, today there are scores of them, and at every level. Michael Steh, who lectured that cook and server about their sexual-harassment jokes, pointed to his company's restaurant, Colette Grand Café, a high-end French establishment in downtown Toronto. The restaurant's chef, Amira Becarevic, its two sous chefs and the company's executive pastry chef are all women.

Which is not meant to say that women chefs and women-run restaurants are full equals. It is still somehow okay for 12 "top chefs" in Toronto to announce a high-profile benefit dinner without including even a single woman on their roster, as happened earlier this month. And womenrun restaurants still aren't given adequate credit in some circles.

The question now is what to do.

Ms. Langley said many of the cooks she's been speaking with this week don't quite know how to act any more, not just in the kitchen, but out in the restaurant.

"In that scenario where I'm thinking of hitting on that cute new bartender," she said, speaking hypothetically, "I'm probably going to check myself more than I would before."

Associated Graphic

Amira Becarevic, left, chef de cuisine at the Thompson Hotel's Colette Grand Café, runs a female-friendly kitchen with executive pastry chef Leslie Steh and sous chefs Felicia DeRose and Emma Herrera.


Good drink tends to bring people together, which is what makes it a superlative gift choice for a man who doesn't ask for much
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L8 @Beppi_Crosariol

If you've not bought a Father's Day gift yet, relax. You've got plenty of company. Fewer than half of Canadians - just 45 per cent - said they plan to spend a penny on Dad this year, according to an online survey conducted by IPG Mediabrands, which manages and buys marketing and advertising exposure for businesses.

That compares with 55 per cent who had said they planned to buy Mom a gift for Mother's Day. And when it comes to spending levels, fathers take a back seat to moms, with the average gift valued at $20 versus $27. Last time I checked, that kind of dough didn't buy much in the power-tool section at Home Depot or at the golf store, though it might score a "World's Best Dad" T-shirt.

Money is not love, of course. And if we're to take survey-response sincerity at face value in this case, store-bought presents are beside the point. Most dads rate time with immediate or extended family as the best gift of all. Personally, I wouldn't mind a $20 DVD copy of The Big Lebowski (to be enjoyed with family, of course) because, like a few other guys I know, I yearn to be as cool as Jeff Bridges's character, "the Dude," in that fabulous film. It would also imply more forethought and effort than would a retailer gift card, which rates highest among planned Father's Day gifts (at 29 per cent) and scores poorly on the list of dads' desires. Just 34 per cent of fathers said they would want a gift card.

Wine, spirits and beer did not figure into the survey questions. But I think booze shares something in common with the spending category rated highest by fathers: a meal out at a restaurant, which ranked at 22 per cent, higher than gift cards, sports equipment or electronics. Like a restaurant outing, good drink usually gets shared with family and friends and brings people together. My own father tended to open his bottle (of grappa) right away so he could pour some for the rest of us. That's generosity coming full circle - even if my dad enjoyed the grappa more than we did.

Highland Park 21 Single Malt (Scotland) SCORE: 96 PRICE: $399.95

Certainly, this is not for every budget and therefore not for every Scotch-loving dad. But it's a dream dram from one of Scotland's finest distilleries. Robust, oily and succulent, it unfolds with impressively layered flavours of caramel, orange, vanilla, chocolate and cereal grain and a harmonious infusion of smoky peat.

$259.99 (plus tax) in B.C., various prices in Alberta, $299.99 in Manitoba, $280.79 in New Brunswick, $349.98 in Newfoundland.

Masi Costasera Riserva Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2009 (Italy) SCORE: 95 PRICE: $69.95

The aroma is so suggestive of Kahlua it might tempt "the Dude" in The Big Lebowski to mix it into his signature white Russian cocktail, a blend of vodka, Kahlua and cream.

On the palate, the coffee-liqueur essence steps back to mingle with rich dark fruit, raisin and chocolate for a well-rounded and luxuriously velvety treat. This superb higher-end "riserva" bottling of Masi's popular Costasera hides the 15-per-cent alcohol well and would make an awesome match for a cheese course.

$67.99 in Nova Scotia.

Coudoulet de Beaucastel Côtes-du-Rhône 2012 (France) SCORE: 92 PRICE: $29.95

The baby brother to the Perrin family's illustrious Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this red is farmed from an old-vine property right next door. The 2012 growing season blessed those vines, yielding a cellar-worthy bargain.

Full-bodied and polished in texture, it's concentrated and complex, with ripe fruit characters infused with hints of licorice, lavender and rosemary, set against chalky tannins. Drink it now or let it evolve gracefully for up to a dozen years.

Robert Mondavi Merlot 2012 (California) SCORE: 92 PRICE: $29.95

Merlot so often tends to trade structure for smoothness. Not this one, which is from Mondavi's Napa Valley vineyards and should not be confused with the winery's lower-priced Private Selection or Woodbridge series. Full-bodied and velvety, it's dense with plum-like fruit and blackberry yet nods toward Bordeaux with its chewy-dusty tannic grip and nuance of mineral. Lovable now, it will continue to improve with a dozen or more years in the cellar.

Château Blaignan 2010 (France) SCORE: 91 PRICE: $24.95

Bordeaux's superb 2010 vintage was a boon even to many of the humbler, less-well-recognized châteaux.

Here's a fine example, showing the concentration and finesse one might normally expect in a higher-priced wine. Blaignan's 2010 doles out ripe currant-like fruit and a classic Médoc nuance of pencil shavings woven with dusty-dry tannins and bright acidity.

Perfect now for steak, it should evolve handsomely for five to seven years.

Miali Mater Primitivo 2010 (Italy) SCORE: 90 PRICE: $18.95

"Mater" means mother, which could make this red a fun insider joke as a gift for Father's Day. But like most fathers it would be more at home around an outdoor grill than a stove.

Made from southern Italy's primitivo grape, which goes by the name zinfandel in California, it's rich and jammy, with plum, blueberry and raisin notes that would match well with charred meats, including sweet ribs. There's even a roasted-nut-andchocolate Nutella quality that seems to remind us we're sipping something Italian rather than a premium $35 California zin.

Heredad de Baroja Gran Reserva 2004 (Spain) SCORE: 90 PRICE: $24.95

This is a good way to give Dad the pleasure of a mature bottle now because there's no need for additional cellaring, even if the wine might continue to improve for several more years. Slow air exposure through the cork has brought on a dried-berry character, which supports tart-plum and classic red-Rioja characters of coconut and vanilla from American-oak aging, all framed by heady spice and lively acidity.

Excellent for roast lamb.

Wildass Red (Ontario) SCORE: 89 PRICE: $19.95

Dads with a sense of humour might get a kick out of the name, which resonates in double-entendre fashion with the donkey's silhouette on the label (not to mention my "kick" pun).

Made at Niagara's Stratus Vineyards, it's a bargain next to the winery's luxury-oriented flagship offerings, and it's more seriously structured than a lot of, say, California blends crafted for casual quaffing. On the lighter side of full-bodied, it dishes up rich berry fruit and an undercurrent of herbs, with sticky tannins that make it a suitable choice for beef on the barbie. Combine it with a flank steak, some tongs and a bottle of barbecue sauce and sit back while Dad does all the cooking. Various prices in Alberta.

How Inside Out helped Pixar revive its animated groove
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R8

When Inside Out had its premiere at Cannes a month ago to an enthusiastic reception by the American and French press, it was in the spirit of reunion and renewal: Pixar was back and reinvigorated.

It is Pixar's first film shown in Cannes since Up, also directed by Pete Docter, which was also the company's last major artistic triumph. Released in 2009, Up was the punctuation to one of the great hot streaks in movie history: Ten films, including Toy Story

(1995), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007) and WALL-E (2008), that were of consistently high quality - and also earned $8.6-billion (U.S.) worldwide grosses.

Pixar, a company associated with George Lucas and Steve Jobs, the incarnation of latetwentieth-century California technical genius, began to look ordinary. In the past few years, there was increasing grumbling that John Lasseter, chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, was paying more attention to Disney bosses than his old company. In 2013, Pixar laid off about 5 per cent of its 1,200-person work force and 2014 saw no new Pixar film at all. Meanwhile, Disney Animation experienced a revival with two major hits, Frozen (2013) and Big Hero 6 (2014).

At Cannes, Lasseter was back to reassure - and reminisce. He used the occasion of the Inside Out press conference to declare the voice cast (Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black and Mindy Kaling) one of the best in Pixar history. In a separate Cannes event, he introduced previews of upcoming Pixar films - including The Good Dinosaur (due in November), Finding Dory (summer of 2016), Toy Story 4 (summer 2017) - and to remind people how much Pixar has already changed the film world.

When he was a student at California Institute of the Arts in the late-seventies, Lasseter said, "animation was nearly dead." There was a new release every four or five years of indifferent quality.

The studios had sold their animated catalogues to television in the sixties, and TV had relegated cartoons to Saturday morning and after-school slots.

"Walt Disney never made movies for kids. The great Chuck Jones made movies for adult to be released in theatres in front of Warner Bros. films."

Lasseter and his CalArts friends loved cartoons, but he was also inspired by the revolution of filmmaking in the seventies - Francis Ford Coppola, Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese - and wanted to bring the same sensibility to animation.

"We never stopped that belief that animation can be and should be for everyone, and entertain audiences around the world with great stories."

Lasseter reminded the press audience that Toy Story, the first entirely CGI feature movie, was released 20 years ago this November. When Toy Story became the year's highest-grossing domestic film and earned almost universal critical acclaim, said Lasseter, "it proved that it was not about the technology; it was about the storytelling."

"It's fascinating when a thing is done with a new technology, if it's done right, how it will change everything overnight. Since Toy Story was the first one and people loved it, it opened the doors for studios all over the world. We did a recent count. There has been over 250 CGI movies in the past 20 years and I feel very proud of that fact."

Resilience, comebacks, never say die: These are both the subject of Pixar stories and, the story of Pixar itself. Roll back another decade to 1985, and you'd see the other side of Pixar: The computer division of Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic empire, about 40 employees, developing hardware for advanced animation work, was essentially a bust.

Lucas was anxious to unload it: General Motors and Hallmark, the card company, both turned it down, which may be a loss to cars and greeting cards, though a boon to the movies.

Jobs, who had been recently ousted from Apple, agreed to pick it up for $5-million. As David Price wrote in his history of the company, The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company, "... one of the curious aspects of Pixar's story is that each of its leaders was, by conventional standards, a failure at the time he came onto the scene." That included Lasseter (who had been fired by Disney), Jobs, Alvy Ray Smith (let go from Xerox's famous Palo Alto Research Center) and pioneering 3-D graphics computer scientist Edwin Catmull, who took what he considered to be a dead-end job in the private sector after he had been turned down for a teaching position.

Pixar's movies have never shied away from the dark side.

Abandonment in Toy Story, death in Up, an environmental apocalypse in WALL-E, the threat of a grisly assembly-line incineration in Toy Story 3.

The source of despair in Inside Out is less exotic. Director-writer Docter says the story was partly inspired by watching the changes in his own 11-year-old daughter, Elie (she voiced the character of the young Ellie Fredricksen in Up), who went from a confident kid to a self-doubting adolescent.

It brought back his own awkward adolescence. (Elie is 16 now, and reportedly doing fine.)

At its most literal level, the film is an allegory of childhood depression: When Riley suffers the shock of moving to a new home, Joy and Sadness get locked out of the Space Needlelike control centre: Fear, Disgust and Anger take over. Her memories are contaminated and the islands of her "core memories" that make up her personality begin to disintegrate. Like all Pixar stories, it's ultimately a rescue story.

While Inside Out has a personal connection, it also reflects the science-geek sensibility that runs through much of Pixar's history.

The idea of basic emotions reflects the ideas of psychologist Paul Ekman, whose ability to "read faces" was featured in a New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell, and inspired the Fox TV series Lie to Me.

"We got to know Paul back on Toy Story when we were working on facial expressions," said Docter. "He had done some great pioneering work on microexpressions. But he also had a lot of great information about emotions and what their jobs are."

Added producer Jonas Rivera: "The simple idea is that the emotions have a job, that there's a reason you have fear, anger and joy. They all have a specific effort. That really helped the writing effort: That the emotions each have a job, and they have a professional shorthand together."

For fans of great movies without an age barrier, Inside Out offers hope that everyone is back in their right job at the Pixar control tower. And perhaps Pixar: the Sequel, might even be as good as the first time around.

Follow me on Twitter: @liamlacey

Associated Graphic

Bubbly, colourful and humorous throughout, Pixar's Inside Out gets inside viewers' heads and reminds them it's okay to feel mad, sad or glad.

Friendships that are virtual, but very real
Possible dangers tend to be the focus of on online interactions, while the life-changing relationships formed on the Web are ignored
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4

In the late 1990s I ran with a loquacious crew on an online bulletin board called Chickclick.

Sugaplumskank (Tia, from Northern California) was a joker and a poet, a night owl with a flair for posting hilarious ruminations at 3 a.m. There was also Pixiestarcycle (Sue, from Minneapolis), Shescrafty (Mary, from Miami) and Taylicious (Tay, from Burlington, Vt.). We type-talked about young women's eternal concerns: hotties, music and reproductive politics, plus fashion, food and mostly hotties.

Eventually, we met en route to Sue's family cottage on one of Minnesota's beautiful lakes. The difference between an online relationship and one in person was cemented after Mary and I fed Tia some Vietnamese leftovers (peanut allergies are so abstract in writing). This led to much screaming as her face swelled into a giant balloon as Sue tried to concentrate on steering her dad's SUV on the highway. Eventually, Tia downed a pack of Benadryl and the rest of the weekend was a blast.

Thirteen years later, Mary and I may never get over the guilt.

Also, the Internet isn't new any more and neither is our friendship.

Much of the discourse around online interactions focuses on the negative and the dangerous. It's fair enough: Educators and law enforcement are way behind in responding to the challenges of the digital world. But it's unfortunate that the bad stuff overshadows the deep, real ties that can be built between people who first met as avatars and usernames.

Last summer, Tia's mom held my baby; last winter, Tay and I wandered around Montreal as our husbands discussed fat-tire bikes. We've been through cancer and death and breakups together.

The strength of my relationships with them is the rope I hold as I dive into other social networks, where I've met collaborators, buddies and confidantes. If you're still skeptical of online friendship, well, you're missing out.

Most online friendships reflect those in our immediate communities: We tend to connect with those who have similarities in age, values and social class, what sociologists call homophily.

For those whose identities are marginalized, or even hated, finding connection online can be lifealtering.

Calgary's Kelly Hofer made his first online friends on the photosharing site Flickr. Hofer, 22, grew up in the Hutterite colony Green Acres in rural Manitoba. Hutterites, a Christian Anabaptist group, live in communes of 100 people and restrict interaction with those outside their faith.

(Across North America, colonies use a private Internet service provider, the Hutterite Brethren Network, in order for colonies to share teachers while filtering sites believed to be "questionable.") Around age 13, he began to share the photos he had taken of his colony. One Winnipeg man was so taken with Hofer's talent that he drove to Green Acres to give the boy a DSLR camera. "I had never allowed myself to befriend someone who wasn't Hutterite," Hofer says of the photographer, who is still close to Hofer and his parents. "It wasn't awkward, but new."

Hofer's life really changed, though, on Twitter, when he was 19. Since his mid-teens, he'd known he didn't want a girlfriend, but he didn't exactly know what the other options were. It's hard to explain, he says, but for Hutterites, nothing really exists until another Hutterite does it.

Hofer didn't know any gay Hutterites; therefore, he couldn't be a gay Hutterite. Then, one day while discussing new cellphones with another Hutterite teen on Twitter, the conversation shifted to sexuality.

"There was trust, and a slow advancement of the conversation, saying things that could be taken two ways," he says. The young men came out to each other over Twitter direct messaging and, two weeks later, left their colonies. His sister, who had left a decade earlier, came to get him, and they drove to Saskatchewan to pick up his Twitter friend on the side of a country road. "It was pure serendipity," he says of the online meeting. "Twitter changed a lot in me. It showed me there were others."

Today, Hofer lives in Calgary and runs a closed Facebook group for LGBT Hutterites across North America. It has 18 members, all personally vetted by him, including one 40-year-old in South Dakota who also didn't realize he could be gay until he found the group. "I've created a gay Hutterite community and that's something you can't do in real life at all," he says.

The stakes aren't as high for every Internet friendship, but that doesn't mean they aren't important. When a relationship moves from a public forum, such as Twitter or Instagram, to someplace more private, it signals a corresponding increase in trust.

Journalists Virginia Heffernan and Paul Ford also met online.

Though they both live in New York, often write about technology and run in the same social circles, they had never met when Heffernan e-mailed Ford last January to discuss a story. Things got jokey as the two writers volleyed back and forth, e-mailing each other notes crafted as though from annoying editors to harried writers.

In March, Heffernan and Ford published their e-mails on the site Medium. The exchange is very Internet, full of inside jokes that are much funnier read as e-mails than said out loud. One from Ford to Heffernan has the subject line "opinion writer with social media focus" (that is, a description of her); the body asks for help finding "basically a younger version of you but with at least 28,000 twitter followers."

Heffernan says that in some cases, online interaction offers things that in-person meetings don't. "The satisfactions are vast: You get to experience friends as artists, as devisers of photons, rather than as masters or losers in physical space," Heffernan says, via e-mail. "You don't know ... Paul Ford till you know the cadences to his e-mail."

After Chickclick was shut down, my friends and I moved to journalling sites. Now we send e-mails and texts, sometimes to the whole group, sometimes one-onone. Occasionally we co-ordinate over time zones for group video calls.

The last time I saw more than one of them at a time was 2010, I think. But we talk about it constantly, with excitement and longing. Online is great, but sometimes it can be bitsy-piecey.

For me, what's really special about our face-to-face interactions is the chance to spend a big chunk of time diving into the immediacy of each other, being real friends in real time, right now.

Associated Graphic

Kelly Hofer grew up in a Hutterite community in rural Manitoba and was able to realize he was gay only when he connected online with another Hutterite who was gay. He started a Facebook group for LGBT Hutterites to help other people in similar situations.


What the industry calls a 'diffusion' line - a (slightly) lower-priced, more youthful collection released by a luxury brand - is currently one of fashion's most talked-about gambits. Mistranslate the company message and it bombs (see Marc by Marc Jacobs); get it right and a label's reach could extend well beyond its core upscale market. Is delivering design integrity at a discount worth the gamble? Odessa Paloma Parker reports
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L8

When it was announced in late April that DaoYi Chow and Maxwell Osborne - the designers behind emerging contemporary brand Public School - would take over as creative directors of DKNY - Donna Karan's lower-priced 'diffusion' line - a buzz surged through the fashion community. After all, Chow and Osborne - whose seven-year-old line is known for its streetwear-inspired pieces - are still relatively fresh faces in the industry, and Donna Karan is among the most respected names in American fashion.

But DKNY had been flagging. Before the big announcement, the line, which was previously designed by Jane Chung, DKNY's executive vice-president, faced serious competition from an explosion of streetwise brands including Kenzo, Opening Ceremony, Acne Studios and, perhaps most notably, Public School itself. It didn't help that the popular fashion site High Snobiety had published a piece declaring diffusion lines dead. So why the sudden investment at Karan's?

Because, like a handful of other designers right now, she seems to recognize that if a brand gets its lower-priced offshoot right, there's no better way to attract a wider audience of design-conscious customers.

Getting it right, however, isn't as easy as tweaking the name of the label and riding the parent brand's buzz.

The diffusion strategy seems simple: extend the brand through more affordable clothing and accessories and grow audience share. But such an experiment isn't without risk. Take the recent flop at Marc Jacobs International. Launched in 2001, its diffusion line Marc by Marc Jacobs was a droll distillation of the company's primary collection - resembling a cool kid-sibling's closet compared to the sophisticated, arty fare that the main line was known for. In 2013, industry veterans Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier were tasked with taking over the women's-wear side of the collection from Marc Jacobs himself.

Hillier had been designing accessories for Marc by Marc Jacobs for over a decade and Bartley had been named Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards just a few years prior. They seemed to be the perfect pairing of entrenched brand awareness and new blood.

British Vogue published a fawning article on the pair's takeover in 2014, calling the appointment inspired.

When their first collection for the newly minted MBMJ debuted, the message was clear: This was not the Marc by Marc brand that its customers had come to know. It was decidedly more punk rock than the quirky cardigans and printed babydoll dresses of previous seasons. The duo's following spring and fall 2015 collections were similar in their punkish bravado - slogans such as "New World System" and "Solidarity" were splashed across maxi-dresses and sweaters. The edgy approach might have worked at a less-established brand, but, in the kingdom of lighthearted cheer that Marc by Marc Jacobs occupies, it looked more and more off-brand. Sure enough, shortly after the fall/winter 2015 collection was presented during New York Fashion Week this February, it was announced that MBMJ would be absorbed into Marc Jacobs's main line with the man himself once again in charge.

Translating - and reinvigorating - a label for a new audience takes careful engineering. And while the creative process can't be squeezed into a formula that will guarantee success, the management strategy can. During Bartley and Hillier's tenure at MBMJ, Marc Jacobs's attention was spread thinly over his main line, the launch of the Marc Jacobs Beauty brand and his tenure as creative director at Louis Vuitton. It's easy to see how the recognizable Marc by Marc sensibility went off course in the hands of a team that was given too much leeway.

By contrast, at LINE Knitwear, tight oversight is key to the success of its three-year-old diffusion line. Co-founder John Muscat launched the secondary line, John & Jenn, in 2012 with partner Jennifer Wells. While the luxe cardigans and sweaters of LINE's principal line have, over the past 15 years, amassed a sizeable following - fans include Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Garner and Cameron Diaz - John & Jenn does a solid job of extending LINE's reach.

To get the diffusion label off the ground, the duo took a Hydra-style approach: They created a separate identity for John & Jenn that shared fundamental design DNA with LINE. The main difference is proportion, including leaner and cropped silhouettes that create a more youthful spirit. Muscat and Wells appointed separate teams to work on each collection, but they oversee, approve and edit at all. The process prevents creative fatigue and ensures consistency.

John & Jenn went from being in 25 stores in Canada its fi rst season to 70 worldwide by its second. That growth is similar to what Max Mara experienced when it launched one of the fashion world's first diffusion labels Sportmax in 1969. At the time, the '60s youthquake created a demand for spirited, modern clothing, and the elegant Italian luxury brand responded by weaving its classic designs into a more accessible collection featuring bolder silhouettes and bright pops of colour. Sportmax has remained popular, largely because its pieces bear the same attention to detail and strict Italian craftsmanship of the Max Mara brand.

Ultimately, this is what sets diffusion apart from other affordable fashion options. Although many diffusion lines are mass-manufactured, they aren't the product of a fast-fashion team tasked with knocking off the latest runway trends. The goal instead is to realign the vision of a high-end collection for a new audience. And though the experiment sometimes fails, diffusion is far from dead. As Muscat puts it, it's a fi ne balance between knowing yourself in order to reinvent yourself: "You have to think, 'How can we tell our story differently?'"


Luxury brand Max Mara, known for its use of quality materials and strict Italian craftsmanship, launched Sportmax, one of the world's first and longest-running diffusion lines, in 1969. At the time, it was embraced by Youthquake culture and featured bolder silhouettes and brighter pops of colour than the Max Mara line. Today, it caters to a client who appreciates style but doesn't want to look trendy. ON LEFT: Coat, $7,830 (U.S.), blouse, $705 (U.S.), and skirt, $895 (U.S.) for similar styles at Max Mara ( ON RIGHT: Sportmax dress, $1,350 (U.S.) for similar styles at Max Mara.


The 15-year-old Toronto-based label LINE Knitwear, known for its luxe sweaters and cardigans, launched its diffusion line, John & Jenn, in 2012. The youthful offshoot is more inclined to take aesthetic risks since its wares aren't meant to be long-term investments. ON LEFT: John & Jenn two-piece set, $99 through Chloé shoes, $695 at Davids ( ON RIGHT: LINE Knitwear dress, $249 at TNT ( Chloé shoes, $695 at Davids.

Associated Graphic




How a McMaster University conservator spent eight months fixing a 545-year-old tome
Monday, June 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L3

In her subterranean lab at McMaster University in Hamilton, Audrie Schell opens an old book to reveal a hand-lettered page illustrated with a delicate image of the Annunciation. The Virgin's robe is a startlingly fresh blue and the touches of gold on the miniature shine brightly, but sections of the pinky-brown background have flaked off, leaving that area patchy.

Schell is a book and paper conservator in the research collection at McMaster's Mills Memorial Library, and she recently spent eight months restoring this manuscript page by page, putting a stop to just that kind of flaking.

The hand-copied manuscript is a book of hours, a devotional text of biblical excerpts, prayers and psalms in Latin, prefaced by a calendar, often in the vernacular, prescribing their use. In this instance, the saints days in that French-language calendar allow archivists to date the book to 1470-1480 and possibly place it in southern France. It would have been hand-lettered and illustrated by artisans in a workshop during the period when printed books were first appearing but most were still produced manually by copyists.

McMaster acquired the book from a London dealer in 1967.

Copied on the animal-skin vellum that was used for finer books before paper became ubiquitous, it was in bad shape and had been exposed to moisture at some point: Its pages were warped and wrinkled, and some showed actual "tide lines" where water had marked them.

In turn, those misshapen pages had rubbed against each other, causing the pigment on some illustrations to flake. The spine was cracked and the book had been insensitively rebound in a velvet cover in 1905.

And so it became Schell's professional ambition to fix it: She has held her job since 1998, but it's only in the past year that she has been able to find the months required to work on the McMaster book of hours - unbinding the pages of the book and flattening them one by one.

"Skin takes on moisture; it becomes cockled, wavy," Schell explains. "It swells and the spine cracks. It grows until it can't fit in the binding any more. ... The book moves; pigment will crack and it will flake, so you get loss."

In short, the book once so painstakingly drawn onto pages made from the skin of a calf, lamb or kid was becoming too fragile to use.

A large part of the project involved humidifying each page so it could be flattened.

Unbound, each bifolium - or double-page spread - was unfolded and placed on a metal screen on the surface of a suction table in the library's book preservation lab. A dome was lowered over the page and it was exposed to an ultrasonic mist of distilled water. The amount of misting had to be carefully calculated - too much moisture and the vellum would become irreversibly transparent. Once moist, suction was turned on underneath the page so it was sucked flat; it was then removed and left to finish drying on felt.

Before Schell began this laborious process, every page was photographed and details of its original creation and current condition were noted. Also, she sent for Brandi Lee MacDonald, who specializes in the chemical analysis of art and has just completed a PhD about rock art.

MacDonald tested the illustrations and found no trace of elements such as titanium or aluminum, which are used in modern pigments.

"I was very happy," Schell said.

"The findings were that there had never been any touch-ups.

The pigments are from 1470; nobody has adulterated them. In 500 years, nobody has had a hand in there."

The chemical analysis, performed using X-ray fluorescence to activate particles in the pigments, also gave Schell information about how she should treat them. For example, the blue is ultramarine made of ground lapis lazuli: If exposed to a gelatin-based consolidant, it might darken. So, instead, Schell used a celluose-based product to stabilize flaking pigment.

Once the pages were flattened and damage to the illuminations halted, Schell rebound the book, sewing it back together herself.

The manuscript dates to a period in book binding when the text block was stitched together over top of the spine, creating those raised cords on the back of a book that are still associated with a quality binding on an old book. However, the 1905 restorer had cut into the pages to recess the stitching - a more recent and faster method of binding that creates a flat spine. Schell did not want to further puncture the pages, so she stuck with that later technique but added the appearance of raised cords to the spine when she rebound the book. There, she chose a plain leather cover of the kind that would have been used in the 15th century, before the development of ornate gold tooling. The green velvet cover of 1905 and the metal clasp that closes it are an anachronistic fancy: "They just wanted to make it look beautiful, but it's not really historically correct," she said.

Once the new cover is closed, the final product looks deceptively plain and straightforward - but the pages inside are still filled with mysteries. The illumination is unfinished in places, with decorative elements that are blank or have only a first colour laid down. There are other clues that suggest the manuscript, probably intended for a lay noblewoman, was never passed on to a buyer at the time it was created: There are traces at the edge of some pages of instructions to the scribe or the illustrator that would have been cut off when the book was finished - as would have the pinpricks used as a guide to rule lines on the pages.

Schell points out that a study of the book of hours might reveal a lot about the work flow in a scriptorium; there is also a point in the manuscript where a smaller hand takes over as one scribe replaced another at the arduous task of copying out the text.

Images of each page have now been entered into the library's digital archive, but when it comes to touching the real thing, Schell is possessive.

"I'd love a scholar to come and study it, a serious researcher; otherwise keep it in in the stacks. I don't want anyone to ever look at it again!"

So, for now, the McMaster book of hours sits quietly on a shelf waiting for that serious researcher to plumb its depths.

It's not in any hurry; after all, it's been waiting for the right reader for 545 years.

Associated Graphic

The medieval book's pages were painstakingly rehydrated using a humidifier.


Conservator Audrie Schell, left, worked with researcher Brandi Lee MacDonald to assess the best approach to restore delicate pages in McMaster University's 545-year-old book of hours.

Camping isn't what it used to be. While we still love the outdoors, we aren't as fond of sleeping on the bumpy, wet ground. Today, Dave McGinn finds parks and campgrounds are coaxing us from our homes - and away from hotels - with promises of luxury tents, yurts, cabins and even stone lodges
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

Every summer, Colleen Tully and her husband pack up their gear and trek to a national or provincial park to camp for a weekend. Most years it goes well. One year it didn't.

The two had set up a cheap tent near a cliff overlooking the ocean. "In the middle of the night, the wind was so crazy that the tent was punching the two of us in the back of the head," Tully says. The fly, which covers the top of the tent, was blown away. "We're naked. It's the middle of the night. We can't see. There are bears and animals all over the place. We're running around the campsite chasing this fly, hoping to God it doesn't fly into to the ocean."

The two dressed, packed up and drove to the nearest motel. But that experience didn't stop Tully, a freelance editor, and her husband, a data manager, who live in Toronto, from camping. And despite the many other options increasingly available, the two still prefer to sleep in a tent.

"I enjoy roughing it," Tully says.

Camping out under the night sky may be a favourite Canadian activity in the popular imagination, but we are less enthralled by its buggy, often uncomfortable and usually unpredictable realities than we once were.

From 2009 to 2014, overall attendance at Canada's national parks grew by an anemic four per cent - not even close to keeping pace with the country's population growth over that time period.

At the same time, conservationists and other advocates are sounding alarm bells over our disconnection from nature, something they agree may be contributing to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and influencing our attitudes regarding habitat loss and climate change.

"This disconnect between people and nature ranks as one of the greatest and most overlooked crises of our time, right up there with climate change and species extinction," says Scott Sampson, author of How To Raise A Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature. "A generation from now, if kids have never had a chance to really interact with those places, they're just not going to care about them."

But it may not be that we are reluctant to camp. We just want to do it in comfort, or without the economic strain of shelling out for gear that sits unused for most of the year. And both conservation groups and campgrounds with dwindling attendees are finding different ways of adapting to this new reality.

Last year, the Canadian Wildlife Federation launched The Great Canadian Campout, which aims to get 1 million people camping by July, 2017, the country's 150th birthday. "The inherent connection with nature that Canadians have ... It's being challenged pretty significantly," says James Bartram, director of education at the non-profit.

"The bottom line is, all conservation organizations in the developed world are facing something of a crisis of constituency," Bartam says.

Camping has been hit especially hard in Canada's two largest and most populated provinces. In Ontario, overnight stays in provincial parks plunged 10 per cent between 2000 and 2013. Since then, attendance has been "stable," says Anne Craig, senior marketing specialist at Ontario Parks.

"But we're certainly aware that Ontario's population is growing, and that it's growing in different ways than it has in the past.

Growth is largely coming from immigration, and new Canadians often don't have a tradition of camping."

In Quebec, campsite occupancy dropped 8.7 per cent between 2006 and 2009. Perhaps the most telling statistic from the report by the province's ministry of tourism was this: The rate of people opting to sleep in a tent fell by 34 per cent.

This year, Ontario Parks hopes to persuade more people to go in to the woods for their personal well-being, through Healthy Parks, Healthy People, a global movement based on the beneficial links between nature and human health, which include lowering blood pressure, strengthening the immune system and helping fight ADHD.

As well, Ontario Parks offers a Learn to Camp program, which has attracted more than 9,000 people, at nine parks in southern Ontario, all of them close to the GTA and other urban centres.

Even as they work to coax people into the great outdoors, parks organizations are increasingly recognizing that the problem isn't that we don't want to venture into nature - we often just don't want to rough it.

"People are looking for comfort," says Maryse Catellier, president of the Canadian Camping and RV Council, an industry association.

"They like camping, but they want to do it in a nice way."

A report on the camping industry in Canada released last month by the council found that 26 per cent of private, not-for-profit and municipal campgrounds reported a decrease in the number of overnight tent campers in the past five years. The figure was 28 per cent for federal and provincial campgrounds.

Meanwhile demand for other types of lodgings, including yurts and cabins, has surged: 53 per cent of private, not-for-profit and municipal campgrounds reported increased demand for cozier options, a figure that jumped to 79 per cent among federal and provincial campgrounds.

Ontario Parks is focusing on roofed accommodation, Craig says. That includes cabins.

"It certainly helps that reluctant audience who want to come and don't have the equipment. It helps the older audience who say, 'I love parks but I don't want to sleep on the ground any more,' " Craig says.

Alberta Parks introduced "comfort camping" in 2011. At the start of last season, there were 17 comfort camping options, ranging from yurts, to canvas-style wall tents to cabins. This year, that number has jumped to about 30, says Tim Chamberlin, a spokesman for Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation.

Parks Canada also rents yurts and, as of 2013, oTENTiks. Billed as "a cross between a prospector's tent and a cabin in the woods," they come equipped with an electric heater, Wi-Fi, solar-powered lighting and beds for up to six people.

Whatever you choose to sleep in, camping has a serenity that makes it special, Tully says.

"We both work downtown. We both have deadline-heavy jobs and we're both on our phones all the time. We love being in the middle of the forests with our phones off. Nobody can get us," she says.

"The key," she adds, "is to have a good tent."

Or a yurt, or cabin, if that's what you prefer.

Associated Graphic

Whether they're headed to national and provincial parks or music festivals, campers are looking for a more comfortable way to connect with the great outdoors.


Comfort-camping options at some provincial parks range from elegant floored tents, above, to yurts with bunk beds and dining tables, below.


Field of big dreams now a northern reality
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

Days before kickoff, the head coach of the Holy Trinity High School Senior Knights was shaking down everyone he knew for tickets to a most unlikely football game.

The ducats weren't for him, explained Kwame Osei.

They were for his players, the champions of the Fort McMurray High School Football League. He wanted them to watch the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts play a regular-season game in a new stadium in the northernmost municipality the Canadian Football League has ever visited. That way, said Mr. Osei, "It will show the kids what they can do on our field. I can tell them, 'This is where we want to get to. So dream big.'

"Saturday night, two CFL teams displaced by big events in their cities meet in a place where everything operates on a grand scale - big oil companies, big projects, big equipment, big salaries, big layoffs and big hopes for an upswing in the price of oil. No one is exactly sure when that will happen, but a regular-season pro football game at SMS Equipment Stadium at Shell Place makes for good symbolism - proof that Fort McMurray hasn't boarded up its windows in the face of a mass exodus. On the contrary, the new stadium is a prized addition to one of the largest recreation centres in the country.

"What we are seeing is a drift from boom town to home town," assessed councillor Tyran Ault, adding that the new stadium has also drawn a pair of North American Soccer League matches involving FC Edmonton plus the Western Canadian Summer Games and a concert by Aerosmith.

"After all the negative media coverage we've received," said Mr. Ault, "it's refreshing to see the Fort McMurray we all know and love."

Mr. Osei can attest to what outsiders think of Fort McMurray. He knew next to nothing about the city other than it was located "up north" and would rise and slump with the price of oil.

Born in Rexdale, Ont., he played football at St. Francis Xavier University as a wide receiver. He wasn't selected in the 2011 CFL draft but signed as a free agent with the Argos. Things were going well until he tore a hamstring and was handed his release. Fortunately for Mr. Osei, he finished his teaching degree and was offered a position at Holy Trinity. He served as an assistant football coach until being named head man in 2013. The first year under Mr.

Osei, the Knights failed to win a game. In 2014, Holy Trinity went undefeated during the season and capped it with a league championship in nine-man football.

While all that was happening, the Eskimos were informed by the city of Edmonton that the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup soccer tournament would be taking over Commonwealth Stadium for 11 games in eight days.

The Eskimos agreed to play a pre-season game (against the Saskatchewan Roughriders) at Fort McMurray's new digs, then were quick to sign up for a regular-season game.

The $133-million stadium, with 5,000 permanent seats and another 10,000 temporary seats, was built on corporate and municipal funding and is situated between the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers on MacDonald Island Park. The stadium is the latest facility in Fort McMurray's extensive athletic complex. Island Park has three hockey rinks, including the main arena, which opened in 2009 and has hosted the 2015 Grand Slam of Curling Syncrude Elite 10 as well as games from this year's Tim Hortons Canadian ringette championship.

There is also an aquatics centre, two field houses and the adjoining 18-hole Miskanaw Golf and Country Club.

The facilities are maintained by the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo, whose officials had three conditions for hosting the CFL preseason game.

"One was that it would be shown nationally on TSN," said Edmonton Eskimos' president and CEO Len Rhodes.

"Two, was that the opponent be the Saskatchewan Roughriders; and three, that they had an official date for the game two years in advance [to better market it]. I went to former commissioner Mark Cohon and he said it takes the league months to get its schedule out. But we got the June 13th date to open the stadium against Saskatchewan."

Soon after that game was held, Argos CEO Chris Rudge called Mr. Rhodes and asked who he should contact about playing in Fort McMurray. Given how the Pan American Games are going to be spread throughout Southern Ontario, there wasn't any facility where the Argos could play their home games.

No worries, said Mr. Rhodes, who threw in a condition: If the Argos were coming north to open the season - as the home team - they had to play Edmonton. "We want to be northern Alberta's team starting from Red Deer up to the top of Alberta," said Mr.

Rhodes. "We looked at this as a fabulous opportunity allowing us to develop our brand."

That doesn't mean everything has been flawless in this northern adventure. Less than a week before the stadium's official opening on June 16, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo council had to approve a $4.3-million request to cover added construction costs to achieve LEED gold status. (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification assures the stadium has addressed public health and environmental concerns.)

The Eskimos acknowledge they'll lose money playing in Fort McMurray. The team can average 40,000 fans a game at Commonwealth Stadium. Extrapolating that over two games, Mr. Rhodes said the Eskimos will lose up to $300,000. He calls it an "investment money in our brand."

In the past two years, Mr. Osei's investment in his young players has sent four Holy Trinity grads to Canadian university teams. He and his fellow Fort McMurray coaches are staging a Northern Elite Football Camp this summer in preparation for the jump to 12man football this fall.

That more kids want to play football is seen as another symbolic gesture, a sign of growth.

What Mr. Osei wanted was to reach out to his football friends and former teammates for more Edmonton-versus-Toronto tickets. He wants his players to watch and learn. To dream big, too.

"I think this game is good for the community," Mr. Osei insisted. "It's not just about the oil sands and layoffs. Football is a way to keep kids out of trouble - more time on the field, less time on the streets. I can see these kids being inspired."

Associated Graphic

Holy Trinity coach Kwame Osei runs drills with his football team in Fort McMurray on Friday.


Holy Trinity Knights coach Kwame Osei fixes Sharique Khan's helmet at practice on Friday. Mr. Osei is scrambling to acquire tickets so his players can attend Saturday's Argos-Eskimos season opener.


Sleeping outside offers a breath of fresh air
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L5

The campfire was at full blaze, and we still had a few more logs waiting in reserve. But as I stared up into the night sky, where Venus and Jupiter winked in and out of view behind a patchy veil of clouds, I was already feeling uneasy about bedtime.

"What does the forecast say now?" I asked.

Mike pulled his phone out, made a few taps, and shook his head.

We were camped along the banks of the Humber River, near the confluence of highways 427 and 407, just outside Toronto city limits. We'd biked up from our downtown homes that afternoon for a one-night "microadventure," a term coined by British adventurer Alastair Humphreys to encourage cheap, simple, bite-sized outdoor excursions.

Humphreys's 2014 book, Microadventures, along with the associated hashtag, has pushed the idea into the mainstream. You may work 9-to-5, he points out, but that still leaves plenty of time for a 5-to-9 overnight foray.

One of his most beguiling videos shows him changing out of his suit, hopping on a commuter train with a light day pack, then hiking up a hill to sleep on the summit with his crumpled suit as a pillow. In the morning, he takes a bracing swim in a tarn, hikes back down to the train station and is back in time for work - slightly wrinkled, but mentally refreshed.

The idea grabbed me, partly because the combined demands of work and a toddler at home meant that, for the first time in years, I didn't have any macroadventures planned. My usual canoe-trip friends Mike and Tim were in similar situations, so when I proposed that we slip the surly bonds of urban life for a night, they jumped at the opportunity.

While the definition of microadventure is flexible, Humphreys encourages a minimalist and slightly transgressive approach: Get off the beaten trail, find an interesting place to sleep and don't cart along a bunch of superfluous gear - such as a tent. That way, he writes, you'll "feel the breeze on your face, look up at the stars before you sleep, and sit up to a brilliant view in the morning."

My plan to follow his advice soon ran into a couple of snags.

First, it's illegal in Toronto, and indeed in much of Canada, to simply unroll your sleeping bag on a cozy looking patch of grass.

"All I try to do is urge people to use common sense, and to try it for the first time somewhere that will not annoy people," Humphreys replied when I e-mailed to ask his advice. "And once they've done it once, they are usually converted."

To keep things simple (and legal) for my open-air debut, I settled on Indian Line Campground, a Toronto and Region Conservation Authority property that's easily accessible from the far northwestern end of the bike path that runs along the Humber River. The bike ride up was less than two hours through woodland and meadows that have been extensively rewilded over the past few decades. It wasn't remote Yukon (the location of the last canoe trip Tim, Mike and I did together), but it felt like a long way from downtown.

Our campsite was a grassy meadow with a picnic table and a small, round clearing for a fire.

A footpath led to the top of a nearby hill looking over the Claireville reservoir, a pseudolake created by a flood-control dam on the Humber. A pair of hawks circled above, harried by a red-winged blackbird protecting its nest; the hum of traffic on Highway 427 drifted across the water.

But where would I sleep? I'd been agonizing about this all week - a week that had already seen six consecutive days of rain, with more in the forecast.

Also, I couldn't help worrying about the bugs.

So it was that, after we'd finished our burgers and corn and were sitting around the campfire munching M&Ms and hammering out the solutions to several pressing global problems, I kept asking Mike for weather updates.

Showers were scheduled to start around 5 a.m., he kept telling me. Mosquitoes buzzed lazily around my ears. I caved.

As a backup, I'd brought an ultralight hiking tent whose covering consisted of nothing but lightweight bug netting. I could lie in my sleeping bag and watch the stars with the breeze on my cheeks, but still rush out and pull the fly over if it started raining. It felt like cheating, but by then the stars were fully obscured by ominous clouds anyway.

The goal of a microadventure, Humphreys had told me, was to slow down life for a few hours: "To simplify, to listen to nature and to my racing mind, to escape from the city pace and pressures and ambition."

By that measure, I decided, the trip had already been a success.

Even the simple process of lighting a fire, with damp wood and pages torn from my notebook as tinder, had defied our attempts to hurry and forced us to recalibrate our habitual impatience.

Tucked snugly into my sleeping bag, I drifted off to sleep under a blanket of clouds.

In the end, it didn't rain until 7 the next morning, and then only a light sprinkle. In my quest to sleep au naturel, I'd blinked too soon.

Fortunately, we're already planning our next microadventure.


Researchers have found that going for a walk in a natural setting boosts mood and improves performance on cognitive tests. In fact, even looking at a picture of a natural scene produces a similar (though attenuated) cognitive boost. Our brains seem to respond more to the irregular shapes and high colour saturation of nature than to the straight lines and greyish hues of urban settings, says University of Chicago psychologist Marc Berman.

How much nature do you need?

Researchers haven't figured out the optimal dose, but a microadventure is certainly enough to trigger the effect.

And the "5-to-9" approach suggested by Alastair Humphreys may be particularly appropriate, Berman notes, because that's when your brain needs the restorative effects most. "You'll get more of a benefit at the end of a workday," he says.

Associated Graphic

It's illegal to pitch a tent any old place in Toronto, so Alex Hutchinson and his camping companions cycled to Indian Line Campground, a Toronto and Region Conservation Authority property, for a one-night microadventure. Though it wasn't remote, it felt like a long way from downtown.


In his book Microadventures, Alastair Humphreys goads us to take short outdoor excursions. He describes hopping a train after work, camping outside with his suit for a pillow and returning the next day.


Comfort foods from Audrey Hepburn's kitchen
Associated Press
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R11

NEW YORK -- Think of Audrey Hepburn, and your mind will likely conjure up an extraordinarily elegant woman in a boat-necked black dress, huge sunglasses, gloves to the elbow and a chic updo.

It's doubtful you'll picture a woman in jeans and a T-shirt settling down in front of the TV with a plate of penne and - gasp! - ketchup.

But that's the image her son Luca Dotti wants you to get to know. In Audrey at Home, an inviting cookbook filled with intimate family photos and memories, he paints a picture of a woman who was happier at home than on a movie set or, really, anywhere else - even though the press, he says, had a hard time believing that.

"Yes, she was an international star, but she was Mrs. Dotti to me," says Dotti, a Rome-based graphic designer who is the son of Hepburn and her second husband, Andrea Dotti. "And she loved her home life the most. I wanted to bring these two worlds together, the public perception of her and the woman I knew."

The inspiration for the book came, Dotti says, from a binder he found in his mother's kitchen, filled with recipes and little notes. "It was from the 1950s when she had just gotten married (to her first husband) and was starting out as a wife," Dotti says. "They were mostly elaborate and fancy recipes. But, in the end, she eventually came to what worked for her and what reflected her style and her life."

Those simpler recipes, he says, form the core of the book.

And so, for example, Dotti begins with hutspot, a nod to Holland, where Hepburn - born in Belgium to a Dutch mother and British father - spent her difficult youth, nearly starving during the Second World War. (Her final life partner, Robert Wolders, also was Dutch.)

"The Nazis had deprived Holland of all forms of sustainability.

My mother had to eat turnips and boiled grass," Dotti says. Hutspot is a purée of carrots, potatoes and onions, in this case with beef added.

Then there's the recipe for chocolate cake. Upon liberation, a Dutch soldier gave Hepburn seven candy bars, Dotti recounts, and she became sick after devouring them, unused to having a full stomach. But chocolate made her happy for years, and she loved making cakes for her children. "I always thought cakes were too dry, but this one was moist," Dotti says.

The point of the cookbook, and of Hepburn's own cooking, was not to display chef-quality talents. "This wasn't about excelling in cooking," Dotti says. "My mother wasn't really interested in that. She simply liked food as a way to get her family together."

And Hepburn's friends - among them the famous designer Hubert de Givenchy - knew that if they wanted to see Audrey, they had to visit her at home, Dotti says. (Hepburn, who died in 1993, lived mostly in Rome and Switzerland, where she loved the countryside; she also spent much of her later years travelling for humanitarian work.)

If Dotti had to pick only one recipe to symbolize his mother's life, he says it would be her beloved - and simple - spaghetti al pomodoro (with tomato sauce).

"It was her holy grail for happiness," Dotti says. "It was what she thought of when she was homesick." One of the book's family photos shows Hepburn, in a bright yellow seventies-style shift and those oversized sunglasses, spooning out huge portions of the dish for guests in her garden.

An even simpler dish - and certainly less elegant - was what Italians call pasta al forno, but Americans know as lowly mac and cheese. Dotti and his childhood friends ate it all the time at birthday parties, and he was surprised to learn as an adult - in a museum cafeteria, no less - that the American version is better, because it's made with cheddar.

But what of that penne with ketchup?

Dotti suspects it's the British part of Hepburn that created a fondness for this dish, the ketchup resembling a sauce of baked beans. His mother loved organic vegetables and treasured her own garden, yet still liked to indulge in this "junk food," as her son calls it.

"It sounds terrible, but actually it's pretty good!" Dotti says. "We ate it when it was just the two of us, in front of the TV." His recipe calls for penne, extra-virgin olive oil, emmental cheese - and some Heinz ketchup.

Had Hepburn herself written a memoir, she might have described scenes such as this.

But she never wrote one. Dotti says that's because in order to be sincere, "she'd have to write about the nasty parts of life, too" - and that didn't appeal to her.

But Dotti, who's donating proceeds of this book to the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund, says he's by no means his mother's biographer, just a chronicler of what it was like to live in her home, and her kitchen.

"This is a son writing about someone who was more of a wife and a mother than a celebrity," he says.


"Timing is everything with fegato alla Veneziana. Cook it just a moment too long and the meat becomes tough and inedible," writes Luca Dotti in his cookbook, Audrey at Home. "Preparation of this dish requires abrupt changes in temperature: a very low flame for the onions, a very high flame for the meat. ... In Switzerland, where electric stoves are the only option, my dad used two pans, one over a low heat for the onions and one over a high heat for searing the liver, before combining everything and quickly cooking until creamy."

Dotti suggests serving the dish over mashed potatoes or, more traditionally, polenta.

Start to finish: 30 minutes Servings: 4

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 medium white onions, peeled and finely chopped 1 pinch sugar 1 pound calf's liver, thinly sliced Splash sherry vinegar or lemon juice (optional)

In a large skillet over very low heat, melt the butter with the oil.

Add the onions and gently cook until translucent, but not browned. It will take about 15 minutes. Once they are ready, add a pinch of sugar and stir until they are caramelized, about another five minutes.

Heat a second skillet over high heat. Transfer the caramelized onions and then the liver to the second skillet, stir for a few minutes until the meat is seared but still juicy. If you like extra acidity, add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice and stir, scraping the bits at the bottom of the pan, and serve.

Day of reckoning on guns is yet to come
Despite the massacres in Charleston and elsewhere, there is little political will in the U.S. to reduce the wide availability of firearms
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A21

WASHINGTON -- After the Newtown elementary school massacre of 20 children and six adults by a deranged gunman, a tearful President Barack Obama vowed "meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."

Nothing happened.

Three years later Mr. Obama has faced up to his own impotence on gun control.

Despair, not some ringing rallying call from the bully pulpit, was Mr. Obama's reaction to the massacre by a white supremacist of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church, including a pastor personally known to the President.

"At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries," Mr. Obama lamented, adding he understood that "politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now."

Gun control won't be an election issue in 2016.

Mr. Obama's promise of meaningful action after the Newtown, Conn., school shootings went nowhere, stymied not just by broad Republican opposition but also by many Democrats.

In fact, on Mr. Obama's watch, gun control in the United States has mostly been rolled back. In 2010, the Supreme Court ended the long debate over whether the Second Amendment meant armed militias or an individual right to carry weapons, and decided the framers had counted "the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty."

More than 20 states now have "stand your ground" laws allowing citizens to shoot and kill those who threaten them in public places. No longer is there a requirement to retreat.

Tough city laws banning handguns in Washington and Chicago - the first site of the country's government and the second Mr. Obama's hometown, and both burdened with poverty, crime and gun violence - have been struck down in court.

If anything, gun advocates have gained ground in the wake of gruesome massacres.

The National Rifle Association, the powerful, well-organized and generously funded lobby group, has argued that armed civilians, including teachers in schools, could have prevented the scale of the massacres by giving victims a chance to fight back.

An NRA director made the same argument after the church killings in Charleston.

Charles Cotton blamed one of those killed - South Carolina state senator and pastor Clementa Pinckney, who had pushed for tougher gun control and voted against a new South Carolina law allowing patrons of bars to carry concealed weapons.

"Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead.

Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue," said Mr. Cotton, who is also a trustee of the NRA's Civil Rights Defense Fund, in a comment posted to an online forum on guns.

Advocates of an armed citizenry, who contend that pilots with guns and teachers with guns and ordinary citizens with guns can thwart terrorists and homicidal maniacs and common criminals, aren't just found on the fringes of U.S. society.

Since the Newtown massacre, more than two dozen states passed laws allowing teachers to carry weapons or permitting school administrators to authorize school staff who already have weapons permits to bring the guns to school.

Not everyone thinks that makes students safer.

"Guns have no place in our schools," said Dennis van Roekel, then-president of the National Education Association, after the NRA called for arming teachers following Newtown. "Educators overwhelmingly support stronger laws to prevent gun violence, rejecting the NRA leaders' idea of putting more guns in schools."

But an unknown number of teachers now carry weapons in the classroom.

"I want to protect my students," said Kasey Hansen, 26, a specialneeds teacher in Utah, who carries a pink handgun. "I think every teacher should carry," she told a News21 investigation into the arming of teachers, preachers and civilians.

Whether guns in classrooms or cockpits make the public safer remains hotly contested.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul claims the "most cost-effective way of preventing" another terrorist attack like the Sept 11, 2001, hijackings by al-Qaeda jihadis was for "all pilots to be armed."

Many are, under a federal program that deputizes pilots who are then allowed to carry loaded handguns while flying. The number of armed pilots is a secret but the program was oversubscribed when launched.

Just as Mr. Obama admits he has little hope for any emergence of political will to change gun laws, the crowd of those seeking to succeed him are either silent or vague.

Hillary Clinton, the all-but-certain Democratic presidential candidate for 2016, said Americans must face "hard truths about race, violence, guns and division," adding, "How many people do we need to see cut down before we act?" But the hardest truth about guns in the United States isn't the outrage, shock and sadness that follow massacres such as those at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, a movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., or the church in Charleston. It is the grim reality that more than 30,000 Americans are killed annually by gun violence.

More 60 per cent are suicides; most of the rest are victims of domestic violence, street crimes and accidents. An estimated 9,000 are homicides. There are no accurate and complete numbers. Only a tiny handful involves gun owners defending themselves or their properties.

The response of Republican presidential hopefuls to the church massacre varied but no one dared mention gun control.

"There's a sickness in our country, there's something terribly wrong, but it isn't going to be fixed by your government," said Mr. Paul.

Hours after the massacre, Florida Senator Marco Rubio promised "if I am president of the United States, we will appoint justices and we will have an attorney-general who will protect our Second Amendment rights."

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has proudly boasted that he was the first to sign a "stand your ground" law. "In Florida you can defend yourself anywhere you have a legal right to be ... because in Florida we protected people's rights to protect themselves," he said in April.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, undeclared but widely presumed to be another Republican candidate for president, said gun control wasn't the answer. "Laws can't change this, only the goodwill and the love of the American people can let those folks know that that act was unacceptable," Mr. Christie told a Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference. "We need to do more to show that we love each other."

Associated Graphic

Grace G. sights down a weapon at a gun show during the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Nashville in April.


England coach takes shots at Canadian team
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S3

VANCOUVER -- It's on. And it's hot.

England against Canada, Saturday in Vancouver at the Women's World Cup, England aiming to upend Canada at home in the quarter-finals just as Canada dumped Great Britain at home at the 2012 London Olympics.

In the tradition of a hyped prize fight with ample bursts of incendiary trash talk, England's coach, Mark Sampson, has tossed buckets of gasoline on the pregame bonfire with an array of attacks and accusations.

While Canada dealt with its own controversies this week, Sampson was declaring that referees at the World Cup have been incredibly kind to Canada. Sampson believes refs have called only a fraction of the fouls that should have been whistled on "the most aggressive team in this tournament." And he had a lot more to say, too.

This is exactly what this tournament needs. Intensity. Passion.

Controversy. Since the June 6 kickoff in Edmonton, the tenor has been pretty placid. The games have been slow. Occasional upsets haven't resonated.

But now, with eight teams left and the trophy in sight, the real tournament has begun and attention is beginning to focus.

Sampson knows it. His questioning of officials wasn't wildeyed chatter - he deliberately set that fire. Even though his team has beaten Canada the last three times the two sides have played competitive matches (Canada didn't score a single goal in those games), Sampson's aim this week was to turn Canada's elbows-up style against the home team.

He wants everyone looking at Canada's edgy play, especially when it is defending its penalty area.

Five Canadians have yellow cards acquired during the tournament, all of them held by key players: Christine Sinclair, Kadeisha Buchanan, Josée Bélanger, Desiree Scott and Allysha Chapman. If any of them gets handed a second yellow card, they will be suspended for one game - and no one wants to miss a potential World Cup semifinal.

So if Sampson succeeds in putting the Canadians under more scrutiny, he may also force them to soften their physical play. And a subdued Canada becomes an essential advantage for England.

Sampson of course knows that Canada, against the U.S. back in 2012, was on the wrong side of a referee's bad call, a pain that still lingers.

Sampson's spiel was published Friday in The Guardian. Among other spicy views, Sampson said Canada has yet to score a worthy goal in the tournament "that hasn't come from an opponent's error or a refereeing error." The latter was a reference to Canada's 1-0 opening win against China, on a Sinclair penalty kick after a late call against China that Sampson called "very dubious."

Sampson, a 32-year-old Welshman, also took on Canada coach John Herdman, a 39-year-old Englishman from near Newcastle, for his "tight shirts and his RayBans." Sampson fired at Herdman's penchant for the spotlight: "We've got to remember it's the players who are the stars of the show, not the managers."

It was a remarkable verbal assault from the England coach, one from which Sampson, in an interview with The Globe and Mail Friday morning, did not back down. He redoubled the effort.

"We're stating what we feel is evidence, we're bringing what we feel are facts to people," said Sampson. "We've asked the question of what type of team we're facing, and I stand by that: We're facing an incredibly aggressive Canadian team. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. Football's about tackling, being physically dominating. And Canada's used that as a huge weapon."

The coach's weapon is to raise concern about fouls, especially in the penalty area - a foul there equals almost a certain goal, a penalty kick. Sampson twice invoked the question of fouls in the box, and cited Kadeisha Buchanan. He didn't have to mention that the 19-year-old is a breakout star, a hard-tackling defender, a key to Canada's success.

"There is the possibility that, in both boxes, officials will have to make some big decisions," Sampson said.

The referee in charge on Saturday, Claudia Umpierrez of Uruguay, has not overseen any of Canada's or England's matches at this World Cup. Umpierrez, 32, has been an international official for five years, and this is the biggest stage on which she has ever worked - the biggest, loudest and most important game, with 50,000-plus people attending.

As a backdrop to England-Canada, the Sampson-Herdman contest has a little history. In 2013, the England coaching job came open and it was presumed that Herdman was heading home, the obvious candidate after Canada defeated Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics. He declined, however, preferring Canada and the team he was building here. Sampson took the job.

Herdman, earlier this week, stirred things up a little too.

Asked about the emotional backdrop, having turned down a chance to coach England, the Lower Mainland-based coach was somewhat sharp: "You've just got to look out your window in B.C. and see the mountains and the lakes. Where would you rather be, eh? Where would you want your kids to grow up?" Herdman grew up in a tough, small town in northeast England, where the steelworks had been shuttered. Crime and other ills plagued the citizenry. It was the type of place ambitious young people might want to leave behind.

"Reality is," said Herdman, pivoting, "all we're thinking about is beating a team. There's no emotion around who we're playing."

Doesn't sound that way. Sounds like it's going to be a fever pitch.

Perfect for everyone watching.

Corralling emotion will be essential for both sides, but Canada especially. "They're in the back of people's minds," said Herdman of the team's yellow cards. "But we've just got to do what it takes to win the match. We won't say to players, 'Don't put the tackle in.' They've got to do it."

Sampson, meanwhile, readies England for a Canada at full force.

"There is no way that this Canadian team will be any softer than they've ever been, I can guarantee that," he said. "Canada will bring a huge amount of aggression to this game."


United States 1, China 0 The U.S. defeats China in the quarter-final and faces Germany in the semi on Tuesday.

Associated Graphic

England coach Mark Sampson has publicly criticized Canada's aggressive play so far in the tournament.


IMS has room for gains in upmarket move
Health-care and IT company's main challenge now is to integrate CRM software following acquisition of Cegedim
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B9

Tech . Telecom . Media

IMS Health Holdings Inc. may be one of the most successful investments in recent Canadian history.

It's not where IMS, a healthcare information and technology company, is actually listed, since it trades on the New York Stock Exchange, not the TSX. And it's headquartered in Danbury, Conn., rather than in any burg north of the border.

Instead, what makes IMS worthy of consideration is the investment the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board made in it just over five years ago. In 2010, as the markets were shaking off the cobwebs of the financial crisis, CPPIB joined in a group of private-equity buyers to purchase the public IMS.

Four years later, in April, 2014, the owners took it public again.

Since then, its shares are up roughly 75 per cent, making both CPPIB and IMS's early public investors big winners. The question now, with IMS hitting a 52week high this week, is whether there are more gains to come.

First, though, a quick rundown of CPPIB's good fortune: The ownership group offered in late 2009 to take IMS private for $5.2billion (U.S.), a 50-per-cent premium to where the stock had traded before news of a potential sale leaked out. The deal, which closed in early 2010, was a leveraged buyout, meaning the owners used debt in order to pay just $2.8-billion in cash for the company's stock.

Based on disclosures in IMS's U.S. securities filings, I figure CPPIB paid just over $725-million for 73 million shares in IMS. The company paid its private-equity owners nearly $7 in dividends per share while private, providing CPPIB with just under $510million. The pension plan sold shares worth $120-million in the IMS initial public offering of April, 2014, and another $420million in a stock offering last month. CPPIB's remaining stake is worth about $1.6-billion at Friday's close of $31.14. All told, that's about $2.7-billion from that $725-million investment five years ago. Nice.

Such gains are likely not available to you. But what might investors see from a purchase of IMS at today's levels? Analysts are positive on the shares, with 11 of 17 who cover the company having "buy" ratings, according to Bloomberg. But investors are just as positive - they've bid the stock up to levels just under the analysts' average target price.

It suggests that IMS's gains might be muted in the near term, despite the company's compelling story at the heart of two big trends: health care and data analysis. Analyst Matthew Gilmor of Robert W. Baird & Co. calls IMS, founded in 1954, "the original 'big data' health-care company." Its "Intelligence" division "is the industry gold standard for prescription drug sales and market information."

IMS says it operates in more than 100 countries and "deliver[s] information and insights" on about 90 per cent of the world's pharmaceuticals (as measured by sales revenue). The average length of its relationships with its top 25 clients is more than 25 years, the company says, and its retention rate for its top 1,000 clients from 2013 to 2014 was 99 per cent.

Almost 70 per cent of the company's revenue is recurring, because it comes from subscriptions rather than one-off data projects.

Those are profoundly positive numbers. But analyst Shlomo Rosenbaum of Stifel Nicolaus & Co. notes the company's "Information" business is "not very growthy" compared with its forays into software, consulting and adapting the data to customers' computer systems, offerings all found in IMS's "Technology" segment.

IMS "wants to go upmarket on technology," says Mr. Rosenbaum, who has a "buy" rating and $32 target price on the shares. "They've been the dominant player on the information side," he says, and now IMS wants to go to the larger pharmaceutical firms "and have [them] think of IMS as more of a technology-services provider than an information-services provider."

"That is not so easy to do, you're competing sometimes with Accenture and Cognizant [Technology Services Corp.]," Mr. Rosenbaum continues. "But they've made some acquisitions, invested in capabilities, and the CEO [Ari Bousbib] seems to be a very good operator."

He will need to be, as the company's primary challenge in the near term is integrating Cegedim, a company with a robust doctor's database and some appealing customer-relationship-management (CRM) software it acquired in April. Goldman Sachs analyst Andre Benjamin cites the uncertainties of the Cegedim deal as part of his "neutral" rating and $28 target price.

"IMS will be growing its work force by almost 50 per cent, adding about 5,000 employees in 70 countries, which require integrating systems/platforms and working through contracts for those that will not be staying with IMS," Mr. Benjamin says.

(Mr. Gilmor of Baird, quoted earlier, also is neutral on the shares with a $30 target price, as he's waiting to see results after the Cegedim closing.)

We can add one more caveat for the cautious investor: Debt.

The "leveraged" part of the leveraged buyout means there's still a fair amount of debt on IMS's balance sheet, including borrowings taken on to pay its private ownership a dividend in 2013.

Goldman's Mr. Benjamin, who covers information-services companies that specialize in a wide range of data, not just health care, says he estimates the company's net debt, or debt adjusted for cash on hand, will be four times its EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, at the end of the second quarter. That compares with a median figure of 0.6 times EBITDA for his coverage group and 3.8 times for Nielsen NV, the media and marketing information company.

Stifel's Mr. Rosenbaum says, however, "this is a business that can operate at very high debt levels." Barclays Bank analyst Manav Patnaik, whose rating is "overweight" with a $34 target price, says management said they "felt fine" when net debt was 6.1 times EBITDA in 2013. Mr. Patnaik believes management guidance on the cost savings from its Cegedim deal is conservative, which, if true, points to potential earnings surprises.

"We feel that the combination of the No. 1 data provider [IMS] with the No. 2 pharma CRM [Cegedim] could be fruitful," he says.

It may not bear as much fruit as past IMS shareholders have harvested - but there still seems to be some growth in IMS's future.

IMS Health Holdings (IMS) Close: $31.14 (U.S.), down 31¢

Associated Graphic



How festivals can save the opera company
Vancouver's shift away from a traditional season has shocked some, but there's plenty of evidence in support of the shorter format
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4

When Vancouver Opera made the stunning announcement that it would abandon its traditional fall-to-spring schedule and become an annual spring festival, there was much alarm in the city's cultural circles.

The head of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey, was probably the most vocal and high-profile dissenter (among his tweets: "It is Orwellian to mask the news as progress"), but he was hardly the only one to balk.

The doom-and-gloom comments I heard expressed (by nobody who wanted to put their name to them) sounded something like: Yet another local cultural organization going down the tubes! What kind of city can't sustain a year-round opera company? Government funders need to step up now! And how dare VO spin this as a good news story?

Indeed, VO general director James Wright did not look distraught as he announced what VO board chair Pascal Spothelfer called "the most important and probably also the most innovative change at Vancouver Opera since it was founded 55 years ago."

At that news conference, Wright was upbeat. He said the transformation was not simply about finances (it will save VO about $1-million on its annual $10-million budget) but could rejuvenate the company and inject new life into Vancouver's opera scene. Citing companies such as Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Portland Opera, Wright said festivals work for opera.

"They bring people together in ways that doing four separate operas with months between them can't do, can't energize. ... They attract a younger audience, a more diverse audience, they're more fun."

Wright also cited research from Opera America that "the most successful opera companies in the last decade have been those that are festivals."

Opera America's statistics suggest companies offering a festival over a traditional season are weathering the opera storm more successfully.

"Most of our opera companies have lost mainstage paid attendance in the last 10 years and Vancouver Opera is not excepted," explained Opera America president and CEO Marc Scorca in an interview from New York last week. "The companies that have lost least audience or none at all are the festivals."

Opera America studied a group of established U.S. opera companies and found that while they all experienced a decline in attendance from 2002-12, the summer festivals it looked at saw the smallest declines: Santa Fe Opera (5 per cent), Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (11 per cent) and New York State's Glimmerglass Festival (11 per cent).

And for the most recent season for which figures were available, all three of those festivals showed higher attendance over the previous year.

"One makes space in one's life for the short-term jolt of the opera festival in the community," Scorca says. "So I think it's partially that immersive experience ... that has given festivals a leg up in this competitive environment."

When Fort Worth Opera, the oldest opera company in Texas, made the decision to switch from a stagione season to a festival for its 2007 season, the company wasn't aware of any other comparable company that had made such a transition.

"It was either going to be the best or the worst decision and there was no way to turn back," says Darren K. Woods, Fort Worth Opera Festival's general director.

"We had to put all those eggs in the basket, sell the people that this was a great idea. There was the danger of losing funders. But we were so methodical in 24 months in just planning it. It worked on paper, it made logical sense, but until you pull the trigger and people come or don't come or participate, it was a big risk. I'm getting a knot in my stomach just remembering it."

The company anticipated and was met with resistance. Patrons were invited to wine-and-cheeseand-yell-at-Darren events. "They were incredibly attended by very passionate people who were so mad at me," he recalls. "I said, 'Okay, get a glass of wine. I'm going to tell you all the reasons why this happened, how it's going to work.' " Woods brought people around.

And in the end, he says it turned out to be the best decision the company ever made.