'We have the evidence ... Why aren't we providing evidence-based care?'
Mental illness affects one in five Canadians and costs us nearly $50-billion a year. So why aren't we treating it like any other health-care crisis? Erin Anderssen explores the case for publicly funded psychotherapy
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

It's 4:30 on a Friday afternoon at her Sherbrooke, Que., clinic and Marie Hayes takes a deep breath before opening the door to her final patient of the day, who has arrived without an appointment. The 32-year-old mother immediately lists her complaints: She feels dizzy. She has abdominal pain. "It is always physical and always catastrophic," Dr. Hayes will later tell me. In the exam room, she runs through the standard checkup, pressing on the patient's abdomen, recording her symptoms, just as she has done almost every week for months. "There's something wrong with me," the patient says, with a look of panic.

Dr. Hayes tries to reassure her, to no avail. In any case, the doctor has already reached her diagnosis: severe anxiety. Dr. Hayes prescribed medication during a previous visit, but the woman stopped taking it after two days because it made her nauseated and dizzy. She needs structured psychotherapy - a licensed therapist trained to bring her anxiety under control. But the wait list for public care is about a year, says Dr. Hayes, and the patient can't afford the cost of private sessions.

Meanwhile, the woman is paying a steep personal price: At home, she says, she spends most days in bed. She is managing to care for her two young children - for now - but her husband also suffers from anxiety, and the situation is far from ideal. Dr. Hayes does her best, spending a full hour trying to calm her down, and the woman is less agitated when she leaves.

But the doctor knows she will be back next week. And that their meeting will go much the same as it did today.

In its broad strokes, this is a scene that repeats itself in thousands of doctors' offices every day, right across the country. It is part and parcel of a system that denies patients the best scientific-based care, and comes with a massive price tag, to the economy, families and the health care system. Canadian physicians bill provincial governments $1-billion a year for "counselling and psychotherapy" - one third of which goes to family doctors - a service many of them acknowledge they are not best suited to provide, and that doesn't come close to covering patient need. Meanwhile, psychologists and social workers are largely left out of the publicly funded health-care system, their expertise available only to Canadians with the resources to pay for them.

Imagine if a Canadian diagnosed with cancer were told she could receive chemotherapy paid for by the health-care system, but would have to cough up the cash herself if she needed radiation. Or that she could have a few weeks of treatment, and then be sent home even if she needed more. That would never fly. If doctors, say, find a tumour in a patient's colon, the government kicks in and offers the mainstream treatment that is most effective.

But for many Canadians diagnosed with a mental illness, the prescription is very different. The treatment they receive, and how much of it they get, will largely be decided not on evidence-based best practices but on their employment benefits and income level: Those who can afford it pay for it privately. Those who cannot are stuck on long wait lists, or have to fall back on prescription medications. Or get no help at all.

But according to a large and growing body of research, psychotherapy is not simply a nice-to-have option; it should be a front-line treatment, particularly for the two most costly mental illnesses in Canada: anxiety and depression - which also constitute more than 80 per cent of all psychiatric diagnoses.

Mental illness affects one in five Canadians. It is a factor in 90 per cent of suicides. And its cost to the economy in health-care dollars spent, and in lost productivity, amounts to nearly $50-billion a year.

Yet, no province currently pays for therapy provided by a private psychologist or social worker.

Low-income Canadians - who are three times more likely to report poor to fair mental health, and yet are the least likely to be able to afford private psychotherapy - are suffering disproportionately. At the same time, an inaccurate and damaging message is being broadcast to all Canadians: that therapy isn't a valid treatment; that it's more Woody-Allen ruminating than science-based solution.

Another major side effect: Canada is becoming one of the most pill-popping nations in the world. A 2012 survey by Statistics Canada found that, while only 65 per cent of patients reported getting the therapy they sought, 91 per cent received the drugs they wanted. Family doctors, meanwhile, faced with managing the bulk of Canada's mental-health burden, are often going it alone, and working on the fly.

"We have the evidence," says Paul Kurdyak, the director of health-systems research at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

"Why aren't we providing evidence-based care?" ..

The case for psychotherapy

Research has found that psychotherapy is as effective as medication - and in some cases works better. It also often does a better job of preventing or forestalling relapse, reducing doctor's appointments and emergency-room visits, and making it more cost-effective in the long run.

Therapy works, researchers say, because it engages the mind of the patient, requires active participation in treatment, and specifically targets the social and stress-related factors that contribute to poor mental health.

There are a variety of therapies, but the evidence is strongest for cognitive behavioural therapy - an approach that focuses on changing negative thinking - in large part because CBT, which is timelimited and very structured, lends itself to clinical trials. (Similar support exists for interpersonal therapy, and it is emerging for mindfulness, with researchers trying to find out what works best for which disorders.) Research into the efficacy of therapy is increasing, but there is less of it overall than for drugs - as therapy doesn't have the advantage of well-heeled Big Pharma benefactors. In 2013, a team of European researchers collated the results of 67 studies comparing drugs to therapy; after adjusting for dropouts, there was no significant difference between the most often-used drugs - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - and psychotherapy.

"The issue is not one against the other," says Montreal psychiatrist Alain Lesage, director of research at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. "I am a physician; whatever works, I am good. We know that when patients prefer one to another, they do better if they have choice."

Several studies have backed up that notion. Many patients are reluctant to take medication for fear of side effects and the possibility of difficult withdrawal; research shows that more than half of patients receiving medication stop taking it after six months.

A small collection of recent studies has found that therapy can cause changes in the brain similar to those brought about by medication. In people with depression, for instance, the amygdala (located deep within the brain, it processes basic memories and controls our instinctive fight-or-flight reaction) works in overdrive, while the prefrontal cortex (which regulates rational thought) is sluggish.

Research shows that antidepressants calm the amygdala; therapy does the same, though to a lesser extent.

But psychotherapy also appears to tune up the prefrontal cortex more than does medication. This is why, researchers believe, therapy works especially well in preventing relapse - an important benefit, since extending the time between acute episodes of illnesses prevents them from becoming chronic and more debilitating. The theory, then, is that psychotherapy does a better job of helping patients consciously cope with their unconscious responses to stress.

According to treatment guidelines by leading international professional and scientific organizations - including Canada's own expert panel, the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments - psychotherapy should be considered as a first option in treatment, alone or in combination with medication. And it is "highly recommended" in maintaining recovery in the long term. Britain's independent, research-guided scientific body, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, has concluded that therapy should be tried before drugs in mild to moderate cases of depression and anxiety - a finding that led to the creation of a $760million public system, which now handles therapy referrals for nearly one million people a year.

In 2012, Canada's Mental Health Commission estimated that only about one in three adults and one in four children are receiving support and treatment when they need it. Ironically, anti-stigma campaigns designed to help people understand mental illness may only make those statistics worse. In Toronto, for instance, putting up posters in subway stations in 2010 had the unexpected effect of spiking the volume of walk-ins at nearby emergency rooms by as much as 45 per cent in 12 months. Dr. Kurdyak treated many of them at CAMH. The system, he says, "has been conveniently ignoring this unmet need. It functions as if two-thirds of the people suffering won't get help." What would happen if the healthcare system outright "ignored" two-third of tumour diagnoses?

Essentially, argues Dr. Lesage, adding therapy into the health-care system is like putting a new, highly effective drug on the table for doctors. "Think about it," he says. "We have a new antidepressant. It works as well as many others, and it may even have some advantages - it works better for remission - with fewer side effects. The patients may prefer it. And [in the long run] it doesn't cost more than what we have. How can it not be covered?" ..

A heavy price

This isn't just a medical issue; it's an economic one. Mental illness accounts for roughly 50 per cent of family doctors' time, and more hospital-bed days than cancer. Nearly four million Canadians have a mood disorder: more than all cases of diabetes (2.2 million) and heart disease (1.4 million) combined.

Mental illness - and depression, in particular - is the leading cause of disability, accounting for 30 per cent of workplace-insurance claims, and 70 per cent of total compensation costs. In 2012, an Ontario study calculated that the burden of mental illness and addiction was 1.5 times that of all cancers, and more than seven times the cost of all infectious diseases.

Mental illness is so debilitating because, unlike physical ailments, it often takes root in adolescence and peaks among Canadians in their 20s and 30s, just as they are heading into higher education, or building careers and families. Untreated, symptoms reverberate through all aspects of life, routinely trapping people in poverty and homelessness. More than one-third of Ontario residents receiving social assistance have a mental illness. The cost to society is clearly immense.

Yet, when family doctors were asked why they didn't refer more patients to therapy in a 2008 Canadian survey, the main reason they gave was cost. For many Canadians, private therapy is a luxury, especially if families are already wrestling with the economic fallout from mental illness. Costs vary across provinces, but psychologists in private practice may charge more than $200 an hour in major centres.

And it's not just the uninsured who are affected.

Although about 60 per cent of Canadians have some form of private insurance, the amount available for therapy may cover only a handful of sessions. Those with the best benefits are more likely to be higherincome workers with stable employment. Federal public servants, notably, have one of the best plans in the country - their benefits were doubled in 2014 to $2,000 annually for psychotherapy.

Many of those who can pay for therapy are doing so: A 2013 consultant's study commissioned by the Canadian Psychological Association found that $950-million is spent annually on private-practice psychologists by Canadians, insurance companies and workers compensation boards. The CPA estimates that 30 per cent of private patients pay out-ofpocket themselves.

When the afflicted don't seek help, the cost isn't restricted to their own pocketbook. People with mental-health problems are significantly more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and to become physically sick, further increasing health-care costs. A 2014 study by Oxford University researchers found that having a mental illness reduced life expectancy by 10 to 20 years, roughly the same as did smoking and obesity. A 2008 Statistics Canada study linked depression to new-onset heart disease in the general population. A 2014 U.S. study found that women under the age of 55 are twice as likely to suffer or die from a heart attack, or require heart surgery, if they have moderate to severe depression. The result: clogged-up doctors' offices, ERs, and operating rooms. And an inexorable burden for the patients' families forced to fill the gaps in caregiving - or carry on when they lose a loved one.

Canada's investment does not match that burden. Only about 7 per cent of health-care spending goes to mental health. Even recent increases pale when compared to other countries: According to a study by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Canada increased per-capita funding by $5.22 in 2011. The British government, meanwhile, kicked in an extra 12 times that amount per citizen, and Australia added nearly 20 times as much as we did.

Falling off a cliff, again and again

In Winnipeg, Dr. Stanley Szajkowski watched for months as his patient, a woman in her 80s, slowly declined. Her husband had died and she was spiralling into a severe depression. At every appointment, she looked thinner, more dishevelled. She wasn't sleeping, she admitted, often through tears. Sometimes she thought of suicide. She lived alone, with no family nearby, and no resources of her own to pay for therapy.

"You do what you can," says Dr. Szajkowksi. "You provide some support and encouragement." He did his best, but he always had other patients waiting.

These are the patients that family doctors juggle, the ones who eat up appointment time, and never seem to get better, the ones caught on waiting lists.

Sometimes, they have already been bounced in and out of the system, received little help, and have become wary of trying again. A 40-something mother recovering from breast cancer, suffering from chronic depression post-treatment, debilitated by fear her cancer will return. A university student, struggling with anxiety, who hasn't been to class for three weeks and may soon be kicked out of school.

A teenager with bulimia removed from an eatingdisorder program because she couldn't follow the rules. They are the ones dangling on waiting lists in the public system for what often amounts to a handful of talk-therapy sessions, who don't have the money to pay for private therapy, or have too little coverage to get the full course of appointments they need.

Patients refer to it as falling repeatedly off a cliff. And they can only manage the climb back up so many times.

Family doctors interviewed for this story admitted that they are often "handholding" patients with nowhere else to go. "I am making them feel cared for, I am providing a supportive ear that they may not get anywhere else," says Dr. Batya Grundland, a physician who has been in family practice at Toronto's Women's College Hospital for almost a decade. "But do I think I am moving them forward with regard to their illness, and helping them cope better? I am going to say rarely." More senior doctors have told her that once in a while "a light bulb goes off" for the patients, but often only after many years. That's not an efficient use of health dollars, she points out - not when there are trained therapists who could do the job better. However, she says, "in some cases, I may be the only person they have."

Family doctors aren't the only ones struggling to find therapy for their patients. "I do a hundred consultations a year," says clinical psychiatrist Joel Paris, a professor at McGill University and research associate at the Montreal Jewish General, "and one of the most common situations is that the patient has tried a few anti-depressants, they have not responded very well, and from their story it is obvious they would benefit from psychotherapy. But where do they go? We have community clinics here in Montreal with six-to-12-month waiting lists even for brief therapy."

A fractured, inefficient system

"You fall into the role that is handed to you," says Antoine Gagnon, a family doctor in Osgoode, on the outskirts of Ottawa. He tries to set aside 20-minute appointments before lunch or at the end of the day to provide "active listening" to his patients with anxiety and depression. Many of them are farmers or self-employed, without any private coverage for therapy.

"Five of those minutes are spent talking about the weather," he says, "and then maybe you get into the meat of the problem, but the reality is we don't have the appropriate amount of time to give to therapy, even to listen, really." Often, he watches his patients' symptoms worsen over several months, until they meet the threshold of a clinical diagnosis. "The whole system could save on productivity and money if people were actually able to get the treatment they needed."

One result can be overloaded family doctors minimizing mental-health problems. "If you have nothing to offer someone," asks Dr. Anderson, "how much are you going to dig around to find out what is going on?" Some doctors also admit that the lack of resources can lead to physicians cherry-picking patients who don't have mental illness.

And yet family physicians alone bill about $361million a year for counselling or psychotherapy in Canada - 5.6 million visits of roughly 30 minutes each. This is a broad category, and not always specifically related to mental health (some of it includes drug counselling, and a certain amount of coaching is a necessary part of the patient-doctor relationship). When it is psychotherapy, however, doctors admit it's often more supportive listening than actual therapy.

Except for a small fraction of GPs who specialize in psychotherapy, few family doctors have the training - or the time - to provide structured therapy. Saadia Hameed, a GP in a family-health team in London, Ont., has been researching access to psychotherapy for an advanced degree. Many of the doctors she has interviewed had trouble even producing a clear definition of therapy. One told her, "If a patient cries, than it's psychotherapy." Another described it as "listening to their woes."

A 2007 survey of 163 family doctors in Ontario found that almost four out of five had not received training in cognitive behavioural therapy, and knew little about it. "Do family doctors really need to do that much psychotherapy," Dr. Hameed asks, "when there are other people trained - and better trained - to do it?"

What further frustrates treatment for physicians and patients is lack of access to specialists within the system. Across the country, family doctors describe the difficulty of reaching a psychiatrist to consult on a diagnosis or followup with their patients. In a telling 2011 study, published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, researchers conducted a real-world experiment to see how easily a GP could locate a psychiatrist willing to see a patient with depression. Researchers called 297 psychiatrists in Vancouver, and reached 230. Of the 70 who said they would consider taking referrals, 64 required extensive written documentation, and could not give a wait-time estimate. Only six were willing to take the patient "immediately," but even then, their wait times ranged from four to 55 days.

Psychiatrists are in increasingly short supply in Canada, and there's strong evidence that we're not making the best use of these highly trained specialists. They can - and often do - provide fee-for-service psychotherapy in a private setting, which limits their ability to meet the huge demand to consult with family doctors and treat the most severe cases.

A recent Ontario study by a team at CAMH found that while waiting lists exist in both urban and rural centres, the practices of psychiatrists in those locations tend to look very different. Among full-time psychiatrists in Toronto, 10 per cent saw fewer than 40 patients, and 40 per cent saw fewer than 100 - on average, their practices were half the size of psychiatrists in smaller centres. The patients for those urban psychiatrists with the smallest practices were also more likely to fall in the highest income bracket, and less likely to have been previously hospitalized for a mental illness than those in the smaller centres.

And those therapy sessions are being billed with no monitoring from a health-care system already scrimping on dollars, yet spending a lot on this care: On average, psychiatrists earn $216,000 a year. There is nothing to stop psychiatrists from seeing the same patients for years, and no system to ensure the patients with the greatest need get priority. In Australia, Britain and the United States, by contrast, billing for psychiatrists has been adjusted to encourage them to reduce psychotherapy sessions and serve more as consultants, particularly for the most severe cases, as other specialists do.

As the Canadian system exists now, says Benoit Mulsant, the physician-in-chief at CAMH and also a psychiatrist, the doctors in his specialty "can do whatever they please. If I wanted, I could have a roster of actor patients who tell me entertaining stories, and I would be paid the same as someone who is treating homeless people. ... By treating the rich and famous, there is zero risk of being punched in the face by a patient."

Left out in all this, by and large, are other professionals who can provide therapy. It doesn't help that the rules are often murky around who can call themselves psychotherapists. While psychologists and social workers are licensed under their professional associations, in some provinces a person can call himself a marriage counsellor or music therapist with no one demanding they be certified. In 2007, Ontario passed a law to regulate psychotherapists, requiring them to register with a provincial college that would set standards and handle complaints. Currently, however, the law is in limbo, although the government has said it will finally bring it into force by December.

The brain keeps many secrets

Psychotherapy was already getting a bad rap - Freud's fixation with penis envy didn't help - even before the 1980s, when today's go-to medications for depression and anxiety first hit the market. If the alternative was a psych ward run by Nurse Ratched, a quick fix taken in the privacy of one's bathroom was understandably compelling. The new drugs, Prozac among them, quickly became the most lucrative prescriptions to pass across the pharmacist's counter. They worked for many people, especially those with severe mental illness, and were better tolerated than their predecessors, most famously Valium, although patients complained of weight gain, drowsiness and lower libido. And they are considered less than ideal for teenagers and pregnant women. Still, Canadians lined up for such drugs. In a 2013 OECD study, Canada ranked third among 23 countries in the use of anti-depressant prescriptions. Here, anti-depressants are a $1.4-billion market, with doctors handing out 40 million prescriptions a year. Almost one in 10 Canadians are on antidepressants; two-thirds of them are women.

Given the billions spent to sell pills, the pharmaceutical industry has been heavily invested in advancing the notion of depression as a chemical imbalance - and thus, a problem to be solved by chemicals. Tinker under the hood, and off you go, good as new. Well-meaning anti-stigma campaigns have also latched onto the biological theory; if depression is like diabetes, it can't be a shameful weakness of character.

Science, however, has yet to find depression's equivalent of insulin. Despite being scanned, poked and stimulated over and over and over again, the brain keeps its secrets. The "chemical imbalance" theory is now viewed as simplistic at best. It may not do much for patients, either: A 2014 study published in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy suggested that, rather than reassuring them, focusing on the biological explanation for depression actually made patients feel more pessimistic and lacking in control.

SSRIs work by increasing the amount of serotonin, a chemical that helps deliver messages within the brain and is known to influence mood. But researchers aren't sure why the drugs help some patients and fail with others. "Basically, it's like we have a bucket of water and we pour it over the patient's head," says Dr. Georg Northoff, the University of Ottawa's Michael Smith chair of Neurosciences and Mental Health. "But you want a drug that injects the water in a very specific brain regions or brain system, which we don't have."

Critics of therapy have argued that it's basically "good listening" - comparable to having a sympathetic friend across the kitchen table - and that in the real world of mercurial patients and practitioners of varying abilities, a pill just works better. That's true in many cases, especially when the symptoms are severe and the patients is suicidal: a fast-acting medication is safer, and may even be necessary before starting talk therapy. The staunchest advocates of therapy do not suggest it should be the first course of treatment for psychosis, or debilitating chronic depression, or mania - although, in those cases, there is evidence that psychotherapy and medication work well in tandem. (A 2011 meta-analysis found that patients with severe depression who received a combination approach had higher recovery rates and were less likely to drop out of treatment.) But drugs also don't work as well as the manufacturers would like us to think. Roughly one-third of patients given a drug will see no benefit (although they often respond to a second or third medication). In randomly controlled trials, drugs often perform only marginally better than sugar pills.

Yet it's talk therapy that the public often views most skeptically. "Until you go to a therapist, or a member of your family has a serious psychological problem, people are unsympathetic [about therapy]," says Dr. Paris, the Montreal psychiatrist. "They are very skeptical, and they don't believe the research. It's amazing, because pharmaceutical trials will get approval for a drug on the basis of two clinical trials that they paid for. And we have 100 clinical trials and no one believes us."

Dr. Ajantha Jayabarathan, an assistant professor at Dalhousie University's medical school, spent her early years as a family doctor in Spryfield, N.S., trying to manage an overload of mental-health cases. Most of her patients had little insurance; there was one reduced-cost counselling service in town, but the waiting lists were long. In 2000, her group practice became a test site for a shared-care project, which gave the doctors access to a mental-health team, including weekly in-person consultations with a psychiatrist. "It was transformative," she says. "We looked after everything in-house."

Over time, Dr. Jayabarathan says, she learned how to properly assess mental illness in patients, and how to use medication more effectively. "I just made it my business to teach myself what to do." It's the kind of workaround GPs are increasingly experimenting with, waiting for the system to catch up.

Who would pay - and how?

The case for expanding publicly funded access to therapy is gaining traction in Canada. In 2012, the health commissioner of Quebec recommended therapy be covered by the province; it is now being studied by Quebec's science-based health body (INESSS), which is expected to report back next year. A new Quebec-based organization of doctors, researchers and mental-health advocates called the Coalition for Access to Psychotherapy (CAP) is lobbying the government.

In Manitoba, the Liberal Party - albeit well behind in the polls - has made the public funding of psychologists one of its campaign platforms for the province's spring 2016 election. In Saskatchewan, the government commissioned, and has since endorsed, a mental-health action plan that includes providing online therapy - though politicians have given themselves 10 years to accomplish it. Michael Kirby, the former head of the Canadian Mental Health Commission, has been advocating for eight annual sessions of therapy to be covered for children and youth in need.

There are significant hurdles: Which practitioners would provide therapy, and how would they be paid? What therapies would be covered, and for how long? Complicating every aspect of major mentalhealth change in Canada is the question of who should shoulder the cost: the provinces or Ottawa. In a written statement in response to questions from The Globe and Mail, federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose lobbed the issue back at her provincial counterparts, pointing out that the Canada Health Act does not "preclude provinces and territories from extending public coverage to other services or providers such as psychologists."

But these issues aren't insurmountable, as other countries have demonstrated. Britain, for instance, has trained thousands of university graduates to become therapists in its new public program, following research showing that, as long they have the proper skills, people don't need PhDs to be effective therapists. Australia, which has created a pay-for-service system, also makes wide use of online support to cost-effectively reach remote communities.

So how would Canada pay for access to such therapy? It wouldn't be cheap, in the short term. The savings would come from what Canadians would not have to spend in the long term: in additional medical and drug costs, emergency-room visits and hospital stays, and in unnecessary disability payments, to say nothing of better long-term health outcomes for patients given good care earlier. Some of the figures being tossed around sound staggering. Rolling out a version of Britain's centre-based program across Canada would cost $950-million. Michael Kirby's plan would amount to $1,000 annually per patient. A 2013 report commissioned by the Canadian Psychological Association calculated that, based on predicted need, and assuming no coverage from private health-care plans, providing an average of six sessions of therapy a year would cost an estimated $2.8-billion annually.

But any of those figures would still be a fraction of the roughly $210-billion that Canada spends annually on health care.

Figuring out how to make the system most costeffective is, according to sources, currently delaying the INESSS report to the Quebec government. "You need to facilitate the government," says Helen- Maria Vasiliadis, a professor of community health at the University of Sherbrooke. "You can't be going to policymakers and showing them billions and billions of dollars. People start having heart attacks. With evidence in hand, we have to present possible solutions."

An insurance-based plan is the proposal that has emerged from the Quebec-based CAP group, which sent its proposal to Quebec's health minister last month. In its design, the system would work much like Quebec's public drug plan - Quebeckers not covered through work plans would contribute to a provincial insurance program for therapy. That would be similar to the system that Germany has used for decades.

One step forward, one step back

Last year, the Sherbrooke clinic where Marie Hayes works received provincial funding for a part-time psychologist and a full-time social worker. With a roster of 25,000 patients, the clinic team laid out clear guidelines for the psychologist, who would consult on cases and screen patients, and be limited to a mere four sessions of actual counselling with any one patient. "We wanted to be careful she didn't become a waiting list - like everything in the system," says Dr. Hayes. The social worker helps guide patients into services such as housing and addiction counselling. They have also offered group sessions for depression management at the clinic.

As stretched as those new professionals are in such a large practice, Dr. Hayes says the addition of that mental-health team is improving the care she can provide patients. Recently, for instance, the 32- year-old mother with anxiety attended sessions with the psychologist. "She is making progress," says Dr. Hayes, "slowly."

At Women's College Hospital in Toronto, Dr. Grundland is not so lucky. Asked to describe a difficult case, the family-practice physician mentions a patient suffering from depression after a lifechanging accident. Every month, doctor and patient would repeat the same conversation they'd already had more than a dozen times - and make little real headway. Her patient, says Dr. Grundland, needs a trained therapist: someone she can see regularly, to help her move past her frustration, counsel her about addiction, and ease the burden on her family.

But there's no extra money in the patient's budget for a psychologist. "I do my best," Dr. Grundland says, "but it's not my area of expertise." Meanwhile, the patient isn't getting better, and in the time that it takes to make it through one appointment with her, Dr. Grundland could see three other people with problems she was actually trained to treat. "But," says Dr. Grundland, "she has nowhere else to go."

Erin Anderssen is a feature writer at The Globe and Mail.

OPEN MINDS How to build a better mental health care system

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has purchased advertisements to accompany this series. While CAMH professionals are quoted in this story, the organization had no involvement in the creation or production of this, or any other story in the series.

$20.7-billion The cost, according to a 2012 Conference Board of Canada report, of lost productivity each year due to mental illness. What else does $20-billion represent?

$20B: Canadian spending on national defence, 2012-13 $20B: Market valuation of Airbnb, 2015 $21B: Kitchener-CambridgeWaterloo region's GDP, 2009 $21B: Amount food manufacturing contributed to the economy, 2012

Associated Graphic

General practitioners bill provincial governments for hundreds of millions of dollars of psychotherapy every year. They often have neither the expertise nor the time to provide it, but their patients have nobody else to turn to.


Psychologist Ève Larochelle (centre) at the Clinique de Santé Jacques-Cartier; the clinic has 25,000 patients on its roster.


Left: Social worker Céline Beaudoin and Dr. Marie Hayes at the Clinique de Santé Jacques-Cartier in Sherbrooke, Que. Above: Ève Larochelle, who has worked as a psychologist at the clinic since July.



General practitioner Dr. Saadia Hameed works in a family-health team in London, Ont., that includes access to a social worker, a mental-health nurse and the weekly support of a psychiatrist. It has reduced pressure on the clinic's other staff, and made it easier to consult on complicated cases.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015 Tuesday, May 26, 2015 CorrectionA Saturday Focus feature on mental health incorrectly suggested the family practice clinic at Women's College Hospital in Toronto doesn't include mental health-care professionals; in fact, it does. It also incorrectly described an Ontario law to create a regulatory college for psychotherapists as being in limbo; it was brought into effect in April.

Enforcer, adviser and conduit to the Conservative grassroots, Jenni Byrne is Stephen Harper's most powerful political operative, but few Canadians even know her name. Adam Radwanski pulls back the curtain on the woman driving the Prime Minister's re-election campaign
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

As Tim Hudak prepared for his second and final shot at becoming Ontario's premier, the word went out through Conservative circles in the nation's capital: Do not help this man.

Mr. Hudak, then the leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives, was a kindred spirit set to run on a right-wing agenda.

He had a decent shot at knocking off a Liberal incumbent with whom Stephen Harper had a frosty relationship. And after more than a decade in the political wilderness, his Tories badly needed organizational support from federal cousins who had recently been in the business of winning.

Before Mr. Hudak's first election leading his party, in 2011, such support was forthcoming.

The federal Conservatives lent experienced campaign managers for target ridings, shared their volunteer lists, and helped raise money. They even let the provincial Tories use a campaign bus.

But on the final day of that election campaign, before the votes were even counted, Mr. Hudak made a bad mistake that went a long way toward souring his relationship with the federal party: He fired his chief of staff, Lynette Corbett.

Mixed views about whether Ms. Corbett deserved to be let go, after a behind-the-scenes power struggle among Mr. Hudak's senior officials, are beside the point.

What matters is that she's among the very best friends of Jenni Byrne.

There are only a few backroom operators in this country whose bad side needs to be avoided at all costs. And Ms. Byrne - the Prime Minister's campaign manager, his enforcer, his primary connection to his party's grassroots, and one of his longest-serving loyalists - is most emphatically one of them.

"Pretty much from the day Lynette was fired, we couldn't get a phone call returned," recalls a senior member of Mr. Hudak's campaign team. "It pretty quickly became clear this wasn't an issue to be managed. It was a fact to be accepted."

Never mind central support; all but the bravest federal Conservatives were reluctant even to be seen at a Hudak fundraiser, for fear of what it would do to their careers.

It is unclear whether Mr. Harper was fully aware that his party was choking off resources to Mr. Hudak; if he was, he didn't much care. Such is the leeway afforded to the woman who claimed credit for steering the Prime Minister to majority government, and whom he will be counting on to help him hold on to it in this year's federal campaign.

Ms. Byrne's story is a remarkable one, in part because her ascent has been so improbable.

In political backrooms that continue to be dominated by middle-aged men with advanced degrees, a young woman from small-town, blue-collar Eastern Ontario, who left nursing school without graduating, has become the ultimate alpha.

It is all the more so because, rarely seen in public, and rebuffing any and all media requests, she has become the closest thing official Ottawa has to an urban legend.

Trying to puncture the air of mystery she has cultivated - to figure out how she attained power, how much of it she really has, and how she wields it - can be confounding.

She did not make herself available for this story, although she did allow several people close to her to talk, and in some cases to respond to criticisms of her. Of the roughly 30 sources who were interviewed - among them, friends and rivals, current and former colleagues, cabinet ministers and senior campaign officials - most were willing to speak only on a not-for-attribution basis, reflecting the culture she has helped to create. And depending on their personal experience with her, and whether they are on her good side or bad, they often contradicted each other about everything from her temperament to her skill set to her relationship with the Prime Minister.

Still, there are a few accepted truths. She is willing to do what Mr. Harper asks of her. She is especially good at "issues management," which means making messes go away. She is valued for her ability to make quick decisions and stick with them, rare for a political operative. She is rarer still for not having blown herself up with one of those. She does not mind playing the bad cop, and might even enjoy it.

She is not terribly interested in policy, but presents herself as deeply in touch with the Conservative base, and speaks on its behalf in the corridors of power.

From these, and even from the contradictions, emerges a picture of her impact on the governing Conservatives - their daily agenda and messaging, their rigid commitment to discipline, their internal divisions, their strengths and weaknesses heading into the coming campaign, and their uncertain future beyond that.

Jim Armour, a former communications director for Mr. Harper, suggested that the challenge of this story is "separating myth from reality, and separating Jenni Byrne from Stephen Harper."

But when it comes to Mr. Harper, and Ms. Byrne, and the party she has helped him build, it all gets a bit inseparable.

Staying true to her roots

There is a photo that Ms. Byrne has been known to pull out during high-level meetings and pass around. It shows a little girl proudly standing alongside her father, over a dead deer he has just shot. Her point is that these are the sorts of people who tend not to be seen or heard within the Ottawa bubble, but who need to be top-of-mind for Conservatives. And that, as the girl in the photo, she speaks for them.

"If you want to understand anything about her, you have to understand where she comes from," says Employment and Social Development Minister Pierre Poilievre, whom she dated from her early days in Ottawa until 2011.

It has been about two decades since Ms. Byrne, now 38, left Fenelon Falls, where she grew up.

But the Eastern Ontario town of about 1,800 people - the kind of conservative bedrock where guns are good, soldiers are revered, government is viewed with suspicion, and criminals are seen as in need of severe punishment - still very much defines her.

So, too, does her upbringing.

Ms. Byrne was very close to her mother, a teacher named Julie who died in 2010 at just 58. But her father, Jerry, was her entry point into politics. A selfemployed carpenter who grew up with 10 siblings, he joined the Reform Party in the mid-1990s in protest against the governing Liberals' new gun registry, and his teenaged daughter quickly followed suit.

The perspective with which she came to Ottawa after leaving her hometown will be instantly familiar to those who have witnessed the current government's rigid commitment to certain articles of faith for its base - in some measure because of Ms. Byrne's influence.

She is not, by any stretch, a wonk. Her specialty is operations - making things run properly, and holding people to account - and she has little interest in long policy debates. But during stints in the Prime Minister's Office, as issues-management director and a deputy chief of staff, she has helped to shape daily messaging.

In recent years, even when working for the Conservative Party rather than the government, she has usually gone to the morning meeting between Mr. Harper and his senior staff. The PM sometimes turns to her for a gut check, and even when he doesn't, she often inserts herself into the debate.

"Part of her thing is a constant sobriety check," says Yaroslav Baran, a former communications officer for Mr. Harper, who worked with Ms. Byrne. "What are they talking about at the Tim Hortons in Fenelon Falls?" Asked what issues she may have influenced, several government insiders cited the Omar Khadr file. When the complexities of the former prisoner's legal case led to any equivocating about whether the government should be trying to keep him out of the country or behind bars, she would do her best to shut it down. To the base, he was a terrorist who merited not a shred of sympathy.

As with other causes on which she has been particularly vocal, among them eliminating the gun registry and keeping marijuana possession criminalized, she may have been preaching to the choir.

But she manages, at least, to reinforce Mr. Harper's instincts.

She has also tried to fight the tendency - a risk for any party in power - to be steered toward the political centre or made technocratic by the machinery of government.

Former foreign affairs minister John Baird, who was not shy about offering what he calls a "robust challenge" to his department's officials, notes that some ministers are less inclined to push back against bureaucrats telling them how things have to be done. When Ms. Byrne felt that compromised the government's priorities or was at odds with public expectations, says Mr. Baird, she would intervene.

At times, she has even argued against putting much public focus on issues Mr. Harper himself is actively pursuing. "She hated trade agreements," recalls a former staffer in the Prime Minister's Office. "Not that she didn't think the government should be doing them. Just, 'Don't overestimate it, nobody outside Ottawa gives a shit.' " Beyond citing her roots, Ms. Byrne's credibility on these fronts rests with her being the rare political operative at her level willing to get her hands dirty on the ground. "What I love about her most is she'll be there for the high-level meetings, but she'll also go door-to-door with me," says Veteran Affairs Minister Erin O'Toole, with whom she is friends.

Not all Conservatives are quite as sold. To some, her claim to speak for those outside Ottawa looks like a shtick. They roll their eyes at what they see as her efforts to prove she walks the talk, such as her going on a seal hunt in Newfoundland. (Her Facebook profile includes a rather graphic photo from that trip.)

They suggest she sometimes conflates her pet issues with Mr. Harper's best interests. And they complain that her influence sometimes has less to do with her expertise than with her loudness.

"Her approach to argument," another former PMO staffer said, "is blitzkrieg."

But then, her aggressiveness is a big part of what got her a seat at the table in the first place - because it is absolutely essential to the primary role she plays for Mr. Harper, which has less to do with life back in Fenelon Falls than with political realities she discovered shortly after leaving it.

A party defined by discipline...

"If you surveyed ministers' offices about what it's like when Jenni Byrne calls you," says one of the former PMO staffers, "it's probably 'butt-clenching time.' " Most political parties have enforcers. Few have approached that role as ferociously as has Ms. Byrne.

In part, it is a matter of personality. Even as a child, she was strong-willed. She has always had a temper; those who encountered her in politics when she was barely in her 20s say she was rarely afraid of whom she might offend.

Some Conservatives wonder aloud if negative reactions to her reflect a sexist double standard. Being yelled at or threatened or disciplined by senior staff, even getting caught in nasty turf battles with them, has long been one of the pleasures of working in politics; it just usually hasn't been a young woman dishing it out.

"When it's a man in that role, those qualities tend to be seen as 'decisive,' 'no-nonsense,' 'suffering no fools,' " says Mr. Baran, who acknowledges that he and Ms. Byrne didn't always see eye to eye when working together. "When it's a woman, those qualities somehow take on a more nasty and personal tone."

Still, she has helped to instill a culture of fear throughout her party that can be traced to the insights she gleaned about the conservative movement in her early years in politics, and an almost pathological determination she shares with the Prime Minister to avoid returning to the bad old days.

After more than nine years in office, the Conservatives' staffing ranks are filled largely with people who have never known anything other than being in government. Then there is Ms. Byrne, who started at the bottom of the pecking order in a party that no longer exists.

In 1997, when she was studying nursing at Georgian College in Barrie, Ont., she volunteered for the Reform Party's federal campaign. Her reward was to ride around Ontario on a bus with a bunch of other right-wing kids, having abuse hurled at them: "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Preston Manning go away!"

Kory Teneycke, the long-time backroom operative who has rejoined the Conservative campaign team after serving as a Sun News executive, first got to know Ms. Byrne back then; he, too, was riding that bus, as was Ray Novak, who is now the PM's chief of staff.

"The sunnier side of her personality was probably a little more dominant," Mr. Teneycke recalls.

"But the toughness was already there."

That toughness would be needed in the years that followed, when Ms. Byrne would be involved in all the tortuous efforts to fashion a right-of-centre alternative palatable to voters.

Working her way up from a Reform internship in Ottawa and a stint as the party's deputy youth director, she was in the party's Calgary headquarters as it transitioned to the Canadian Alliance and endured the tumult of the Stockwell Day years and then his ouster in favour of Mr. Harper.

She would earn Mr. Harper's trust by backing him early in the contest to lead the newly merged Conservative Party, when former Ontario Premier Mike Harris (who ultimately decided not to run) was the presumptive front runner, and then fighting for the future PM with her elbows out amid fears that Belinda Stronach's deep pockets would give her the edge.

If there was a constant during all this chaos, it was that discipline - or a lack thereof - kept costing the parties for which Ms.

Byrne was toiling, as the Liberals kept besting them. Although the newly merged party had started to get its act together by the 2004 campaign, during which she worked on its Ontario desk, a series of screw-ups showed it still wasn't quite ready for prime time.

Bozo eruptions by candidates, Mr. Harper himself veering off script, some shaky resource planning, and general unpreparedness for the scrutiny that came with being close to power - all helped snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

The reaction to that defeat was both swift and lasting. The Conservatives would prize discipline above almost all else; their political culture would become almost militaristic in nature. And nobody other than Mr. Harper himself would be more responsible for it than Ms. Byrne.

Starting with the preparations for the 2006 election, by which point she was the Conservatives' deputy national campaign manager, her responsibilities included making sure candidates wouldn't cause embarrassment. That meant vetting them, training them, heading off any controversies they might get themselves into, and putting the fear of God into them about making mistakes in the first place.

It was a task to which Ms. Byrne, whom Mr. Teneycke describes as "able to out-interrogate a Mossad agent," would prove ideally suited. And she would continue to carry it out once those candidates were elected.

When working in government, she expects caucus members and staffers to be rigorously prepared, and can be merciless when they're not. Although she is not known to veer into personal insults, the tone, as one former colleague put it, is "Prove to me you're not incompetent." It is much the same in her dealings with party staff in Ottawa, and with organizers across the country.

Ms. Byrne yells a lot, but that's only a part of what makes her intimidating. Because she has the PM's ear, and strong influence over personnel decisions, it is well known that getting on her bad side can be a career killer.

Although she tends to go easier on them than she does on staffers and backbenchers, she has helped to create an atmosphere in which even relatively senior ministers appear terrified of venturing from their tightly scripted talking points. Beyond creating a recognition of the need for professionalization, what happened in 2004 and the campaigns before left some Conservatives with discomfort verging on paranoia toward both mainstream media and an Ottawa establishment they believe is waiting to pounce on their every minor mistake.

Acting on or extrapolating from Mr. Harper's wishes, Ms. Byrne has spent a lot of time making sure everyone else shares this attitude, helping to create a culture in which, behind the scenes, she has pushed back hard against attempts by communications staff to do what communications staff normally do, which is engage with reporters. And she has let it be known that she expects other Conservatives to share her aversion to working official Ottawa's social scene, and that she is keeping tabs on who's spending too much time at Hy's Steakhouse or at cocktail parties thrown by lobbyists.

Sustaining this culture has been an accomplishment. After this long in power, many governments become comfortable and bloated, taking their success for granted. The Conservatives have kept a certain oppositional mentality, never forgetting where they came from.

There has been some downside, as well. To some extent, the Conservatives' toxic relationship with the media has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And attracting and retaining good staff has proved at times to be a challenge: As one party veteran put it, "We're not winning any Best Employer in Canada awards."

On that note, for all that the Conservatives continue to put forward a united front, there are some serious behind-the-scenes fault lines.

... But also a party divided

When Conservatives gathered at the Canadian War Museum in October, 2012, to roast Doug Finley, the ailing businessman turned senator who had managed Mr. Harper's 2006 and 2008 election campaigns, they witnessed the rarest of sights: Jenni Byrne speaking in public.

Ms. Byrne's friends tend to bring up how proud of her they were that night: Even though she was nervous about being out of her comfort zone, as anyone who normally keeps a low profile would be about roasting a former mentor, she rose to the occasion with a funny and charming performance that, they say, showed what she is really like beyond the mythology.

Some of Mr. Finley's old friends offer a different take: They say that while her fellow speakers good-naturedly poked fun at such accepted topics as his grumpiness and heavy drinking, Ms. Byrne tried to score points for her own legacy and against his. Among the takeaways from her speech, by these accounts, was that she had succeeded where he failed by managing the Conservatives to a majority government; that she had managed to do so without running into ethical problems the way his campaigns had; and that, when she was his deputy, she had been doing most of the heavy lifting anyway. Mr. Finley wasn't easy to offend, they say, but that night he was hurt.

There is no way of knowing for sure how Mr. Finley, who died of cancer a few months later, really felt. But the mixed reviews, the better part of three years after the fact, speak to divisions within the party that have something to do with what all concerned describe as a "complicated" relationship between Ms. Byrne and Mr. Finley, and how it ended.

The official story - which is true - is that with Mr. Finley too sick to run the Conservatives' 2011 campaign, his deputy stepped in for him. But that does not seem to be the full picture.

According to Mr. Finley's friends, although he recognized that he had to take a step back, he was not eager to remove himself from the equation altogether, and was upset by the way he was treated during the transition process. They say that Ms. Byrne was part of an effort to elbow him out, in part by convincing Mr. Harper that Mr. Finley's drinking was making him increasingly erratic, and that his ethical standards were problematic, particularly after the "in-and-out" controversy in which the party had been fined for violating election-spending limits.

Lending credibility to this account, some of Ms. Byrne's friends and allies still today echo the arguments against Mr. Finley that were allegedly used against him behind the scenes.

In any case, once Mr. Finley was out of the picture, a good chunk of the campaign team that he had assembled followed. In some cases, those departures were voluntary. In others - most prominently that of Patrick Muttart, the brains behind many of the Conservatives' marketing efforts, who was turfed in the middle of the 2011 campaign over a strange little controversy involving a dubious leak to the Sun newspapers about Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff - they were not.

This was not all Ms. Byrne's handiwork. Conservative campaign chair Guy Giorno has also held sway over personnel decisions. And of course, the buck ultimately stops with Mr. Harper.

But there is a view, expressed by some Conservatives familiar with Ms. Byrne's interactions with the Prime Minister, that she can play to his worst instincts - including his willingness to unsentimentally discard people once they are no longer useful to him.

Beyond Mr. Finley and his circle, that might also have included Nigel Wright, the Bay Street heavyweight with whom Ms. Byrne had an unpleasant relationship - his wonkishness a poor fit with her hyper-partisanship. Few seriously blame Ms. Byrne for Mr. Wright's 2013 exit as chief of staff, following the revelation that he cut a personal cheque for Mike Duffy to help the scandalplagued senator out of his expenses mess. But after she was brought back into government from the party side to put her issues-management skills to work, some saw her fingerprints on Mr. Harper's shifting from merely distancing himself from Mr. Wright to publicly accusing him of "deception."

Then there are times, such as the shunning of Mr. Hudak, when Mr. Harper may not even know about the score-settling within his party, or else chooses to ignore it.

The net effect is that plenty of Conservatives who have previously contributed to their party are currently sitting on the sidelines, and even some still involved are taking shots.

Conservative dysfunction is nothing remotely akin to the civil war the previous Liberal government went through, because there is no Paul Martin to Mr. Harper's Jean Chrétien. Any party this far into power could have it much worse, and that might owe to Ms. Byrne's serving, as one Conservative put it, as the PM's "praetorian guard."

Nor is it terribly unusual for a campaign manager to consolidate power around her, the way Ms. Byrne seemingly has, by jettisoning people who surrounded her predecessor in favour of those she trusts - the likes of Mr. Teneycke, and others with lower profiles.

But the pressure will be on her, in the months ahead, beyond the degree to which it was previously. Fairly or not, the last campaign was perceived by many as having been planned out by Mr. Finley. There will be no question, in the minds of Ms. Byrne's admirers and detractors alike, who will be responsible for the operations of the coming one.

Sticking to the basics

In Mr. Finley's day, he and others, including Mr. Muttart, would jet around the world looking for campaign strategies they could learn from. Australia, where they had close ties with the right-leaning Liberal Party, was a particular favourite; it was from winning campaigns there that they borrowed, among other things, a highly centralized model for managing resources in target ridings. Ms. Byrne has made little secret that she considers such trips to be frivolous junkets - "somewhat work-related self-indulgence," as one of her friends put it. Other than sometimes attending the annual Conservative Political Action Conference south of the border, her work-related travel is almost always within Canada, mostly to train and supervise candidates and organizers. That speaks to a broader philosophical difference between the current campaign manager and her predecessor. Mr. Finley took it as his mission to modernize his party, if not personally, then by surrounding himself with whiz kids. Ms. Byrne is all about sticking to the basics.

"Many organizers are always looking at the next big thing," is how Mr. O'Toole, the veterans affairs minister, puts it. "Jenni will focus on delivering with hard work and discipline."

Over the past year, a digital team working out of the Conservatives' headquarters helped them bolster their financial advantage over the other parties by stepping up online fundraising. There was some expectation that its members would shift into the campaign office and continue working together, possibly with a broader mandate to engage or communicate with voters. Instead, Ms. Byrne opted to break them up, with a couple of the team's members let go, others reassigned, and the group's leader, Lanny Cardow, essentially left off the campaign team and staying in the party office to continue focusing squarely on raising money.

That dismantling has been taken by some Conservatives as evidence of Ms. Byrne being incurious, and her commitment to the tried and true being taken to an extreme.

By all accounts, she is deeply skeptical of social media's effectiveness. Her interest in using analytics to predict voting patterns is limited. To the extent that she has sway over advertising, which is not something in which she tends to deeply involve herself, she can be expected to push for messaging and mediums along the lines of what has worked before.

The danger in such traditionalism is that the Conservatives may fall prey to a familiar problem of long-time incumbents. Having run the most sophisticated of the major parties' recent campaigns, they could be surpassed operationally by hungry rivals who, by virtue of their losses, are more willing to experiment.

Ms. Byrne, based on conversations with those close to her, would likely counter that all the shiny objects in the world won't matter if the Conservatives' advantages are properly put to use. They have the most seats, the most money, the best voter data, the most discipline, the strongest support base and a leader who connects with it; they just need to execute.

If that's true, she may well be the perfect person for the role. The campaign manager's job is largely to make sure everyone else is doing theirs, and holding people to account is Ms. Byrne's specialty. The same goes for putting out multiple fires every day. Helping on both those fronts, and plenty of others besides, is the fact that, after all her time working in the trenches, she has an encyclopedic knowledge of the country's political map and the Conservatives' organization in every corner of it. Ms. Byrne also has a quality both underrated and rare in political circles: decisiveness. "With some people, a decision on which shade of blue to use for campaign materials could last about a day," a Conservative who has worked with her and is not generally a fan, says admiringly. "With Jenni, it would last about a minute. She will make a decision and not second- guess it."

Beyond keeping the campaign focused and not bogged down sweating the small stuff, that could come in handy if pivots are necessary. Because the Conservatives ended up winning a majority, it's easy to forget that the last campaign did not go remotely the way they had expected, and in the final days they had to adapt their tactics to the NDP's surge. Although Ms. Byrne's responsibilities are more operational than strategic, myriad quick decisions could be needed in the event of a sudden shift this time around.

But in preparing for the campaign, the courage of Ms. Byrne's convictions means there will be no reinventing the wheel. That leaves an obvious question about what will happen when reinvention is needed in the years that follow.

What next, for the party and for Jenni Byrne?

The two-dimensional henchwoman caricature of Ms. Byrne that is common in the capital does not entirely hold up to scrutiny.

Although former PMO staffer Rebecca Thompson generally got on well with Ms. Byrne, she is not among her closest friends. After Ms. Thompson left government to work for Sun News Network, the two were only infrequently in touch. But when Ms. Thompson's mother died suddenly in 2013, she recalls, an "extremely giving" Ms. Byrne - who had lost her own mother three years earlier - reached out more than anyone else she knew in politics.

Mr. O'Toole says that, when Ms. Byrne stayed with his family while helping out with the 2012 by-election campaign that brought him to Parliament, she was so good with his kids that, by the time she left, they were calling her Aunt Jenni.

People with whom she socializes, over drinks at bars or at game nights she has been known to organize, talk about her loud, infectious laugh. A couple of them describe her as "bubbly." But it's also true that Ms. Byrne has seemingly made a project of keeping her more endearing qualities hidden from public view - of being respected and feared rather than liked - and she has probably helped her career in the process. Since Mr. Harper's first leadership campaign, she has never been terribly concerned with ingratiating herself to anyone other than him. That is a rare characteristic in a political world filled with people plotting their next career move, and it is a trait he is known to appreciate.

That, along with the fact that she has not wearied of the backroom life the way most political staffers do, helps to explain why she has lasted longer around the Prime Minister than most people. She has been unfailingly loyal to him, has earned his trust to go about her job as she sees fit, and is not the sort likely to annoy him by writing her memoirs.

All that is also why her future when Mr. Harper makes his exit - either involuntarily after this year's election, or perhaps voluntarily before he has to lead his party into another one - is decidedly up in the air.

"I don't think she has given much thought, in any serious way, about what comes next for her," says Chris Froggatt, a former colleague and onetime chief of staff to John Baird, with whom she has remained friends. "While I'm sure it's at the back of her mind, she has always been more consumed with the task ahead." Some of her other friends express concern that she has devoted her entire adult life to the Conservative Party, rebuffing those friends' suggestions that she move on before she has to, to make more money or have more time for her personal life. (Speculation about whether she should try to find a long-term partner or have kids is something else her single male colleagues don't have to deal with as much.)

It's possible that in the eventual leadership campaign to replace Mr. Harper, she could align herself with Jason Kenney, currently the defence minister, with whom she is said to be on good terms. But a downside of making lots of enemies is that she could have too much baggage for a prospective new leader looking to make friends.

"Once Harper falls, Jenni's going to get ripped apart by a lot of that crowd," said one well-connected Conservative, referring in particular to those who were close to Mr. Finley.

"I don't think she's kidding herself that when the Prime Minister goes, there'll be a role for her within the party," said another who has worked with her. "She's self-aware enough to know how things work."

Considering the tenacity she has shown over the past 18 years, she will presumably land on her feet one way or another. But for someone who has been so central to her party's evolution, the uncertainty about what awaits her is perhaps fitting.

The planned departure of Justice Minister Peter MacKay, Mr. Harper's old partner in merging the right, served as a reminder this week of just how long the current Conservative era has lasted. And nobody really knows what the party will look like after the only leader it has known - a leader who has, with Ms. Byrne's assistance, held unusually strong control over it - is gone.

Perhaps, the party's professionalization complete, her brand of discipline will have outlived its usefulness. The oppositional mentality, the fear of getting too close to the Ottawa establishment, may have fallen out of vogue. The connection to a place like Fenelon Falls might not be as valued. The leeway to settle scores may not be granted. If the next leader doesn't have his or her own version of Ms. Byrne, it may be because one isn't needed or wanted.

But her fingerprints will be all over the party, for better or worse, when it is handed over. "She's a pretty polarizing figure," says one of the people who worked alongside her over the years. "Either people like her or they can't stand her."

Mr. Harper could easily be described the same way. Neither he nor Ms. Byrne probably minds. Their results to this point, and in the campaign this fall, will speak for themselves.

Adam Radwanski is a political columnist and reporter with The Globe and Mail, currently covering the runup to the 2015 election campaign

Associated Graphic

Ms. Byrne makes quick decisions and sticks with them - rare for a political operative. Rarer still: None of them have blown up in her face.


Ms. Byrne's Facebook profile includes this memento of a seal hunt in Newfoundland.

Byrne with her boss, the Prime Minister (top) PMO; above and right: photos from her Facebook page.

The strange case of Alfred Little
Short seller Jon Carnes played hardball when he went after Silvercorp. The miner did him one better, landing Carnes's sidekick in Chinese prison. When it became clear investors were misled, B.C.'s securities regulator went after the firm--and Carnes too
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P50

The hearing room in the 12th-floor offices of the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) offers a gob-smacking view of Vancouver's bustling harbour. But on the morning of last Nov. 28, the scenery was the furthest thing from the minds of those who'd gathered there to hear testimony. On this day, a lawyer for the commission, Derek Chapman, was interrogating a hedge fund manager.

"Your name is Jon Richard Carnes?" Chapman asked.


"Your legal name has never been Alfred Little?" queried Chapman.

"Oh, no."

"So you didn't have 35 years of investing experience?"


"You didn't begin your career as an accountant at Deloitte?"


"You didn't spend 10 years in China from 1994 to 2004 representing various foreign investors, including Coke... Procter & Gamble and Budweiser?"


Jon Carnes, whom Chapman was grilling, is manager of a hedge fund called Eos Holdings LLC. The BCSC alleged that Carnes, 41, had committed fraud, accusing him of publishing erroneous reports about Silvercorp Metals Inc., a Vancouver-based mining company. The reports wiped out about $275-million worth of shareholders' value in a single day back in the summer of 2011. Carnes profited from the decline to the tune of $2.8 million by shorting Silvercorp's stock (all currency in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted).

The case against Carnes, whose resolution was pending at press time, included allegations that he'd invented a fake investor, Alfred Little, and anonymously posted his criticisms about Silvercorp on an eponymous website. Hiding behind Alfred Little, Carnes questioned the quality and quantity of minerals coming out of Silvercorp's silver, lead and zinc mines in China.

Still, some wondered if the BCSC was pursuing the wrong party. "It's totally outrageous," says Robin Haller, a principal of Zachary Capital Management, a London, U.K.-based investment firm, who has investigated Silvercorp himself. "How can you have an efficient market without people having the right to question companies? And Carnes has a great track record."

JON CARNES SHATTERS THE IMAGE OF HEDGE FUND MANAGERS AS MACHO privateers storming the citadels of high finance. Introverted, a little obsessive, he comes off as nerdy. He remembers being annoyed after accepting an invitation to attend the Super Bowl as a guest of E*Trade. "I was the kind of guy who would rather miss the Super Bowl so I could keep trading," he says with a laugh.

Born in Lancaster, South Carolina, Carnes initially planned to attend medical school. But after taking an economics course, he decided to become a trader. Starting with $3,000, he made his first million three years after leaving university. By 1999, Carnes was such a big client of E*Trade that the company put him in their TV commercials. That same year, he turned down a job at Goldman Sachs, preferring to work on his own. He became a value investor and began consulting for Andrew Worden, CEO of Barron Partners LP, a Wall Street investment fund. "[Worden] taught me how to conduct due diligence on companies," Carnes says.

By 2004, Carnes had moved to Vancouver, the better to take advantage of investment opportunities in China. He set up his own investment firm, Eos Holdings, and began recruiting Chinese students at the University of British Columbia. The idea was to train them in due diligence and send them to China to research companies. He and Barron would then invest in the best finds. That's how Carnes found UBC finance and accounting student Kun Huang. "He was the best one," says Carnes. "He was the smartest."

The soft-spoken Huang was born in China's Hubei province. His family immigrated to Vancouver in the mid-'90s. By 2006, Huang and Carnes had moved to China, eventually setting up their base in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in the middle of the country. Huang's job was to oversee a team of six researchers. "I liked China and the Chinese people," says Carnes, who married a Chinese woman; they have two children.

The arrival of the two men in China dovetailed with the appearance of hundreds of Chinese companies on the North American capital markets via reverse takeovers. In an RTO, a shell company is purchased as a quick and dirty way of listing on a stock market. "We were the dummies who invested in RTOs," chortles Carnes. Eventually it became apparent many of the Chinese RTOs were frauds in part or in whole. "Our perception began to change 180 degrees," says Carnes. The strategy of investing in China didn't seem so sharp after all.

By 2009, Carnes had arrived at a simple solution--short selling. Shorting involves borrowing stock in a company at a certain price and selling it, betting the stock will fall. If all goes according to plan, the short then buys the stock at a lower price, replaces the stock in the lender's inventory and earns a profit on the difference. If Carnes could find Chinese companies that had oversold themselves, he could profit by exposing their sins, which would drive down the stock. Carnes created a website called "" and began posting critical reports on companies his team uncovered.

This strategy came with a price. Chinese companies didn't take kindly to criticism; some responded with force. In 2010, after he published a critical report on China Natural Gas, Carnes says the company's chairman sent someone to his office to threaten him. "It was scary because they had the power to kill you if they wanted to," he remarks.

Carnes decided to adopt more elaborate security measures. "We spent time devising a cover plan," he says. "We created this old dude who clearly did not look like me." Thus was born "Alfred Little," a former Deloitte accountant with 35 years of investing experience. Carnes also created a fake research organization, the International Financial Research & Analysis Group (IFRA). In his "undercover strategy," IFRA would prepare due diligence reports, which would then be "leaked" to Alfred Little, who posted them on his website. In reality, everything was generated by Carnes and his team. "The guys in China would be trying to figure out who was this old guy," he says.

For a time, it worked: Carnes's researchers dug into a host of Chinese companies trading on the North American markets, such as Deer Consumer Products, Rino International, China Integrated Energy, Sino Clean Energy, Puda Coal and others. All ended up in the ditch: The first four were delisted from Nasdaq, while Puda was delisted from what is now NYSE MKT and its chairman charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with securities fraud.

But by 2011, the landscape was changing--and not to the short sellers' benefit. The first seismic event occurred in June of that year, when a shortselling firm, Muddy Waters LLC, exposed SinoForest Corp., the largest timber company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, as a possible fraud. This scandal put the Chinese government on notice that short sellers could seriously tarnish the image of China Inc.

In May of that year, Carnes received an anonymous tip about a Vancouver-based mining company called Silvercorp.

SILVERCORP IS THE BRAINCHILD OF RUI FENG, AN ambitious and hard-charging geologist who was born in China and raised in a military camp while his father served in the People's Liberation Army. Feng did his PhD at the University of Saskatchewan before working as a research scientist in Calgary. He then went into mining.

Silvercorp landed on the TSX via a shell company called SKN Resources Ltd. (although Feng says the arrangement was not an RTO, it bears the earmarks of that approach). Silvercorp entered China in 2003 and began buying up silver, zinc and lead mines in the northeastern province of Henan.

The company's prize asset is the Ying silver mine, which is responsible for the bulk of revenues. Silvercorp runs the mine through a company it controls called Henan Found, which is a joint venture with a state-backed enterprise.

The Ying area had been mined for a long time, but with new investment and mining techniques, Silvercorp soon claimed it had become the "largest primary silver producer" in China. By 2006, it was releasing glowing reports that the grade was as high as 1,535 grams per tonne, on par with the richest silver mines in the world. That same year, Silvercorp raised $47.8 million (Canadian) in a bought deal with Bay Street firms Sprott Securities Inc. and GMP Securities LP.

By 2011, when Carnes received the tip about Silvercorp, its market cap was around $2 billion; it had sales of $167 million. Its shares were trading on the TSX and NYSE in the $10-$12 range, and it was earning net profits of $69 million. "After Sino-Forest happened, we began to look at a list of all Canadian-listed Chinese companies," says Carnes. "When I asked around [in China] about Silvercorp, everyone said it had red flags." Carnes says that Henan government officials said the Ying mine was less rich, and was being depleted faster, than Silvercorp claimed. Led by Huang, the Eos researchers began compiling data on the company.

Carnes could increase his profit from shorting the stock if he found evidence that Silvercorp was misleading North American investors. He focused on whether its mines were truly as bountiful as the company touted in technical reports. His staff began putting out feelers to find a mining consultant to help them, eventually deciding to use a report by John-Mark Staude, a Harvard-educated, B.C.-based geologist.

While Staude said the doubts over ore and production numbers could possibly be explained by different reporting methods used in China and North America, he did find things that worried him. For one, resource estimates for the Ying mine were being provided by Silvercorp employees and not by independent geologists (this is acceptable to regulators, although it's considered less than transparent). Staude noted that Silvercorp's approach of buying small mines and operating them efficiently "does not scale to a billion-dollar company often or easily." He added, "The [Ying] mine has calculated reserves that are only 68 million ounces of silver equivalent. This is worrisome for a $100-million market cap company, let alone a $1-billion market cap company. They should have more resources." In one e-mail Staude wrote, "Chinese documents show the mines are almost depleted!!! Very different in Chinese documents than what the Corp. presentations say."

Carnes was not the only short seller poking into Silvercorp--others included Anthion Management LLC, Valiant Capital and Muddy Waters. By September, 2011, at least four reports from Carnes's competitors were circulating in the investment community and beyond, all accusing the company of a bevy of misdeeds. Carnes had taken a $4.1-million short position when the company's stock was trading at around $9.

On Sept. 13, Carnes released an eight-page report on the Alfred Little website entitled "Questionable Customers, Geologists, Production, Quality and Serious Related Party Failures." His most compelling charge was that while Silvercorp told investors it had produced 316,522 tonnes of ore in 2010, the Henan resource bureau (which receives data on local mines) said it had produced only 207,037 tonnes. And while Silvercorp said it produced about 131 tonnes of silver that year, it reported only 32 tonnes to the bureau--a discrepancy of 75%. He also said that while the company was claiming a silver grade of 774 grams per tonne in 2010 and 845 grams per tonne in 2009, the resource bureau said the figures were actually 155 grams and 213 grams, respectively. It looked like Sino-Forest all over again.

Carnes cherry-picked from Staude's reports, without naming the geologist, suggesting the value in the mines did not come close to supporting Silvercorp's market cap. Staude's more positive comments were omitted.

The impact on the stock was dramatic--it fell 20% on the day the report came out. Carnes cashed in his short position and pocketed $2.8 million.

siLvercorp And feng immediAteLy cAme out swinging. feng cALLed THE short sellers' reports "short and distort" attacks and likened them to bullies who use "false, selective, ignorant statements and rumours." He said: "I never cheated nobody" and "they picked the wrong company" and "I am going to fight to the death." The company announced the striking of a special committee and hired KPMG to investigate the claims of the shorts, against whom Silvercorp also launched a defamation lawsuit.

Silvercorp issued a detailed press release saying the differences between its North American filings and the Henan resource bureau data was explainable: The Chinese numbers, it said, were out of date and didn't include recent discoveries. The company also said its profit and revenue figures matched up perfectly with Chinese tax records. This PR campaign worked: The stock rebounded to more than $9 by the end of October, earning back more than what was lost in the wake of Carnes's report.

Around the same time, both Silvercorp and Carnes contacted the BCSC to complain about the other party. The BCSC opened two investigations: one into Silvercorp, the other into Carnes.

It was only last year, after a legal battle, that Carnes's lawyers got some insight into the BCSC investigation of Silvercorp. The lawyers pried loose a letter that the commission's chief mining adviser, Robert Holland, sent to Rui Feng in November, 2011. The eight-page letter was a litany of complaints about Silvercorp technical reports. Holland wrote that the reports used resource estimation methods that were inconsistent with best practices, and contained "errors that could individually or collectively result in material overestimation of mineral resources." Holland pointed to one technical report that, he said, relied "unduly" on information from the company's chief operating officer and president, and had "uncorrected errors in mineral resource tables." He added that there were large unexplained differences in the report between two measures of a mine: resources and reserves. In summary, he wrote: "We consider the Company to be in material default of its technical disclosure and filing requirements." He threatened to put Silvercorp on the BCSC's default list--exposed publicly as a company that was in violation of the BCSC's rules.

It's not clear how Silvercorp responded to this and other letters from the BCSC. But it appears the commission's investigation into the company was eventually dropped--the BCSC itself won't say--after Silvercorp decided to hire a bigger mining engineering firm to produce its technical reports.

The inquiry into Carnes, on the other hand, went ahead. "It's very clear that the BCSC didn't want another Sino-Forest," muses Carnes. "So to prevent that, [they] really scrutinized the short sellers while working with the companies to resolve any real issues."

BACK IN CHINA, SILVERCORP HAD ONE MAJOR THING working in its favour--the support of China's government, which was tired of short sellers badmouthing Chinese companies.

Carnes says that in November, 2011, while he was on vacation outside of China, "I got word that the police were chasing us." He decided against returning to China. Kun Huang and his researchers were not as lucky. They were rounded up one by one--three were arrested and soon released, while three others were questioned. Huang wanted to leave the country but was held up waiting for his passport to be returned to him. When he tried to fly out of the Beijing airport at the end of December, he was grabbed. "I was thrown into a place with 20 guys in a freaking tiny cell," he says.

After three days at a detention centre, Huang was driven by police to Luoyang, near Silvercorp's mines. For the next month, Huang was interrogated frequently by the Luoyang police, who asked him about Carnes and his operation. He also noticed something curious: For the first few days, the police were receiving texts and phone calls before and during these sessions. "I have a strong suspicion it was someone from [Silvercorp]," he says. The police also seized his laptop.

In 2012, a Globe and Mail investigation revealed that Silvercorp helped pay for police expenses in the investigation of Carnes's operation. Evidence also shows that Silvercorp passed results of the Chinese police investigation to the BCSC.

In a series of e-mails, Lorne Waldman, Silvercorp's then-corporate secretary (he is now senior vice-president), forwarded details of what Huang was telling police to two BCSC staffers investigating Carnes, Liz Chan and Michael Pesunti. "Luoyang police have indicated to Silvercorp that they will have all details of the questioning translated and that they will share everything with the RCMP and FBI," wrote Waldman to Chan and Pesunti on Dec. 30, 2011, two days after Huang's detention. At one point, Silvercorp provided the BCSC with a three-inch binder of material from their investigations into Carnes and his staff. "I will courier the binder to you today," Waldman wrote to Pesunti. "After you have the chance to review the materials, I would also be happy to arrange a time to meet with you in person to discuss the materials."

Other evidence indicates Silvercorp obtained private information from Huang's laptop, which the firm used in a court proceeding. In a 2012 court motion in New York, the company sought to gain access to Royal Bank of Canada accounts to obtain the short sellers' trading information. Silvercorp provided a list of phone numbers, which they wanted to match with trading accounts. Carnes realized the numbers came from a copy of his personal address book that Huang had on his computer. The giveaway, apart from the faithful replication of typographical errors, was that his wife's frequent-flier account number had been misconstrued as a phone number. "They immediately dropped [the application] as soon as we said this seemed to have been taken from Kun's laptop," says Carnes.

Huang, though, was in limbo. His Canadian passport had been taken away from him, and he was forced to remain under house arrest.


Up until 2011, the company had relied on a twoman consulting firm whose technical reports were based on resource estimates Silvercorp had provided to them, and who hadn't visited the Ying site since 2008.

The firm that Silvercorp hired after pressure from the BCSC and other sources was AMC Mining Consultants (Canada) Ltd., a heavyweight consulting firm. In the spring of 2012, it produced a lengthy technical report for Silvercorp, which the company said vindicated its position that it had misled no one and its mines were viable. Others saw it differently.

Mohan Srivastava, a Toronto-based, MIT-educated mining geologist, was hired as an expert by the lawyers suing Silvercorp on behalf of Canadian shareholders. Srivastava examined the company's publicly released mining records and, in affidavits filed in court, said the average grade of the Ying mine's silver resources had dropped every time they were updated and reported: from a high of 1,535 grams per tonne in 2006 to 425 by 2011. (More recently, it was less than 300 grams.) "The silver stands at less than one-third of what [Silvercorp] reported when production began," he wrote. "These decreases cannot be accounted for by production depletion."

Srivastava also found the company did not state the mine's reserves (that is, the quantity of ore that is economically and technically feasible to mine) until it was already five years into production, which he called "highly unusual." And its production forecasts had always been too optimistic--for example, in 2010, it said it would mine 240,000 tonnes of ore at 509 grams of silver per tonne, when in fact it mined 386,000 at a grade of 408. This suggested that Silvercorp was digging far more ore at a lower grade than they were forecasting to investors.

Srivastava also zeroed in on the September, 2011, press release issued by the company in response to Carnes's damning report. It posted the production and ore grades for 2009 and 2010 and declared that they matched the company's Chinese tax filings; therefore, nothing was amiss. Yet the report from AMC Mining Consultants posted numbers for these two years that were completely different--with higher ore tonnage and lower grades, meaning a less profitable mine. "This is not a case of a discrepancy between production reality and forward-looking predictions of what the mine should be able to produce," noted Srivastava. "It is a case of numbers presented as production reality being significantly wrong. It is a misstatement of a past fact."

Such issues ultimately made the Securities and Exchange Commission suspicious. In 2013, it subpoenaed all documents regarding Silvercorp's battle with the short sellers and sent letters to the company asking for clarifications, in particular as to why the production and grade numbers did not match their technical reports.

As a result, Silvercorp admitted to the SEC that its figures had omitted Direct Shipping Ore. DSO is rock that contains mineral in very high concentrations--as much as 10 times more than average. In the case of the Ying mines, this ore is hand-picked off conveyor belts and then sent directly to a smelter. One estimate suggests that more than 20% of silver production from the Ying mine is derived from DSO, and its value could be as much as $60 million a year--coming to more than $400 million since the mine went into production. Yet the company's technical reports gave few details about the DSO and don't mention it at all between 2010 and 2013. Even the name of the smelter where the DSO is processed is not reported. "They have basically admitted their historical grades and historical production numbers were false," says Carnes. "Was it intentionally false? I think so."

Until Silvercorp deigns to reveal more details, what happened to the DSO, and who profited from it, is a mystery. Business can be murky in China. Silvercorp revealed in 2013 that a fraud happened at the Ying mine earlier that year: Contract miners, who were paid by the tonne of rocks they dug out, mixed in refuse to get more pay.

Despite all the strange behaviour, it appears the BCSC has not renewed its inquiry into Silvercorp (again, the commission will not comment on this). Instead, it alleged Carnes had committed fraud in 2013, claiming he'd misled Silvercorp investors about who he was--specifically over the fake persona and credentials of Alfred Little--and by cherry-picking the conclusions of John-Mark Staude to make his take sound worse than it really was. The BCSC did not pursue any other short sellers, who, being based outside the province, were outside its jurisdiction.

The only witness the commission called last fall during five days of hearings was its own investigator, Michael Pesunti. When cross-examined by Carnes's lawyer, Pesunti admitted the BCSC knew of no action taken against Carnes by Silvercorp's investors, that the commission spoke to no investors, and that he was aware Silvercorp was receiving information from the Luoyang police about Huang and passing it on to himself. Pesunti also admitted he'd received information from Huang's laptop, and that he did not ask Silvercorp about various allegations the short sellers raised about the company. (He did, however, refer a small proportion of the concerns to another branch of the BCSC.)

Today, Silvercorp refuses to answer any questions, except to point to the BCSC evidence against Carnes. Meanwhile, the company has suffered setbacks. In 2012, the defamation lawsuit Silvercorp had launched against Carnes and other short sellers was thrown out by the New York Supreme Court on the grounds that the shorts were within their rights to publish opinions about Silvercorp. Then, last fall, the company shelled out $14 million to settle an American shareholders' lawsuit over allegations of fraud, without admitting any wrongdoing. The company is facing a similar shareholders' lawsuit in Canada. Huang, too, is suing Silvercorp for its involvement in his incarceration in China. According to a submission to the BCSC by Carnes's lawyer, the RCMP opened an investigation to see if the company corrupted foreign officials; the RCMP will not comment.

Silvercorp is struggling financially, too: Sales fell to $108 million in fiscal 2014 (from $181.6 million in 2013), and it rang up a net loss of $48.4 million--mostly due to silver prices dropping and the payment of a large Chinese tax bill. The stock was trading as low as $1.13 in recent months, underperforming other silver producers. Meanwhile, after stepping down as CEO in 2013, Rui Feng reclaimed the post this past December.

THE PRICE KUN HUANG PAID IN THE SILVERCORP affair was steep. Meeting in his lawyer's office, Huang is a slim, neatly dressed, contained 37year-old. After he was placed under house arrest in Luoyang in 2012, Huang hoped all would blow over. But after an article in The New York Times criticized Silvercorp that summer, he was rearrested.

Huang was placed in a 300-square-foot cell with 30 other inmates, most of whom were street criminals. "For the first few months, I had to sleep on the floor because there was no room on the beds," he relates. "It was really dirty and filthy." He says the food consisted of old bread and broth made from flour and water. "I couldn't eat for the first few weeks because it was not food," he recalls. He lost 40 pounds. He could receive no visitors, except his lawyer and the occasional Canadian foreign affairs official.

Finally, in the summer of 2013, Huang was charged with "criminal defamation" for criticizing a Chinese company. His trial in September of that year lasted one day and was closed to the public, at Silvercorp's behest. Silvercorp was also granted standing.

In the end, Huang received a two-year sentence and was returned to the same overcrowded cell to serve out the rest of his term. He was released last summer and flew back to Canada. Today he says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, is afflicted with nightmares and flashbacks, and sees a psychologist. "I sometimes get depressed a lot and I have a short temper now," he says. "I get agitated so easily."

He's particularly angry with the BCSC. "The commission does not look out for investors and for people who are treated unlawfully by this company," he says. "I think [the BCSC] is trying to protect B.C. companies.They want to protect their image."

Carnes continues to investigate Chinese companies--and he has been using his own name on his reports since 2012. Most recently, he went after FAB Universal Corp., a Chinese media distribution company that apparently has gone out of business after being delisted from NYSE MKT.

In a 2014 survey by Activist Shorts Research that ranked short sellers according to returns from their campaigns, Alfred Little ranked first out of a field of 28.

Yet any profits Carnes made from shorting Silvercorp have long been eaten up by lawyers' fees and related costs. He recalls that when he was working in China, he and Huang always worried one of their targets would turn into "a nightmare disaster."

"We didn't think it would be Silvercorp, though," he concedes. It was, after all, a company run by Canadians.

Fragile China

Between 2010 and 2013, Jon Carnes accused eight Chinese companies listed on North American exchanges of fraud. Here's what happened to them

Share price ($U.S.) Prior to Carnes's report | May, 2015

CHINA NATURAL GAS $9.52 | $0.30 Delisted from Nasdaq. SEC charged company and chairman with fraud

RINO INTERNATIONAL $15.52 | $0.00 Delisted from Nasdaq. SEC charged company and chairman with fraud

DEER CONSUMER PRODUCTS $11.24 | $0.04 Delisted from Nasdaq. Audit committee chairman resigned

CHINA INTEGRATED ENERGY $2.28 | $0.11 Delisted from Nasdaq. Auditor and an independent director resigned

PUDA COAL $6 | $0.00 Delisted from NYSE. CEO and CFO resigned. SEC charged chairman with fraud

SINO CLEAN ENERGY $2.45 | $0.10 Delisted from Nasdaq. Audit chairman resigned

SINOTECH ENERGY $4.02 | $0.02 Delisted from Nasdaq. SEC charged management with fraud

FAB UNIVERSAL $5.29 | $0.04 Delisted from NYSE

Associated Graphic

Jon Carnes (right) and his researcher Kun Huang, who ended up in Chinese prison for investigating Silvercorp

photograph By dinA goLdstein

location courtesy

Photograph (Left) Dina Goldstein

Carnes, seen in a Great Wall snapshot below, went to China to make money--but fell in love with the country

Carnes (centre) and his team of researchers at the Chengdu Hooters in 2010

Traumatized by his time in a Chinese prison, Kun Huang is angered by the actions of B.C.'s securities regulator on the Silvercorp File

Photograph Dina Goldstein

Tuesday, June 02, 2015 Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Never mind about the toxic smoke and that little oil spill-- Canada would wither without the port of Vancouver. Jake MacDonald reports from aboard a mighty tug, the Smit Orleans
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P38

Monday starts early in the Vancouver harbour. It's 4 a.m. on a rainy March morning when Captain Dwayne Slade arrives at the wharf of Saam Smit Towage, on the south shore of the Burrard Inlet, and goes over his marching orders for the day.

Saam Smit Towage, a subsidiary of a Dutch towing company established in 1842, is one of the major tugboat operators on the West Coast. Of its fleet of 23 tugboats, seven are busy 24 hours a day moving ships in and out of Vancouver harbour. Today, Captain Slade's office is the Smit Orleans, a hulking, broad-shouldered, 6,700-horsepower "tractor tug" currently rated as the strongest towboat on Canada's West Coast. Slade, who grew up working on the sea in Newfoundland, is known for his unflappable humour and seamanship skills. Both will come in handy for what's shaping up to be a 20-hour job.

Rain scribbles down through the floodlights as he walks to the end of the wharf where the Orleans is tethered. Four other mariners are already on board, checking safety gear and brewing coffee. There's a lot of redundancy built into their assignment today--a mate who can also drive the boat, two deckhands, an engineer to fix any mechanical issues, and two other tugs to help the Orleans with a job it could easily handle itself. But the redundancy is required by law. Slade and his crew will be escorting an oil tanker from its berth in the inner harbour to the open sea off the south end of Vancouver Island. The tanker, with its cargo of Alberta crude, will be threading tight passages and tricky currents through the sleeping city, with the three tugs creeping alongside to ensure it stays out of harm's way. Captain Slade is in good spirits as he lights up the twin Caterpillar diesel engines and eases the Orleans away from her berth. But he's fully aware of the seriousness of his job: "If anyone makes a mistake this morning, it could change the shipping industry in Canada."

The oil tanker is several kilometres from the Smit wharf, anchored offshore from the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. The terminal, owned by American pipeline giant Kinder Morgan, exports crude oil that arrives via the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta's oil sands. The Westridge oil terminal was built in 1953, but its operations have become increasingly controversial with the rapid growth of the city and the rise of environmental awareness. As Captain Slade approaches the anchorage, the tugboat's searchlight fingers through the darkness and illuminates the stern of the New Constellation, a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker carrying 70,000 tonnes of crude. That's about 25,000 times more than the estimated 2,700 litres of bunker fuel that would leak from a grain ship and foul the beaches of English Bay in April.

The three tugboat skippers exchange radio instructions as they approach the tanker. The other escorts are, like the Orleans, super-powerful tractor tugs with omni-directional twin drives that can spin a tug on a dime and push it sideways almost as quickly as it goes forward. (The Orleans's top speed is 14 knots, about the same as a freighter.) After the other two tugboats have tethered onto the tanker, crewmen on the high stern toss down a light rope to hoist up the heavy towline from the bow of the Orleans. The tanker crewmen hook the line onto a bollard aboard the ship and Captain Slade backs away and reels in the tugboat's winch. The 402-tonne Orleans jerks as its unstoppable force comes taut against the tanker's immovable weight. Water pops and sizzles off the towline--lightweight, three-inch thick polyethylene with a tensile strength of 377,000 kilograms. "It's great line," says Slade. "It floats, so it won't tangle in the props. And there's no stretch to it, so if it snaps it will just fall on the water instead of taking off the deckhand's head."

Slade nudges the throttles up to 40% power and a torrent of black water boils out from under the tugboat's hull. By law, oil tankers can only transit in and out of harbour during daylight, with good visibility. As the New Constellation inches slowly away from its anchorage, daylight is unveiling the misty mountains and serrated skyline of Greater Vancouver.

Vancouver is usually regarded as a cosmopolitan city that happens to have a seaport at its centre. But as the daylight comes up, it looks more like a gritty industrial seaport that happens to have a city for a back lot. The shore is lined with a never-ending procession of tank farms, gantry cranes, coal yards, grain terminals, sulphur piles and mountainous stacks of multicoloured shipping containers. Most Vancouverites are fond of their seaport, and from any high vantage point the constantly moving panorama of ships, trains, helicopters, cranes and tugs resembles every kid's fantasy of a vast tabletop toy set. But in the middle of a large city, how much industry is too much?

A chemical fire in a shipping container at the Centerm container wharf in March wafted toxic smoke through the city's core, snarling traffic and causing an evacuation of office workers and downtown residents. And when fuel oil leaked from the brandnew bulk freighter M.V. Marathassa in early April, locals were appalled by what they viewed as a bumbling response by the Coast Guard. (The slick was spotted by recreational boaters in late afternoon, but the response team didn't get a boom around it until dawn the following day.) Federal officials congratulated themselves on their swift and "exceptional" reaction to the spill. But locals were not impressed, pointing out that if it took half a day to contain a tiny spill in placid English Bay, close to first-response headquarters, how could anyone trust the feds to cope with a serious accident involving big winds, rough seas and the flammable contents of an entire oil tanker?

These questions are especially pertinent because the seaport's tenants and their landlord, Port Metro Vancouver, have ambitious expansion projects slated for the near future. To the dismay of environmentalists and farmers, the Port is going ahead with plans to expand Deltaport, a gigantic freight terminal south of the city. On the north shore of the Burrard Inlet, Neptune Bulk Terminals is about to double the capacity of its already-expansive coal yard. And Kinder Morgan has applied to the National Energy Board for a licence to twin its oil pipeline from Alberta to the Westridge terminal. So far, the public has not been allowed to weigh in on the project. Marc Eliesen, a former CEO of BC Hydro, recently resigned his appointment as a reviewer of the project, accusing the National Energy Board of having a "predetermined course of action to recommend approval." If the permit is granted, pipeline volume will triple, and tanker traffic through the heart of the city may increase sevenfold. Needless to say, a tanker accident in the Vancouver harbour would be catastrophic. By current shipping standards, the New Constellation is only a medium-sized vessel. But it's a big ship nevertheless. Standing on end, the New Constellation would be taller than the TD tower in downtown Toronto.

The remarkable thing about the Vancouver seaport is that it works as well as it does, considering the volume of traffic, its proximity to a city celebrated for its natural beauty, and the maze of interests that have a stake in the port. The land is owned by Port Metro Vancouver, a federal Crown corporation whose property stretches from the American border to the north shore of the Burrard Inlet--more than 345 kilometres of shoreline. By tonnage, Port Metro Vancouver is the fourth-largest seaport in North America, and perhaps the most politically entangled, juggling relationships with several First Nations, 28 corporate tenants running terminals and 16 municipalities, as well as countless rural landowners and environmental groups. Around the clock, enormous ships from more than 100 countries cruise in and out of the harbour, loaded down with everything from wheat to cellphones to lethal chemicals.

Port Metro Vancouver is headquartered in Canada Place--a waterfront building designed to evoke a luxury cruise ship. On its high bridge is the Marine Operations Centre, a glass-enclosed, busy room stuffed with monitor screens providing real-time video from 500 cameras throughout the port. Security personnel liaise with the Canadian Border Services Agency, the Coast Guard, Transport Canada and law enforcement, while operations techs monitor interactive displays of moving vessels and anchorages. By placing a cursor over any icon on an interactive screen, an operations specialist can display the name of the vessel, its speed, tonnage, port of origin, destination and cargo.

Tankers are top-priority vessels, and the arrowhead icon of the New Constellation is closely monitored as it tracks toward the Lions Gate Bridge with its three escorts. Once it passes under the bridge, the tanker will thread its way along designated lanes past the bulk freighters parked in English Bay, and then Vessel Traffic Services will allow other ships to carry on with their business--one of the freighters anchored in English Bay wants to move to the Lynnterm wharf on the north shore with a load of steel pipe bound for the Alberta oil patch, a bulk carrier loaded with Manitoba wheat is ready to sail from the Richardson-Pioneer terminal, and at the Neptune Bulk Terminals, a vessel loaded with Southern British Columbia coal is ready to leave for China, where it will be used to make the steel for cars and pipeline components that in turn will be shipped back to Canada.

After the New Constellation clears the area, it cruises through Georgia Strait and on to the narrow passes and tangled geography of the Gulf Islands. The ship is under its own power--the tugs' job is more lifeguarding than towing. The Orleans catches a ride behind the tanker, bouncing along through thickening chop and blowing spray, tethered to the tanker's stern. The load sensor on the tug indicates that the strain on the towline is hovering around seven tonnes, which for the tanker is negligible--or as Dwayne Slade puts it, "like pulling a herring off a plate." The journey might be monotonous if not for the spectacular scenery--rumpled ocean, skating seabirds and spring sunshine lancing down through hazy cloud onto the verdant slopes of the Gulf Islands.

The old stereotype of gruff seamen doing a slapdash job aboard a grimy towboat is no longer accurate, at least not on a Saam Smit tugboat. The cavernous engine room, with its bawling Caterpillars, is freshly painted and spanking clean. The crewmen in the high, glassed-in wheelhouse are neatly dressed, curious guys with personal interests ranging from music to childhood education to mountain biking. They undergo a lengthy and demanding apprenticeship, and once they work their way up to the helm of a $10-million tugboat, their salary is equivalent to that of an airline pilot. They probably wouldn't describe themselves as foodies, but before leaving the wharf this morning, they loaded $500 worth of groceries into the galley, and much of the day's conversation pertains to meal planning.

A skipper is only allowed six hours on duty, so he and the mate will spell each other off at the helm, and if anyone gets drowsy, there are staterooms to take a nap. "Tugboating can be slow and dull work, but an emergency can crop up in a heartbeat," says deckhand Bruce MacKenzie. "And it takes a lot of expertise to deal with all the potential hazards. But it's a great job, and when Saam Smit posts a job opening they get dozens of applications."

A good tanker escort is one in which absolutely nothing happens. If the tanker's engine breaks down or its rudder jams, Captain Slade will crank up the tug's power and hold the tanker in deep safe water until help arrives. Most of these safety precautions are a result of the wreck of the notorious Exxon Valdez, which spilled more than 40,000 tonnes of oil into Alaskan coastal waters in March, 1989, prompting aggressive new maritime oil transportation laws around the world. "The Valdez changed everything," says Slade. "Now the law dictates double-hulled vessels and multiple tugboat escorts and two pilots aboard every oil tanker travelling through Canadian waters."

The seamen on the Orleans tend to believe that oil tankers have so many backups in place that, for now at least, the system is safe--safe enough to accommodate growth. "Expansion of the port terminals would be a good thing for us mariners," says Slade. "It would mean more jobs in British Columbia, and more trade benefits for everyone in the country. But the federal government should fund a permanent tugboat station in the Gulf Islands. If some old freighter loses power on its way through the islands, it could be on the rocks in 20 minutes, dumping a lot more fuel oil than the spill in English Bay. This country gets enormous economic benefits from our seaports, and we need to spend the money to make sure it's done safely."

Slade recently qualified as a coast pilot, which for a tugboater is the equivalent of being called up to the big leagues. According to the shop talk in the wheelhouse, the most important qualification for an aspiring pilot is reputation. "The seafaring community is a small one and people tend to know who's really good," says mate Stirling Fowler, who's manning the wheel of the Orleans (he's also a captain in his own right). "Pilots are the elite, and before you can even apply you have to have decades of sea time and work experience."

The British Columbia coastline is vast and complicated--a 27,000-kilometre maze of inlets, reefs, islands and channels, all of it constantly morphing with moon phases and tides. Thus the pilotage exam is exhaustive. (One of the tests involves reviewing a blank map of the coast and filling in its myriad details.) Growth at the Vancouver port will also mean more jobs for pilots, and in a busy year a senior pilot can earn more than $250,000. A private company, British Columbia Coast Pilots, provides some 105 licensed pilots to a federal agency called the Pacific Pilotage Authority, which then dispatches a pilot to take charge of any foreign vessel of over 350 tonnes. Without a pilot onboard, a ship cannot enter Canadian waters.

When a ship is inbound to Vancouver, a pilot from a station in Victoria catches a ride out to the vessel on a small boat and climbs aboard. Ocean swells surge against the hull of the ship, and the pilot has to leap from the pilot vessel onto a rope ladder. Meanwhile the ship is plowing ahead at 10 knots or so, and the ladder is swinging and banging against the hull. Captain Robin Stewart is one of the most experienced pilots on the West Coast and he says it's a challenging feat for any of the pilots, especially those who are in their 60s or 70s. (The average age of entry into the pilot profession is 44.) "It's the most dangerous thing a coast pilot has to do. You can't jump onto the ladder when the swell is subsiding because the boat might surge up and knock you off the ladder. And you better hope the ladder is in good repair. You might get to the top and find out the crewman is just standing on it. A friend of mine was on a ladder that broke and he fell into the sea, tangled up in the ropes. Fortunately he was an experienced diver and was able to untangle himself, but the ship's propeller just missed his head."

To reduce the danger and cope with the expected increasing demands for service, the Pacific Pilotage Authority is considering transitioning to the use of helicopters for boarding incoming ships. Some pilots have training in the United States, learning how to descend by cable from a chopper. But even that can be tricky. Cruising freighters can't stop or they lose steerage, and in a rolling sea the slippery deck is heaving up and down. "I don't enjoy either method," says one pilot. "So far, I think I prefer the rope ladder." Today, Stewart has an easier assignment, boating out into Vancouver's calm inner harbour to take charge of the M.V. Ultra Bellambi, a 200-metre bulk carrier flagged in Panama. Like most of the pilots, he projects a professional demeanour as he ascends the steep rickety gangway and steps aboard in his dress shoes and necktie. "I don't wear a uniform because some of the crews of these foreign vessels might find that intimidating," he says. "I want co-operation and trust from the crew. If there's a problem with the vessel, I want them to feel comfortable telling me about it. They might be reluctant to complain to the ship's owner for fear of repercussions. But if they report it to me, I can intervene and get the repairs done and we're all better off." Stewart, silver-haired and trim at 58, scrutinizes the clean three-year-old ship for any apparent problems as a crewman leads him up a narrow stairwell. Fourteen storeys above the water, the crewman ushers Stewart onto the bridge, a wide room filled with navigational gear, map tables and radar screens. Captain Raul de la Cruz, also in a necktie, steps forward and greets Stewart with a cordial handshake. "Welcome aboard, sir."

There are 55,000 freighters like this one trading the oceans of the world. About once a week, one of them sinks in a storm, collides with another ship or hits a reef; often, there are fatalities. In his briefcase, Stewart carries specialized navigational gear like a GPS receiver that can identify his position anywhere on the planet within 40 centimetres. ("I don't trust anyone's equipment but my own.") He sets up the receiver on the bridge and conveys calm instructions to the helmsman, who nudges the enormous vessel forward, slipping past other ships anchored a few hundred metres away. "I don't give orders," Stewart explains quietly. "I make requests. The issue of who's actually in command of the vessel is somewhat of a grey area. But they can't legally move without my instructions, and I'm here to protect them and their vessel, so most of them welcome my presence."

Captain de la Cruz, from Cebu, Philippines, stands politely off to one side as Stewart supervises the starting of the engines, the raising of the anchor, and the manoeuvring of the vessel so that it gradually pivots nose-first into the flooding tide. As Stewart kicks the vessel in and out of gear, great whirls of mossy green water erupt from the stern. His assignment is to move the ship from the inner harbour to the outer anchorage on English Bay, where 17 similar freighters are waiting to be loaded with bulk cargo like grain, sulphur and potash. Because the bulkers carry relatively low-value materials, they also conduct themselves at a relatively leisurely pace, sometimes sitting at anchor for days, waiting for a load. (During the winter of 2013, Canadian grain exporters were angered by having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in parking fees for bulk carriers sitting empty for weeks at a time, waiting for the railroads to bring grain from prairie elevators.) The Bellambi, although half-loaded, must now wait in the outer harbour until a train arrives with more Saskatchewan potash. Before it fills up and leaves, the captain will top up with about $400,000 worth of bunker fuel--which, at a cruising speed of 11.6 knots, will get the vessel to its destined port of San Nicolás, Argentina, where the potash will be sold as fertilizer. "I have been all around the world, many times," says Captain de la Cruz. "Vancouver is my favourite port. It's very clean and well run. But it's a difficult life, being a sea captain. It can be scary, in storms, with waves coming over the deck. And it's lonely. Every day I miss my family."

The confined space of the inner harbour can be busy at times, with two or three ships on the move at once, and unlike modern yachts and cruise ships, which have side-mounted thrusters to aid in tight quarters, freighters rely on seasoned pilots and tugboats to get in and out of loading bays. Some of the wharves are exposed to tricky currents, and as ships get progressively larger, the parking spots get tighter. Shortly after Stewart guides the Ultra Bellambi under the Lions Gate Bridge and out into English Bay, another vessel looms into sight--the mountainous container ship Cosco Hong Kong, owned by the China Ocean Shipping Co. (a.k.a. Cosco). In the tidal current under the bridge, Captain Stewart Broderick mans the wheelhouse of a Saam Smit tractor tug. He idles his engines as the ship silently and swiftly approaches, projecting a bulge of transparent green water off the bulb on its prow. Container ships are fast and streamlined; the onrushing behemoth is throwing even less of a wake than the little tugboat. "This guy seems to know what he's doing," comments Captain Broderick observing its swift approach. Angling toward the ship's plate steel flank in what seems to be a collision course, the captain gently thumps up against the hull amidships, swivels the twin drives, and in less than a second the tug is shouldered up against the ship and speeding backwards. On the radio, the pilot aboard the Cosco Hong Kong gives a head's-up to the other skipper aboard the tugboat, Captain John Armstrong, that he's shifting the vessel out of gear to test its gearbox. "We don't want any surprises in these tight quarters," Armstrong explains.

Approaching the Centerm wharf, the Cosco Hong Kong maintains its brisk pace until it is only about 100 metres from the pier, then coasts to a stop. With the help of two other Saam Smit tugs, Captain Broderick pushes the ship against the wharf. Mooring lines are stretched to the deck, and in minutes, the big orange gantry cranes begin unloading the ship. "You rarely see container ships killing time at anchor in English Bay," says Captain Armstrong, a veteran tugboater who is also a vice-president of Saam Smit. "They carry high-value cargo and everyone is in a hurry to get that ship unloaded and get it back to work. The crewmen don't even have time to go for a walk and see the city. By this time tomorrow it will be loaded with containers of Canadian export products like grain or lumber and heading back to China."

Globalization would not be reshaping the world economy so drastically and rapidly were it not for the advent of the shipping container and the vessels made to carry it. It costs only a couple of pennies to ship a cellphone across the ocean by container, and about $10 for a television that will retail in Canada for $700. Container vessels are growing ever larger, with major shipping companies like Maersk building megaships that can carry 18,000 TEU containers. (TEU is short for 20-foot equivalent units.) The newer ships are fast, clean and fuel-efficient.

Port Metro Vancouver leases property to three container terminal companies. On the Fraser River, Fraser Surrey Docks is run by a privately owned Canadian firm. In Vancouver's inner harbour, there's Centerm, one of 65 terminals around the world run by Dubai-based DP World; and GCT Vanterm, which is owned by the largest container business in Canada, Global Container Terminals Canada, which also operates the largest terminal of the lot at Deltaport, on a man-made peninsula south of the city.

At Deltaport, a causeway with highway and railway lines travels for five kilometres out to a vast industrial site bristling with gantry towers, stacked containers and moored vessels as large as football stadiums. GCT Deltaport receives about five ships a week, many of them new, super-efficient vessels too big to fit through the Panama Canal. (The completion of the Panama Canal Expansion Project in 2017 will enable the transit of these larger vessels.) The terminals in Vancouver harbour have almost run out of room to expand their wharves and accommodate the new generation of giant ships; Port Metro Vancouver is planning a major expansion at Deltaport. The new addition, called Roberts Bank Terminal 2, will double container traffic from roughly one million to two million TEUs per year and provide docking space for megaships. If the facility passes its environmental review, it should be in operation by the mid-2020s.

Locked containers are a relatively new bulwark in North American seaports' long struggle to keep organized crime at bay. At GCT Deltaport and other port terminals, security measures are rigid. Visitors to the port, for example, must take the shortest walking route between their vehicle and the front door of the facility's office. When the CEO of one terminal forgot his pass at home, he wasn't allowed through the gate even though the guards knew him. Inside the bustling operations centre at GCT Deltaport, "ship planners" work with computer software that can render a ship in crosssection, plunge deep into its hold, and reveal the origin and contents of any container by reading its bar code. The planners work with officers from the Canadian Border Services Agency, who ask for curious containers to be craned aside and opened. "You learn a lot," says Shane Rozumiak, a GCT ship planning supervisor. "I bet most people don't know that bananas give off radiation."

When a ship comes in, Rozumiak and his team often work 16-hour days. "Our big growth area is Chicago and the urban Midwest," he says. "Shippers use Vancouver as a quick route to the U.S. market. If you want to understand the economy, look at a nighttime image of the continent. Vancouver is sending containers to the clumps of light."

Canadians like to think of themselves as residents of an autonomous nation, but increasingly, local and national politics are dictated by the global shipping network. Without foreign buyers of raw materials like softwood and oil, Canada would be a much poorer place. Shelves would go bare and the economy would grind to a stop in weeks. Most of the consumer items in a typical Canadian home arrived by container ship. If you drive an Asian automobile, it came through the port of Vancouver.

As the New Constellation approaches international waters off the southern tip of Vancouver Island, a crewman casts off the towline and waves goodbye to the crew of the Orleans. In two weeks, the tanker will reach the South China Sea. The Orleans turns around, and afternoon turns to darkness as it cruises through steady rain back to port to pick up another job. In the darkened wheelhouse, a glowing computer display shows the potential customers--icons approaching Vancouver like corpuscles entering the cardio system of the country. By 9 p.m., the Orleans is 30 kilometres from Deltaport, and even at this distance the port glitters like a massive space station. The city is somewhere tucked into the darkness behind it, but for many mariners, Vancouver is the port.

Associated Graphic

Photographs by Nich McElroy

Captain Dwayne Slade helms the Smit Orleans (left) as it approaches the tanker New Constellation (above) on Burrard Inlet early on a March morning

The tug captained by Slade (left) is assisted by the Smit Spirit (centre) and another tug. Digital aids aside, Slade's crew relies on paper maps

Away from berths, tugs do more guiding than towing. A Saam Smit tug helps manoeuvre a container ship through Vancouver's inner harbour

A gangplank is lowered from the M.V. Ultra Bellambi for pilot Robin Stewart to go aboard. Without a pilot, ships may not enter Canadian waters

The M.V. Ultra Bellambi, moored in english Bay, awaits a load of potash. At right, Captain Raul de la Cruz and his crew on the bridge

The Orleans's work done, the New Constellation heads out to the Pacific as an escort boat catches up to retrieve the pilot

Tuesday, June 02, 2015 Tuesday, June 02, 2015

By 2020, there will be tens of billions of data-spouting devices connected to the Internet. And they're already hanging how we live and work
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P27

IBM's Almaden lab is sacred ground for techies. Set in the middle of 700 grassy acres on a hill south of San Jose, its scientists have filed thousands of patents. They've won Turing and Nobel prizes. And almost 60 years ago, they pioneered the first bulky disk drive. Since then, they've been involved in successive pushes to miniaturize it and miniaturize it again, so that now even the tiniest of devices can gather and store data.

Today, Big Blue is putting that tiny technology to work, developing a multi-application gas sensor that could help airports detect and track biochemical threats, determine whether the steak in your fridge has spoiled, or even diagnose breast cancer and other diseases simply by analyzing your breath.

Sensors like these are driving a relatively new tech trend: the Internet of Things. In essence, the "things" referenced in this awkward buzz-phrase are machines embedded with sensors that gather, store and analyze data. And since they're all linked to the Internet, they can upload that data for further processing, download updated software and often be controlled from afar.

The international research firm Gartner estimates that by the end of last year, there were 3.8 billion connected things out there--smart cars, smoke detectors, door locks, industrial robots, streetlights, heart monitors, trains, wind turbines, even tennis racquets and toasters. By 2020, Gartner estimates there will be 25 billion of these smart devices, transmitting tiny amounts of data to us, to the cloud and to each other. Cisco's outgoing CEO, John Chambers, has boldly proclaimed that there will be 50 billion devices online within five years, with a total market worth $19 trillion (all currency in U.S. dollars). Another leader in this sphere, Siemens, has said these smart things are starting to power a fourth Industrial Revolution (after steam, electricity and wired computers).

Some of this, of course, is hot air. There's always a certain amount of hype that accompanies the latest tech trend. Remember radio-frequency ID tags? They were going to change the world, too.

And so, yes, there are technological obstacles between us and this Brave New World.

First off, there's the language barrier. Smart home devices--one of the more developed realms within the Internet of Things--currently speak a Babel of wireless languages, depending on the manufacturer. Your home's thermostat and HVAC system might communicate in Bluetooth, the fridge and coffeemaker in ZigBee, the locks and blinds in Z-Wave and the smoke detector in WiFi. Plus, making sense of the data produced by these machines--not to mention finding space to store giga-, tera-, exa- and even zettabytes of it--poses a huge challenge. Security is another ongoing concern. One IT expert recently demonstrated how easily he could hack into a radio-frequency-controlled insulin pump and remotely administer lethal doses to a diabetic. Other experts have claimed that hackers might, if motivated, access the software in smart cars to take control of their speed, brakes and steering.

But the tech challenges, as daunting as they are, worry insiders less than the legal, social and regulatory ones. Because these sensor-embedded machines will dramatically increase what we can find out about one another, they could give rise to so-called Big Brother and Little Brother problems.

First off, who owns all this data, anyway? Does the deeply personal information collected by your fitness tracker belong to you or to the manufacturer? Should law enforcement be able to access vehicle data in a criminal investigation? Will car-owners want their cars to alert authorities and insurers automatically after every fender-bender? New Cisco-made sensors can, when worn by miners, detect the presence of life-threatening gases. Others can sense if workers (say, in the oil fields or on mega-construction sites) are moving or still--perhaps injured. But they can also help employers determine precisely how and where their employees spend every working moment.

Even with such thorny problems looming, these intelligent machines are already altering spheres as diverse as health care and manufacturing, city planning, transportation and power generation, agriculture and household management. The devices themselves might be micro, but they're causing macro shifts in how we live and work.


The heat is on

for a decade or more, consumers have been promised a future filled with fridges that text us when our milk goes off and coffeemakers we can turn on from our beds. but, though smart appliances have dominated the past several years of the Las Vegas geekapalooza that is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), no singular product or dominant brand has yet emerged. Insiders describe this fast-growing market, which the firm RNR Market Research estimates was worth $20 billion last year, as a vibrant chaos.

The breakout success to date, particularly among the many earnest products aiming to reduce consumer electricity bills, is the Nest Learning Thermostat. With a clean design, a simpler interface than existing programmable thermostats and backing from Google (which paid $3.2 billion for the start-up in 2013), Nest has been making dramatic inroads in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. Thermostats control more energy in your home than is consumed by your appliances, lights, TVs, computers and stereos combined. Nest boasts that its device--which "learns" your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone--could save users 20% on energy.

Other products are more in the novelty line. One of the hits of this year's CES was Tagg, a way of remotely tracking the location and vitals of your dog or cat. Amazon announced in March a line of branded buttons you can stick around your house to enable you to order staples like laundry detergent and toilet paper with one push. Then there's Brad, a smart but needy toaster that checks in with other toasters in his network to see how much action they're getting and wiggles his toggle if he feels neglected.

There are some legacy companies providing whole-home solutions. New Jersey-based Crestron sets up bespoke systems so clients can manage their security, energy use, lighting, HVAC and entertainment systems from their tablets. And Ingersoll Rand has lately begun offering a cheap suite of home-control products under the Nexia brand.

Then there's Apple--because, of course. It has announced the release of HomeKit, a platform it hopes developers in the smart-home sphere will use to create device-controlling apps. The aim is to provide one gateway, one lingua franca, for the industry. Apple generally only ventures into markets with huge potential, and indeed, RNR figures the smart-home market could grow to $60 billion by 2020.

Changes are coming to the office building, as well. No frippery here--these measures are geared toward bottom-line efficiency and worker convenience. Cisco, for instance, controls the core functions of its 300 buildings worldwide, including climate, electricity use and security, from four locations. The company foresees a day when an executive driving into the garage will automatically signal the elevator to come pick her up and turn on the lights in her office.

Buildings with sophisticated internal climate controls have become markedly more common. Manitoba Hydro's new skyscraper in Winnipeg, for instance, features a massive natural humidifier--a steamy room, several storeys tall, filled with tropical plants and a water feature--connected to pipes that pump moist air throughout the building. The system knows when to open and close the blinds, either to let the sunshine in (to benefit from free solar heat) or to keep it out.


Goodbye gridlock

More than half of the world's people now live in urban centres, and almost two-thirds of us will do so by 2050--which means 2.5 billion more city-dwellers to house, employ and transport. That's a nightmare scenario for today's cities, plagued, as so many are, by traffic, smog, crime, overflowing trash bins and inefficient lighting that gobbles between one-quarter and half of municipal electricity budgets. But technologies being tested right now will help the cities of the future better cope with the looming migration.

Stoplights with embedded video sensors can adjust their greens and reds according to where the cars are and the time of day. They're a double-win, reducing both congestion and smog, since vehicles idling at red lights burn up to 17% of the fuel consumed in urban areas.

In Barcelona's Born Market, sensors embedded into parking spaces relay real-time information on empty spots to an app for would-be parkers. Siemens recently gave a grant to a start-up devoted to building parking drones that could guide cars to available spots. Sound trifling? It's not: Up to 30% of congestion is caused by drivers cruising the streets in search of a place to park.

Tel Aviv is tackling traffic on busier roadways by reserving one lane for buses, shuttles, taxis and car poolers--and allowing impatient and deep-pocketed commuters to use the designated lane, as well. Sensors in the asphalt pick up the car's licence plate number and automatically charge the owner's credit card at a rate that varies depending on how busy the road is.

Smart LED streetlights in San Diego turn on only when a pedestrian or vehicle approaches--the city recently replaced 3,000 old streetlamps with sensor-equipped ones to save an estimated $250,000 a year. The Brits, in an effort to deter hooliganism, are testing a lamp that comes on extra-bright when it detects banging and hollering, and is armed with cameras that transmit a live video feed to the cloud.

Over in Philadelphia, they've invested in $4,000-apiece solar-powered garbage cans (called Big Bellies) that crush waste and send a missive to a dispatcher requesting pickup when they're full. Philly has been able to reduce the number of weekly garbage-collecting shifts from 17 to just three, and realize $1 million a year in savings on fuel, maintenance and labour costs.


Rise of the machines

The Harley-Davidson motorcycle plant in York, Pennsylvania, was built in 1973 as a typical assembly-line operation. But six years ago, it got a high-tech update courtesy of Cisco. Now, a slew of sensors linked to socalled manufacturing execution systems collate data from the factory floor to pinpoint any bottlenecks. When a rear fender was found to be holding up the process, managers shifted the layout so that the parts flowed directly onto the line, rather than being gathered and moved manually. In another room, sensors can tell whether the conditions--air flow, moisture--are optimal for painting and amend them as necessary. The system didn't come cheap. One analyst recently told The Wall Street Journal that installing a manufacturing execution system into a single factory can cost between $500,000 and $1 million. But according to SAP (which provided the Harley plant's software), the factory can now turn out 25% more bikes with 30% fewer workers. Instead of delivering one of its 1,700 bike variations in 21 days, it can manage delivery in a mere six hours.

Over in Germany, Siemens's plant in Amberg churns out close to 12 million programmable logic controls a year. (A PLC is a switchboard that can control systems as diverse as cruise ships, ski lifts and, yes, assembly lines.) Microsensors embedded throughout the manufacturing and assembly process have helped the company virtually eliminate defects: It claims its PLCs are perfect 99.99885% of the time.

Greater "visibility"--lingo for instant information delivered from sensors to smartphones and tablets--is also resulting in far less downtime for machines, since managers can detect bottlenecks and existing or impending maintenance issues before they blow up. Accenture recently reported that Internet of Things technology can trim average repair costs by 12%, maintenance by 30% and downtime by as much as 70%. It can also save big on electricity costs--one of a factory's leading expenses--through smart energy management systems. Power rates are automatically incorporated into machine work schedules, allowing the plant to avoid peak prices.

As GE chairman Jeff Immelt once put it: "If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you're going to wake up this morning as a software and analytics company."

I, robo-truck

The new Tesla S electric sedan retails for $70,000. In addition to its enviable pickup--zero to 100 kilometres an hour in less than four seconds--it can travel up to 435 klicks on a single charge. If you're getting low on juice, the car's navigation system can lead you to the nearest charging station. Elon Musk's latest-generation car comes equipped with Autopilot, which uses a combination of camera, radar and 360-degree sonar sensors to automatically drive on open roads and in stop-and-go traffic, and to not only find, but back into, parallel parking spots. The camera also reads posted speed limits and can warn drivers to slow down. Veer out of your lane and the driver's seat shakes.

And the Tesla S gets better all the time, thanks to internal Internet-connected software that sends a steady stream of data back to the company's engineers. Since the car's release, programmers have upgraded the software several times--to boost its range, enable it to warn the driver when other vehicles are sitting in their blind spots, and to automatically dim the high beams when another car approaches.

All this is to say that the days of your car being a static thing, its functions set at the point of sale, are receding fast. Legacy companies like Mercedes-Benz are also set to launch smart vehicles. At its Silicon Valley research centre, a team of engineers and programmers are perfecting a model that can interact with a smartphone, gathering information on your appointments and proposing routes to get there, and displaying real-time traffic information. In May, Freightliner (a subsidiary of Daimler, along with Mercedes) received a Nevada licence for the world's first robo-truck, which had already steered itself through 15,000 kilometres of testing on the state's roads (albeit with a human operator along for the ride).

The research firm Gartner has estimated that, by 2020, there will be 250 million connected cars on the world's roads, with many of them capable of driving themselves. There are eight million traffic accidents each year and 1.3 million crash-related deaths; Cisco's Smart, Connected Vehicles division has posited that autonomous cars could eliminate as many as 85% of head-on collisions. They could also help ease traffic, since they'll be able to communicate their positions to each other and therefore drive much closer together than vehicles piloted by humans. Traffic experts call this "platooning"--packing more cars into the same road space--and it could help save drivers at least some of the 90 billion hours they currently spend stuck in jams each year, generating 220 million metric tonnes of carbon-equivalent and wasting at least $1 trillion in fuel costs and lost productivity.


Planes, trains, shipping lanes

The aviation industry has always been slow to adopt new technologies--America's air traffic control system, for instance, still runs on rickety computer infrastructure built in the 1970s. And it's understandable, to some degree: The consequences of a technological glitch can be particularly dire when we're talking about mass movers 30,000 feet up.

But the fact that the technology to prevent tragedies like the Germanwings crash--in which a disturbed co-pilot locked out the captain and deliberately flew into the French Alps--already exists makes it all the more senseless. Airplanes have long been equipped with sensors that collect data on fuel efficiency, altitude, location and maintenance issues. But that data has typically only been processed after the aircraft lands. With advances in connectivity and data processing software, there's no reason it can't be sent off and parsed mid-flight. That same technology could also be used to override the pilots in crisis situations like Germanwings, or to upload each plane's location more frequently--which would have helped greatly in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, another recent aviation tragedy.

But change is coming, slowly. Sensors in an aircraft's engines can now detect and isolate developing problems--in part by measuring the temperature of a jet engine's exhaust--and communicate those to both pilots and ground crews while the plane is still in the air.

On the efficiency side, GE has developed a tool that measures fuel use inflight and subtly moves the wing flaps (among other things) to reduce unnecessary drag. The technology helped Alitalia reduce fuel consumption by 1% in a year. With industry-wide spending on fuel hovering at around $30 billion annually, even such small savings can add up.

The rail business, too, is slowly chugging toward modernity. Britain's Network Rail Telecom and Cisco are in the process of installing sensors in and beside the tracks to inform a centralized command centre if they need maintenance, or are threatened by nearby landslides or flooding. This will reduce the estimated 1.3 million hours currently spent on rail inspections.

New York commuters have the Internet of Things to thank for shorter commutes. The city's Canarsie subway line recently installed Siemens-made tracks and trains that can pinpoint location with far more precision than the old automatic block signalling system (which uses trackside lights to tell trains to stop and go based on when they pass fixed points). Because smart tracks know exactly where the trains are, that means the gaps between trains don't need to be as large, allowing significantly more trains to run on the busy route--up to 26 per hour, instead of only 15.

Shipping is getting in on this, too. Germany's main port of Hamburg--enabler of the country's post-Second World War economic miracle--has faced several linked and bedevilling problems in recent years. Many of the 550 trucks that arrive at the port each day were idling for hours in long lines waiting for their ships to come in, or parking in residential neighbourhoods near the port, since harbour-side spots were scarce. With 10,000 ships unloading there each year, it often happened that too many arrived at once, jamming the relatively small harbour. Expansion wasn't on the table, given the historic, highly populated nature of its location. Now, thanks to a project with Cisco and SAP, the ships and many of the nine million containers moving through the port transmit (and constantly update) their precise arrival times, so trucks can arrange just-in-time pickup and drop-off of freight. Truckers can even book parking berths remotely, so they don't drive around looking for spots or clog other parts of the city by lining up.


Fit (and you know it)

Technology designed to help boomers live at home longer is, well, booming. This is hardly surprising, with almost 15% of Canadians now 65 or older--a proportion expected to rise to almost 23% within two decades. A new generation of sensors can tell if the condition of patients living at home has worsened--and communicate that at once to their health care teams. Philips--best known for light bulbs and electric toothbrushes--has created a pillbox that pops open when it's time to take your meds, and sends a message to, say, a family member or nurse confirming that you've taken them. The Dutch company recently spun off a new health care subsidiary, Philips Healthcare, that is a leader in the field--and is struggling to find an interface that works just as easily for smartphone-wielding youngsters as it does for octogenarians with degenerative diseases and dementia.

Their sensors can be specially refined, like the ones used by neonatal units to monitor premature babies. Since they can't be placed directly on delicate skin, the sensors instead use high-definition cameras to monitor skin colour, breathing and temperature, and alert nurses of any changes. These devices will eventually help doctors and nurses care for and monitor more patients both at home and in hospital beds. Smart beds now being used at New York-Presbyterian Hospital can tell immediately if a patient has gotten up, and let the nursing station know.

Then there's the booming market for fitness trackers like the FitBit, Apple Watch, Suunto and others, which has already surpassed $2 billion, with well over 84 million sold so far. These monitors measure heart rate, sleep patterns, diet, exercise and more, and beam that data to mobile apps. Soon, that information could be sent directly to your health care provider or insurer, which still rely on your word that, yup, you exercise four times a week and always take the stairs. U.S. insurer John Hancock (a subsidiary of Manulife) is offering clients up to 15% off premiums if they willingly hand over data that proves they lead a healthy lifestyle.

Next up: subcutaneous implants. Mississauga-based Medtronic already sells a glucose implant that helps diabetics keep tabs on their blood sugar.


Power to the people

The grid was designed to deliver power on an as-needed basis, to delicately balance supply and demand--a challenge, given that demand varies by time of day, by weather and by season. A heat wave, a blizzard--heck, even an Academy Awards broadcast--can all stress this aged infrastructure. To meet sudden spikes, backup power stations and diesel generators must stand at the ready, gobbling up scarce resources. It is far from efficient.

The basic theory behind the so-called Smart Grid is simple: Power is priced on the basis of demand, and this information is transmitted immediately to smart meters, thermostats and appliances so that they can draw the power they need at off-peak times, when it's cheapest. This system uses market forces to balance the system loads and should, in theory, make power networks less susceptible to black-and brownouts.

Pilot programs, most notably in Italy and Texas, have demonstrated that the theory can work in the real world. The U.S. has set 2030 as an informal deadline to implement most of the components of the smart grid; Ontario's Hydro One is one of many regional utilities worldwide currently working to smarten up its network. It's shooting for 2025, though it has already replaced many old meters with smart ones. For now, they're simply transmitting time-of-day usage directly to the utility. But the meters could, in the future, receive information on pricing and the total demands placed on the system, and govern themselves accordingly.

Power lines and pipelines are getting a high-tech upgrade, too. Data collected by sensors in the lines can be analyzed to detect and isolate maintenance problems. And predictive software already on the market can anticipate which trees are most likely to fall and take down lines. Cisco builds pipelines lined with sensitive fibres that can sense leaks and radio for help right away. For aging pipelines, GE has developed software that collates seismic data, topographical details, population density, and hospital and school locations to help make maintenance decisions on an ongoing basis or in emergencies.

The growth of renewable energy sources also hinges in large part on the smart grid. By next year, according to the International Energy Association, renewables will replace natural gas as the world's second-largest source of power (coal is still on top). Here in Canada, wind and solar are by far the fastest-growing power-generating sectors (though they still account for just a few per cent of the total). While they may be easier on the environment, they put major pressure on the grid, since the energy generated by solar and wind farms varies by time of year and day, throwing out of whack its delicate balancing act. Solar panels that can communicate the amount of power they're generating already exist. It remains to knit fields full of these panels into the grid, and to find a scalable battery to store overflow when we don't need it.

Wind is suffering similar integration issues, though the latest generation of turbines themselves are already benefiting from Internet of Things technology. GE-built turbines on the leading edge of a wind farm can let those behind them know that a gust is coming, prompting them to immediately alter the angle of their blades to protect themselves from damage and lengthen their lives. A relatively new software program also processes the data collected by turbine sensors and proposes the optimal angles to generate more power, increasing windfarm production by as much as 5%.


Grain expectations

Despite the bucolic image we might have of the average family farm, farmers have always been early adopters of technology--after all, anything that can help boost the meagre living they can scrape out of the land is a good thing. Most farmers these days walk their fields with GPS-enabled smartphones in their hands, loaded with ag-related apps. And with farms getting dramatically larger--the average spread in the United States has doubled in the past quarter-century--farmers (or, as is becoming more common, the huge corporations that own these operations) have been quick to deploy data-gathering, Internet-linked devices to help keep track of them. New machines from John Deere can not only plow, sow and reap, they can also collect a Farmer's Almanac worth of data, including air and soil temperatures, moisture, wind speed, humidity, solar radiation and rainfall. Smart watering systems sprinkle just enough H2O on the fields, in just the right places, and can detect leaks in water pipes--vital in dry and drought-affected regions like California. One company has developed a sensor that can detect high counts of a particular pest and then release the pheromones that disrupt their mating rituals--which can, in turn, reduce the need for pesticides. Even cows are now transmitting bits of data in real time: A Dutch company has created sensors that, when attached to individual animals, can tell farmers which ones are in heat, pregnant or ill.

GE's software speaks Train Optimization.

Variables like train size, track conditions and driver variation are enemies of efficiency. Trip Optimizer system - part of the RailConnectTM 360 product line from GE - functions as an intelligent cruise control for trains, repeatedly adjusting its speed based on information such as network traffic, weather and track grade to optimize fuel usage. Because when GE's software talks to machines, everything works the way it was intended.

GE's software speaks Patient Care.

Making sure each patient receives the correct dose of radiation safely and efficiently is at the heart of improved care. GE Healthcare's DoseWatchTM software is the data behind a comprehensive patient-focused solution that helps manage treatment across your healthcare enterprise. Vendor agnostic, DoseWatch goes beyond tracking to provide powerful analytics that help you balance image quality with dose. When GE's software speaks the language of imaging, the patient wins.

GE's software speaks Increased Power Output.

Improving a wind farm's performance by just 5% is like adding one additional turbine for every twenty, cost free. GE's PowerUpTM services are a combination of GE's software and hardware adjustments to speed, torque, pitch and aerodynamics to enhance energy production, increasing profits up to 20% for wind farm operators. Once activated, PowerUp also provides a complete beforeand-after analysis that validates the performance improvements. Because when GE's software talks to machines, everything works the way it was intended.

Associated Graphic


Tuesday, June 02, 2015 Tuesday, June 02, 2015

What's the fix for the comedy of errors at the world's largest gold miner? New chairman John Thornton says it's all about being true to Barrick's roots. Maybe skip the hubris this time
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P19

A floor of empty cubicles is what's left of Barrick Gold Corp.'s boom years. A lone whiteboard leans against a chair, the last vestige of hundreds of people who worked at the miner's Toronto headquarters when gold was hurtling toward $1,900 an ounce (all currency in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted).

The world's biggest gold producer--one of Canada's few global champions and formerly the envy of the mining industry--is on a desperate mission to recapture its magic after years of dismal results, humiliating missteps and rockbottom investor confidence. Its share price on the NYSE is not much higher than where it was two decades ago.

The three-year slump in bullion prices to around $1,200 an ounce has devastated the industry. Mines that used to be profitable are now bleeding cash. In these conditions, Barrick's every blunder--an ill-timed foray into copper, an attempt to build a mountaintop mine in the Andes--is exposed on its balance sheet, particularly in one remarkable number: Debt stands at $13 billion.

The company is vowing to cut that figure by at least $3 billion by the end of this year, even if it has to sell an heirloom or two to get there. A slew of top-rank Barrick veterans are gone and the company's charismatic founder, Peter Munk, retired as chairman in April, 2014.

John Thornton, who was elevated from co-chairman to chairman when Munk retired, says he wants Barrick to "go back to the future," to be true to its "original DNA": lean, nimble and entrepreneurial. But how do you unwind history?

In the 1980s, Goldstrike was a mine that had a great name and a modest output--50,000 ounces a year, eked out from the Carlin Trend, a barren 60-kilometre-long stretch in northern Nevada where gold was first discovered by Newmont Mining Corp. But Goldstrike had been passed over by Newmont, even though combining Goldstrike with its nearby properties would have made for economies of scale. Other miners also passed.

Barrick's stature at the time was just as slight as Goldstrike's--a no-name in an industry dominated by South African giants like Harmony Gold, Gold Fields and Anglo American.

Munk thought Barrick should be in the Carlin Trend. He sent his friend and closest adviser, Bob Smith, to check out Goldstrike. Smith, who was also Barrick's president and top miner, believed there was more gold there than had been estimated. On his advice, Barrick bought Goldstrike for $62 million in 1986.

What happened next is as close as it gets to a fairy tale in the mining world.

Smith thought there could be as much as 1.2 million ounces of reserves in the ground. In fact, Goldstrike would produce two million ounces annually for nine years. The mine put both Barrick and Nevada gold on the map. "It is up there in the topfive list of deposits that changed the course of history," says David Palmer, CEO of Probe Metals Inc., who recently discovered a gold deposit in Ontario and sold it to Goldcorp. Inc. "That mine would have made anyone who found it and pursued it."

A test of a good gold mine is whether it can survive low prices. Goldstrike did. A test of any business is whether it can survive an economic downturn. Barrick did--thanks to Munk's decision to hedge. Selling future gold production at a fixed price barricaded Barrick from bullion prices that fell 40% to $250 per ounce in the 1990s.

Indeed, back then, Barrick was seen as making all the right moves at all the right times. Between 1989 and 1996--a period that concluded with some competitors being forced into bankruptcy--its stock price almost quadrupled on the NYSE to $30.36.

Goldstrike has produced 41 million ounces so far--a jawdropping amount for one mine. Although its best days are over, the mine will still be producing for another decade.

If Goldstrike is fading, Nevada is nonetheless at the centre of Barrick's drive to position itself as an all-Americas proposition. The company has interests in 16 mines globally. But its five core mines--Goldstrike, Cortez (also in Nevada), Lagunas Norte (Peru), Veladero (Argentina) and Pueblo Viejo (Dominican Republic)--are all in this hemisphere, accounting for 60% of Barrick's 6.3 million ounces of production last year. The core mines' costs are among the lowest in the industry, at an average of $716 per ounce. That means Barrick can make a profit with bullion trading between $1,100 and $1,200 an ounce.

There are three things that make Nevada especially attractive to Barrick.

First is the sheer breadth of the ore body. Within the state, the company has 26 million ounces in gold reserves and 33 million ounces in gold resources--a measure that is not as bankable as reserves, but still promising. It's the state that keeps giving. "If you look at the overall endowment, it is one of the best in the world," says Doug Livermore, North American project director with Newmont, which has mines next to Barrick properties in Nevada and is its biggest rival. "There hasn't been any indication that we have found it all."

Barrick believes that another of its Nevada mines, Turquoise Ridge, has the potential to become a sixth core property. (Barrick owns 75% of the mine; Newmont owns the rest.)

One of Barrick's new discoveries, Goldrush, boasts more than 10 million ounces in resources, making it one of the biggest gold discoveries of the past decade.

And Goldrush is only six kilometres from Cortez. That's the second Nevada advantage: Barrick can use its existing infrastructure in the state rather than building everything from scratch--and run the risk of sinking billions of dollars into a dead end like the Pascua-Lama project in the Andes.

Finally, the state has long been a friendly place for miners. That's no small matter given some of Barrick's misadventures in developing countries. Digging up metal is predictable and easy compared to navigating in jurisdictions where policies are always changing. "We see our core business as partnering with host governments and communities to create wealth from the extraction of natural resources," Thornton said in an e-mail. "We believe it is vital that the spirit of partnership is at the core of everything we do."

Thus Barrick has tried to weave itself into the fabric of Nevada. It donated $10 million in the state in 2013. Its executive director in the U.S., Michael Brown, spends much of his time on community relations. He worked with conservation groups and government to protect the habitat of a threatened bird, the greater sage grouse. He is also working with state officials to improve the education system in Nevada, which has one of the highest dropout rates in the United States.

Brown says he knew Barrick had made inroads when he was asked to join a Nevada business council and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton mentioned Barrick's community work at a public forum. "We were viewed as a northern mining company. Now we are positioned as an all-Nevada company," Brown says.

Of course, there's more going on than just community work. Brown says that in one of their first meetings, Thornton told him, "We need a board member from Nevada and a business-to-business presence in southern Nevada." Barrick has since added a Nevada businessman to its board, Brian Greenspun, the publisher of a family-owned Las Vegas newspaper. As for Thornton's latter point, the company is opening a new "global technology centre" in a suburb of Las Vegas, which is a seven-hour drive south from Elko, the hub for most miners in the state. Barrick is moving about 25 technology jobs from Toronto to Las Vegas.

If he's made friends in Nevada, the 61-year-old Thornton is a polarizing figure in the close-knit Canadian mining community. Best known for starting Goldman Sachs's business in China, his network includes the country's central banker and the head of its antigraft watchdog. He is co-chairman of the Brookings Institution, one of the most influential think tanks in the world.

For many people in the gold business, a bullish view of the yellow metal is bred in the bone. Thornton takes a more pragmatic view. He likens the business to being on a high wire without a net, since gold prices can swing wildly with scant warning. (True enough: Presumably shareholders appalled by Barrick's performance have also noticed that shares of both Newmont and Goldcorp have declined 50% over the last five years; Kinross Gold Corp. is down almost 90%.) Thornton wants Barrick to have no debt and to be profitable even at low gold prices so a dividend can always be paid.

That reassures those investors who view gold as a safe haven. But some aspects of Thornton's approach unsettle mining types and underline his outsider status in the industry. He shuns the traditional circuit of mining conferences. His hiring of a former British military commander as chief of staff raised eyebrows; people within and outside of the company are unsure of what exactly Richard Williams does.

One of the biggest knocks against Thornton is the implosion of merger talks with Newmont last year, which shocked the industry--the union would have consolidated the two companies' assets in Nevada and potentially cut $1 billion in annual costs. Each company blamed the other; Newmont's board of directors took the unusual step of publicly calling Thornton obstructionist.

In the wider business community, appraisals of Thornton range from "brilliant" and "a big thinker" to "controlling" and "volatile."

Thornton has tapped some of his former colleagues to join Barrick. Woo Lee, a former U.S. State Department representative who used to work for Thornton's private firm JL Thornton & Co. LLC, now represents Barrick in China. Michael Evans, one of Thornton's former partners at Goldman Sachs, sits on Barrick's board. Nevada director Greenspun is, like Thornton, connected with the Brookings Institution.

To some, all this echoes how Barrick's board under Munk was beholden to its founder. "My biggest fear is that the chairman's role becomes an autocracy," says Chris Mancini, analyst with the Gabelli Gold Fund, which owns Barrick stock. "What you don't want to see is a board that is hand-picked by the chairman, especially for Barrick, where there were lots of issues in the past relative to the way Mr. Munk ran the firm." (Two long-serving Munk loyalists--Brian Mulroney and Howard Beck--retired from the board when Munk stepped down in April, 2014.)

People close to Thornton say he listens to criticism and understands that not everyone is going to see things the way he does. "He is not one of these people who says 'water off the duck's back,' " says Michael Evans, a Barrick director who helped Thornton establish Goldman in China and worked with him for a decade. "He is a very good listener. He listens to the perspective that is being presented and folds that into his calculus."

Dominic Barton, global managing director of McKinsey & Company, says Thornton has a "combination of very big ideas and then he is an executer." He adds: "He is a detailed guy. Often you have one or the other. He does both." Barton, who got to know Thornton as their respective firms ventured into Asia, observes that Thornton "has had to deal with some pretty tough stuff that can shake a corporation to its foundation." He cites Thornton's role as a director of Ford Motor Co. in recruiting Alan Mulally to save the company from bankruptcy. "[Thornton] likes big challenges. I think he wants to leave a legacy," says Barton.

Thornton has put his mark on Barrick with a raft of staffing changes. But the move to a more streamlined company was already under way when he became co-chairman in June, 2012. Barrick had let go middle managers in 2012 under Munk and then-CEO Jamie Sokalsky's leadership.

On his own watch, Thornton eliminated the CEO position and replaced it with two co-presidents. He created an executive position for talent management, as well as the chief of staff post filled by the former soldier, Richard Williams. Thornton shed more of the layers between head office and the mine site, and made it clear that he wants every mine to be run like a business, with head office serving to allocate capital and people.

Between the old regime and the new one, Barrick has shed nearly 10,000 jobs through the closing of regional offices, mine sales and other cuts. It now employs 17,500 worldwide, down from 27,000 in 2012. Thornton aims to whittle Barrick's Toronto head office down to 140 people this year, from 400 in 2012.

Thornton appears to be following the model of Randgold Resources Ltd., one of the handful of go-to gold mining stocks for investors. The company has a small head office; its mines, in Africa, are run as individual businesses. It has managed to be successful despite operating in politically risky countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ironically, the company's CEO, Mark Bristow, modelled Randgold on Barrick. "My greatest admiration for a start-up and a quality company was Barrick in its early days," says Bristow. "It had a small head office, it had high-quality assets, it was really entrepreneurial, and it didn't take prisoners," he says. "Then its qualities changed from being profit-driven to wanting to be the biggest and that just didn't work."

It looks like Barrick gets it. At the Cortez mine in Nevada, manager Matt Gili says he is constantly being told to run his mine like a business. Gili, formerly of Rio Tinto, joined Barrick in 2013 as the company was starting to transition. He found being accountable for everything at the mine refreshing. When he was running Rio Tinto's big copper mine in Mongolia, Gili reported to at least five different executives. Now he reports to Barrick co-president Jim Gowans, a long-time mine operator who joined Barrick in 2014. Gowans is constantly emphasizing that the goal is to make "free cash flow."

Free cash flow--the cash left over after all expenses, including interest on debt--is the purest measure of a company's profitability. "Jim has been drilling it in to us: The prize is not making gold. The prize is making free cash flow," says Gili.

Thornton is requiring every operation to deliver a 15% return on invested capital in the downturn and has said that the company will "defer, cancel or sell projects that cannot achieve this target."

This idea, like the focus on the Americas and generating free cash flow, actually was inculcated when Munk and Sokalsky were running things. What is new under Thornton is the specific 15% investment hurdle and the tying of management pay to that target, as well as to free cash flow and debt reduction. "They are saying all the right stuff. The question is: Will they deliver?" says Pawel Rajszel, an analyst with Veritas Investment Research. "Because of history, the odds are they won't. Because it's a new executive team, maybe they will."

Getting back into investors' good books will also require stepping back from the debt precipice. For most of its life, Barrick's balance sheet was pristine and the company bragged about its top-tier credit rating. When gold nosedived to below $300 an ounce in 1997, Standard & Poor's downgraded a slew of Barrick's competitors. Newmont was put on credit watch. But the rating agency left Barrick's coveted "A" rating unchanged, citing its low cost structure and significant hedge position.

Barrick held onto that rating for another 15 years. But by July, 2012, its credit was downgraded to the second-lowest investment-grade rating thanks to ballooning costs at Pascua-Lama and the $7.3-billion (Canadian) all-cash acquisition of copper producer Equinox Minerals Ltd. in 2011. "We have signalled that the debt burden is too high for the rating and we have had a negative outlook on the rating for some time," says Darren Kirk, senior credit officer with Moody's Investors Service.

Today, Barrick's debt is at the lowest investment-grade rating--one level above junk status. The company raised $3 billion in a share offering to pay down part of its debt in 2013. Now it has announced that it is talking to potential buyers about its mines in Australia and Papua New Guinea. It could also get rid of any of its other 11 non-core mines around the world, as well as its majority stake in its spun-off Tanzanian operation, Acacia (which was originally dubbed African Barrick).

The challenge in offloading these high-cost assets is getting a good price in a dire market. So Barrick has been forced to consider selling one of its prized mines--Zaldívar, the Chilean copper mine that generates so much cash that it has been referred to as "the Andean ATM."

Thornton acknowledges the difficult choices the company has to make. "We are focused on gold. Zaldívar is an excellent asset, but it is not core and we have made a commitment to reduce our debt," he said in an e-mail. "That means making some hard decisions and we believe our owners want to see that we are capable of taking the hard decisions for the greater good of the business."

In some ways it doesn't seem fair that Barrick's share price is languishing. The company has some of the best gold mines and projects in the world. It holds 93 million ounces in reserves and 94 million ounces of resources. When precious-metal prices started to plummet in 2012, Barrick was the first to take decisive action and suspend mammoth projects and slash costs. Today, it has some of the lowest production costs in the industry.

And yet, Barrick's stock is trading at multiyear lows of around $13. The reason: Investors simply don't trust Barrick any more. This may be the hardest part of the turnaround. Barrick has to be seen again as doing the right things at the right time. "Then we will start to see positive momentum in the stock," says Kelvin Dushnisky, Barrick's co-president, and one of the few survivors from the old regime. Dushnisky, who performs traditional CEO duties such as taking questions at the annual general meeting, joined Barrick in 2002. Back then, it was the "go-to place in the industry": Everyone wanted to work for Barrick.

That is not the case today, Dushnisky says. "I would like us to be the overwhelming choice, with everyone else a far distant second. Today, are we there? No. We are not there yet."

Over the past five years, the company has repeatedly blindsided investors. In 2010, Barrick said it was getting out of Africa. A year later, it bought a pure copper company, Equinox, for its Zambian copper mine. Apart from the flip-flop on Africa, Barrick never telegraphed to shareholders that it was interested in diving deeper into copper.

Meanwhile, costs to build Pascua-Lama swelled to $8 billion from an initial projection of $3 billion.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere in 2012, Thornton was appointed co-chairman and later was awarded a $11.9-million signing bonus. Traditionally quiet Canadian pension funds balked and protested the bonus.

Munk extolled Thornton's connections in China, leading investors to believe Thornton would soon broker a deal in the Middle Kingdom. Then, in some of Thornton's first public comments, he said he could see Barrick diversifying into other metals.

Even Thornton's "back to the future" mantra has confused long-time investors. "It's a nice catchphrase but I don't know what it means," says David Christensen, CEO of ASA Gold and Precious Metals, which has held Barrick stock for decades.

In 2013, Thornton and Barrick courted the major pension funds that had voted against his signing bonus. The miner overhauled its compensation structure so that executives' pay would be tied to goals such as debt reduction. But since then, one of the funds it cultivated--la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec--has sold its shares.

The biggest blow to the early days of Thornton's leadership--and to the drive to build shareholder trust--came in March when Barrick disclosed that its board had increased his compensation for 2014 by $3.4 million, a 36% pay raise. And this just a year after the company revamped its executive pay plans in an attempt to placate shareholders.

The company says the chairman's pay is not based on achieving quantitative goals such as generating cash (as is the case with other executives), but rather on the board's appraisal of how well he has met other goals, such as building stakeholder relations and developing the company's growth strategy--achievements that are more difficult to assess. Indeed, when it comes to one key group of stakeholders--the owners of the company--Thornton seems to be doing the opposite of his assigned task simply by being paid so much.

Thornton did define a strategy--the slashing of debt and focus on gold. But as the plan was so recently announced, some investors complained that he was getting paid before delivering results. And the pay hike came in a year when the company's stock lost a third of its value. Thornton did come through by putting skin in the game, just like he says the rest of the leadership should do. Of the $12.9-million pay package he received for last year, $7 million was used to buy Barrick stock. Thornton now owns around 1.4 million shares in Barrick, half of which he purchased with his own funds.

But over all, investors were not impressed. They voted against Thornton's pay hike at Barrick's annual meeting in April. And the four board directors involved in setting his compensation received the lowest shareholder approval--this in a country that routinely rubber-stamps director elections.

When Thornton took to the stage in his first address to shareholders, he told them, "We have heard you loud and clear," and vowed to change how he was compensated. However, the shareholder vote is non-binding. The episode didn't have the markings of a new era.

"Their investors have lost confidence. There is no question about it," says Pierre Lassonde, a gold veteran who chairs a rewarding mining stock, Franco-Nevada Corp. "What Thornton is doing is saying we have to regain investors' confidence and here is what I am going to do. And they are saying show me, which is, frankly, the attitude I would expect."

When you take away the "back to the future" phrase and ignore the pay raise, Thornton's strategy makes sense, investors say. Thornton is trying to reduce debt. He has made free cash flow a priority. He wants his executive team and top staff to act like owners by investing a significant amount of their wealth in the company. He has hired some respected names from inside and outside the industry.

Thornton says shareholders have been supportive of his strategy. "They tell us they like what they are hearing and that has been reflected in the strength of our share price since we outlined the strategy," he said in an e-mail. (Changes in the price of gold could also be a factor.) "Of course, now they expect us to execute and that is our focus."

Seymour Schulich, a senior Bay Street figure with a long history in gold, has confidence in Thornton even though he disagreed with the pay raise. He likes Thornton's empowering of mine managers, and he likes that Thornton has a stake in the company. He believes Barrick's stock is cheap and that the company has the best assets in the world.

Thornton has heard the good and the bad, and his message--his calculus--is this: "Judge us by our actions. Hold us accountable for doing the things we say we are going to do."

You can be sure investors will.

Associated Graphic

Photograph by Justin Poulsen

Photograph Courtesy Barrick

Goldstrike, the Nevada property that other miners had passed over, made Barrick's name and put the state on the map for the gold business

Photographs Justin Poulsen; Source Bloomberg

John Thornton (left) and Peter Munk (below) at Barrick's annual general meeting in April: "We have heard you loud and clear"

Tuesday, June 02, 2015 Tuesday, June 02, 2015

How BlackBerry's bid to one-up the iPhone failed
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B8

Mike Lazaridis, ever the boy electrician, liked to relax by tearing apart small machines in his spare time. Just as he once opened radios in his basement lab for fun, Lazaridis lifted hoods on competitors' phones. Staff visiting his third-floor office in a building called RIM 4 grew accustomed to disemboweled phones with chipsets, antennas, and wires strewn across his desk.

Usually the desktop autopsies confirmed Lazaridis's faith that BlackBerry was the smartest phone on the market.

In the summer of 2007, however, Lazaridis cracked open a phone that gave him pause.

"They've put a Mac in this thing," he marvelled after peering inside one of the new iPhones. Ever since Apple's phone went on sale in June, critics and consumers were effusive about the sleek phone's playful touch screen, elegant graphics, and high-resolution images.

Lazaridis saw much more. This was no ordinary smartphone. It was a small mobile Apple computer whose operating system used 700 megabytes of memory - more than twenty-two times the computing power of the BlackBerry. The iPhone had a full Safari browser that traveled everywhere on the Internet. With AT&T's backing, he could see, Apple was changing the direction of the industry.

Lazaridis shared the revelation with his handset engineers, who had been pushing to expand BlackBerry's Internet reach for years. Before, Lazaridis had waved them off. Carriers wouldn't allow RIM to include more than a simple browser because it would crash their networks. After his iPhone autopsy, however, he realized the smartphone race was in danger of shifting. If consumers and carriers continued to embrace the iPhone, BlackBerry would need more than its efficient e-mail and battery to lead the market.

"If this thing catches on, we're competing with a Mac, not a Nokia," he said. The new battleground was mobile computing.

Lazaridis figured RIM's core corporate market was safe because the iPhone couldn't match BlackBerry's reliable keyboard and inhouse network delivery of secure e-mails. But in the consumer market, where the Pearl phone was competing, RIM needed a full Web browser. BlackBerry was a sensation because it put e-mail in people's pockets. Now, iPhone was offering the full Internet. If BlackBerry was to prevail, he told RIM's engineers, "We have to fix everything that's wrong with the iPhone."

While Lazaridis pushed internally for a response to the iPhone, publicly he and Balsillie dismissed their new rival. Companies often ignore competitors' triumphs, but by downplaying a consumer sensation, RIM suddenly seemed out of touch. "I haven't seen one," RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie told the Toronto Star after the iPhone went on sale in June. Months later, when the iPhone grabbed a fifth of the U.S. smartphone market, Lazaridis complained to the New York Times about its keyboard: "I couldn't type on it and I still can't type on it, and a lot of my friends can't type on it. ... It's hard to type on a piece of glass."

With every click of his PowerPoint presentation, Lazaridis felt his audience grow slack and bored. It was late August 2007 and RIM's boss was making a pitch in a Manhattan hotel meeting room to a team of senior executives from Verizon and its British affiliate Vodafone.

Lazaridis and chief operating officer Larry Conlee had been invited to New York by the carriers to propose new phone ideas. Although the iPhone wasn't mentioned, there was no doubt Verizon and Vodafone were looking for a device that might supplant what was now America's fastest-selling smartphone.

Judging by the drooping faces of John Stratton, Verizon's chief marketing officer, his colleagues, and the executives from Vodafone, Lazaridis was losing the room.

RIM's co-CEO had started with a pitch for BlackBerry Bold, due to launch in 2008. Clicking from slide to slide, Lazaridis extolled Bold's improved keyboard, with an innovative track pad to replace the trackball, and large screen. This, he told the room, was the best phone RIM ever designed. But to Stratton and company, Bold failed to live up to its name. Up against AT&T and its exclusive multiyear deal to sell the iPhone, Verizon had little interest in another keyboard phone, nor did Vodafone.

"The whole atmosphere was, AT&T has the iPhone and we don't, so what do we do?" remembers Conlee. "Neither of those carriers likes to lose. It's a religious war."

Verizon had been caught off guard by iPhone's ascendency.

Two years earlier, Verizon rejected an overture from Steve Jobs to partner with Apple on its plans for a new phone. A stickler for bandwidth reliability, the New York-based carrier wouldn't relinquish control of its network to an unseen phone Jobs wanted complete authority to design.

Like Lazaridis, Verizon executives correctly predicted iPhone traffic would create gridlock on AT&T's network. What they didn't anticipate was that consumers didn't care. A multibillion-dollar market in carrier revenue was opening up and AT&T had a lock on the hottest device. RIM's Bold was no match for the iPhone.

Sensing the audience's mood, Lazaridis hurried to plan B. Up on the screen, surrounded by lightning, shone an ebony glasscovered phone. That, Lazaridis explained, was Storm. Phone and computer companies had experimented with touch-screen devices for years. None, he said, could match the magic touch of Storm. Pulling out a prototype, Lazaridis pressed a finger on the glass screen. There would be no sweeping fingers, no clumsy iPhone typos on this device. To make the point, his finger hovered like a computer mouse over a digital version of BlackBerry's signature keyboard on the phone's touch screen. When he pressed on a digital key, the entire screen clicked down like a giant button, replicating the tactile feel of tapping a BlackBerry keyboard. RIM had combined the navigation feel of a computer mouse with the secure handling of a BlackBerry keyboard.

Under the hood, the ingenious floating Storm screen was designed to activate existing BlackBerry software every time it was clicked. This was how RIM would outsmart Apple, by combining the best of BlackBerry with the seductive lure of a touch screen. His old swagger returning, Lazaridis hailed the next smartphone wave. No one disagreed. Superlatives followed as Verizon and Vodaphone executives passed around the prototype. "They were over the moon," Lazaridis would remember. "They loved the prototype.

They called it revolutionary."

RIM had its own reasons for backing the kind of touch phone that Lazaridis had initially and so publicly disdained. Verizon and Vodafone were two of the world's biggest carriers with deep ties into the U.S. and European consumer phone market.

Their endorsement of Storm came with an estimated $100million marketing budget and thousands of retail stores to promote the phone. If Storm took off, the two carriers could potentially sell millions of phones.

RIM could stand toe-to-toe with Apple. This was the biggest break in RIM's history. When Lazaridis and Conlee returned to Waterloo, Balsillie had only one reservation about the Verizon contract. RIM had to make the transformative phone in nine months. Was it possible for RIM to deliver in such a short time frame? The answer, Lazaridis and Conlee agreed, was yes.

Conlee broke the news about RIM's ambitious deal to a select group of engineering executives shortly after the Manhattan meeting. In a room located adjacent to his office in RIM 4, Conlee outlined the secret project for the company's first touch phone. The code name for the product was Project Storm, a nod to the disruptive impact RIM hoped the phone would have on the market. But that day the name captured a blizzard of objections from the company's engineers.

RIM was racing to roll out Bold phones for 2008; now it wanted to shift gears and create a new phone in nine months! It took eighteen months to create a new BlackBerry. A touch phone was something else. Although Storm would use BlackBerry's existing operating system, it would need new hardware, radio and antenna configurations, and additional software. RIM products were reliable, never this rushed. There would be no time for proper "soak-testing"- engineering talk for working bugs out of software.

Waving off protests, Conlee, RIM's product enforcer, asked each engineer to explain what he or she needed to make the touch phone happen. The room of problem solvers reluctantly itemized the parts, software, and staff they would need, immediately. Conlee then turned to Perry Jarmuszewski, a soft-spoken radio engineer who had been with RIM for more than a decade. "Perry I guess you're good to go. You haven't said anything," Conlee offered.

Jarmuszewski, who preferred solving problems to making them, had deliberately held his tongue. Prodded by Conlee, he pushed back. "On a scale of 0 to 10, if 10 means no way, then this project is an 11," he said. "It's impossible. It's something I would not be able to deliver." Conlee shrugged and gave his marching orders: "Well, you guys are the heads of our engineering groups.

You are paid accordingly. I expect you to get it done. Verizon wants an answer to the iPhone. We have to do it."

"Did we push the teams too hard?" says Lazaridis. "Probably.

Can you show me a company that doesn't? I'd be hard-pressed to believe you. The pressure Jobs put his iPhone team through was worse than anything I ever put on my team. The fact is, that's how business runs."

After years of flying below the radar, RIM's chiefs were in the limelight as Lazaridis and Balsillie won awards and mainstream media attention. In March 2008, Wall Street's weekly financial bible, Barron's, called RIM's co-CEOs "under-appreciated northern lights," adding both to its annual list of the world's best CEOs. Also on the list was Steve Jobs. After Mac computers, iTunes, and the iPhone, Jobs was Silicon Valley's undisputed king of cool. By comparison, Lazaridis and Balsillie were bright but awkward public speakers. When Jobs spoke, his fans cheered.

When Lazaridis and Balsillie stepped onstage, people sometimes scratched their heads.

For all his confidence, Balsillie could be a surprisingly baffling public speaker. The executive who carefully rehearsed scripts for customer presentations preferred a let's-see-what-happens approach to interviews. He once explained his speaking strategy to university students: "The great thing is, when I talk, nobody knows what I'm going to say, including me." On April Fools Day, 2008, Balsillie gave the kind of spontaneous interview that gives publicists coronaries.

Wearing a tan jacket and a blue T-shirt, Balsillie sat down with George Stroumboulopoulos, host of a popular Canadian Broadcasting Corporation TV show. Referencing the popular iPhone, Stroumboulopoulos asked if it was time to add to RIM's lineup: "Do you ever look at it and go, 'What are we going to do if this isn't our primary business, growing RIM beyond . a BlackBerry?' " "Um, no," Balsillie laughed, "we're a very poorly diversified portfolio." "You're just going to focus on one thing!" said Stroumboulopoulos.

"It either goes to the moon or it crashes to Earth," Balsillie replied.

In the spring of 2008, no one believed RIM would flame out.

Its stock market value was more than $70-billion, quarterly revenues were up 100 per cent from the previous year, and the company sold sixty thousand BlackBerrys daily. Still, the company couldn't afford to be arrogant.

The iPhone had grabbed a 17 per cent share of the U.S. smartphone market, while RIM's share slipped from 45 to 40 per cent.

This was more than a battle of duelling devices. Apple and RIM were competing to capture consumer imagination. When Jobs promoted the iPhone he talked about tangible pleasures - the ability to search Paris maps, listen to Bob Dylan, play video games, and tap cameras that captured the world. When Lazaridis talked about RIM's phones, you needed an engineering degree to parse his words.

Unveiling RIM's Bold phone at a conference in Orlando, Florida, in May 2008, he began with a spiel ripped from a product manual: "3G tri-band HSDPA.

Quad band Edge. Wi-Fi A, B, and G. GPS. 624 megahertz strongarmed with MMX. Powerhouse processing. Bold. Brilliant, strong colour display. The best keyboard we've ever made."

Translation? RIM was launching a third-generation phone that came with Wi-Fi, GPS, and a more powerful processor. To technology wonks in the theatre, corporate IT managers, and CIOs, Lazaridis made perfect sense. He was announcing the smartest new smartphone for business customers. But to investors, journalists, and non-engineers, Lazaridis might as well have been reciting algorithms.

There is a small white building on Columbia Street, close to the University of Waterloo, where BlackBerrys were sent to be tortured. Beatings took place in a concrete-floored lab with a white, corrugated-steel ceiling, from which pipes, wires, and row after row of high-voltage lights hung. This was where RIM's quality assurance team tested the limits of new BlackBerry models. Phones were thrown in swirling industrial tumblers, shaken by robotic arms, dropped on cement, and subjected to extreme temperatures. Afterward, a confidential report on phone flaws was circulated to product managers and executives. The meticulous attention to quality resulted in a low phone return rate, just 3 per cent.

In the summer of 2008, the quality assurance team was itself a target of abuse. RIM had to ship hundreds of thousands of Storm phones to Verizon and Vodafone. That was a problem because the new phone kept getting failing test grades. The floor of the quality assurance lab offered grim proof of Storm's fragility: shards of glass and parts everywhere. The phone's hardware engineers rejected the test findings, however. The problem, they insisted, was the quality assurance team. The pneumatic pistons that repeatedly poked Storm touch screens were too rough. These phones were not traditional BlackBerrys encased in hardy metal and plastic - they were glass-covered. Storm had to be tested by humans, the engineers insisted. So they pulled in University of Waterloo students to test the phones in the quality lab. The dazed students sat in chairs repeatedly poking the glass screens of test phones for hours. The screens survived the rhythm of human touch, but other problems soon became evident.

Storms frequently crashed. The touch screen, which hovered over a hidden dome to allow digital menus, icons, and a keyboard to be poked and clicked, was stiff, cumbersome, and unreliable. Storm was specifically designed to overcome the iPhone keyboard's biggest flaw.

Millions of Americans dispatched botched, often comical messages because of iPhone's unreliable, seemingly subversive auto-correct function. Type the word "pens" and "penis" might appear. "Your dad and I are going to Disney" might turn into "Your dad and I are going to Divorce." Storm was designed to eliminate this annoyance with a glass screen that activated BlackBerry software only when a user clicked down on the screen. The floating screen, however, became less reliable the farther a user's finger moved from the centre.

RIM insiders weren't the only ones to find fault with Storm.

RIM hand-picked a few loyal customers to give the company feedback after testing early versions of the phone. One was Alexander Trewby, a vice-president of mobile development with one of RIM's largest clients, Morgan Stanley. The Storm phone Trewby received in the spring of 2008 lasted an hour. "It just turned off and then we could never turn it on again," he says. When he finally got a Storm that worked he was surprised how much he disliked it. "From a hardware perspective, it was an automatic fail," says Trewby. "With the iPhone, where you tapped the screen, it was just a much more elegant solution, as opposed to physically pressing something and waiting for the click. The Storm felt a lot more machinelike, more mechanical, as if it was less electronic, less done by sensors. It was very much about hardware. It wasn't about software. We knew straight away it felt it was a wannabe. It was not as visionary, modern, as fun to use as an iPhone was. The device was dead on arrival."

The first phones rolling off production lines suffered from what RIM engineers called "high infant mortality rates," a greater chance of failing in early life. The problems persisted as the Christmas selling season approached.

If the phones were not shipped before late November, there was a good chance Verizon would walk from the contract. RIM senior executives agreed it was better to ship a flawed product than no product at all. To engineers, Lazaridis repeated the same mantra: "We've bet the company on this. It's critically important.

We have to get this done." When problems persisted, RIM's chief technology officer, David Yach says Lazaridis grew frustrated.

"He was almost incredulous that it couldn't be done," he says.

Lazaridis's conviction that RIM could deliver a new phone within a year came down to faith, a deep abiding confidence in himself and his company. A follower of the Christian Science movement and Emmet Fox's sermons on the transformative power of human will, Lazaridis believed people could, if sufficiently determined and talented, shape their own destiny. The fabulous success of BlackBerry only cemented that belief. Where would RIM be if not for his and Balsillie's persistence in the face of countless near-fatal reversals and product challenges? BlackBerry lived because Lazaridis and Balsillie never gave up. Ever.

"Mike believes that the mind can will things to happen," Balsillie says. And Lazaridis always aimed high. He didn't just want to catch up to Apple. Storm had to be better than the iPhone. "Mike thought of himself as Canada's Bill Gates. He wanted to beat Steve Jobs," Balsillie says.

For his part, Lazaridis says the rush with Storm was unavoidable: RIM couldn't afford to say no to the biggest contract in its history. Besides, RIM's engineers had done the impossible before, pushing out the Pearl in less than a year while juggling other phone launches. He was confident the magic would work again with Storm. "This is a team that prides itself on pulling off miracles, pulling all-nighters, working hard, solving the most complex problems, getting things done on time, getting things done under the wire. This is a team with a can-do spirit," he says. At first Lazaridis's faith appeared to pay off. RIM had assigned a team to hand-assemble Storm phones before they moved to mass production, and the results were impressive. Under expert hands, the movable screen had been carefully calibrated to react to user clicks. The phones worked flawlessly and Verizon's executives, according to RIM officials, loved the early samples. It was a different story when the phones were mass-produced by RIM's manufacturing partners in Mexico and Europe.

Racing by what Balsillie calls "the seat of our pants," the company pushed Storm out the door in time for Black Friday, November 28, the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States.

Verizon and Vodafone had tested and approved the phone, but RIM knew they were shipping an unfinished product. Balsillie remembers the weeks before the launch as a nervous time. After years of high-speed typing on BlackBerry keys, Balsillie was dismayed at Storm's delayed response to touch-screen clicks. "It was slow," he says, like someone walking with ten-pound bags tied to each leg. When he took his concerns to Lazaridis, Balsillie says: "Mike said he'll fix it.

You trust him." Other employees were not so optimistic, some privately referring to their new product as a "shit storm."

Critics were merciless about RIM's new offering. "Head-bangingly frustrating," said New York Times columnist David Pogue in a scathing critique two days after Storm went on sale. "Storm had more bugs than a summer picnic," he wrote, going on to list a litany of complaints: "Freezes, abrupt re-boots, non-responsive controls, cosmetic glitches." Raising a question quietly asked by numerous RIM employees, the Times reviewer concluded, "How did this thing ever reach the market? Was everyone involved just too terrified to pull the emergency brake on this train?" British actor and gadget reviewer Stephen Fry was similarly caustic. A fan of Apple products and BlackBerry's Bold, Fry complained about the absence of Wi-Fi, a free local network application available on iPhone. As for Storm's touch screen, he described the "judder, lag and jerk" of the click-screen keyboard as "a painful horror."

He compared typing an e-mail to "an antelope trying to open a packet of cigarettes." Storm, Fry concluded, "is the Edsel of smartphones, an absolute smeller from top to bottom."

Slamming any technology device backed by Silicon Valley's forceful public relations armies was rare in 2007. Twitter, today's social media venting platform of choice, was just a year old and technology bloggers sometimes pulled their punches out of fear of being cut off from future interviews and product events.

When the British celebrity took a sledgehammer to the admired BlackBerry brand, his comments went viral. Was he trying to sabotage BlackBerry, a BBC reporter asked? Unrepentant, Fry replied, "Honestly: play with the Storm for two days as I have and you will admire my patience at not throwing it out the window."

Although reviews were devastating, BlackBerry's fans had faith in RIM's record of producing reliable phones. Borrowing a page from AT&T's Apple promotions, Verizon lubricated sales by heavily subsidizing Storm phone purchases for any customer signing up for a two-year phone contract. After rebates, the touch BlackBerry sold for $200. The low price, combined with BlackBerry's reputation for quality and innovation, attracted hundreds of thousands of customers early on. While sales soared, RIM's engineers worked feverishly to repair software glitches with upgrades. The more phones sold, the more time RIM had to clean up after its Storm. By the end of January 2009 hope grew within the company that Storm might lift off. The company's chief promoter, Balsillie, told the Wall Street Journal RIM was producing 250,000 phones a week to keep up with demand. In a bullish forecast he pronounced that Storm was "an overwhelming success."

Associated Graphic

Mike Lazaridis, right, fought to finish the Storm in less than a year. 'Mike believes that the mind can will things to happen,' Jim Balsillie said of his RIM co-CEO.



Steve Jobs thrilled audiences, his speeches eliciting cheers.


Early reviews of the BlackBerry Storm, the company's answer to the iPhone, were devastating. However, BlackBerry's fans had faith in its record of producing reliable phones, and that, combined with the device's comparatively low price, helped drive strong initial sales.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015 Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Canada's connection
From the factory floor to the oil sands, the true potential of the Internet of Things goes well beyond consumer tech
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B8

When a category five tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., on May 20, 2013, John O'Rourke's small crew of six workers found themselves in trouble.

Mr. O'Rourke runs Calgarybased SIGIT Automation, a small company that does IT work on oil and gas wells. Communicating through regular channels was nearly impossible after local cell and phone networks were knocked out by the devastating twister that killed 24 people and injured another 350. Luckily, his two half-ton trucks were equipped with fleet tracking equipment from GEOTrac Systems Inc. GEOTrac's gear enables remote workers to send and receive text messages on a dashboard-mounted navigation device, through a satellite-powered GPS network, meaning no cell signal is required. After a few frantic hours, Mr. O'Rourke's workers managed to get to safety.

It's a dramatic example of what the array of signals technology, sometimes called the Internet of Things, can do for businesses.

Simply defined, IoT is about connecting objects, from trucks to refrigerators and hydro meters, to the Internet. Data gleaned from the sensors and systems applied to these objects can then be used to monitor, control or redesign business processes.

The projections are huge: Networking equipment titan Cisco Systems Inc. believes IoT represents a $19-trillion (U.S.) global market and predicts that 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020.

Most often, Canadians hear about IoT in the context of wearable devices: things like the Fitbit that promise to improve health and wellness, or more fully featured devices like Apple Watch and Google Glass that also extend such smartphone functions as messaging or Web searching. But while consumer technology is a hot area, IoT will likely have a greater impact in the less sexy parts of the economy: manufacturing, resources and energy, utilities and civic services.

Research from IDC Canada projects spending on IoT in Canada will reach as high as $6.5-billion (Canadian) by 2018, up from $2.8billion in 2013. Tellingly, this year marked the research firm's first attempt to forecast a Canadian market for IoT, and it acknowledges a lack of historic comparison could skew the predictions.

"Canada is actually lagging in IoT growth, behind both the U.S. and Asia-Pacific," says Nigel Wallis, an IDC Canada Internet of Things analyst. "Everyone wants to be a fast follower, not a leader."

Mr. Wallis says Canada is among the world leaders in telehealth, which connects remote communities with medical experts at big-city hospitals like Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children or Mount Sinai. GEOTrac and other fleet services have captured about a third of the oil and gas market in Canada. But there are more examples where we lag behind: When it comes to factory automation, Germany, Japan and some parts of the United States are in the lead, and Western Europe is further advanced with intelligent monitoring of emergency response workers.

A recent IDC survey highlighted one of the key issues with IoT: acceptance. Mr. Wallis says about 15 per cent of Canadian executives surveyed understand the case for IoT, and another 20 per cent think it has the potential to transform their entire enterprise.

However, 42 per cent remain on the fence, largely because they have no way to calculate return on investment; the solutions are too new or at least new to their industry.

While those executives stay on the sidelines, the world's technology firms are sprinting to own the market. Global giants Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel are in competition with Canadian players like BlackBerry Inc., which unveiled its IoT solution market in January. The Waterloo, Ont.-based company pitches its security reputation as part of its platform for connected vehicles, as well as shipping and asset tracking. At the same time, a constellation of smaller startups are racing to develop niche solutions for manufacturers, restaurateurs, building managers, utilities, oil drillers and smart homes.

Mr. Wallis describes four feverishly expanding segments: makers and installers of physical sensors; connection providers (landline, wireless, telecoms, etc.); storage and security hardware and software (server farms, the cloud) to hold on to and encrypt all the collected data; and finally the data analysis software. Some companies do all that in one solution; others focus on one piece of the spectrum.

"There are Canadian companies in a whole bunch of those different plays," he says. Knowing how many of them there are at any given moment is tracking a moving target: "Globally, every three weeks there's either an acquisition or a new company started up."

'A massive shift'

Depending on your preference, you could call these systems IoT or Machine to Machine (M2M) or even The Internet of Everything (Cisco Systems's twist on the slogan). The concept has been around for decades: In one of the first examples, students at Carnegie Mellon connected a Coca-Cola machine to the Internet back in 1982, so they could check if their soda would be properly chilled.

But even as the concept turned into reality in the past decade, the predicted IoT boom has yet to reshape the economy.

"I don't think there's a lot of naysayers, but this is still a massive shift," says Stephen Gardiner, managing director of Accenture Digital in Canada, which consults on and helps implement IoT systems. "The integration of sensors, devices, connectivity and analytics into a business process ... that's very difficult for many of our clients to accomplish on their own."

So far, the scale of the transformation required seems to be the most daunting feature of IoT for many Canadian companies.

One of Canada's only IoTfocussed venture funds thinks the country has one unfair advantage over some of the global players: An advanced resource economy and vast geography offer a unique testing ground for Internet of Things companies.

Toronto's McRock Capital only recently finished raising its first $65-million but has been tracking about 350 Canadian companies working on IoT solutions. It focuses on industrial companies, where co-founder and managing partner Scott MacDonald believes Canadians are primed to excel.

"The next thing to do is to go into the field," he says. "We understand manufacturing in this country, we have natural resources. ... If we're going to compete on a global stage, go after what we're good at."

According to Accenture's research, companies like mining giant Rio Tinto that invest in IoT are seeing productivity increase by 20 times at major field sites. In some parts of Canada's oil patch, the investments have already been made.

"We did IoT stuff before it was labelled that way, in oil and gas it was called SCADA [supervisory control and data acquisition]," says Yogi Schulz, a partner with Calgary-based Corvelle Consulting. "The Internet has contributed hugely to squeezing more value out of the SCADA data: 20 years ago it was hard to move that data around, the tools for analyzing were not that good. It was a nightmare. " He says Canada's oil sands are rich soil for IoT applications, estimating that 80 or 90 per cent of Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage drilling (SAGD) wells are connected so engineers can get realtime temperature and pressure readings.

"When you have better data," Mr. Schulz says, "you can produce more oil."

Finding efficiencies

IDC predicts that in Canada the number of devices connected to IoT solutions will grow from 28 million "units" in 2013 to 114 million by 2018 (that estimate excludes such consumer wearable devices as smartwatches).

"Digital is the single biggest growth leader that Accenture has," says Mr. Gardiner. "Roughly three-quarters of large companies are investing 20 per cent [of their research and development spending] on big data and analytics, which IoT is driving."

But at this early stage of Canadian IoT entrepreneurship, McRock Capital's Mr. MacDonald says that while a wide variety of companies are in the game, few big players have emerged. "I haven't seen any that are $20million [in revenue] yet, but there's a bunch of them that are sort of $1-million to $8-million in revenue," he says.

Several revenue-positive Canadian IoT startups are targeting industrial customers, however.

Among them is Bit Stew Systems Inc., which just raised $17.2-million in financing from GE Ventures on May 12.

According to Bit Stew chief executive officer Kevin Collins, IoT is "a little easier to explain to industrial customers, because they are suffering the pain right now."

Global oil prices hit a six-year low in March, and difficult times have made companies working in the sector hungry to find efficiencies and eager to experiment with technology that can help their bottom lines, Mr. Collins said.

Mr. Schulz agreed, adding production engineers dealing with the oil shock are willing to try just about anything to improve margins. "Everybody is thinking about this all day, it's a myopic focus."

Bit Stew software can analyze a volume of data that would take an army of humans to monitor.

Right now the company monitors 50 million connected devices around the world, but its systems were built to process data from one billion IoT sensors.

That allows a big utility customer - such as BC Hydro - to monitor voltage both at the substation and also at the 3,000 smart meters down the line. Noticing a pattern of fluctuations that would indicate the meter is about to fail saves time and money, Mr. Collins says.

He estimates his software added $15-million to $20-million a year in savings to BC Hydro's smart metering program that began in 2011, which is estimated to have saved the utility a total of $80-million a year.

BC Hydro declined to comment on its use of the technology.

One of McRock's first investments was a $3-million deal in February with Moncton, N.B.based RtTech Software, which analyzes sensors on manufacturing equipment to pinpoint excess energy use or help predict equipment failure. The company has clients in more than a dozen countries.

"There's no better validation than the customer wants the product," Mr. MacDonald says.

Falling costs

One of the ways executives might discover an IoT solution for their business is through a sales rep from one of Canada's telecom providers.

All of Canada's telecoms have to look at investing in IoT services as a defensive move, according to Mr. Wallis. "Take something like smart homes - thermostats, front door locks, smart TVs - if [the telcos] are not the one providing the connection layer to those homeowners, they might get pushed out over time from something that's been a source of revenues for them."

Bell Mobility offers such IoT services as electronic signage, fleet and asset tracking and vehicle telematics (like an airline's black box data recorder, but for cars), while Rogers Communications Inc. has experimented with mobile couponing for retailers and grew its wireless IoT/M2M connections by 24 per cent in 2014.

In December, 2014, Telus Corp. became the first major Canadian telecom company to open up an IoT marketplace, an app storelike collection that has grown to 62 services from at least 22 providers (some services are subcontracted out). Shawn Sanderson, vice-president of IoT solutions at Telus, is pitching IoT as a better, smarter way to do business and has deployed the company's army of sales reps to offer IoT solutions to their existing landline and wireless business clients.

Innovation can be found in even more unlikely places. In most restaurants, health and safety regulations require a manual check of all the temperatures of the ovens, deep fryers, coolers and refrigerators. That means an employee, three times a day, has to walk around the restaurant making paper records.

As a pilot project, Kitchener, Ont.-based blueRover Inc. installed a system of about 50 IoT sensors to monitor all those devices in a Boston Pizza restaurant in Woodstock, Ont. The sensors record data all day, and can let you know in real time if a freezer is getting too warm. And they offer safety benefits. "You don't have to stick your arm inside the pizza oven to get a temperature recording," says chief executive officer Loreto Saccucci. Potentially, the system can save a couple of worker hours a day and reduce human error on logs, benefits that would add up rapidly if Boston Pizza implements the technology across its 350 stores, as blueRover hopes it will.

Founded in 2007, blueRover got started because it saw an opportunity in the stringent tracking requirements of then-new Safe Food for Canadians Act, which forced shippers of food to improve inspection and monitoring capacity. One of blueRover's clients includes Sysco Corp., the food logistics giant.

But what happened with another client, Brinks, is an example of the technological alchemy that can come with upgrading a traditional business with IoT sensors. Everyone knows Brinks picks up cash, coins and gold in its armoured vehicles. But after adding blueRover tech to track its fleet of trucks, it realized the new systems could also detect humidity and temperature inside the rolling safes, allowing the company to move into a new business: shipping highly sensitive goods like museum pieces and art as well as pharmaceuticals.

"They had the perfect story," says Mr. Saccucci. "Their vehicles are safe."

One big driver in the growth of IoT systems has been falling costs, not just of connectivity, but in sensors and the costs of operating data collecting and analyzing servers.

"Three years ago we looked at the cost of compute power, and [a startup] couldn't afford to buy that IT infrastructure," says McRock's Mr. Macdonald. "Now that you can rent the cloud from AWS [Amazon Web Services] it becomes very cheap to build your company. The cost of sensors are dropping dramatically, and aggregation of data is becoming cheap, with [Microsoft software] Hadoop and other things."

Accenture research supports that observation. Mr. Gardiner estimates that in the last decade sensor costs have fallen by half while bandwidth costs are 40 times cheaper and cloud computing is 60 times cheaper.

Where IDC sees costs going back up is in the management of the massive pool of data the growing number of sensors will generate. Mr. Wallis's survey suggests in the next three years it will start causing issues for corporate networks: "Sensor-based solutions typically have very small 'chunks' of data, but the issue for network administrators is that IoT, by its nature, tends toward 'chattiness.' " Of course, those issues will be just another market opportunity for an innovator with a solution to all the chatter.

Revving up

When the right solution arrives, IoT can reshape an industry practically overnight. In 2013, Desjardins introduced a car insurance plan called Ajusto that installed an IoT telematic device that tracked a driver's habits.

It was designed as a way to offer discounts to good drivers, but there were fears in the industry that consumers would balk at the privacy implications of having everything from speed, braking intensity and travel times and distances reported to the insurance company. According to Accenture's Mr. Gardiner, something like 40 per cent of Desjardins new customers signed up for Ajusto in the first year, and starting in 2014 many of Canada's auto insurers - including the Cooperators, Allstate and Aviva - rushed to offer similar tracking programs.

The data a company collects can also be used to build a new business. For instance, some 2,000 companies have put GEOTrac gear in 275,000 trucks, and the company has mapped more than 600,000 kilometres of private lease roads for the oil and gas industry, a crucial data set not found on Google or other public maps. This accumulation has allowed the company to develop "journey management" software to help route planning that accounts for truck height restrictions and areas with chemical transport rules.

And a simple thing, like tracking trucks, can help a company save money. Mr. O'Rourke's business, SIGIT Automation, had to become even more cost-conscious as the price of oil fell rapidly in recent months; while he managed 85 people during the oil boom, now he's down to just 12 drivers. In the past, workers often treated company vehicles as if they were rentals, making personal stops, going too fast or failing to report accidents. With sensors, monitoring has saved the company money on damages, gas, maintenance, idle times and mileage - all for about $40 a month per vehicle, Mr. O'Rourke says.

"We'd hit a lot of deer," he explains. "You can take a deer off a fender and it's $4,000 damage, but your truck's out of commission for two months while it's at the body shop." The solution, he says, was in telling drivers to slow down and give themselves time to avoid a collision. Once drivers might have ignored that advice, but now he can ensure they follow it thanks to GEOTrac's reporting software.

"Touch wood we haven't hit a deer probably in three or four years," he says. "We used to hit about three a year."

Canada's sweet spot

One final point that technology companies across Canada often speak to is the availability and quality of local technical and engineering talent, especially compared with the superheated labour market of Silicon Valley.

Bit Stew's Mr. Collins spent 10 years in Silicon Valley, and 30 years in the industry, working on everything from encryption to network engineering. He started his company in California, but returned to his hometown Vancouver in part because this is where he could find employees that understand manufacturing, utilities and mining and resource industries.

"You're accessing a talent pool that understand the problem space quite well," Mr. Collins says. "They are not all mathematicians, but they know power engineering and they can apply the technology."

Mr. MacDonald's investment philosophy tells him that given the smaller pool of available private venture capital, Canadian investments will go much further in areas where we have some unique insight.

Not that the returns on investment are necessarily worse: The golden example of McRock's investment thesis is RUGGEDCOM., which built outdoor network equipment designed to withstand both brutal Canadian winters and blazing hot summers. The venture funding arm of Ontario Power Generation chipped in about $3-million in a funding round while Mr. MacDonald was working there in the mid-2000s.

By 2012, it was recording $110million in annual sales before it was bought by global giant Siemens for $440-million.

If Silicon Valley investors spend billions on IoT tech primarily as a way to sell consumer goods like wearable tech and remote-operated coffee machines, Mr. Collins' vision for Canada's IoT sector is more in line with the engineers at Cisco or GE who collect streams of advanced manufacturing data that can save billions in preventative maintenance and equipment replacement costs.

"It's unsexy," he says, even though his private company did double-digit millions in revenue last year.

The Industrial Internet of Things doesn't have quite the same ringing promise of utopian smart cities and better living through biometric data analysis.

But turning data into operational advantages in the country's key industries will give Canada a leg up in the burgeoning connected economy.

Five Canadian solutions

1 GeoTRAC You sent that truck out at 2 p.m.: How long did it take to get to its destination? Any stops? Any speeding? Was there a faster route? Did it save fuel? Calgarybased GeoTRAC's fleet tracking and asset management services improve safety and efficiency using GPS technology.

2 BlueRover Restaurants are packed with coolers, freezers, ovens and fryers that need to be kept at the right temperatures to keep customers and workers safe. Kitchener, Ont.-based BlueRover provides sensors that monitor dozens of devices and software to see all that data in one place. A Boston Pizza franchise is giving the technology a try.

3 Miovision How busy is that intersection? That road? Cities need data to know if their traffic management systems are working, and Kitchener's Miovision collects that data with cameras and software, instead of summer students standing outside with clipboards and clickers.

4 RtTech Software Machines breaking down is a fact of factory automation. Moncton, N.B.'s RtTech uses sensors to tell if a machine is about to conk out, allowing managers to make plans in advance to replace or repair and avoid lengthy downtimes.

5 SensorSuite Is your boiler too hot? Are you using too much electricity? It's something that property managers are always wondering. Mississauga-based SensorSuite monitors in real-time and provides data analysis to help Canada's multi-unit buildings become more energy efficient.

THE SERIES Video: Automated home Meet a Mississauga man who spent thousands of dollars connecting everything from his blinds, to his sound system to his toilet, to the Internet.

Video: The future of retail Fashion guru Jeanne Beker and strategist Bradley Quinn discuss augmented reality mirrors, sensored clothes and how technology is changing the shopping experience.

Next week: Investing Vox writer David Milstead looks beyond the hype and offers his stock picks for in the Internet of Things.

Associated Graphic


SIGIT Automation CEO John O'Rourke at an oil well site near Calgary. His company uses Internet-connected technology to improve worker safety and business efficiency.


Cenovus' steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) project near Fort McMurray, Alta.


Nexen's SAGD project near Fort. McMurray, Alta.



Sean Silcoff reveals the incredible, unbelievable, meshuga story of how The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz: The Musical finally made it to the stage
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R6

Before Beauty and the Beast, before The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas and Enchanted, there was The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Three decades ago, future Disney composer Alan Menken, fresh from his offBroadway smash Little Shop of Horrors, agreed to score a musical based on Mordecai Richler's breakout novel. The show had a brief run in Philadelphia but was never mounted again.

To this day, Menken - who has won eight Oscars, 11 Grammys and a Tony - insists Duddy Kravitz contains some of his best work. "I am determined, sometime before I pass from this planet, that that show [will] have its day," he told an interviewer two years ago.

Next weekend, he finally will get his wish. On June 7, Montreal's Segal Centre for Performing Arts will unveil an overhauled version of the Duddy Kravitz musical featuring Menken's score and a script by the Philadelphia show's lyricist David Spencer, author of The Musical Theatre Writer's Survival Guide. Steppenwolf Theatre Company veteran Austin Pendleton, writer and director of the doomed 1987 Philly show, again sits in the director's chair.

The story of Duddy Kravitz, the scheming St. Urbain Street antihero, has never lacked for big-name adapters: Richler's friend Ted Kotcheff directed the 1974 film version. Rock and roll songwriting legends Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote the score for another musical adaptation that failed in 1984. Broadway luminaries including directors Des McAnuff and Christopher Ashley have been attached to attempted revivals of the Menken show. There was even a third adaptation performed in Montreal - in Yiddish - 18 years ago.

But dramaturges have been consistently thwarted by Richler's original text, in which Duddy betrays those closest to him. "You've got this wonderful character the audience wants to like," says Stewart Lane, the producer who oversaw the Philadelphia show, "and at the end he does something so dastardly, it's unforgiveable." Now, almost four decades after the first attempt to mount a Duddy musical, a cast of disparate characters (including Menken; a Canadian super-agent; a starstruck Montreal artistic director; and a wealthy schmatte merchant) are convinced they have the winning formula to help Duddy make the leap from page to stage - and achieve the kind of success the fictional schemer only dreamed of. But in their attempt to bring the musical to life, have the writers and producers sold out both the original story and its famously prickly author?

Richler's first great character The 1959 publication of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz marked a defining turn in the career of its 28-year-old author.

With his fourth novel, a seminal work of Canadian literature, Richler "found his voice, and he found the voice that we all knew because he allowed himself to be as funny on the page as he was in real life," says his biographer, Charles Foran. "Duddy was his first great character.'" Duddy drew many themes from the early life of its author, who was born to an orthodox Jewish family in Montreal's prewar immigrant ghetto east of Mount Royal. It was a unique cultural cauldron, equally alien to the establishment anglophone minority to the west and the disenfranchised, pre-Quiet Revolution francophone majority to the east.

The novel is a raw story of a nervy, relentless and crass hustler. Duddy is the second son of a widowed cabbie, dismissed by upwardly mobile Jewish contemporaries as a stereotypical pusherke (pushy Jew). Only his old-country grandfather appreciates Duddy, advising him: "A man without land is nobody."

Duddy singlemindedly pursues his dream of buying a lakeside property in the Laurentians with the help of his girlfriend Yvette.

Through a series of comical misadventures - including a stint producing bar mitzvah movies - the conniving Duddy gets closer to his goal. Then out of desperation, he forges a cheque to pay for the last piece of land. The victim is his epileptic pal Virgil, who has been rendered a paraplegic after an accident for which Duddy indirectly bears responsibility. Duddy gets his land, but becomes estranged from his friends and loses his grandfather's respect.

When director Kotcheff read the book, "I said, 'Mordecai, not only is it the best Canadian novel that's ever been written, but one day I'm going to go back to Canada and make a film of it,' " he says. "We laughed at the impossibility of such a thing."

But Kotcheff would come through 15 years later. His jaunty, faithful film, co-written by Richler, is considered one of Canada's best movies, anchored by a winning performance by a young Richard Dreyfuss. A schoolmate of Richler's soon became convinced Duddy could thrive in another medium. Sam Gesser had also sprung from St.

Urbain Street, becoming a successful music promoter. He brought Pete Seeger to Canada, and helped turn Leonard Cohen, Glenn Gould and Gordon Lightfoot into international stars. He was determined to make Duddy the toast of Broadway.

Richler happily sold Gesser the rights for $1 and in 1979, the impresario announced the debut of a musical Duddy the next year at Stratford, with Hair composer Galt MacDermot handling music and Richler collaborating.

Instead, it took five years and a million-dollar budget for the show to reach the stage, debuting at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre in 1984, with a score by rock legends Leiber and Stoller, and Broadway star Lonny Price as Duddy. But the show's creators were inexperienced in the genre.

The musical lacked good songs and the story was rough around the edges. Richler was also unhappy holed up in Edmonton, a city he despised for its harsh climate and lack of fine restaurants; he later labelled it the "boiler room" of Canada.

Dogged by poor reviews and weak sales, a planned Canadian tour was cut short. Gesser lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But he was determined to keep going. Within months, Broadway legend Richard Maltby Jr. suggested Gesser hire Alan Menken, who had yet to score his first Disney musical, 1989's The Little Mermaid. Menken in turn drafted lyricist and colleague David Spencer. Both were grandsons of Jewish immigrants from Europe, and were drawn to the story. "I connected with the material right away," says Spencer. Price would reprise the role of Duddy, and the script would be rewritten by director Austin Pendleton, the original Motel the Tailor from Broadway's Fiddler on the Roof.

Gesser was optimistic but "Mordecai was skeptical," Menken says. "He felt there was a good musical in Duddy Kravitz, but, like many writers, wanted it to be true to what he wrote."

Somebodies and coincidences

As the curtain fell on Saturday, Oct. 10, 1987, the audience at Philadelphia's Annenberg Center jumped to their feet. Yet the enthusiastic response to Duddy Kravitz filled Pendleton not with joy, but dread. He knew what awaited him backstage.

Three years after the Canadian show fizzled, Gesser managed to get the Menken-led version of Duddy to Philadelphia, the first step to a Broadway debut. But the show had one big problem: the ending. Duddy's lack of redemption, faithful to the book at Richler's behest, upset audiences. Some audience members talked back to the stage when Duddy forged the cheque. The ending, Pendleton told a critic at the time, is "heavy stuff" that many theatre-goers "don't want to face up to." Worse, the show's backers decided to pull out after Philly. If the producers couldn't find another financier, the show wouldn't get to Broadway.

Producer Stewart Lane suggested Pendleton drop the curtain several minutes early, after a rousing Menken ballad sung by Yvette called Welcome Home. The song typically "brought the house down," Spencer wrote in a 17-page summary of the show's history. "Then the show continued toward its dark ending.

When it got there, audiences ... suddenly turned furious. And rightfully too, because we denied the potential for Duddy's redemption that the song had clearly dramatized."

Pendleton gathered the cast together to break the news.

"There were howls of outcry," he recalls. "I said, 'It's just to try to secure a future for it, this gives us time [to fix the ending] if we can get the money.' " The Saturday show closed with Welcome Home and met a standing ovation. When Pendleton went to congratulate the actors backstage, "they were in a rage," he recalls. "They were saying, 'How can you even seem happy?' I said, 'I don't want to be a slut, but it got a standing ovation.' " The director promised they wouldn't do it again.

But the next day, Lane asked Pendleton if he would again end the show after Welcome Home.

Pendleton balked, saying it was supposed to be a one-time deal when potential investors were in the house. "Stewart said, 'I can't believe that a thing would work like that and you wouldn't do it again.' I said, 'You're right.' " With five minutes to go, the cast learned they would again perform the shortened version.

"There were people slamming doors, running down the hall in a rage," Pendleton recalls. Once again, though, the show got a standing ovation. "It was like this weird dream where all your dreams are coming true, except it's a nightmare," Pendleton says.

Richler, who had distanced himself from the show, "grudgingly accepted that we might continue to experiment with the ending, but we'd better be careful," Pendleton says. But Richler also worried "that if the ending changed, everybody in the literary world would think less of him," Spencer says. He wouldn't consent to further compromised endings. And so the Philly production died - but Spencer and Menken weren't ready to give up.

Menken optioned the rights to keep developing Duddy, and Spencer took on the librettist role, restarting the script. The two then embarked on a 20-odd year creative odyssey to give the musical new life. Spencer wrote and rewrote. Menken altered more than half the music. The biggest change was the ending.

After years of tinkering, Spencer says he "discovered, finally, that I needed to preserve not the ending, but the moral point."

Spencer felt Duddy needed to find redemption (unlike in the book) to restore the balance needed to satisfy musical audiences. But to avoid betraying the novel, that redemption had to come at a price, with Duddy understanding the cost of his actions.

In the novel's pivotal moment, Duddy forges Virgil's signature on a cheque, calls the bank impersonating his friend, then goes to claim the money supposedly on his behalf. In the new Spencer-Menken version (spoiler alert), Duddy forges the cheque, calls the bank - but runs into Virgil and Yvette as he heads out. Duddy confesses his intent.

Virgil writes him a cheque out of the goodness of his heart. Duddy gets his land but loses his grandfather's respect. By the play's close, his friends are willing to forgive him. Duddy is ready to accept their anger. "Who could love Duddy Kravitz?" he asks.

"That would depend, Duddy," Yvette answers, "on what you really want now." With that she offers him a modest life with her, singing Welcome Home.

Spencer "found an ending that can work that doesn't ignore the ugly part of" the story, says Pendleton. "You can't leave out what the original ending was. But you can't leave them with that ending, either."

Still, the musical remained unstaged. Richler passed away in 2001, and Spencer never shared his new ending with the author.

In the early 2010s, Michael Levine, the Toronto-based lawyer, agent and adviser to the Richler family, decided to help Spencer and Menken bring their revamped show to stage. "I said ... I'm acting only for [the Richler estate], I'd be happy to be helpful to you," says Levine.

He approached the Stratford Festival, David Mirvish, Theatre Calgary, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Shaw Festival. Everyone passed on it.

The main barrier was cost. Musicals are expensive to mount, and risks are high for unknown shows - particularly for those with a troubled past. But Spencer's stubbornness, much like that of his St. Urbain Street protagonist, never waned. "We never wanted to let it go," he says, "because it wouldn't let go of us."

Becoming a somebody

Lisa Rubin is lost in the moment. It's early February, and the Segal Centre's 37-year-old executive and musical director is leaning over a cocktail table at the complex, eyes closed and head bowed as she clutches her iPhone, listening to a song that will be performed here in four months.

"I'm leaving St Urbain Street / For where I'll get me some money in hand / To invest in a business that's grand / That'll stake me for getting some land / And then I'll be somebody."

Rubin looks up with compassion in her eyes. "He just wants to be a somebody," she says.

"How can you not love him?" Rubin has become a somebody, and quickly. A lifelong musical theatre junkie and professional actress who spent a decade performing various roles at the Segal, Rubin was thrust into her dual position last year at the financially strained arts centre (formerly known as the Saidye Bronfman Centre) after two senior departures.

Rubin admits she "came out of nowhere" to lead one of Canada's prominent theatre institutions. "Even she didn't believe what she could do," says benefactor Alvin Segal, the men's suit merchant who hand-picked her.

But it is largely due to Rubin's determination that the MenkenSpencer version of Duddy will finally have its day. "She's a star as far as we're concerned," says Menken's manager, Rick Kunis.

"Lisa helped to make it all go through."

The new Duddy show was also helped by an odd confluence of events. One was the moment when Spencer spotted a familiar face while watching CBC's Republic of Doyle. It was early 2012, and the lyricist noticed his protégé, Newfoundland musical director Jonathan Monro, on the show.

When Monro learned that Spencer was a fan of the police drama, he asked if Spencer could contribute anything for a Newfoundland Pops concert featuring Doyle star Krystin Pellerin.

Spencer offered three Duddy songs. During rehearsals in Newfoundland, Spencer and Monro began talking about collaborating. "I impulsively said, 'Man, if you can get Duddy going, you can musical-direct that,' " Spencer says.

Filled with renewed hope for his pet project, Spencer found himself chatting later that year about the show with Canadian actor Elan Kunin. It was a remarkable coincidence. Kunin had starred as Duddy in the one successful musical adaptation of Richler's novel - an entirely different version staged in Yiddish at the Saidye Bronfman Centre in 1997. In another twist, Kunin had gotten to know Spencer after reading a copy of his howto musical theatre book given to him by his wife, none other than Lisa Rubin. Kunin suggested to Spencer that the Segal was the right venue for his show.

In October, 2013, Rubin met Spencer for lunch in New York; one hour later they reached a tentative agreement to stage Duddy at the Segal. "It was one of the most bullshit-free meetings I'd ever had," Spencer says.

Rubin, who was a teenage "fansie" of Menken's 1992 musical Newsies, didn't have to think twice. "If you were told that you could world-premiere an Alan Menken musical, would you want to hear if it's good before [agreeing]? Please." (She even threw the Segal's Yiddish theatre's schedule into disarray to accommodate the new show: They were coincidentally set to restage the 1997 Yiddish Duddy show that very season, and Rubin had to find a replacement.)

With nine of its 14 professional actors from outside Montreal, and an American director - Pendleton agreed to return - Duddy Kravitz is a costly gamble for a theatre company with a $4.5-million annual budget. Rubin says the show's $350,000 cost is at the top end for a Segal show and "we're going over." Even if it sells out, Duddy will lose money. But she's confident the show will be a hit with Montrealers, and dreams it will get to Broadway.

"We are hopefully going to give the musical theatre world a gift, and it will be a Montreal story, started at the Segal Centre."

Time provides spaces

It's May 14, and the Segal staff is busy preparing for a fundraising gala with a special appearance by Menken, who has flown in to perform a medley of hits. Downstairs, Pendleton watches as the new Duddy, actor Kenneth James Stewart, rehearses a tense scene.

Slouched in a corner is Spencer, looking younger than his 60 years. This is the first week of rehearsals and Spencer doesn't want to miss a minute; he has already been spotted by cast members tearing up.

"I get these contemplative moments of quiet awe," he says later. "Everybody in this place ... they get the show, they get what it's about, and the cast couldn't be better."

With his narrow blue eyes, angular face and slicked, dirty blond hair, the slight 29-year-old Stewart looks the part of Duddy, hungry and sly. Off stage, Stewart casts a different impression.

He is a shy, sweet everyman, like the title role he performed in You're A Good Man Charlie Brown at Stratford in 2012. "Ken has a duality to him," says Monro, Duddy's musical director. "Duddy needs to be impulsive and unpredictable. At the same time we want to love him and say, 'Don't do that!' Ken brought that."

But one thing the Alberta-born actor didn't bring to the production was prior knowledge of the novel. He admits he's never read anything else by Richler. He's not alone.

Duddy Kravitz was widely taught to Canadian students for years as a "classic mid-century immigrant" novel to expose them to "these other Canadas," says Foran. The book has since fallen off many curriculums, supplanted by other immigrant narratives such as Joy Kagawa's Obasan.

The passage of time and the passing of the author may give the musical the room to assert itself as a standalone piece of art. Still, there will be purists who say Menken and Spencer betray the source material. Florence Richler, the author's widow, plans to attend the show's Montreal opening, and feels audiences should be "mature enough to accept the ending" her husband intended, but is also realistic. "As Mordecai once said, once you've sold the rights to a book ... you can protest but you have no rights any longer," she says.

Menken acknowledges "there will be a variety of reactions. I think David has accomplished a show that will appeal to Richler purists - if they like musicals. If they don't like musicals, that's another thing entirely."

There could be another happy ending: a so-called "merging of rights," whereby the Segal show becomes the legally designated Duddy musical that can be performed as an off-the-shelf production by anyone. That has never been the case for any past production, as the Richler estate protected the source material.

Levine is non-committal but says, "I'm working my butt off to help [Menken] make things work," and ensure that the show helps to preserve Richler's legacy. Future productions would also mean royalties for the Segal, offsetting its losses.

While Rubin and others dream of Broadway, Spencer and Menken are just happy to see their show staged. "Whatever happens - if it lasts three weeks and closes, if nobody does it again - I'll be happy enough that it's the show I wanted it to be," says Spencer. Menken jokes, "I still keep waiting for the call that says, 'Uh, gee, just kidding, it's not going to happen.' " As for Richler, his widow thinks her late husband "would be secretly pleased, pour himself a handsome Macallan and get on with whatever he was working on."

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz: The Musical runs June 7-25 at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts in Montreal (

Associated Graphic

Opposite: Director Austin Pendleton with actors George Masswohl and Kenneth James Stewart outside Wilensky's in Montreal ; Above, clockwise from left: Musical director Jonathan Monro works with composter Alan Menken; actor Howard Jerome during rehearsal; the cast rehearse at Montreal's Segal Centre; and lead actors Kenneth James Stewart and Marie-Pierre de Brienne run through a pivotal scene.


A disparate cast of characters helped bring Duddy to theatrical life, including (from left) actor Kenneth James Stewart, Segal Centre artistic director Lisa Rubin, musical partners Alan Menken and David Spencer, and director Austin Pendleton.

Too many patients seeking mental health diagnosis and treatment are falling through the cracks - at tremendous economic and human cost. But, Erin Anderssen reports, it doesn't have to be this way. Public coverage for psychotherapy, using technology to reach across vast distances and making sure we educate the young about mental health are just a few of the proven ways Canada can deliver the quality care patients need
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A8

OPEN MINDS How to build a better mental health care system

A weary-looking single mother brought her son into the London, Ont., walk-in clinic where Christina Cookson works on a weekday evening. Her son, who recently attempted suicide in another city, was sent home from hospital with no follow-up. Now, with a doctor they had never met before, they were trying to get help. Dr. Cookson asked a few questions about his current treatment, learned of a new antidepressant that his mother said seemed to be working.

With no history of care, Dr. Cookson had no way to know for sure. She advised him to make sure he told his mom if he had suicidal thoughts again and wrote a referral to see a psychiatrist, though even an urgent request would take weeks. Other than that, she had little to offer. They had no coverage for psychotherapy, which ideally, she would have prescribed. Since the young man was a walk-in patient, there is no guarantee she will see him again.

"I want to be able to give them the care they deserve, and I know will benefit him, and I have no way of arranging that," she says.

"It's a pretty helpless feeling."

And one to which many family doctors, struggling to help mentally ill patients, can attest.

After months of research, and as detailed in our Open Minds series, The Globe and Mail identified some of the top evidence-based approaches to building a mental health system that will work for Canadians. These are changes that would move the country beyond its patchwork, fragmented mental health system in which the care patients receive is too often determined by what they can afford, or where they live or what they are savvy enough to cobble together on their own.

These initiatives abide by the principals of Medicare and good science, and treat the disorders of the mind as diligently as the diseases of the body.

Expanding access to publicly funded therapy

One in five Canadians will be affected by mental illness in their lifetimes. The cost to the country's economy is staggering: $50billion a year in health care and social services, lost productivity and decreased quality of life, estimates the Mental Health Commission of Canada. The personal costs are more devastating - unemployment, family breakup, suicide.

Canadians who seek help for a mental illness will most often be prescribed medication, even though research shows that psychotherapy works just as well, if not better, for the most common illnesses (depression and anxiety) and does a better job at preventing relapse. According to a 2012 Statistics Canada study, while 91 per cent of Canadians were prescribed the medication they sought, only 65 per cent received the therapy they felt they needed. Access to evidencebased psychotherapy, which experts say should be the front-line medical treatment, is limited and wait-lists are long.

No provinces cover therapy delivered in private practice by a psychologist, social worker or psychotherapist, creating a twotier system, which means families without coverage through work - those more likely to be low-income - often either pay out of pocket or go without or, if they are lucky, rely on a non-profit group working to fill a gaping hole in a flawed health-care system. Even Canadians with coverage rarely have enough for a proper dose that meets treatment guidelines. This kind of inconsistent, unequal and scientifically flawed approach to care would be untenable for diabetes, cancer or heart disease. Yet it persists for some of the most debilitating illnesses suffered by Canadians.

"Clearly this is the biggest gap we have, and the one that most needs to be fixed," says psychiatrist Elliot Goldner, director of the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction.

Psychotherapy is a medically necessary treatment, he argues, that should be publicly funded. The question is not whether Canadians need it, but how to deliver it.

A system that responds nimbly to patients' needs would have clear treatment guidelines, appropriate screening and good data collection to ensure that therapies are working for patients.

There should be a role, for instance, for non-profit groups on the ground to be woven into a comprehensive system to provide additional supports, particularly in areas such as housing, employment and mental health promotion - without expecting them to patch up shortfalls in services the system should provide.

That should include, says Dr. Goldner, non-physicians with training in psychotherapy who are integrated into the mental health system, so that access to care is based on sound science and the best treatment plans for individual patients, rather than what happens to be available.

Canada doesn't have to start from scratch. As Dr. Goldner points out, Britain and Australia have both made huge investments to expand public access for all citizens to psychotherapy, recognizing both its clinical value and cost-effectiveness over the long run. Britain's system, especially, has been designed to be accountable, to track outcomes with extensive data and to be flexible enough to incorporate changes to the system to improve results.

Using technology to deliver therapy into the homes of Canadians

It can be hard enough to get timely treatment if you only have to drive a few blocks to find it. But what if access to care for, say, an anxiety disorder requires traversing a sprawling wilderness, for hours by car, sometimes through a blizzard? These were the stories that Fern Stockdale Winder heard often from Saskatchewan patients, as the psychologist charged with developing the province's new mental health strategy. Even when mental health care was available, reaching treatment was often one more layer of stress.

It doesn't have to be this way. Chief among the strategy's recommendations: a provincewide online therapy system. The evidence for tech-delivered therapy, with support over the phone, is strong - for many patients with depression and anxiety, it can be just as effective as face-to-face sessions. It allows patients to manage care around their work and school schedules, to maintain privacy and to take control of their own recovery in a way less likely to happen with medication.

And it's cost-effective, says Dr. Stockdale Winder, potentially reducing appointment no-shows and cutting down on travel time for patients and therapists to and from remote communities.

Canadians have ready access to medication for mental illness not because it's the best option, but because it's the easiest - even though psychotherapy works as an effective early intervention, a standalone treatment or in combination with drugs, and to prevent relapse. This front-line treatment can also be delivered in a modern and increasingly convenient way that gives patients more choice in how they receive their care.

"It's very much about how people like to learn. Whether for reasons of stigma or personal preference, many people like to work on life challenges by themselves," says Chris Williams, a psychiatrist at the University of Glasgow, whose self-guided program is used as a first-stage treatment in Britain's publicly funded psychotherapy system. It has also been adapted in British Columbia and is being piloted in other provinces by the Canadian Mental Health Association. Self-guided therapies vary - some use DVDs or booklets, others are delivered online - but the evidence is strongest for ones that also link patients to therapists, either by e-mail or with brief phone calls.

A separate online program at the University of Regina has already had promising results. (Even so, the government is taking a wait-and-see attitude: Health Minister Dustin Duncan said last week that the government is keeping an eye on the project and will consider whether to expand the service after the pilot concludes next year.)

What Dr. Stockdale Winder envisions is a system in which family doctors could use depression and anxiety screening to easily steer appropriate patients away from medication and toward accessible, online therapy.

"She clicks a button, and the patient is in," she says. Such a system would also monitor the progress of participants and direct them into more intensive care if their conditions worsened.

The need for early intervention is pressing, and the evidence for online therapy is already convincing. In a country of wide open spaces, with remote communities difficult to reach even in the best weather, it's necessary. What are policy-makers waiting for?

Teaching the next generation about mental health

Twenty years ago, a concerted education campaign taught students about the dangers of smoking. Today, mental health requires a similar concerted public health strategy, considering that as many as 20 per cent of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder. Education about mental illness needs to start early, reaching deliberately into classrooms to teach the next generation about positive mental health and how to recognize and seek help when problems first start, especially since symptoms often first appear in childhood.

That requires a mental health curriculum in every school board, such as the one developed by Stanley Kutcher, a professor of psychiatry at Dalhousie University; it is now being used in high schools in Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia, where education officials report it is already making a difference. "Kids are starting to see problems with mental health the way they see problems with physical health," says Lance Bullock, co-ordinator of programs and student services at the Halifax Regional School Board, suggesting it has not only encouraged students to seek help, but also helped to reduce bullying. "That's a huge, huge step forward."

But this also means that teachers need to know what they are talking about and be trained to spot early signs of troubled students. "Teachers want to help, but they don't know how," says Susan Rodger, an associate professor in the University of Western Ontario's education faculty.

In a 2012 national survey, about two-thirds of Canadian teachers said they had never received any education on children's mental health. According to Prof. Rodger, only Ontario to date has specifically added a mental health requirement to its teacher accreditation guidelines - a step, she says, that all provinces need to take.

This would require universities to make mental health a mandatory component of teacher's education, as is now happening at Western. In many ways, this is the same conversation happening in the medical profession around training in areas such as psychotherapy. And just like for students learning lessons about positive mental health, that professional education needs to happen early.

"The initial training you get in your profession will have an impact on the rest of your career," says Prof. Rodger.

Teachers may not be able to solve every problem - that requires, as with the successful anti-smoking strategy, a public health campaign that reaches into families, workplaces, doctor's offices and government policy.

But standing in the front of the class, she says, "teachers are the ones in the best position to notice" when students need help, if and when they haven't raised their hands to ask for it.

Giving youth early access to good clinical care

Arthritis, heart disease and dementia: These are diseases that plague us the creakier we get with age. Not so with mental health: It begins early, often taking root in adolescence. Yet we have designed a system that traditionally responds best to crisis, as if a wounded mind was a fractured hip. With mental health, however, it is essential to catch our youngest patients long before they fall.

This is starting to happen. Efforts are being made in provinces to direct children and youth more quickly to psychiatrists, to streamline routes that parents can take to get help more quickly.

But diagnosis is one thing; consistently good treatment is another.

Many young patients, if identified early, could avoid medication.

Many families require a more collaborative approach that considers the fallout of having a child with mental health needs.

That's what makes the new ACCESS project, a $25-million, five-year program being funded by the federal government's Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the private Graham Boeckh Foundation, so promising. The program combines social supports and clinical treatment in one location, and focuses in particular on parts of Canada where care can be hardest to access: rural towns, immigrant communities and First Nations.

The research project, launching this year, will eventually place psychologists and consulting psychiatrists at 12 sites across the country, blending them with existing outreach workers and crisis teams. The goal is to have ACCESS clinicians assess young people within 72 hours of seeking help and to get them appropriate care within one month. (That compares with current waiting times of five or six months in some of the project's targeted sites and a year or more for some 6,000 children and adolescents in Ontario.) The project is adapted from a similar centre-based system now used widely in Australia.

One of the sites identified is on the Eskasoni First Nation in Cape Breton, N.S. - a Mi'kmaq community all too familiar with the tragic cost of mental illness. Between 2007 and 2009, nine young people died by suicide, another four deaths resulted from drug overdoses. "You can imagine how that affected a community with a total population of 4,100 people," says Daphne Hutt-MacLeod, a psychologist and the director of Eskasoni mental health services.

"People were slipping through the cracks, and those cracks were literally grave sites."

The mental health team on the First Nation, she says, has been successful at reaching out to youth. They run family violence intervention programs, offer support for grief and bereavement and provide suicide crisis programs. But they have struggled to get effective screening and treatment early with a lack of clinical support - a missing step that the ACCESS program will correct.

The program has certain requirements, but allows for communities to add elements that suit their needs, so Eskasoni is also creating a position for an elder-in-residence to give youth access to sweat lodges, pipe ceremonies and sacred teachings.

"That is part of the healing process," says Ms. Hutt-MacLeod, pointing out that one of the key elements of the ACCESS design is that all practitioners are meant to work as equal partners.

For young people and their families seeking help, two common issues are how they can find a way into the system, and how long they have to wait for comprehensive care once they get there. ACCESS is an evidencebased approach that addresses both.

Providing affordable housing to those who need it

Imagine a city the size of Hamilton, in which every resident was either homeless or living in dodgy circumstances, crowded into a ramshackle rooming house or threatened with eviction or couch-surfing in a different apartment each night. Add an often debilitating mental illness for each of the citizens of this fictional city. Now consider that, according to a 2013 study led by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, these 520,000 people are real, scattered across the country - the squeegee women offering to wash your windshield, the muttering, drunk stranger that you awkwardly ignore at the bus stop.

Those people need homes, and a Canadian-grown solution called Housing First has figured out a tried and tested way to find them housing, no strings attached, and then circle them with the level of support they require to stay off the street, and better manage their mental health and addiction.

"Not only is there a right to safe, affordable housing, but it should be a centrepiece of mental health care," says Steve Lurie, executive director of the Toronto branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, who also worked on the 2013 Turning the Key study on housing and mental illness.

Ottawa has kicked in nearly $600-million over the next five years for Housing First, but spread out across the country it's not nearly enough, says Mr. Lurie. The cost of building affordable housing from the ground up is about $200,000 a unit, says Mr. Lurie, citing a City of Toronto study.

In some cities, such as Vancouver, soaring rents have made existing apartments difficult to find. Another proposal: a marketbased approach that guarantees long-term rent supplements to landlords and developers. They could then apply for mortgages from banks, to build affordable housing, Mr. Lurie suggests, the same public-private partnerships the country uses to build hospitals.

"The government doesn't have to worry about capital costs if they have a flexible approach to rent supplements," he argues.

But even then, he says, people need choices to maximize their chance at recovery. Some who require more intensive care might benefit from being housed with others in similar situations. Some might prefer an apartment in a building dedicated to Housing First clients. Others with addictions might want to be scattered through the city, far from the temptations of their former street lives.

But given the wait-lists, Mr. Lurie argues, Canada needs to further increase its investments in Housing First operations. In Toronto alone more than 10,416 people are waiting for supportive housing, about half are homeless or housed precariously and some people, he says, have been on that list for as long as five years.

As a landmark five-year study by the Mental Health Commission of Canada demonstrated, giving people with high needs and severe illnesses stable housing makes it easier for them to get the help they need - and saves money on hospital stays and emergency rooms.

"Giving people their own place to live not only makes good public policy, it makes good economic sense," says Mr. Lurie.

$50-billion The annual cost to the Canadian economy of mental health problems and illnesses - though the Mental Health Commission of Canada says the costs "are likely significantly greater" .

30 per cent of all short- and long-term disability claims are due to mental health problems and illnesses

70 per cent The estimate of mental health problems and illnesses that begin in childhood or adolescence .

75 per cent As many as three in four children and youth don't access services and treatments - despite the fact that children who experience such mental health illnesses and problems are at much higher risk of experiencing them as adults and are more likely to have other complicating health and social problems

$200-billion Estimated long-term cost of childhood mental health disorders in Canada

$280,000 Lifetime savings to be had through early intervention to prevent conduct disorders in one child .

85,000 Number of children in Canada already experiencing conduct disorders .

7 cents The amount of every public health care dollar that goes to mental health (below the 10 per cent to 11 per cent of public health spending on mental health in other countries, including New Zealand and Britain)

55 per cent The percentage of homeless people who had visited an emergency room or been hospitalized in the past year .

$19,582 The annual cost of the Housing First initiative for the most severely mentally ill clients with the highest needs .

$42,536 The annual costs saved in services that otherwise would have been used on these clients

Source: Mental Health Commission of Canada ; At Home/Chez Soi Final Report, 2014; 2010 Health and Housing in Transition Study.

Associated Graphic

Not all of the patients Christina Cookson meets in her London, Ont., clinic have insurance, which affects access to urgent psychiatric care.


The fight of my life
Niall McGee didn't understand or even believe in depression - until cancer medication sent him into a suicidal spiral
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1


How to build a better mental health care system .

This is part of a series about improving research, diagnosis and treatment.

On my hospital bedside table was a photograph of my fouryear-old son, Cillian. I looked at his cherubic cheeks and his smiling face, and my heart broke. A few hours earlier, my wife had begged me not to kill myself. She said that she might eventually accept my death but that Cillian would never get over it. I couldn't bear to look at his picture any longer; I put it in the drawer. Then, I went back to doing what I had been doing for weeks on end - sitting on my bed in a locked psychiatric ward, lost in my morbid thoughts, staring out the window.

The building across the street was partly demolished, its exposed, ugly, walls half-standing. I realized that I was like that building: My life was in ruins.

It didn't used to be like this.

Eighteen months prior I was functioning normally. I was working as a television producer in a busy newsroom. I was a devoted husband, an involved father, cracking one-liners in the office, on top of the bills, working out like a demon. Things changed in June, 2011, when a cancer diagnosis knocked the wind out of me. I had Stage III melanoma with a sixin-10 chance of being alive in five years. Not the best odds, but not the worst either. After three surgeries I was deemed what oncologists call "NED" - no evidence of disease. Melanoma has a nasty habit of coming back, however.

In November, 2011, I started an immunotherapy treatment called interferon, which would reduce the risk of a recurrence. Interferon is a brutal, yearlong regimen with punishing physical side effects, such as fatigue, chills, nausea, loss of appetite and low white blood cell count.

My oncologist also stressed I would be monitored closely for depression, which occurs in about 40 per cent of patients. "If you become depressed, please let me know," she said.

"Yeah, right," I secretly scoffed.

"Depression? Me? Not going to happen."

In a sense, my arrogance was well founded. I had no history of depression. But it ran deeper than that - I didn't really even understand it. If you had asked me to describe depression back then, I probably would have likened it to feeling sad, or being in a funk. I certainly had little sympathy for those that suffer from it.

While I had some trepidation about the physical test I was about to face, mentally, I felt bulletproof.

I tolerated interferon well for the first six months, although not without side effects. My energy levels dipped; I lost my appetite and, with it, 30 pounds. Then, nine months in, out of nowhere, I started having bouts of insomnia.

Anxiety began keeping me awake for half the night.

In October, my oncologist suggested I stop treatment because of signs of depression. But eight weeks from the finishing line, there was no way I was going to agree to that. The only thing I cared about was keeping my cancer at bay - mental problems be damned.

In November, things spiralled. I started missing entire nights of sleep. Unable to function at work, I went on disability leave. I had severe panic attacks and I began to have suicidal thoughts. I was unwittingly locked in a Catch-22: Staying on interferon gave me the best odds of beating my cancer.

But the drug itself was slowly killing me.

With only two weeks remaining, I quit treatment. It was deflating not to make it to the end. But I had a much bigger problem on my hands: I was in a full-blown clinical depression.

I desperately wanted relief but there was no end in sight. My oncologist told me that interferon could take months to clear out of my system.

I was put on an antidepressant and a benzodiazepine, which, despite being highly sedating, did little to ease my out-of-control anxiety and insomnia. My depression was so all-encompassing that it culminated in a complete loss of self.

As fall morphed into winter, I stopped functioning entirely. I withdrew from every single thing that made me who I was. Everything in life overwhelmed and exhausted me. I felt unbearable pent-up tension that I could not release. At night, I would black out for an hour or two and wake up, soaked in a cold sweat. Then, I'd lie there for hours, uncomfortable and wet, suicidal thoughts racing through my head. The lowest and loneliest I felt was when early morning light drifted into the room and I'd realize yet another night had slipped by unslept. During the day, I had so much time to fill, but no desire to do anything.


Depression is one of the worst kinds of pain: There is no relief.

After my cancer surgeries, I had been in quite a bit of physical pain, but I'd pop an OxyContin and I'd feel better almost right away. There is no oxy for depression. When I was put on an antidepressant, I was told it would take at least six weeks to start working - if at all. I didn't think I'd be alive in six weeks.

I considered methods of killing myself on hundreds of occasions.

I thought about hanging myself from the rafters in my basement, asphyxiation via carbon monoxide poisoning in my car. I paced around the neighbourhood and considered throwing myself in front of a bus. Every time I rode the subway, I thought about jumping in front of a train.

Drowning seemed like the best option of all - I'm a weak swimmer so it would have been almost a sure thing.

I shut almost everyone out of my life. I desperately wanted to engage with my son, but couldn't.

Cillian would be pushing a toy truck in the hallway and I'd step around him as if he wasn't there.

The only person I let in was my wife, Helen. I clung to her as my lifeline. But all she got in return was despondency. She spent hours trying to reason with me, telling me that I'd pull through.

When my mood dipped particularly low, she would gently ask me if I wanted to go to the hospital. I would stubbornly shake my head. In truth, it was something that I had started to consider.

Hospital had a strange pull for me. I felt like it might offer a refuge of sorts.

By January, it was clear I wasn't getting any better. One night, I turned to Helen and said "I can't face another night." She called 911 and within 30 minutes we were sitting in Toronto General Hospital's emergency room. We waited hours to be seen. Around 5 a.m., an exhausted psychiatrist saw me. I told him I was suicidal, and if he didn't admit me I would probably kill myself later that day. My admission sheet to the psychiatric ward said: "Major depressive disorder with suicidal ideation. Severe."

When I arrived on the 8th floor of Toronto General, the atmosphere was oddly serene. The ward was bright, airy and clean. It calmed me. Since it was a Sunday afternoon, the hospital was ghostly quiet. I puttered around for a while but grew tired. Eventually, I went to my room and climbed into bed. The silence was broken only by the melancholy weeping of a depressive in the room next to mine. I felt a certain peace and relief: I was in safe hands and experts who knew a lot more about depression than me, who had helped others get better, would surely be able to fix me. Little did I know how relentless my illness would prove to be.

The hospital offered various group therapy sessions, which I was optimistic about at first, but my enthusiasm quickly waned. I could have benefited from intensive one-on-one talk therapy, but that's not the reality of care in a public hospital in Canada.

Instead, I had one "Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy" group class a week, which was laughably inadequate.

I can say with absolute confidence that I was one of the worst students of art therapy to ever grace the halls of Toronto General. Even in a compos mentis state, sitting in a room and being asked to produce a piece of "art" would be tedious - having to do it whilst being actively suicidal was agonizing.

What I found illuminating (and sometimes horrifying) in group therapy was hearing about other patients' experiences. A paranoid schizophrenic recounted how he had recently jumped into Lake Ontario in the dead of winter because he was convinced that he was being followed. A severely depressed lady in her 60s, clad in a pink robe and slippers, claimed that she hadn't slept in eight years. I wondered if I was heading down that path myself.

My insomnia was a code that proved impossible to break. The only time I slept was when I was put on Seroquel, a powerful antipsychotic, for a few days. A dose would knock me out for about 90 minutes, but would also induce disturbing dreams. Occasionally, I would pace the ward at 3 a.m. - anything to break up the endlessness of the night.

Any vestiges of normalcy that I was able to maintain on the outside went away in the ward. I gave up every hygiene habit, including showering and brushing my teeth. I walked around in a slow, plodding fashion, like an old man on his last legs. My mind was muddy. Sometimes, I'd begin to talk and stop mid-sentence, unable to finish. I became increasingly solitary. The only people that I allowed to see me in hospital were my wife and son.

Cillian was a bright light in a grim place. When he came to visit me in "my apartment," as he called my room, he was always impeccably behaved and uncharacteristically low key - the nurses loved him. Somehow he seemed to know something was seriously wrong. We told him that I was in hospital because "my head hurt."

Every night, he would ask my wife if I was coming home. I was convinced he would eventually stop asking, but he never did.

Helen came to see me every day, with two exceptions: The day of her grandmother's funeral and when the subway broke down while she was on her way to see me. She became such a familiar face around the ward that a patient asked her how she liked working at Toronto General. She came despite holding down a job, taking care of my son, running the house and the million other things normally functioning people do every day. She would sit with me for hours and talk. She'd bring freshly baked cornbread or homemade lasagna that I'd barely touch. She brought fresh clothes.

She cut my hair. Sometimes we'd roam the hospital grounds, hand in hand, like a couple of lost souls. She never stopped believing that I would get better. My relentlessness and hopelessness didn't break her. She never blinked. She told me she would never let me go.

When I was first hospitalized, only a handful of people knew where I was. That's the way I wanted it - I didn't want people to know I was in a "nuthouse."

But as the weeks went by, I knew that it was futile to keep it a secret and that it was unfair to Helen to shoulder the burden. So, I told a few friends. Then, I told my boss. I held out the longest in telling my family back in Ireland.

From my hospital bed, I called my mother: "Mum, I'm in the hospital being treated for depression.

And you know what kind of hospital I'm talking about." She took it surprisingly well and assured me that I would get better. She was, however, adamant that she would tell no-one (her insistence, not mine). Evidently, she changed her mind - 30 minutes later, a text came in from my brother Owen, the town gossip. At that point, I was pretty sure that a good chunk of the population of the northwest of Ireland was aware of my new living arrangements.


Once I passed the one-month mark in hospital, I felt it was time to admit something fundamental - my depression was treatmentresistant. After 37 days, I was discharged from Toronto General Hospital's psychiatric ward. There was no movie ending for me. I returned home still very much mired in a serious depression. My psychiatrist suggested I increase the dosage on my antidepressant.

But I had grown cynical: I had tried many different drugs and dosages but nothing was working.

In fact, I suspected the meds were making my condition worse.

Many of the side effects of psychiatric drugs are also symptoms of depression. Were my feelings a symptom or a side effect? I was starting to believe the latter.

The way I saw it, all the talking, the group therapy sessions, and, especially, the many drugs that I had tried had little effect. I felt like I was fighting a nuclear war, but that psychiatry had given me only bows and arrows to defend myself. A few days after returning home, I stopped taking my medication. I told no one. Not even Helen. I was so angry that nothing had worked that, in an act of juvenile defiance, I threw all my drugs in the garbage. I was aware of the possible side effects of cold turkey withdrawal from psychiatric medication: insomnia, extreme anxiety, depression, elevated risk of suicide. But, the way I saw it then, there wasn't really any downside - I was already living with all those side effects.

For the first week or so, I didn't feel any difference. And then something unbelievable happened. In early March, over the course of a week, I went from being clinically depressed to having almost no symptoms. My anxiety melted away. I was able to sleep about five hours a night.

Deep reserves of energy returned.

My concentration came back. I could read. I was able to follow the plot of a TV show. I could write. I could take my son to the park. Soon, I was back in the gym working out with Rafael Nadallike intensity. Whether my recovery was a result of quitting psychiatric medication, or simply interferon finally leaving my system, I will never know for sure.

The weeks and months that followed were the happiest of my life. I tried to get caught up on everything that I had missed. I called friends and family and talked their ears off. My appetite was back and I regained muchneeded weight on my emaciated frame. Cillian and I spent many hours running around like monkeys escaped from the zoo. In the fall, I returned to work and within a few weeks I had settled back into a familiar routine. My family had come through a great crisis.

Somehow we were all intact.


Every single day I wake up and realize that I'm no longer depressed is special. I feel relieved, grateful and optimistic. It never gets old.

But going through a serious depression and coming out the other end is a funny thing. One does not end up with a dramatically new personality, nor does one necessarily become a better person. I'm still impatient, annoying and selfish, and the little things - like the printer jamming at work - frustrate me as much as they always did. But the experience is akin to how I imagine being a plane crash survivor might feel. At one point you absolutely thought your life was going to end, but you survived. Nothing and everything changes at once.

One thing that has changed is my understanding of depression and empathy for those who suffer from it. Depression, I have come to realize, is very real, absolutely debilitating and there are no quick fixes. Don't ever tell a depressive to go for a run, or to take a zumba class. You may as well be asking that person to climb K2 and snowboard their way down. What people need is compassion, patience and a willingness to stick with them.

Recently, someone asked me what it feels like to be a cancer survivor. I answered that I wouldn't know, because I'm not a cancer survivor - at least not yet. I am still in that five-year danger window, where the risk of my cancer coming back and finishing me off remains high. It is too early to say whether interferon, the drug that almost killed me, will in the long-run save my life. But, in the interim, I will admit that I do try to squeeze a little extra out of life. I sleep less and live more than before.

Earlier in the spring, I returned to the psychiatric ward for a visit.

It was my first time back since I was discharged more than two years ago. I recognized a kind nurse who had treated me. I asked her if she remembered me.

A warm smile came across her face. "I never forget a patient."

she said. She said she rarely finds out what happens to patients after they leave. She was so happy to see me and to learn that I was well. We spoke for a few moments. Then she shuffled off quietly on her rounds.

Niall McGee is a reporter for Report on Business.

Follow me on Twitter: @NiallCMcGee

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has purchased advertisements to accompany this series. The organization had no involvement in the creation or production of this, or any other, story in the series.


Ask Him Anything

Join Niall McGee for an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit from noon till 1 p.m. (ET) today to ask him about his experience. Get the link at noon at

Watch McGee shares further insights from his ordeal. VIDEO


Coming Saturday With most mental illnesses, psychiatrists have no way of pinpointing the roots of a patient's despair. But what if doctors had tools to predict which treatments would work for individual patients? Scientists are closer to a breakthrough than ever before, Adriana Barton reports, and a Canadian initiative is leading the way. FOCUS

Associated Graphic

Business reporter Niall McGee spent five weeks in the psychiatric ward at Toronto General Hospital as part of his recovery from severe depression.


The cancer drug interferon may have saved Niall McGee's life, but its side effects sent him into suicidal despair that required him to spend weeks in the mental-health program at Toronto General Hospital. He credits his son, Cillian, for being a 'bright light in a grim place.'


Dressing rooms have evolved in baseball, away from the spartan hooks and benches of yesteryear to a world of luxury, comfort and style. Robert MacLeod goes deep inside the Toronto Blue Jays' inner sanctum and finds nothing is overlooked in an effort to keep ballplayers happy and healthy
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

Josh Donaldson and Ryan Goins are slouched on a black leather couch inside the visitor's clubhouse at Cleveland's Progressive Field, staring intently at a large flat-screen monitor while busily manipulating the remote controls in their hands, locked in heated battle.

With the opening pitch of their game against the Indians more than three hours away, the two Toronto Blue Jays infielders are playing Nintendo's Tecmo Bowl, the popular console football game from the late-1980s, the first to feature NFL players by name.

As Goins and Donaldson trade turns on offence and defence, a pixelated Bruce Smith, the ferocious Buffalo Bills defensive end, crashes through the virtual offensive line and tackles Goins's virtual quarterback in the end zone for a virtual safety.

"I was, like, five when I played this," bemoans Goins after the setback. "That was only 22 years ago."

What a life. In the modern-day major-league baseball clubhouse, men are free to be boys. It's where players and coaches spend as many as 10 hours a day for six months a year - longer if they make the playoffs.

So it's a ballplayer's home away from home - an office of sorts, but really it's a rec room where players gather to eat, work out, watch TV, get treatment for injuries, socialize, get their hair cut and play video games. The fridge and the snack bowls are always full.

In other words, it's the ultimate man cave. With a touch of Canyon Ranch.

Rustic beginnings

As baseball has become a game played by multimillionaires who prefer life's luxuries, clubhouses have evolved into ultra-modern facilities where no comfort is untended. There are hot tubs, cold tubs, video rooms, medical facilities, private kitchens and dining rooms, gymnasiums, video-game consoles, card tables and more flat-screen TVs than you'll find in a sports bar.

The 30,000-square-foot home clubhouse at Yankee Stadium is considered by many ballplayers as the most opulent. It even has a room where each player has a storage unit to lock his bats away.

They've come a long way since MLB's beginning's in 1876.

"There were no clubhouses in the early years of Major League Baseball, and ballplayers came to the park in uniform directly from their hotels," says John Thorn, the official historian for MLB. "If it were a Memorial Day, July 4th or Opening Day, they might come as part of a parade in some kind of conveyance, usually a wagon. In later years it would have been in an automobile."

Thorn said it wasn't until around 1909, when early steeland-concrete stadiums such as Shibe Park (later known as Connie Mack Stadium) in Philadelphia and Forbes Field in Pittsburgh were being erected, that clubhouses were incorporated into the buildings' designs.

But even then, they were rustic, spare rooms, with wooden stools to sit on and hooks on the walls to hang players' clothes.

"It could be argued that the current clubhouse at Wrigley Field has progressed beyond that by only a smidgen," Thorn says, referring to the notorious visiting team's accommodations at the 101-year-old home of the Chicago Cubs, which to date has eschewed modernization.

"The rats look bigger than a pig out there," former Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen once famously said about conditions around the visitors' batting cage at Wrigley.

But that won't be the case for much longer. A $575-million (U.S.), five-year renovation of Wrigley is under way that will include a state-of-the-art Cubs' clubhouse along with what are being described as "improved" facilities for visiting teams. But that's a low bar.

When Wrigley is spruced up, Fenway Park in Boston, at 103 years old, will become baseball's least desirable spot for visiting players to hang their caps.

In Fenway's cramped and clammy confines, it is difficult to avoid stepping on players toes as reporters shoulder their way through to reach a dingy manager's office after games. It's easy to wander accidentally into the team's shower area, located right outside the manager's door.

"It's funny," Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin says. "Most players will tell you that the visitor's clubhouses at Wrigley and Fenway are the worst they're seen, but they're still the stadiums that I love to play at the most, with all that history."

What makes a good clubhouse

Wrigley and Fenway aside, players say that when it comes to judging what makes a good clubhouse, square-footage is the biggest priority.

"There are a few things that make a good clubhouse," Martin says. "One, you need space.

You're around the guys a lot, especially throughout the day.

When you feel like you're almost on top of each other, it can be a little uncomfortable. It's a combination of that along with having a good place to work out, and a good kitchen with good food. That makes the difference."

Martin listed the Yankees' and Washington Nationals' visitingteam clubhouses among his favourites.

"I like the places where you can get out of the clubhouse and go sit in a lounge and not be around the media," Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle says when asked what clubhouse amenities he most appreciates.

Yes, it's a delicate dance for reporters treading on the players' turf. Working journalists' access to the clubhouse begins 31/2 hours before each game, and ends when batting practice begins; it opens again post-game, no more than 10 minutes after the final out.

In the Blue Jays home clubhouse at Rogers Centre, Buehrle has plenty of places to hide out.

It is considered among the nicest in the majors after a $6-million renovation before the 2008 season, which doubled its size to 24,000 square feet.

The Jays locker and change area, a long, rectangular design, accounts for 3,250 of those square feet. Knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey occupies one end; if you squint, you can just make out Michael Saunders at the other end.

"If those guys wanted to have a conversation, they'd probably have to call each other [on their cellphones]," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos says.

There are 47 roomy, open lockers, more than enough for the 25man roster and assorted clubhouse personnel. Players such as Jose Bautista, Dickey and Buehrle get two lockers - a luxury afforded veterans around the league.

Blame Bonds

It is difficult to identify what exactly caused teams to transform clubhouses from modest to majestic, but many baseball insiders point to Barry Bonds during his days with the San Francisco Giants as a contributing factor.

After the Giants' move in 2000 from Candlestick Park to what's now known as AT&T Park, Bonds's contract stipulated that he get four lockers and his own TV. While his teammates made do with standard-issue folding chairs at their stalls, Bonds had a plush black leather massaging recliner that reportedly cost $3,000.

Bonds's demands might have seemed diva-esque at the time, but they proved to be the thin end of the wedge: Now, just about every new clubhouse is outfitted in padded recliners.

But amenities are not everything. In the Yankees' home clubhouse, it is all about location.

When Derek Jeter, the club's revered captain, retired after last season, there was speculation about who would move into his coveted locker space.

Jeter's location was desirable because it was in the high-rent district at the far end of the Yankees clubhouse - immediately beside the doorway leading to the showers and, most critically, to the player's private exit.

In the end, it was awarded to pitcher CC Sabathia by virtue of his veteran status - 15 seasons in the big leagues, the past seven of them in New York.

More comfort, less bonding

Buck Martinez, the current Blue Jays television broadcaster, played for the Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and finally the Blue Jays in a major-league career that spanned 17 seasons ending in 1986. He's not so sure the lavish clubhouses he sees today, with all their TVs and electronic distractions, promote team chemistry.

"I think guys today are in watching video, they're doing all kinds of things," Martinez says. "We didn't have any of that. We'd sit with Charlie Lau and George Brett and Hal McRae and Lou Piniella for a couple of hours after a game, talk about hitting.

Now - and I understand it, because the players come so early and I don't know what they do - they leave right after the game.

"When I was with the Royals and later the Brewers, when we used to come to Cleveland, we'd get the clubhouse key from the clubbie [attendant] and hang around long after the game was over. We'd sit in there and drink beer, play cards, we'd chew tobacco. But we'd talk baseball. It was ridiculous. Bambi's Bombers and Harvey's Wallbangers and all those teams. They were as close as any team I've been on."

Behind closed doors

Given time, even renovated clubhouses develop their own idiosyncrasies - traditions, memorabilia, dented drywall.

And rules. The clubhouse is where veterans instruct young guys in the team's various protocols, including dealing with the media.

Rookie Devon Travis, for example, has been very co-operative with reporters this season - too co-operative if you ask the often taciturn veterans. Weeks ago, after the second baseman finished an interview at his locker and the reporter thanked him for his time, Travis responded: "No problem, any time."

"No, never say that," barked Buehrle, mimicking a stern parent - only half-jokingly. "I'll talk to you later."

Clubhouse culture takes on the personality of its inhabitants, especially in areas that are offlimits to anyone other than the players themselves. In Rogers Centre, for example, we discover that Bautista seems to be the most fastidious of Jays.

Dress shirts, T-shirts, pants and even a Barcelona soccer jersey with his name and number (19) on it are arranged neatly on hangers in his two lockers, along with a suit bag from a bespoke Toronto tailor.Evenly spaced on the shelf above his clothes are seven pristine Marucci baseball gloves. Four of them are blue, one black and two brown. Bautista has a vested interest in the presentation - he sits on the board of directors of the Louisiana-based baseball equipment company.

"I try to make sure I know where my stuff is," Bautista explains. "I'm normally late because I have way too many things that I have to worry about. I've got to know where everything is so I can get it quick."

Bauista says he's happy with his clubhouse location, about halfway down and tucked between two support beams near a large table that bears the music centre.

"I think it's in a good location," he says. "I'm not in any of the entrances; I'm kind of hidden somewhat behind two columns. I like the fact that in order for you to get in front of my locker, you have to actually walk in front of my locker."

At the far end of the change area, there is a door that leads to the private space where players head following games. The first room is rather small and inconsequential. There is a counter where players can grab a coffee or some water. There are tubs full of chewing gum and sunflower seeds. A couple of grease boards on the wall keep the players up to date on the time of meetings or when the bus leaves for the airport.

Beyond that is a spacious training area equipped with hot and cold tubs, a couple of training tables and so on.

From there through another door is a spacious kitchen where the players are fed before and after games.

Adjacent to all this is what's known as the Memorabilia Hallway. It is essentially an archive celebrating the history of the club that includes four glass display cases crammed with artifacts.

One of the display cases is devoted entirely to the Blue Jays World Series championships in 1992 and 1993, with replicas of those World Series trophies.

It also contains the gloves worn by Devon White, Kelly Gruber and Joe Carter, and there's Carter's famous bat. Not the bat - the one that Carter actually used to hit the walk-off, three-run home run that captured the World Series for the Blue Jays in 1993.

That precious piece of maple was shipped to Cooperstown, where it now resides in the National Baseball Hall of Fame's "Autumn Glory" exhibit. The one in the Blue Jays clubhouse is a replica.

The other cases display items significant to the Blue Jays history: a game-worn Roy Halladay glove, for instance, and the home plate that Bautista stepped on after he swatted his 50th home run of the 2010 season. Bautista finished with 54 that year, becoming the first - and still only - Blue Jay to have more than 50 in one season.

On the wall across from the display cases are framed opening day rosters from each and every Blue Jays season over the 39 years of their existence. The symbolism is obvious: On this quiet corridor, players young and old can reflect on, and inspired by, the great stars who preceded them, and the things they accomplished.

Heading the other way from the main entrance to the player's change area is a long, slightly curving hallway off of which there are a number of offices.

One of the biggest belongs to John Gibbons, the Jays' manager, and its most interesting feature is that he usually has a big bottle of Tums sitting on his desktop.

As you continue along the hallway, there are a number of smaller change areas for clubhouse personnel and one for members of the Blue Jays executive. The Jays employ four to five clubhouse attendants, who collect and wash dirty uniforms, tend to equipment, clean shoes and run other errands for players. The Jays would not allow attendants to be interviewed for this story.

There is also a medium-size boardroom and Roberto Alomar was sitting there back in January, 2011 when he took the telephone call confirming he had gained entrance into the Hall of Fame. In honour of that moment, an Alomar jersey is framed in a glass case on the wall.

At the end of the hallway is the team's weight and exercise room.

Peace and harmony

Clubhouse activities have changed considerably over the years, but the goal remains the same: Provide a place for players to relax, feel at home and get ready to play.

Which brings us to music, a pre- and postgame staple that can be, at once, both bonding and divisive. One thing is always true: It's always much louder after a win.

For the Blue Jays, it has traditionally been a free-for-all that decides which players get to play what music.

This season, at the behest of Russell Martin in an attempt to bring order to chaos, the team agreed to have musical theme days.

There is a list on the post beside the clubhouse stereo that lays out the rules: Mondays are "old-school," Tuesdays (for Buehrle) are classic rock and country, Wednesdays play house, Thursdays are hip-hop, Fridays are 1980s and Saturday is Latin.

Sundays are designated a "shuffle" day.

"Music is always kind of a touchy subject in the clubhouse," Martin says. "Everybody has different tastes and stuff. The list idea was something that worked for us last year in Pittsburgh - every day was like a different theme. It keeps everybody happy."

And that sentiment is a the one fixture that's in every clubhouse in every major-league city. "The key," Martin says, "is to keep everybody in harmony."

In the lap of luxury

Before the 2008 season the Blue Jays home clubhouse at Rogers Centre underwent a $6-million renovation, which doubled its size to 24,000 square feet. The locker room has everything from TVs and video games to a stocked fridge and a spacious training area equipped with hot and cold tubs

1 CREATURE COMFORTS The players have a custom "charging" unit that allows them to plug in their multiple phones and electronics at the same time. It also has larger charge spots to accommodate tablets.

2 BAUTISTA'S LOCKERS Bautista seems to be the most N/1 particular when it comes to his two lockers. The hangers of both his lockers are usually filled with a variety of dress shirts, T-shirts, baseball and dress pants. A Barcelona soccer jersey with Bautista's name and number (19) hangs between them. In the shelf above where he hangs his clothes he has five pristine Marucci gloves, carefully lined up side by side.

3 MUSIC CONTROLS Built in speakers throughout the clubhouse are connected to a desktop computer that the players connect their music devices to via USB. A poster on the pillar beside it dictates the musical theme days for the week's playlists.

4 ROOM PROFILE Upon entering via the media door, the engineering design of the new clubhouse is intricate, especially in the player's locker area, which is tucked underneath the first level seating area down the third base line. Given the upward slope of the seating area, there is much more headroom _ down one side of the locker j I than the other.

Associated Graphic

The Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse includes many artifacts connected to the team's history, along with comfortable chairs for all of the players.


When Barry Bonds was with the Giants he put in his contract that he should have a leather massaging recliner. At the time this may have seemed to be diva-like behaviour but now most teams have comfortable seating for all of their players.


Jose Bautista strategically selected his locker location, in part because it is somewhat hidden behind two columns.


In pursuit of mental health's holy grail
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

Lunacy. Madness. Demonic possession. Black bile. Such archaic notions of mental illness have given way to clinical terms.

Now we have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, social phobia, depression. But as scientific as they sound, each of these disorders, by medical definition, is nothing more than a cluster of symptoms with any number of potential causes.

A diagnosis such as major depressive disorder is about as telling as fever. All kinds of things can cause a fever: bacterial infection, meningitis, flu. Similarly, depression may be triggered by anything from hormonal imbalances to the activation of specific genes, or a history of child abuse. When a patient has a fever, a doctor will prescribe an appropriate treatment after trying to diagnose the cause. In most cases, however, psychiatrists have surefire no way of pinpointing the roots of a patient's despair. Treating mental illness is a shot in the dark.

But what if doctors could order lab tests and scan patients for dozens of known causes of mental illness? What if they could offer a precise diagnosis - such as "chromosome 3p25-26 depression" - using a classification system largely based on the biological signatures of these disorders?

Imagine if a doctor could give a patient this advice: "Go directly to brain stimulation treatments - do not try medications, do not go for psychotherapy. They won't work for you."

Psychiatry may be on the verge of such a breakthrough, one that could shake the foundations of the diagnostic system. A growing number of specialists, with a Canadian team at the forefront, are joining forces with researchers who study genetics, the hormonal, metabolic and immune systems, and how the brain works.

They're putting aside a century's worth of theories, and delving into the biology of mental disorders on a scale never before seen.

The aim is not just to broaden our understanding of mental illness, but to overhaul how we diagnose and treat it.

An overhaul can't come soon enough. One in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime. Many will suffer for years, cycling through one ineffective treatment after another.

Julia Marriott, of Ancaster, Ont., knows how that feels. She had 15 years of psychotherapy and tried more than a dozen different antidepressants, but nothing gave any lasting relief. She chokes up when she talks about hiding her mental illness from her daughter, who was 8 when Ms. Marriott's depression took hold.

Most nights, she says, "I would just go to bed and hope I didn't wake in the morning." In all, trial-and-error treatments consumed two decades of her life, says Ms. Marriott, now 66. "I'm not big on self-pity," she adds.

"But it was awful."

Diagnostic models and a focus on symptoms

The ability to predict which treatments will help individual patients is the holy grail of psychiatry, but the quest has been challenged by the field's silo mentality. For more than a century, psychiatry has ping-ponged between biological explanations and theories about the unconscious forces that drive our emotions and behaviours.

As early as the 1860s, some psychiatrists theorized that mental disorders were illnesses of the brain. But brain dissections were too crude to reveal consistent abnormalities linked to mental illness. Theories got far-fetched.

In the 1940s, Austrian psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich became famous for his eureka moment that the mentally ill were deficient in "orgone energy." The "cure" involved sitting in a closet-like "orgone energy accumulator."

By comparison, Sigmund Freud's psychodynamic approach was genius. Freud, a neurologist by training, was the first to propose concepts such as repression and denial. He theorized that any mental illness could be treated by resolving unconscious conflicts among the ego (the inner realist), the superego (the moralist) and the id (primal instinct). Decades after his death in 1939, Freud's theories dominated the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Eventually, it was posited that Freud's theories mainly helped the "worried well," says Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, recent past president of the APA and author of the newly published Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry. In 1980, psychiatrists in charge of the DSM's third edition rejected all unproven causes of mental illness. Instead, they drew from the latest clinical data to define and classify mental disorders based on symptoms alone - a practice that continues.

Since then, however, psychiatry has not kept pace with advances in other areas of medicine, according to Dr. Thomas Insel, head of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health. Unlike medical definitions of heart disease, lymphoma or AIDS, psychiatric diagnoses are based on a consensus about symptoms, "not any objective laboratory measure," he wrote in a searing blog post in 2013. "Patients with mental disorders deserve better."

Recent studies have reinforced the idea that the diagnostic system falls short. In a study published in February, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine found consistent brain changes in thousands of mentally ill patients, whether diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, addiction or anxiety. All showed similar greymatter losses in brain areas associated with high-level functions such as concentration and decision-making, noted the study, published in JAMA Psychiatry. In a 2013 study, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital detected shared genetic glitches in the mentally ill across diagnostic categories.

A steady stream of findings like these could leave psychiatry's classification system in shambles.

After all, if schizophrenia and bipolar disorder look the same in brain scans and molecular tests, are they, in fact, distinct illnesses?

Could they be different manifestations of the same genetic condition, or subtypes of an as-yet-unnamed brain disorder?

To find answers, psychiatrists need to look at the bewildering science of mental illness in new ways.

Dusting for depression's fingerprints

Canada, it turns out, is leading the way, through a multiyear study called the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression (CAN-BIND). It brings together clinical psychiatrists, neuropsychiatrists, molecular scientists, neuroimaging specialists and experts in bio-informatics, who use computer algorithms to analyze complex data such as genetic code.

Part of the mission is to identify as-yet-unnamed subtypes of depression. But the ultimate goal is to shorten the path from diagnosis to the right treatment. "This is not just a study," says Dr. Sagar Parikh, a University of Toronto psychiatrist who is working on CAN-BIND. "This is a program to transform depression treatment."

CAN-BIND is following a model used in breast-cancer research. In the mid-1980s, researchers divided cancer patients into groups: those who got better with treatment and those who didn't. Scientists analyzed thousands of biological traits to find markers that set patients apart, using computers to crunch the data.

In patients who got sicker, researchers found high levels of HER2, a protein that stimulates tumour growth. The finding led to new drugs to block the action of this protein. Since then, life expectancy for patients with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer has increased 30 per cent.

In much the same way, CANBIND is dividing patients with depression into two groups - responders and non-responders to a selected treatment. Depending on the study phase, patients receive antidepressants, or psychotherapy, or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (a non-invasive treatment that uses magnetic pulses to activate specific parts of the brain). Researchers are combing through patients' biological and psychological makeup, acting on the hunch that different types of depression may respond to different treatments - and leave distinct fingerprints.

The CAN-BIND model is like a game of Clue, Dr. Parikh says. The "murderers," "weapons" and "crime scenes" in Clue - three variables involved in solving the mystery - correspond to the study's three research areas.

The first area involves a psychiatric evaluation that takes into account factors such as substance abuse, early childhood trauma and recent life stress; any of these may affect biological systems such as brain function. The next area uses brain imaging to find abnormalities. The third covers blood tests, which may detect proteins produced by specific genes, disruptions in metabolic or hormonal function, or signs of inflammation. (Some researchers believe that inflammation due to an overactive immune system may trigger mental illness.)

Results from the battery of tests are fed into software sophisticated enough to find patterns among thousands of patient variables. The idea is to uncover clues that can be used to predict whether a specific treatment will work for future patients. Hypothetically, Dr. Parikh says, "the best predictor of a treatment working might [prove to] be a combination of a sleep disturbance, together with an underactive part of the brain, combined with one protein that is off."

Similar studies are under way in the United States, but CAN-BIND is the first to pull together this many variables in a collaborative effort of nearly a dozen universities and research centres. The same model can be adapted to study other mental illnesses, researchers say.

The "big data" approach is a radical departure from the usual hypothesis-driven studies, which typically focus on a single research question. Dr. Parikh acknowledges that CAN-BIND is a "fishing expedition."

Dr. Lieberman, the former APA president, cautions against pinning too many hopes on studies like CAN-BIND. As with any fishing expedition, he points out, "you could end up not having caught anything."

One woman's victory

Despite great leaps in neuroscience and genetics, psychiatrists still don't know why one-third of patients with depression - or half a million Canadians each year - don't get better with standard treatments. Ms. Marriott fought depression with everything she had. After years of psychotherapy and antidepressants, she tried light therapy, vigorous exercise, mindfulness courses, fish oil - "anything that might work." But she could not escape the crushing feeling that everything was "black, negative and pointless" - except during episodes of mild mania. Occasionally, she would get the sudden urge to redecorate: "I would give away a perfectly good couch and then buy another one."

Ms. Marriott's official diagnosis is "major depressive disorder with a hypo-mania component."

She grew up watching her mother, who had bipolar disorder, spend most days in bed. One wonders whether their shared genes had something to do with Ms. Marriott's unsuccessful treatments. So far, there are no diagnostic tests to answer questions like this. Eventually, however, Ms. Marriott did find an effective treatment. In 2012, she became a patient in a study of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation; each treatment lasts about three minutes and feels "just like a woodpecker is pounding on your upper forehead."

Since her last round of brain stimulation in December, 2013, Ms. Marriott has been depressionfree. She says she feels like her "pre-age-40 self" - interested in seeing friends and eager to travel to places like Mexico and Botswana. Once more, she is capable of feeling "excited, happy, touched and sad - all those normal emotions." She emphasizes the sense of security she feels in knowing that, if she starts to relapse, she can go for another round of therapy. Getting the right treatment, she says, "has totally changed my life."

Biology on the fritz or something more?

Early findings from the CANBIND study will be released later this year. In the meantime, preliminary results from a multicentre U.S. study suggest that brain imaging has the potential to predict whether a depressed patient will respond to a specific treatment. Patients underwent positron emission tomography (PET) scans, which use a radioactive sugar to create images of brain activity. Researchers found that depressed patients who responded to psychotherapy had sluggish activity in the insula, a brain region involved in emotion and self-awareness, unlike those who did well on antidepressants.

Brain imaging would be an expensive treatment-selection tool. But if new studies make a strong case that brain scans lead to more successful treatment, they may not be out of reach for average patients down the road, says Dr. Jeff Daskalakis, chief of the mood and anxiety department at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

"It costs a lot of money to miss a diagnosis," notes Dr. Daskalakis, who is working on the CAN-BIND study. In Canada, the cost of mental-health services combined with lost productivity and income due to untreated mental disorders is estimated at nearly $30-billion a year.

Still, researchers emphasize it could be years, if not decades, before brain imaging or blood tests become reliable, let alone practical, tools. And that's assuming their studies net big fish.

For now, we are left with the same big questions that have baffled physicians and philosophers for centuries: Is mental illness simply a matter of biology on the fritz - a physiological problem that can be solved as soon as scientists crack the code? Or is the anguish of each patient also a unique expression of the sense of isolation and dread that may strike any of us at our core?

In mental illness, unlike other diseases, life events are refracted through our subjective perception in ways that can damage our mental and physical well-being.

In his book, Dr. Lieberman uses himself as Exhibit A. After surviving a home invasion at gunpoint in his early 20s, his youthful mind chalked it up as "a thrilling adventure." Years later, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, after an air conditioner slipped out of his grasp and fell to the street below. For months, he was tormented by the thought that he could have caused someone's death. He lost his appetite, had trouble sleeping, and played the incident "over and over in my mind like a video loop." But he was the same person who had escaped from the home invasion without psychological scars. He explains, "You can have something that is purely experiential and yet it produces enduring symptoms."

Even if scientists come up with blood tests to screen for mental illness, the lived experience of a mental disorder will remain highly personal. For these reasons, mental disorders, in turn, will remain "existential diseases" that require compassionate care as well as effective medical treatments, says Dr. Lieberman.

The new approach to studying mental illness may be compatible with this philosophy. The strength of a project like CANBIND, says Dr. Parikh, is that it integrates many specialties and ways of looking at the problem.

"That's the real beauty of it."

Researchers are no longer determined to prove that a single treatment will help every patient.

Instead, he says, the question has become: "What is the best fit?" .

Adriana Barton is a reporter in Vancouver for Globe Life, specializing in health and science.

OPEN MINDS How to build a better mental health care system

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has purchased advertisements to accompany this series. The organization had no involvement in the creation or production of this, or any other, story in the series.

Associated Graphic

Getting the right treatment, Julie Marriott says, 'totally changed my life.'


Renee Blais used to be homeless. The program that helped turn her life around, created by a Canadian psychologist, is now considered the world's best-practice mental-health program to get - and keep - people off the street
Thursday, May 28, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1


How to build a better mental health care system

This is part of a series about improving research, diagnosis and treatment.

T he ground-floor apartment isn't fancy. There's a beige couch against a beige wall; the drawn curtains hold the shadows in. But Renee Blais chose the mismatched furniture herself and the new curtain rod was hung by a father she'd hardly seen for years. Now she has clean dishes piled by the sink, cookbooks on a table in the living room, a foot-high rubber plant growing in a clay pot. "I'm allowed to have a pet," she says with a grin that reveals two missing teeth.

"But I think I will start with a plant."

These small things matter: opening the fridge and seeing food she bought for herself. Making coffee in the morning. A front door with a lock. Before Blais, 28, moved in this winter, she was homeless, prostituting herself for drugs, her every possession stuffed in a bag. She fell asleep knowing her shoes might be stolen by morning - or worse.

"At the end, I didn't want to live any more," she says. On the street, "you are surrounded by people, but it's the loneliest feeling ever."

Now, she says brightly, "I am not using, I am not lost and all over the place. Since I moved in, only good things have been happening."

Renee didn't find a home; this home found her. Or more precisely, Jason Platts found her, casually showing up on the streets of the low-income Ottawa neighbourhood of Vanier, inviting her for coffee, visiting her in hospital when she was diagnosed with a bacterial infection. It's Platts's job, as an outreach worker for the Canadian Mental Health Association, to wait for her to say she'd had enough of life on the street, and then help her leave it - in this case, by finding an apartment in the city's east end and giving her the support she needs to stay there.

In many cases, mental illness can't be simplified down to a medical problem that even a perfect health-care system would solve. It's also a social issue, tangled up in poverty, unemployment and family circumstance.

People who are poor are about four times as likely to have a mental-health problem, and people who are mentally ill are more likely to become poor. Among the 200,000 people in Canada who are homeless every year, two-thirds have a history of mental illness or substance abuse.

Canada spends $7.7-billion for health care, social-service use and the justice system in connection with homelessness; the human cost of being trapped on the street in one of the wealthiest nations in the world is without measure.

This reality is more evidence for early intervention, for publicly funded comprehensive treatments - to tackle illness before it derails a patient's life, and to invest in preventing relapse. But it also means that psychotherapy and well-managed drugs are only a partial remedy for many of the sickest patients who also need support finding jobs and affordable housing.

The support part is proving, in research, to be an essential ingredient - to keep people in their new apartments by bringing the social system to them and not requiring complete sobriety to enter or stay in the program.

Housing first, as advocates like to say, but not housing only. This approach, credited to a Canadian psychologist, is now considered to be the best practice mentalhealth program to end homelessness. And it is being adopted all over the world, thanks, in part, to an unprecendented five-year study in Canadian cities that showed how well it worked.

Using the Housing First model, which has been endorsed by the Obama administration, cities such as New Orleans and the entire state of Utah are on the verge of declaring an end to chronic homelessness. Medicine Hat claims it will have achieved this goal by the end of the year.

Projects are launching in Europe's largest cities. In 2013, Ottawa committed nearly $600million over five years to Housing First projects (slightly less than the previous half-decade commitment), with provinces also contributing. The selling point was the five-city pilot project conducted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, which found that spending $1 on Housing First saved $2 in costs for homeless people with the highest needs and the most severe mental illness. What's more, they were no longer trapped in a hospital bed until they had somewhere to go, or sleeping in a parking garage or locked up in a jail cell, drifting between social supports and treatment plans.

They were home.

Genesis of a new approach Dr. Sam Tsemberis understands the transforming power of place, how the story of a life can be changed with a new country, a different set of walls. He was 7 when his family arrived in Canada, escaping the civil war in Greece for Montreal, where his family ran a deli. As a young substitute teacher tossed into a special-education class, he watched his students hide with shame in their classroom, always wanting the door closed and yet shine on stage in drama club. He went back to school to become a better teacher and became a psychologist instead, which led him to New York and an internship at Bellevue psychiatric hospital. He would counsel people during the day and walk by them the next morning on the sidewalk, still wearing their Bellevue pyjamas.

"The way I learned to help people is to listen to their stories," says Tsemberis, sitting in an Ottawa restaurant in April, having just finished a two-day meeting with social-services groups in the capital. (Tsemberis, who heads the non-profit Pathways to Housing, is based in New York but travels the world giving workshops on the housing-first model.)

He recalls how, at Bellevue, he became closer to the patients than the staff, who carried their ward keys like shields of distinction. "I don't think I would have gotten to the idea of putting people into their apartments if I hadn't listened to what people really wanted."

What they wanted was their own place. "You can visit me," they told Tsemberis, "but I don't want to have to hide my beer under the couch when you come over."

It's so obvious in its simplicity: To help people who are homeless, find them housing. But historically, the philosophy had been very different: People living on the street, struggling with mental illness and drug addiction, had to be helped before they could live independently.

They needed to take their meds and give up their alcohol; they needed to learn, once again, to follow society's rules as set by transition houses and shelters.

Those programs worked to a certain extent - people were given access to health services, they worked at their addictions, they moved on. But the hardest cases, the sickest people, rarely made it off the street - at least, not for long. "They were programmed into helplessness," Tsemberis says. "When they are invited to go live on their own, there is fear of leaving."

Blais, smart, articulate and now motivated to change her life, is an example of why that approach doesn't work. She'd been homeless for four years when she met Platts. Before that, after five years on the street, she was admitted to a seven-month rehab program in Montreal, but, returning to Ottawa and her old environment, she couldn't avoid drugs. Even the best shelters are rough, filled with other addicts. "For me to stay clean in that place, it would be impossible. For me, it wasn't safe." And she didn't always agree with the rules. At a transition house, after leaving a hospital, she argued with the staff and was kicked out one morning for getting too close with a male resident, with whom she is still in a relationship.

Other groups, including a program called Houselink in Toronto, had been moving the homeless into independent housing for decades. But Tsemberis envisioned a more structured plan: Move people into subsidized apartments scattered around the city so they could live like regular tenants, with no restrictions linked to sobriety or treatment compliance, visit them regularly and provide the level of assistance they wanted and needed. It's a social-behavioural approach, rather than a medicalbiological one. The housing came first, the help came to them.

In 1992, Tsemberis started out with a team that included a formerly homeless poet and a recovering addict, and enough funding for 50 units. On one of the first nights, one man dragged the furniture out of another apartment and sold it on the street to make money for crack for the addicted tenant living there. The man had been a plumber, so this included the sink and toilet. "That was the beginning of realizing that this is going to be very complicated," Tsemberis recalls. "People will give you many, many opportunities to get rid of them." The plumber was given another apartment, and another; he went to jail and when he got out, he was given yet another. Four apartments later, he was going with Tsemberis to presentations to sell the program to policymakers.

"If we'd had a 50-per-cent retention rate, we would have been thrilled," Tsemberis recalls.

"That first year, we had 84 per cent. We were on to something."

In studies, Housing First has managed to maintain those stats, although it frays a bit over time.

In Canadian research, the cost benefits are highest for people with the most severe mental illness, who have the most room to improve. Unlike in the U.S., Canadian research has found that treatment in the community leads to similar health gains for more average clients - a finding experts attribute to universal health care. But in the Mental Health Commission's pilot project, Housing First participants reported better quality of life and 73 per cent were in stable housing after a year, versus 32 per cent of those receiving regular services. Housing First has clashed with groups that provide transitional housing, who have seen their budgets cut, and poverty advocates who point out that a collection of options needs to exist. But as Vicky Stergiopoulos, a psychiatrist at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto observes, the Housing First model rescues even her most ill patients, the ones with schizophrenia who could never function in shared living space. For her, turf wars are a distraction; this is about what works.

'Things are getting better every day' In Medicine Hat, Mayor Ted Clugston was a skeptic when first approached about Housing First.

"I was raised that you work hard, you get a job, or two jobs if that's what it takes, and you shouldn't be looking for a handout," he said. People living on the street were lazy, he believed, and needed to get off drugs. The Alberta city's social-service workers, he admits, "had a hard time with me." But eventually, they sold him on the savings it would mean for more expensive city services - and he came to recognize the more complex link between homelessness, stigma and mental illness. In the past five years, the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society has received about $12-million in provincial and federal funds, used to house and support nearly 900 people, including 250 children, in a combination of existing subsidized apartments and newly constructed affordable housing. In a city with a population of 61,000, Clugston likes to say that's about the same as Calgary getting 20,000 people off the street. It has not been officially announced, but he says Medicine Hat has already achieved its goal of finding housing for every newly homeless person within 10 days.

Not every Housing First strategy looks the same. Tsemberis believes what works best is scattering clients throughout cities in safe neighbourhoods and moving mental-health services out of offices and into their homes directly with personal visits. But some cities have purchased entire buildings, or provide different levels of service - in those cases retention rates are not as high. Some people eventually become self-sufficient, but others stay in the program indefinitely, which means funding needs to be stable. Housing First has focused on single people who are chronically homeless and need mentalhealth services.

Blais, meanwhile, is making plans. She would like to go back to high school and do some volunteering. For the first time in years, she spent Easter with her family. She has gone from seeing Platts four times a week to only once. She goes daily for a dose of methadone. "I am sure the time will come when I will be okay on my own," she says. "Things are getting better every day. Now it is time to turn the page."

After lunch, Tsemberis heads back to his Ottawa hotel, walking along Sussex Drive, a street of high-end stores and restaurants.

The turrets of the Château Laurier soar into the sky. A few blocks away, the city's shelters are preparing for their nightly guests. Tsemberis catches the eye of an older man sitting on the sidewalk, his wiry, grey beard resting on his chest, his cap out for coins. Tsemberis greets him and gives him change from his pocket. Turning away, he sighs.

"That's how we got homelessness. We got used to walking by people on the streets."

And by not listening when they told us what they needed.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has purchased advertisements to accompany this series. The organization had no involvement in the creation or production of this, or any other, story in the series.

Associated Graphic

The Housing First program has been key in Renee Blais's recovery.


After being homeless on the streets of Ottawa for four years, Renee Blais was given an apartment with support from a Housing First program. She is now looking to go back to school.


Brazil is fighting a type of mosquito responsible for spreading an estimated 390 million case a year of dengue fever globally, reports Stephanie Nolen. One experiment involves releasing genetically modified mosquitoes by the thousands in an effort to slow the spread of the debilitating disease by killing the pests as larvae
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A8

PIRACICABA, BRAZIL -- As the morning sky slowly lightened above this central Brazilian city, biologist Guilherme Trivellato settled into the back of a van and got ready. He sat surrounded by hundreds of small plastic containers, each holding 1,158 thrumming mosquitoes, give or take a bug or two. To his left, a jury-rigged tabletop held a Dyson bladeless fan, taped to a plastic tube feeding out the window.

While a colleague drove the van slowly through the quiet streets, Mr. Trivellato opened each pot in front of the fan, sending the mosquitoes tumbling out into the world. A colleague kept a hair dryer, plugged into the dashboard, trained on him to blast out any stragglers. Up and down each street they went, for two hours, until 250,000 new Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were released to seek out the dark corners of closets and garages all through the neighbourhood.

The plastic pots and hair dryer are the ultra-low-tech delivery method for the most sophisticated effort in the world to wipe out this mosquito, and the diseases it carries. The mosquitoes in the pots were bred in a lab by a British biotechnology company called Oxitec. They were all males, genetically altered to fly out, find a female, have sex and die - essentially the normal life plan of a male mosquito - but, along the way, pass on their altered genes to their offspring.

These, too, will die, as larvae, before they can fly, or, if female, bite - and contract and then pass on a virus such as dengue fever or chikungunya to humans.

The Oxitec method is the most complex new weapon in Brazil's arsenal in its war on the mosquito. Aegypti, as it is known to its reluctant admirers, spreads dengue and other viruses around the world - an estimated 390 million cases a year of dengue alone, according to a recent study in Nature, of which 96 million made people significantly ill. Brazil, which has both a heavy burden of the disease and a strong public-health system, is the locus of innovation in the fight to wipe dengue out.

In addition to the transgenic mosquito, there is also a project to infect mosquitoes with a bacterium that keeps them from being able to pass on dengue; an effort to lure mosquitoes to lay eggs on a tape that prevents them from hatching; an experiment with a mosquito-toxic fungus spread in homes; and a study that is hanging curtains made of insecticide-soaked fabric in schools and hospitals.

But it is the Oxitec method that has garnered the most attention, and provoked the most debate. It is built on the fact that an Aegypti mosquito travels no more than 200 metres in its lifetime - so by flooding the zone with transgenic males, it makes it highly likely a female will mate with one of them and lay the doomed eggs.

The company bills it as the most ecological solution: Currently, to fight dengue, Brazil spends more than $120-million a year on millions of tons of insecticides to kill off Aegypti - but the mosquito grows more resistant all the time to the chemicals, which also end up in the water and food chain.

Oxitec monitors mosquito population (by checking eggs in the lab for absolute numbers and for how many hatch into their modified larvae) and says that in trials in two sites in Brazil, as well as in Panama and the Cayman Islands, its method has lowered the population by at least 90 per cent.

For some Brazilians, however, the idea of releasing a genetically modified creature into the wild, and sending it off to breed, evokes Pandora's-box visions of tampering with the ecosystem.

Gabriel Fernandes, technical adviser with an environmental organization called AS-PTA, said the government was rash to approve the Oxitec trials, when there is no precedent and only a few years of research into how the transgenic mosquito might interact with the larger ecosystem. "It's technology that is not proved to be safe or to work, but they are trying to sell it," he said.

"There are still many questions on its safety and potential harm."

Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry says those fears are unfounded, and the body that governs biotechnology use in Brazil was assured of it. Aegypti, he notes, is an invasive species in Brazil (it spread to Latin America and Asia from Africa), now entirely adapted to living in urban areas, with discarded car tires as its preferred breeding spot. It has no role as a keystone species (no bat or bird depends on it as food); safety studies show the altered gene does not pass to anything that does eat the transgenic insects, he says. And he argues it has the smallest ecological impact of any dengue control method.

"If you are using insecticides, then you are blasting all the mosquito species at the same time with all the chemicals, affecting all the food chain at the same time," Dr. Parry said in a telephone interview from Oxford. "There are 6,000 mosquito species around the world; we're just trying to wipe out one that gives you dengue."

In the Piracicaba neighbourhood that gets drenched with male Aegypti three mornings a week, the residents are stoically putting up with the invasion. In every home here, someone has had dengue this year - cases in Sao Paulo state are up 300 per cent from last year. "I'm in favour of anything they can do to get rid of it," said Fatima Nicolau, 61, describing how she lay in bed unable to bear the excruciating pain of even lifting her head. Her husband got dengue a week later.

While Ms. Nicolau talked, mosquitoes flitted in to settle briefly on her dark trousers; she said she drank a Coke with her hand over the glass because otherwise the surface mottled with mosquitoes. "It's always like this on Mondays," she said, waving one hand around her head.

The second mosquito-modifying method being tested in Brazil has generated less discussion because there is no GMO factor. In this experiment, run by a notfor-profit initiative called Eliminate Dengue, mosquitoes are infected with a bacterium called wolbachia. It is found in 60 per cent of insect species, but not, naturally, Aegypti. Australian biologist Scott O'Neill led a team that discovered six years ago that wolbachia from fruit flies could be transferred into a breeding population of Aegypti - and mosquitoes with the bacterium can't pass on dengue (or, it seems, chikungunya, yellow fever or other serious mosquito-born illnesses now resurgent in Brazil.) Tens of thousands of lab-reared infected mosquitoes are now being released in neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro; when they mate with wild mosquitoes, they spread the bacteria into the general population and, in theory, block the disease.

Dr. Parry, with Oxitec, points out that the transgenic mosquito, should it one day be found to be causing a problem, can be stopped in its tracks simply by not releasing more, since the males die in days - while once the wolbachia-infected mosquito is established in the wild, there is no bringing it back. "Why would we want to bring them back?" countered Prof. O'Neill. "Wolbachia is already in 60 per cent of the insects around you - it's naturally occurring in the environment. In all the trials we've done, there are no adverse consequences."

A key difference between the methods is cost. "What's really nice about wolbachia, as opposed to other interventions, is that it's front-loaded and sustainable," Prof. O'Neill, in a telephone interview from Victoria, Australia, said about his method.

While studies are ongoing to see whether the infected mosquitoes continue to maintain the dengue-blocking ability, all evidence so far is that they do, he said - meaning that a town would only have to do the release once. The project is targeting a price of $2-$3 a person.

Oxitec, a for-profit company spun off from Oxford University research, declines to put a price per person or to say what it would cost a town such as Piracicaba (where the current project is a trial) to buy the service. Mr. Parry noted that a city might choose to do the whole area, if dengue is severe, or only the worst-hit neighbourhoods, which would affect cost.

But the company has to release millions of mosquitoes to wipe them out in even a small area (4.3 million mosquitoes in a neighbourhood in Panama for a trial, or nearly 5,000 mosquitoes for each of 900 residents, for example). There is a huge release initially, and then an ongoing program to "maintain suppression." Oxitec says that while initial release will be costly, in a place such as Piracicaba, the maintenance program would cost roughly the same amount as the current $6 a person the municipality spends on dengue control.

Giovanini Coelho, who heads Brazil's national dengue-control program, said he is delighted to see innovation in fighting a disease that has plagued humans for so long, but he is restraining himself from optimism for now.

"Up until now, we don't have any evidence that transgenic mosquitoes [or other methods] affect the amount of dengue," he said.

(It's an extremely difficult thing to demonstrate, however, because people move around: You can wipe out the mosquitoes in a neighbourhood or even a town, but there is no way to prove that a person who gets dengue was bitten there, or while visiting grandma down the road.)

Prof. O'Neill says his organization is gearing up for large randomized-controlled trials. Mr. Parry said he understands the desire for this data, but it is unnecessary. "This is the mosquito that spreads dengue, and no mosquito equals no dengue," he said, and Brazil doesn't have any epidemiological data on how well its pesticide program controls dengue.

Mr. Coelho does not accept this argument. "This technology is being developed by a private company, one that obviously wants to sell this product. We need to see research in indepen..

dent publications, reviewed by specialists." The government body that controls the use of genetically modified organisms in Brazil has approved the use of the Oxitec mosquito, but the Ministry of Health has not yet licensed it as a product for sale.

Sofia Pinto, a geneticist who supervises the mosquito production facility that Oxitec has built in the city of Campinas, says the company is at work on cheaper, larger-scale ways to breed the bugs - using aquaculture - and mechanized ways of distributing them. Already, they could suppress all the mosquitoes in a city of 100,000 people in a year.

Ms. Pinto, who spends her days in a hot, fetid lab surrounded by trays of wriggling larvae and cages of laying females feeding on trays of blood, is untroubled by the skeptics. And when she talks to people who live in places such as Piracicaba, in the midst of a raging dengue outbreak, they aren't interested in all the debates either. "They say 'kill it,'" she said. "'Just kill the mosquito.'" .


Dengue, also known as breakbone fever, is endemic to tropical countries and is now being reported in Florida, Europe and Japan. It is spread to people by mosquitoes. There are four subtypes of the virus. It causes a high fever and excruciating joint pain. There is no treatment. Severe cases can develop into a hemorrhagic fever that in 250,000 cases a year, worldwide, is fatal. The World Health Organization says there has been a 30-fold increase in the global incidence of dengue over the past 50 years, and the rate of infection is climbing fast.

THE SEARCH FOR A CURE There is no vaccine for dengue. A number of vaccines are in trials; so far, none has been found to protect against all the strains of the virus, and most work better in people who have already been exposed once. Governments of countries with huge dengue burdens, such as Vietnam and India, have expressed concern that a privately developed dengue vaccine may be priced too high to allow for mass-vaccination campaigns.

WHAT SPREADS IT Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries dengue, also carries chikungunya - a similar virus that causes fever and joint pain, plus a rash, and may leave people debilitated for up to two years. It also spreads zika virus, which resembles dengue and is newly spreading in Latin America, as well as yellow fever.

WHY IT'S SO HARD TO STOP Aegypti has adapted to live in very close proximity with its preferred meal - humans. It's now an almost entirely urban mosquito, living inside homes and laying eggs (1,500 for one female in a 30-day lifespan) in a tiny amount of water, trapped in a flowerpot or even a fallen leaf. The eggs, like tiny black pinpricks, can dry out and wait up to a year to hatch. One infected mosquito can pass the disease to many people.

Dengue risk areas Geographic limits of the northern and southern hemispheres for year-round survival of Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector of dengue viruses.

The vector Female mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water.

Eggs are ready to hatch from a few days to several months after being submerged in water.

Larvae are aquatic and develop into pupae in 1-2 weeks.

The pupae develop into adult flying mosquitoes in 2-3 days.

How genetic mosquito control works

1 Eggs are injected with a protein-creating gene that prevents the mosquitoes from reaching adulthood.

2 Unless the larvae get a dose of tetracycline, which shuts off the protein, in a lab, they die within days.

3 Males and females are sorted by size at the pupal stage. The females are discarded because they bite.

4 Adult males are released into the target area. They mate with females and pass on the gene. Offspring die before they can bite.

Associated Graphic

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen in a container at a laboratory of biotech company Oxitec, in Campinas, 100 kilometres from Sao Paulo, Brazil.



As the first season of a 12-year, $5.2-billion hockey deal enters its final stretch, CEO Guy Laurence reflects on a 'profitable' year and paints a bright picture for the future. James Bradshaw reports
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B1

Ever since Rogers Communications Inc. sealed a deal to grab a near-monopoly on hockey broadcasting in Canada for 12 years, questions have lingered about whether it could squeeze enough value from the precious NHL rights to make its $5.2-billion gamble pay off.

Now, as the deal's first season enters its final games, the company's chief executive officer says it made money on the inaugural campaign, and expects a reasonable return over the life of the contract despite the hefty price tag.

"Categorically, we will make a 10-per-cent margin this year and the deal has been profitable for us," CEO Guy Laurence said in a lengthy interview this week. "And, given it's our first year and we've learned a lot and all the rest of it, I don't see why it won't be profitable ongoing."

Rogers' expansion of the number of games on national television, as well as experimentation with new mobile platforms and camera angles, have driven its Sportsnet network to the best ratings in its 17-year history.

And the number of Canadians who tuned in to a game on TV or online is up 2 per cent to 28.8 million. But there is still much work to do to boost audiences and attract new hockey fans to the fold. Advertising partners who were promised a whole new game see room for improvement on viewership. A dismal year for the country's biggest draw, the Toronto Maple Leafs, dragged audiences on some Saturdays down 15 to 20 per cent, which in turn sapped ratings for late-night games on the West Coast.

In one sense, hockey, although just one part of a division that accounts for 14 per cent of total company revenue, provides a test case for a larger effort at Rogers to turn a corner after several tough quarters. Mr. Laurence described the push to launch hockey coverage as a template for how to operate "as One Rogers," the name he has given to his plan to streamline a vast company with sometimes disparate divisions and thousands of overlapping processes.

But some analysts are skeptical about the extent to which the NHL deal could benefit other areas of Rogers' business.

They see serious challenges in its wireless and cable divisions, the high-margin businesses that bring in the majority of the company's revenue. Rogers has long been Canada's biggest cellular provider but in recent years it has ceded ground to BCE Inc. and Telus Corp., steadily losing market share quarter after quarter.

And, although Canadian TV subscriber numbers have yet to drop off precipitously, Rogers continues to shed cable customers and faces a particular threat from BCE's Bell Fibe offering.

Pivoting to host an unprecedented number of hockey broadcasts was no easy feat. Mr. Laurence introduced long-time employees from different divisions who had never met, and he describes getting all 28,000 Rogers employees working together to leverage the rights as a "herculean" task. The company had 45 weeks and one day to build its production, programming and marketing infrastructure before the first puck dropped, and "the one day turned out to be very important," he said.

"If I was kind of marking the scorecard, I think we had a very good season," said Mr. Laurence, the British telecommunications executive who took the helm at the company in December, 2013.

Leveraging a $5.2-billion investment

Inheriting 12 years of sweeping hockey rights was "the best goingaway present I could ever be given by an outgoing CEO," Mr. Laurence said, crediting his predecessor Nadir Mohammed and Rogers Media president Keith Pelley for securing them.

The deal's eye-popping price is mitigated by the fact that TVA Sports and RDS took over Frenchlanguage rights and regional Montreal Canadiens games, funnelling about $120-million each year back to Rogers. That leaves $3.7-billion owing to the NHL over the life of the contract, or an average of $308-million per year.

The first season cost less, but Mr. Laurence said the annual payments escalate by a "single-digit percentage increment." That means Rogers will have to continue to find ways to boost its revenue in order to maintain its margins.

"[NHL commissioner] Gary Bettman's a very difficult man to negotiate with, okay?" Mr. Laurence said. "We paid top dollar for these rights and we assume we'll make a fair margin based on industry standards. Period."

But Mr. Laurence said the 10per-cent profit margin includes only what the NHL licensing deal contributed to the media business, and does not count spinoff benefits hockey may bring to the wireless and cable divisions by helping retain customers and driving higher data usage. Customers who watch hockey and engage with the sport on their mobile phones are half as likely to leave the company, Mr. Laurence said.

"Even if the media side took a bit of a hit, I think there's upside we haven't even counted in our figures for this year and for years to come," he said.

But Mr. Laurence acknowledges the company has fallen behind in the crucial area of customer service. Under his tenure, Rogers has launched a renewed effort to overhaul myriad back-end processes and improve the customer experience. Yet, Telus made this a strategic focus in 2008 and now benefits from remarkably low customer turnover rates. BCE also turned its attention to the issue in earnest before Rogers. (BCE owns 15 per cent of The Globe and Mail.)

"I personally don't think hockey has done anything to move the brand in terms of making it a more consumer-friendly place. I don't think it's helping them sell one more cellphone or one more computer modem," said BMO Nesbitt Burns analyst Tim Casey.

"I think fixing customer service is still job one there."

Mr. Laurence agreed there is little direct link between hockey and customer service. But he pointed out that a recent report showed Rogers reduced its complaints 20 per cent over the six months ended Jan. 31.

"Do I believe we could have made so much progress as we have so quickly if we hadn't had the poster child of working on the NHL project across 28,000 people?" he said. "The answer is no."

'An extremely good partnership'

Key partners in the Rogers deal proclaimed their delight with the first season's results - but also a desire to do better next year.

"I didn't and couldn't and wouldn't have expected anything more than they did," Mr. Bettman, the NHL's commissioner, said in an interview. But looking to next season, he added: "I think we need to take everything we did in year one and kick it up a notch."

The NHL has become one of Rogers' closest allies. Mr. Laurence and Mr. Bettman have forged a tight relationship and stay in regular contact. They have seen eye to eye on plans to develop digital technologies and bring a "stars-first philosophy" to Rogers' coverage of the league, "so it's not about escrows and strikes and fights and all this kind of stuff," Mr. Laurence said.

Rogers has even signed hockey's newest superstar Connor McDavid, who has yet to play an NHL game, to a two-year contract for marketing and appearances promoting Rogers products.

"Nothing we've done in season one was not done without us discussing it with the NHL. And, to be clear, that's not because they sit in some kind of policing role.

It's because we have an extremely good partnership," Mr. Laurence said, adding that staff from Rogers and the NHL are in touch "daily" to share research and data and decide "on a day-to-day basis what they're doing."

For the NHL, the shift in focus has been a welcome change from the often combative coverage led by Ron MacLean at the CBC. The host routinely grilled executives on issues inside the league office, from revenue to labour strife and team relocation.

"I think with less of that talk, that's one of the reasons ratings are up," Mr. Bettman said. "I think a lot of people found it annoying."

The question now is whether the tight-knit relationship has left the partners too entwined, and how Sportsnet will handle sensitive issues, such as player safety or struggling southern franchises, as they arise.

"Nothing gets in the way of our journalistic integrity," Mr. Laurence said.

For his part, Mr. Bettman bristled at the suggestion that the NHL's close involvement could skew Sportsnet's coverage.

"They cover the game in a straightforward manner. We don't try to exercise editorial control," he said. "When you look at the number of hours that they're covering, and the logistics of doing that, of course our organizations are in daily touch."

Engaging the community

Mr. Laurence's mantra for hockey broadcasting is simple: Concentrate on the fan and everything else - the ratings, the advertisers, the subscribers - will follow.

So far, ratings results have been mixed, with Wednesday and Saturday evening games yielding larger audiences than past years, but late-night contests and Sunday broadcasts failing to keep up.

Rogers deserves high marks for creating, scheduling and promoting a massive amount of new programming, said Brian Cooper, CEO of sports marketing consultancy S&E Sponsorship Group. But he gives the first season "a solid B" grade. Some sponsorship partners were charged 20-per-cent higher fees based on a 5-per-cent lift in viewership, which hasn't materialized. And that means Rogers may have to adjust what it charges for next season's ads.

"Now that the hype has blown away and [advertisers and sponsors] have some historical numbers, I think it's easier to go in and you have leverage on both sides," Mr. Cooper said.

Mr. Laurence said that, in terms of his internal targets, "I would have been happy with flat [ratings]."

Yet, several of Rogers' investments and experiments have paid clear dividends.

The company claims that, over the past 12 months, Sportsnet surpassed Bell Media's TSN as the country's top sports brand for the first time. Its average audience across Canada, at 167,000 viewers, outstripped TSN's; and Sportsnet claimed a larger share of Englishlanguage viewers. All Sportsnet networks saw double-digit growth in viewership, including a 14-per-cent bump on the main channels and a 51-per-cent increase for Sportsnet One.

Hockey was the largest single driver responsible for Sportsnet "taking the crown," Mr. Laurence said.

(A spokesman for TSN pointed out that the network added three new channels last August, and holds a slim lead in the ratings since then.)

"I'm proud of what [Sportsnet has] delivered," Mr. Laurence said. "We didn't just take what we were given and replicate the status quo. We set out to change things in the way that we broadcast the game, scheduled it, presented sets."

Rogers is also claiming a win with Hometown Hockey, its new Sunday night broadcast that travelled to 25 smaller cities and towns, such as Dollard-DesOrmeaux, Que., and Prince George, B.C., to set up community-based festivals based on the Hockey Day in Canada tradition.

The TV ratings for Sunday games often trailed more established NFL and CFL football broadcasts in a competitive lineup, but Mr. Laurence said building a franchise typically takes years.

Sponsors also love the opportunity for outreach. "For us on the ground, it engages the community. We have our branch managers out," said John Doig, chief marketing officer at Bank of Nova Scotia. "We wouldn't have done Sunday night hockey [sponsorship] on the broadcast if we couldn't have had the community piece."

Rogers has renewed the franchise for a second season of 24 Sundays, with host Ron MacLean back at the helm. The program will move to Sportsnet from the City network.

"[Hometown Hockey] gave us an opportunity to engage with fans at a different level," Mr. Laurence said. "... We know it creates a hugely positive view of the company."


10 % Profit margin Rogers says its media division will make on the first season of its 12-year hockey deal.

$12.85-billion Rogers's total revenue in 2014

15%-20 % Drop in Rogers network viewership some Saturday nights, when the Toronto Maple Leafs were playing poorly.

1.3 million Average first-round playoff audience in 2015, up 38 per cent from the previous year.

163 Hours of live hockey coverage aired on Rogers networks in April.

167,000 Average Sportsnet audience over the past year, across all channels, ahead of rival network TSN's 160,000.

Associated Graphic

Rogers CEO Guy Laurence: 'If I was kind of marking the scorecard, I think we had a very good season.'


CEO Guy Laurence says Rogers has adopted a fan-first philosophy in its broadcasts that he believes eventually will translate to higher ratings and advertising dollars.



France spent $75-million to painstakingly recreate the Chauvet Cave - and the stunning prehistoric paintings found within. But, James Adams asks, what pleasure is there in looking at fakes?
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page T1

VALLON-PONT-D'ARC, FRANCE -- Saying something is "better than nothing" or "the next best thing" can sometimes seem like praising with faint damnation.

Both expressions sprang to mind recently in the cool, humid, semi-dark of the Caverne du Pont d'Arc, Ardèche, as I wended my way on the concrete footpath that traverses the 3,000-square-metre site, past drawings and paintings, engravings and stencils whose origins stretch back tens of centuries to when Homo sapien was in the ascendant over Homo neanderthalensis.

I wasn't alone: bunched beside me among the stalactites and stalagmites were another 12 or 13 journalists, all of us being shepherded by an earnest guide in an orange polo shirt, LED pinpoint flashlight in hand. A few metres ahead another escorted group loomed, numbering around 25. Another group, again of about 25, was just behind us, with more on the way.

It was the official public opening of the Caverne du Pont d'Arc, one of France's most-hyped tourist attractions, a $75-million "mini-me" replica of a real cavern whose contents upon their discovery two decades ago were hailed as "the Sistine Chapel of the prehistoric world." The replication project spanned almost eight years from conception to completion. And this day, groups would be entering its gloom with guides every four to six minutes, the intention being to pump 4,000 visitors through its twisty topography by closing time that evening.

Forty-nine minutes after entering, my coterie was back outside under the grey, overcast skies of south-central France, staring at the charming valley town of VallonPont-d'Arc in the west, the twin stacks of the Pierrelatte nuclear power plant to the east. For the French government and Kléber Rossillon, the Paris-based private operator of the cavern, we were just the vanguard of the more than 350,000 people who will visit this rather remote corner of France 200 kilometres southwest of Lyon in the next 12 months. Or at least that is the hope.

We had, we all agreed, seen ... something. But what that something was was not exactly clear. And had it been "better than nothing"? Or the "next best thing"?

The Caverne du Pont d'Arc, you see, isn't even a cave - if by this one means a naturally occurring space or passage accessed by a cut or hole in the ground or on the side of a hill, plateau or mountain. The Caverne is, in fact, entirely man-made, housed not in the ground but in a climate-controlled, circular building, clad in thrusting, angular mortar forms and plunked atop a pine-forested hill like a faux paleolithic Parthenon.

Yet the Caverne and its contents are no glib Yesterland, some Disney-esque flight of concrete fancy. They're a heartfelt, assiduously researched, environmentally astute attempt to capture the awe and majesty of the real thing, commonly known as the Grotte Chauvet. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June, 2014, the Grotte is located less than five kilometres from its replica - very near, in other words, but in terms of public accessibility, as distant as Uranus.

The Caverne du Pont d'Arc is a sort of frozen-in-aspic tribute to a day and an event - the afternoon of Dec. 18, 1994, when three speleologists out exploring the high, pitted limestone cliffs near the Pont d'Arc, a spectacular natural bridge in the jaw-dropping Ardèche River Gorge, came upon an undiscovered cave. Inside its many chambers, the trio, led by Jean-Marie Chauvet, a then-park ranger with the French Ministry of Culture, discovered what eventually was determined to be the oldest known cache of figurative paintings, drawings and engravings in the world: a bestiary, rendered in charcoal, red ochre and scrapings, of hundreds of wooly rhinoceroses, lions, mammoths, horses, bison, reindeer, aurochs, bears - 15 different species in total. And one owl.

There's no denying the care, prowess and ambition of the replication project. More than 500 persons - engineers, artists, scientists, architects, designers - have been involved. Aided by 3-D computer mapping of the complete original cave and 10,000 high-resolution photographs, they've done what appears to be a highly credible recreation of the Chauvet cavern, fashioning stalactites, stalagmites and crystal formations from plastic, bulbous walls from metal skeletons overlaid with mortar, the famous illustrations painted and drawn in charcoal and ochre on resin sheets to the same size of the originals. Scattered on the floors throughout are hundreds of bear skulls, teeth and other animal parts, all made from plastic.

Cave drawings are, of course, hardly unknown to Europe.

Those of France's famous Lascaux cavern were discovered in 1940, the ones in Spain's equally famous Altamira in 1879. But what distinguished those in the Grotte Chauvet, or the Chauvet Cave, was their sheer variety, their freshness (a rock fall 25,000 years ago sealed the cave's entrance and hermetically preserved its contents), their sophistication and their age - 36,000 years old, compared with the 17,000 years attributed to those at Lascaux, or the 20,000 some have estimated for Altamira.

Visiting the Lascaux drawings after the Second World War, a stunned Pablo Picasso exclaimed of their creators: "They invented everything" - meaning such staples of the Western art tradition as perspective, animation, modulation of form, ground preparation, stumping, stencilling, even, to some eyes, "the very concept of an image." The Chauvet drawings upended the notion that the more ancient the art, the more primitive its appearance. Done when no more than 50,000 hunter-gatherers roamed continental Europe, its works look as good as, and in some instances better than, the Ice Age art completed 10 centuries later. Unsurprisingly, news of its discovery, announced in 1995, made headlines around the world ("Le premier grand chef-d'ouevre de l' humanité!" "Humanity's First Masterpiece!") and instant icons of the so-called Panel of the Horses and the Lion Panel images.

It also raised the question: "What is to be done?" Clearly they had to be protected, preserved and studied. Clearly, too, there could be no repeat of what happened at Lascaux where the breath, heat, sweat, tread and touch of wave upon wave of visitors so deteriorated the drawings and their milieu that the site had to be shuttered in 1963 to nonscientists. A similar scenario unfolded at Altamira, with the caves being closed to the public in 2002. At Chauvet, France quickly placed strict limits on access, eventually installing two reinforced steel doors at the cave entrance (only three persons at any one time reportedly know the entry code) and surveillance cameras. Today, just 200 researchers and conservators plus the occasional journalist or three are allowed into its bowels each year, with each carefully staggered individual visit lasting no longer than two hours.

In another time, this might have been the end, more or less, of the Grotte Chauvet saga: the Sistine Chapel of the prehistoric world protected from the destructive intrusions of the public, with archeologists, paleontologists and radio-carbon-dating specialists quietly beavering away. The public, comforted to know a delicate World Heritage Site was being conserved forever, was content to access its irreplaceable treasures via articles in magazines and scientific journals, online reports, lavishly illustrated books and films such as Werner Herzog's fanciful 3-D excursion Cave of Forgotten Dreams, released in 2010.

We live now, however, in the era of what might be called "democratic tourism." Nothing is off limits and if it is, it's more opportunity than impediment.

After closing their respective sites, both Lascaux, a World Heritage Site since 1979, and Altamira, a World Heritage Site since 1985, constructed representations of varying sizes, detail and format near their original locations.

These faux facilities have enjoyed considerable success - Lascaux reported an impressive 300,000 sightseers in 2010, Altamira 275,000 - but the flattery of imitation, it seems, can go only so far. The Altamira museum may provide a sense of the place, notes its director Jose Antonio Lasheras, "but the emotion? We can't give that. The emotion can come only from being inside the cave of Altamira."

Thus, between February, 2014, and February, 2015, - and for the first time since 2002 - the Museo de Altamira agreed to let five visitors in to the actual cave one day a week. They had to wear rubber suits and their visits were timed at just 37 minutes.

This elicited howls from the Spanish and international scientific communities, but the Museo director held firm. This year, another 250 sightseers or so are going to gain entry to the real thing.

Trekking through the Caverne du Pont d'Arc, I felt flashes of the emotion Lasheras spoke of - that shock of recognition, the heady commingling of past with present but only flashes. Perhaps this failure had to do with the crowds pressing ever onward at the behest of the guides, the seemingly unvarying elevation of the walkway through the "caveum" (none of the dips and rises you get in a real cave), the jarring presence every now and then of a modern-looking security door. (Amusingly, in the effort, one supposes, to put the visitor in a suitably reverential frame of mind, no photography is allowed.)

Another drawback is the Caverne's relative compactness. The overall site, spanning 28 hectares, encompasses numerous interpretive zones, a restaurant, gift shop, temporary exhibition spaces plus an impressive cinema/gallery depicting the human life, flora and fauna of the prehistoric Ardèche. The cave simulation, however, is barely 40 per cent of the area of the original's 9,000 square metres. Such compression no doubt eliminates the "boring bits" of the original but, like a Reader's Digest condensation, it's at the expense of much of the sense of drama.

Intriguingly, there seems to have been some intentionality in this. As David Huguet, head of cultural projects at the Caverne, told me: "We didn't want an ambiguity between the real [cave] and the false one. That's why the false cave is included in a building and we do not go down into the underground. We don't want to lie to people; we say that they're entering a false cave ... and when people go out of the cave, they can see a 'pillar' onto which we show and describe how we made this replica.

"The replica is a tool for the conservation of the real cave," continued Huguet, who's been coming in and out of the Grotte Chauvet for the past seven years.

"The real cave has disappeared from the landscape because of the rockfall that has closed the entrance, so there is a risk that our memory loses this real place, so we duplicate the cave with the scientific team of Chauvet Cave, working very, very closely."

Fine sentiments indeed, yet it's clear the tourism division of the Rhône-Alpes Region regards the Caverne du Pont d'Arc as a key element, maybe the key element in its ambition to remake the region as a cultural heritage destination and not simply a gourmet's or nature-lover's paradise.

Of the four major financial backers of the Caverne's capital project, Rhône-Alpes has been the biggest, donating roughly $20million. Moreover, unlike Lascaux, which is closed to the public in January, the Caverne intends to stay open seven days a week all year round.

It's a good idea. I like to think the false cave will feel most true, most real, on a cold, wet afternoon in, say, early March, when the tourists are fewer, the guides less busy and the vivid, vital drawings on its walls, ersatz though they may be, have the opportunity to cast their spell as the next best thing.

The writer travelled as a guest of Rhône-Alpes Tourisme and Ardèche Tourisme. It did not review or approve this article.


The Caverne du Pont d'ArcArdèche is open every day of the year. Admission is 13 ($17.60) for adults; 6.50 for children aged 10 to 17. (Younger children are admitted free.)

The cave is a 2.5-hour drive from Lyon, Marseilles and Montpellier, and a 1.5-hour drive from Avignon, Nîmes and Valence. A free shuttle is available from Vallon Pont d'Arc. For more transportation information and to purchase tickets visit

Associated Graphic

Animals depicted in the Caverne du Pont d'Arc paintings include horses, rhinoceros and lions.


The Chauvet Cave replica cost $75-million.


The Caverne du Pont d'Arc's charcoal and ochre illustrations, along with stalactites and stalagmites crafted from plastic, make for a credible recreation.


The Caverne is one of France's most-hyped attractions.



A man and his highway: The legacy of the Gardiner
The real triumph was that 'Big Daddy' Gardiner got it built
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

Fittingly, the history of the Gardiner Expressway began with a traffic jam. On the day the first section opened in August, 1958, Ron Haggart of The Globe and Mail found motorists crowding to get onto the new escape route from the city. With the official opening still an hour away, "a lone traffic policeman hopped back and forth keeping the early afternoon press of cars away from this six lanes of easy, undulating asphalt ribbon."

Sam Cass, the city's traffic commissioner back then, says that in a booming postwar era, Toronto embraced the sleek new roadway. "People thought it was the best thing that ever happened," recalls Mr. Cass, now 92. "The war was over, the demand was there, the growth was there - it was the right thing to do."

Half a century later, the Gardiner has become one of Toronto's worst headaches.

Environmentalists consider it an outdated monument to the tyranny of the automobile. Enlightened urban thinkers call it an eyesore that stands in the way of a waterfront renaissance. The highway is so decrepit that chunks of concrete routinely drop off its crumbling mass, threatening those below.

What to do with the cursed thing - patch it up, tear it down, bury it, cover it with a roof? - has bedevilled a generation of local politicians. That debate is heating up again as city council gets ready to decide whether to adapt or remove its eastern stretch.

Still, looking back, it is hard not to admire the energy and ambition that gave life to this hulking creature. In the 1950s, Toronto needed a way to deal with its crushing rush-hour traffic.

It got a massive elevated roadway sweeping from one side of the city to the other.

Today, when governments are trying to push ahead with a badly needed new round of city building - from redevelopment of the Port Lands to renewal of public housing to an overdue transit build-out and dealing with the Gardiner itself - there is something to be learned from that feat of will, that exercise of raw political power. The expressway was the creation of one man above all: Frederick Goldwin Gardiner, the cigar-chomping, whiskydrinking force of nature who was the unchallenged strongman of Toronto politics in his day.

His biographer, Timothy Colton, called him a tyrant and a charmer, "big in size, big in ambition, big in appetites and big in rhetoric." His nickname was "Big Daddy." Editorial cartoonists depicted him as an ermine-clad emperor or, in one famous rendering by the Toronto Star's Duncan Macpherson, the "Maharajah of Metrostan."

The son of an Irish immigrant who made his living as a prison guard and later landlord, Mr. Gardiner grew up in Toronto's west end. He won a gold medal at Osgoode Hall law school, became a successful downtown lawyer and branched out into business.

He was an organizer for the Conservative Party and reeve of the village of Forest Hill before it became part of Toronto.

In 1953, when Mr. Gardiner was 58, Conservative Premier Leslie Frost named him chairman of a whole new level of government: Metropolitan Toronto. As its overlord for the next eight years, he turned all his powers toward building the bones of a big city - roads, bridges, subways, sewers, schools, parks and, above all, highways.

At the time, Toronto roads designed for horse carts and trams were being overwhelmed by that dominant new urban animal, the automobile. The Globe reported in 1948 that every day about 105,000 cars were streaming into downtown, known to traffic experts as "suffering acres" because of its congestion. The volume was forecast to rise to 160,000 by 1958. King and Queen streets were choked with traffic.

So was the old Lake Shore road.

It seemed obvious that the solution was to build more, better roads. Inner cities were then considered noisy, crowded, dangerous places, unsuited to healthy living. What if people could work in them during the day but retreat at night to quiet, spacious, safe new suburbs. What if, instead of reaching those suburbs by riding on clanking streetcars or driving along poky local roads, they could sail in and out of town on rivers of blacktop?

Los Angeles opened the Ramona Boulevard freeway in 1935, helping to kick off the age of the urban highway.

The idea was enticingly simple.

If city roads were getting clogged, then bypass them with new roads where traffic could flow freely, unencumbered by annoying stop signs, traffic lights or pedestrians. In the same way that railways were designed only for trains, these roadways would be designed only for cars. They would travel through, around or even over the existing street grid, with ramps to speed motorists on and off.

As early as 1943, the City of Toronto's Master Plan called for a new express route along the lakeshore, shown on a map as simply "Superhighway A." It took Big Daddy to turn a line on a map into a highway in the sky.

Mr. Gardiner was a student of highway engineering and an unabashed fan of big, wide roads, which he argued were essential to knitting together his booming fiefdom. He once said he would cut five or six feet off many sidewalks just to make wider streets.

When critics complained he would ruin neighbourhoods, he replied: "There have got to be a few hallways through living rooms if we are going to get our metropolitan arterial system built."

An impatient Mr. Gardiner won approval for an eight-mile lakeshore highway in 1953 and badgered hesitating councillors into starting construction in 1955.

When politicians wrangled over the route of one section, Mr. Gardiner threatened to halt all construction until they had a deal.

When conservationists complained his expressway would plow through historic Fort York, he said he would simply move the thing to the waterfront, "brick by brick." (Historical societies wouldn't buy it, and he made one of his few retreats, agreeing to reroute the roadway around the fort.)

As mayor Nathan Phillips once put it, "When he really wanted something, he just came and beat it out of you." Bulldozers growled into action - and, as Mr. Gardiner said in 1958, "once you get those bulldozers in the ground, it is pretty hard to get them out." They levelled the old Sunnyside Amusement Park on the western lakeshore. They levelled the small 19th-century neighbourhood of South Parkdale.

Concrete pillars rose like marching soldiers along the waterfront. Next came the massive beams connecting them. On top of those went steel girders, on top of that a concrete deck, on top of that a layer of asphalt.

The completed structure has 17 ramps. Its deck has an area equivalent to 30 football fields.

By the time the decade-long project was finished in 1966, it had cost about $110-million, or about $800-million in 2015 dollars. That's a bargain in today's terms. Just building a light-rail transit line along Finch Avenue West is expected to cost $1.2-billion.

Journalist Pierre Berton even penned a tongue-in-cheek poem about the expressway in the Star: A Lyric Ode to a Supermayor's Superhighway. "Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway, I love you," it began. "For you are new and beautiful. And your curves are gentle."

The Gardiner was not loved for long. Expressways soon went out of fashion. Even as the Gardiner was being finished, community activists were protesting a plan to cut a swath through the neighbourhoods of central Toronto to build the Spadina Expressway.

Leading the charge was Jane Jacobs, the American author who moved to Toronto after helping block a similar project (New York's Lower Manhattan Expressway) championed by a figure just as overbearing as Mr. Gardiner ("master builder" Robert Moses).

They won. Premier William Davis stopped the Spadina Expressway (now the Allen Road) at Eglinton in 1971 with an utterance that would have been sheer heresy to Mr. Gardiner's ears: "Cities were built for people and not cars."

A plan to send a Scarborough expressway from the eastern end of the Gardiner up to join with the 401 collapsed. So did plans to build an extension to the 400 south into the city, an east-west Crosstown expressway and a Richview expressway heading west from Eglinton Avenue. The Gardiner and the Don Valley Parkway (another of Big Daddy's babies) got in under the wire, and only because neither displaced large numbers of ensconced residents.

As every driver knows, those roadways soon became choked with traffic during peak hours.

Toronto was left with a truncated freeway network.

Mr. Cass, the traffic commissioner, now living in North York, thinks Toronto blundered when it throttled back on its expressway expansion plan. "Once they started taking bits and pieces off of the damned thing it no longer had the function it was designed for." As a result, he says, "Today is just one big jumble of traffic."

But the modern vision of the ideal city is very different from Mr. Gardiner's. Instead of dividing cities into separate rooms for living and working and linking them with asphalt corridors, planners started to talk about integrated live-work-play city where people could walk, bike or take public transit to work.

As urban thinking evolved, the Gardiner started to crumble. The structure's design contains a fatal flaw. Look at old pictures of those pillars going up during construction and you can see the steel reinforcing bars sticking out the top. Engineers of the time didn't consider what might happen when road salt is applied to an elevated highway in winter.

What happens is that salty water seeps into the concrete. Those steel bars start to rust and, as they do, they expand. The expansion cracks the concrete. Freezing and thawing worsens the cracks and bits of the concrete break off.

The technical term for all this is spalling.

Pass beside the structure and you can see the crumbling outside edges of the roadway, known as the parapets. Pass underneath and you can see the parts where workers have patched the crumbled concrete or even shored up the roadway with wood supports, a process called "timbering." When you are using bits of wood to hold together a behemoth like the Gardiner, you know you are in trouble.

Interviewed by the Star in 1973, the expressway's designer, engineer Bill Malone, called it "a monster - I'd never do it again."

It's a magnificent monster all the same. Travel on the Gardiner remains a special urban thrill. If you happen to drive it when traffic is moving, you whisk through the heart of the city in minutes, catching glimpses of the harbour on one side and the skyscrapers of the financial district on the other.

With the rise of the South Core, tall buildings now crowd around the central span of the roadway.

It is like speeding through a glass canyon.

Mr. Gardiner may have been a high-handed, bull-headed beast, a type almost unimaginable in today's world of focus-grouping politics. But he built his highway, naysayers be damned. As Sam Cass puts it, "Things were done when he was around. He didn't just gab about them."

Mr. Gardiner left his post as Metro chairman in 1962, clearing out his office in city hall to return to private business. His health declined. He had surgery for arthritis and an intestinal condition. In 1966, when he posed for photographers before the opening of the Gardiner's final stage, he was walking with a cane.

In 1967, he suffered a stroke.

Mr. Gardiner's vision of a city of expressways was long dead when he rode that great bulldozer to the hereafter in 1983, but his confidence in Toronto's future and his insistence on building the physical foundations for its growth still have something to teach us.

A photograph from 1960 shows Big Daddy walking along an unfinished part of the Gardiner.

Fresh, unpainted asphalt lies under his feet. Behind him, the road stretches out into the hazy distance.

He wears a double-breasted suit and black dress shoes. Barrelchested, stone-faced, he walks toward the camera. There is no doubt on that face. He is getting things done for his city and he wants the world to know it.

Associated Graphic

Frederick Gardiner, centre, with then-Ontario premier John Robarts, left, and former premier Leslie Frost, right, after opening a new section of the Gardiner Expressway in 1964.


The power of technology to deliver psychotherapy
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1


How to build a better mental health care system

This is part of a series about improving research, diagnosis and treatment.

Canada's health-care system suffers from the broken-leg syndrome. It works best, if imperfectly, at patching up people, responding to the acute crisis: a heart attack, a rampaging tumour, a busted femur.

It's the same with mental illness. The twentysomething with schizophrenia in a state of psychosis delivered by police to the hospital emergency room rightfully demands attention. The twentysomething struggling with depression who can't get out of bed in the morning? The lineup for him is over there.

For many patients, coping with mental illness is like being expected to function while dragging around a broken leg. Do that for too long, and you need more than a cast to fix it. When money is tight (and when isn't it?), governments get nervous about expanding public coverage of health care - even if that funding would mean giving those with mental illness the most scientifically supported care in the same way we would for a heart patient.

But this is a world abounding in technology. Helping many of these patients - quickly and costeffectively - may be as simple as turning on a computer or smartphone. Over the past few years, the research supporting techbased psychotherapy has been steadily growing; in some studies, for mild and moderate cases, this approach works as well as face-to-face therapy.

In Britain, self-directed therapy with telephone support is the recommended first response in a massive new program to increase access to publicly funded psychotherapy. It's huge in Sweden and Australia, where studies consistently show that it works for many different disorders.

So why isn't it more widely used in Canada, where one of the big issues crippling mentalhealth care is a lack of access to psychotherapy? With smaller centres in short supply of psychiatrists and psychologists, private therapy costly and mild cases of depression and anxiety shunted onto wait lists or improperly medicated, tech-based treatment has enormous potential, especially for early intervention.

Online- or phone-based therapy can be effective for patients dealing with depression and anxiety wrapped around a chronic illness, for mothers with postpartum depression, for obsessive-compulsive disorder, for post-traumatic stress disorder.

"It could make a huge difference for a lot of people," says University of Regina psychologist Heather Hadjistavropoulos, who is running a provincewide online therapy pilot project.

Among her patients are people with no other way to get treatment "because their disorder is so severe they wouldn't ever leave the house," she says.

It maintains the privacy of anyone reluctant to be seen wandering into a mental-health clinic, holds appeal to young people who are most likely to prefer therapy to drugs, and opens up options for patients who can't miss work or school.

Consider 13-year-old Nick Wroblewsky, who wasn't keen on spilling his problems to a stranger. But his parents were growing increasingly worried about him.

After the death of his grandmother, he had begun to worry about burglars and natural disasters, obsessively researching crimes in their neighbourhood and reading up about tsunamis.

Then last year, after his grandfather came to Langdon, Alta., to stay with them while receiving palliative care, Nick began complaining that he couldn't feel his hands and feet, and his marks fell in school. Their family doctor suggested these were symptoms of anxiety.

Eventually, his parents learned of the Strongest Families therapy program, based out of Nova Scotia but funded through the local health region, that offered an alternative to medication, spared Nick the stress of office appointments and included family members.

For eight sessions, over several months, Nick and his mother, Amy, received weekly phone calls from a trained counsellor, watched a video and filled out a notebook, learning the signs of anxiety and coping measures, such as mindfulness, to improve symptoms.

Sitting down to his December exams, Nick practised the belly breathing exercises he had learned. He made the honour roll. His anxiety is under control, his mother says. He is still curious about the world, she says, "but not afraid of it."

Strongest Families is just one of a growing number of programs scattered across the country that, too often, neither patients nor doctors know about.

One of the most well-studied programs is being run by the Canadian Mental Health Association in British Columbia, a booklet-based therapy with short telephone coaching, called Bounce Back (adapted from Britain's national program). With an annual budget of $1.9-million, the program handled about 5,000 referrals last year (3,000 people went on to sessions in the program) although CMHA estimates it could increase its caseload by one-third without additional costs.

Among patients who "complete" counselling - clients received, on average, four coaching sessions and requested eight or 16 workbooks - 69 per cent see their symptoms fall below clinical levels of depression and anxiety. Those with less severe symptoms do even better.

The program is now being trialled in Toronto and Nova Scotia, where the B.C. coaches are working with East Coast clients, a time difference that allows for after-work phone calls.

The program "is a game changer for Canadians who continue to wait for, or can't afford, private talking therapies," says Bev Gutray, chief executive officer of the B.C. chapter of CMHA.

The online therapy program for adults developed at the University of Regina and being trialled in Saskatchewan receives about 50 new referrals a month, although Hadjistavropoulos says that "we are just scratching the surface." (Again, one of the hurdles is getting doctors to refer their patients.)

The Strongest Families program, which worked for Nick Wroblewsky, has contracts with a handful of health authorities and agencies across the country; to date, the program has treated about 5,000 children with conduct disorder and anxiety.

Another program is being piloted at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

In all cases, counsellors stay in touch with patients either by e-mail or phone - in some programs, this amounts to as little as 10 minutes a week - an important human contact that research has found keeps patients in the program and boosts recovery rates.

This kind of support is usually based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - a thoughtchanging, skills-focused treatment, with structured manuals and homework components, that lets patients work independently with a therapist's occasional guidance. A 2014 study of the Saskatchewan program found that 80 per cent of patients completed the eightweek course and 95 per cent were satisfied with the program and reported an improvement in their symptoms - a benefit that held three months later.

According to Strongest Families president Patricia Lingley-Pottie, who is also a researcher at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, 90 per cent of families complete the program, with short-term recovery rates of 88 per cent. It costs about $1,000 a child, including weekly calls from a counsellor; for Nick's family, this cost was covered by the local health authority.

Michael Kapusta, a family doctor in Swift Current, Sask., has referred several patients to the University of Regina's online therapy program, including a 33year-old father suffering from panic attacks. Kapusta diagnosed the patient with anxiety and prescribed medication, but felt he would benefit from therapy, as well.

Swift Current is currently without a psychologist - the last one moved to a larger city - and the mental-health clinic offers only counselling.

While his patient could afford more intensive psychotherapy, Kapusta says he would have to drive at least two hours one way to get it. Instead, he did the online CBT program, completing the units with his wife at night.

"After a month or two, she noticed a big change," Kapusta says.

"They were going out in the evenings. He was more like himself."

Dawna Karalash, a registered nurse who works at a mentalhealth and addiction day program in Regina and is trained in CBT, takes one afternoon a week to provide the online support.

She typically handles two patients at a time, mostly addressing questions by e-mail.

Usually they relate to how to apply specific lessons to their individual situations.

Karalash has worked with a dozen people so far, and almost all of them ended the program with their symptoms in the mild range. Many of them improve dramatically after the first lesson.

"I think it's very empowering, that you aren't stuck with something you can do nothing about," Karalash says. "You don't have to wait for your medication to kick in."

Like all treatments for mental illness, tech-based therapy isn't intended for every patient and doesn't work for everyone. As with face-to-face sessions and medication, dropout rates can be high, and it has been found to work best for those who choose it, since it requires people to be motivated to complete the sessions. It is designed mainly for people with less-severe symptoms and requires careful screening and a "step up" in treatment if a participant's condition worsens.

But it's a first step - a costeffective approach to early intervention that, Lingley-Pottie points out, saves the system money down the road.

Speaking of her families, she says, "The goal is to catch them [early] in the hope that they will learn these skills and implement them throughout their lives, and never have to access mentalhealth services again."


While research shows positive results for mindfulness and interpersonal therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is currently the gold standard of psychotherapy, mainly because it's the most well studied, having evolved to be results-based and quantifiable in a way that more open-ended psychoanalysis has not.

How does it work?

CBT is a structured, timelimited form of therapy that focuses on changing the negative thoughts and perceptions of patients, and giving them specific skills - and homework assignments - to cope with symptoms. It was developed by Andrew Beck, who published the first randomized controlled trial of its use in 1977, and who theorized that negative views were not only symptoms of depression, but also preventing recovery from it.

How long does it take?

In many clinical trials, a course of standardized therapy may run up to 24 sessions; in the real world, even when more is available, the average that many patients require or desire is about six - and the biggest gains are often seen in the first two visits. (There is little evidence, in research, to support the idea that going beyond 24 sessions achieves a better result.)

How is it delivered with technology?

Patients receive DVDs, booklets and online programs that give them information about their illness, symptoms to watch for and a coping strategy to practise. A big component of CBT is homework assignments. For instance, a patient may keep a journal to recognize a pattern of negative thoughts and use coping techniques to respond to them. Self-guided CBT has been found to work best when patients have the option of brief weekly contact with a therapist by phone.

Is it effective?

In a number of trials comparing CBT with medication, the therapy was been found to be equally effective, especially for depression and anxiety. Fledgling neuroscience has shown similar effects on the brain as with medication. Drugs tend to work faster but, unlike medication, which typically must be continued to prevent relapse, CBT has also been shown to provide longer periods of recovery - up to years, according to some studies - even after sessions stop. (Psychotherapy is often recommended in combination with or as a follow-up to medication.) Researchers have argued that, despite more costs up front, this makes CBT cheaper in the long run than medication.

Why is it a common, publicly funded therapy in other countries?

CBT can be given in short doses in a number of different settings. It can be offered cheaply. Studies have found it doesn't require a psychiatrist or psychologist; it has often been as effective (and significantly cheaper) with welltrained lay people.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has purchased advertisements to accompany this series. The organization had no involvement in the creation or production of this, or any other, story in the series.

Associated Graphic

Nick Wroblewsky got help with his anxiety through the Strongest Families program.


Memories of civilizations past live on in Crete, where remnants of the Venetian empire lie in beautiful ruin. It is an island meant for leisured exploration, Robert Everett-Green writes
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page T1

CRETE, GREECE -- The porous Cretan rock looks like yellow sponge pulled from the Mediterranean, but the defensive sea wall built from it has been standing for 400 years.

At the wall's furthermost point stands a tiny lighthouse, a twinkling point of light at night and a good spot, by day, to look back across the lagoon at the curving Chania seafront. The stuccoed low-rise buildings in brick red or soft yellows and blues are mostly hotels and restaurants.

But there's also a small pink mosque left from the long Turkish occupation that ended in 1913, and a row of stone Renaissance shipyards with peaked roofs built, like the lighthouse, by the Venetians who held Crete for nearly 500 years.

This part of Chania at the beginning or end of the day is a magical spot, lit by the warm low rays of the Mediterranean sun.

The town faces north, the natural way of approach for armed invaders through the ages, from the 12th-century Genoans to the Nazis, who dropped 10,000 parachute troops here in 1941 to snatch the island from Allied forces.

Modern invaders - visitors like me - tend to come by air or ferry from the Greek mainland, then fan out through the mountainous interior or travel along the coastal highway that links Chania with the island's two other main cities, Rethymno and Heraklion.

The climate is near-tropical - the Libyan coast is only 340 kilometres away - and was quite balmy during my visit in early December. Crete is about half again as large as Prince Edward Island, and within its compact landmass offers rugged mountain ranges, gorges for climbing or touring by car and beaches that dot the coastline.

You could easily spend a month or more exploring the island. I had one week, so I focused on the three northern coastal cities and the areas around them. The three are all quite different, though the whole route between them is only two hours' journey by car - short enough to allow for leisured explorations of the island's varied terrain, archeological riches and tasty cuisine.

Many centuries of colonialism and immigration have nurtured a multicultural fusion in Crete that at one point, after a large influx from Constantinople after the Muslim conquest of 1453, made the island "the cultural centre of the whole Greek world," as Jan Morris writes in her book The Venetian Empire: A Sea Voyage. Domenikos Theotokopoulos, the painter who became famous as El Greco, grew up in Crete at that time, before decamping to study his art in Venice. The oldest and most mysterious ingredient in Crete's cultural gumbo is the sophisticated Minoan civilization that left astonishing artifacts and suggestive ruins, such as those at Knossos, near Heraklion.

The cities all feature a mixture of colonial architectures, filled in with more recent vernacular Greek construction. The old walled areas of Chania and Rethymno vie with each other for atmosphere and charm.

They're towns for wandering in, where bougainvillea blooms hang in great swags from crumbling walls, where small unexpected squares appear at the end of arched passageways, and where cars in the narrow streets are rare - and completely banned in old Rethymno.

Chania's old town has a feeling of cozy dilapidation, though one of its Venetian shipyards has been repurposed as a handsome new Center of Mediterranean Architecture, including a trendy bar and event space. The others are abandoned and derelict, not yet part of the usable past.

Many places in the old town repeat the striking contrast: a tidy guest house with clean stucco may stand right next door to a roofless ruin filled with weeds.

The shopping streets are worth getting lost in, especially the "leather lane" along the street known by the noticeably nonGreek name, Skrydlof. A few blocks away stands the Etz Hayyim Synagogue, now a ghostly memorial for the small Jewish community that was wiped out during the Holocaust. The building was restored in the 1990s and still maintains a small library and mikveh (ritual bath), though there's seldom a minyan (quorum) sufficient for formal prayers. Near a silent courtyard stands a plaque bearing the names of the victims, by family.

Many people make short jaunts from Chania to the nearby beaches, or head south to make the celebrated 16-kilometre hike through the spectacular Samaria Gorge. An easier and shorter way to sample the island's gorges is to drive through the Theriso Gorge, where fabulous clumpy rock faces crowd toward the steep winding road. The lookout above Theriso faces a broad basin with terraced cultivated areas on the upper reaches and grey-green hillsides below. The calm insistent sounds of wandering goats and their bells float through the still air.

The narrow lanes of Rethymno's sand-coloured old town border on the massive Venetian fortress that dominates the city's northern shore. Like all of the island's strongest fortifications, this one was built when the Venetians felt most vulnerable to Turkish invasion. It was overrun by the Ottomans only a few decades after its completion and eventually filled up with dwellings. Restoration work in the 20th century clarified and repurposed some of the old interior structures, including a two-storey artillery magazine that is now an art gallery.

In the old city itself, a late 16th-century loggia and partially ruined fountain stand where the Venetians nostalgically laid out a square meant to evoke in miniature the layout of the Piazza San Marco. The building was converted into a mosque after the Turks took over, was brought back to its Venetian form in 1999 and is now a shop for museum replicas - an amusing case of an original structure being restored in order to sell acknowledged fakes. A few streets away, the Neratze mosque, which flaunts an elaborate Venetian doorway, has been remade into a concert space, one of the few in the world with a minaret.

While I was gawking at another Venetian doorway - the oldest in the city, it turned out - an woman poked her head out and insisted I come in. The room inside had three large tables in it, probably three metres square, around one of which the woman's husband, George Paraskevas, was stretching a huge thin sheet of filo pastry. He has been making filo this way, his son Hatziparaschos told me, since 1946. "You can read a magazine through it," he said, crumpling a 15-centimetre square in his hand and letting it drop on a table, where it smoothly regained its shape. "If that was commercial filo, it would be in a thousand pieces now."

That evening, my partner and I ate at a restaurant called Raki Ba Raki, a superb "small plates" spot that made many creative variations on the traditional Cretan fare you find in many island restaurants. At the end of the meal, we had some apple strudel made with the lightest, softest filo I have ever eaten - which turned out to be from the tiny factory I had stumbled into earlier that day.

The Tessaron Martiron, a big Romanesque church at the edge of the bustling modern part of Rethymno, offers a great example of how some traditions here renew themselves. The painted Byzantine icons that cover the interior look remarkably fresh, with good reason: they were mostly redone in the mid-1980s in the traditional style. In a smaller church near my hotel, a woman sat on a scaffold refreshing the icons in similar fashion, while a man outside scooted by on his bike, crossing himself three times without slowing down.

Heraklion is the biggest and busiest of the three coastal cities, and the least easy to treat as a portal into the past. As in many Mediterranean towns, there's a lot of living done in the street. The chairs in front of the cafés face out for peoplewatching, and during my visit, an anarchist sit-in at the neoclassical town hall turned that part of the street into an informal seminar space for changing the world.

Joggers flock to the fragmentary Venetian sea wall, which is wide enough for an asphalt road leading to the imposing fortress, now closed for renovations. The Italians' ingenuity still makes itself evident daily, in the 7,000 litres of water that reach the municipal gardens from an underground Venetian cistern, and the smaller torrents that spout from the four lions' mouths of the Morosini Fountain via a Venetian aqueduct whose source is 19 km away.

Five km south of the city is Knossos, the celebrated Minoan site, which changing archeological standards have made seem like a ruin of a ruin. Sir Arthur Evans, the gentlemen archeologist who excavated the site in the early 1900s, spoiled its integrity with didactic amateurish recreations of what he thought the place might have looked like in its prime. The excellent archeological museum in Heraklion gives a better and more vivid account of the Minoans, through mind-blowing items such as the decorative thinwalled Kamares pottery that was being produced here 4,000 years ago.

Cretan cuisine has been celebrated as among the world's healthiest, in part because of the leading role reserved for local vegetables, herbs and olive oil, extracted from olives that have been cultivated here since Minoan times. Everyone here cooks with what's fresh, including the many varieties of stewed local greens, found on menus all over the island. If there's no fresh catch in Chania, forget about ordering fish at most seafront restaurants - frozen is just not done. One special treat, which I found at a stall in the arcades of Jesus Gate in Heraklion, is the small plump banana grown on the island, whose taste and texture are subtly different from the big Cavendish bananas found in Canadian groceries.

Crete also has infinite varieties of raki, the grape-based firewater made all over the island and offered gratis whenever you order a meal or book into a hotel. Consider it a symbol of the friendliness of these island people, who have had such long experience in receiving visitors, welcome and not.


Aegean Airlines can fly you from Athens to Chania for about $100 return. If you want to visit Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion on the northern coastal highway, you can go by bus, or rent a car for about $250 a week. Having a car will make it easier to visit gorges, caves and ruins around the three cities. Skill with a manual transmission is an asset and you'll need an international drivers' licence, which you can get for $40 at any CAA office.

Cretan drivers make the most of the available lanes by squeezing onto the hard shoulder whenever someone wants to pass. Be prepared to do the same and watch for cars coming the other way that want to treat your lane like a passing lane. This sounds scary, but the road is seldom busy and quite manageable with a little vigilance. In the towns, ask your hotel in advance about parking, especially in Chania and Rethymno, where there are cheap municipal lots near the old city centres.

There are lots of good atmospheric places to stay in Crete. Casa Leone in Chania has a spectacular view of the lagoon, and sumptuous decor, for about $175 a night ( Rethymno's Casa Vitae is a 16th century Venetian stone house fitted with modern interiors ($130 a night with breakfast,

Lato Boutique Hotel in Heraklion is a new hotel overlooking the harbour, at which I experienced exceptionally attentive service ($120 a night with an extensive buffet,

Associated Graphic

The Venetian lighthouse in Chania - one of the oldest in the world - was constructed in the 16th century.


George Paraskevas prepares a batch of filo pastry, which his son says he has been preparing the same way since 1946, in Rethymno.


Left: Joggers often flock to the fragmentary sea wall at Rocca al Mare, a Venetian fort, in Heraklion. Right: It's rare to see cars in the narrow streets of Chania's old town.

Taverns and gift shops line the narrow roads of Rethymno, a city in which a lot of living is done in the street.



The hipsters of Prince Edward County
They came, they saw, they're here to stay. What was once quiet farmland has become a rural paradise for those from 'away.' Look out, locals: The County's dancing to a new tune
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

Rolling down a dead-end country road in Cherry Valley, a dot-on-the-map village nestled into the southwest corner of Prince Edward County, you hear what's going on a good 45 metres before you reach a red barn wired for sound. The barn door is open; live, wiry roots rock tumbles out like dice into the night air. Standing out front, having a smoke of something, is Toronto's finest pedal-steel player, the gentleman Aaron Goldstein - a tip of the cowboy hat from him. Inside, laying it down fierce and hard, are the Beauties, a house band at the Dakota Tavern in the city.

It's opening night of the new version of the Hayloft Dancehall, since 1967 a beery juke joint for the local wilds to dance off stink and steam. Now it is co-owned by Shawn Creamer and his wife, Shannon Kohlmeier, also proprietors of the Dakota. In its new incarnation, the Hayloft's DJdriven beats have been replaced by guitar-heavy alt-country and ragged-glory Americana bands.

A slow panorama around the rustic, funky venue reveals members of the Toronto music scene, coming into focus one by one: Tonni Maruyama of Epitaph Records is on her iPhone, and Jude Coombe, who works with Blue Rodeo, is also on hand.

There's Bruce Eaton of Ticketfly, Jen Rogers of Six Shooter Records and what would the scene be without the collegial charm of indie-rock icon Kevin Drew?

Between songs, by the door, the music journalist Kerry Doole leans back, drink in hand. "The tribe," he tells me, "is here."

In the back, a soulful bartender named Claire offers wet cans of beer and welcoming conversation. She's not from around here, and is enamoured with the night views. "When you live in the city," she says, "you forget about how the stars look."

Between sets, the energy dips and the chatter in the 200-capacity space picks up. There are darlings in plaid and conspicuous urban dandies - and more beards than a ZZ Top convention.

The Hayloft's motto is, "Are you ready for the county?" But, one wonders, is the county ready for us?

Whine country Prince Edward County is a picturesque island 21/2 hours east of Toronto that was once a quaint, insular pocket of tourists, folks and farmland, but more recently has become a place of foodies, wineries and incongruous hipsters.

The economy of the Loyalist stronghold has waxed and waned over the years, and now the Green Acres-like incursion from urbanites - Toronto migrants most notoriously, but also from Ottawa and Montreal - has the region bustling. With the influx of those from "away," there has been resistance and worry from the county hard core. It happened in the 2000s when people such as a city sommelier named Norman Hardie began swooping into the area, introducing French vines to the area's limestone soil.

Some of the county people still do not consider growing grapes to be farming - it was debated at the County council a year ago - but the wine business here is running hotter than the wood-fired pizza oven at Mr. Hardie's popular spot outside the village of Wellington.

On Victoria Day weekend, Heather, the new maître d', had her arms full of tattoos and her hands full with customers packing the patio overlooking the vineyard.

A year ago, more recent citymeets-country commotion developed when Jeff Stober, the owner of Toronto's artsy Drake Hotel, opened up a stylish waterside outpost, the Drake Devonshire in Wellington. For some, the invasion smacked of cultural imperialism.

But if there is grumbling from some corners of the county, the pique is hardly unanimous. One sees no pitchforks in the county seat of Picton; there are no mobs looking to boil young tastemakers in their own beard oil in Bloomfield. It seems the people here have woken up and smelt the pinot noir, and for every longtime resident who might still resist, there are others who would suggest they do so at their own peril.

Paradise needs a parking lot "I see it, I hear it," says Jeremiah MacKenzie, about the cultureclash tension in the county. "But that's nothing new to me, having grown up here."

Mr. MacKenzie, executive director of Bay of Quinte Tourism, was born and raised in Prince Edward County. He worked in advertising for years (in Toronto and Montreal) before returning to the area.

He understands the uncertainty that comes with change but welcomes it wholeheartedly. "Has the Drake Devonshire changed the county?" he asks rhetorically.

"Absolutely, it has. It's employing people, and it's getting more people down to the region."

A pop into the Drake Devonshire finds Cheynelle Fraser behind the bar. She may suggest the house wine, Vintner's Daughter, which is made by Rosehall Run winery in Wellington, or perhaps a Pimm's Cup or Beets by Drake, a hiply named vodkabased concoction of her own design. She worked at the Drake Hotel in Toronto on and off for more than six years, but now calls the county her home.

"I just had a feeling about this place," says Ms. Fraser, who moved with her husband and two small children to Bloomfield last summer. She first visited while the "Drake by the Lake" was still under heavy renovation. "We were here two hours, and we were like, 'Yeah, we're moving here.' " An article from a 1915 edition of The Globe describes Prince Edward County as something of a Garden of Eden - a wealthy place of county trade, a beautiful place to live, a natural place to farm.

One hundred years later, with the chief trade now tourism, paradise is in need of a parking lot.

"The parking issue is a reality, but it's symptomatic of a greater reality," admits Mr. MacKenzie, addressing an oft-heard complaint about the Devonshire patrons blithely annexing the grocery store spots next door.

"There are three-quarters of a million people going through this region, and we only have so much infrastructure to support all this heightened awareness around this beautiful discovery."

Leaving Toronto behind Toronto Life's June issue offers a survey of the "city slickers of P.E.C.," in which monied colonizers such as Andy Stronach (son of the tycoon Frank) and David Frum (former speech writer for George W. Bush) are listed. But that's an old story. The newer and more compelling wave of transplants includes luthiers, chefs, craftspeople, bakers, artists, filmmakers and musicians.

"I'm done with the city," says Justin Rutledge, a 36-year-old singer-songwriter and Michael Ondaatje collaborator. Long a mainstay in the Queen West altcountry community, the literate crooner recently sold his house in the Junction and bought another in Wellington. "Right now, my eyes are on quality of life. There's definitely something happening here."

Beyond the region's sereneness and beauty, what appeals to Mr. Rutledge is the freewheeling mentality of the region. "There's no red tape here," he says. "It's all about making it happen."

Mr. Rutledge has released five albums and has built up a healthy audience. He's made any music business connections he's needed to make in Toronto and is recording his next album in Halifax.

He's no longer tethered to Canada's biggest city - or any city, for that matter. His story is not unlike the situation of Tess Girard and Ryan Noth, filmmakers who, because they couldn't afford to buy a house in Toronto, headed to Cherry Valley.

Here they own a modest house and shambolic barn with a gorgeous pastoral view. "I always felt like I was one rent cheque behind in Toronto, treading water," says Ms. Girard, an experimental visual artist. Adds Mr. Noth, "Our overhead is so low here that we can afford to take greater risks creatively."

Both have worked on the relaunched Historica Canada Heritage Minutes series. Mr. Noth contributed to the National Parks Project (a music and film initiative celebrating the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada) and last year co-founded Sandbanks New Waves, an indie-music happening set among the region's famous dunes in September. Having laid the groundwork to their careers in Toronto, they are now just a phone call away from clients.

"There is this illusion that Toronto is the hub of everything, and that you have to be there," says Ms. Girard, who recently collaborated with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. "But it's an illusion that keeps you tied there."

Shifting sands On the afternoon following the Hayloft's reopening, I drive back out to speak with Mr. Creamer.

He's not around yet - he's on a beer run to Picton and the afternoon traffic there is brutal - but his delay affords a chance to look around the now empty venue.

There are kitschy old hockey trophies lined above the bar and there's a nifty beer tap, fashioned out of a reclaimed milking machine. The whole place is rustically charming; the only sign of invasive hipsterdom is the beard oil for sale at the venue's General Store.

"This isn't the Dakota Tavern," says Mr. Creamer, back from his errands. "This isn't a Toronto venue." Sitting down to chat at one of the interior picnic tables, Mr. Creamer - a rugged, friendly man whose beard is natural and not a fashion statement - expresses frustration over a recent article in the Toronto Star which, as he puts it, "made me the face of Toronto taking over the county."

He tells a much different story, explaining that he and his wife wanted to open (with co-owner and manager Trisha Cook) a "county place," and that they wanted a place to work, raise their family and to "every day watch that million-dollar sunset."

A musician - he's a singing, guitar-playing member of the Beauties - Mr. Creamer drops into the weekly open-mic nights at the Drake Devonshire to play with and meet local musicians. He wants the Hayloft to be a place for adults to visit, instead of only catering to the venue's traditionally younger crowd, and he's instituted a shuttle-bus service to get patrons safely back to Picton, Bloomfield and Wellington on weekends.

"I've made myself part of this community," he says. "I worked so hard to close that gap that everybody thought there was, between the newcomers and the county people. The Hayloft has been here for 50 years," he continues. "I didn't invent it."

If you talk to someone like the laid-back local musician Bill McBurney, he'll tell you people here gripe about city-folk outsiders - "They don't let you in [in] traffic, they park anywhere they want" - but they know it's a mug's game to fight the flow. "Because when push comes to shove, you better learn to tolerate it, because that's your livelihood."

There's an old bit of county lore involving a summer hotel, the Evergreen House, which had to be abandoned because of encroaching sand dunes. The lesson? Some things can't be stopped.

The county's barn door is open; no sense in shutting it now.

Associated Graphic

The newly reopened Hayloft in Cherry Valley is the work of co-owners Shawn Creamer and Shannon Kohlmeier, the couple behind the Dakota Tavern in Toronto. Their goal: to open a 'county place.'


Shawn Creamer, right, with co-owner Trisha Cook, wants the Hayloft to be a place for adults to visit; a shuttle-bus service takes patrons back to town - in the County, not Toronto - on weekends.


Tortured, sold into slavery, left stranded at sea. For thousands of Rohingya refugees like Muhammad Arif, every hard-won escape means moving from one bleak situation to another. Nathan VanderKlippe reports from Indonesia
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

MEDAN, INDONESIA -- Soldiers tortured him and evicted his family from their home. A smuggler sold him into slavery. A broken-down boat ended his chances of escaping to Australia, leaving him stranded at sea before immigration authorities found him and detained him.

And so, at 26, Muhammad Arif found himself in Indonesia, where he has discovered an entirely new obstacle. He is now trapped in a hotel, along with hundreds of other Rohingya, a Muslim minority whose quest to flee persecution in Myanmar often places them in a maze from which there is almost no exit.

The Rohingya's place among the thousands of migrants starving and thirst-stricken on Southeast Asian waters has, in recent weeks, trained new attention on the indignities they have suffered. They are denied citizenship in their birth country. Their homes have been seized, their children beaten by angry Buddhists and their husbands tossed in nightmarish camps.

Academics and lawyers are increasingly raising the spectre of "genocide," heightening the stakes for the international community, while financier George Soros on Tuesday drew parallels to his own treatment under Nazi occupation.

"In 1944, as a Jew in Budapest, I, too, was a Rohingya," he told a Rohingya conference in Oslo. (Myanmar human-rights icon Aung San Suu Kyi was pointedly not invited because of her unwillingness to criticize Rohingya treatment, a stance she maintained in a recent Globe and Mail interview.) Those Rohingya who can afford it leave in the dark of night, in a desperation that went largely unnoticed until boats stranded at sea were compared to "floating coffins," sparking an international crisis.

But the horrors the Rohingya face are not new and the rush of outrage over their plight must confront both the complexity of their situation and the difficulty in extracting them from it. Although Rohingya are small in number - just more than one million - they are ensnared by centuries-old colonial history and hatreds, complicated relations among Southeast Asian countries and race-infected politics.

For people such as Mr. Arif, even escape often means moving from one bleak horizon to another. His situation offers a preview of what lies in store for the hundreds of Rohingya who have recently landed on Indonesian shores.

They have been welcomed by locals with gifts of fried fish and free language lessons, but they will soon face governments unwilling to let them rebuild lives - a mess that involves Canada, too.

Mr. Arif, now 30, lives at Hotel Pelangi, which is hidden behind a narrow alley in Medan, the Sumatra city that is Indonesia's fifthlargest. Nearly 270 Rohingya call this and three other Medan hotels home, some since 2009 in what the International Organization for Migration (IOM) calls "community accommodation." More than 230 others live in a similar state in another Indonesian city.

For them, Indonesia's sprawling archipelago formed the southern boundary between the blackness of a stateless existence and the promise of freedom beyond. It has become, instead, a place that has left them permanently temporary.

They cannot leave Medan and are harassed by police if they wander too far from the hotels.

They can be sent to a detention centre if they stay out past 10 p.m.

They live on $116 a month provided by the Australian government to keep them here, but cannot work or build lives - dreams of wives, children and careers in indefinite abeyance.

"They are stuck. Completely stuck," said Steve Hamilton, the Jakarta-based deputy chief of mission for the IOM. "It's a horrible thing when you get Rohingya refugees, because you know they have almost no chances for resettlement, and even if they get fed up and say, 'I want to go home,' unfortunately I can't help with that either. There's nowhere for them to go."

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) itself may be partly responsible, through what one aid worker said is a policy to restrict the number of Rohingya being sent to other countries. The UNHCR doesn't want "to resettle thousands that will turn into tens of thousands and then turn into hundreds of thousands," said one aid worker, who works with the agency and asked not to be named to avoid jeopardizing relationships.

Hendrik Therik, a spokesman for the UNHCR in Indonesia, denied such a policy exists. Resettlement is available to "anyone who is recognized as a refugee," he said, and other countries have the right to take - and reject - who they want.

Yet at the Medan hotels, Rohingya feel singled out. They've watched refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia come and then leave for other countries with freedom and jobs.

In six years, they say, no Rohingya person has been resettled. "What the UNHCR is doing is unfair," said Muhammad Nur, 27, who has been at the hotels since 2010.

There are exceptions, but they tend to involve those with dramatic tales. Canada's 300 Rohingya - an estimate from recent arrivals, since Ottawa doesn't track them - include six young men who were on a migrant boat that saw 98 of 130 people die in 2013. Its arrival in Sri Lanka attracted global headlines and the six are now in Kitchener, Ont., which is also where Maung Myint Tun arrived in January. The 25year-old Rohingya man had worked as an interpreter for Al Jazeera on an investigative report into refugee fraud that placed him in danger.

Coming to Canada has left him studying English, developing a fear of the cold and marvelling at his good fortune. "This is freedom," he says.

But the web of misfortune that entangles his people has lifted only partially. His relatives have all sought different routes out of misery and are spread across the world. Among them is Zahid Hussin, a second cousin. He lives in the Medan hotels, and his inability to leave has, in a very personal way, drawn Maung Myint Tun into the Rohingya pain in Indonesia.

"It's very sad, because there is no light for him, he has no future," he says of his second cousin. "He is wasting so many years of his life. And I cannot help him."

Mr. Arif was born in Maungdaw, a far-northern district that has been racked by violence in Rakhine, the far-western Myanmar state the Rohingya call home. He was the oldest son in a family with eight children. Their care became his responsibility after he turned 10 and his father left home. So it fell to him to defend the family against the military when it came to seize their home, telling him it wanted to hand the house and land over to Buddhists.

His family had lived there for at least three generations. But when he pushed back, the army hauled him to jail, where soldiers punched him in the face, tied his hands and repeatedly burned him with cigarettes. The purpled divots will mark his left forearm and right bicep for life. After a month, the soldiers brought him home, handing him papers to give up the house and telling him, "If you don't sign, we will detain you forever and torture you every day."

His mother begged him to sign and the family became homeless. He was 19.

Months later, Mr. Arif left for Bangladesh. "Living in Myanmar is very dangerous," he said. He spent four years studying at an Islamic school but was living illegally in Bangladesh and couldn't find work. He decided to go to Thailand when a smuggler offered him free passage after hearing about his expertise with the Koran, which he had memorized by age 14. "The agent said, 'Come along for luck. Pray to Allah for us.' " When he arrived in Thailand, the agent sold him to another agent, who placed him in slavery.

He spent a year on small fishing boats, and then another year tilling corn and chilis. He could speak no Thai and was beaten when he tried to speak to his captors. He slept on the boats and, later, by himself in a hut in the fields. "I was so lonely," he said.

He was thin and weak when he arrived, but two or three times a week was injected with something "to make me strong for work." He has no idea what it was.

After two years, another Rohingya man came to the fields.

Together they conspired to leave and, late one night, walked away with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They ate what they could scrounge off the streets until they forded a river to Malaysia, where Mr. Arif found work teaching the Koran.

But Malaysia was hardly the promised land. He was living illegally, making him terrified police would find him - and he noticed that other Rohingya had spent two decades there, with no path to leaving. There was no future in Malaysia.

He wanted to go somewhere he could truly be free. He dreamed of Australia and in 2011 a smuggler brought him to Indonesia, where he boarded a boat heading south.

Two days later, the boat broke down and the smuggler abandoned them to the open sea. The 57 Rohingya on board spent a night "reading the Koran and praying for our lives," Mr. Arif said. That night, he said, whales helped push the boat toward shore. "It was a miracle from God."

The miracle was short-lived. Police found the boat and handed the Rohingya off to immigration authorities, who locked them in a detention centre. Sixteen months later, Mr. Arif was sent to one of the Medan hotels.

The hotels are run by the IOM, with funds provided by the Australian government, which pours money into other countries to care for people it does not want to arrive on its own shores. IOM provides Mr. Arif free accommodation, health care, English classes and $116 a month, his sole source of income. He spends more than 10 per cent of it on a gym membership, one of his sole activities away from the hotel.

Barred from work by restrictions on refugees in Indonesia, he has a fixed daily routine: wake, pray, read the Koran, chat with others, eat breakfast, chat with others, eat lunch, pray, nap, wash, pray, eat, go to the gym and then sleep. Cuts by Australia have meant some recreational facilities, including table tennis and badminton, were taken away last year, and the $116 is now available only to the first two members of a family; children get $46 a month.

Asked if Australia would accept Rohingya earlier this month, Prime Minister Tony Abbott replied: "Nope, nope, nope." Even if a smuggler could get people from the Medan hotels to Australia, they would likely find themselves not in Sydney or Perth, but on the southern Pacific islands of Nauru or Manus, where Australia runs costly immigration detention centres to keep refugees off its own soil. They, too, are not havens: Refugees at the Nauru centres have rioted and sewn together their own lips in hunger strikes. Australia has offered to bring some to Cambodia instead, but so far only four refugees, including one Rohingya man, have accepted a transfer to a country virtually as poor as the one they left.

The Rohingya "just can't get a break. They're constantly in confinement and without protection and without rights," said Amy Smith, executive director with Fortify Rights, a human-rights group. "It's not only a lifetime, but generations of being confined without any sort of freedoms."

Associated Graphic

Muhammad Arif prays in Medan, where he and hundreds of other Rohingya live in uncertainty, unable to work or leave.



Civil rights champion fought tough battles
He weathered an angry backlash after representing anti-Semites Ernst Zundel and James Keegstra in the fight for freedom of speech
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S12

Even as a boy, Alan Borovoy was a scrapper, a skeptic-inwaiting for whom authority existed to be challenged - and fought.

When his father lost his pharmacy business in Hamilton during the Depression and moved the family to a then-roughish area of Toronto in 1938, young Alan quickly shed the pallid Little Lord Fauntleroy image his mother had cast him in. According to his 2013 memoir, At the Barricades, he became involved in fist fights; often he was the initiator, mostly he was the loser. Although he soon came to abhor violence, that feistiness never abandoned him.

When Alan Borovoy died of heart failure on May 11, he was widely acknowledged as Canada's foremost champion of civil rights and free speech, causes for which he fought tirelessly for six decades, largely as general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) from 1968 to 2009.

For his many admirers, he was a vigorous and eloquent enemy of legal absurdities and politicalsocial injustices, whether questionable police procedures, national security overreach or attempts to muzzle free speech, either on the left or on the right.

For his (many fewer) critics, he was an often quixotic crusader, inflexibly tilting at every windmill that came into his view.

Alfred Alan Borovoy was born in Hamilton on March 17, 1932, to Rae and Jack Borovoy. He received a BA in 1953 and a law degree in 1956, both from the University of Toronto. Eschewing the traditional lawyer's path and indifferent to material success, he began working in 1960 as secretary of the Jewish Labour Committee, which fought racism, especially against black Canadians. He was also active with other human-rights groups.

In 1963, he ran for the NDP in the Toronto riding of Downsview, finishing second with 35 per cent of the vote. Realizing belatedly that winning the seat would have entailed playing a political role that was far from his real passion, he immediately abandoned all further political ambition. In 1968, he assumed the position with the CCLA that he would hold for the next four decades.

Young Alan's indignation was fuelled by the disparity he saw between the wealthy and the poor, and by the anti-Semitism that was still endemic in much of Canadian life. But he was also becoming, and remained, as he writes in his memoir, "a social democrat, a civil libertarian, a secular Jew, and a philosophical pragmatist."

It was this set of beliefs that drove Mr. Borovoy's most rewarding moments of intervention in Canada's legal and social policy, as in the feverish, high-stakes battles over abortion, hate speech and pornography; the rights of aboriginals and of homosexuals; the defence of minority rights in Quebec; and the troubling case of Robert Latimer, imprisoned for a decade for killing his severely disabled and pain-ridden daughter.

But they also created the most vexing turns of a career peppered with vexations: the defence of Ernst Zundel, a Holocaust denier and neo-Nazi, and of James Keegstra, a rural Alberta teacher who promulgated anti-Semitism in the classroom. Mr. Zundel was tried in 1985 for spreading false news, a criminal charge that Mr.

Borovoy saw as the crest of the proverbial slippery slope, its broader implications "capable of threatening us for engaging in normal democratic debate."

Mr. Borovoy was very much hurt by the angry reaction to his stance of many Jews, especially Holocaust survivors, made to relive their trauma during Mr. Zundel's long and often farcical trial.

Some thought he was siding with people whose views he actually abhorred, or even called him a "self-hating Jew," which was far from the truth. In fact, says Myra Merkur, his companion of the past 10 years or so (Mr. Borovoy never married), he was, despite his atheism, a devout cultural Jew who loved to sing Jewish songs and to speak Yiddish, though he never mastered the language.

Nor was this the only occasion on which Mr. Borovoy ran afoul of what might seem his natural constituency. When his devotion to freedom of expression led him, and the CCLA, to defend pornography and to oppose obscenity laws, he alienated many feminists and other progressives who felt porn objectified women and thus considered it a threat to the goal of sexual equality.

Despite Mr. Borovoy's (and the CCLA's) long-standing support for feminist goals, he continued to attack the censorship and criminalization of pornography. He maintained that the law's definition of the "undue exploitation" of sex was hazy; always wary of slippery slopes, he argued the laws could potentially include Greek mythology (the rape of Leda by Zeus, for instance) or a brilliant film such as Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring. As for Game of Thrones? Beyond the pale.

But even in such a hothouse of contention, Mr. Borovoy could find some fun. In At the Barricades, he recounts a debate at the University of Guelph in which a male psychologist, who "felt competent to assess certain types of pornography as dangerous to women," buttressed his argument by showing some disturbing images on a screen to an audience made up largely of students.

The typically Borovian response: "If you really believe that exposure to these pictures is so dangerous to women, why would you show them to an audience of so many strangers?" The argument, he allows, may not have been logically air-tight, but "it had an arresting response."

Danielle McLaughlin, director of education for the CCLA and a long-time friend and colleague of Mr. Borovoy, calls him "my mentor and tormentor ... a brilliant thinker who loved argument, though never ad hominem, and was always prepared to play devil's advocate." She is not the only one who admired Mr. Borovoy's Socratic turn of argumentation.

George Jonas, a writer of conservative libertarian disposition, nevertheless enjoyed a long and vividly disputatious friendship with Mr. Borovoy, their intellectual sparring sessions often held at Toronto's legendary, and lamented, Coffee Mill. For Mr. Jonas, he was "an attractively ambitious man, who enjoyed few things as much as debating, for the simple reason that he was good at it. He was a sharp polemicist, something of a born contrarian, and enjoyed the immediate rewards that come from winning a debating point."

Although considered a man of the left, Mr. Borovoy really had no political home, says his friend Cyril Levitt, a psychotherapist and professor of sociology. His stances against communism, and for the United States and Israel, distanced him from many on the left. His friend Ron Biderman, a Toronto lawyer and in recent years Mr. Borovoy's workout mate on the treadmills of the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, says he "rejected both the hardhearted right and the soft-headed left."

Despite his image as a crusader, there was nothing of the populist in Mr. Borovoy. He respected "the people," but was under no illusion that they were always, or even mostly, right in their views.

But he had even less regard for the judgment of government.

"He always thought outside the box," Mr. Levitt says. "His reactions were never knee-jerk or ideological. ... And he did not dislike anyone, except, often, those he defended."

Case in point: Days after his trial, Mr. Zundel called in to a radio show where Mr. Borovoy was the guest, praising him for his public statements of defence. An extremely discomfited Mr. Borovoy refused to engage with the author of the pamphlet "The Hitler We Loved, and Why," simply saying, "While I feel obliged to defend Mr. Zundel's legal rights, I have no comparable obligation to treat him with respect."

His intellectual mentor was the American pragmatist Sidney Hook, a disenchanted former communist and a ferocious critic of totalitarian thinking, who, says Mr. Jonas, "had the attitude of a jilted lover toward Marxism, or, better still, the attitude of a girl who realizes that the attractive chap she fell for is Jack the Ripper."

He was witty, straightforward and fun-loving, could speak at length without notes, and enjoyed riffing on themes, such as a series of puns on fish species, "just for the halibut," Mr. Levitt says. He was also a gifted polemicist who seized any opportunity, and any forum, to advance the agenda of the CCLA.

He loved to sing, although his close friend Owen Shime, a Toronto lawyer, says he might not have possessed quite so good a voice as he thought he did. Mr. Borovoy particularly loved old labour songs, such as Joe Hill and Solidarity Forever and, according to Ms. McLaughlin, "was mad for Al Jolson." One of the songs played at his funeral service was Jolson's Keep Smiling at Trouble (Trouble's a Bubble). "Alan not only smiled at trouble," Ms. McLaughlin says, "he salivated over it, had fun with it." Indeed, having fun even while engaged in the thorniest of issues seems to have been a necessity for Mr. Borovoy. "He believed that if he took things too seriously, he'd lose his sense of humour," Ms. McLaughlin adds.

Mr. Borovoy was, by all accounts, an indifferent housekeeper, a technological Luddite and a man whose office was so legendarily out of control, it was the stuff of magazine covers.

He was also a man for whom "a good meal was a bowl of corn flakes," says Mr. Levitt. In his last years, health problems made him much more attentive to his diet, to the consternation of servers at restaurants, whom he would plague with a litany of questions about the content of their dishes.

Although he had no siblings, Mr. Borovoy was close to a number of his many cousins, particularly Andrea Baltman, who says, "He was like a brother to me; we had endless conversations about our family."

For Ms. Merkur, he was not only a companion, but also a mentor.

"He never talked at you, but with you, and could always draw you out and make you think," she says.

Besides his memoir, Mr. Borovoy wrote four other books: When Freedoms Collide (1988), Uncivil Obedience (1991), The New AntiLiberals (1999) and Categorically Incorrect (2007). He received honorary doctorates of law from four universities, as well as one from the Law Society of Upper Canada.

He was named to the Order of Canada in 1982.

Alan Borovoy was never shy about afflicting the comfortable or demanding the best from those with whom he worked. "He puts the 'oy' in Borovoy," one student said of him, after a particularly rough session.

A scrapper to the end, fortified by a cocktail of self-confidence, intelligence and a dash of egotism, he took aim at recent national outrages against liberty, from the Harper government's covert "war" against terrorism and inflexible anti-crime agenda to the devolution of the humanrights tribunals he'd helped create into a kind of thought police. As he wrote in his memoir, "In order to get justice, you must do justice." It was a lesson Alan Borovoy learned early and never forgot.

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

From a young age, Alan Borovoy's passion for human rights was driven by the disparity he saw between the rich and the poor, and the anti-Semitism he witnessed.


Mr. Borovoy and Canadian Civil Liberties Association colleague Louise Arbour are seen in Ottawa in 1984, at the start of hearings where he defended the legality of pornography.


He loved family, work and the church
Self-made mogul believed that making a friend was more important than making a deal
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S11

Real estate titan Joseph J. Barnicke always believed he had experienced a miracle early in life.

After sustaining a football injury while he was a boy in Oakville, Ont., doctors told him he had an infection in the bone in his lower leg - his family believes it was cancerous - and that the limb would need to be amputated. His parents then took him to Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ont., a Roman Catholic church and pilgrimage site that houses some of the remains of six Jesuit missionaries, including St. Jean de Brébeuf, who were tortured and killed by the Iroquois while living among the Huron people in the 17th century. Mr. Barnicke took home a prayer card instructing him to pray for nine days.

The infection cleared up, friends and family say, and Mr. Barnicke's Catholic faith was made rock solid.

He would go on to become a pillar of Canada's commercial real estate industry, a philanthropist, a key Progressive Conservative Party fundraiser, the founder of the annual charitable Cardinal's Dinner in Toronto and a key organizer of Pope John Paul II's visit in 1984. After initially weathering a spate of bad health late last year that saw him hospitalized, Mr. Barnicke died at his home on May 19 at the age of 92, with his family at his side.

"I guess you could say he loved three things in life: He loved his family, he loved his business, and he loved his Catholic Church," said John Craig Eaton, 77, the former chairman of the once-dominant Eaton's retail chain and a very close friend of Mr. Barnicke's for 45 years. "You couldn't distinguish which one he loved the best."

The two friends could not have come from more different backgrounds: Joseph John Barnicke was born on April 6, 1923, into a farm family of eight children in tiny Cudworth, Sask., and Mr. Eaton was born into one of the country's most privileged families.

When Mr. Barnicke was an infant, his family moved east, to a farm in Oakville, Ont., west of Toronto, where he attended public schools. During the Second World War, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and excelled as a pilot, but was held back from flying overseas to train other pilots at air bases here. (A younger brother, Peter, also a pilot, was killed on a mission over the North Sea in 1944.) There are differing accounts of how Mr. Barnicke ended up threatened with military discipline for stunt-flying in his plane: He flew either under a bridge or under some hydro wires, or both. In any case, he was caught in the act by a superior. All versions of the story agree that his popularity with his fellow officers and his excellence as a pilot and instructor played a big role in getting him out of the whole affair unscathed.

After the war, he took an accelerated business administration program at the University of Toronto, where he was elected president of his class. It was through U of T president Sidney Smith that Mr. Barnicke met legendary Canadian industrialist E.P. Taylor. Starting his career as a sales manager for Mr. Taylor's O'Keefe Brewing Co. Ltd. after graduation, he worked for George Montegu Black, father of former newspaper baron Conrad Black.

As Mr. Barnicke's professional life was beginning, so was his family life. In a 1949 ceremony in Hamilton's grand Cathedral of Christ the King, Mr. Barnicke married Justina (Dee Dee) Carroll, whose Burlington, Ont., family made their fortune with a Hamilton-based chain of corner stores.

At work, he was put in charge of the breweries' sales in Western Ontario. Mr. Barnicke built strong relationships with the tavern owners and innkeepers who bought his company's products in those days. When O'Keefe faced a provincewide boycott from tavern owners over its prices, which were then higher than competitor Labatt's, Mr. Taylor noticed that in Mr. Barnicke's region, the boycott was not taking hold. That earned Mr. Barnicke a promotion, and he was soon in charge of all of Ontario. He was also later credited with helping to defuse a tense confrontation between the company and the brewery workers' union, avoiding a strike.

His success catapulted him into the leadership ranks of Mr. Taylor's brewing empire while still in his 20s. But Mr. Barnicke was restless, felt the older men around him saw him as an undeserving upstart and wanted to strike out on his own.

In 1957, he told Mr. Taylor he was leaving to take a job with Gibson Bros., then a leading commercial real estate brokerage in the country. But such was Mr. Taylor's loyalty to his young executive that he vowed to keep paying him a salary until he had found his footing in the new business, Mr. Barnicke's son Andrew said.

In 1959, Mr. Barnicke started his own real estate brokerage, J.J. Barnicke Ltd., with just three employees. It was the ideal time to go into real estate, as Canada launched into a suburban building boom, and the business grew quickly. It was instrumental in deals to create and lease the massive Sherway Gardens mall in Mississauga, west of Toronto, the Rideau Centre in Ottawa and the Eaton Centre in Montreal.

Mr. Barnicke helped major companies, such as Imperial Oil Ltd.

and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., find new sites for their corporate headquarters. Eaton's, and its competitor, Hudson's Bay Co., were also long-time key clients.

He became a regular at Winston's, a legendary lunch spot for Toronto's business elite at the time, where deals were done over martinis, scrawled out on the backs of napkins and sealed with handshakes. He took up hunting.

It was his personal touch, friends and family said, that was the key to his success. His son Peter Barnicke, who still works for the successor to his father's real estate brokerage, said his colleagues are considering posting one of his father's catchphrases under a commemorative picture of him in their boardroom. Among the contenders is the phrase, "Make the man, not the deal," which Mr. Barnicke used to stress that one should always befriend a client, even if it meant sacrificing a deal.

"If the deal doesn't happen, then you've still got the friend," Peter said. "The deal can always happen again."

Mr. Barnicke's wife died of breast cancer in 1970. Devastated, he coped by throwing himself into his business. He was a widower for the next 45 years, raising their five children on his own. He never remarried. In her memory, he donated money for an art gallery at U of T's Hart House and for a wing in Toronto's St. Joseph's Hospital, both of which bear her name.

Mr. Eaton says it was after Justina's death that he and Mr. Barnicke became close friends, and the two began raising money together for the Conservatives, both federally and provincially.

Mr. Barnicke counted Ontario premiers John Robarts and Bill Davis among his friends, and wasn't shy about sharing his views with them. Mr. Barnicke, Mr. Eaton said, was also among the first to arrive at Mr. Robarts's home in 1982, after the former premier, despondent after a stroke, had killed himself with a shotgun in his bathroom.

In the 1970s, Mr. Barnicke would make headlines as some asked questions about the extent of the influence his fundraising efforts had on the Ontario government, prompting him to respond to a Globe reporter's questions in 1973 with "a stream of blue-tinged four- and sevenletter words."

That influence has been credited by some as part of the force - along with efforts by Cardinal G. Emmett Carter, with whom Mr. Barnicke was also very close - that convinced Mr. Davis to extend full public funding to Catholic high schools in 1984.

In an interview, Mr. Davis said Mr. Barnicke's position on the matter had long been clear. But Mr. Davis said he made up his mind on his own, to correct what he saw as an unfair situation. In the decades since, the former premier met Mr. Barnicke regularly for lunch at the National Club: "Joe was never reluctant in passing on his point of view.

He was never belligerent. ... He was very decent and honest."

Friends say he was also trusting - in one case, too trusting. In 1996, he confronted his firm's chief financial officer, James Lake, who also handled the family's finances, about a suspicious movement of funds. Mr. Lake pledged to return to the office with an explanation and left abruptly. His body turned up some hours later in the morgue, hit by a subway car. He had forged Mr. Barnicke's signature and stolen close to $10-million over several years, living a lavish lifestyle that he told friends was from inherited money. Mr. Barnicke, then in his 70s and stung by the betrayal, managed to recover the funds and the company bounced back.

By 2007, however, intense competition in the real estate business from global players was taking its toll. After growing his independent business into a network with 25 offices across the country and more than 450 employees, Mr. Barnicke, then 84, had just seen a rival snap up two of his international brokerage partners. It was time to sell.

But he insisted that the new buyer, London-based DTZ Holdings PLC, which bought his company for $26.6-million, keep his business intact and its staff employed.

"Some of these people have looked to me as a father," Mr. Barnicke was quoted as saying at the time in the Financial Post.

"The key was to keep the team together."

Since selling his business, Mr. Barnicke moved into offices he shared with Mr. Eaton and his brothers and still showed up most mornings until his illness last year. He would call longtime family friend Richard Alway, head of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto, almost every day, looking for the latest news.

"There used to be a series in the old Reader's Digest, going back to when I was a child, called 'the most unforgettable character I have met,' " Mr. Alway said. "And that, in a sense, is the best description of Joe. ... He was in some ways larger than life."

Mr. Barnicke, who was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 1989, was also awarded the Knight Grand Cross with Star of the Order of St. Gregory the Great for his service to his church. Among his many charitable efforts was his service chairing fundraising campaigns for the Canadian Cancer Society.

He leaves four of his children, Peter, Paul, Carroll and Andrew.

A daughter, Justina Anne, died in 2008 at 53. He also leaves 12 grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren.

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

Saskatchewan-born entrepreneur J.J. Barnicke, who founded J.J. Barnicke Ltd. real estate brokerage, was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 1989.


Joseph John Barnicke

The world's most powerful particle accelerator, last seen discovering the Higgs boson, switches back on after a two-year hiatus, nearly twice as powerful as before. Science reporter Ivan Semeniuk charts its new push into the unknown
Friday, March 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

Asimina Arvanitaki was just a small child growing up in Greece when plans were first being drawn up for the Large Hadron Collider. By the time its powerful proton beams were switched on for the first time in 2008, she had a newly minted PhD from Stanford University.

But only now, as a 35-year-old faculty member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont., is Dr. Arvanitaki about to access a realm she has been waiting to explore her entire academic life.

This month, the Large Hadron Collider - the LHC - comes into its own.

As the world's most powerful particle accelerator, the LHC is already famous. The collider, located near the foothills of the Jura Mountains west of Geneva, Switzerland, is where scientists finally chased down the long-hypothesized particle known as the Higgs boson. That achievement, announced in 2012, effectively completed the Standard Model of particle physics, the most formidable description of the basic constituents of nature that humans have ever devised. It was the culmination of a quest that began more than a century earlier with J.J. Thomson's discovery of the electron in 1897.

Yet even while physicists were hungering for the Higgs, it was only ever meant to be an appetizer for the LHC. "In a sense, the Higgs was a sure bet," Dr. Arvanitaki said. "We knew it had to be there."

Now comes round two and all bets are off. After a lengthy hiatus and a total overhaul, the LHC is about to switch back on with its power nearly doubled. This time the goal is to push onward into the unknown. It means the curtain is about to rise on a period of raw discovery that is relatively rare in science. And after decades of work by thousands of researchers and many billions of dollars spent, it's Dr. Arvanitaki's generation that now finds itself in the midst of the action.

A new machine

The LHC is mind-bogglingly complex, but at its heart lies a simple idea: Smash particles together at high speeds to concentrate as much energy as possible, then watch how that energy dissipates through processes that can involve the spontaneous creation of new particles.

Like a miniature Niagara, each collision resembles a waterfall - an energy-releasing cascade that pours over a precipice and tumbles onto the rocks below. In this metaphor, there is any number of possible pathways that water can take along the way down. And the higher you start, the more pathways there are to explore, which is why physicists are so keen to see the LHC running at higher energies.

"This is the machine that is at the frontier of what can be done," said Tiziano Camporesi, spokesperson for one of the LHC's giant particle detectors.

It was all supposed to have happened well before this. The LHC is made up of two opposing beams of protons that race around a 27-kilometre-long ring guided by superconducting magnets. Wherever the beams cross, protons can collide and the products of those collisions can be carefully measured.

Early on, as the LHC was ramping up to full operations in 2008, a faulty electrical connection triggered a massive failure that partly tore some of the accelerator's giant magnets from their concrete moorings. The hobbled machine was shut down for two years. When it was finally back online, it was only able to run at half its design energy.

That still proved enough to find the Higgs boson, vindicating the LHC's managers' decision that it was better to get some science done sooner rather than later. In 2013, with the Higgs in hand, they switched off the beams and set about rebuilding the collider.

"It's practically a new machine," said Rolf-Dieter Heuer, general director of CERN, the sprawling pan-European nuclear research facility where the LHC is based.

A shot in the dark

As early as March 23, protons will again be flying around the LHC ring as systems come back online, with the first collisions expected in May. With higher energy and more particles in the beams, it will certainly allow researchers to find the Higgs again. The questions is whether they will find anything else.

But while it's possible nothing will turn up, there are good reasons to think there is something more for the LHC scientists to discover.

Chief among them is the fact the universe is known to be full of a mysterious substance called dark matter that the Standard Model cannot explain. There are other possibilities, too, including signs of extra-dimensions or the production of microscopic black holes that evaporate in a flash of particles. Alternatively, nothing so direct may emerge. Instead, the presence of new physics may be inferred, through unexpected quirks in the behaviour of the Higgs boson. There could be more than one kind of Higgs.

"The most important thing we can do as part two of this search is to ask: Is this really the Higgs we expected or is this something else?" said Manuella Vincter, a physicist at Carleton University and a member of ATLAS, the LHC detector with which Canada has partnered.

The only way to be sure, of course, it to look and see.

"It will be great to be in the data-taking business again," said Robert McPherson, an experimental physicist at the University of Victoria and co-spokesperson for ATLAS.

As a theorist, Dr. Arvanitaki agrees. "Basically," she says, "experiments are the language by which nature speaks to us."

The Standard Model

The most comprehensive theory of matter and energy to date, the Standard Model manages to boil down the dizzying complexity of nature into a set of basic interactions between 17 particles. In this picture, matter is made up of six quarks and six leptons. The most familiar lepton is the electron, a carrier of electric charge.

The lightest quarks are the up and the down, which combine to form protons and neutrons, the building blocks of atoms. The forces that operate between particles of matter are conveyed via four additional particles, including photons, which makes up light.

The final player in the company is the Higgs boson. First predicted in the 1960s but not seen until 2012 at the Large Hadron Collider, the Higgs is required by the Standard Model because it accounts for why some particles have mass while others do not.

Although the Standard Model is a powerful tool for making accurate predictions about how matter behaves, physicists know it is incomplete. It does not include gravity and gives no information about why there are so many fundamental particles and why they have the properties that they do. Now that the Higgs has been discovered, the mission of the LCH is to look for signs of new particles or phenomena that might lead to a deeper theory beyond the Standard Model.

A search for supersymmetry

Astronomers have convincingly shown that the matter we see when we look up at the heavens is only a fraction of what is there. By a margin of about five to one, this so-called ordinary matter - that which makes up atoms, planets, stars and galaxies - is outweighed by something else called dark matter. This matter cannot be seen directly, but it makes its presence known through its gravitational pull.

Exactly what kind of particles make up dark matter remains a matter of debate, but they most certainly lie outside the Standard Model.

One of the most exciting possibilities in the coming year is that signs of dark matter might start showing up in the form of missing energy in the LHC's detectors - energy moving through an unseen pathway. Such an outcome would allow researchers to study dark matter in detail and, depending on its properties, point the way to which new theory best accounts for its existence.

Among the most developed such theories is supersymmetry, which posits that all the known particles in nature must each have a mirror set of partners that can only be detected at extreme energies. In some versions of supersymmetry, the lightest and most stable of these particles would account for the dark matter astronomers see in the cosmos.

During the hunt for the Higgs boson, physicists were looking for early signs of supersymmetry in the LHC data and found none. It could mean the evidence is just around the corner and will turn up as early as this year. Or it could mean that supersymmetry is wrong and that dark matter will have to be explained through some other mechanism.

A different dimension

In particle physics, higher energy enables the exploration of phenomena at smaller scales, far tinier than an atom. This, in turn, could allow the LHC to see hints of phenomena that exist only at such a granular scale, including the possibility that there are additional dimensions to the universe that we cannot sense at the scale of everyday life.

The existence of extra dimensions could explain why gravity is apparently so much weaker than the other forces of nature (allowing, for example, a tiny fridge magnet to easily pick up a paper clip, thereby defeating the gravitational pull of the entire planet). Instead of being inherently weaker, gravity may be losing much of its pull by spreading out into other dimensions. This would mean that gravity is stronger on a subatomic scale, and that collisions of sufficient energy at the LHC could produce microscopic black holes that quickly evaporate in a flash of particles. Instead of looking for signs of missing energy, physicists would see their detectors lighting up with every conceivable type of particle.

Such ideas have led to the popular meme that the LHC will create a black hole that devours Earth. It can't happen, physicists say, and if it could, it would have happened long before the LHC was built. It may be humanity's most powerful collider, but cosmic rays coming in from deep space are bombarding our atmosphere at even higher energies on a daily basis.

Follow me on Twitter:@IvanSemeniuk

$5-billion Cost to build in Canadian dollars 2 7 kilometres Circumference 50 to 175 metres Depth below ground 1,624 Number of magnets -271.3 C Operating temperature of magnets 8 trillion electron volts Maximum operating energy in 2012 13 trillion electron volts Expected operating energy this month 22,000 times per second Number of times a proton will cross the French-Swiss border while moving around the ring

The main ring of the LHC is 27 kilometres in circumference and sits beneath the border of France and Switzerland. The ring includes two separate beams of protons moving in opposite directions and steered by powerful magnets. The energy in one beam could melt through half a tonne of copper.

Detectors are located at points where the beams cross and particle collisions can occur. Canada is a partner in the mammoth ATLAS detector, one of two where the Higgs boson was first spotted. The detector includes a made-in-Canada calorimeter for precisely measuring the energies of collision by-products.

Associated Graphic

A cluster of galaxies imaged by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope is superimposed with a false-colour map showing the regions of the cluster (blue) where dark matter is mostly abundant based on its gravitational effects.


How bias hurts women, from the lab to the medicine cabinet
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1


How to build a better mental health care system

This is part of a series about improving research, diagnosis and treatment.

Poor Jan. She's one of those "unmarrieds with low selfesteem," who never found the right man. On a recent cruise, the purser had to take her sad, solitary picture because she had no one else to hold the camera.

Her diagnosis: 35, single and "psychoneurotic." Her fix: Valium. "You probably see many such Jans in your practice," reads the full-colour advertisement, published inside the cover of the Archives of General Psychiatry in June, 1970, as a direct overture to psychiatrists by the manufacturers of the now-famous sedative.

Never mind that the list of warnings and side effects - including confusion, slurred speech, insomnia and rage - are as long as the sales pitch. "Should these occur," the ad blithely advises, "discontinue drugs." Otherwise, dose that spinster's sadness away.

If only this were a Mad Menesque historical artifact. Even today, women appear four times more often than men in antidepressant advertising, often gardening or blissfully sleeping - and always thin - because, apparently, a pop of Prozac means never having to work (out) again. In 2013, antidepressants, sleeping pills and all variety of Valiums were a growing $1.4-billion market in Canada, and it's still the Jans - and Jessicas and Jaydas - who pop two-thirds of them.

Women are, quite literally, getting the prescription that's available more often than the treatment they need. Canada's mental-health system leans heavily on medication to solve its problems, even when science finds treatments such as psychotherapy equally, and in some cases more, effective - without physical side effects. This bias hinders women getting proper help in multiple ways. For starters, the research on how drugs affect female patients is less robust: While drug companies flog pills to women, most of their clinical trials have been dominated by men (and even lab rats are mostly male). The disorders most commonly diagnosed in women - depression, anxiety and insomnia - are also the ones most likely to respond to therapy, an approach that women are significantly more likely than men to prefer over drugs. The long wait lists for publicly funded therapy further disadvantages poor women and those working without benefits, who suffer higher rates of mental illness. For them, evidence-based treatment is too often a luxury reserved for the Housewives of Rosedale.

"Women aren't getting access to the range of care they need," says Dr. Marina Morrow, a Simon Fraser University psychologist who studies gender and mental health. An ideal system, she says, would include medication when necessary, but also therapy, peer support and a recognition of the social circumstances that lead to illness.

The debate about women and mental health Women's experiences tend to highlight what's wrong with the mental health care system because they end up in care far more often than men - though the reason why is heavily debated. The prevalence of depression and anxiety in women is about twice that of men (who have higher rates of substance abuse), but is that because women are actually sicker? Or are their more frequent visits to the doctor more likely to turn up a mental health problem, slotting them into Jan territory, whether legitimately or not?

Research has yet to pin down the influence of sex and gender, says Dr. Sonia Lupien, director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal - in part, because until the last decade these potential differences haven't been studied. Women, for instance, are 10 times more likely than men to admit to being stressed on self-reporting surveys, according to Lupien. On the other hand, she says, even men who say they aren't stressed have much higher levels of stress hormones. So are women protected from the biological effects of stress because they talk about it more, and if so, doesn't that support talking therapy as a valid treatment?

Mental illness among women is also linked to culture and circumstance; many experts believe societal roles, family stress, poverty and trauma also contribute uniquely to female rates of mental illness. A recent study that followed more than 1,000 British mothers over a decade found that those who experienced physical spousal abuse were twice as likely to develop depression and three times more likely to have psychotic symptoms in mental illness as mothers who weren't victims of violence. There is also new science suggesting that depression may factor differently into women's physical health, particularly heart problems. In both cause and effect, the case for early and appropriate intervention in women's health is clear.

Seeking help with treatment In research focus groups, Lupien says people often say they want to go to therapy but can't afford it. "If you have a single mom making $40,000 a year, raising three kids, you are not going to ask her to go see a psychologist for $200 [an hour]," Lupien says.

Instead, she tries to educate people on what to look for in a psychotherapist so they don't waste their money.

With money a top consideration for governments too, Canadian researchers are testing cost-effective ways to deliver therapy. For instance, a New Brunswick pilot project offered 12 weeks of peer support to women with postpartum depression. At the end of the program, only 12 per cent were still depressed. But when it came to funding the $142,000 annual budget for a fullscale program, the province balked.

"Women told us, 'I would have been hospitalized if you hadn't been there helping me,' " says Dr. Nicole Letourneau, a University of Alberta researcher who led the project. The cost of providing peer support would be roughly half the amount of the average hospital stay for a woman with postpartum depression, says Letourneau - not counting the benefit for families and earlychildhood development. "I think we are totally missing the mark."

This isn't about clearing out the medicine cabinet - drugs work for many people. But there are compelling reasons why women should be angry about their lack of treatment choices. Mental illness tends to peak during childbearing years - and for about 15 per cent of women, postpartum - when drugs aren't recommended, or patients aren't keen to take them.

Adverse side effects of drugs Women are also more likely than men to be prescribed antidepressants and sedatives as seniors, putting them at higher risk of adverse side effects. Because clinical trials haven't always considered sex differences, less is known about how body mass and hormones alter responses to drugs. In 2013, for instance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended that women receive a lower dose than men of the sleeping pill zolpidem - also known as Ambien - because of stronger side effects that raised the risk of next-morning car accidents. That rare, sex-specific finding came two decades after the drug first hit the market. (Health Canada followed suit with a similar announcement in January, 2014.)

In fact, sleeping pills are a clear example of the negative side effects - and poor cost management - of short-changing therapy as a treatment alternative.

Insomnia, a chronic problem suffered by one in 10 Canadians, is diagnosed twice as often in women as men. It has a circular relationship to mental illness: People with it are five times more likely to have anxiety and depression, and having it makes you more likely to be depressed and anxious.

According to Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, the Montreal-based scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health, a short dose of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with a focus on sleeping strategies is an effective treatment. In studies, it's been found to work as well as medication - and for years, in the most prestigious scientific journals, sleep researchers have been making the scientific case for CBT as a drug alternative, especially for seniors. In a 2006 article, published in Canadian Family Medicine, Quebec researchers analyzed 15 years of studies and concluded that therapy adapted to insomnia should be the "recommended treatment" for seniors.

But most patients are never offered CBT, says Tannenbaum.

Instead they often get benzodiazepine, a common drug prescribed for sleep. (Ativan is the bestseller in Canada.) These drugs are a $336-million market in Canada. Approximately 30 per cent of Quebec seniors alone have a prescription, second only to France among OECD countries, Tannenbaum says. Although men and women diagnosed with insomnia are equally likely to get drugs as treatment, among those taking them over the age of 65, two-thirds are women - in part because female patients are diagnosed more often.

But since seniors have slower metabolisms, the drug takes longer to clear their systems. It can be difficult for patients to stop taking them because of withdrawal symptoms. They can also cause dangerous side effects such as dizziness and cognitive impairments. They have been linked to higher rates of falls and fractures among seniors, which cost the Canadian health-care system more than $2-billion a year. A 2005 meta-analysis in the British Medical Journal concluded that for seniors, the "benefits may not outweigh the risk."

Adding to those concerns, a 2014 article, also published in the BMJ, by a team of Canadian and French researchers using a large Quebec sample of patients, suggested an association between long-term use of benzodiazepine medication and an increased risk of Alzheimer's.

Not only is therapy arguably safer and more effective, it's also the cheaper choice, according to a 2015 study by Canadian and U.S. researchers, led by Tannenbaum.

Upfront, it may cost a little more (though less if delivered in groups), but it saves on costly and debilitating falls and hip fractures. "There remains no sound justification," the authors concluded, to prescribe drugs without first trying therapy. "The caveat is that treatment should be accessible and affordable to all, otherwise older patients will be deprived of safer evidencebased therapies for insomnia."

A yet-to-be-published analysis by Tannenbaum and Dr. Vakaramoko Diaby, an assistant pharmacy professor at Florida A&M University, estimates that if even 20 per cent of seniors with insomnia received CBT instead of medication, the cost savings to the system could be in the hundreds of millions - based on the potential falls that would be avoided.

Tannenbaum has recently penned a stern letter to Quebec's Health Minister to make this point. "That's the most transformative part of the research," she says. "What are we going to do about it? The way we fund therapies in Canada does not make sense right now."

For women, the current situation risks poor outcomes for some of their most common health problems. In a system favouring medication over the best-evidence psychotherapy, treatment-as-usual makes sense neither from a financial perspective, nor for a health-care system seeking to deliver patient-centred care.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has purchased advertisements to accompany this series. The organization had no involvement in the creation or production of this, or any other, story in the series.

Associated Graphic

Disorders most commonly diagnosed in women - depression, anxiety and insomnia - are also the ones most likely to respond to therapy.


Four new books about the vast economic disparity that exists within and between countries
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R19

The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them Joseph E. Stiglitz WW Norton, 384 pages, $34.95

A Better Place on Earth: Among the Haves and Have Nots in Super Unequal British Columbia Andrew MacLeod Harbour, 256 pages, $22.95

The Globalization of Inequality François Bourguignon Princeton University Press, 224 pages, $34.95 Inequality: What Is to Be Done? Anthony B. Atkinson Harvard University Press, 400 pages, $37.78

Once upon a time, not altogether too long ago, we talked about something called "class." There was a lower and working class. There was an upper class. It was understood that these were different groups, with different amounts of power and different, often conflicting interests. Eventually, in the industrializing West, the chasm between these classes grew so great that something had to be done. In 19th-century Europe, workers formed unions and the modern welfare state was born.

In the U.S., in the wake of the Great Depression, the New Deal massively expanded public-sector employment. After the Second World War, for the first time in history, the gap between the rich and poor shrank. These were essentially conservative developments. The minimum wage, the eight-hour workday, progressive taxation - all this arose, in part, to ward off the threat of revolution as the Soviet Union loomed and anarchists set off bombs. For the upper class, it was adapt or die, possibly literally.

We don't talk much about class anymore. Beginning under Richard Nixon, Republicans in the U.S. launched the culture wars, decoupling class from income.

Working-class values, oddly, became right-wing values. "Elite" came to denote aesthetics rather than wealth.

In the Reagan-Thatcher years, the assault on the welfare state, the war on organized labour and the dawn of neoliberal globalization began to undo the fleeting progress of the postwar era. This model was exported to most of the West. Now, the only class we mention is the middle class, because, as polls indicate, nearly everyone, no matter how rich or poor, considers herself a part of it. Instead, we use another term: "income inequality."

There have been a lot of books about inequality lately. This can be traced to three interconnected phenomena: first, the Great Recession; second, the Occupy movement, after which mentions of "income inequality" spiked in the news media; and third, last year's English-language publication of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the TwentyFirst Century, a dense tome that became an unlikely bestseller.

Everyone now understands that the gap between rich and poor is widening, that low and median incomes have stagnated or declined, and that the vast majority of wealth is concentrated at the very top.

In the United States, as Piketty famously documented, economic disparity has returned to levels not seen in a century; in places such as China and India, it has skyrocketed even as standards of living have improved, with the fruits of growth going to a select few. But there is a curious tenor to this discussion.

In a recent New Yorker essay, the historian Jill Lepore identified it: "In the first Gilded Age, everyone from reporters to politicians apparently felt comfortable painting plutocrats as villains; in the second, this is, somehow, forbidden." Our tale has no bad guys.

Is this starting to change? The language of Occupy - the 99 per cent versus the 1 per cent - avoided the supposedly Marxist overtones of "class" even as it divided the rich from the rest of us. Former chief economist of the World Bank and Nobel Prizewinner Joseph Stiglitz unwittingly gave birth to this slogan in a 2011 Vanity Fair essay called "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%," which is included in his new collection, The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them.

Early in the book, he describes a party hosted by "a bright and concerned member of the 1 per cent." The host had brought together an assortment of plutocrats worried about inequality - but not too worried. "I overheard one billionaire - who had gotten his start in life by inheriting a fortune - discuss with another the problem of lazy Americans who were trying to free ride on the rest," Stiglitz writes. "Soon thereafter, they seamlessly transitioned into a discussion of tax shelters, apparently unaware of the irony."

For Stiglitz, this encapsulates the problem. Here, the chief villains are the plutocrats whose astronomical wealth have isolated them from the realities of daily life, as well as a political class that has not just allowed this concentration of wealth, but actively encouraged it. But none of this would have been possible without a broader ideological shift, which, in the US at least, resulted in truly poisonous measures: tax cuts for the rich so extreme that they actually became regressive; a deregulated banking sector that turned profits from predatory lending practices into galling CEO performance pay; and, of course, a financial crisis from which the country has yet to fully recover.

"As has been repeatedly observed," Stiglitz points out, "all of the economic gains since the Great Recession have gone to the top 1 per cent."

The U.S. is the most economically disparate developed country in the world, and discussions about inequality naturally tend to focus on it. So what about Canada? In the lively and wellreported A Better Place on Earth: Among the Haves and Have Nots in Super Unequal British Columbia, Andrew MacLeod takes us to the province that is, by most measures, the most unequal in the country.

"Since 1982, after-tax income for the top 1 per cent of British Columbians has grown by 60 per cent," he writes. "For pretty much everyone else, the bottom 90 per cent, that number has remained essentially flat." This is the dark side of Western Canada's runaway growth, and the strength of MacLeod's book comes from its attention to life at the bottom of the pyramid: the almost unfathomable difficulty of surviving on social assistance; the disproportionate impact of government cuts on women, people with disabilities and aboriginal peoples.

In The Globalization of Inequality, François Bourguignon, another former chief economist of the World Bank, turns his focus even wider, to the paradox of an interconnected world: even as rising incomes chip away at inequality between countries, inequality within countries continues to rise. For Bourguignon, globalization's ambivalent legacy is the key to understanding the challenge we face: "It is the background for almost all that has happened. It has changed the international climate for all national economies and profoundly modified their structures."

For an orthodox economist, this is a dramatic admission: Free trade, technological innovation and market deregulation have not been the panaceas we were promised. "In a majority of countries," he writes, "the conjunction of these effects has resulted in a significant rise in wage and income inequality."

The best of the new crop of books, however, is Anthony B. Atkinson's Inequality: What Is to Be Done? Not unrelatedly, it is also the most solutions-oriented.

Atkinson, a distinguished British academic and pioneer of inequality studies, is 70 years old, and at times he sounds fed up.

"A number of the proposals involve the classic measures of progressive taxation and social protection," he writes of his ideas, "and I can already hear critics dismissing them as either boringly familiar or wildly utopian."

It's true that Atkinson's prescriptions are at once timeworn and, in today's ideological climate, almost radical. They amount to social democracy: a generous welfare state, support for the most vulnerable and limits on the concentration of wealth and political power.

Atkinson rattles off 15 worthwhile proposals, but a few stand out. One is that the state become an employer of last resort, guaranteeing minimumwage work to anyone who needs it. Another is a universal inheritance: the state doling out a set amount of cash to all upon reaching adulthood. Atkinson's most compelling idea, however, is something called basic income. The concept of universal basic income - the government providing a monthly payment to every citizen, regardless of employment status - has recently caught fire in policy circles.

Atkinson tweaks the idea, calling it a "participation income" and insisting that it require some kind of productive activity, such as employment, volunteer work or education. Other thinkers, however, believe it should be implemented with no strings attached - a paycheque just for existing in the world.

The obvious knock against basic income is that it would act as a disincentive to work. But, during a basic-income experiment that took place in a small Manitoba town called Dauphin in the 1970s, labour-market participation decreased only slightly, while key social indicators, such as high school enrolment and hospitalization rates, improved substantially. That seems a worthwhile trade-off.

Basic income is a noble goal and would eliminate extreme poverty as we know it. But class is a two-way street. Reducing income disparity must not only involve eliminating poverty; it will also require showing the rich what it's like down here, in the real world. To that end, there is an inverse to basic income that, though discussed less often, is no less worthy: not only guaranteeing the poor a paycheque, but also limiting how much top earners can make. "We've had minimumwage laws in much of the developed world for ages," MacLeod writes, "so why not set a maximum?"

In Laws, Plato declared that no man should be more than four times wealthier than the poorest member of society. (One can only imagine what he would think of Canada's current average CEO-to-worker pay ratio, which stands at 206:1.) "In a state which is desirous of being saved from the greatest of all plagues - not faction, but rather distraction; - here should exist among the citizens neither extreme poverty nor, again, excess of wealth, for both are productive of both these evils," he said. However one feels about Plato's suggested order of magnitude, it is worth asking how much is too much - what each of us really needs in order to live a good life.

Extreme wealth is just as pernicious as extreme poverty; it distorts the political process, undermines social stability and dampens aggregate demand, since the rich spend a smaller fraction of their income than the poor. It doesn't make the wealthy any happier, and it doesn't make society any more productive or just. As Stiglitz points out, today's superrich largely earn their money through what economists call rent-seeking; it is no coincidence that the two richest men in the world, Bill Gates and Carlos Slim, got that way by creating de facto monopolies, or that the developed countries with the highest levels of inequality, such as the U.S. and the U.K., are also those whose economies have become dependent on the kind of speculative financial activity that led to the 2008 crisis. The existence of obscene wealth in an unequal world is an affront to any reasonable sense of fairness, and implementing a 100per-cent tax rate on earnings above a given threshold - one to be determined by democratic consensus - is the simplest and best way to rectify this. If no one deserves to be poor, then perhaps no one deserves to be rich, either.

Canoe is still cresting the waves
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M4

In January of 2014, a full eight months before his cooks at Canoe planned to debut a special all-Arctic tasting menu, the chef John Horne and his top lieutenants set to finding a blockbuster new ingredient they could serve as an opening course. The restaurant, perched on the 54th floor of the TD Centre, is a pioneer of modern Canadian cooking; its chefs had been doing wild-shot Caribou hind and musk ox brisket from Baffin Island for years already. Even snowshoe hare, while not exactly old hat, had turned up on enough of Canoe's menus that Mr. Horne insisted it wouldn't do. He was thinking it should be a fish of some kind. And no matter what, the chef wanted something incontestably new.

On a cold call with a fisherman on Great Slave Lake, in the Northwest Territories, one of his sous chefs heard of a large, firm, oily fleshed fish species that might fit the bill, if only they could get it to Toronto. Even the name was perfect: Though locals around Great Slave Lake often call it "coney," the fish's proper name was inconnu - the unknown. With an additional two months of phone calls, shipping logistics and old-fashioned pleading, Canoe's kitchen sourced 250 pounds. They had no idea how it would taste.

That inconnu finally appeared before diners last August, the first appetizer course on a menu called "Taste 60th Parallel." Mr. Horne's cooks brined the fish and then hot-smoked it over juniper boughs, so that the inconnu's white, meaty flesh came out moist and buttery, permeated with the juniper's richly peppery, dark fruit scent.

They served a small piece of belly, tail and loin on each plate, with daubs of Arctic char caviar, crunchy fried bannock and crème fraîche that was seasoned with Arctic rose petals. And then just a few weeks after introducing that strange new fish and their all-Arctic menu - after all that work - the restaurant dropped them both, to make room for a menu devoted to Ontario foods.

That's the Canoe way: The kitchen here produced six all-new regional Canadian tasting menus last year - one each for Quebec, Ontario, B.C., the Prairies, the Atlantic provinces and the north - on top of its booming à la carte, private dining and catering service. The restaurant never quits striving for the delicious and the new.

Twenty years old this fall, and 20 years since Canoe was last reviewed here ("If this is Canadiana, count me in," food critic Joanne Kates wrote), the restaurant is fresher, more ambitious, better polished and more committed today to its cool Canadian mission than ever.

Was it the "Taste Prairies" dinner at the chef's rail last December that persuaded me, with its ethereal, pink-blushed rutabaga pierogi in broth, and its foie gras "Stampede" corn dogs that came with a shooter of small-batch root beer?

Was it the "canushi" course on a sunny Saturday evening last month that melded the tastes of sushi rice, wild leeks and nori with the crisp-creamy texture of Italian arancini, under a fat slice of Lake Huron perch?

Or was it the quiet Monday dinner a few weeks ago as we sighed and awed and flat-out laughed at the deliciousness of a simple (but not at all simple) piece of B.C. rockfish served with gooseneck barnacles, and a simple (but not at all simple) plate of milk-fed pork - all while a lightning storm raged through the glass just 10 feet away?

It was all of these things. Over repeated visits in the last six months, Canoe has shown itself to be a bona fide four-star restaurant. And it's shown that 20 years can do a place a world of good.

Canoe opened in September, 1995. Notwithstanding the important early work of the city chefs Michael Stadtlander and Jamie Kennedy, "modern Canadian" was still more of a theory in Toronto than reality then. And apart from Jump, which Canoe's owners, the burgeoning Oliver & Bonacini company, had opened a few years earlier, the Financial District wasn't yet known as a place for adventurous cooking.

The new spot won acclaim almost instantly.

Today, the 100-seat restaurant typically books out for both weekday lunch and dinner seatings; Canoe's kitchen brigade also serves a 70-seat private dining room and caters events for TD, which can add another 250 heads.

On weekends, the restaurant converts into a wedding venue. It's some kind of miracle they're able to maintain the quality they have, much less improve it. But rather than funnel away the restaurant's profit, O&B, which has grown into a major hospitality, events and investment group, has reinvested here. So today, the kitchen can task five sous chefs with planning a year-long region-by-region Canadian tasting menu series. Or with tracking down 250 pounds of an as-yet-unknown fish. (FYI: Mr. Horne said on the phone this week that the restaurant has scored another shipment of inconnu.)

The everyday menus are pretty incredible, too. On that Monday night this month, we ordered à la carte: a lobster dish, rockfish and pork among our choices. The lobster plate held hunks of claw and rounds of barely poached tail so fresh and yielding that the texture was more like lychee fruit than shellfish. You dipped them through a lobster and squid ink mayonnaise that was bathypelagic black, and then folded them, with crunchy black radish, into poppyseed steam buns.

The rockfish fillet was seared to deep-caramel, but juicy and translucent in its middle, with B.C. gooseneck barnacles that were smoked over cherrywood and as tender as marrow. They came set into a plinth of crunchy, creamy, intensely tasty polenta that had been enriched with powdered popcorn.

The pork combined milky roasted loin with a round of crisp porchetta and crackling, with white cabbage sauerkraut and kimchi that tasted like Bloor and Christie.

It was technically masterful cooking, all of it, but it also connected emotionally. We drank a chardonnay from Jura - Canoe's sommeliers, bless them, actively push the tasty, quasi-affordable esoterica as hard as the trophy bottles.

"Unreal," my friend kept exclaiming through dinner.

Up at the chef's rail just before Christmas, a friend and I ordered the "Taste Prairies" menu that had debuted a few weeks earlier, and Mr. Horne and his kitchen showed the lightness and humour that so often runs through the experience of eating here. He set out hockey pucks like coasters to go under the tasting's sublime bison carpaccio platter; another course was paired with a tall glass of rye and ginger ale. The "homestead osso bucco," as he called it, synthesized the Italian veal marrow classic with the flavours of old-school beef-barley soup, with the texture, from hominy corn kernels, of Mexican posole. It was rich, sticky, warming, decadent - and also fantastically humble somehow.

On another visit, he sent out a simple palate-refresher: a small bowl of white sugar and two utterly perfect spears of forced winter rhubarb. It took me right back to childhood. That is what a great meal in a great restaurant is supposed to do.

There are always a few quibbles, aren't there? A Monforte sheep's cheese soufflé one night was remarkably light and flavourcharged, particularly with its sweet-sour maple and black pepper sauce, but it also slumped a bit, as though it had emerged from the oven a few too many minutes earlier. (The morel and hen's egg raviolo that followed it, with its "wild leek nettle muck," more than made up for that.)

And desserts were a consistent weakness - not for their conception, which was always smart and original, but for execution, which was too often flawed.

Service is as polished as you'd expect. It is also genuinely welcoming. As we tasted through a few of Canoe's classic dishes one evening, our waiter told us about the first time one of them appeared on the menu; he's been working there for 14 years. Another time, as the floor-to-ceiling glass began to blotch with raindrops, a server joined us in bemoaning the sudden downpour; like us, he had planned to ride his bike home.

It's true you can't eat a view, but the one from Canoe will never, ever get tired. "Every customer's invisible inner child has his nose pressed to the window," James Chatto once wrote of the place.

The second-to-last time I ate there, we got a 5:30 p.m. reservation. We wanted to watch the sun set. Up at the front of the open kitchen, Mr. Horne joked around with a party of six who'd installed themselves at the chef's rail.

Anthony Walsh, the O&B company's corporate executive chef - a driving creative force here through Canoe's 20 years - had come in to help out at the garde manger station. This was a special night, a rare Saturday opening, with a menu of dishes from the kitchen's archives, in celebration of Canoe's 20th year.

As the sun dipped low to the city's west, the room filled with golden light. There were tables of suits, and young couples in skirts and khakis, and older parties bearing point-and-shoot cameras.

At a table across from us, a woman in a gold sari sat beside her twentysomething daughter, who was wearing an enormous diamond on her ring finger, which, if I had to guess, probably came from the twentysomething man who was sitting next to her, who was sitting next to a bleachblond woman I'll presume was his mom.

They were here to celebrate each other, sure, but also to celebrate a restaurant that after 20 years belongs as much to Toronto as much as to any one company.

As the sun finally gave way to twilight, nobody pretended to be entirely grown up. At some point or another, everybody turned toward the windows and stared.

Follow me on Twitter: cnutsmith



54th Floor, Toronto-Dominion Centre, 66 Wellington St. W. (at Bay Street), 416-364-0054,

Atmosphere: A cool, modern room larded with only-inCanada touches (check out the inukshuk!), and a long, breathtaking view over Lake Ontario and the city's west. Gracious service.

Wine and drinks: The Canadaheavy wine list is one of the best anywhere, with a great mix of bottles for on-a-budget grape geeks and masters of the universe alike. Nice cocktails, good craft beers.

Best bets: The menu changes constantly, with tasting menu options for more elaborate meals and plenty of more conservative à la carte picks. Lunch is cheaper and simpler.

Prices: Appetizers, $16 to $28; mains $36 to $49; tasting menus for around $100 a person.

Associated Graphic

The rockfish is seared to a deep-caramel colour, but is juciy and translucent in its middle.


After 20 years, the Canadiana-focused restaurant Canoe is as nimble and innovative as ever.

The slum we buried in the heart of Toronto
You've likely walked its streets: Before Nathan Phillips Square and Toronto General Hospital, a wide swath of downtown was known as The Ward: One of the city's most notorious slums. Yet, writes John Lorinc, Toronto the Good could not look away from the burlesque theatres, overcrowded rooming houses and 'chop suey' restaurants. Then we tore the whole thing down
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

The money could scarcely have arrived at a more opportune moment.

In late 1845, John Strachan, the first Anglican bishop of Toronto, learned his financially struggling diocese had received an anonymous £5,000 bequest from England. The funds were to be used to build and sustain a new Gothic-style church to serve the poor. The donor's will specified the pews must be "free and unappropriated forever."

Strachan was a key figure in the Family Compact. Yet after the 1837 rebellion, he faced criticism over his affluent lifestyle and the church's dominance.

With the money, Strachan hired Henry Bowyer Lane to design the church, to be located in St. John's Ward, on the site of an estate northwest of Yonge and Queen. Almost 50 years later, it was revealed that the mystery donation came from a young

British woman named Mary Lambert Swale. Born to a family of wealthy bankers and lawyers, she married Hogarth Swale, a Yorkshire Anglican priest.

Though they never visited Canada, the couple learned about Toronto from Strachan's articles in an Anglican journal. Swale died in May, 1845, at the age of 25. The bequest had been part of her will, as was a similar gift to establish a place of worship for Australian convicts.

None of that backstory was known immediately after her death because Reverend Swale wanted the gift to remain a secret. When builders finished the Church of the Holy Trinity in 1847, writes Eric Arthur in No Mean City, "Strachan published a notice inviting 'the poor families of the United Church of England and Ireland to make the church their own' and another announcing the opening for service of the 'Parochial Church of the Poor of Toronto.' "

Long before St. John's Ward came to be branded as Toronto's most notorious slum, the working class enclave bounded by Queen, College, Yonge and University had a distinctive, diverse character. While Holy Trinity's mission was to serve its poorest, the area was more than just impoverished.

"The Ward," as the neighbourhood came to be known, was home to Irish immigrants and the city's thriving black community, whose ranks included successful entrepreneurs, merchants and professionals. Many were escaped slaves who fled to Canada via the Underground Railroad and were drawn to Toronto for its reputation as a hotbed of abolitionist sentiment.

Those African-American immigrants in 1845 also acquired land for a church in The Ward, just blocks from Holy Trinity. When it opened, the British Methodist Episcopal Church, at 94 Chestnut St., offered services, educational programs and space for public meetings for members of the tight-knit black community.

Then, in 1847, another Victorian-era institution relocated to The Ward. The trustees of the "Poor House" - at Elizabeth and Elm, also blocks from Holy Trinity - dispensed welfare to destitute women and children, and forced men to break stones in order to receive their allotment.

Intriguingly, these three structures offered clues about The Ward's future. Here was a complex, urban neighbourhood already characterized by diversity, poverty and upward mobility, as well as the presence of well-intentioned outside institutions that claimed to act in the interests of the locals.

What became of this community? In the 1890s, with Toronto's economy surging, immigrants from Italy, Eastern Europe and China began to settle in The Ward. The area offered a supply of cheap rooms in crumbling wood-frame cottages.

The whole city was in flux. Between 1871 and 1911, Toronto's population had exploded, from 56,000 to more than 376,000.

Foreign-born residents accounted for almost 10 per cent of the population, many from nonEnglish speaking countries.

With real estate speculation pushing in from all sides, Ward landlords had little incentive to upgrade aging buildings. But they responded to demand for inexpensive living space by erecting rough-hewn shacks and outdoor privies in The Ward's litter-strewn rear alleyways.

In 1911, Toronto medical officer of health Dr. Charles Hastings reported that The Ward's now predominantly immigrant population had ballooned to more than 11,000. New immigrants packed into filthy, overcrowded rooming houses.

Hastings ordered city photographer Arthur Goss to document the conditions.

The streets of this "slum" teemed with newcomers who were visibly, audibly and culturally distinct. Today, one might describe the area using journalist Doug Saunders's resonant phrase, "arrival city."

In fact, that period marked a historic point of inflection - the moment when Anglo Toronto came face-to-face with ethnic diversity. The Town of York may trace its roots to Parliament and King. But modern Toronto begins in The Ward.

Public reaction was hardly sanguine. A 1905 Globe article fretted about an "influx of a large population foreign in race, speech and customs."

Three years later, a less anxious Globe feature noted the proliferation of synagogues in The Ward, as well as night schools and shops: The little rough-cast houses of Centre Avenue, Terauley and Elizabeth streets, from which three of four years ago the Irish wash lady wended her way to us on Monday mornings, where the Italian fruit vendor ripened his bananas under his bed at night, and the negro plasterer and barber gave colour to the social scene of a summer evening, have in these later days thrown their shelter over the oppressed Slavonic Jew.

Yet this tract of apparently impoverished exoticism drew not only waves of immigrants; the area also garnered attention from the city beyond The Ward's welldefined boundaries. Toronto the Good simply could not look away.

Writers, journalists, painters and photographers explored the neighbourhood's teeming streets.

Missionaries and social reformers sought to recruit new souls, prevent juvenile delinquency and promote "Canadianization." Public health nurses visited immigrant homemakers, offering stern advice. Psychiatrists trawled for "feeble-minded" foreigners. Civic officials and researchers (among them, an ambitious young graduate student named William Lyon Mackenzie King) recorded everything from the number of flophouse beds and so-called "dark rooms" to language and behavioural shortcomings. Baths, settlement agencies and even an Italian consulate provide a range of services.

The Ward was also attracting interest from ordinary Torontonians. Audiences flocked to the vaudeville and burlesque theatres on Terauley and Queen. Onlookers crowded into the Elizabeth Street playground (located on the site of the new wing of the Hospital for Sick Children) to watch amateur baseball and youth festivals. By the 1920s, a growing number of intrepid diners ventured into The Ward for Italian ice cream or chop suey. Fortune tellers worked other Ward restaurants, such as Mary John's, a popular café at Elizabeth and Gerrard. From the 1930s, artists settled in The Ward's northern half, renting old cottages for studio space. In the 1950s and 1960s, those blocks became a precursor to Yorkville in its heyday.

Not all this interest was benign.

Jewish peddlers and Chinese café owners were attacked by thugs.

Meanwhile, the police prowled for bootleggers, gambling dens and merchants open on "Protestant Sundays." There was more than a hint of moral panic. At one point, council passed a bylaw preventing white women from working for Chinese businesses.

News coverage, in turn, ranged from alarmist to intrigued.

"Negros and Chinese seem to mingle well together," a Globe reporter noted in 1922. "[T]he native Chinese restaurants are filled with negro customers, several of them women, while here and there an occasional white girl can be seen partaking of a meal with either a brown or yellowskinned partner."

Was the writer sending a dogwhistle signal to conservative readers, warning about mixedrace relationships or prostitution? Or was s/he merely recording something unusual about the way people from different backgrounds mix? Did such "sightings" subtly validate a form of social mixing that may have been taboo until then? And is this how ethnocultural acceptance in Toronto germinated?

It's possible. But more strident calls for reform prevailed. Fretting about the "evils" of tenements, municipal leaders become preoccupied with the spread of New York-style slums. While he didn't disparage poor immigrants, Dr. Charles Hastings warned Torontonians they were living in a "fool's paradise" if they thought the city was immune. Less cautious head...

line writers slung around shrill words such as "canker," "menace" and "human derelicts." By the 1920s, nativist sentiment was palpable, much of it directed at The Ward's growing Chinese population. As a 1922 Globe article all but shouted, "Moral leprosy spreads." The message was clear.

In time, all the anti-slum/antiimmigrant rhetoric inevitably hit the mark. Council in 1946 authorized the expropriation and clearance of the lower Ward, which at that point encompassed Chinatown. The process of razing, land assembly and redevelopment all the way up to College continued steadily until the 1990s, with office, apartment and institutional buildings (most notably City Hall, the Toronto General and Sick Kids) replacing almost all of the older structures, including stores, homes, synagogues, churches, theatres, cafés, studios, offices and Chinatown's landmark restaurants, as well as a public school and a popular playground. Streetcar tracks were pulled up and several roads were cut or erased altogether, including the southern portion of Elizabeth, which had served as The Ward's main thoroughfare for more than a century and, since the 1930s, Chinatown's high street. In fact, the city combined several blocks of Chinatown into the parcel that would become Nathan Phillips Square.

Besides a handful of row houses on Dundas, Gerrard and Elm streets, as well as Holy Trinity and the Poor House, scant tangible evidence remains. (The British Methodist Episcopal Church was sold and then demolished in the late 1950s after the diminished congregation relocated to Shaw Street; the land where it stood for more than 100 years remains a parking lot near City Hall.) To find The Ward today, in fact, we must imagine our way back into a complicated world whose physical traces have been systematically expunged. Yet The Ward's deeply compelling stories, and its wider legacy, remain woven into the fabric of a global city now defined by the diversity it first encountered well over a century ago, within a few cramped blocks of the downtown. Now, as then, we still struggle with questions about difference and deprivation, heritage and renewal, equity and political exclusion.

Adapted with permission from The Ward: The Life and Loss of Toronto's First Immigrant Neighbourhood (Coach House Books), edited by John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg and Tatum Taylor.

Associated Graphic

The Ward was one of Toronto's earliest neighbourhoods, predating confederation. Most of it was razed post-Second World War, partly to make way for New City Hall.


The Ward through the years: 1922 (from top left), 1947, 1955 and 1965 (at right).


The $10-billion man is halfway there
Lance Uggla, founder and chief executive officer of Markit Ltd.
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B3

LONDON -- Seven years ago, when I last interviewed Lance Uggla, I found him cocky, almost overbearing, even if I loved his energy and enthusiasm. The Canadian founder and chief executive officer of Markit Ltd., the financial information and services company that is often (though not quite accurately) described as the next Bloomberg or Thomson Reuters, was pumped up by Markit's success and was predicting glories to come.

At the time, an old-fashioned easel, like the ones used by kindergarten teachers a generation ago, was the dominant feature in his slick London office. The easel held a big piece of paper on which "10" was scrawled. I asked him what the number represented. "Ten billion dollars," he said without hesitation. "It's our target valuation, where we think we can be. I'd be disappointed if we were less than that in five years time."

He was off by a few billion, in the wrong direction. Markit's initial public offering last June on the Nasdaq exchange valued the company at $4.3-billion (U.S.).

Today, after a galloping bull run, it's worth about $5-billion. Not a bad return in less than a year, but still nowhere near his $10-billion call.

Over breakfast in late March at George, a private club in Mayfair, west London, where he is a member, Mr. Uggla brought up the prediction he had made. "I reread your old article and felt like I really underperformed," he said, laughing.

Still, $5-billion is no laughing matter for a company that began life in 2003 in a barn in little St.

Albans, England, with $17-million in startup capital from Canada's TD Securities and 10 employees.

Today, it has more than 3,500 employees in 10 countries, including Canada, and annual revenue of more than $1-billion.

Markit may not be huge compared with the industry leaders, such as Thomson Reuters, whose stock market value is $32-billion, but the Markit brand has already injected itself into the DNA of the world's financial centres. Markit economists are routinely quoted in the business press and its purchasing managers index - PMI - has become one of the most widely followed indicators of momentum, or lack thereof, in the real economy.

Mr. Uggla insists the $10-billion figure that he had set as a target when I interviewed him in late 2007 was purposely inflated.

"My whole management style is to set audacious goals and work really hard to reach them," he said. "I knew that, even if we got only halfway there, we would be outperforming our peers. So, seven years ago, I used the $10billion figure to motivate the team."

Mr. Uggla seems to have changed a lot since we met in the heady prefinancial-crisis days.

While still affable and enthusiastic, he has dialled back his inyour-face demeanour to the point that he seemed rather relaxed.

Maybe, at 53 and at the helm of a company that vaulted from startup to established player in less than a decade, he has less to prove. Maybe he has found some peace five years after he and wife, Julie-Anne, the mother of his four children, separated (Mr. Uggla is single).

He is still chatty, but not the turbo-charged motor mouth of his 40s. He even used self-deprecating humour, a nod to his modest Canadian background: "When you lose it up top, you add it somewhere else," he said, rubbing a beard evidently trimmed at about five-days' growth.

Mr. Uggla is prone to throwing about the strange argot of the financial products world. Customers are "customer sets" and recruiting clients is "onboarding clients." If Markit has not made him a silver-tongued orator, it sure has made him wealthy, but not ostentatiously so.

His George club membership gives him access to the discreet haunt of the FTSE-100 set, London's top hedge fund managers and political power brokers. Its members include Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, the world's biggest advertising agency, and it is where, famously, James Murdoch in 2009 told British Prime Minister David Cameron that the Murdoch newspapers would switch their allegiance back to the Conservatives from Labour. Mr. Uggla drives a Range Rover, is restoring a 1967 Aston Martin DB6 Volante and takes heli-skiing holidays in some of the world's most remote and dangerous mountain areas, such as the state of Himachal Pradesh in India's far north.

At breakfast, which began at 7:30 a.m. on a sunny, cool London day in late March, Mr. Uggla wore a Savile Row blue suit, light blue shirt and no tie. While he fit in perfectly with the Conservative and small-C conservative George club patrons around him, I wondered whether his wild side would find a more sympathetic hearing at a boozy, buzzy Soho club, like the Groucho. In fact, his tipple is tequila and he was revving up for a monster party. "In my free time, I like to be with my children and I'm on my way to Vegas for my son's 21st birthday with 10 of his friends," he said, ignoring my suggestion that he watch The Hangover for inspiration before he leaves.

Mr. Uggla ordered poached eggs and back bacon - "hold the spinach" - and brown toast. I decided to live dangerously by going for the hybrid eggs Benedict, featuring ham on one bun, crispy bacon on the other. We both drank copious amounts of coffee even though it tasted no better than the McDonald's version.

Markit is an odd beast that operates in the pre- and post-trade world, filling niches that no bank, hedge fund or securities dealer apparently knew existed before Mr. Uggla whipped up his little financial services revolution a dozen years ago. Markit's debut product was a winner. Using data gleaned from a fleet of credit dealers, it built a credit default swap (CDS) valuation service.

At the time, prices for financial exotica, such as CDSs, assetbacked securities (ABSs) and over-the-counter derivatives were hard to get. Any services that offered transparent, reliable pricing could be sold at fat profit margins, and Markit's were. The genius of the proposition was that Markit's original backers were banks, among them Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch. As owners, the banks had every incentive to supply the credit-pricing information that Markit needed for its databases.

At the same time, the banks would, as owners, have no incentive to create competitors to Markit. They would also be high-paying clients.

Mr. Uggla was born in Burnaby, B.C., the son of a peripatetic sawmill manager who now lives in Maple Ridge, just outside Vancouver. Mr. Uggla worked in the sawmills when he was a young man, doing menial jobs. "I remember working really hard and people telling me to slow down and relax - this is an eight-hour job," he said.

Working slowly was definitely not his style. Ambitious and driven, he studied business at Simon Fraser University, received a master's degree in accounting and finance from the London School of Economics and landed at Wood Gundy (later CIBC World Markets) in 1986, rising to head of global sales and trading. In 1995, he crossed the street to TD Securities, where he was responsible for all the foreign debt capital markets business.

In London, he ran TD's global credit trading operations and began to build a database on credit pricing (TD was one of the first players in the credit derivatives market). Don Wright, the former CEO of TD Securities, now CEO of Toronto's Winnington Capital, was Mr. Uggla's boss at TD and said in a 2007 interview that Mr. Uggla was the best natural salesman and go-getter he had met. "You never had to kick Lance in the butt," he said. "He just goes by himself. He's an unusual guy - either you love him or you hate him."

As the database expanded, Mr. Uggla seized upon the idea of using it to launch a standalone company, one that he would control. TD agreed to come in as a 5050 partner, but only if Mr. Uggla recruited other banks as partners.

By 2003, Markit was on its way, with the banks owning about 70 per cent of the equity (after last year's IPO, their position fell to less than a third).

Today, Markit is a juggernaut in three main businesses: Information (such as CDS pricing); Solutions (primarily Web-hosting services); and Processing, a huge growth area that helps banks and other clients streamline their work flows, such as processing foreign-exchange trades and loan settlement, and meet ever-tougher compliance regulations.

Mr. Uggla loves the regulation frenzy. "Regulation is a tailwind for us, the opportunity comes from the new compliance burdens placed on the industry," he said. "We can provide efficiencies through managed services, usually a platform like KYC [know your client]. It's easy for us to do the same job once for many clients who are all collecting the same information over and over again."

Next up for Markit? Buying market indexes from the banks.

They're high-profile, high-margin businesses that can be easily licensed to the exchange-traded funds market. Mr. Uggla will not confirm or deny rumours that he is bidding as much as $1-billion for Barclays' vast index business, which includes the well-known U.S. Aggregate Bond Index.

Mr. Uggla professes endless love for his job, even though its makeit-up-as-you-go days are long gone. Markit is a big business and inevitably will become less nimble as it expands and answers to public shareholders. So would he sell and start all over again?

Forget it, he says. "We've got lots to do," he said, beaming. "We've got to reach the goal on the chart, that $10-billion you wrote about."

In other words, Markit is only half the size he wants it to be.


Age: 53 Place of birth: Burnaby, B.C. Education: Simon Fraser University and London School of Economics Family: Separated from JulieAnne, mother of their four children, who range in age from 17 to 22


Book: The Black Count, by Tom Reiss. Film: Pulp Fiction Play: Uncle Vanya, by Anton Chekhov Holiday: "Anywhere exotic in India, like Goa." Vice: Tequila Tailors: Richard James and Alexander McQueen Everyday car: Range Rover Collector's car: 1967 Aston Martin DB6 Volante Sport: Back-country skiing Artists: Damien Hurst, Richard Prince, Susie Hamilton, Rirkrit Tiravanija

Associated Graphic


What's a trip abroad without a haul of unique souvenirs to bring back home? In London, Paris and Brimfield, Mass., Ellen Himelfarb, Amy Verner and Nathalie Atkinson hit the aisles and alleyways of the globe's finest fleas in search of extraordinary antiques, mid-century housewares and salvaged curiosities
Friday, March 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P36



Anyone who has visited the markets in Saint Ouen will warn you that you need to brave the bad stuff before you arrive at the bounty. If you travel here by Paris's Métro - because that is how most people go - you will exit the station into a melee of men hawking fake Gucci belt buckles. You proceed past them and under a highway overpass to merchants offering deals on skateboard shoes and "Radarte" T-shirts, all the while wondering how the world's most venerable antiques market could be anywhere nearby?

But once you veer left onto Rue des Rosiers, the scenery begins to change.

Suddenly, a boutique displaying gilded frames and tapestries appears. You feel relieved by the first glimpse of a mid-century modern wall-mounted lamp. Finally, the sight of a red-brick industrial building branded with 1950s block lettering reading "Serpette" confirms you've arrived.

The indoor market is lined with elegantly staged concessions full of Louis XV chairs and vintage Chanel baubles. Outside, a neighbouring market called Paul Bert is unapologetically more hodgepodge and, consequently, more fun.

Together, these markets represent two of the 15 that make up the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (puces being French for "fleas"). Humble name aside, the dealers at this 130-year-old institution work hard to maintain their reputation for discerning taste and eclectic merchandise. Even new players, including international design star Philippe Starck, who designed the local restaurant Ma Cocotte, focus on celebrating its bourgeois-bohemian mix.

"It's perfect urbanism," Starck says when I run into him in the market on a damp and drizzly Saturday in January.

Between trips to Italy and Hong Kong, he is taking his 19-year-old son for a birthday lunch at the canteen. "The level of culture here is enormous and yet everyone brings a sense of humour."

Come around lunchtime and you'll discover the dealers from both markets breaking bread in small groups. They share a meal family-style with bottles of wine, leaving you time to privately inspect apothecary bottles, obsolete street signs, Eames chairs and Bakelite jewellery.

The younger dealers, in particular, are happy to share why Paul Bert represents the zenith of flea markets. According to Mikael Najjar of Galerie Myn, "the rents here are more expensive, so the dealers, generally, have good taste. What's important is that the dealers have a true point of view. And a passion. People from all over the world come here to seek out trends, to find out what's going on. There's something magical about it, something you see nowhere else." - Amy Verner



When I first heard about Brimfield, I couldn't believe the vintage riches it promised: booths bulging with antique furniture, bric-à-brac and flea-market fare that spring up in fallow, central Massachusetts fields overnight before disappearing, less than a week later, without a trace.

But it does exist, at least a few times every year. The spring I discovered it, friends and I piled into a station wagon in Toronto and drove for eight hours (the journey is about five from Montreal), with stops at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, a bed-and-breakfast in Rochester and Beekman 1802, the Sharon Springs, N.Y. mercantile of gentlemen farmers (and bestselling cookbook authors) the Fabulous Beekman Boys.

Brimfield is one of the oldest outdoor antique markets in the United States and certainly one of the largest. The original founders, the Reid family, held the first sale in a field behind their home in 1959 and other farmers and fields soon followed.

Today, vendors from as far away as Texas and Tennessee number in the hundreds and welcome more than 40,000 pickers to a mile-long stretch of Route 20 every May, July and September.

Thanks to the hodgepodge approach, the vibe is informal and friendly. Prices are low, since many of the hunters who attend during the week aren't collectors but wholesale buyers. The stock is varied and deep - think estate silverware, early Americana, salvaged hardware, East German pottery and enough vintage furniture to fill the windows of every Anthropologie store - and, even without much dilly-dallying, it took this diligent thrifter almost three days to make her way around the fields and see everything once. For this reason, it's best to arrive midweek and depart before the Saturday day trippers from nearby Boston descend.

All that antiquing works up an appetite; luckily, the road is lined with food trucks and trailers selling perogies, bratwurst and, of course, chowder. Beyond Brimfield, nearby Sturbridge and other small New England towns boast numerous charming B&Bs, historic homes and inns. We bunked down in a small AirBnB-style apartment on a flower farm in Williamsburg, about an hour away.

The commute gave us the opportunity to stop at least once a day for lobster rolls at Williamsburg Snack Bar's brightly painted roadside trailer. Needless to say that on the ride home we were as happily stuffed as the station wagon's trunk. - Nathalie Atkinson



The flat-capped merchants of Alfies Antique Market in London keep civilized hours. At 10:30 in the morning, they drift in clutching takeout teas and by noon the stuccoed emporium on an otherwise ordinary street northeast of Paddington Station has come alive with trade - in Murano-glass chandeliers, French ceramics, mid-century chaise lounges and, above all, gossip.

The folksy camaraderie isn't surprising considering that some of these sellers have been cultivating their vintage collections since the 1970s, when Alfies first occupied this Art Deco departmentstore space. But while similar markets have perished under centuries of dust or cheapened with the whims of gentrification, Alfies has remained a steadfast source of rare classics from a more glamorous era. Design pilgrims beat a path to this warren, and the wood floors sag and creak to prove it.

Consequently, you'll never catch a seller off guard. Charles Rooney of Martin Rooney is quick to offer a quote - £4,250 ($8,143) - when I enquire about his 1950s Italian lacquered-goatskin bar with gilded hardware. Rooney began his career in 1980 at Les Puces in Paris and has the jaded mien of someone who has seen more than his fair share of velvet sofas.

His neighbour, Francesca Martire, has occupied two booths since 1990; they currently explode with chairs by Marco Zanuso and Harry Bertoia as well as glass lighting from Italy. Together with Anna Sambataro, now in her fourth decade in a gallery upstairs, Martire helped bring modernist Florentine lighting by Gio Ponti and Gabriella Crespi to the U.K., nabbing enormous chandeliers from aristocratic villas and Venetian hotels. Both operate websites and Martire does a roaring trade on the online auction site 1stdibs.

She has also secured a storefront across the road, a habit of Alfies dealers who've outgrown the peeling plaster walls of the market proper. Boutiques like those belonging to Nick Jones and Stephen Sprake have dramatic shop fronts as skillfully staged as Harrods Christmas windows. Sprake - tall, lanky and defiantly dandy for a traditional market vendor - has furnished his with a carved-brass credenza, colourful masks and a gilt-framed painting of dogs in Edwardian dress. Decorator-to-the-stars Nicky Haslam has described the space as "a theatre of dreams."

That characterization fits the entire block: fantastical, exclusive, sensual, absurd. It has transformed this workingclass street into a Hollywood film set and, just like a set, as soon as you duck around the corner (for a delicious fish and chips lunch at the legendary Sea Shell on Lisson Grove), it's gone. - Ellen Himelfarb




To catch all the best vendors open, plan to visit the markets in the Saint-Ouen suburb on Saturdays and Sundays.


Philippe Starck conceptualized this cafeteria-style spot that caters to the design crowd in the 18th arrondissement.



Dates for the 2015 editions of New England's biggest antique fair include May 12 to 17, July 14 to 19 and Sept. 8 to 13. There's no official website, but and provide useful information


This roadside stop serves up the freshest lobster rolls with a side of ruffled potato chips plus fish tacos and other affordable bites.



England's largest indoor market for antiques, vintage fashion and 20th-century design occupies the former Jordan's department store in Marylebone.


Fuel up for an afternoon of picking at this fish and chips mainstay close to Alfies, Regent's Park and the London Zoo.

Associated Graphic

The marché aux puces in Saint-Ouen consists of 15 different markets, including the outdoor alleys of Marché Paul Bert (top and bottom on opposite page) and indoor stalls at Marché Serpette. Regulars also tend to visit Habitat 1964 on Rue des Rosiers (top left) and the Philippe-Starck-designed restaurant Ma Cocotte (right).


As popular with pro pickers as the general public, Brimfield's thrice-annual shows are known for their bounty of humble treasures, upcycled pieces (like the glass-bottle chandelier at middle left) and industrial multiples including brightly painted hose knobs (middle right) and metal sign letters (bottom left).


Longtime vendors at Alfies Antique Market in London's Marylebone district, including Anna Sambataro (bottom right) and Charles Rooney (middle left), are known for their stock of fine antiques and modern design finds from around Europe. Eclectic displays, such as Stephen Sprakes's vignette (opposite page), provide eye candy for window shoppers, while the nearby Sea Shell restaurant (top left) is a local favourite for fish and chips Mondays to Saturdays.


Translation anxiety
Robert Everett-Green thought comparing different translations would make him feel more secure about what he was reading. It had the opposite effect.
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R16

Most people reading a foreign book in their own language want the conversion to be invisible. Generations of readers of Constance Garnett's Russian translations decided that she was delivering the real Tolstoy, the real Chekhov, the real Dostoyevsky, even though she made those writers all sound suspiciously alike. Her fans, if that's the right word, didn't want to know. Most people read for pleasure, not doubt.

I'm not most people. Faced with a new translation of a favourite book, or several translations of one I haven't read, I have to make my own comparisons, repeatedly and at length. I've acted on this compulsion for years, sometimes to a comical extent. I may have spent more time brooding over Rabelais translations than I subsequently did reading Rabelais.

My translation anxiety really came to the fore after Penguin published new translations of Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, in 2002. I had never got any traction with the lone previous version, done by C. K. Scott Moncrieff and revised by others. Penguin's seven volumes gave me new options, especially since each book had a different translator. Every time I reached a new first page, I had to sample big chunks of both versions, sometimes selecting one only to bail to the other after 100 pages or so. Reading Proust once, for me, meant rereading him right from the start.

What was I checking for? I did consult Proust's French text, partly for rhythm and sound, sometimes to check specific words.

I needed some kind of accuracy, but I also wanted to read a well-written text. Does it flow, is it good English, can I believe that the verbal music on offer is at least trying for an effect parallel to that of the original?

Is there a sensibility here I can believe in?

When I first started getting nerdy about translation, I thought my comparisons would make me feel more secure in my eventual choice. It had the opposite effect: I became more doubtful, less able to sink into what I was reading and forget that the real text was something quite different. At any slight oddity of language, I would think: Is this Tolstoy messing up, or the translator? Then I would look at another version, to see if it had the same mess or a different one, or no mess at all - also suspicious, with a rough-and-tumble stylist such as Tolstoy.

"All discussions of translation, like 19thcentury potboilers, are obsessed with questions of fidelity and betrayal." That's Eliot Weinberger, translator of Borges and Octavio Paz, in an essay called Anonymous Sources: A Talk on Translators and Translation. I read that at a time when I was poring over Marian Schwartz's new translation of Anna Karenina, with two others ready to hand: a recent Rosamund Bartlett version and one from 2000 by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I realized I was thinking like Karenin, Anna's cuckolded husband, who obsessively compares signs of his wife's virtue with those of her adultery.

I knew and also didn't want to know that all these translators were cheating on me somehow.

I set myself up for translation anxiety as a student, when I read probably too much from other languages, and tried some translation of my own. Attempting a passable version of a Baudelaire prose poem made me realize what a ghastly, compromised thing it is to twist a carefully made phrase into another language. "Imagine shifting the Tower of Pisa into downtown Manhattan and convincing everyone it's in the right place," writes Tim Parks, translator of Roberto Calasso. It's a magic act, though if the magician weren't there, some of us would never see the tower at all.

Many people try to make the magician disappear. Weinberger says that 90 per cent of the reviews of his translations don't mention his name, and "when they do, the work is usually summed up in a single word: excellent, mediocre, energetic, lacklustre." A translator's lot is not a happy one, nor are they especially admiring of each other. Like plumbers, they all complain about the previous guy's work.

There's a long list of previous guys for Homer's The Iliad, which has been in English translation for more than 500 years.

Look back at the Elizabethan versions, or Alexander Pope's, and you can see why there's no such thing as a definitive translation. All language reflects its time somehow, but when a translation's age begins to show, it becomes an irrelevant period filter on the original.

Peter Green's notes to his new Iliad translation muse on the problem of finding "an acceptable equivalent to Homer's metrical line" - a six-beat arrangement of dactyls and spondees. It isn't really native to English, but Green is a classicist, so makes a hero's try at something similar, and I applaud him for it.

An acceptable equivalent to Homer's metrical line seems to add a whole new layer of possibilities to translation anxiety.

Is this version, I might ask myself, getting me closer to a metrical format that doesn't suit my language and can't be properly represented? Is it hitting a target that I can neither see, nor hear ringing with the echo of a successful shot?

Green identifies as a Hellenist, meaning his priority is to transmit as many features of the original as possible, including meter and rhythm. He's opposed to the modernist line laid down by John Dryden, who famously said of his translations that if Homer "were living, and an Englishman, they are such as he would probably have written."

I think I'd prefer a gnarly but faithful translation to one that smooths and invents to suit a current style. My question for Green's Iliad was whether metrical equivalence could go along with clarity, poetry and a tone that feels plausibly epic.

Another reader might have made that judgment on Green's text alone, but since I have translation anxiety, I put him up against two other Iliad translators: Robert Fagles, another classicist whose version landed in 1990, and Ennis Rees, an American poet who published in 1963.

Fagles's is many people's idea of the current standard version, to judge from the two dozen blurbs at the front of the book.

Like Pope but unlike Green, he's content with a variety of iambic pentameter. It's familiar, feels pretty good on the tongue, and sometimes delivers a modest, if fusty, sense of grandeur. But it reads less like epic poetry than like prose massaged into formal meter. Also, some of Fagles's word choices seem suspect. Would Apollo's arrows really "clang" in his quiver? Isn't clanging done by bells, or pots and pans?

Green has the arrows rattling, which makes more sense, and there's a martial sternness to his language that I don't hear so much from Fagles. But passages that should ripple with narrative energy feel muscle-bound. I wonder if Green's metrical ambitions drag him down, or whether he's not poet enough for the task. Some of his phrases sound conspicuously epic, but they mostly fall into the category of what one wag, on the University of Pennsylvania's Language Log blog, calls "Old High Translationese."

Rees is in this contest because I already know and love his translation with a puzzled passion - puzzled because nobody else seems to have heard of it. Green and Fagles only confirm for me that Rees offers me what I want. His language is vigorous and plain yet vividly descriptive, and always tinged with a mythic quality. It rolls along in a meter that may just be an acceptable equivalent to Homer's galloping dactyls. It moves me as the others never do.

My other favourite Iliad isn't Homer at all - it's Christopher Logue's brilliant original paraphrase of several books from the epic poem. In his introduction to War Music (1981), Logue says he looked at five different translations, found they all gave him "a dissimilar impression of the work that had inspired their own," and found permission in that diversity to write "a poem in English dependent upon whatever, through reading and through conversation, I could guess about a small part of the Iliad." It's a real modern poem, yet it often makes me feel that Logue gets closer to Homer than any standard translation.

A delusion, probably. In the end, we choose the translation that suits us, our taste and our expectations. I'm happy enough when I can choose anything at all, put aside my comparisons and feel sweet remission of my translation anxiety. "Sing, O Goddess, the ruinous wrath of Achilles..." Robert Everett-Green is a Globe and Mail features writer.

O Goddess sing what woe the discontent Of Thetis' son brought to the Greeks; what souls Of heroes down to Erebus it sent, Leaving their bodies unto dogs and fowls; - Thomas Hobbes, 1676

Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring Of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing! That wrath which hurl'd to Pluto's gloomy reign The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain; Whose limbs unburied on the naked shore, Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore. - Alexander Pope, 1717

Of Peleus' son, Achilles, sing, O Muse, The vengeance, deep and deadly; whence to Greece Unnumbered ills arose; which many a soul Of mighty warriors to the viewless shades Untimely sent; they on the battle plain Unburied lay, a prey to rav'ning dogs, - Edward Smith-Stanley, 1874

Wrath, goddess, sing of Achilles Peleus's son's calamitous wrath, which hit the Achaians with countless ills--many the valiant souls it saw off down to Hades, souls of heroes, their selves left as carrion for dogs and all birds of prey, - Peter Green, 2015

Associated Graphic


A generation barred from home ownership
Like many Vancouver millennials, Eveline Xia grew up in the city, and yet she can barely afford to live here
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

Eveline Xia may not want to be the voice of her generation, but she's off to a good start.

After her riveting speech in front of about 500 people Sunday as organizer of the Vancouverites for Affordable Housing rally, Ms. Xia has become the poster child for the hottest issue in the city right now.

If she does continue on with the battle, she'd like to help people get properly focused on what matters.

"I'd like to give people an outlet, and to have their voices heard in a very sensible, productive manner," she says in an interview. "Up until now, I'd say it's been haphazard. People will comment on the issue, and then all of a sudden it descends into cries of racism and back and forth, and it just doesn't go anywhere.

"Nobody has elevated the discussion to the point of it being on a constructive path. There's so much noise and fog and useless banter."

The 29-year-old is like a lot of Millennials who are trying to get a foothold in the city. She grew up here, and yet she can barely afford to live here. And like a lot of Millennials, she's now questioning how and why her current lot in life came to be. Why is she supposed to accept that she'll probably never own a home in her lifetime, or that Vancouver is now the playground for the wealthy instead of for people like her?

Academics who've spent years studying the problem point to global real estate investment as the culprit for driving up prices.

But government has been steadfast in its hands-off approach.

First, nobody would even acknowledge there was a foreigninvestment problem. Now, there's been some acknowledgement, but also a refusal to do the bare minimum, starting with data collection. Other countries overwhelmed by global buying have collected foreign-ownership data and implemented new regulations, such as extra taxes.

The data we do have, have been scraped together from other, non-government sources.

Vancouver has more wealthbased migration than any city in the world, according to South China Morning Post reporter Ian Young, who did a substantial amount of research on the topic.

Mr. Young's data show about 45,000 millionaire migrants arrived in Vancouver between 2005 and 2012. That's far more than the number of millionaires that went to the U.S. in the same time period. That's a lot of foreign money floating around.

How can a city's housing market not drastically change with that kind of impact?

In the meantime, those residents who missed the boat on owning real estate in Vancouver are expected to lower their expectations.

"Are we going to be a generation of renters?" asks Ms. Xia.

"Because if we are, where is the public discussion about this?

You can't expect us to go lightly without a fight."

Ms. Xia grew angry at government indifference, at the situation she's arrived at through no fault of her own. She got her education, she's working on a career and yet she is squeezed out of her own city because she's burdened by big rent payments, with no future option to buy. The daughter of a botanist who was mostly raised in California, France and the Lower Mainland, she was not raised in a privileged family. But her family managed on the little they had.

Fed up with all the talk of average house prices soaring beyond the $1-million mark, one day she tweeted the hashtag #donthave1million. It was her first tweet, to her two followers.

The hashtag went viral, and Ms. Xia's social-media fame transitioned to mainstream-media fame. She was overwhelmed.

"People were tweeting me, 'Eveline, we need you to save the city.' When did I go from average Jane to Miss Savior? That's terrifying," she says, laughing.

Prior to the rally, she did her homework, studying reports by academics and industry experts, who've commented extensively about house prices that speak to global capital rather than local incomes. Remember the days when your middle-class income would buy you a house? It seems like a distant memory now, but in reality it was only about a decade ago. It might have been a fixer-upper, but it was still doable. Not so much, anymore.

What we should be doing, says Ms. Xia, is addressing the crisis that's already well out of hand.

She believes foreign money is a huge problem, and there's no end in sight.

"This is the kind of wealth that is not going to end. It will get worse. This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of wealth. In Mainland China, there are so many wealthy people dying to get out."

Ms. Xia is still seeking a proper career so she can get started on her path, and Vancouver's job market is slim pickings. Combine that with the low incomes and the high cost of living, and it can be a rude awakening for the Millennial looking to get started.

"It's been so tough. I'm shocked," Ms. Xia says.

There is evidence that property prices are already driving away young workers like Ms. Xia, who are vital to the economy. Vancity just released a report that said future labour shortages and dropping salaries will drive workers elsewhere. It said by 2025, 85 of 88 high-demand jobs will pay too little to keep up with the cost of housing. The only jobs that will be able to handle the cost are in management jobs, such as engineering and construction. Everybody else will struggle.

Between 2001 and 2014, housing costs rose 63 per cent, while salaries went up 36.2 per cent.

By 2025, the average household will need to earn $125,692 to keep up with their mortgage, the report said.

The fear behind those numbers is the reason Ms. Xia's hashtag campaign took off. As well, there is a momentum underway.

People are feeling less tolerant of public officials indifferent to their plight, or who attempt to deny the effects of foreign ownership, or who pass the buck to another level of government.

Premier Christy Clark acknowledged that there is a foreignownership problem. But she sees it as a first-time buyer problem.

"[A tax on foreign buyers] is good for first-time owners, but not for anyone who is counting on the equity in their homes to maybe get a loan or use the money to finance some other projects," she said.

Days later, Housing Minister Rich Coleman said there was no

plan to even collect data. And he called Vancouver a "pretty reasonable" place to live when compared to other expensive cities. He failed to consider that those cities have much higher incomes and better job markets.

"They contradicted themselves," says Ms. Xia. "First they said, 'we can't work on the foreign investment issue because that will lower prices.' Then they said, 'we don't know for sure there's a problem, because we aren't collecting data.' "You put that together and it's very clear they are trying to remain with the status quo, even to detriment of the citizens, the locals," says Ms. Xia.

"I think everybody on the left, right or centre can see the issue is clearly politicking. They are playing with us. And we have had enough with that politicking. We are wasting time."

She also takes issue with those who use the race card to deflect from the issue at hand. Mayor Gregor Robertson was recently quoted in a news story saying that he doesn't consider foreign ownership an issue. He said, "We've welcomed immigrants as long as the city has been here."

Ms. Xia says he's missing the point. The issue isn't about immigration, but about foreign money messing with house prices. She put it best in her speech: "Unfortunately, there will be people who will try to hijack this issue and irresponsibly use the race card against those trying to work towards a solution.

But we are smart enough to understand that the foreign investment that may be coming predominantly from China this year could easily switch and come from the U.S. next year.

It's not about the foreignness of the people, but the foreignness of the money, the money that isn't created locally.

"It's certainly not about race - it's about a broken system that treats homes like the stock market and completely removes the people and community from the equation."

She was especially pointed in her remarks to the province.

"Do your jobs," she told the Pemier and Housing Minister.

On the bright side, she is seeing momentum. Her 500-strong rally was a start. It even attracted international coverage in Al Jazeera. And she sees a glimmer of interest from government.

The mayor has suggested a speculation tax for those who are flipping homes. However, she sees that as only "a piece of the puzzle."

She also caught the premier's office "snooping her" on LinkedIn. At least they're paying attention.

For now, she's taking a break.

If she does resume her non-profit affordable-housing work, she says she might focus on Jericho Lands, the federal, provincial and native land that will be up for development. It's the perfect opportunity for all three levels of government to do the right thing, she says. Also, it's something people can relate to. Why shouldn't that land be available to everybody, of every income?

"This is an opportunity for them to lead, and to show us they truly care."

Associated Graphic

Eveline Xia drew a crowd of 500 to a housing-affordability rally last weekend.


Babcock deal is the exception, not the rule
Todd McLellan's $3-million-a-year package in Edmonton is seen as a more realistic benchmark for NHL coaching salaries
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6


There was a brief moment during Thursday's introductory news conference for Mike Babcock, the new Toronto Maple Leafs' coach, when the subject turned to his eye-popping compensation package - $50-million (U.S.) for eight years, the most by far to be paid to an NHL coach.

Babcock glossed over it nicely, saying the length and the terms of the contract were less about the dollars than "simply a commitment from the Maple Leafs to success. They've made a longterm commitment to me, so I understand they're totally committed to the process. That to me is what it's all about."

Babcock went on to say he usually drives a Ford F-150 pickup truck and will continue to do so - even though he could now afford a fleet of them.

So there! This peculiar omertà, this unwillingness among the NHL coaching fraternity to discuss their salaries, is an interesting leftover from a bygone era and mirrors a time when player salaries were also a closely guarded secret.

All that changed under the leadership of NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow, who understood that once player salaries were published and made a matter of public record - permitting players to guess at what the superstar on the divisional rival made - compensation would soar, and it did.

There is no comparable definitive resource for NHL coaching salaries, but according to sources, the bar was raised twice this week. Until Babcock joined the Leafs, the highest-paid coach in the NHL - for a brief two-day period - was the new Edmonton Oilers coach, Todd McLellan.

McLellan received a five-year deal, worth $3-million a season, up from the $1.7-million he annually earned in his previous job with the San Jose Sharks.

Until McLellan joined the Oilers, the leader had been the Chicago Blackhawks' Joel Quenneville, at an annual compensation of $2.85-million. The Boston Bruins' Claude Julien was next at $2.5-million followed by the Los Angeles Kings' Darryl Sutter at $2.25-million, and then two others at $2.2-million - the New York Rangers' Alain Vigneault and the Montreal Canadiens' Michel Therrien. Next in line are the Dallas Stars' Lindy Ruff and the Nashville Predators' Peter Laviolette at $2-million a season followed by the Arizona Coyotes' Dave Tippett at $1.95-million.

In the current era, many coaching contracts also include the possibility of an upward revision, depending upon a team's playoff success, which is why Vigneault is where he's at - up from the $2-million he earned the year before, the base salary he negotiated when he joined the Rangers from the Vancouver Canucks.

For this year, the Washington Capitals' Barry Trotz, who signed a contract that will pay him $1.5million a year on a four-year deal, is in line for a raise because his team made it to the Stanley Cup quarter-finals. Others in that $1.5million annual range include the St. Louis Blues' Ken Hitchcock and the Winnipeg Jets' Paul Maurice.

Hitchcock's contract, low by the standards of a coach with his experience level, also includes a built-in severance package worth $1.4-million to be paid out by the team over a two-year period whenever he leaves the organization. According to the same sources, the Carolina Hurricanes' Bill Peters - one of the many Babcock assistants to make his way to the NHL - is thought to be the lowest-paid coach in the league at $750,000.

The general sense among NHL executives is that Babcock's contract may well be a unique onetime occurrence - and is tied more to the financial clout that Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment can wield than an expectation that other coaches will receive comparable compensation packages.

The only exception might be Quenneville, who has now slipped to No. 3 on the compensation charts. Under Quenneville, the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup twice in the past five years, with a chance to win a third this season, with Chicago currently playing Anaheim in the Western Conference final. He is third on the career coaching wins list (754) behind Scotty Bowman (1,244) and Al Arbour (782) and first among active coaches.

Quenneville was coy when asked for his reaction to the Babcock contract Thursday, acknowledging that he did watch the announcement on television and noted that he was "happy for him. We'll see how that all plays out."

Leaguewide, it is believed that the new benchmark for NHL coaching salaries may well be established by McLellan's deal, not Babcock's.

Two summers ago, when Vigneault and John Tortorella were looking for new positions and Tippett needed to be re-signed in Arizona, all the new deals came in at roughly the same dollar figures - in the $2-million range.

What changed was the length of term - all received five years.

This represented a seminal shift in thinking, because teams were making a longer-term commitment to their coaches, which in turn provided added security in a job that traditionally had very little.

Term has become an important issue among NHL coaches because it changes the hired-tobe-fired dynamic at work for so long in the industry. Until Babcock broke the bank, NHL coaches routinely earned about the same salary as the 20th player on the roster, and were on a comparatively short leash. It made firing a coach the easy out when a team hit a rough patch.

Nowadays, any NHL GM who commits to a longer term needs to think long and hard about dumping a coach, if he's earning a generous wage.

In many ways, coaches are their own worst enemies in this exercise because they are uncomfortable discussing their compensation levels.

"They've never had salary disclosure for coaches like they do for the players," Bowman said.

"Every league is different financially and maybe Toronto is a good example because they are a very strong financial organization and they also own the Raptors.

NBA coaches make a lot more than NHL coaches. I know the coach of the [Detroit] Pistons made twice as much as Babcock did, and they didn't have anywhere near the same success."

Bowman began as a fulltime NHL coach the year after the Leafs won their last Stanley Cup, earning $15,000 with the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues. His 30-year career ended with the Red Wings in 2002, where he broke the $1-million per year salary barrier for NHL coaches.

Bowman's influence on salaries parallels Babcock's. After getting to the Stanley Cup final in his first year with the Blues, Bowman was also given the GM's title and a big raise for doing both jobs. He was earning $37,000.

"I thought it was millions," said Bowman, who eventually left the Blues to join the Montreal Canadiens in 1971 and took a pay cut - to $30,000 - because the job did not include a managerial component. From there, Bowman received a $10,000 bump every year. By the time, he left to join the Buffalo Sabres in 1979 as coach and general manager, he was making $90,000.

"There was no money in coaching in those days," Bowman said.

"That's the way it was. What could you do about it? If you don't want it, don't coach. That's why so many coaches wanted to be managers - because managers always got paid about double."

Bowman finally hit the financial jackpot after he'd led the Pittsburgh Penguins to the 1992 Stanley Cup championship, replacing Bob Johnson, who'd fallen ill. At that point, the Red Wings made him a staggering offer - as out of step with that era as Babcock's new deal is in 2015.

"They offered me $600,000 - I was flabbergasted," Bowman said.

"I went from $250,000 in Pittsburgh to $600,000 in Detroit and I worked it up to $1-million. But they were a good, strong organization and treated me very well. I don't know what other coaches around the league were making, but I don't think it was nearly as much."

According to sources, Babcock privately told his peers last summer that as he decided his own future, one of his goals was to raise the salary bar for all NHL coaches.

On Thursday, Babcock told The Globe and Mail's David Shoalts his wish ultimately didn't enter into talks in a meaningful way (presumably because the Leafs' original offer came in at $50-million, so there was no real haggling over money).

Babcock indicated that while he did a lot of research on coaching compensation in other sports, he didn't end up using any of the material he'd gathered, when the offers started pouring in.

"Because of the way it happened, the way they approached me Day 1, you didn't have to think about that," Babcock said.

"The money was not a factor in Detroit, it was not a factor in Buffalo and it was not a factor here.

Now, if you want to give me credit for something, that's great, [but[you'd be giving me credit without me actually doing [anything].

"That was my plan originally [to help his coaching brethren], but [it] never happened."

According to Maurice, a former Leafs coach, members of the coaching fraternity were both pleased and thankful with how the Babcock talks unfolded.

"It is a unique situation," Maurice said. "Part of that is, Mike is really, really good. And the Toronto Maple Leafs wanted to get the best guy they could and gave him a long-term deal so that everybody knows where they're going.

"It's a great, great hire - for Toronto, for the league and for coaches."

Follow me on Twitter: @eduhatschek

Broker's son became a Bay Street titan
Even at a young age, this venture tycoon showed an aptitude for business, networking and putting on the charm
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

Latham Cawthra Burns, who died May 12 at 84, led the transformation of his family's small Bay Street investment brokerage into a national leader, now known as BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., spearheading moves to open an office in London and garner a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

Mr. Burns died surrounded by family after a heart operation at Toronto General Hospital. He had hoped the procedure would give him a new lease on a still-active life after he experienced problems with his heart's valves in recent years. Friends and family say he knew the risks, but wanted to live life to the fullest, or not at all.

With a small group of key partners, Mr. Burns is credited with steering his firm (which began as Burns Bros. and evolved into Burns Fry and later BMO Nesbitt Burns) through a period of change that saw it grow from a regional operation founded by his father and uncle into one of the largest investment dealers in Canada, with an international reach.

"He was one of a core group of three or four which built Burns Fry into a strong national competitor," said Tony Fell, a former chairman of RBC Securities and a friend. "Latham was also a snappy dresser with a great sense of style and humour - always quick with a comment - and he was a bon vivant who loved a good party with lots of Scotch and cigars. He was hard to keep up with."

He was born on June 26, 1930, into one of Toronto's most prominent and wealthy families. Their parties, weddings and social events regularly featured in the society pages of the day's newspapers. His grandfather, Herbert D.

Burns, was chairman of the Bank of Nova Scotia, and young Latham Cawthra Burns spent the summers of his youth at his grandparents' vacation home, dubbed the Pansy Patch, in St.

Andrews, N.B.

His father, who also went by Latham, co-founded investment dealer firm Burns Bros. with his brother Charles on Toronto's Bay Street in 1932. In 1928, the elder Latham Burns had married Isobel Cawthra, of the prominent Cawthra family, which built a Toronto business empire in the 19th century from what was said to be the city's first general store. Their name remains on a main road in Mississauga.

But the younger Mr. Burns hardly knew his father, who died of pneumonia in April, 1936, at just 30 years old, falling ill en route to Bermuda for a vacation on board the RMS Queen of Bermuda, an opulent luxury liner known at the time as the "millionaires' ship."

The funeral for the "prominent stock and bond broker," The Globe reported, was attended by "all classes" including "financiers, industrialists and wage-earners."

Little Latham, not yet six when his father died, was soon sent to board at the Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ont., where he played cricket and was an excellent student.

As a teenager, he lived in New York's storied Carlyle Hotel with his mother, who had remarried in 1940. A chauffeur shuttled him to his classes at the elite Collegiate School, an Ivy League prep school and the oldest school in the United States.

It was during this period, family members say, that he showed an aptitude for business: He got a local florist to hire him to make deliveries, which he did with the help of his chauffeur, and he demanded jobs involving celebrities, thinking they would give him the biggest tips. It was on such a flower delivery that he met Broadway composer Richard Rodgers, of the duo Rodgers and Hammerstein, who invited him in to hear his latest tune.

He graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1952, with an arts degree, and went to work for his Uncle Charlie, whom he adored, at what was then called Burns Bros. and Denton Ltd., after a merger with another firm. In those years, he worked in Hamilton and Ottawa, where he opened new offices for the firm, and in New York, where he learned the bond business.

During this period, he became friends with Peter Munk, who would go on to found Barrick Gold Corp., the world's largest gold producer, which now employs Mr. Burns's son Holton.

Mr. Munk remembers Mr. Burns in the years they first met as a dashing figure with an "understated, elegant" sense of humour.

"He was a man around town. He was good-looking, he was rich, he had a good name, he attracted girls. He had everything going for himself," said Mr. Munk, whose family had fled Nazi-occupied Hungary when he was a teenager.

"He was it. I was just a hanger-on, a little immigrant boy trying to pick up the leftovers."

He also credited Mr. Burns, born into Toronto's white-Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite of the era, for his openness to a Jewish immigrant, helping Mr. Munk defy the prejudices of the day and gain membership in the exclusive Toronto Club.

In a New York ceremony in 1959, Mr. Burns married Roberta Reed, of a prominent Austin, Tex., family. The reception was held in the Victorian Suite at the Carlyle Hotel. The couple had three children, Reed, Farish and Holton.

By 1960, he was on the board of Burns Bros. and Denton Ltd. In 1966, he became president. The firm would establish a London presence in 1968, at Mr. Burns's urging, and in 1972, in another move driven by Mr. Burns, a merger with Montreal-based J.R.

Timmins and Co. gave his firm access to a coveted seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

His first marriage ended in divorce in 1970. In 1971, he married Patricia Annette (Paddy Ann) Higgins, daughter of Paul Higgins Sr., owner of Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee Inc. They met at a horse show, although Mr. Burns, whose family had horses, rarely rode.

The couple would have two daughters, Ainsley and Cawthra.

In the early 1970s, Mr. Burns would serve as head of what was then his industry's self-governing body, the Investment Dealers Association, speaking out on various issues facing the securities industry.

In a bold move to create Canada's dominant investment dealer, his firm, which had strengths in equities and mergers-and-acquisitions, merged with Fry Mills Spence Ltd., which was strong in the bond markets. The 1976 deal saw Mr. Burns made chairman of the newly merged firm, known as Burns Fry Ltd.

By 1982, Burns Fry was seen as the market leader on Bay Street.

But the clock was ticking on Bay Street's independent investment dealers, which largely relied on their partners' own capital, limiting their ultimate size. After the ban on bank ownership was lifted in the late 1980s, Canada's big banks moved quickly to gobble up the Street's investment firms, giving those firms access to much larger bank balance sheets.

In 1994, Mr. Burns and his partners sold their firm to the Bank of Montreal for $403-million in cash and BMO shares. The bank then merged Burns Fry with Nesbitt Thomson, which it had previously acquired, creating what became known as BMO Nesbitt Burns, a powerhouse with 3,700 employees. Mr. Burns stayed on as honorary chairman, maintaining an office at BMO's Bay Street tower until his death.

His Rolodex was legendary. He counted former Eaton's chairman John Craig Eaton and former newspaper tycoon Conrad Black among his friends. In a sitting room in his Forest Hill home, there is a picture of him in a tuxedo sharing a laugh with then-U.S.president Ronald Reagan, whom he met on a visit to Toronto.

For the past 20 years, Mr. Burns and his horse-loving wife spent winters in Aiken, S.C., riding, playing polo and fox hunting. Just last year, his family said, the stillvibrant Mr. Burns drove his Mercedes down from Toronto by himself. His new passion became his Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

One, named Hennessy after the cognac, he trained in "dog agility," and he rarely left his side.

To indulge his lifelong love of trains, Mr. Burns sometimes insisted friends ride the rails with him all the way to an annual salmon fishing trip in Matapédia, Que., despite the long distance.

Later in life, Mr. Burns also played the role of mentor, taking young entrepreneurs, often friends of his children, under his wing, providing advice and financing. He quietly backed the much-praised restoration of Toronto's Carlu ballroom in 2003.

And in 2010, he put up money to stop the shutdown of Aiken's historic Willcox Hotel, which once hosted the likes of Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Bing Crosby.

Former colleagues and friends praised Mr. Burns's quiet but generous approach to charity, noting his commitment to the United Way and his service on the board of St. Michael's Hospital and its foundation board.

"He was one of those people who always had a smile on his face," said Toronto Mayor John Tory, a fellow member of the St.

Michael's board, who remembers Mr. Burns's leadership when the hospital faced a financial crunch in the 1980s. "He just made people feel better. That's the way he was."

Mr. Burns leaves his wife, Paddy Ann; five children, Reed Burns, Farish Burns, Holton Burns, Cawthra Burns and Ainsley Burns; and eight grandchildren.

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

Latham Burns is credited with steering the family firm as it transitioned into one of the largest investment dealers in Canada, with an international reach.


Environmental push urged for oil sands
Action needed, even if it requires costly emerging technologies, report commissioned by the Harper government concludes
Thursday, May 28, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A4

CALGARY, FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA. -- Alberta's oil sands producers need to take urgent action to reduce the sector's damaging impact on the environment by speeding the adoption of expensive and often risky emerging technologies.

That's the conclusion of a report to be released Thursday from the Council of Canadian Academies, which was asked by the Harper government to assess how technology could reduce the environmental impact of oil sands production that is projected to more than double by 2030.

In the report, the expert panel said there are no silver bullets for reducing the significant threat that the oil sands pose to local water, land and air, or for lowering greenhouse-gas emissions that are about 20 per cent higher per barrel relative to conventional crude oil.

But opportunities exist for making dramatic improvements, panel members wrote, through a range of new technologies that can be applied to lowering both the carbon and water intensity of bitumen extraction as well as lightening the effect of the process on the landscape.

"We need to develop this resource in a sustainable fashion," said panel chair Eric Newell, a former CEO of Syncrude Canada Ltd. and past chancellor at the University of Alberta. "What I hope the report might do is create a sense of urgency."

The report comes at a crucial moment for the industry, which the federal government has promoted as a key engine of the Canadian economy.

A steep drop in oil prices has put a damper on the pace of development in the short term.

Companies have delayed or shelved more than a dozen major projects and Fort McMurray - once Canada's fastest growing city - is showing signs of retrenchment.

The newly elected NDP government in Alberta has promised to place a higher priority on environmental issues than its predecessors. Premier Rachel Notley faces a number of pressing decisions on oil sands development, including renewing and strengthening current climate regulations, which now impose modest constraints on the industry's greenhouse-gas emissions.

The report, jointly requested by Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada, suggested that a concerted effort will be required to put technologies in place that can reap the economic benefits of the oil sands while lessening the environmental fallout. Because of the lag time in implementation, the effort must ramp up now in order to achieve a significant impact in 10 years.

The report did not directly address the question of who should pay for developing technical fixes to green the oil sands, "but changing the pace of technology deployment will not occur without strong leadership, continued investment and risk-taking by all," the authors wrote.

Billions have already been spent on research and development and on the commercialization of technologies in the oil sands, much of it led by government investments. But some question whether a Manhattan Projectstyle approach is appropriate for developing an industry that, in the end, is still about oil.

"Current technologies could go a long way to cleaning up the oil sands but the only way to reduce overall carbon emissions is to constrain expansion. We need to slow down, clean it up and transition out," said Tzeporah Berman, a Vancouver-based environmental activist who served on B.C.'s Green Energy Task Force.

The counterargument is that the sheer scale of the oil sands and their potential economic benefits will inevitably drive continued development in a world that will still need Alberta oil for decades to come.

"Alberta is the crucible where environmental concerns, economic concerns and the fuel with which we run our civilization all collide," said Steven Bryant, a chemical engineer who last year took up a $10-million Canada Excellence Research Chair specializing in unconventional oil at the University of Calgary.

The council report noted that two key areas where technical progress would make the greatest difference are in greenhouse-gas emissions and the tailings ponds where process-contaminated water accumulates. But while promising avenues exist, the panel found relatively few that were close to commercial implementation, Mr. Newell said.

Serious barriers are preventing their widespread adoption, including adding costs to operations that are already capital intensive, and a risk-averse culture in which operators are reluctant to try new technology.

"While we did identify a couple of areas where there's some lowhanging fruit, a lot of that's already been found and now we're down to the tough challenge," Mr. Newell added.


Greenhouse gases Rising concerns over greenhouse-gas emissions, including carbon dioxide and methane, have made the oil sands a global environmental issue.

Without any change to current practices - and given current forecasts for production increases - the oil sands would generate 180 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2030, a tripling of its 2010 level. Such an increase would make it difficult for Canada to meet the commitment announced early this month by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reduce by 2030 GHG emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels.

Though there is debate about its impact relative to other sources of crude, there is no question that oil sands extraction is energy-intensive, and emissions-heavy on both the mining and in situ sides of the industry.

The in situ process typically involves injecting steam underground to heat the bitumen and lower its viscosity, allowing the tar-like material to flow more easily up to the surface. The steam is created by burning natural gas - equivalent to the energy of one barrel of oil for every five barrels extracted in this way.

In the near term, the report from the Council of Canadian Academies identified the addition of gasoline-like solvents to the steam to help break up the bitumen as the most promising approach to reducing the energy intensity of the method. The more easily the bitumen is dissolved the less steam is required and the more the carbon footprint of the oil sands begins to resemble that of conventional oil.

Indeed, companies such as Cenovus Energy Inc. are already making strides in using solvents to reduce the need for steam.

Looking further ahead, members of the panel that produced the report considered alternatives to burning natural gas to power the process, including hydroelectric or small pebble-bed nuclear reactors. "That could also make a dramatic improvement in greenhouse gas emissions but the panel assessed those were at least 10 years away," said Eric Newell, panel chair.

Tailings Reduction of the massive tailings ponds and drying areas created by open-pit mining is a monumental challenge.

Tailings are the waste products from the process of extracting bitumen from the sands in which it is trapped.

They include coarse material which is mainly sand and can be easily separated and used for diking, as well as water and smaller particles of clay and silt - or "fines" - to which residual bitumen adheres.

Alberta passed its Directive 74 regulation in 2009, requiring companies to capture 50 per cent of the fine tailings and divert them from the ponds by transporting them to dedicated drying areas. Over time, that process would reduce the need for tailings ponds.

But the industry was unable to meet Directive 74; it was rescinded this year and replaced by a "tailings management framework" that has a similar aim but for which regulations have yet to be devised. Tailings ponds cover 77 square kilometres, and the Council of Canadian Academies says that footprint will expand over the next several years as companies cope with the waste from existing and new mines along the Athabasca River.

The environmental threats include the large disturbance of land that must be reclaimed; seepage of polluted waste-water into groundwater; fugitive emissions of carcinogenic compounds from the ponds; windblown dust from drying areas that contain "chemicals of concern," and risk of a catastrophic break in a dike that would send fluid tailings into the Athabasca.

The report says there is no single solution for the tailings ponds but a "silver suite" of technologies that would reduce the extent of ponds and speed up reclamation.

Water The extraction of bitumen from sand is a water-intensive process that poses a number of threats to the region's ecology.

They include the withdrawal of fresh water from rivers, especially in periods of low flow when ecosystems are already under stress; efforts to eventually return process-contaminated water to the environment; and potential contamination of ground water from seepage and leakage during operations.

Producers are investing heavily in water reduction and reuse, aiming to cut to a minimum the amount of fresh water withdrawn from the Athabasca and other rivers.

But concerns persist.

The mining side of the business uses roughly three barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced, while the in situ producers use a third of a barrel of water for every barrel of crude.

Given expansion plans, the council report forecasted that water withdrawals for mining operations will double from 2012 to 2030, to two billion barrels of water a year. The current use is less than 1 per cent of the water available from the Athabasca.

The producers are increasingly recycling and reusing water. Suncor Energy Inc. is even piping recycled water from its main mine site to its Firebag in situ project for its steam-assisted gravity-drainage (SAGD) operations.

Environmental groups say that's not enough, noting Syncrude and Suncor were grandfathered under recently announced regulations and can continue to draw water from the Athabasca in periods of low flow. The river is well below its usual spring levels as dry conditions have resulted in the spread of forest fires.

Associated Graphic

Cenovus's oil sands operation in Christina Lake, Alta., relies on piped-in steam. Billions of dollars have been spent on developing technologies for extracting bitumen.


Marine Gardens gently fades away
'I am passionate about this place, and my heart hurts,' says 94-year-old architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

One of the world's most important landscape architects, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, stands inside the empty courtyard of one of her earliest works.

If you were driving by Marine Gardens, you would be forgiven for not giving it a second glance.

From the outside, you'd see the non-descript entrance to some worn, 1970s multi-housing project. Inside the courtyard, it is a cool, lush oasis thanks to Ms. Oberlander, who has among her landscaping credits Library Square at the Vancouver Public Library, Robson Square and Law Courts, the Museum of Anthropology, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Chancery in Washington, D.C., and the New York Times Building. She has too many awards and honorary degrees to list, including the Order of Canada.

Ms. Oberlander left Germany in 1939 with her mother and sister and settled in the U.S., where she became one of the first women to obtain a degree in landscape architecture at Harvard University. Because of her work with Arthur Erickson, architect Bing Thom came calling, and she landed her first major assignment designing Robson Square. It launched her career.

But Marine Gardens, built in 1971, precedes all the fame and success. It is from that period of her career when she devoted herself to designing low-income housing and spaces for children.

Years after she designed the Marine Gardens landscape, she would drop by just to watch the children play there.

Now, the family-housing complex at 445 Southwest Marine Dr. is half empty. The day care is unused. There's a child's pink tricycle with ribbons abandoned outside a doorway. The MC2 condo tower at Marine and Cambie looms high over the village, casting permanent shadows. Construction noise is jarring and constant.

One by one, tenants of the 70 units are vacating, and the townhouse complex - including the forest of trees and shrubs that Ms. Oberlander planted - are coming down to make way for more condo towers. The area is at the heart of a plan for increased density by way of towers, creating a transit-oriented hub with the adjacent Marine Drive Canada Line station. Marine Gardens is slated for a twotower development.

"I am passionate about this place, and my heart hurts," says Ms. Oberlander, who, at 94, has no plans to retire. "Just imagine, those pine trees are going to be knocked down," she says, pointing to two huge trees. "They make the space. What do trees do? They give you shade, they give you belonging to nature and the feeling that everything is alive. Otherwise, it's sterile. To not be with nature makes people very sick.

"The great scientist E.O. Wilson said the longing for nature is built into our genes."

She knows that Marine Gardens is in a sad state of disrepair. The place is long overdue for a major renovation after years of neglect.

It may be faded and weary, but it is testament to design principles aimed at making people feel good about where they live, and how they live. It was even featured at Habitat '76, the United Nations conference on housing, according to Heritage Vancouver. That event brought Mother Teresa and Margaret Mead, among others, to Vancouver to talk about social justice and living conditions. This year, Marine Gardens, an innovative type of family housing that is currently under serious threat of extinction, placed No. 4 on Heritage Vancouver's Top 10 Watch List.

On a shoestring budget, Ms. Oberlander collaborated with architect Michael Katz to create a village unto itself, for affordable rental housing in a low-rent part of the city. Mr. Katz had been asked to design a typical three-storey walk-up, but instead he proposed a townhouse development that would offer the very same density. The result is that the two-level townhouses face inward, with small front porches. Each unit has a garden at front and back. At Marine Gardens' core they designed an open-air daycare, with a laundry room and courtyard so that residents could congregate in shared spaces. The two-bedrooms are 720 square feet and the threebedrooms 900 square feet. Parents could sit on their porches and talk while watching their kids play, with the busy traffic that surrounded them buffered by the inward-facing design.

"The whole idea is, for everybody a garden," says Mr. Katz. "If only architects would understand that that is the mantra for great architecture: 'For everybody a garden.' " On a recent sunny morning, Mr. Katz and Ms. Oberlander gave a small tour of their earlydays project. Ms. Oberlander identifies each and every plant she planted in 1971. She planted shade trees in such a way that their roots would never interfere with the structure of the underground parking - even though everybody at the time argued against it. She points to American dogwood, vine maple, alder and hemlock trees. There is forsythia and laburnum. There are a rare rhododendron. And roses, "perfected by an agriculture experiment station in Ottawa - originally from Germany," says Ms. Oberlander. "They come back every year. Nobody has ruined them."

And at the heart of the complex is the giant chestnut tree, which grew from a chestnut she planted herself. It's the sort of thing you do when working without much of a budget. The big tree is a lush focal point for the shared space.

Their plan to create a convivial village atmosphere worked. Ms. Oberlander would visit the complex years after it was constructed in 1971, and watch the children play as she imagined they would.

"It's like a village," she says.

"People would communicate with each other. Children could play. The mothers would come out and see what they were doing."

Residents spent decades at Marine Gardens. A lot of kids were raised there. A current resident named Dodie King was delighted to meet the designers of the place she'd called home the last three years. But it was a bittersweet occasion, because Ms. King is in the process of relocating from her two-level Marine Gardens home to a 500-square-foot space in a rundown building at W. 71st Avenue, for $850 a month. She pays $1,100 at Marine Gardens. And despite the fact that nearby towers have darkened her home, she says she'd stay if she could.

She teared up when she thought about having to move, and the loss of community.

"It's been heart-breaking," she said. "You know, studies have shown that villages of about 100 and some people are the perfect community because people help each other. There's less need for social services, for policing. Globally, that seems to be the perfect size for a community. We have our own village. Well, we did."

In the few years that Concord Pacific has owned the property, Ms. King says they've been making repairs as required. They've also made relocation offers for each tenant, including the equivalent of up to four months' rent to help with the transition. Tenants also have the option of renting one of the new units at a 20-per-cent discount. The developer has offered to cover moving expenses and helped them find new locations as well, says Ms. King.

"It was owned by a lot of companies before Concord. And these companies bought it hoping to develop it and make a killing off it. So in the meanwhile, before they got planning permission, they just let the place go. So it was from those years that these places came into such disrepair.

"Concord Pacific did make a generous offer, but it can't replace our home."

Earlier this year, city council approved a rezoning application to replace the 70-unit complex with a 21- and 27-storey development totalling 514 market-rate condos and a mid-rise with market-rental apartments and a daycare. In economic terms, the little Marine Gardens, which has 45 units per acre, can't compete with that kind of density.

But those towers, they say, won't compare with their highly livable, lush and affordable environment.

"Just think what it will do to the psyche of these people," says Ms. Oberlander. "And there won't be any birds," she adds.

Mr. Katz has been designing dense, affordable housing his entire career. He says he got the idea for the Marine Gardens design in 1963, when he was still living in his hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa. After he completed Marine Gardens, he went on to design two more village-like complexes at Cambie and 16th, one that was government-assisted rental housing and the other for a governmentassisted home-ownership program.

Neither Mr. Katz nor Ms. Oberlander are anti-tower. In fact, they're collaborating on a 17-storey tower in North Vancouver that will include a large public space.

"I don't mind towers," says Ms. Oberlander. "But I don't like soulless towers."

Instead of tearing the site down, they argue that it should be restored.

"The whole thing is irreplaceable," says Mr. Katz. "Cornelia is the world's greatest landscape architect. This should be kept as heritage. The whole thing should be rebuilt exactly as it was.

Leave the landscaping alone."

Adds Ms. Oberlander: "And update it so that it's sustainable."

A deal between the city and the developer could have been struck, says Mr. Katz.

"They could transfer the density next door or the city could make certain dispensations.

They could do it.

"We flew a man to the moon.

This is not rocket science."

But it is Vancouver.

Associated Graphic

Architects Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, left, and Michael Katz designed the Marine Gardens community, built in 1971.


In Howe Sound, two visions seem on a collision course
Signs of life - whales and herring stock - are returning to the once polluted inlet. Now, plans for LNG facilities are raising fears the 'resurrection' will be short-lived
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

VANCOUVER -- Creeping along the base of a cliff in his small open boat, John Buchanan is metres from the rock face, peering at a narrow band of bladderwrack kelp just revealed by low tide.

"You have to get really close," says Mr. Buchanan, a train-car mechanic and former pulp-mill worker who over the past few years has documented some remarkable environmental events in Howe Sound.

"People think I'm crazy because I'm 10 feet from shore and I've got my binoculars out."

At times, the boat bumps against the shore and he reaches out to turn over the dripping fronds of kelp. He's looking for herring eggs, tiny silver specks that signal an ecological revival in Howe Sound that is raising both hopes and fears about the future of the area.

Seven major projects worth an estimated $9-billion - including an LNG facility, a gravel mine, an industrial waste energy plant, a ski resort and housing developments for an estimated 10,000 residents - are proposed on the shores of Howe Sound.

For development proponents, the area is ideal, with improved highway access and deep-water passage for tankers. And, unlike in pristine areas of British Columbia, it bears the scars of past industrial developments. While the projects offer the prospect of renewed economic growth, there has been a dramatic demographic shift over the years and now the promise of jobs is increasingly being weighed against questions of environmental risk.

Mr. Buchanan said that when he was growing up in Squamish, a former mill town where logging trucks once left the main street constantly mired in mud, "you didn't dare talk about protecting the environment for fear you'd get beaten."

But times have changed. Now, mountain bikes outnumber logging trucks and the waters near Squamish see more sail boards than tugs pulling log booms. City council there has expressed opposition to the proposed LNG project as have the Village of Lion's Bay and the Town of Gibsons.

Nineteen LNG projects have been proposed in B.C., and the government has set a goal of having three facilities in operation by 2020. But First Nations support has been elusive, with the Lax Kw'alaams Band recently rejecting a project near Prince Rupert. The Squamish First Nation is expected to announce its position on the proposed Howe Sound LNG plant in June.

Many are saying that, with Howe Sound now recovering from decades of industrial pollution, it should become a provincial recreation area. Such a designation would reserve Crown land for public recreational use but allow government greater flexibility than a park in permitting development. That would turn the inlet on Metro Vancouver's doorstep into something like the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a reserve that surrounds San Francisco Bay and draws 20 million visitors a year.

Fifty years ago, Howe Sound, which is laid out like a tapestry of forested green islands and pale blue water beneath the Sea to Sky Highway, was a critically damaged ecosystem. Dioxins and furans had been pouring into the inlet from two big pulp mills; Britannia Mine spewed copper and acidic drainage, and a chemical plant in Squamish had spilled tonnes of mercury into the ocean.

By the early sixties, whales had long vanished, herring were down to a few remnant schools, crab and prawn fisheries were closed for health reasons, runs of salmon were in drastic decline and even the seaweed was dying along the shore.

Then a slow but dramatic change began - building to what one marine scientist now calls an environmental "resurrection."

One of the pulp mills and the chemical treatment plant in Squamish closed, a second mill upgraded its facilities becoming one of the cleanest in the world, and the provincial government put a water treatment plant on the long-shut Britannia Mine site, ending acid drainage.

In 2010, Mr. Buchanan reported the first gray whale sighting in Howe Sound in 100 years.

In 2011, he documented the return of salmon, after a 40-year absence, to Britannia Creek, a stream once so acidic local boaters liked to moor next to it to clean their hulls of marine growth.

More recently, Mr. Buchanan, who spends his days off working as a citizen scientist, has been documenting the spread of herring throughout Howe Sound.

He cruises the shoreline, peering like a short-sighted mariner through his binoculars, until he spots glistening gobs of eggs on seaweed. Then, he marks the spot with his GPS and takes photos.

This spring, he documented herring spawn near an old pulp mill site selected as the location for the proposed Woodfibre LNG project, which is currently under environmental review by the province.

"It's all along here," he said of the herring spawn as his boat drifted near the Woodfibre site where he once worked in the pulp drying room.

Ruth Simons, executive director of the Future of Howe Sound Society, says the return of herring is a key to the broader marine ecosystem revival that she fears is now threatened by a flurry of projects.

"Whac-A-Mole. That's how I feel: Oh my god, there's another one," said Ms. Simons of the way new development proposals keep popping up around the inlet.

Ms. Simons is pushing government for an overall strategy for Howe Sound. Currently there is no single, comprehensive management plan for the area.

"We want to look at the future and ask: What's the best way to preserve this?" she said.

Dr. John Stockner, a former department of Fisheries and Oceans scientist who in the early sixties was one of the first to chronicle the environmental damage in Howe Sound, said government played a key role in reviving the inlet, and he hopes the area won't be jeopardized again.

"Howe Sound has had a resurrection like I've never seen before on marine waters," he said. "After all the science I and many others put in, it's coming back, but now they want to put an LNG facility in. It's an absolutely crazy idea."

He said it has taken years for Howe Sound to bounce back and "it will be reversed quickly," if too much development takes place.

While the future of Howe Sound may be unclear, the ecological revival taking place is obvious to anyone who spends time on the water.

"I'm seeing things that would amaze you," said Tony Kristian, who runs Gibsons Harbour Ferry at the entrance to Howe Sound.

"I'm out here virtually 365," he said. "One of the most amazing things I've seen in the last two weeks is, get this: I have seen orcas swimming out of Howe Sound, the same route, for six days in a row."

There were years, he said, when he never saw any whales.

Now, in addition to pods of orcas, he's seeing grays and humpbacks, as well as schools of dolphins.

Mr. Kristian has also noticed thousands of salmon fry schooling around the docks.

Does he have any worries about the environmental impact of big resource projects proposed around Howe Sound?

"As far as this LNG facility, I really have a hard time seeing the harm to the environment short of some major [unpredictable] catastrophe. So no, I don't," he said.

But Greg Suidy, who runs Sunshine Kayaking in Gibsons, isn't so sure.

He's worried the government won't do a good job of enforcing environmental regulations and will approve individual projects without considering cumulative impact.

"I don't say you can't do industry, but somebody has to really be on top of it and somebody has to ask, what's the sum of all this?" he said. "I'd like to see a plan where they consider everything."



The $1.6-billion project on the site of an old pulp mill would create 650 construction jobs for two years and 100 full-time jobs.

It is currently under environmental assessment.


The proposal is to incinerate about 370,000 tonnes of Metro Vancouver garbage annually. The $500-million plant would be located on Squamish First Nation lands at Port Mellon. It has been short-listed by Metro Vancouver but a final selection has not yet been made.


The $60-million proposal would mine more than one million tonnes of sand and gravel per year from glacial deposits near McNab Creek, a salmon-spawning stream. It's in a preliminary stage of environmental assessment.


FortisBC has proposed a 52-km long, $520-million pipeline linking to the proposed Woodfibre LNG project. The project is currently under environmental assessment.


The $5.2-billion project proposes a new ski resort for Brohm Ridge in the Cheakamus River watershed. It would include 23 ski lifts and 1,675 hotel units. Currently under environmental assessment.


The $1-billion development near Britannia Beach would see 3,000 new homes and an estimated 8,000 new residents. Provincial environmental assessment not required.


A Squamish Nation and Concord Pacific partnership proposes 1,400 new homes in a masterplanned community. Cost of the Porteau Cove project was not immediately available. Provincial environmental assessment not required.

Associated Graphic

John Buchanan checks for herring eggs along a wharf near Squamish where a proposed LNG site would be located.


Greg Suidy, owner of Sunshine Kayaking in Gibsons, isn't fundamentally opposed to the return of industry 'but somebody has to really be on top of it.'



The greens of Northern Ireland
Enchanting golf road trip meanders through idyllic villages that dot the shores of the Irish Sea
Thursday, May 28, 2015 – Print Edition, Page D6

NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND -- As I walked up the 18th fairway at Royal County Down, one of the world's truly great golf courses and the venue for this week's Irish Open, the sun slipped through a crack in the overcast skies. The changing light cast a warm glow on the final green and gave definition to the grand Slieve Donard hotel and the mist-shrouded Mountains of Mourne off in the distance.

It was a magical, almost supernatural conclusion to a golfthemed road trip through Northern Ireland.

Whether inspired by nature or just the beneficiary of sheer blind luck, I made a par on that final hole despite driving my tee shot into a deep fairway bunker, and I posted my lowest score on the brief but amazing visit that included rounds at Royal Portrush and Castlerock.

These links, all more than 100 years old, all ruggedly beautiful, all nestled among seaside sand dunes shaped by the ever-present wind, are must-plays for any golfer who takes the game seriously enough to fly overseas in search of its roots and essence.

As good and memorable as they are, the courses were merely stops on a road trip that took me along the breath-taking Causeway Coastal Route, beginning outside Belfast and meandering through numerous idyllic villages that dot the shores of the Irish Sea. The trip included a stay at the Bushmills Inn in Carnlough, and a visit to a familiar Game of Thrones scene, Ballintoy Harbour.

In this case, the journey was as amazing as the daily golfing destinations.

The journey began on Aer Lingus to Dublin, followed by an easy, two-hour shuttle ride into Northern Ireland's capital of Belfast.

A battleground of sectarian violence for 30 years, mostly through the 1970s and '80s, Belfast is a city on the rebound, increasingly cosmopolitan and modern with development on every corner.

As much as I found Belfast a pleasant surprise, I was there to golf, and the best golf is outside the city.

Like Belfast, Northern Ireland itself isn't vast - it's larger in area than, say, Cape Breton Island but smaller than the Okanagan Valley or Southwestern Ontario. It would be easy to zip from one corner to the other on its interior highways. But that isn't the way to see it.

To experience its best attributes and even its soul, you must stay tight to the Irish Sea and travel along the two-lane Causeway Coastal road that seemingly gets narrower the further you go north and northwest from Belfast.

Full disclosure: I did not drive myself during my Northern Ireland visit. Travelling with three other golfers and all our gear, not to mention being shy about driving on the "other" side of the road, I was content to ride in a chauffeured van.

But the road trip experience was none the lesser.

The first courses on the itinerary, Castlerock and Royal Portrush, are both near the northern tip of Northern Ireland (all of Ireland, actually), so that first day of travel offered a lengthy and steady immersion into the rural milieu.

Picking up the Causeway Coastal Route about 40 minutes from Belfast's city centre, at Larne and not far from the impressive Ballygally Castle, we passed through a series of villages frozen in time, still connected to their farming and fishing roots.

T o the left as you drive north, small rectangular fields divided by hedgerows rise into the hills. This patchwork look is the result of (controversial) land division policies established in the early 1600s by England's King James I.

As much as the green and organized fields put my mind at ease, my attention kept getting yanked back to the right side of the road, to the grey, less-peaceful and heaving Irish Sea that splashes up on the shore's basaltic (black volcanic) rocks.

On a clear day, one can supposedly see Scotland to the east.

(The Mull of Kintyre is just 11 kilometres off the Irish Coast at Torr Head, for example.)

T he two-lane Causeway Coastal road dates back to the early 1800s, when it was built to move British troops north and south efficiently. The engineer, William Bold, simply laid the road along the jagged contours of the coast.

While modern designers might have chosen a straighter path inland, Bold's plan "has left us with one of the nicest coastal roads in Europe," says Ken McElroy, a tour guide who joined us for part of the journey.

Nicest, yes. But also one of the most precarious. The edge of the road is separated from the cliffs and inclines that fall away to the beach by a mere metre of pavement and a waist-high rock fence that somehow serves as a guardrail.

It narrows to such an extent between Cushendun and Torr Head that coaches and caravans, as RVs are often called here, are prohibited and must make a detour. The road is not for the faint of heart, but the courageous are rewarded with mesmerizing views.

A s for stops along the way, I particularly enjoyed quaint Carnlough. Its harbour was filled with fishing boats and its docks were lined with lobster pots.

Winston Churchill once owned the small hotel (Londonderry Arms) in town.

Bushmills was tasty, perhaps for obvious reasons. The village, where we stayed for two nights at the charming Bushmills Inn, is home to the Irish whisky distillery of the same name. It's the only working distillery in Northern Ireland and the best place to get a fiery, throatwarming dram at 10:30 a.m. if, like us, that's when you happen to visit.

Among the more famous sights along the route, both near Bushmills, are the Giant's Causeway , a natural wonder of 40,000 rock columns formed by ancient volcanic eruptions, and Dunluce Castle .

The castle was the former stronghold of the MacDonnels, a Scottish clan who were dominant in the area in the 17th century. Part of the castle collapsed in the sea in 1639 but the rest of its ruins remain as a tourist attraction - and one of the country's best photo opportunities.

T he countryside is so untouched by modernity that some scenes in the popular HBO series Game of Thrones, set centuries ago in the age of knights and chivalry, are shot outdoors there. (Other scenes are filmed indoors at a studio in Belfast's Titanic Quarter, and in Iceland and Croatia.)

I checked out some of its more famous locations, like Ballintoy Harbour (where ships come ashore), the Dark Hedges that form an eerie archway over a road near Ballymoney and the caves at Cushendun, where the show's "shadow baby" was born.

Hard-core Game of Thrones fans can sign up for organized tours - and even don costumes for scene re-enactments through various charter companies - or take their own self-guided driving tours of one, two or even three days.

Game of Thrones, in its fifth season, is the talk of Northern Ireland. Locals spoke proudly of the show and its stars, who frequent Belfast's restaurants and pubs without fuss or fanfare.

The city's favourite son, Van Morrison, was the only celebrity mention I heard more often.

Bushmills and its inn, with its street-front pub, abundant fireplaces, cozy nooks and country-chic rooms, served as a perfect launching pad for our first two golf courses, Castlerock and Royal Portrush.

Castlerock might not have the name recognition of Portrush or Royal County Down, but it's a strong links that really takes off in quality midway through the front nine. It's well worth playing.

Portrush has more cachet, perhaps because of its famous members, who include major champions Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell. It will play host to the 2019 Open Championship and is about to undergo a renovation to make it worthy of the tournament. One of the biggest changes is creating a couple of new holes and abandoning the current 17th and 18th, which, oddly, are the only two weak ones on the course.

Royal County Down in Newcastle is Northern Ireland's jewel, regarded highly by the golf intelligentsia (Golf Digest calls it the fourth best course in the world, the best outside the United States) and regular golfers alike.

The holes wind through towering dunes and, while they're challenging and occasionally quirky (blind shots abound), the course is playable and fun.

It will be interesting to see how some of the world's best professionals handle the course this week at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (as it is fully called). Undoubtedly, they'll play a much longer course than I did, and it will be set up to present the sternest of tests.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is from Holywood, just outside Belfast, will be in the field and serve as host. "It's sort of like my fifth major this year," McIlroy said this month in a U.S. television interview.

His presence alone will make the championship a big deal, but other European stars such as McDowell, Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia, and American Rickie Fowler will add to the wattage.

And Royal County Down will get its share of attention.

The writer was a guest of Tourism Ireland. Content was not subject to approval.

Associated Graphic

The Causeway Coastal Route, in County Antrim.


The Dark Hedges, near Stranocum in County Antrim, off the beaten path but a detour worth taking. Also a Game of Thrones location.


The jewel of Northern Ireland's golf courses: Royal County Down.


As voting wraps up on $7.5-billion subway, rail and road plan, there are still more questions than answers, Frances Bula writes
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

Canada's first experiment in holding a public vote on whether to finance transit with a new tax has wobbled uncertainly down the track in Vancouver for the past two months.

As the country's largest cities struggle with how to pay for the transit demand created by a new urban generation, the region will either lead the way with a unique method of funding transit or prove conclusively that asking the public to volunteer to pay taxes is an exercise in futility.

Voting ends May 29 with the Yes side continuing its massive advertising and telephone townhall campaigns and the No side sporadically saying what a waste of money it all is. Results will be announced in either June or July.

If Yes campaigners in the Vancouver region manage to pull off a win, other cities and provinces will have to wonder whether they are going to be left behind when federal infrastructure money is doled out. Two Ontario regions have already pondered the referendum idea in the past five years, and other jurisdictions have quietly talked about it.

"One of the easiest things to do in government is say no to an idea because the municipality proposing it doesn't have its funding in place."

Transit referendums are a novelty for Canada (the only other one was in 1946, when voters had to approve a bond measure to build the Yonge subway line in Toronto). But they're becoming increasingly the main mechanism for getting new money in the United States.

"The U.S. experience has been that local agencies have been moving more aggressively into voter-referral processes to respond to funding challenges," says Jason Jordan, the director of the Washington, D.C., non-profit Center for Transportation Excellence. "This has proven to be a politically palatable way to do this."

But even American experts hope the U.S. model doesn't spread to Canada.

"I think the precedent being set should be somewhat concerning. What you get with a referendum is a lot of oversimplification," says Jarrett Walker, a public-transit planning consultant in Portland.

That certainly proved true in the Lower Mainland the past nine weeks. While the campaign sparked an unprecedented and often informative dialogue about transit, financing and political leadership, it also immediately generated a startlingly harsh debate, unleashing public anger typically only seen during throwthe-bums-out elections.

"I've had people tell me they're voting No because they're mad about the increase in MSP [medical service premium] fees," said Jonathan Cote, the 33-year-old mayor of New Westminster, one of the 18 mayors stumping for the Yes side.

"It's turned into a debate about the value of government."

The bitterest public responses in the conversation so far have been about whether the Lower Mainland's transportation agency, or in fact any level of government, can be trusted with any money.

A sign of the vitriol level: The CEO of the TransLink agency was abruptly removed from his job a month before the vote because, the board chair said, of the lack of public confidence people had in management.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said mayors across the country have told him they're unimpressed with the idea of having a plebiscite for funding basic infrastructure.

"[The referendum's] definitely not seen as a positive approach to funding essential infrastructure," said Mr. Robertson, who met with the country's big-city mayors February in Ottawa to lobby for housing and transit money in the federal budget.

Canada's metropolitan regions, like those in the U.S., are seeing a demographic, cultural and economic shift. Millennials, retiring boomers and businesses are gravitating to densifying city centres and transit-friendly locations.

When the demographic tide was flowing the other way in the 1950s, as the young boomers ditched cities for the familyfriendly suburbs, federal governments threw money at roadbuilding and highway expansion.

But the transportation investment needed for the latest shift is proving more difficult to finance. Population growth alone - the new fares and property taxes of those moving in - isn't enough to pay for it, because transit use goes up faster than population as cities densify.

Transit projects that lift a city from one level of transit service to the next are extremely expensive and, if planning is done right, require investments to be made long before the future riders arrive.

Montreal, Ontario's major cities and Vancouver have struggled to find revenue taps that could be turned on through legislation to pay for the big jump they need.

Montreal has talked about taking a cut from development profits.

Ontario's Premier and various Toronto mayors have looked at different types of new taxes. No one has found the golden formula or been willing to take the unpopular plunge into imposing new taxes.

But the Premier of B.C., Canada's outlier province with its penchant for referendums and recall initiatives, tossed out a promise during her election campaign last year to go the American route and put the question to the voters.

Lower Mainland mayors, who don't have any direct control over TransLink, were less than enthused. But faced with no other options, 18 of the region's 21 mayors have thrown themselves into championing the 10-year plan and the sales tax as their last hope.

The only polls that were done, prior to the start of voting March 16, indicated that the region's 1.5 million voters were unlikely to say Yes.

Yes supporters quietly acknowledge their original hope was that turnout would be so low that it would give the more dedicated Yes voters an edge. In fact, turnout in every municipality has already exceeded what it was for municipal elections last fall, ranging at this point from a low of 37 per cent in Surrey to highs of 43 per cent in Vancouver and 45 per cent in Langley and North Vancouver. So it's anyone's guess.

Statistics from the U.S. Center for Transportation Excellence, funded by the transit industry, indicate that about 70 per cent of transit referendums in that country succeed, contrary to the stereotype that taxpayers, especially American ones, will never agree to pay more taxes.

No one is willing to place a bet on where Vancouver will fall on that data map. More like Los Angeles? Or more like Atlanta?

In L.A., where residents have traditionally been tax-averse, more than two-thirds agreed in 2008 to a half-per-cent sales-tax increase to pay for a 30-year, $40billion transit-expansion plan.

The campaign, led by then-mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, became the standard for how to win a transit referendum.

But in Atlanta, in one of the most resounding defeats in recent transit-financing memory, a small, Tea Party-like group of opponents with almost no budget managed to persuade local residents to reject, by almost a two-thirds majority, a proposal for a one-per-cent sales tax to pay for a raft of local projects.

That 2012 proposal had been supported by a Republican governor, a Democrat mayor, several business groups and an $8-million campaign.

On paper, Vancouver should be following in Los Angeles's train tracks. Local leaders have cobbled together a broad coalition: most of the region's mayors, business groups, unions, the David Suzuki Foundation, the restaurant and food-service association, the YWCA, the federal port authority.

Regional mayors are promoting the plan they developed last year that provided something for every part of the region, which should be another strong selling point.

And their opposition is comparatively puny. Like the group in Atlanta did, Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is operating with a laughable budget - about $40,000, he says.

His public supporters, aside from the reliably anti-tax Canadian Federation of Independent Business, have been mostly marginal figures.

But the messages from Mr. Bateman, who has devoted a significant part of his time the past couple of years to highlighting mismanagement at TransLink, have resonated with the public.

About 70 per cent of both Noand Yes-leaning voters said in the early polls and the numerous telephone town halls with mayors that they didn't trust TransLink. People complained that it's been two years since TransLink started installing faregates and developing smart cards, but the system still isn't working; that the CEO's near half-million-dollar salary (and the fact that he'll still be getting it for a year after being removed from his job); and that a couple of spectacular recent breakdowns are proof things are dysfunctional.

"If this fails, I think it will force all these political people to get in the room and show some leadership to change TransLink," Mr. Bateman said as he launched his campaign.

But all indications from American cities - where transit agencies are also unloved - are that this isn't what happens. Instead, local politicians resign themselves to a transit mess. Or they get the money elsewhere. Or they try again and succeed.

Associated Graphic

A Skytrain arrives at Commercial-Broadway station in Vancouver Friday. Expanded regional rail connections are a key component of the proposed transit plan.


Vancouver Councillor Adriane Carr urges a woman at the Broadway-City Hall SkyTrain station to vote Yes for the transit plan.


Friday, March 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P28

Barbados's sumptuous gardens and rugged east coast provide the perfect backdrop for a resort wardrobe mixing delicate fabrics with tactile weaves. As Andrew Sardone discovers during a visit to the island's less-travelled parishes, they also offer a balance of luxurious and laid-back experiences that add up to a unique Caribbean getaway


The original Crane, often called the oldest hotel in the Caribbean, is now the centrepiece of a sprawling resort combining a traditional Bajan aesthetic with contemporary amenities. Tunic, $545 at Tory Burch ( Hat, $25 at ALDO ( Necklace, $800, bracelet, $405 at Arielle de Pinto ( Paul Andrew sandals, $495 at Nordstrom (


Once Barbados's grandest mansion, Farley Hill House caught fire in the 1960s and has slowly been reclaimed by the land. Its remains serve as the background for a series of music festivals held every year in Farley Hill National Park. Kaelen dress, $650 at Louis Boston ( Woven sneakers, $350 at Michael Kors ( Earrings, $250 at Arielle de Pinto ( Sofia by Vix bag, $88 through


Hidden below tall limestone cliffs and backed by a dense coconut grove, Crane Beach often makes it onto lists of the best stretches of sand in the world. Sportmax dress, $1,295 for similar styles at Max Mara boutiques ( Preen by Thornton Bregazzi sunglasses, $230 through Earrings, $187, ring, $293 at Arielle de Pinto (


On the east side of Barbados, the Atlantic Ocean often swells with large waves (hence this coast's rep as a surfer's paradise), while the wind blowing off the azure water keeps sunbathers cool on humid afternoons. Sweater, $1,330 at Mulberry ( Skirt, $379 through Earrings, $250 at Arielle de Pinto ( Shoes, $1,045 through


The centre of the island is full of stunning natural rainforests and richly planted botanical gardens including Welchman Hall Gully, Orchid World and flourishing Hunte's Gardens, pictured here. Thakoon vest, $1,850 (U.S.), skirt, $590 (U.S.) through Reinhard Plank for Tibi hat, $245 (U.S.) through Necklace, $1,606 through

To watch this season's resort wear come to life in Barbados, download the free Globe Style Advisor iPad app at

Anthony Hunte's secret garden fills a deep gully in the Bajan parish of St. Joseph. Its steep staircases and stone pathways are lined with bursting beds of papyrus pom poms and prehistorically scaled palm fronds that lead visitors to discreet clearings outfitted with rattan loungers and ornate patio sets.

To gain entry to this fairy-tale rain forest - known locally as "the most enchanting place on earth" - you ring a brass hand bell and wait for the eccentric horticulturalist to descend from his home high above the jungle. When you're finished exploring the lush landscape, he might invite you back up to the plantation property's original stable building for a glass of rum punch, the Caribbean island's signature cocktail.

That ubiquitous drink is well known to regular visitors to Barbados, as are the posh resorts (from Sandy Lane to the Fairmont Royal Pavilion) that line its well-travelled west coast. But there's a whole other, more relaxed Barbados to experience if you venture further inland to spots like Hunte's Gardens and emerge on the other side of the island, where some of the world's best beaches are nestled between towering cliffs and dramatic Atlantic breakers.

"The west coast of Barbados is more manicured, more pristine and more developed, [but] the east coast is more rugged, with crashing surf and dramatic coastlines," says Canadian Paul Doyle, who has been the owner of The Crane, an iconic east-coast hotel, since 1989. Originally opened in 1887 with just 18 rooms, it now boasts 252 suites, many with their own meticulously manicured gardens and private plunge pools. Resort guests split their time between the property's six bars and restaurants (options include the white-washed L'Azure, host to hot-ticket Sunday gospel brunches, and the casual Carriage House overlooking the hotel's five pools) and the blue umbrella-shaded lounge chairs that line Crane Beach.

"We benefit from wonderfully clean air," Doyle says, describing the attraction of the stretch of powdery pink sand that lies below the resort. "The breezes that hit land at The Crane have been cleaned all across the ocean from Africa." Doyle is so committed to this side of Barbados that he's currently developing a new property up the coast from The Crane called Beach Houses. On the limited land not set aside for Barbados National Park will rise 63 two- and three-bedroom contemporary villas with infinity pools and views over Skeete's Bay and Culpepper Island.

When built, those homes will be a 20-minute drive south of one of the island's most picturesque restaurant patios. Overlooking the ocean, The Atlantis Hotel's breezy terrace is quintessentially Caribbean. On Sundays and Wednesdays, a generous buffet of pepperpot, rice and peas, pumpkin fritters and other Bajan bites draws large crowds of locals and tourists.

The hot night to visit Oistins Fish Fry on the south coast is Friday. Colourful stalls like Pat's Place grill up swordfish steaks and other fresh seafood, serving it with traditional sides like macaroni pie and local Banks beer. Back by Crane Beach, Cutters Deli is known for its lime-smoked mahi mahi pate, battered flying fish and, arguably, the best rum punch of all the Barbados rum punches made with dark rum, raw sugar, lime juice, bitters and nutmeg (owners Roger and Kim Goddard also bottle the cocktail for visitors who want to extend their vacations with a glass back home).

The Goddards use Cockspur Old Gold in their mix and stock the Barbadian distillery's aged and overproof spirits at Cutters. Rum lovers looking to sip some of the island's other more refined vintages can also visit the Foursquare Rum Distillery (where the aforementioned Anthony Hunte created a 10-year-old reserve blend of column and pot-distilled rums) and St. Nicholas Abbey (a Jacobean plantation house in St. Peter).

If it's an interest in architecture that brings you to the abbey, nearby Farley Hill House should also be on your itinerary. The once-grand structure - visited often by British royalty and used as a set for the 1957 film Island in the Sun, but destroyed by fire in the 1960s - is off-limits to the public as nature slowly reclaims the ruin. Visitors, though, can still stroll the grounds and walk to the top of Farley Hill, where the wild beauty of Barbados' east coast extends out to the endless turquoise sea.



A boutique hotel overlooking Tent Bay, this spot is known for buffet brunches featuring local flavours on Wednesday and Sunday. Brunch prices range between $70 and $90 Barbadian dollars. (Barbados's currency is pegged to the American dollar, with $2 BDS equalling $1 U.S. The greenback itself is widely accepted on the island.)


This new east coast development will incorporate luxurious villas, a boutique hotel and a pair of restaurants for residents and visitors. Prices range from $56,000 (U.S.) for four weeks of fractional ownership to $2.5-million.


The Crane owes its laid-back vibe to a mix of residents and guests, many of them Canadian. Room rates start at $500 (U.S.) a night.


Just up the road from The Crane, Cutters is open daily for breakfast, lunch and early dinner and offers delivery to Crane Beach.


The National Conservation Commission manages this 17-acre park that hosts events like Gospel Fest and Soca on de Hill.


Classical music mixes with the sound of the warm Bajan breeze rustling the leaves of towering palms at this lush destination. Admission is $30 BDS.


Friday is the most popular night to visit this family-friendly food market, but it's bustling all weekend long with hungry visitors. A full dinner ranges between $25 and $40 BDS.


One of the island's most iconic plantation houses, St. Nicholas Abbey still maintains its eclectic interior and a museum documenting its 350-year history. Adult admission is $40 BDS.

To mark 65 years of commercial air travel between Toronto and Barbados, Air Canada recently launched daily Boeing 777 flights between Pearson International Airport and Bridgetown. Visit for details and bookings.

For more information on planning your own Bajan getaway, visit Barbados Tourism Marketing's website,

Associated Graphic


PHOTO SHOOT CREDITS Styling by Odessa Paloma Parker. Makeup and hair by Robert Weir for TRESemmé Hair Care/

Dress, price on request at Boss ( Necklace, $800, bracelet, $438 at Arielle de Pinto. Preen by Thornton Bregazzi sunglasses, $230 through

The father of evidence-based medicine
'Giant among giants' influenced research and treatment across health care spectrum, from pediatrics to geriatrics
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

In his final year of medical school, David Sackett was entrusted with the care of a teenager being treated for what is now call hepatitis A. At the time, the late 1950s, the standard treatment was months of bed rest, the belief being that until the liver receded to its normal size, activity would surely result in death.

As the weeks dragged on, the teenager grew ever more restless; spurred by daily confrontations with a patient begging to roam, the medical student began to wonder what the evidence was for strict immobility.

In the days before the Internet and PubMed, the soon-to-be Dr. Sackett turned to the U.S. Armed Forces Medical Library. There, he discovered an elegantly simple study that took two groups of soldiers with hepatitis and randomly assigned them to bed rest or regular activity and found that they had precisely the same outcomes.

There was no evidence that bed rest was useful; the "conventional wisdom" that guided medical practice was bunk.

On that day, he read his first randomized clinical trial and discovered the power of evidence, an epiphany that changed his life and, eventually, the practice of medicine in the Western world.

He also apologized to his patient and told him to walk around as much as he liked.

Dr. Sackett, professor emeritus at McMaster University in Hamilton, died on May 13 at the age of 80 of metastatic cholangiocarcinoma (cancer of the bile ducts).

He is widely known as the father of evidence-based medicine, a movement The BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal) described as one of the most important medical advances in the past 150 years, alongside the discovery of vaccines and antibiotics.

"He was a giant among giants," P.J. Devereaux, a professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster, said in an interview. "He will be remembered as one of the greats, on a par with William Osler."

Dr. Devereaux said that what is amazing about Dr. Sackett is that he influenced medicine across a broad spectrum, from pediatrics to geriatrics, not just in one specialized area.

For the lay public, the notion that medicine should be evidence-based may seem self-evident. In fact, medical practice was long rooted in tradition and expert opinion.

Dr. Sackett challenged what he called the "we've always done it that way" mentality and poohpoohed anecdote-driven practice.

Instead of taking medical textbooks as gospel (in his day, the sacred text was Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine), he insisted on knowing the evidence and, if there was none, developing clinical trials to find the answers.

His methods and philosophy, now standard practice, have helped determine everything from what surgery is best after a heart attack to what type of hospital administration provides the best bang for the buck. He personally led several landmark trials, notably one showing that Aspirin was effective in preventing recurrence of heart attacks and strokes.

David Lawrence Sackett - "Sack" to his friends - was born on Nov. 17, 1934, in Chicago, the son of an artist-designer father, DeForest, and homemaker-bibliophile mother, Margaret (née Ross). A self-described "prototypical geek," he was a tall, awkward child with poor eyesight and worse teeth (he wore braces before they were common), but was nevertheless happy-go-lucky.

At 12, he suffered from polio and spent months in bed, becoming a voracious reader. As part of his recovery, he took up running and became a gregarious track star. He also developed a life-long love for music, barber shop-style singing in particular.

While he excelled academically, his high school record was most notable for its abundance of misconduct slips, a result of what he described as a "predilection for marching to a different drummer." He followed his two brothers to Lawrence College in Appleton, Wis., where he discovered an interest in physiology, and was pointed toward medicine. He chose the University of Illinois because, at $500 a year, it was the only medical school he could afford.

In his final year of med school, in 1959, he decided to become an internist and then specialize in nephrology. But he nurtured an interest in clinical trials, the result being that he often clashed with colleagues about whether their care was evidence-based.

In 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis, he was drafted, and assigned to the U.S. Public Health Service. There, he learned epidemiology and wondered how it could apply to clinical medicine.

This application of public health methods to medicine would shape his career.

"David pioneered the approach of bringing public health methods to clinical care. He insisted that sound evidence guides practice for the sake of the patient," said Brian Haynes, a former student who is now a professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster.

In 1967, Dr. Sackett was wooed to McMaster by the legendary John Evans. Together, they helped reshape medical education with hands-on, evidence-based approach to learning.

After founding McMaster's department of clinical epidemiology at 32, Dr. Sackett remained at the university for 26 years, producing a monumental body of research, including writing Clinical Epidemiology: A Basic Science For Clinical Medicine, often described as the bible of evidence-based medicine. He was also physician-in-chief at Chedoke Hospital in Hamilton.

Dr. Sackett called his method "critical appraisal." The term "evidence-based medicine" was coined in 1990 by one of his students, epidemiologist Gordon Guyatt.

Dr. Sackett founded the journal Evidence-Based Medicine, and became the first chair of the Cochrane Collaboration, a group that promotes evidence-based medicine around the world. He also became a much sought after medico-legal expert, heavily involved in monitoring the safety and efficacy of clinical trials.

In 1974, Dr. Sackett became a Canadian citizen. That year, during a sabbatical spent at the medical journal The Lancet, he discovered the writings of Kurt Vonnegut, an author who wrote wryly about the intersection of science and humanity.

A burly, jovial man, Dr. Sackett peppered his lectures with Vonnegutian wisdom and sneaked in the name Kilgore Trout (a character in Slaughterhouse-Five) as a co-author of some of his papers, as a way of poking fun at the establishment.

One of his most unusual decisions was to repeat his residency when he was 49; Dr. Sackett felt that practice had changed so much that he wasn't a good enough doctor any more.

In 1994, he moved to the University of Oxford in England to establish the International Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. He retired five years later, at 65. He also gave his last lecture about evidence-based medicine; he firmly believed that "experts" were an impediment to progress and change, so no career should last more than 10 years. (In all, he had eight distinct careers.)

In retirement, he and his wife, Barbara (née Bennett), settled in tiny Markdale, Ont., and founded the Trout Research & Education Centre. There, on the shores of Irish Lake, he conducted workshops and seminars about clinical trials, and continued to mentor young scientists. He mentored more than 300 during his career, and published extensively about the importance of mentorship, saying that the role of scientific elders should be to "serve the young."

The Sacketts embraced smalltown life, volunteering at the library, the United Church, and the Chapman's Ice Cream festival.

They also continued their esoteric ways, at one point renting an RV and seeking places in the United States named "Sackett."

He leaves his wife, Barbara; sons David, Charlie, Andy and Bob; eight grandchildren; and brother Jim.

In his long career, Dr. Sackett won many awards, including the 2009 Gairdner Wightman Award (often called the Baby Nobel), and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. But he was most proud of being named an officer of the Order of Canada, in 2001, because it recognized his contribution to the larger community, not just to medicine.

When word spread of his cancer diagnosis, Dr. Sackett was inundated with requests for interviews, which he rarely agreed to.

Aware that there was great interest in his career, he invited questions and, with the help of his wife and his close friend Dr.

Haynes, he essentially wrote an autobiography in question-andanswer format. He made his last contributions just days before he died. (The 103-page "interview" is available online at http:// David_L_Sackett_Interview_in_2014_2015.pdf.)

Dr. Sackett remained unpretentious to the end. Asked to explain his success, he again cited Kurt Vonnegut: "We are what we pretend to be."

One of the most common questions about his cancer diagnosis was whether, in his treatment, he received evidence-based care. Dr. Haynes relayed Dr. Sackett's cryptic answer - that someone who dedicated his life to evidencebased care "was bound to get a condition for which there is not much evidence."

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

David Sackett, who founded McMaster University's department of clinical epidemiology when he was 32, peppered his lectures with words of wisdom from author Kurt Vonnegut.


Hugs for sale
As the number of people who live alone rises, our culture is becoming increasingly touch deprived. To get some tactile therapy, Lisan Jutras hires a professional cuddler to see if money can buy that warm, fuzzy feeling
Friday, March 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

W hen the moment arrived, I guided Madison into my bedroom and we sat on the edge of the bed, laughing a bit nervously. "So ... what do we do now? How does this start?" I asked.

"Well," Madison answered in her soft voice, "I usually suggest we can start out by spooning. ... I'll be the big spoon."

"No!" I said, sweating slightly with alarm."Maybe you can start by just playing with my hair?" I lay with my head on a pillow on her lap."I can tell your mind is racing," Madison said, her fingers in my hair. "Was it a difficult day?" "This is me every day," I said.

But, admittedly, my mind was racing more than usual.

I had invited a professional cuddler into my house and now I was trying to "have a cuddle." I could already tell it was going to be a disaster.

I had the tunes going (a little minimalist Icelandic electronica), the lights down low (no candles - too romantic), the dog curled up with us. Everything was in place and I wasn't able to relax. I was going to squander my precious $35 half-hour with glowing, earnest Madison, who had changed into non-restrictive clothing just for the occasion. I wasn't able to perform! Frankly, I'd been dying for a cuddle. I didn't care what faces my friends and co-workers made when I told them - they seemed to regard cuddles-for-pay as faintly obscene or pathetic. I was going for it completely unironically.

What kind of monster doesn't enjoy a cuddle?

Of course, almost everyone does. Touch is both a human need and a pleasure. It releases oxytocin, a hormone that Stockholm physiologist Kerstin UvnasMoberg has studied for more than 30 years. She has observed that the hormone is present in us continuously but spikes in situations where a person feels especially safe, especially when skin-to-skin contact is involved.

"We know that breastfeeding does it, labour does it, sex does it.

Full sensory input that has a warm, touching quality can contribute to oxytocin release," she says. With increased oxytocin comes reduced blood pressure and stress levels, and an improved capacity of the body to heal.

Or, as Marylen Reid, a professional cuddler who runs the Cuddlery, puts it, "Oxytocin is called the 'cuddle hormone.' It's a really easy way to get happier."

Uvnas-Moberg feels that culturally, we are touch-deprived, overall. While a life partner and/or children (or even a dog or cat, in a pinch) can fulfill our needs quite naturally, "There are periods in life when you may not have somebody there," she says.

Recent census reports have shown that Canadians are marrying and having kids later than ever before (only 18 per cent of Canadians age 18 to 34 are married with children, in contrast to 42 per cent in 1971).

In the meantime, an unprecedented number are living alone.

This shift coincides with the rise of "cuddle culture." Last year, an app called Cuddlr was launched that paired would-be nuzzlers at Cuddle parties - events where friends gather and make like it's a sleepover - are having a resurgence after peaking in the early 2000s: Organizers in Vancouver say they've been holding up to seven parties a month.

Cuddle-for-pay companies are on the rise: Samantha Hess, owner of the high-profile Portland, Ore., business Cuddle Up to Me, held a CuddleCon last month. And in January, two new companies, and the Cuddlery, Madison's employer, announced they'd be opening in Toronto.

Reid has run the Cuddlery out of Vancouver for three months.

Formerly a lawyer, she came up with the idea four years ago, after moving back to Canada from Europe. "I was in a really competitive field and my affection needs were not fulfilled," said Reid, who now has cuddlers in six Canadian cities. "I thought that if I needed this service, probably other people needed it, too."

Cuddlers make both in- and out-calls, but all clients have to sign an agreement that blatantly states that the service is not sexual. It also stipulates that every session will be taped (without sound) to protect both parties from allegations of misconduct.

Madison was not overly concerned for her safety, although she acknowledged that other people (including me) worried for her. "I like to think the best of people," she told me. Gentle, non-judgmental and holding a BA in sociology with a minor in gender, sex and culture, Madison was someone for whom, it seemed to me, cuddling was a life calling.

"It's something that's always come really naturally for me," she said. "Growing up as someone who has a mild disability, touch has always been something that's been really healing for me and a really great way for me to connect to people." Connecting by touch is something that we are not great at in North America. In the 1960s, Sidney Jourard, a Canadian-born psychologist, did a famous (informal) study of how often people in different cultures touched.

Whereas an American couple in a restaurant were seen to touch twice in an hour, the number in Paris leapt to 110 times; in Puerto Rico, it skyrocketed to 180. "I talk to a lot of immigrants that are from Latin America [about living here] and they think it's really hard," said Reid, who is from Quebec.

In Sweden, another low-contact society, some schools have implemented a Peaceful Touch program, which focuses on pairing up children to practise light massage above the shoulder, and "touch games." "If you do that repeatedly, you get very clear effects," Ulvas-Moberg said.

"You increase the bonding of the group, you reduce the aggression and the loudness."

In Canada, as we get older, we tend to assume we will get all our touch needs met by our sexual partner. But where does that leave people who don't have cuddly partners, or who are single? For men, this has traditionally been addressed by the sex industry. As Nikki Thomas, a former sex worker and former executive director of the Sex Professionals of Canada, points out, sex is only a part of the experience of visiting a sex worker.

"I used to say a two-hour appointment and a one-hour appointment would involve the same amount of actual sex," she said. "It's what happens in between that makes the difference."

Not everyone is a natural at what happens in between, Reid points out, which is why she provides lots of training for her staff. She likes them to be compassionate and giving, as well as technically proficient. She does a background check and, through conversation and "tough questions," makes sure the candidate is non-judgmental and compassionate.

Training begins before the interview process is done - there's an online video to watch, followed by an audition. In a cuddle audition, Reid watches two cuddlers and asks the cuddlee to provide feedback, as well as providing instruction herself.

"The variety in positions that are available is really interesting and the positions people gravitate to are really interesting," Madison said.

In my appointment, I gravitated to many, many positions.

After 45 minutes of being ordered to try different things ("Can you rub my back?" "Can you tickle my forearm?" "Can you massage my face?"), Madison patiently checked in with me. We agreed it was a natural time to end the session. "Were you able to get anything out of it?" she wondered.

"Maybe for a few seconds," I said.

Sadly, I realized, I couldn't will myself to enjoy a cuddle-forhire, no matter how much I wanted it. As someone who finds even the smell of my neighbour's venting dryer intimate, I should have realized from the get-go that there was no way I was going to be able to be comfortable spooning a stranger.

Madison mentioned to me that she keeps books by her bed so that clients can read while they are cuddled, which seems wise to me. "Some people might just want to hold hands while they watch a movie and that's enough for them," she said. In hindsight, we should have taken it slower. (We definitely should not have attempted the "681/2," a position from a book called The Cuddle Sutra.)

Uvnas-Moberg emphasizes that "touch-linked oxytocin release is reserved mainly for those people you really know and you trust."

As trustworthy and caring as Madison seemed, we didn't really know each other. Emotionless touch, for me, at least, means empty touch. And I think this is probably true for most of us, or else we would spend our whole lives designing and buying evermore fancy and expensive cuddle bots that would never flag or fart or fall asleep before we were done.

Associated Graphic

Staff from the Cuddlery held a training session last weekend in Stanley Park in Vancouver.


Marylen Reid, owner of Cuddlery, and her staff demonstrate their professional techniques.


Inside the independent research centre that challenges auto makers to crash-proof their vehicles
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, May 28, 2015 – Print Edition, Page D1

RUCKERSVILLE, VA. -- Subaru is the only auto maker with IIHS Top Safety Pick designation for six consecutive years on all models.

Why does this matter for the car-buying public? What, after all, is the relevance of the IIHS ratings in an industry littered with acronyms?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety [IIHS] independently subjects vehicles to five separate crash tests to determine the level of accident protection for drivers and passengers. While motivated by commercial self-interest - after all, the fewer the fatalities and serious injuries, the less money paid out for insurance claims - the non-profit agency has arguably done more to advance the crash-worthiness of today's cars than government agencies anywhere.

The IIHS ups the ante over the minimum safety standards set by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which effectively establishes Canadian criteria. Since 1995, its practice of crash-testing cars and light trucks more rigorously - and publicizing the results widely - has established the ratings as the de facto benchmark for the industry.

"Through consumer pressure and not wanting to be left behind, manufacturers do make changes" to ensure positive results in the IIHS tests, says Raul Arbelaez, vice-president of operations.

Auto makers are reacting with increasing alacrity. For instance, when an early production sample of the 2015 Honda Fit scored "marginal" in one crash test, Honda redesigned a bumper beam and provided a free retrofit to owners of 2015 Fits that had been built before the change.

To qualify for Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn "good" ratings in four tests - side, moderateoverlap frontal, roof strength and head restraint - as well as a "good" or "acceptable" rating in the small-overlap front-crash test.

Top Safety Pick vehicles outfitted further with a front-crash prevention system get the plus sign - Top Safety Pick+.

Earlier this month, the 2015 Audi Q5 earned a Top Safety Pick+ designation after the auto maker made a structural change to improve its mid-size luxury SUV's performance in a smalloverlap frontal test. Vehicles coming off the assembly line since January have a reinforced front end and passenger compartment; intrusion was restricted to 10 centimetres when its left front corner collided with a barrier.

Vehicles are categorized by segment such as "small cars" and "light SUVs." In Subaru's case, the Impreza, Crosstrek, Forester, Legacy and Outback achieved the highest overall ranking in their respective categories, and the only vehicles to receive top-level Superior rating for an optional front crash-prevention system.

The Forester has scored "good" in every test conducted since its first in 1999; ditto the Impreza since 2002 and the XV Crosstrek since its debut in 2013. Apart from an "acceptable" small-overlap rating in 2013 and 2014 (improved to "good" with the 2015 redesign) the Legacy and Outback have scored across-the-board "goods" since 2006.

"We have worked for a long time at building to a standard that exceeds the minimum NHTSA requirements," says Ted Lalka, Subaru Canada vice-president of product planning and marketing.

We have other brand pillars ... but the first priority is always safety."

In 2002, the IIHS developed its own side-impact crash test because a sled-mounted barrier used by the government was shaped like a low-to-the-ground passenger car from the early 1970s. It failed to properly reflect the impact of popular SUVs and pickups, at a time when the IIHS saw "a disproportionate number of injuries to occupants of struck vehicles because trucks ride higher and are heavier," said Raul Arbelaez, vice-president of the vehicle research centre at IIHS.

To mark its 50th anniversary in 2009, the organization staged a head-on collision between a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu and a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air to demonstrate how far crash-worthiness has come. Despite weighing about 200 pounds more than the Malibu, the Bel Air virtually imploded in a moderate-overlap crash - both cars moving at 64 kilometres an hour, colliding with 40 per cent of their frontal widths. That differs from the mandatory federal test, which crashes vehicles across their full width and at only 56 km/h. Despite the Bel Air's greater size and longer hood, the collision crushed the passenger compartment, thrusting the pedals and the steering wheel backward just as the "driver" was being thrown forward. All measurements taken from the car and from the crash-test dummy indicated a real driver would have been seriously injured or killed.

The cars are on display in the IIHS research centre.

Even the 2009 Malibu wouldn't be considered state-of-the-art by today's standards, but the measurements indicated the driver would have suffered at most a "possible left-foot injury." The front structure collapsed as intended - to absorb crash energy and reduce the "suddenness" of the impact - while the passenger compartment remained intact.

In 2010, the Malibu received better head restraints, in 2013 it added standard rear side torso airbags and, for 2014, GM reinforced the frontal structure to improve the car's IIHS rating from "marginal" to "good" in the smalloverlap test.

The small-overlap test impacts only 25 per cent of the vehicle's frontal width. Many vehicles that did well in the moderate-overlap test did poorly in the small-overlap, as the outboard portions of the vehicle have less crashabsorbing structure. But when manufacturers beefed up their structures for the test, some did so only on the driver's side. The institute plans some passengerside tests to "send a warning shot."

Manufacturers have adapted to the longer-standing IIHS tests, but are catching up to meet the small-overlap test introduced in 2012. One industry figure who asked not to be named asked rhetorically whether the test was introduced by the IIHS to stay relevant as modern vehicles now routinely pass the original four tests.

The influential Society of Automotive Engineers recently sponsored a webcast seminar on the small-overlap test. IIHS engineer Becky Mueller reported that so far 18 models that did poorly in the test have been redesigned and 16 improved ratings in retesting.

But she noted that structural changes can change the way the vehicle moves upon impact - some spin around, while others laterally glance off the barrier.

That alters the way the dummy moves around during impact, which in turn may require change to restraint systems.

When identical Smarts were crash-tested at 64 km/h, one was more severely damaged than the other. Why? Because one performed well in the standard test into a fixed barrier, which generates crash forces equivalent to hitting another car of the same weight going at the same speed.

The other, crashed into a heavier car going the same speed, incurred greater damage.

"The laws of physics apply no matter what you drive," Arbelaez says. "The bigger, heavier object is always going to win."

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.


Moderate overlap frontal test: Forty per cent of the total width of the vehicle collides with a barrier on the driver side, replicating forces involving two same-weight vehicles going 64 km/h.

Small overlap frontal test: Introduced in 2012, it replicates the damage inflicted when a vehicle going 64 km/h collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole.

Side crash: A 1,360-kg SUV-like device hits the side of the vehicle being tested at 50 km/h. Crashtest dummies in the driver seat and rear seat represent small women or 12-year-old children.

Roof strength: A metal plate presses against the roof at a constant speed to assess strength-toweight ratio.

Head restraint: Assesses how well a dummy's torso, neck and head withstand a rear-end collision at 32 km/h.


Top Safety Pick+ winners, 2015 model cars, all equipped with "optional" front crash prevention except Volvo (standard), as assessed by the IIHS.


Lexus CT 200h1 Mazda 3 Subaru Impreza Subaru XV Crosstrek Toyota Prius


Chrysler 200 Mazda 6 4-door sedan Subaru Legacy Subaru Outback Toyota Camry Toyota Prius

MIDSIZE LUXURY/NEAR LUXURY CARS Acura TLX Audi A3 BMW 2 Series Infiniti Q50 Volvo S60 Volvo V60


Acura RLX Hyundai Genesis Infiniti Q70 Lexus RC Mercedes E-Class Volvo S80


Honda CR-V Mazda CX-5 4-door Mitsubishi Outlander Subaru Forester


Nissan Murano Toyota Highlander


Acura MDX Audi Q52 Lexus NX Mercedes M-Class Volvo XC60 .


Toyota Sienna

(1) Applies to vehicles built after September, 2014.

(2) Applies to vehicles built after January, 2015.


Video The biggest tech change is in the showroom, not the car.

Associated Graphic

The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu, left, did much better in a crash test than the 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air, which weighed 200 pounds more than the Malibu.


The IIHS added its own side-impact crash test in 2002, after noting that the federal test failed to reflect the rise of pickups and SUVs.


Highrise nation
Canadians are fast becoming vertical dwellers. A multi-year project by the NFB gave director Katerina Cizek the perfect vantage point to document this dramatic shift in how we live
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F3

Canada is becoming a highrise nation. Canadians, more of them every day, travel home in an elevator, to their unit in a row of buildings sometimes located in cities but often in the suburbs.

We are fast joining the rest of the world in becoming vertical dwellers. Because we rarely acknowledge our highrise identity and often don't notice it, we have little understanding of the impact it has on how we govern ourselves, plan our cities and raise families; we ignore the pressing need to redefine Canada as a nation of highrise-dwellers in the 21st-century.

For most of my life, I've disliked highrise buildings. It's with considerable humility that I've come to see what is directly in front of me. I've spent the last seven years investigating the highrise life, globally, as a documentarian in a unique experiment, the National Film Board of Canada's Highrise project. We set out to use these often-overlooked buildings as a storytelling prism, to understand ourselves as a new urban species.

When Canadians think "highrise nation," we tend to look elsewhere, and imagine the density of Singapore, New York City or Hong Kong. Yet, Toronto's downtown St. James Town neighbourhood has a density of 63,765 people per square kilometre, compared with Hong Kong's densest district, Kwun Tong, at 57,250. And even on the outskirts of Toronto, a strip of 19 rental highrises at the north end of Etobicoke's Kipling Ave. that we've come to know well in our project holds just over 35,000 people per square kilometre.

You'd never feel it driving by.

Canadians generally have two impressions of vertical living: public housing or condos.

Little attention has been given to another kind of vertical housing, the privately owned, generic, concrete postwar rental apartment building. We don't have any public consciousness of how many of them there are in Canada, and what it means for the country. I was shocked to learn that there are 1,189 of these buildings in Toronto alone, and most of them in the suburbs, built between 1947 and 1985. Between Niagara Falls and Oshawa, Ont., there are close to half a million apartment units in postwar buildings alone. They stretch across the cities of Alberta and Quebec, are scattered across Ottawa and the Maritimes. They are invisible to many of us. We just don't see them with the naked eye.

Making connections My search for this vertical "new normal" began in 2008, both around the world and in my neighbourhood.

My documentarian colleague, Heather Frise, and I postered the halls of an Etobicoke marketrent highrise tower, asking adult residents to join us for a meeting in the underused common room tucked behind the elevators on the main floor. We offer a free photography workshop, and slowly an unlikely group gathers, mostly women, from Jamaica, Trinidad, Ghana and the Indian state of Gujurat, six adults with little in common. We want to learn how they feel about where they live, through their photography and stories.

Hope is furious about the dangerous, broken elevator. Priti is frustrated with the garbage strewn everywhere. Maggie is upset that the children and youth have nowhere to play.

Meanwhile, rent is high, they complain, and goes up every year. We're overwhelmed with circular arguments about whose fault everything is, and how to confront the domineering property manager. This is an angry place.

Slowly, the verbal arguments give way to a focused, resolved collaboration to build a public group exhibit of photography illustrating their concerns and points of view. Later, we investigate the digital lives of all the residents, conducting interviews about their Internet use in 13 languages. The resulting statistics - and stories - are astonishing. I am sure that the low incomes here mean low broadband connectivity.

I am wrong. This place is wired.

Angel, a newly-arrived young refugee, is holed up in an apartment that is bare, except for a chair, table and a laptop computer. She also says she would die without her iPhone. Our research finds no one with a significant connection to someone in downtown Toronto - only 20 kilometres away - but many have daily contact with friends and family in other suburbs, and all are linked to loved ones on the other side of the world.

Poverty is increasingly vertical Conceived in England, the postwar tower block took advantage of the newly perfected pouredconcrete slab, and cookie-cutter building plans spread quickly across Europe, North America and the Soviet empire, where it was proposed as a socialist answer to an urbanizing planet with a swelling population.

By the eighties, these buildings came to be seen as failed social and architectural experiments.

As the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, so came the call to demolish these buildings. Concrete was fast growing old.

The age of the glass condominium was dawning. Apartment buildings would no longer be just tools for housing, but also instruments of financialization, largely because units would now be sold as investments, rather than as places to live. For example, recent research suggests that nearly a quarter of condos in some densely populated areas of downtown Vancouver are empty or occupied by people who are not permanent residents. Up to half the condos around Central Park in New York City are owned by out-of-towners, sitting vacant most of the year.

We're seeing unprecedented vertical development in cities around the world, but much of it isn't intended as decent accommodation for the people who actually need somewhere to live.

On the other side of the spectrum, the poor are being displaced and crammed into buildings at the edges of our cities. Once seen as a venue for equitable public housing, the downtown highrise has become a tool to gentrify the slum, an apparatus for the privately driven development of the new city.

Housing activists in Canada and around the world are struggling ideologically and pragmatically with the shifting nature of what poverty looks like: It is increasingly vertical.

In Mumbai, former slum-dwellers in the city core have been relocated to highrises shoddily built on reclaimed swampland 20 kilometres north of downtown. After using all their savings to secure these units, many residents are displaced again when the buildings are deemed illegal and torn down, in a complicated financial scheme that profits developers and dishonest officials.

Next to the largest informal settlement in Africa, the Nairobi slum of Kibera, sits a United Nations-funded highrise development originally promised to rehouse slum dwellers. It never accomplished that goal. Now, it has been sold, unit by unit, to largely middle-class workers from other parts of the city.

Gated highrise "new towns," with names and themes such as "European Harbour New Town" and "Canada Town," are popping up on the peripheries of most Chinese cities. They are planned and executed by private developers in concert with newly empowered local governments, with little regard for public or civic interest. They evoke an aspirational lifestyle, one that, in reality, few Chinese can ever attain. In Egypt, highrise satellite cities rise from the desert, all linked to cronies of the ruling regime. Swaths of money exchanged hands to build these places, yet most now sit empty, collecting dust, being swallowed back by the desert sands.

Dr. Emily Paradis, an urbanist at the University of Toronto, has done substantial research into the "vertical poverty" of Toronto's suburban neighbourhoods.

She says that the income divide between renters and owners has widened dramatically in the past 20 years. The need for affordable rental housing has multiplied, but there has been almost no new construction of rental buildings, and no new social housing. The aging rental buildings, meanwhile, are housing many times the number of people they were built to accommodate.

Architect Graeme Stewart, awarded the Jane Jacob Prize last year for his civic contribution to Toronto, has found illuminating examples around the world of how to make highrise neighbourhoods liveable, affordable and humane. We need to apply his "tower renewal" initiative across Canada's urban landscape - by using transit to connect isolated highrises to other parts of the city, by enriching highrise neighbourhoods with affordable housing, economic development and social services, by nurturing environments for local entrepreneurship and improving childcare. The buildings are aging, and need renovation as well as maintenance. We must draw on the incredible human resources of the people who live inside.

As we conclude the highrise project, what we've discovered gives us a window on what may happen in the towers rising today, the glass condos. We need to stop demonizing or glorifying our highrises, and start running Canada as the highrise nation we've become.

Katerina Cizek is the Torontobased director of the National Film Board's Highrise project, and a visiting artist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Open Documentary Lab.

To experience Highrise's final instalment, Universe Within, visit starting on Tuesday.

Associated Graphic

Katarina Cizek, above, has spent seven years studying highrise life in Canada and around the world.


Like the Made in Japan and Made in Korea labels before it, Brand China is in the midst of a potentially redefining moment. However, Danny Sinopoli reports, it's being led not by heavy industries or digital prowess, but by lifestyle products. Will the West bite?
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

If there was one dress that stood out more than any other at the Met Gala in New York this month, it was pop star Rihanna's opulent golden cape gown - and not just because of its wow factor. The source of the dress - the Beijing atelier of Chinese couturier Guo Pei - was as noteable to many observers as its fur trim and long train.

Five years ago, the idea of Chinese couture would have been laughable on these shores, where the country was best known for cheap clothes and toxic toys. But the once unthinkable - China's transformation from knockoff nexus to maker and exporter of high-design goods - has been gaining traction in the West. And Rihanna's turn on the red carpet, seen by millions around the world, could very well be the tipping point between skepticism and acceptance.

"We're seeing a creativity revolution in China and it's being driven by two things," Shaun Rein, the American-born founder of the China Market Research Group and author of last fall's The End of Copycat China: The Rise of Creativity, Innovation and Individualism in Asia, said in a phone interview from Shanghai, his base for the past 20 years.

"First, more and more Chinese consumers - especially young people - want to buy quality products made by Chinese for Chinese, so designers are responding to that. Second, the Chinese economy is slowing, so those designers and manufacturers who are being aggressive about meeting domestic demand are also thinking globally."

To be sure, high-end fashion and furnishings constitute only a tiny fraction of total Chinese exports so far, but the foreign followings they are developing are of the most influential kind: stylemakers and power wielders in the fashion capitals of the world. Take Uma Wang and Helen Lee, cutting-edge Shanghai fashion designers whose collections are available in only the trendiest boutiques in Europe, Japan and the United States. "The cool thing about Uma Wang," says Melanie Innocenti, buyer for the past two years at H. Lorenzo, a leading Los Angeles clothing boutique, "is she designs her own fabrics: these dark, romantic prints you won't find elsewhere - there's nothing like her on the market and she's consistent in her approach and quality."

One indication that Wang's work is a far cry from fast fashion is the prices it commands: from $400 for a scarf to $4,500 for a dress. "We've been carrying her since almost her fi rst collection three and a half years ago," says Innocenti, who notes that H. Lorenzo ships internationally, including to Canada, through its website, "We buy something from her collection every season. And we treat her like something special because we feel she is."

Hart Hagerty, a designer and brand strategist who lived for six years in Shanghai and currently works for Carrot Creative, VICE Media's digital ad agency, in New York, recently cited Wang, Lee and another Shanghai designer named Nicole Zhang as cool Chinese couturiers likely to appeal to Westerners. According to Hagerty, their ateliers are akin to similar operations in Europe or North America, employing high-quality textiles and top-notch talent and machinery. She even produces her own small line of jackets in the Chinese city because of the sewing talent there.

"China is working very hard to improve its labour standards," Hagerty says over the phone from Charleston, S.C., her hometown. "There's a lot more transparency now. China's reputation for creating quality goods will only grow."

Before that happens, however, the country is going to have to overcome some pretty entrenched Western prejudices to build on its small-scale successes, both Hagerty and Rein agree. "It's hard to become a player in an industry; it takes more than a few years," says Rein. "Some [Chinese] electronics fi rms, like handset maker Xiaomi, are on their way. I think it's going to be harder with fashion - for one thing, the body sizes [in the West and in China] are different. I think [Western penetration] will happen fi rst with shoes, handbags and especially furniture. China has a rich tradition when it comes to furniture making and some of the designers in that field are taking it to the next level."

A new appreciation for Chinese furniture was certainly on display at this year's Milan Furniture Fair in Italy. Five years ago, organizers and manufacturers there were complaining about Chinese companies coming to the fair and then duplicating what they saw back home on the cheap. This year, however, the Chinese presence was a lot more positively focused and received.

Among other initiatives, a new co-operation agreement seeking to combine Italian design know-how with Chinese technical mastery on a larger scale was signed by industry and government representatives from both countries. Visitors could peruse higher-end Chinese lighting themselves in a show called China Meets Italy, while an exhibition of avant-garde Chinese furniture by six leading designers, including the highly regarded Chen Yaoguang and the architect Zhu Pei, attracted appreciative crowds at the Università degli Studi. The latter exhibition was sponsored by the Guangdong Huasong Furniture Group, a major Chinese fi rm "actively reforming the industry" through improved design and standards, according to show organizers.

"The metalwork is exceptional and the design is catching up," one lighting executive, Suthee Bhandhukravi of Bangkokbased Lightsculptures Co., said of China at the fair.

According to Rein, the same economic slowdown that is prompting Chinese fi rms such as Guangdong Huasong to step up their game has had the added benefit of winnowing out the substandard manufacturers that dominated in the past. Many of those subpar players have also disappeared, he said, because the Chinese government started cracking down on them.

"An image of shoddiness still exists [in the West], but a lot of the factories [that contributed to that impression] have gone out of business. Now, the standards in many factories are higher than they are in even more mature markets."

While the efforts of the Chinese government to improve manufacturing standards have borne fruit, it will now have to capitalize on its momentum by communicating a design identity that both defi nes the country and sets it apart, says Kathy Bloomgarden, chief executive officer of Ruder Finn Inc., a global public-relations agency that has extensive experience in China. "What is holding China back from achieving international cachet is brand-building, both on a macro- and micro-level," Bloomgarden says via e-mail. "Just as Japan is known for its simplicity in design, global markets need to know what Chinese design stands for. Brand China needs an established set of values that are consistent and well-known around the world."

And now the world is watching. The Rihanna effect, as it might be dubbed, has generated more buzz for Chinese designers and particularly Guo Pei than any government effort could. The attention is guaranteed to send Guo's career into overdrive - she has already announced a collaboration with M.A.C Cosmetics and plans for a ready-towear line - and to make the Metropolitan Museum's China show, called China Through the Looking Glass, a blockbuster.

In reality, the red carpet at the Gala offered a better glimpse of contemporary Chinese fashion than the exhibition, which focuses on Western fashion inspired by China, does: Only two or three dresses by Guo and other Chinese designers are included.

For a more balanced take on the country's current design scene, visitors to the Met would be well advised to walk a few dozen blocks to the south and east to the Madison Avenue branch of Barneys New York. In a nod to the Met show, the department store has commissioned a four-piece capsule collection by the Chinese-born designer Huishan Zhang. Heavy on the colour red and intricately embroidered, the pieces have been well-received and are proudly made in China, a fact that likely wouldn't have been highlighted just a year or two ago.

Danny Sinopoli is a reporter with Globe Style.

Associated Graphic

ONES TO WATCH The designers leading the charge on China's luxe rebrand include, clockwise from top left, Hong Kong's Ruan Hao, whose Cat Table was showcased in Milan last month;Uma Wang, a Shanghai designer whose dark, romantic prints are causing a stir from Europe to the U.S.; Sherman Lin, designer of modern furniture with traditional echoes; Huishan Zhang,whose four-piece capsule collection for Barneys New York debuted this month; architect Zhu Pei, creator of graphic, sinuous furnishings; Guo Pei, an overnight sensation after one of her sumptuous, hand-crafted gowns was worn by Rihanna at the Met Gala; Yang Dongjiang, one of China's top furniture designers; and Helen Lee, a young couturier from Shanghai.


A week in, a week under attack: Chief defends carding practices
Thursday, May 28, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

Mark Saunders jokes that if he were a fruit fly with a brief lifespan, the honeymoon he enjoyed after becoming chief of Toronto police might seem sufficient. But "from a human perspective, the honeymoon didn't last very long - no, not at all."

From the day it was announced that Chief Saunders would take over from Bill Blair, he has been under attack for defending the much-disputed practice of carding - stopping and questioning people who are not under arrest or detention and recording the details of the encounter.

He isn't taking it lying down. In an interview with The Globe and Mail a week after he was sworn in on May 20, he complained that his critics are never satisfied.

"Every time I've tried to say something, the term 'carding' kind of changes its meaning," he said. "It gets a little frustrating."

Chief Saunders also said that while he is committed to halting random police checks of citizens just going about their business, carding suspected gang members is vital to keeping the city safe. "If it's done right, it protects people."

To those who say that carding amounts to a form of racial profiling, targeting a disproportionate number of racial-minority residents, Toronto's first black police chief said: "We're not sending officers into areas because people are brown or black. We're looking at the charts. We're looking at where the violence is occurring and it's about 6 per cent of the geographics of the city. And so we're putting officers in there because that's where the violent crimes are occurring."

When critics respond that that amounts to racial profiling by demographics, "Well, I'm, like, going, 'Can someone help me out here? Like, we're getting all the problems but can someone give me a solution?' " Chief Saunders sat for an 80minute interview in his seventhfloor office in the pink-granite, postmodern police headquarters at College and Bay. The chief, 52, is a soft-spoken man who has come across as almost shy in his early public appearances. He says he would far rather resolve the carding dispute through dialogue than duke it out with his critics. But don't mistake him for a pushover.

Growing up as a member of the only black family in the thensmall and mainly rural Greater Toronto community of Milton, he faced name-calling from other kids and sometimes got into schoolyard scraps. "Usually there'd be one person standing at the end and it would be me." It didn't hurt that he took jiu-jitsu and kickboxing.

Though Chief Saunders got his new job partly for his skills as a mediator, he is not a social worker. After 32 years in blue, with stints on the drug, gangs and homicide squads, he is a cop from his peaked cap to his polished dress shoes. And, in the end, being a cop is all about getting the bad guys.

To get the bad guys, he says, you need to find out who they are and what they are up to. You can't do that by sitting behind a desk or cruising around in your police car, responding only when called.

Instead, he insists, officers need to get out on the street to ask questions and gather information - what he calls "intelligence-led policing." It is no mystery, then, that he is determined to keep carding, even if in a more restricted, "surgical" form.

"If our officers have an understanding of who is who in the zoo - who the players are, what the criminal element is - and you record those encounters, I think those are the things that are necessary" for community safety.

To explain, he gives a little background. Some years ago, Toronto realized it was facing a serious problem with gangs. Gang violence, he says, is the scariest problem in what is still generally a very safe city. The 2005 Boxing Day killing of Jane Creba involved rival gangs. So did the Danzig Street mass shooting in 2012.

The police at first responded by flooding the zone - showing a strong presence in neighbourhoods affected by a rash of shootings or other violence. That helped a little, but it was not enough. When A shot B, police would naturally try to find A, but while they were at it, B's crew would be launching a counterattack against A's - the kind of titfor-tat cycle that makes gang violence so explosive. So police began focusing on learning more about what they were up against.

"You get at gangs by finding out who the members of the gangs are," the chief says. "So we got wiser."

Instead of just looking for the A who shot B, they try to find out in advance who A and B are, where they hang out and who their associates are. That way, they can make the connections that are necessary to preventing and solving crimes.

"If I know you belong to the Five Point Crips, you and I are going to have a conversation and I'm going to record the conversation whether you like it or not," the chief says.

He gives an example of how this kind of intelligence-gathering can work. A couple of years ago, parents at a Catholic private school for boys complained that their kids were being robbed near the school. The school happens to be located in the midst of three "priority neighbourhoods" - low-income districts often plagued by crime. The boys were being set upon as they walked through a local ravine.

Police could simply have hidden in the ravine and pounced on the thieves when they tried to rob one of the school kids. Instead, they observed that a group of young men was lying in wait at a playground in the ravine. Police approached them, inquired what they were up to and carded them - took their names and other details. After finding that some had been caught doing robberies before, and going back to the victims for help with identifying the perpetrators, police made a series of arrests.

"What would you rather?" demands Chief Saunders. "Would you rather us do our jobs - that's an intelligence-led process - or would you rather us have more victims?" The chief acknowledges there is a "social cost" to carding: the alienation that can happen when people feel they have been unfairly targeted. Reporting by the Toronto Star revealed that black - and brown-skinned men were being carded in numbers out of proportion to their share of the general population. "I know what it's like in a priority neighbourhood being stopped multiple times, multiple times, multiple times."

If police treat someone roughly or disrespectfully while gathering information, he says, they have to expect that 15 other people are watching and forming their opinions about police. "So tomorrow when you walk past one of those 15 and you say hello to them, they say 'F you,' and you're saying, 'Ah, I hate everybody here.' " To prevent that cycle of mistrust, the chief says he is bringing in better training for officers to make sure they treat everyone with respect. That is part of a deal reached between the police service and the police board in March to reform carding. Chief Blair suspended the practice at the start of this year.

Chief Saunders also says he will end random carding that sweeps up the innocent in its net. "You're going to catch a billion herrings with that net but you're also going to catch the odd dolphin, the odd sea turtle. Those sea turtles, those dolphins - that's a kid that's getting A in math, science and technology."

To assure citizens that carding information will not be used to stigmatize them, the chief says he will seal the database holding past carding information.

To make sure police don't go overboard with carding just to pad their numbers, he notes, police management has agreed not to use carding records when evaluating the performance of officers.

None of this, he acknowledges, is likely to satisfy his critics, some of whom want an end to carding in any form. He is not discouraged. "I signed up knowing there'd be criticism. This is policing and if you're not thick skinned it's a very tough industry to make it through."

Despite the criticism, he says, he is getting many comments from ordinary people "supporting the direction that I'm going. They're saying, 'Keep fighting the fight, you're doing a good job.' Some are saying, 'Don't back down.' " He is showing no sign whatsoever of doing that.

Associated Graphic

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders is determined to keep carding as a tool.


Travellers are falling for the ride-sharing app because its services are cheap and easy and the drivers are (often) friendly. But do you really want to explore a new city from the back seat of a stranger's car?
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

LOS ANGELES -- After arriving at Los Angeles International, I hopped into a taxi and headed to Silver Lake, the East Hollywood neighbourhood I'd planned to use as HQ for a few days vacationing, sightseeing and working in L.A. The fee for the half-hour-ish cab ride? A whopping $75 (U.S.) after tip. Like an infomercial character drowning in cascading Tupperware, I ogled the receipt quizzically, all "There's got to be a better way!"

In many cities, residents are increasingly saying that way is UberX, the ride-sharing service that turns anyone's car into a personal taxi and any given driver into an independently contracted chauffeur. The experience boasts several advantages over calling a cab, No. 1 being that it's cheaper.

Much cheaper. My return trip to LAX was just $33.74. No tip required. Thanks to hundreds of thousands of drivers in 58 countries around the world, travellers are increasingly turning to Uber to cut costs. (Not to mention the fact that the app is a useful tool when you don't speak the local language.) Hotels have jumped on the trend, eager to make life easier for guests. Hyatt integrated Uber into its own app, while members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program can earn points for rides. Other properties incorporate Uber trips into special packages: At Miami's YVE Hotel, for example, the first ride is on the house.

But perhaps nowhere is Uber more of a traveller's friend than in Los Angeles, a city scaled to the size and velocity of automobiles.

Subways and buses can get you around, but what tourist wants to spend his time unravelling a baffling metro system? If you truly want to see L.A. "like a local," as the cliché goes, use one of its 20,000 Uber contractors (or "driver-partners") - far and away the most in any city in the United States. Here, Uber is less a service than a lifestyle: ferrying clubgoers too soused to drive, delivering fresh food in minutes (using UberEATS) and even offering a carpooling option, UberPool, which loads multiple users into the same car for just $5.

Sure, Los Angeles has its share of walkable stretches.

Take the West Sunset Blvd. section of Silver Lake, full of cheap and delicious restaurants (try the perfectly fiery Thai Boxing Chicken at Night + Market Song) and strip malls that house different articulations of the Platonic ideal of a Hollywood bar: plush upholstery, cheap drinks, bartenders who tell you their names. And you can't miss the Venice Beach boardwalk, which, with its surf shops, T-shirt stands and booths hawking bongs, feels like a vintage late nineties Smash Mouth video.

Uber (and similar services such as Lyft and Sidecar) is a great way to travel between these little pockets - and to more off-the-map locations. In one afternoon, I zipped from Venice Beach to the Museum of Jurassic Technology (displaying primitive 3-D technology and paintings of Soviet space dogs, among other oddities) in the Palms district, and then on to Guelaguetza, a Oaxacan restaurant in Koreatown, where the chips come slathered in chocolate mole and the house band plays Happy Birthday in Spanish seemingly every 15 minutes.

Total cost: about $75, same as my trip from the airport.

But more than the deflated pricing and cashless convenience, the sheer novelty of taking a cab that is not a cab is what may give Uber the competitive edge here and in any city.

Taxi drivers - and this is, granted, a broad generalization - often appear browbeaten by the years on the job. They chatter into Bluetooth headsets instead of making small talk because, to be fair, passengers tend to ignore them.

The taxi driver is as close as the service economy gets to a non-entity: A non-intrusive, non-invasive, halfway-invisible ghost seemingly calcified against loud talking, making out and sputtering drunken spats. They exist to convey the cab itself from A to B and to accept payment for doing so. They are an appendage of a vehicle. If it weren't for those laminated licences telling you who is behind the wheel, you'd be forgiven for forgetting anyone's actually driving.

Uber restores something of this humanity, for better or worse. Drivers are typically chipper and friendly; some even invite you to sit in the front seat.

Upon learning that I was from Toronto, Beth, one of my drivers, engaged me in a lengthy conversation about Drake and Degrassi Junior High, which somehow turned into a discussion of our respective countries attitudes toward racism. ("Your hearts are more progressive," she said of Canadians, which feels at once nice and sort of untrue.)

Another driver keeps the rear console cup holder filled with hard candy, as if the back seat of his Prius were your grandmother's living room. Another cursed not at me, but to me, as if we were old friends. In Santa Ana, one driver offered me gum.

He had just eaten a bowl of pho and heard that spearmint would take the taste out of his mouth.

The only time I got the uncomfortable feeling of "Uh, I'm in a stranger's car" occurred when a driver in Costa Mesa told me that Uber is her third job and it helps her mourn her recently deceased husband. I was sympathetic, but accepting a ride from an overworked, recently widowed person I'd just met felt weird, if not out-andout precarious. (Safety is one of the biggest criticisms of Uber.

While incidents are rare, two weeks ago a driver in Mississauga, was charged with sexually assaulting a female passenger, and last week a Toronto man told The Globe and Mail he was forced to jump out of a moving car when his driver refused to stop.)

Now, I understand that this niceness, friendliness and "Would you like some Dentyne?" amiability is yoked to the burdens of the service economy.

Passengers rate drivers using a five-star system. William, who had only been Uber-ing people around for about a week, told me that anyone who falls below a 4.6 star rating is alerted of under-performance in a weekly dispatch sent from Uber HQ to all drivers and risks having his account deactivated.

Passengers are likewise rated.

This is terrifying in and of itself - as if even the act of sitting in a moving vehicle can be qualified. William's "bad" customers included verge-of-puking drunk guys and a Hollywood exec sipping scotch out of a Dixie cup.

Annoyed by my mock-naive reporterly prodding ("Gee, mister, what's it like to drive an Uber?") he threatened to give me two stars unless I gave him five. (I did, not because of the threat, but because I appreciated his impudence of making it.)

Uber essentially loops the purveyor of a service and the consumer of said service in a cheery prisoner's dilemma: Rate highly, or else be poorly rated.

It is frustrating, and fleetingly depressing, to consider the implications. Which is why sometimes unkindness - and even inconvenience - is preferable.

Sometimes we do not need or want or deserve smiles or butterscotches or pleasant conversation. Sometimes we just want to sit slouched in the back of a sticky-floored cab. Sometimes we need to be conveyed by a disinterested - if not secretly contemptuous - third party who mutters into a headset as you make out with someone in the back seat, appendages flailing like a couple of gross squids beholden to animal instincts more imminent than the exchange of five-star ratings.

When I land in Toronto after a week away, too sore and impatient to wait for the $3 TTC Airport Rocket bus, I immediately hop into one of those tooexpensive Town Cars idling outside the baggage claim.

Forty-three bucks may be a lot to pay for a ride home, but beyond asking for an address, the driver never makes any idle chit-chat, swears profusely or offers me something to eat. The peace and quiet, and the feeling of being smoothly chauffeured back into the postvacation rhythm of day-to-day life, is priceless.

Associated Graphic


Uber drivers are often considered to be friendlier than taxi drivers, but this niceness is part of the business: Passengers rate drivers using a five-star system and drivers receive a warning if they fall below a 4.6 rating.


The ride-sharing app is currently available in 58 countries.

Action without the 'cinematic cool'
Friday, March 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R5

For a while I thought they were merely risible, these aging movie stars playing with guns - Denzel Washington in The Equalizer (2014); Liam Neeson and Ed Harris in Run All Night, which opens today; Sean Penn in The Gunman, arriving next week; and their ilk. Each actor is fighting hard to stay relevant in our action-hero era. Each character is a grizzled ex-warrior who wants to put his guilty, violent past behind him, but is pulled back into action to wreak some final spasms of havoc. They drop and roll and maim and maraud and never miss their targets, while the legions of supposed sharpshooters they mow down can't even ding them. Their jawlines may be softening, they may have crow's feet from all that glowering, but their tools are still made of steel, as they prove in their version of the money shot: the spray of blood and brains as they blow the bad guys away.

But like all pornographic things, the action in these movies soon grows repetitive, and the mayhem needs to become increasingly baroque to get these heroes off. The Equalizer features murders by corkscrew and barbed wire. Penn shoots off the back of a guy's head while they're nose to nose; other victims are gored or chopped into pieces. Neeson picks off patrons in a bar like they're ducks in a shooting gallery; Harris jabs a knife into a guy's back as if he's chopping ice.

The more films like this I see, the more they disturb me. It's not simply that their stereotypes and solutions are so bankrupt they're almost existential, like Waiting for Godot with Glocks: the damaged loner and the hooker/ ex-girlfriend/estranged child he must save circling each other in an unceasing urban wasteland.

It's not only that they waste millions of dollars wasting dozens of henchmen, crashing cars and smashing through storefronts, sending their heroes careering from Congo to Barcelona to Queens, just so they can punch their nemeses in the head. And it's not merely that I lament that, as makeup and special effects become more sophisticated, the stories they service get thinner and thinner.

No, I'm actually beginning to feel that these movies are morally reprehensible: Do these stars really need to pop ammo like Viagra to feel vital? Will the video-game generation only go to see them if the filmmakers push the violence past senseless to deplorable? Is this really the definition of manhood we want?

So I'm especially grateful to the new film '71, also opening today, for being an antidote to the above. It's every bit an action movie, a nail-biter of a chase as a green British soldier (Jack O'Connell, who also starred in Unbroken) tries to stay alive on the wrong side of Belfast through one gruelling night during the Troubles in the title year. There's violence aplenty, but here, it's necessary and meaningful.

Its director, Yann Demange, a veteran of British TV making his feature debut, is familiar with the notion of tribal conflict: Born in Paris, he was raised in London by an Algerian father and French mother. This story, he says in a phone interview, "transcended the specificity of the Troubles; it has a universality. It could be about Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine.

It's about tribalism and human behaviour, about the shades of grey in any conflict, and the human cost at the centre of it. I wasn't comfortable just bashing one side against the other. I wanted to humanize it. I wanted to do something where you felt it."

Demange admits he's "indulged in cinematic cool" in the past.

But doing research for '71 in Belfast, he met people who'd been involved on all sides of the Troubles - paramilitary fighters, victims. "They're now jovial granddads in the last act of their lives, but you see how haunted they are when they talk about it," Demange says. "I knew I couldn't exploit their very recent painful history. I knew it couldn't have a toe-tapping coolness for the sake of commerce. That would be absolutely unethical. The violence here has to shock you. The extinguishing of every life has to matter."

Gary, the lead character in '71, is tricky: Tough yet naive, he spends most of the movie reacting rather than driving the action. Demange went straight to O'Connell, a working class Irish Catholic kid from Derby, in central England, who exuded a laddish charisma in films (This Is England) and on TV (Skins). "Jack still had that look in his eye where he hadn't figured things out, he was working out his place in the world," Demange says.

"He's experienced loss and pain - his father had died three years prior, and he takes care of his mother and younger sister. He's trying to figure out what kind of man he wants to be. He was exactly what I needed Gary to be, rather than someone doing a rendition of it through technique. I ran into him recently, and he's changed, he's matured. I caught him at the right time."

O'Connell 24, who won this year's British Academy of Film and Television Arts Rising Star award, and appears in such diverse projects as 300: Rise of an Empire and the upcoming Tulip Fever, opposite Judi Dench, had much in common with Gary.

Restless in school, he got into petty trouble, which escalated when he was 18 after his dad died (frighteningly quickly, of pancreatic cancer). "I guess I didn't like being pigeonholed and moulded into a profitable human," he told me in a separate phone interview. His accent is thick; most of his answers are short, but suddenly he'll disgorge paragraphs in clots. "I didn't want to be 'the same as.' I wanted an actual education, not just stuff that would make me profitable to a corporation. The irony is that since I've left school, I've really enjoyed educating myself on the same things they were trying to educate me on."

O'Connell's grandfather played professional soccer, and he hoped to as well, but was sidelined by injury. He toyed with joining the army, but had also done some acting, "based on the fact that girls liked it," he says. It wasn't until he was making '71, at age 21, that he learned of his family's history with the Troubles: A great-grandfather in Kerry housed Irish Republican fighters on his farm; British authorities arrived to interrogate him, and when he wouldn't co-operate, they killed several of his horses before putting a bullet in his head. "So I had to try to erase some things from my point of view, because it wasn't Gary's," O'Connell says. "But we made the movie to give people on the ground level a voice. You realize there are exploitations on both sides."

"Much as I love Die Hard, Jack knew he could never have the Bruce Willis moment," Demange says. "Gary can't say, 'Enough's enough, now I fight back.' He couldn't take the easy way out. If he gets cornered and has to take a life, we needed to show how it genuinely looks and feels, and what it means. We had to show that the repercussions of every life lost are big, that there's an emotional toll. You can't be flippant about these things, you just can't be."

In the midst of '71's fleet tension, a character Gary encounters delivers the most damningly accurate definition of war I've ever heard. I can't quote it verbatim, since it uses the popular British slang for female genitalia, so I've substituted the word "men": "Posh men telling thick men to kill poor men." To hear something like that in an action film - something that makes you choke on your Coke, that expands your way of thinking; something that makes you feel complicit and discomfited, instead of lulling you with familiar tropes of good and evil that make you feel better - that's the real cinematic thrill.

Associated Graphic

British director Yann Demange, who makes his feature film debut with '71, says his movie has a 'universality' not commonly found in the action genre.


Segregated funds may be on the rise again
Look to this investment for help in estate planning and creditor proofing, but don't place all your eggs in this basket
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B11

There's a back story if your investment adviser suddenly starts talking up the benefits of segregated funds.

A seg fund is a mutual fund with insurance guarantees. Seg funds are a valuable estate planning tool, and they may have something to offer business owners who want to protect investment assets from creditors. But using them as the building blocks of a diversified, mainstream investment portfolio makes little sense.

This point needs to be emphasized right now because of some regulatory changes going on in the background of the investing industry. Starting in July, 2016, investors will be shown the dollar amount of fees they're paying for advice and other things.

Advisers who use securities such as mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and stocks and bonds will be part of this move. Seg funds are a separately regulated insurance product and thus excluded.

Many advisers are licensed to sell both mutual funds and seg funds and at least a small number are expected to focus on seg funds to avoid the new fee disclosure rules. What you'll end up with in seg funds, if you're an everyday investor, is a portfolio with higher than normal fees and features you don't really need.

Seg funds have had their moments of glory in the investing business. Roughly 20 years ago, their insurance guarantees positioned them as the conservative investor's alternative to guaranteed investment certificates at a time when interest rates were declining. Almost a decade ago, seg funds were hot once again because of their role as the key component in a retirement income product called the guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit. GMWBs surged in popularity (read my comments on them at EJoa), but then faded as insurance companies made some of their features less appealing.

Now, seg funds could be on the rise again. Data from the analysis firm Investor Economics show total assets were $113.1-billion as of March 31, which is modest compared with the $1.1trillion invested in mutual funds. But gross sales increased by a healthy 16.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis to $12.4-billion. Are the investors buying seg funds getting the right product for their needs?

Let's take a look at what seg funds have to offer. To start with, they guarantee you receive either 75 per cent or 100 per cent of your investment capital back when the funds reach maturity after a period of 10 or 15 years, or at death. Also, you can name a beneficiary for your seg fund and have the assets go to this person after you die without probate fees. And, because they're a type of insurance policy, seg funds also offer protection from creditors. Business owners, as well as professionals who face the risk of malpractice litigation, may find this feature attractive.

Seg funds are a useful tool for sure, but they're not the whole toolbox. "We use seg funds for a very niche purpose," said Asher Tward, vice-president of estate planning at TriDelta Financial.

"They're maybe 5 per cent of our book."

Mr. Tward said a seg fund feature he finds particularly useful is the 100-per-cent death guarantee. He offers the example of a 75-year-old client who has money set aside for particular beneficiaries and doesn't want the money to be caught up in probate (establishing in court that a will is valid). This client wants the money invested for his heirs, not for himself, and that suggests a focus on growing the money for the future rather than preserving it. With seg funds, the worst that can happen at maturity or on death is that the client's seg fund is right where it started in value.

Better results are possible thanks to a reset feature in some seg funds that allows for the capital guarantee to apply to investment gains in the account as well as the original investment amount. (Note: Resetting a seg fund means starting a new maturity guarantee period.)

Mutual funds are widely criticized for high fees, but seg funds cost more. The fund filter on ( fundfilter) shows that the management expense ratio for the largest 20 widely available seg funds in the Canadian equity category range from 2.57 per cent to 3.25 per cent. MERs for the 20 largest Canadian equity funds run from 2.05 per cent to 2.39 per cent. To be fair, fees have come down a lot since the seg fund heyday of 20 or so years ago. But so have the features built into these products in some cases.

Mr. Tward said some seg funds now require you to stick around for 15 years, up from 10, to qualify for the 100-per-cent principal guarantee and death benefit.

You may find that you get a 75per-cent guarantee over 10 years and a 100-per-cent guarantee only after 15 years. "Those 15year guarantees are pretty useless," Mr. Tward said. "There really isn't a lot of value in that for most people."

His point is that with 15 years in the stock market, you've got every chance of ending up well ahead of where you started. The chance of losing money after 10 years in stocks is remote, too, but 15 years is still less likely.

This calls into question the value of the 75-per-cent capital guarantee as well. There have been several 10-year periods in which the U.S. stock market has lost money, but the declines have ranged from 4.7 per cent to 6.1 per cent on an average annual basis after inflation.

Karol Kalejta, an associate consultant at Investor Economics, said the main selling points of seg funds are creditor protection, the probate protection and the downside risk protection.

"Canadians do like an investment product that provides some kind of floor," he said.

Worried about investing risk?

Instead of buying seg funds, use regular mutual funds, exchangetraded funds or individual securities. Diversify into stocks, bonds and cash and recognize that there will be short-term upsets along the way to long-term investing gains.

Look to seg funds for help in estate planning and creditor proofing. They have their place in the investing world, but they're not your everything.

Follow me on Twitter: @rcarrick


Seg fund snapshot

Here's a look at segregated fund assets over the 12 months to March 31, 2015. The numbers for asset levels reflect market-driven changes, new purchases and redemptions. Gross sales numbers best reflect the current level of demand for seg funds.


1 They're insurance products: Though they perform the same job as mutual funds in giving you exposure to diversified portfolios of stocks and other assets, seg funds offer additional benefits in estate planning and creditor-proofing, as well as protection of your principal.

2 They're more expensive than mutual funds: The insurance features add to the basic cost; the more principal protection you get, the higher the cost of ownership.

3 Some seg funds protect only 75 per cent of your capital: The 100 per cent guarantee costs more, but seems more practical; it's hard to imagine losing 25 per cent of an investment in stocks over a 10- or 15-year period.

4 They're not as widely available as mutual funds: Advisers licensed to sell insurance products offer them (some advisers are dual-licensed to sell seg and mutual funds), and online brokers may offer them as well.

5 They're most useful for aggressive investing: There are bond and money market seg funds, but what's the point of paying for capital guarantees on investments that are more conservative than stocks? Also, the higher fees of seg funds really bite at a time of low bond yields.

6 The heyday of seg funds was close to 20 years ago: Interest rates were dropping then and conservative investors sought an an alternative to guaranteed investment certificates.

7 Seg funds are not covered under the coming new rules for investment fee disclosure: As an insurance contract, seg funds are under the jurisdiction of provincial insurance regulators and not securities regulators.

Associated Graphic


Peter Pan prequel a fresh take for Shaw
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R8

Peter and the Starcatcher Written by Rick Elice Music by Wayne Barker Directed by Jackie Maxwell Starring Martin Happer and Kate Besworth At the Shaw Festival 4

Sweet Charity Book by Neil Simon Music by Cy Coleman Lyrics by Dorothy Fields Directed by Morris Panych Starring Julie Martell At the Shaw Festival 3

The Lady from the Sea Written by Henrik Ibsen, in a new version by Erin Shields Directed by Meg Roe Starring Moya O'Connell At the Shaw Festival 3

What's not to love about Peter and the Starcatcher?

This pirate-filled prequel to Peter Pan was a surprise success in a back-to-basics production on Broadway - and it's now sailed its way to the Shaw Festival, arriving in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., like a gust of fresh sea air.

Artistic director Jackie Maxwell captains a cast of a dozen actors composed of festival veterans letting their hair down and younger ensemble members rising to the challenge of telling a complex story with little more than the proverbial two planks and a passion.

Adapted from Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's young-adult novel by Jersey Boys's Rick Elice, Peter and the Starcatcher takes place in a pair of acts - one by sea, the second by land.

Feisty young British lass Molly (the increasingly indispensable Kate Besworth) and her nanny Mrs. Bumbrake (Jenny L. Wright) board a ship called the Neverland, off to the kingdom of Rundoon with a cargo of orphan boys being sold into slavery. One orphan (Charlie Gallant) has no name but a suspicious amount of stage time, so it's easy to guess what boy he will eventually not grow up into.

Meanwhile, Molly's father, Lord Aster (a goofily gallant Patrick Galligan), is on board a faster ship called the Wasp, also headed to Rundoon with a secret substance called "starstuff" in the hold.

Along the way, however, it is hijacked by an oddly familiar pirate named Black Stache (a marvellously mischievous Martin Happer) with a small sidekick named Smee (the talented Jonathan Tan).

Black Stache quickly discovers that the Neverland's nasty captain has switched the ships' cargoes. Cue an epic sea battle - conjured by the cast using only a few props, some ropes and swaths of blue fabric.

The Shaw Festival has explored the dramatic worlds of Peter Pan's playwright J. M. Barrie in more depth than any other theatre in North America - so it certainly makes sense for Peter and the Starcatcher to play here.

And yet, physical theatre like this is not in the festival's wheelhouse - or really possible to create in its usual rehearsal structure. So, Maxwell and movement director Valerie Moore organized a workshop in the winter to help this cast devise a body language to tell the story; it's a process the festival might consider using for other plays in the future because the results are so revivifying.

A sequence where Molly explores the Neverland's hold, peering into room after room, is an imaginative highlight, as actors transform from inanimate objects into squabbling sailors and back again in a split second.

I won't give away any more of Peter and the Starcatcher's plot, but the fantasy is full of fun in-jokes, so audience members (ages eight and up, the Shaw suggests) might want to brush up on Barrie's mermaids, ticking crocodiles and pirate prosthetics to fully enjoy the evening.

Do you want to have fun? How about a few laughs? Sweet Charity will show you a - boom, boom - good time this summer at the Shaw Festival. Just not quite a great time in director Morris Panych's sharp but starless production.

Sweet Charity, which premiered on Broadway in 1966, alternates between feeling ahead of and behind its time. In Cy Coleman's memorable score (with lyrics by Dorothy Fields), you can feel the musical form testing boundaries with groovier numbers such as The Rich Man's Frug and The Rhythm of Life before retreating to the safety of fifties-style show tunes such as If My Friends Could See Me Now.

Similarly, the plot is nearly daring, following taxi dancer Charity Hope Valentine (Julie Martell) on her quixotic quest for love. (It's based on Federico Fellini's film Nights of Cabiria, where the main character is a prostitute.)

Panych's production of the slightly self-censoring show is at its best in the satirical scenes written by Neil Simon that surround the song and dance - semi-surreal sketches populated by New York neurotics and fanatics.

The musical begins with Charity's boyfriend dumping her - literally, into a lake in Central Park.

Manhattanites walk by and comment on her plight, but no one stops to help because they have dentists to visit and dogs to walk.

This darkly comic territory is Panych's sweet spot - and, indeed, the opening summons thoughts of his own 1989 play, 7 Stories, where a man's attempted suicide is ignored by a series of self-involved people.

Back on dry land, Charity begins a search to find her next bad boyfriend, encountering an Italian movie star (the excellent Mark Uhre) and claustrophobic control freak (the even more excellent Kyle Blair) in between shifts at the Fandango Ballroom (where her co-workers are played with sizzle and sass by Kimberley Rampersad and Melanie Phillipson, respectively).

Charity's meandering pursuit of happiness is interrupted by frequent dance numbers, choreographed by Bob Fosse in the original. Here they seem more like dance breaks in Parker Esse's enjoyably slight, but curiously context-free choreography.

It all ambles along amiably, missing only a centre with sufficient star quality. Martell is certainly sweet as Charity, but the role stretches her to the limits as a performer. Her dancing is decent, but she was left occasionally breathless at the final preview I saw. Her singing can be beautiful, but at times it also seems strained. And her comic timing is hit or miss - certainly compared with cast-mates who never miss a beat, such as Phillipson and Blair.

Henrik Ibsen's plays don't usually have audiences gasping in the opening moments. Director Meg Roe's production of The Lady from the Sea is an exception.

Illuminated by a thin, flicking line of white light, a wet and naked woman pulls herself desperately along the top of a large outcropping of rock.

This is Ellida Wangel - played by Moya O'Connell, wild-eyed and restless, in one of her most completely compelling performances to date. She's the daughter of a lighthouse keeper who married a much older widower, Wangel (Ric Reid), to escape poverty; but, five years later, she still yearns for the seaside and is struggling to be a wife and stepmother.

Now, Ellida, who is compared to a mermaid drowning on land, is being persued by a mysterious, possibly murderous sailor (Mark Uhre) to whom she promised herself in her youth - and who holds the promise of escape. The question: Will she stay or will she go?

Another is: Will history repeat with Ellida's stepdaughter?

Bolette (Jacqueline Thair, in a heartbreaking breakthrough performance) has limited options to get the travel and education she yearns for - and is offered a lifeline that may similarly turn out to be a noose by her former tutor, Arnholm (a stilted Andrew Bunker).

Playwright Erin Shields has penned what is billed as a "new version" of this proto-feminist play for the Shaw - though it doesn't deviate all that far from what Ibsen wrote.

In the end, I wish it had been given a more radical rewrite. The haunting expressionism of Ellida's struggle with the sea doesn't mesh entirely with the 1888 play's more prosaic (and occasionally even didactic) elements.

And yet The Lady from the Sea is capable of spine-tingling moments - and there's no lack of contemporary resonance to the conversations between Ellida and Wangel about marriage and freedom and whether the two can coexist.

Peter and the Starcatcher continues to Nov. 1 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.; Sweet Charity to Oct. 31; The Lady from the Sea to Sept. 13. Further information at

Associated Graphic

The cast of Peter and the Starcatcher brings a surprising physicality to the production, with Kate Besworth, second left, starring as a feisty Molly and Charlie Gallant, second right, inhabiting the role of Boy.


Hong Kong is abundant with must-try foodie destinations that are just as likely to be off-the-map dives as high-end establishments. Adam Leith Gollner goes East to revel in the connection between the city's finest restaurants and humblest dai pai dongs, picking up tips for how to make your own epicurean discoveries along the way
Friday, March 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P42

T'ang Court's dining room is as gold-plated fancy as they come. Located inside Hong Kong's ritzy Langham Hotel - and next door to flagships for Cartier, Miu Miu and Ermenegildo Zegna - it's outfitted with white heirloom orchids, velvet brocade curtains and antique sculptures of horses posing under beams of halogen light. The menu is equally posh, featuring abalone, bird's nest and other Asian delicacies. The best dish on offer at T'ang Court, however, isn't listed on the menu and isn't luxurious in the least. It's the humble Cantonese standby known as chee cheong fun.

The rice rolls are made with flat sheets of noodles that have been curled up and pan-fried, giving their exterior a golden-brown crust. Crispy on the outside, gooey tender on the inside and equally silky and salty, their texture is reason enough to travel to HK. They're the sort of staple you can find on any local diner menu or at dai pai dongs, the open-air stalls where skewers of meat, kidneys, intestines and other wobbly gaskets steam away on the side of busy intersections. Their appearance at T'ang Court illustrates how that culture is increasingly influencing what's on offer at the city's higher-end establishments, and vice versa.

I have come to Hong Kong for two reasons. I'm here to explore the connection between high and low cuisine in the city's restaurant scene, but also to contemplate the ways that food writers such as myself discover amazing meals in far-flung cities, especially at local dives that rarely register a TripAdvisor rating.

Hong Kong is ideally suited for such a pursuit. Not only do people fly here just to eat, the city is relatively easy to navigate, thanks to its British colonial history. HK also has a particularly high concentration of superb restaurants. The way people eat in Hong Kong says so much about the city itself. Because space is at such a premium, apartments here - and, by extension, kitchens - are tiny.

As a result, people eat out often, a phenomenon helped by the fact that you can eat very well here for very little money. As long as you know the phrase ho bau, Cantonese for "very full," you'll do just fine.

You feel very full often in Hong King, especially because you are constantly snacking on things like chee cheong fun. T'ang Court Master Chef Kwong Wai Keung says that his iteration is "less oily" than others, which didn't seem to me to be the case, as oiliness is kind of the point of the addictive bites. They may taste slightly cleaner than the norm, as well as a tad crispier, but even in these hallowed precincts, the rolls remain a homey pleasure. To accentuate the overlap between street and haute, Keung pairs them with house-made XO sauce, a high-end Hong Kong original created in Kowloon. The garlicky chili mélange spiked with nuggets of Jinhua ham and dried scallop takes its name from the cachet of XO Cognac, and dates back to the early 1980s, when the colony enjoyed a period of particular affluence.

On the inverse side of the highlow spectrum, no place captures the meeting of down-home atmosphere with stratospheric price tags like Sheung Hing Chiu Chow, a restaurant on Queen's Road West.

The restaurant's star attraction is its cold roasted goose breast, served atop tofu marinated in what the owner calls "15-year-old sauce." You dip the pieces of chilled fatty, salty poultry into delicate pink vinegar to cut its richness. It goes surprisingly well with the restaurant's other specialty, cold flower crab. The red leopard print crabs are sold by the weight and even a small one will set you back the equivalent of $250.

Sheung Hing Chiu Chow is a place for people who know how to eat and who have the resources to do so in style. It's one of the favorite haunts of the wealthiest man in China, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma.

"Why is this place so incredibly good?" I ask the owner at the end of my meal, not really expecting a response. "Because this is where Hong Kong's culinary heritage is being preserved," he told me.

Consuming humbler examples of that culinary heritage - in the form of almost transparent har gao (shrimp dumplings) or the glossiest char siu (barbecued pork) - in a lowly dive that's a local favourite can be tricky for visitors in town for a short trip. Consulting food-review sites can be helpful, but many of them are seeded with fake opinions (still, several Hong Kong food writers told me that is the one they use for tips). In the end, nothing beats talking to a local.

My colleague Chris Nuttall-Smith, The Globe and Mail's food critic, put me in touch with some friends in Hong Kong who brought me to one of their favourite places, Leung Kee in Sai Wan Ho. The restaurant is next to a fish market, so you can pick live seafood from the fishmongers and have the chefs prepare it to order. The steamed rock grouper we had made for one of the freshest, most flavourful meals I've ever experienced.

Signing up for a tour is also an option. I personally dislike guided tours, but if you don't mind being herded along in a group, try Hong Kong Foodie Tasting Tour. Two of the meat joints highlighted on their itineraries are Yung Kee Restaurant on Wellington Street and Dragon Restaurant on Queen Victoria Street, both of which qualify for "die, die, must try" status among residents.

Of course, you can always follow the lineups. A queue usually indicates good things, although sometimes they are just too long. One morning, I walked past a place called Australia Dairy Co. where the wait time for a breakfast of thin, watery broth with elbow macaroni and ham was more than an hour. "It's kind of terrible, but also great," a patient diner told me.

Or there's always Google. Searching "must-try dishes Hong Kong" led me to Parkes Road, where two spots, Mak's Noodle and Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop, serve equally tasty wonton beef brisket incorporating delicious broth, addictive wontons, al dente noodles and moist braised meat.

At Mak Man Kee, I also ordered Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce, and a superlative dish of tender scallions. Despite looking like nothing more than a little side plate covered in a neat array of green onions, the flavour blew me away. They weren't overpowering like raw scallions in North America but more like thick chives.

An onion is rarely something to write home about, but Mak Man Kee's dish is a perfect example of how the best epicurean adventures are about being surprised, regardless of cost.

Whatever methods we use to uncover these secret spots, we are all seeking havens of authenticity on an ever-shrinking planet, destinations where everything comes together in one perfect bite.



This outfit guides hungry groups through local haunts in Sham Shui Po, Sheung Wan and more.


In the middle of Sai Wan Ho Market, Leung Kee is a local favourite for fresh seafood dishes. 12 Tai On St.


Along with the neighbouring Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop at 51 Parkes Rd., this spot at 55 Parkes Rd. is known for its wonton beef brisket.


HK insiders swear by this website for restaurant reviews.


Options at this Hong Kong institution range from a $5 crispy noodle cake topped with sugar and vinegar, to $500 snails from the South China Sea. 29 Queen's Rd. W.


The renowned two-Michelin-starred dining room often makes it onto lists of the world's top restaurants.


This is a go-to spot for meat dishes like roast goose.

Associated Graphic

HUMBLE AND HAUTE The wok-fried rice in lotus leaf at Hong Kong's T'ang Court (above) highlights how the city's high-end establishments refine simple Cantonese staples.

Photography by John Cullen

Paris to fashion housing from empty offices
Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pushing forward a series of urban planning initiatives, including one to reimagine unused buildings
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B18

This year in Paris, the Louvre, Centre Pompidou and Grande Arche may be elbowed from their positions on the architectural vanguard.

Enormous changes have been set in motion in the French capital since socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo was elected just over a year ago in April of 2014. Officials say the city is being made over for the 21st century.

With rare speed Ms. Hidalgo has thrown the wheels of government into high gear to catch investors' eyes and attract people to live and work in the city.

In July, building-height restrictions are being adjusted to allow tall towers; a competition is under way to choose 23 innovative new pieces of architecture for the city, with a view to urge the conversion of unused office buildings into residences; and new building taxes are being brought to bear to quicken the pace of these conversions.

All this while the French government is pouring money into the Grand Paris project to modernize the capital's publictransit infrastructure to set up the city as a compelling place to live.

"We want to be a leader in innovation in the field of urban design and architecture," says Jean-Louis Missika, deputy mayor of Paris. In charge of urban planning projects, Mr. Missika heads the Reinvent Paris competition launched late last year. This call to architects around the globe will see their most inventive new designs compete to reimagine 23 unused old buildings and empty spaces in the city centre.

Among the buildings available for reinvention are some from the 15th, 18th and 19th centuries, a garage, an old electrical substation, a train station and office buildings. The competition has attracted 815 entries from 15 countries, including Brazil, United Arab Emirates and parts of Asia.

Some of the architects and their firms "are very famous," said Mr. Missika without wanting to reveal names quite yet.

Architecture firm Planning Korea is among the 650 that have just passed the first round of judging and have moved on to the second round, which will narrow the field in July before final decisions are made in October.

"The City of Paris will benefit from these world-class urban revitalization concepts," said Thomas Won, the South Korean firm's director.

Planning Korea's striking design L'air Nouveau de Paris features a series of individual organic pods springing from an interconnected latticework of thoroughfares that hang above a section of highway.

Inspired by Marcel Duchamp's avant-garde sculpture Air de Paris, each pod will contain office space, retail or residences.

Mr. Won said the firm chose the space over the Boulevard Périphérique in the heart of Porte Maillot for its strategic position between the central business district of Paris, known at the CBD, and the La Défense district in the west where new office buildings have sprung up.

Paris in the 21st century is gaining a diverse population, and "the city needs to accept this complex identity and become a space that reveals this," Mr. Won said. The hope is, Mr. Missika adds, that the project will attract even more people to the city.

The population of Paris is adding roughly 100,000 people each year to the 10 million who already live there. "There is much more demand," according to Lydia Brissy, director European research with Savills estate agents, "than available and suitable supply" to house all of them.

In the past two to three years prices for residential real estate have remained flat, she adds, "but it has started to rise again and there's lots of demand. The financing conditions are getting much better and it attracts people into buying property."

The Reinvent Paris projects that Mr. Missika is particularly interTHE SERIES Read more online This is the eighth in a series of stories on global property that examines the shifts and trends in the housing market on the international stage. More stories ested in are the ones that will convert old office buildings into residences to allow many newcomers to live in the city centre.

"Because Paris is very dense we are thinking of buildings for housing where the sharing is not only for laundry but for reception rooms," he said, adding the city wants the project "to show examples of the transformations of the buildings: the second life or third life of the building."

It's estimated Paris has 800,000 square metres of empty office space. By the end of her six-year mayoral term in 2020, Ms. Hidalgo plans to entice developers to convert 250,000 square metres to residences. Reinvent Paris will spur this trend that has been gaining popularity since early 2001.

A 2013 report by the Paris Urban Planning Agency shows that office to apartment conversions increased from 70 each year between 2001 and 2004 to more than 140 annually from 2010 to 2012. Over 12 years, the conversions transformed 393,000 square metres of office space into residences. That's an average of 400 new homes every year.

Nearly 40 per cent of empty office buildings are located in the centre of Paris, according to Ian Brossat, assistant to the mayor of Paris in charge of housing. So the government has also devised a new tax to push developers to convert these to homes. On Jan. 1 the city began to tax the owners of vacant office buildings 20 per cent of the rental value in the first year of vacancy, 30 per cent the second, and 40 per cent in the third.

"The concern about converting is that the cost is 20 to 30 per cent above the cost of regular construction," said Savills' Ms. Brissy.

However these developments continue apace.

Paris Open, one of the largest office-to-residence conversions, has just been completed in the 13th arrondissement. A small two-room apartment with kitchen (measuring 45- to 50-square metres or 485- to 540-square feet) in this 20,000-square-metre conversion goes for 382,000 to 444,000 ($522,000 to $607,000).

Philippe Plaza, chief executive officer of its developer Eiffageimmobilier, has said that by June the company will launch "an investment fund dedicated to this type of operation."

These reinventions are linked to an even larger plan: the Grand Paris project, which will create a new master plan for transport in the city, joining and modernizing transport hubs, airports, highspeed rail, and adding four new subway lines worth 26.5-billion.

The idea is to connect the suburban areas so commuters won't always need to travel through the city centre. All these upgrades are already attracting companies such as Swedish real estate investor Akelius, which bought 200 apartments in central Paris for 44-million in February.

Mr. Missika is so pleased with the success in attracting international attention that next year he intends to export the Reinvent Paris model to sites throughout the greater Paris region.

"The question of the reuse of the buildings," and the transformation of Paris, he said, is "an experiment to see if this kind of new way of building the city works."


Investment in Paris real estate peaked at 17-billion ($22.9-billion Cdn.) in 2014.

Paris has a 20-per-cent share of all international real estate investment in Europe.

On average from 2001 to 2012, five to six Paris office buildings annually have been converted to residential properties.

The La Defense Renewal Plan will create 100,000 square metres of housing in the high-density business district in the coming years.

Dropping height restrictions in Paris will allow more tall mixeduse buildings such as the two 1,060-foot towers of Hermitage Plaza designed by Norman Foster, which with 85 and 86 floors will be the tallest buildings in the European Union.

The sale of a property completed within the past five years is subject to VAT at the standard rate of 20 per cent.

The price of prime property in Paris is often 20 to 30 per cent less than in central London.

Associated Graphic

The space over Boulevard Périphérique - located between central business district and La Défense office district - was chosen by Planning Korea architects for their fanciful L'air Nouveau de Paris project.


We tote water bottles to the gym, strap them to our waists, and sip from them at our desks. But, as Alex Hutchinson reports, our modern obsession with hydration may depend more on what's in our heads than what our bodies really need
Monday, June 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

As British cyclist Alex Dowsett was preparing last winter for an assault on the one-hour timetrial world record, his sports science team was fretting over the details - like the optimal temperature at the velodrome in Manchester. Warm air lowers air resistance, but risks parching the cyclist, who can't drink during the race.

Meanwhile, Brock University physiologist Dr. Stephen Cheung, himself an accomplished cyclist and co-author of the book Cutting-Edge Cycling, was poring over the results of his surprising new study. The results showed that losing even three per cent of body mass through dehydration has no discernible effect on cycling performance. He shared the results, which had yet to be published, with Dr. Mikel Zabala, a friend who heads Dowsett's scientific team.

"He and I were batting around the idea over the winter of just how hot do we want to make the track," Cheung recalls. "He was obviously worried that Dowsett was going to get really dehydrated. So I shared the data that I had, and perhaps it put his mind at rest." Dowsett went on to smash the record by nearly half a kilometre in May, covering 52.937 kilometres in 28 to 29 C. Later that month, Cheung's study was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, garnering media attention around the world - and leaving everyone else confused.

Hydration, after all, is a modern obsession: We tote water bottles to the gym, strap them to our waists as we run, and sip from them at our desks. By the time we feel thirst, we're told, it's already too late. So how could the new results be true?

Cheung's research is just the latest in a string of studies over the past decade that have upended our understanding of the body's fluid needs. Instead of striving to replace every drop that you sweat out, it now appears that a little thirst isn't the end of the world. That doesn't mean drinking during your workout is a waste of time - but it turns out that how much you need may depend less on the fluid levels in your body than on what's going on in your head.

The prevailing rule of thumb is that you're in trouble if you sweat out more than 2 per cent of your body mass, based on U.S. military research preparing soldiers for desert or jungle combat in the Second World War. For a 75-kilogram man, that works out to a loss of 1.5 litres of sweat - a pretty big puddle under the elliptical.

Still, depending on how hard you're working and how hot it is, it's possible to lose that much fluid in an hour. Even if you're sipping from a water bottle, studies have found that in activities such as running, where it's hard to drink on the go, people tend to replace less than half of their sweat losses.

A growing number of studies have hinted that the two-per-cent rule is flawed. For example, when French researchers weighed 643 runners before and after a marathon, the fastest runners lost the most fluid weight on average, and only the slowest runners kept their losses below 2 per cent.

Another study found that star Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie lost as much as 10 per cent of his starting weight while running marathons - and he was nonetheless able to set two world records.

"Anyone who has worked in the field with athletes has probably realized years ago that a strict two-per-cent dehydration cut-off just doesn't work," says Dr. Trent Stellingwerff, a physiologist at the Canadian Sport Institute in Victoria. In his work with elite marathoners, Stellingwerff aims for 3 to 6 per cent dehydration, depending on weather and individual tolerance.

One problem with the earlier studies is that they didn't distinguish between dehydration (the physiological fact of having lost fluids) and thirst (the psychological state of thinking you'd like a drink). Researchers deliberately dehydrated their subjects for hours using heat chambers or diuretics and then forced them to exercise without permitting them to drink. Under those circumstances, it's no surprise their performance suffered.

"When you drink, you're also affecting your thirst, your perception, your psychology, your motivation," Cheung says. What slows you down, in other words, is the distraction and unpleasantness of wanting to drink without being able to, rather than an actual shortage of fluid in your body.

The twist in Cheung's study was that he used intravenous drips, inserted in his subjects' arms, to hydrate them while they cycled.

Since the study was double-blinded, neither the cyclists nor the scientists knew whether fluid was actually entering the I.V. in any given trial - only a paramedic behind a curtain knew the truth.

And to explore the role of thirst, he allowed subjects to rinse their mouth with water then spit it out in half the trials. While this approach succeeded in lowering subjective thirst, it didn't affect cycling performance.

However, it may be that you need to actually swallow fluid to fully eliminate thirst, notes Dr. Paul Laursen, an Ironman triathlete and physiologist at the Sports Performance Research Institute, New Zealand who published a similar I.V. hydration study in 2013. He points to a 2012 study in which swallowing small mouthfuls of water increased exercise performance by 17 per cent compared with rinsing and spitting the same volume of water.

An earlier study even used a nasogastric tube to suck water out of participants' stomachs and found that the mere act of swallowing fluid quenched thirst, even if all the swallowed fluid was then vacuumed out.

So if thirst isn't a reliable indicator of fluid losses, what is it telling us? One possibility is that, rather than total fluid levels, your body is more concerned with the concentration of your blood. As you sweat, you lose both fluid and electrolytes such assodium, but your body adjusts to keep the relative balance of water and electrolytes in your blood plasma roughly constant. It's only if you lose so much fluid that this balance is disrupted that your performance will be affected.

Taken together, these findings suggest that focusing on staying hydrated isn't important ... until it is.

It's worth remembering that drinking on a hot day is, if nothing else, a pleasant sensation.

When Cheung goes for long bike rides, he takes two full water bottles; and he thinks that teamsport athletes should continue sipping fluids when they're on the bench. But keep the importance in context: For an average recreational runner in a half-marathon, for example, the amount you drink just doesn't matter as much as we used to think.

That simple realization can itself be performance-enhancing, Cheung says, recalling the disappointing performance of American cyclist Taylor Phinney after he dropped a water bottle at the world championships in 2013.

The race was only an hour long, so it shouldn't have mattered - but since Phinney believed it was a problem, it hurt his performance.

That's the message Cheung hopes people will take from his study - not that you shouldn't drink when you have the chance, but that you shouldn't obsess about it when you don't. "It's one less psychological crutch to hold you back from a top performance."


Next on Dr. Stephen Cheung's research radar: the idea that a moderate amount of dehydration is actually a useful "stressor" that can magnify the benefits of exercise. When subjects training in warm conditions allow themselves to get a little dehydrated, their bodies respond by producing more blood plasma, which in turn boosts aerobic endurance. A similar effect has been observed from simply sitting in a sauna for half an hour after workouts. The takehome: Not only will a little thirst not hurt you, it may even help.

Associated Graphic


Runners receive water during a New York fun run. Research indicates performance is not as dependent on rehydration as once thought.


Treatment for all: how it could be done
A look at the ways in which pioneers in the field have introduced publicly supported psychotherapy, and how well it has performed
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F6

In Europe, public coverage for psychotherapy varies widely. Long-term private therapy is covered by a public system in Germany, while in Sweden, psychologists work in primarycare teams and online therapy is widespread. In Switzerland, therapy is covered only when it's provided in a family doctor's office. Here is a breakdown of how different countries have approached the issue.


What they did

Since 2008, 211 centres have opened across the country to provide assessment and therapy to adults specifically suffering from mild to moderate depression. The goal was to provide access to 15 per cent of the adult population needing therapy, with recovery rates of at least 50 per cent. In 2013, roughly 900,000 adults were referred to the program; 364,000 completed at least two sessions of therapy.

How it works

The program follows treatment guidelines laid out by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, an independent scientific body that makes evidence-based recommendations. Patients, either self-referred or sent by their doctor, are screened to determine the appropriate level of treatment. Based on their symptoms, they are slotted into levels of care of various intensity, from self-directed counselling (or housing or employment support), to individual therapy, to referrals to psychiatrists.

The cost

The government has invested over $760-million to date. Politicians were persuaded by an analysis conducted by Oxford University psychologist David Clark, and Richard Layard, a renowned "happiness" expert at the London School of Economics. "It was very important to bring the clinical researcher together with the economist to advance the argument," says Dr. Clark.

Lord Layard spearheaded several reports highlighting the massive cost of mental illness to the economy, government entitlements and the health-care system, which was deemed "scandalously" unfit to deal with the problem. Studies proposed that providing psychotherapy would pay for itself by reducing disability benefits and getting people back to work.

Who provides the therapy

The program has trained 5,000 new therapists, with a special focus on cognitive behavioural therapy. The goal is to increase that number to 8,000 by this year. They are supervised by psychologists.

Early outcomes

A key component of the program, called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), is data collection (to improve quality of service) and public disclosure of success rates. The overall recovery rate has been reported at around 45 per cent (with 60 per cent of all patients found to make a significant improvement in symptoms). These statistics, however, are based on the roughly 60 per cent of referrals who complete one or two sessions. (IAPT was designed to "assess" patients, as well as provide therapy, so the portion who don't receive therapy, says Dr.

Clark, includes people sent to other services, given take-home information, or referred to more serious interventions.) Overall, patients attend an average of six sessions, even though more are available - the reason for this isn't entirely clear. About 13 per cent of those taking medication at the start of treatment stopped doing so at the end. Those who self-refer tend to come from more marginalized populations, and have often been ill for longer than those referred by doctors, but recover at similar rates, and often with fewer sessions. (Researchers attribute this to a high motivation to get better.)

What needs fixing

Recovery rates vary widely between centres. The program has been criticized for focusing too heavily on cognitive behavioural therapy, as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, rather than a wider variety of approaches. Waiting lists have grown and dropout rates between referral and treatment remain high. Still, the data being collected, argues Dr. Clark, makes it possible to identify issues relatively quickly. The program is being slowly rolled out to expand to youth services.


What they did

In 2006, the government decided to fund private psychotherapy through its public health system.

How it works

Australians referred by their doctors are provided with up to 10 sessions with a qualified therapist. Patients may also access 10 publicly funded group sessions. The fees covered under the health-care system are roughly half those set by the professional psychological association, which means many patients still pay a portion out-of-pocket - on average, about $35 a session. The copay is based, to some extent, on income. Australians can also use employment plans, but can't combine them with government coverage. Therapists must report back to family doctors after six sessions.

The cost

The program proved more popular than expected, and, in 2013-14, 1.7 million Australians received mental-health services under the new benefits. The cost of the program has turned out to be twoand-a-half times what was originally anticipated; medicare payments for mental-health services totalled $682-million in 2013, accounting for about one-third of the government's total mentalhealth spending. (Of that amount, about 40 per cent was claimed by psychologists and other mental-health professionals, the remainder by doctors and psychiatrists.) Demand for the program now appears to be levelling out.

Early outcomes

Rather than treating the "worried well," research has found that over 90 per cent of patients were found to have a clinical diagnosis of anxiety or depression, and 80 per cent were scored, in assessments, as being in high or very high distress. "It is clear that the 'worried well' comprise only a very small minority," observed Anthony Jorm, a mental-health researcher at the University of Melbourne, and early skeptic of the program, in a paper in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. The majority of patients were getting help for the first time. Most patients who received therapy saw their symptoms improve, according to early findings, and on average, five sessions of therapy were used.

What needs fixing

A recent report found that, as with private services, therapy covered by medicare was less likely to be accessed in poor or more remote communities. Cost has also been an issue, leading the government to reduce the number of sessions covered. But there have been "enormous demands and support from the Australian public," says Prof. Jorm. "It would be difficult for the government to undo [it] at this point."


The Netherlands

Primary-care psychologists provide up to eight sessions of publicly funded therapy a year. Most patients are referred through their family doctor, who collaborates with the psychologist and often shares office space, but more than one-third are self-referrals. Severe cases are referred to specialists or in-patient care.


Private-practice psychologists are contracted with the state to provide publicly funded care as part of their caseload, either full- or part-time. In recent years, the focus has been to move psychologists into doctor's offices. Psychiatric outreach teams often treat patients in their homes, if possible. Norwegians make a small co-payment, with incomebased exceptions.


A portion of the cost of private psychologists is covered by the state. In September, Denmark will introduce a right to psychiatric consultation within one month of referral, along with a right to treatment for serious conditions one month later, and for less serious conditions within the following two months.


Publicly funded therapy has been the standard for decades. Germans who are not covered through a private employee plan must pay into the public plan, with a sliding scale based on income. Patients are referred by doctors and, after five initial diagnostic sessions, therapists submit a treatment plan to the public-insurance agency for approval. Many more sessions are covered if the need is deemed to exist - cognitive behavioural therapy can start with 25 sessions, and go up to 120; psychoanalysis can run up to 300 sessions. Waiting lists can be months long. There is currently debate among researchers and policymakers about covering additional types of therapy.

Sources: The Canadian Psychological Association, the Commonwealth Fund 2014 International Profile of Health Care Systems, Thrive: The Power of EvidenceBased Psychological Therapies by David Clark and Richard Layard, Globe and Mail interviews

Price isn't everything; In a hot market, speed counts
Friday, March 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page G1

As fast-paced as Toronto's real estate market has been for years, it always seems to find a new gear.

Even buyers in the echelons well above the average price of $1,040,018 - the new milestone achieved in February - feel pressured to move with blistering speed.

Our recent "Home of the Week" at 128 Sherwood Ave. was listed with an asking price of $1.795million and sold to a "bully" the first day it came to the market.

The bully turned out to be Toronto-based restaurateur Sebastien Centner.

"I only had a chance to see it for half an hour before we had to make a decision," says Mr. Centner of making the leap with his wife, Sheila Centner.

The Toronto Real Estate Board's latest data show how sizzling the market has been: For the Greater Toronto Area, sales jumped 11.3 per cent in February from a year earlier.

Last week, it was headline news when the same report showed the average price of a detached house in Toronto had broken through the $1-million mark.

Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter believes the Bank of Canada's surprise interest rate cut in January may be fuelling some of the current enthusiasm among prospective buyers in Toronto and Vancouver.

Headlines about price gains in those those cities also keep their markets tilted in favour of sellers, Mr. Porter said following a speech at a Queen's University real estate investment seminar in Toronto. "Strength often begets strength. There is a sense among some buyers that they have to get in before things rise even further."

Mr. Porter told seminar participants he is not worried about overvaluation in the broad Canadian housing market. Still, the central bank's move did make him worry that such low rates could lead to overheating in markets that have already had a long run.

"I did think there is the risk it could get overdone. I've been covering the Toronto housing market for 30 years and the last time it came even close to this feel is the late 1980s."

Mr. Porter observes that the recent shift in Calgary's real estate market could actually help to buoy housing in Vancouver and Toronto because fewer people are likely to leave those cities for the oil patch. As energy prices have tumbled, home sales in Calgary have seen double-digit drops while listings have surged. Mr. Porter warns that that dynamic inevitably will lead to a drop in prices if it continues.

He doesn't expect Calgary's problems to spread to Vancouver or Toronto. Vancouver's market has lots of support from overseas investors, he says.

Toronto's market will likely benefit from an improving economic outlook in Ontario, which he ties to the strength of the recovery in the U.S. economy and the lower Canadian dollar.

Still, he says, a severe downturn in Calgary's real estate market could undermine the confidence of buyers in other cities. "It might make them think twice."

Over all, Mr. Porter has a cautious view of the Canadian economy, which has been roiled by the decline in commodity prices. The fall of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. currency and signals from the long-term bond market also point to caution, he adds. "We can almost feel the landscape shifting below our feet."

On a more positive note, the U.S. consumer seems to be putting some steam back into that country's economy. "At long last the U.S. economy is finally finding its stride. That is unambiguously good news for Canada."

As for Mr. Centner in Toronto, he had never actually heard the term "bully offer" before, but agent Ronit Barzilay of Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd. advised the couple not to wait a week for the night scheduled for reviewing offers by listing agent Cailey Heaps Estrin of Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.

The Centners didn't know it but within hours the first bully offer had already been made at the full asking price. Owners Gina and Peter Schafrick turned it down. Typically, a "pre-emptive offer," as real estate agents sometimes call them, comes with a large premium above the asking price so that sellers won't

be tempted to hold out for the offer night.

The Centners offered $1.9-million, or $105,000 above the asking price. The Schafricks quickly accepted.

Mr. Centner acknowledges that the deal didn't come together without some angst. He and his wife never fight, he says, but that night over dinner she had to persuade him to push ahead.

"We had a huge fight," he says with a laugh. "I couldn't wrap my head around it."

The couple had been only loosely contemplating the idea of moving closer to Bay and Bloor from the North York home where they had lived for nearly two decades.

As the president and chief executive officer of catering company Eatertainment, he heads most days to the Manulife Centre to oversee the company's two establishments, the Bloor Street Diner and The One Eighty (formerly known as the Panorama).

But once Ms. Centner saw 128 Sherwood land on the market, she immediately called her husband.

The circa-1980 house near Mount Pleasant and Eglinton was designed by Ms. Schafrick, an architect, for her own family.

The Centners loved the open plan, Bulthaup kitchen and modern design. "All of the lines in the house were so clean," Mr. Centner says. "It just screamed attention to detail."

He felt even more certain when he turned over a dining room chair and saw that it was a genuine Eames and not a knock-off of the style designed by Charles and Ray Eames.

"That told us that they did not cut corners," he says.

He says he has developed a real appreciation over the years for how precise the design of a modern house must be because flaws can't be hidden behind elements, such as baseboards and mouldings. "Everything has to be perfect."

The couple was confident they could afford to spend $1.9-million for a house and this one was move-in ready. From their research, they had figured they would need between $2.5-million and $3-million for a Toronto house with top-quality finishes.

The kitchen was particularly appealing to Mr. Centner, who says the two are "serial partiers" who constantly entertain.

Still, Mr. Centner says he had a sleepless night after the agreement was signed, not least because the next morning the couple had to think about selling their own house. Fortunately, he says, their home near Yonge and Sheppard didn't need a lot of staging or preparation.

Eighteen years earlier, the Centners had purchased the small house at 98 Franklin Ave. in the popular Lansing-Westgate neighbourhood.

Thirteen years ago, they had architect Lorne Rose design a large, modern addition at the rear while maintaining the appearance at the front. "When we renovated we basically blew off the back."

A few years after that, an inground swimming pool and entertaining area were added in the backyard.

As soon as the deal for Sherwood was struck, they speedily listed the house with an asking price of $1.699-million and set an offer date a week later. They received a bid a few days in, but declined and invited the bully to return on offer night.

The bully didn't show up but they did get two other offers.

They had a bit of back-and-forth with one purchaser and signed the deal for $1.899-million, or $200,000 over asking.

"It was unexpected," says Ms. Barzilay, who adds that everyone was elated when the negotiations were over. "We celebrated with champagne with the new buyers."

Associated Graphic

128 Sherwood Ave. was snapped up with a 'bully' offer $105,000 above the $1.795-million asking price.


For years, famed Canadian basketball coach Mike Katz had a secret he rarely shared - he lived with depression. He had trouble with concentration, recall and even making simple decisions. Now, he hopes what he shares might help break down some of the negative stereotypes that often plague those with mental-health issues, Robert MacLeod writes
Friday, March 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- In the moments when his mood was darkest, when he was alone in his office with nothing but his troubled thoughts, Mike Katz turned to a swimming pool.

He would find one and jump in and feel the soothing water surround his body. And he would swim lengths, back and forth, sometimes for as long as an hour. The exertion would exhaust him, refocus his mind. Until the next panic attack would hit, always unannounced and uninvited, and it was back to the pool for another mental cleanse.

"There was just something about the water," said Katz, one of Canada's most acclaimed men's basketball coaches, now a consultant to the Ryerson Rams, who began play Thursday night in the Final 8 national championship in Toronto. "It's always advocated with mentalhealth issues that exercise is important. The problem, when you're a depressed individual, it's hard to do that. I would be on the phone in my office, with the door closed, and my friend at the other end of the line would be saying, 'Mike, get in the pool, get the hell in the pool!' And I did."

Most important, he always got out. Katz admitted that suicidal thoughts, while not an overwhelming urge, often emerged as an appealing alternative to the hell he was living.

"Certainly not in terms of a plan, but [better] understanding how people can do it," is how Katz delicately put it.

For portions of five years when his depression set in, this was a fact of life for the long-time coach - at the college and university level and with the Canadian men's national team program. It was his secret, shared only with select friends and family who helped him over the hurdles. "I lost two years out of my life," Katz said.

These days, for the better part of three years, Katz has been free of the demons. He is not seeking to be a walking billboard on mentalhealth issues. But the 65-year-old Toronto native will openly discuss his struggles with an illness that one in five Canadian adults can expect to suffer over the course of their lives. He hopes what he shares might help break down some of the negative stereotypes that often plague those with mental-health conditions.

And Katz is back on the national stage - albeit in more of a background role, as a consultant to coach Roy Rana at Ryerson. "He helps our players, he helps me," Rana said. "He observes the areas that we could maybe improve. He has a different vantage point because he doesn't sit on the bench.

"He's got that wider lens ... I think it's really, really important that we keep our elder statesmen, guys who have given so much to the game, been involved so much in the game. And his experience is phenomenal for our kids, for myself. There hasn't been anything he hasn't seen, and just to be able to have that resource is amazing."

Over a coffee Wednesday morning in the busy cafeteria at the Mattamy Athletic Centre - the former Maple Leaf Gardens that now serves as Ryerson's athletic centre - Katz appears calm and carefree, rejuvenated.

"I didn't laugh for a year," he said. "And that's a big part of who I am."

He has rediscovered a passion for music, is taking guitar lessons and has a voice coach.

Every couple of weeks, he performs at an open-mic event at a local pub.

A former basketball player at the University of Toronto, Katz has coached for close to 40 years, starting at the high school level at George Harvey Collegiate Institute in the city's west end. During his six years there, George Harvey twice won the city championship and made two appearances in the Ontario playdowns.

Katz then assumed the head coaching job at Toronto's Humber College and, from 1984 to 2004, nobody did it better. He led the Hawks to five national championships and was twice selected as the top Canadian college coach, before moving on to U of T, his alma mater, where he resurrected a program that had won just 12 games in two previous seasons.

The Blues wouldn't miss the Ontario playoffs in his seven years there. His best season was in 2007-08, when they compiled a 17-5 record and Katz was recognized as the top coach in Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

He was also busy at the international level as an assistant coach of the Canadian senior men's national team from 1993 to 1994, and again from 1999 to 2002.

He was with the Canadian team, led by Steve Nash, that made a stirring run at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

While his professional life was booming, he took a personal hit toward the end of 2006, experiencing his first bout of depression.

"I became very anxious, extreme hyper-anxiety," said Katz, whose mother and grandmother also struggled with depression.

"If you've ever had that kind of hyper-anxiety, you're crippled. You can't do much. You're very much in a compromised state."

Katz said he had trouble concentrating and remembering things, and had difficulty making even the easiest decisions.

He lost 30 pounds, mostly from worry.

"So when you don't have those elements, how do you coach basketball?" he asked. "You try to do the best you can. The thing is, you tend to isolate, you don't want to be around people."

Katz discovered that swimming helped and, working at U of T, was fortunate to have ready access to three pools. He would plan his swims so that he would emerge from the water just before a practice or a game, feeling just good enough to fulfill his coaching commitments.

"For me, the pool was a saviour at the U of T," Katz said. "Once I got out of the pool, I could probably feel pretty good for an hour or two or so ... and I could be of some value to the players." This went on for six months before Katz said his mind cleared. He said he was healthy for a year and a half before depression waylaid him again, and again he struggled through.

When depression returned a third time in 2011, though, Katz said he could not lick the symptoms.

He took a leave of absence from U of T, which eventually became permanent, and sought professional help.

He was eventually admitted at Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, Ont., one of the country's largest mental-health and addiction facilities. It was an eight-week stay and Katz said he has felt fine ever since.

"It's an insidious illness," he said.

Katz said he felt burned out from coaching in 2011 and was not interested in continuing at U of T. But when Rana invited him to become a consultant with Ryerson three years ago, he jumped at the chance.

"I'll make notes on my iPhone during the first half of games, meet Roy briefly just before he addresses the team at halftime," Katz said of his job. "Sometimes I just tell him what I think, sometimes he'll say, 'Why don't you tell them that?'"

Away from the court, he volunteers once a week at the Toronto Distress Centre. "And occasionally I will get calls from people who are very low," Katz said. "It's why I do it. I just want to let people know there's a way out of here."

Associated Graphic

Mike Katz looks on during Ryerson's men's basketball practice on Wednesday.


Mike Katz, right, says swimming at the University of Toronto was 'a saviour' in terms of helping manage his depression.


Sam Elliott: the voice of a generation
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R5

Oh, how I wish I'd been at the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) convention in Miami in mid-May, when the actor Sam Elliott took the stage and 700 mature women screamed for him like giddy teenagers. "Man, they went wild," Elliott said over the phone last week. His voice rumbled in my ear like summer thunder, and he chuckled exactly the way you think he would.

You can't blame the women for shrieking. They'd just seen the drama I'll See You in My Dreams, which opens in select cities this week, starring Blythe Danner as an attractive widow who's cocooned herself in a toosafe life. They'd watched the scene where Danner, who is 72, catches the eye of Elliott, 70, who plays Bill, a newcomer to her burg. She's in a drugstore, throwing a load of vitamin bottles into her basket. He's standing nearby, regarding her, all snowy hair, crinkly eyes and wicked grin. Then he drops this line on her, a line anyone of any age wants to hear: "You don't need that stuff. You're just right the way you are."

"I get it," Elliott tells me. "You always see the older guy with the younger girl in movies. It's great to see it as it is for a change. It's not about beauty, because that old skin-deep line is sure the truth. It's that, the older you get, the more you get to see from the inside of a person. It's about communication.

What it's really about is intimacy." Come on! You'd have to be dead to not swoon at that.

Elliott has always been catnip to the ladies, just the right combination of gentleman and rogue, whether he's playing a scoundrel (Road House) or a rock (Tombstone). Many of his roles - his pilot in Up in the Air, for example, who awards George Clooney his ten-millionth air mile - require little more of him than simply showing up to remind us what manliness looks like.

But now, after nearly 50 years in the business, he's having a moment. As a baddie on this past season of the FX series Justified, he wooed Mary Steenburgen and gave Walton Goggins a run for his money. On the final season of Parks and Recreation, he was Ron Swanson's hippie doppelganger, the only man alive who can go mustache-tomustache with Nick Offerman.

Bathrobe-wearing, White-Russian-swilling groupies still accost him on the street, shouting lines from his most iconic role, the Stranger, who narrates The Big Lebowski. (Elliott lived in Portland, Ore., which has previously hosted the annual Lebowski Fest, for 10 years. "It's the strangest event," he says. They've invited him, but he's never gone.)

And always, always, there's Elliott's voice. Part lion purr, part gravel road, it's as deep and American-iconic as the Grand Canyon. It's the sound testosterone would make if it could. No wonder Dodge, Coors and the American Beef Council hire him to shill their trifecta of maleness (trucks, beer, meat). No wonder, too, he's the voice of Smokey the Bear. When we spoke, he was at his home in Malibu, Calif., and I was in a hot car on a highway rest stop, and that seemed just right; he sounded like the miles going by. (He phoned me himself, without the buffer of a publicist. "My only handlers are the four-legged kind," he joshed.)

Elliott, whose extended family hails from Texas, knew his voice was an asset at the age of five, when his mother "dragged me to a cherub choir." He continued singing in ensembles and choruses through high school in Oregon and a two-year college program in Washington. But when he arrived in Los Angeles to try acting, one of the first agents he met suggested he take diction lessons, to smooth out his flinty distinctiveness.

"I obviously didn't listen very hard to him," Elliott deadpans.

"And I'm grateful for that, because my voiceover career has freed me up, so I've never had to take an acting job just for the money. I never had to do anything I didn't want to do." In early TV gigs, he worked with Jimmy Stewart and William Holden; in the Sundance hit Grandma, due out in September, he stars opposite Lily Tomlin for American Pie director Paul Weitz.

(Now that's a career span.) He's been married to the actress Katharine Ross since 1984, and they have one daughter, Cleo, 30.

Mentioning his mother, who died three years ago, sends Elliott into a ruminative mood.

"I was with her when she passed away and was kind of her caregiver for the last couple of years," he says. "I was very close to my mom. She was my greatest mentor in terms of pursuing my career. I lost my dad when I was 19, and my mom never remarried. Life and death, you know? It's one of the constants.

The tide comes in and the tide goes out."

That conversation leads to his daughter, with whom he has a complicated relationship. (Cleo was served a restraining order in 2011 after attacking Ross with scissors.) "I'd like to do parenthood over again," Elliott says. "I feel like I fell short. Everyone says, 'I wouldn't change anything.' I can't believe that's true.

Either that or I think, 'Wow, you're a lucky man to be able to be able to say that, if you really believe it.' "He calls marriage "work," and his explanation for the longevity of his marriage is simply, "You've just got to stick to it.

You've got to listen. It's not all about me, it's all about you and us." He's not pleased with how today's Hollywood undervalues mature adults and their stories.

"It's mind-boggling," he says.

"The people you think we'd be going to for some answers are marginalized. We're always off to the side, playing the grandfather or the crazy neighbour. I certainly believe I'm better as an actor than I've ever been and that's because of the experiences I've had, both as an actor and in life."

Elliott is hardest on himself, however: "I agonize too much about things," he says. "I can be glib, which is a terrible trait.

And I tend to be cynical. I've always been honest, and I've always been opinionated, but not terribly smart to go along with those two. I think if you're going to be honest and opinionated, then you better be smart.

Know what I mean? Otherwise you're invariably going to piss somebody off."

All that said, he's grateful for his family and his long career. I ask him if the steadfastness he so often plays on screen is true in real life, and he takes a moment to ponder before answering. "I'm not a flawless character like Bill, that's for sure," Elliott says. "But I think I'm honest and direct. People always write that I have a twinkle in my eye. But what's at the heart of it, I like to think I'm a good guy. I know I'm a gentleman. My dad raised me to be one and I'm forever thankful about that. That part is real."

Associated Graphic

Actors Rhea Perlman, Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott, Martin Starr and Malin Akerman star in I'll See You in My Dreams, a film that aims to portray later-in-life love in a more realistic way.


Michelangelo-inspired pieces find new home
Nine terracottas, believed to be created by a Dutch sculptor as an homage to his 'teacher,' are heading back to Europe from Vancouver
Monday, June 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L3

. Nine small, exquisite Renaissance-era sculptures, most at one time deemed to be by Michelangelo and valued as such at about $17-million, have been sold by the Museum of Vancouver to Amsterdam's famous Rijksmuseum for less than $200,000 (U.S.).

The sale actually was completed in the spring of 2013, but neither the Vancouver institution nor the Rijksmuseum, home to Rembrandt's The Night Watch and Vermeer's The Milkmaid, formally announced the transaction at the time. MoV chief executive officer Nancy Noble confirmed the sale last week to The Globe and Mail.

A second set of nine sculptures - now, like the first set, believed to have been created by Dutch sculptor Johan Gregor van der Schardt (c. 1530-1581) - has been deaccessioned by the Vancouver museum and could be offered for sale later this year, Noble said. On the list of potential buyers: the Rijksmuseum.

If this sale is held and is successful, it will mark the end of a rather tortuous, even mysterious, saga in which the MoV has been enmeshed since the mid-1990s.

Sotheby's New York attempted to auction the first nine terracottas - models of sundry body parts - earlier in 2013, valuing them by estimates at $200,000 to $300,000. However, no bids were offered, prompting the MoV, with Sotheby's help, to negotiate a private sale with the Rijksmuseum, which holds a striking self-portrait bust of van der Schardt in its permanent collection.

Noble did not reveal the 2013 sale price, but she acknowledged that it was "considerably less than the reserve of $200,000," the reserve being the minimum that auctioneer and consignor agree will be accepted as the successful purchase bid.

The 18 terracottas were donated to the MoV by two consortiums of still-unidentified Canadian investors, the first set of nine arriving in 1998, the second in late 2005.

Ownership of the 18 can be traced back almost five centuries to Paul von Praun, a wealthy German silk merchant, art collector, Michelangelo contemporary and van der Schardt aficionado. (Van der Schardt lived in Italy during the 1560s and, while a close follower of Michelangelo (1475-1564), was an accomplished, well-regarded artist in his own right.)

After von Praun's death in 1616, his large collection of drawings, paintings and sculptures passed from one owner to the next until February, 1938, when Christie's auctioneers in London broke up most of the collection for sale.

Eighteen terraccotta models were purchased at that time by Montreal mining promoter Percival Wolfe. Some came from the Christie's auction, while the remainder were purchased from a Dr. A.B. Heyer, who, according to a CBC report, was living in London after "fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe." Wolfe subsequently bequeathed all 18 in the 1950s to his twin sons, Peter and Paul LeBrooy, both of whom later resided in Vancouver.

Making copies or studies of works by master sculptors was a common practice during the Renaissance. And more often than not, it was done out of admiration or for pedagogical reasons rather than from any intent to forge or deceive. With respect to the Wolfe/LeBrooy terracottas, many of the 18 were seen to resemble the anatomical elements in some of Michelangelo's most famous sculptures, to such an extent, in fact, that over time some came to believe they were preparatory studies from Michelangelo's own hands.

According to The Vancouver Sun, the LeBrooy brothers, especially Paul, (both are now deceased, Paul in 1999, Peter in 2003), worked hard to attribute some if not all of their terracottas to Michelangelo. In 1972, Paul wrote a book called Michelangelo Models "to coincide with their cross-Canada tour sponsored by Rothman's tobacco," including an appearance at what is now the Museum of Vancouver. The twins had a falling-out in the mid-1990s, resulting in the terracottas being evenly split between them.

In 1996, a Vancouver private investment bank, Corporate House, put together a consortium of 66 investors to acquire Paul's half, purchase price unspecified.

The plan was for the investors to donate the works to the MoV, a public, not-for-profit institution whose origins date to the late-19th century, in exchange for a tax break based on their fair market value.

As part of the deal, the museum applied to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board to certify the nine terracottas as "nationally important." Certification was subsequently granted, with the fair market value of the nine models determined to be more than $17-million (Canadian). In 2013, The Vancouver Sun reported that the donors would have received about $7.4-million in tax credits on that appraisal.

Nine years later, the scheme was repeated, this time with Peter LeBrooy's widow, Enid, selling his nine terracottas to a Corporate House-arranged consortium of investors, the amount again unspecified. Again, the works were donated to the MoV, their appraised value of about $13-million giving the donors roughly $6-million in tax credits to split among themselves.

For some, these donations, never widely publicized nor exhibited, seemed odd. After all, the MoV's mission is to tell and celebrate "the Vancouver story." But this is only a relatively recent thrust, the result of a "revisioning" initiated in 2008. In previous decades, the MoV was known for the eclecticism of its contents: In 1922, for example, it was given the mummified remains of a child excavated from a grave in Luxor, Egypt.

However, once the MoV more firmly embraced its mandate to "collect, preserve, research and interpret" Vancouver's human and natural history, its board decided that it only made sense to deaccession its Renaissanceera terracottas.

However, Canadian tax regulations say objects evaluated as "certified Canadian cultural property" - which the 18 terracottas had been - can't be deaccessioned for cash without penalty until they have been in an institution for a minimum of 10 years.

While the nine once owned by Paul LeBrooy met that criterion, the nine of brother Peter would have to wait until late 2015.

Noble noted that the MoV "put out feelers before we ever went to auction," first approaching various Canadian museums, then going international. Nobody was interested. By this time, serious doubts by scholars had been raised as to the Michelangelo attribution touted by the LeBrooys.

The MoV itself would only certify them as Renaissance-era sculptures.

By the time it approached Sotheby's to sell the first nine of the 18, it knew they wouldn't fetch anywhere near $30-million. Indeed, Sotheby's estimate on the high end was only $300,000.

Moreover, its catalogue copy declared that any attempt to credit them to Michelangelo was "unsustainable" and "disproven."

"Recent scholarship on van der Schardt ... has clarified their place in the history of sculpture," namely as a loving homage by a talented "student" to his master, the catalogue said.

Noble said that for the time being, the MoV doesn't "actually have a plan" to complete the deaccession of the last nine van der Schardts, "because, to be honest with you, you kind of forget about these things and move onto others."

One thing that is for certain: The museum won't try to auction them. "We learned in 2013 that there's not a big market for these; they're very specialized," Noble said.

Besides, the 18 belong together, preferably in the Rijksmuseum, which is why, she said, "We probably will talk to them [later]."

Associated Graphic

The Museum of Vancouver, which has already sold to the Rijksmuseum nine terracotta pieces believed to be sculpted by a close follower of Michelangelo, hopes it can sell the remaining nine pieces it still holds to the Dutch museum to keep the collection intact.


Mazda3 Sport GT vs. Hyundai Elantra GT
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, May 28, 2015 – Print Edition, Page D10

Looking for luxury and style in a compact, economical package? You could spend $30,000 on a base-model entry-level German nameplate. Or you could spend thousands less on the top-drawer version of a mainstream product. Hyundai's candidate for this approach is the designed-in-Europe Elantra GT, which is freshened for 2016. Does it deliver on the promise of premium European driving dynamics? Jeremy Sinek put it up against a top-of-line version of the car that many believe wrote the book on class-above small-car goodness, the Mazda3



Base price: $26,995

Engine: 2.5-litre L4

Transmission: Six-speed manual or automatic

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 9.2 city; 6.6 highway

Alternatives: Ford Focus Hatch, Hyundai Elantra GT, Kia Forte5, Subaru Impreza 5-dr, VW Golf


Mazda's "Kodo - Soul of Motion" design language results in a dramatic shape, although in a different way from the Hyundai. When redesigning the 3 for 2014, Mazda went for a cab-rearward look that gives this front-drive car the stance of a rear-drive BMW. That may explain why Mazda had to stretch the body (it's longer than the Elantra) to achieve the desired aesthetic and aerodynamic flows.


The original Mazda3 raised the bar for small-car interior fit and finish, and the current generation upholds that tradition.

It also pushes the envelope for design and technology, with a single circular analogue gauge (speedometer on lower trims, or tachometer - with an inset digital speedometer - on higher trims) and a freestanding tablet-style seven-inch centre display regulated by a console-mounted rotary "commander" reminiscent of German luxury cars. But power seats cost extra - part of the $1,500 Luxury Package - and they are only six-way.


Lesser Sports come with a 155-hp, 2.0litre engine, which, thanks to Mazda's SkyActiv technology, delivers acceleration comparable to that of the nominally more powerful Elantra. The GT, with its 184-hp 2.5-litre engine, is a swifter sprinter (although independent tests suggest the margin is smaller than you'd think). The 2.5 sounds gruff over 4,500 rpm, but strong torque means the engine can dwell longer in the lower reaches of its rev range. Mazda steering has lost some of its zing since the switch to electric power assist, but it's still more engaging than the Elantra's. Grip levels on smooth pavement are similar in both cars, but the Mazda displays better balance at the limit. And while its ride may seem stiffer on small bumps, the Mazda's composure and control are in another league over larger disturbances.


Mazda has the edge here. Its Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS tops the Elantra because it does even better in the small-overlap crash test, and it's available with a front crash prevention system. The latter, Smart City Brake Support, is part of the Technology Package that also includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane departure warning.


The Mazda3 is not a paragon of space efficiency. Despite its bigger-than-average exterior, its trunk is slightly smaller than the Elantra's, and its rear seat doesn't fold as flat. And the Mazda3 has one of the segment's least hospitable rear cabins. Kneeroom is tight, the high beltline generates claustrophobia and the seat position forces adults into a gauche knees-up posture.


8.5 Given its striking looks, athletic handling and (in GT form) stronger performance, the Mazda3 Sport is the right-brain choice here. But it's not without some left-brain merit, too: fuel economy promises to be better than the Hyundai's, especially if equipped with the Technology Package that includes the fuel-saving i-ELoop system in addition to safety chaperones that aren't available on the Elantra. Without bells and whistles, the base Mazda3 Sport starts about $1,500 below the entry-level version of the Elantra GT.



Base price: $27,099

Engine: 2.0-litre L4

Transmisson: Six-speed automatic

Fuel consumption (litres/100 km): 9.8 city; 7.2 highway

Alternatives: Ford Focus Hatch, Kia Forte5, Mazda3 Sport, Subaru Impreza 5-dr, VW Golf


Whether you buy into the "fluidic sculpture design language" bafflegab, the GT is a handsome hatchback. For 2016, it gains Hyundai's new "corporate" grille while retaining its low 0.30 drag coefficient.

Note the extreme cab-forward proportions: viewed in profile, the hood transitions into the windshield in almost a straight line.

Considering the GT is one of the smaller cars in its class, its rakish looks and aero virtue are all the more credible: both traits are harder to achieve on smaller cars.


The Elantra's cockpit is both stylish and functional. A big plus over the Mazda is eight-way power seat adjustment on the GLS trim and up, so you can raise the seat without losing thigh support. Push-button start comes in at the GLS level while the GLS Tech and Limited trims add the seveninch touch-screen navi.


The GT was upgraded to a 173-hp, 2.0litre engine from the 148-hp 1.8 it formerly shared with the Elantra sedan. That's still not a lot of bang for the buck, but the extra torque makes the 2.0 a better match for the six-speed automatic that is standard on the GLS Tech and Limited; expect a 0-100 time in the high-eight-seconds range, which is competitive with lesser, 2.0-litre versions of the Mazda3 Sport, if not the GT's 2.5. The engine is refined in moderate driving and subdued on the highway but gets a little shrill when revved. As for ride and handling, don't be fooled by the GT's European origins. It can carve an on-ramp well enough, but none of the three driver-selectable steering modes adds much subjective zest to the quest. And the GT shares the sedan's pathologically bi-polar ride: pliant and quiet over most surfaces, it dissolves into tantrums of body flounce and wheel-hop over severe undulations.


Beyond those that are mandatory on all cars, the Elantra offers no additional active-safety options such as collision warnings, automatic braking or lane keeping assist. However, with seven airbags the Elantra crash-tested well enough to earn a Top Safety Pick label from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


The Elantra GT is competitively roomy. Despite official numbers that say otherwise, a real-world test reveals significantly more rear-seat legroom than in the Mazda3, as well as a more comfortable seating position. Trunk space is also up there with the segment leaders.


7.5 Previous generations of the Europeansourced hatchback supplied superior driving dynamics to the sedan. This time around, there's more straight-line speed, but the handling, and especially the ride, don't make the cut. Unlike the Mazda, the Elantra doesn't let you have manual transmission with the top trims. So if you care about the drive, no contest. The Elantra's strengths are all left-brain: it's roomy, quiet on the highway, and in true Hyundai tradition the Limited trim tested includes more standard kit (navigation, leather, eight-way power driver's seat, satellite radio and a bigger sunroof) than the Mazda3 Sport GT of almost the same price.

Associated Graphic

2015 Mazda 3 Sport GT, left, and 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT Limited.


Folio: Residential schools
In the face of violence and abuse, keeping quiet was a way to be safe. Now, survivors and their descendants use their voices to share their stories - and to heal
Monday, June 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux's mother and stepfather both went to residential schools in Northern Ontario. She is now the vice-provost for aboriginal initiatives at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. This is her story.

My mother was at Shingwauk for eight years and my stepfather, who was married to my mother when I was young, was there for 12 years. He was from Lac Seul (First Nation) and my mother was from Manitoulin Island.

I was born in '56. When I was born, a lot of people coming out of residential schools tried to go home, but they didn't fit in any more or there wasn't anything for them to do there, so they migrated into urban centres like Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver. So there were a lot of people around me when I was growing up (in Toronto) who were direct residentialschool participants.

The one place that they met regularly was the local watering holes, the bars. There was a lot of drinking. And because they were directly out of residential schools, there was also a lot of domestic and sexual violence. So most of the kids in my generation were subjected to that - to the domestic violence, to the sexual violence, to the binge drinking.

From Thursday to Sunday morning was just one long binge.

People came home from work, they did whatever they did, and then they were gone. They were out to the bars. And then they came home at one o'clock in the morning with friends in tow, and bootleg beer and partied until everybody passed out or got in a fight, or whatever. That was a regular weekend event.

On the reserves it would have been different because there wouldn't have been any work anyway, so people would have been getting by with whatever they had off the land. But they were still drinking.

(In Toronto) there was lots of alcohol and lots of things like Aqua Velva for the really seriously addicted.

There was sexual violence. That was happening on a regular basis.

I had to put up with that, too. I was never raped, but people are drinking, nobody is watching.

There was just no protection for kids in those days and I remember thinking it was pretty unsafe.

I have hyper vigilance and today it's a gift because I don't miss anything. But when I was a kid it was necessary. And so was silence and the ability to be invisible because invisibility meant I was safer. I wasn't a noisy child. I didn't want anybody to see me or know that I was there. It was better to be quiet.

There were tragic realities that many of us went through. But there are some enlightening realities in there, as well. And many people have found their way to success because they made choices that were very powerful and positive. And they have done a great job with their kids. We need to point out to people that, if you are given the opportunity to do something different and you do it, it's going to have a different kind of inter-generational effect.

Dennis White Bird spent nine years at the Sandy Bay Indian Residential School in Manitoba. This is his story.

I was approximately six or seven years old when I first got kidnapped from a loving home.

As I was growing up in my home on Rolling River First Nation, I recall my mother giving me some pinches of tobacco and she would give me the honour of going to present the tobacco to my grandfather and ask him to share the evening, to share stories or to come and sing songs on his drum and to bring his pipe. And every night it was different. For me, that was probably the best part of my traditional education.

And, if I hadn't received that, I think that I would have been very much damaged by the residential school.

From there, I was whisked away to residential school. I believe the first time we went, I had a ride with the Indian agent. He showed up and picked up a number of children from Rolling River First Nation and we all piled into the vehicle and he drove us 125 miles away to a school called Sandy Bay.

There, I was in a strange place, not knowing very many people, and basically I was placed in an environment where I had to survive. I couldn't speak English. My first language was Anishinaabe and I was only an Anishinaabe speaker at that point. And, because of that, I got severely punished, beat up and strapped many times because it was the only language I understood.

Once, I got beaten severely by a nun. I got slapped. My hair was pulled. I was punched and so forth, and slammed into the table and whatnot during meal time.

My crime was I didn't know how to say please and thank you. I was still probably about six years old.

The beating went on for about 10, 15, 20 minutes. She kept asking me questions and I was crying and she kept saying, "Did you have enough?" and I didn't know if I could say no, or yes, or whatever the case may be. And then she would hit me some more.

When I was in Grade One, I distinctly remember this one nun grabbing me in the back of the head and bouncing me off one of those big army cabinets because I could not memorize one of the Catholic prayers. We had to memorize all these prayers and make sure we knew them by heart. And if we didn't, we were severely disciplined for it. I was crying and I was bleeding and I was in pain.

There was no mercy. I was just left to defend on my own. Of course, we were all little children and, when someone was getting beat up like that, we weren't allowed to look at the individual.

We had to keep our heads down.

We couldn't talk within certain hours and we had to be quiet, even as there was sexual abuse happening in the next bed, we had to be quiet about it. We all witnessed various forms of sexual abuse taking place when we were just kids. You have 100 beds in one dormitory all squished together and the priests and the nuns and the other lay missionaries going from bed to bed. You'd lie still and pretend to be sleeping when something like that was happening and you wanted to make sure you weren't the next person. There was physical and sexual abuse that was also happening in showers and there were even some (students) that were taken out of their beds and taken into the supervisor's sleeping quarters. It was rampant.

There were some that experienced permanent damage and, for myself, I carry a lot of emotional baggage and you are almost like a walking time bomb that's going to explode at any time.

I think what Truth and Reconciliation has done is expose all of the atrocities that took place in residential schools. I take it as genocide.

These stories have been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux saw many people who were unable to fit in with their communities once they left residential school; a number of them took to drinking. She says she learned to be quiet as a child to avoid violence and unwanted attention.


Paintings saturated with time
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R15

MONTREAL -- Photography presents its view of reality one split-second at a time. A painter can represent time in a much more elastic fashion, as Marion Wagschal shows in her terrific current retrospective at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Wagschal, who has been painting in Montreal for five decades, makes memory objects that mostly take the form of largescale portraits, often of family and friends. Some appear to have been painted from life, others from the imagination, but all feel saturated with time, as a duration that weighs on her subjects and her experience of them.

Her figures are often nude, probably because nothing in human life registers time's passing as accurately as the flesh. Her bodies, middle-aged or older, sag and bulge and show postures worn into the bones. Their feet and hands have been moulded by activity, while their faces often have the vacant look of people at rest in familiar domestic spaces.

Many of her subjects sprawl on beds or couches or sink into easy chairs.

The elderly pair in Couple with a Calico Cat (1988) lie naked on their bed, touching without purpose at elbows and knees, empty teacups by their feet and a grandchild's drawing on the wall. They wear their long intimacy like an old garment, frayed or threadbare but well accustomed. Portraits often prompt us to imagine we can read character in the image, but this one doesn't. The couple is exposed but also hidden, except perhaps to the painter, a friend who gives us an unexplained glimpse of her private dialogue with them.

In Wagschal's nude self-portrait Cyclops (1978), she stands at her easel, eyeing the mirror that is us with one arm raised to her canvas, her body showing what artist Joyce Wieland used to call "the marks of time on the meat." For Wagschal, as with painter Lucian Freud, there's no usable truth in an idealized image and no need for anything like photographic accuracy. Her canvases in oils and acrylics show all the process of their making, in daubs of colour and firmly drawn outlines.

In Cyclorama (1988), periods of time overlap in a fantasia of selfportraits and images dreamt or remembered. On the left side of the canvas, Wagschal appears as a bride whose dress sheds jewels like tears; on the other, she's a nude on horseback. A geisha wears a costume patterned in maple leaves, a gowned woman walks with a fetus visible in her womb, and a skull-faced Pierrot plays a guitar. The scene feels like a dream about carnival in a tropical place - Trinidad, perhaps, where Wagschal lived till the age of nine. Time in this painting is like an accordion that can expand and collapse, bringing different periods and realities into sudden proximity.

Masks in Wagschal's paintings are the antithesis of the nude figure, though nudes often wear them. Her favourite is the beaked zanni mask of commedia dell'arte, which two men wear in the sinister grouping Dottore (2009), the name of which also alludes to the bird-like mask of the medieval plague doctor. In the foreground of a room crowded with seated nudes, a man in apparent distress is attended by these two clothed zanni, who don't look at all benevolent. A German shepherd sitting in someone's lap may be a clue that this is an allegory of the evils practised by some doctors during the Holocaust, which Wagschal's parents escaped and which haunts her paintings in many ways. But the painting also radiates something timelessly malign, as in the "black" paintings of Goya, an artist directly referenced in Wagschal's Rituals of Self-Possession series of 1991.

In The Melancholy of Carnivores, completed last year, a fox stands upright near two seated or squatting nudes. One is masked and has claw-like hands and animal teeth, and the other has a hairless lion's tail. Wagschal's soft palette and daubed brushwork make it hard to distinguish flesh from surroundings, though the reality under this cloud-like technique feels hard as stone. It's hard not to see it as a nightmare image of the slippery realities underpinning the neat rules and distinctions of civilization.

Wagschal uses the same cloudlike style in Trim (2012), a portrait of an elderly man in a wheelchair, his upper body nearly lost in the texture of the cloth thrown over his shoulders for his haircut. His eyes are as unfocused as knots in piece of wood. A stern-looking woman stands behind him with the scissors near his throat - an allusion, perhaps, to another of Goya's "black" paintings, The Fates. If there's harshness here it's in the reality depicted, which is that of Wagschal's brother, suffering from Parkinson's disease in a hospice.

Women and especially the figure of the mother are powerful in Wagschal's art. In The Great Coat (1987), which features the same pair as in Couple with a Calico Cat, the woman stands in the middle of the canvas, glaring in threequarter pose, a hand on her hip, wearing purple to the ankles, like a Renaissance prince. Her husband is fused into his soft chair, a book in his lap and an empty plate at his feet, while two boys occupy themselves with snacks and hobbies.

In Tales from the Schwarzwald as told by my Mother, a grid of painted framed snapshots radiates from a central small image of a woman with lowered eyes. The bottom of the canvas is heaped with dolls, and at least two skeletons float over the top, which is also decorated with flowers. The whole array, which Wagschal took 33 years to complete, is a memory lattice for her mother's recollection of what vanished in the Holocaust. Burning Spoons (1994), a similar apotheosis of a memory object, shows the only possession Wagschal's mother brought from Europe, burning magically on a bed while mother and daughter lie on either side.

A haunted sense of darkness is apparent in many of these images, but Wagschal's art can also have a celebratory feeling. Artists and Children (1988) shows fellow artist David Elliott, his wife, Elise Bernatchez, and their four children, mostly nude on a bed. Everything is foreground, with the parents framing the image from above and below. The spaces between the family are filled with toys, tea things and other items specific to them, or with floral and quilt patterns. The painting has the obsessive surface-filling energy of some outsider art, though the more direct link is with Wagschal's lifelong affection for embroidery. The whole delightful image breathes an atmosphere of peaceful domestic leisure.

This astounding exhibition was curated by Sarah Fillmore and first seen last summer and fall at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, where the pieces on show numbered 43. Unfortunately the MMFA, which partnered the project, is showing only 30 - a pity, in that this is the first comprehensive display of Wagschal's work in her hometown.

You'll have to buy the handsome catalogue to see the images that didn't make the cut. Better yet, nag your local public gallery to take up this show, which in an ideal Canada would be touring the whole country.

Marion Wagschal: Portraits, Memories Fables continues at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts through Aug. 9.

Associated Graphic

In Marion Wagschal's nude self-portrait Cyclops, she stands at her easel, eyeing the mirror that is her audience. The human body is never idealized in her work.

A fresh face greets visitors to Toronto
The UP Express and its main downtown station will offer a view and taste of the city that is commendable in its refinement
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4

You are a global businessperson, a member of the airline super-elite, well-shod and tightly scheduled. You have landed at Pearson International Airport and have business in downtown Toronto. How will you get there?

In a limo, you would stop-andstart your way along clogged highways. But you have another option: a train that departs every 15 minutes straight for the city's Union Station, making a reliable 25-minute journey. The train has WiFi and outlets to charge your phone; its seats bear smart little crests; it is staffed by "guest service representatives" in militaryinspired uniforms. Just as you do at Heathrow or in Kuala Lumpur, you will whisk your way downtown by rail.

This is the conceit of the new Union Pearson Express service, which opens to passengers June 6, a month before the opening of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in the city. It is not just a $456-million piece of infrastructure. It is an exercise in atmospherics - trying to create a fresh face for a city with the strategic use of design.

"We wanted to return to the heroic age of air travel, and rail," Kathy Haley, the CEO of UP Express, said while showing the system to media last week. "We wanted to put the focus on the guest experience."

There's no question that the experience of a quick, quiet train ride is a good introduction to a city. And this one should succeed at its task of branding; the design of the user experience is exceptionally good. To oversee its design, the Ontario transit-planning agency Metrolinx hired Winkreative. This is the agency founded by the expat Canadian Tyler Brûlé, who also created Wallpaper and Monocle magazines; Winkreative has worked with British Airways and Swiss International Air Lines. They know what they are doing. The firm's focus was not on the 25 kilometres of track projects, but on the architecture of the stations and the interiors of the trains.

The design of the stations is credited to four firms of architects, but the Swiss architecture firm Hosoya Schaefer was Winkreative's "architectural partner" and collaborated on the design.

Last week, the two middle stations were still under construction. The architecture was strongest on the downtown platform, which is located adjacent to Union Station and is designed by Toronto-based Zeidler Partnership - also the architects for the station's "train shed," the most visible part of a massive $800-million renovation. The UP terminal is attractive and grand in attitude: Heroic Y-shaped concrete columns hold up the roof, while the upper walls and ceiling are lined by slabs of oak that filter the sunlight and views. (It is a mixture of wood veneer and firesafe panels that mimic its appearance.) The wood is intended, Zeidler architect Tarek El-Khatib said, to lend a Canadian character to the space. Peek through this screen and you see the freshly built skyline of the city's new South Core district.

More attention has seemingly been paid to the details of what's happening on the platform. You have various options in how to spend your 15-minute wait - shopping, sipping coffee or drinking, all supplied by smallish local brands. This is a favourite tactic of developers and agencies running big projects: allowing local retailers to bring their edgy charm and provide a sense of place.

A retail kiosk is stocked by the Drake Hotel General Store, the retail arm of the independent Queen Street hotel; it offers a quirky, thoughtful mix of local flavour (maple syrup from Prince Edward County), travel-friendly clothing including a UP-branded railway cap, and hip souvenirs (the children's book Toronto ABC by illustrator Paul Covello. A is for AGO.)

Next door is a café belonging to the regional chain Balzac's. (If it's not clear to you how an espresso served by a café named after Honoré de Balzac represents Ontario, you can order a Café Canadien, a latte sweetened with maple syrup.) And upstairs on a mezzanine, a bar will serve the wares of the local Mill Street Brewery.

Down the platform are some things to grab the attention of the serious traveller: a departures board showing all flights at the airport and a pair of check-in kiosks that will, the train operators hope, allow you to check in and check baggage on several airlines. Air Canada and WestJet have already signed up. And next to that, a special ATM supplied by CIBC will dispense cash in five currencies - Canadian and U.S. dollars, pounds, euros and Mexican pesos.

Once you get on the train, the design does not grow any less subtle. Large windows let you see the city's western outskirts, surprisingly pastoral from this perspective. The livery and the exterior paint job of the trains, led by Winkreative, are in shades of sage green, red, burnt orange and yellow-brown. They are intended to reflect the landscape of Ontario - and the same shades carry through to the staff uniforms, designed by local menswear designer Matt Robinson of Klaxon Howl. Drawing on 1940s military uniforms, Robinson has given the staff a range of garments that include a special UP Express crest. The four elements include a UP station, Ontario's provincial flower the trillium, a pine forest and "the keys to Ontario."

There is more. The signage and graphics on the trains and platforms include a vintage-chic graphic identity by Winkreative, using Canadian type designer Rod McDonald's Gibson face.

It's hard to argue with the quality of this work. And yet if you know the state of Canada's public-transit infrastructure - particularly that of Toronto - this level of refinement begins to seem a bit comical. Indeed the idea of a Toronto air-rail link has stirred controversy since it was first mooted by the Jean Chrétien goverment. The region is desperate for transit and this line is a niche product which will have a minimal impact on the region. It will serve 2.5 million riders a year, if the projections bear out; the Toronto Transit Commission moves more than 500 million riders a year.

Yet the UP Express has been very deliberately designed to not be transit for the masses, like Vancouver's Canada Line. Over several iterations it went from a public-private partnership to a public project; the current version, powered by low-emission diesel locomotives, has been realized by the province as a stopgap in time for the Pan Am Games.

Plans call for the line to be electrified and to fit as part of an overall plan for frequent-service regional express rail. At that point, Toronto will have something close to a real regional transit service, the kind of infrastructure that world-class cities take for granted.

With luck, the UP's high design standards may influence other major transit projects in the region; Metrolinx is currently overseeing the $8-billion construction of Toronto's Eglinton Crosstown LRT line; it's not clear whether they will be able to enforce a high level of architecture and urban design there, where it really matters.

Not that you, as a visitor zooming toward downtown, will be thinking about such things. You will have the impression of a city and a country that understands design and how to make infrastructure work - at least until you get off the train.

Associated Graphic

The oak-veneer-clad ceiling panels at the Union Station terminal are meant to conjure Canadian character.

Candidate-of-renewal Blatter says he's the man to clean up FIFA mess
Rather than take responsibility for the scandal, long-time president suddenly has a re-election issue by vowing to take on his loyal group of bad apples
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

Speaking publicly for the first time since his organization was reduced to a gilded mafia in the world's eyes, FIFA president Sepp Blatter tried to seem mournful on Thursday. He couldn't carry it off. In his opening speech to FIFA's congress, he didn't bother attempting contrition. He's not foolish enough to assume any responsibility for what's happened on his watch.

Instead, he fell back on his familiar refrain in what have become familiar crises - a few bad apples are to blame.

"We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time. If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it," Blatter said, scolding his delegates. And, largely, they are all still his.

This was the year Blatter had promised to step down. He's said that several times in the past. In each case, he changed his mind. The 79-year-old is seeking a fifth term in office on Friday. Despite recent events, he'll win. In fact, recent events may end up helping in that regard.

Up until Wednesday's dawn raids and the arrests of nine senior FIFA executives on a variety of corruption charges, Blatter's campaign had no focus. It didn't need one. He'd scared off his two main rivals - former Real Madrid star Luis Figo and Royal Dutch Football Association chairman Michael van Praag. The only opponent left was a relative newcomer and former Blatter ally.

That would be 39-year-old Jordanian Prince Ali bin alHussein.

During Thursday's address, Blatter finally found his theme - he's the candidate of renewal.

"The next few months will not be easy for FIFA," Blatter said.

"I'm sure more bad news may follow. But it is necessary to begin to restore trust in our organization.

Let this be the turning point.

Tomorrow we have the opportunity to begin on what will be a long and difficult road to rebuilding trust. We have lost their trust ... and we must now earn it back."

It's so shameless, you stand in awe of it. Especially because it works.

Blatter has spent decades patching together his network of support. Early on, he exploited a peculiarity of FIFA's presidential election process - one vote per member country, regardless of size. When FIFA was founded by eight European powers more than a century ago, it didn't occur to them that electoral egalitarianism would be their undoing.

For Blatter's purposes, the support of a soccer non-entity such as the Cayman Islands (pop. 58,000) is equal to the backing of four-time world champion Germany (pop. 80 million).

Better, even. Because while Germany (or England, or Brazil, or France, etc.) may think about the game's health in Big Picture global terms, smaller countries just want to be acknowledged. Maybe they get FIFA funding for a Centre for Sports Excellence or a new state-of-the-art field or are awarded one of many lesser global tournaments. Canada has been one of the outsized beneficiaries of Blatter's policy to take soccer to nontraditional soccer countries.

All this requires is money, which FIFA has oodles of. According to its most recent financial statements, FIFA holds a cash reserve in excess of $1.5-billion (U.S.). Its profit from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was more than $2.5-billion.

This is an organization that has no measurable infrastructure, aside from its Zurich headquarters. It has little overhead. It produces nothing. It awards World Cups, which are ruinously underwritten by host countries. FIFA then turns around and rakes in most of the cash from TV rights and sponsorships.

It's not a business. It's a global money tree.

Blatter's brilliance is that he is willing to share. The largest line in his outfit's budget is "Development Related Expenses." FIFA gives away more than $250-million a year for soccer projects around the world. It steers private-sector money toward many others. The quid pro quo goes unspoken.

It's corrupting, but it's not corruption - not in any legal sense.

In another sphere, we might call it smart business. The actual corruptions are left to interchangeable subordinates. Blatter stays well clear of those sordid concerns. At worst, he tolerates them. More likely, he doesn't know about them because he doesn't want to. It's the reason he isn't in handcuffs.

On Friday, it may seem as though dozens of countries are voting for a crooked regime.

Instead, they are voting for themselves. They realize that if the balance of power spins away from their man and back to the elites in Europe, the trough is going to get a lot smaller. For many, it will vanish altogether.

As usual, Europe has run right past the forest and begun hacking at the trees. An appeal to First World business norms is not what will sway this election. Inclusion without judgment is what might turn voters. Foolishly, Europe - through its continental association, UEFA - has spent two days scaring everyone off.

First, they threatened to skip the congress en masse. Quickly realizing that that would turn Blatter's election into a coronation, they switched tacks. Now they will back Blatter's only competition - Jordan's Prince Ali.

They have also subtly threatened to boycott the next World Cup.

They'd never do it, but to raise the possibility is pompous and aggressive.

UEFA isn't pulling the world away from Blatter. It's herding it in his direction.

None of this is helped by the fact that Ali is a wild card. He talks a great deal about reform, but has no bona fides. He has spent most of his life in the military. He's promised to leave after just one term - which sounds ominous.

Thus, the calculation being made on Friday by FIFA's 209 member associations - the devil we know or the dilettante we don't?

The election of president is the last event on Friday's schedule.

To win, a candidate requires 140 votes (two-thirds of 209) on the first ballot. A simple majority wins on a second ballot. The voting is done in secret - another advantage for Blatter.

UEFA is urging its 54 members to back Ali, though several - Russia and Spain prime among them - will stick with the incumbent.

Ali claims he has as many as 60 other votes spread out across the globe, which sounds more than a bit hopeful.

Late Thursday, the Canadian Soccer Association said Canada will not vote for the beleaguered incumbent in Friday's presidential vote. Victor Montagliani, president of the CSA, told The Canadian Press that Canada will cast its ballot for Ali.

Montagliani says Canada cannot support the current political leadership of FIFA. And that the world governing body of soccer needs change. The Canadian soccer boss says the U.S. Soccer Federation has come to the same conclusion.

Blatter already has the public backing of the Asian and African soccer confederations. Working as a bloc, those two bodies can bring the Swiss 103 votes - two from a majority.

Barring a remarkable backroom scramble, the result is a foregone conclusion.

Despite the high dudgeon being deployed by the soccer community and world leaders including British Prime Minister David Cameron, the real question is not whether Blatter can be unseated.

It's how long they'll have to wait until he decides to leave on his own.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Not bound by truth
Merchants of Doubt explores the business of climate-change skeptics, who are paid by companies to create doubt and delay
Friday, March 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R2

Who says jobs are hard to come by? In the documentary Merchants of Doubt, director Robert Kenner (Food, Inc.) highlights a cottage industry of pundits who have carved out a comfortable niche for themselves as climate-change skeptics - in many cases, without much of a science background.

Though they present themselves as independent, they are frequently funded by deep-pocketed industrial players such as the Koch brothers. We spoke with Kenner this week by phone.

What spurred you to make this film?

It came up when I was making Food, Inc. I went to a hearing on whether we should label cloned meat, and someone from the meat industry said, 'I think it would just be confusing to the consumer to be given that kind of information.' And I looked into it, and it was groups like Rick Berman's Center for Consumer Freedom, there was this Orwellian world, and I thought, I'd like to go look into that.

Rick Berman, by the way, worked for the alcohol industry and fought Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and then worked for Big Ag and fought the Humane Society, and was recently caught on tape saying to energy producers, 'You can either lose pretty or win ugly. I can go out there and attack your opponents, I can start all sorts of controversies.' He's not bound by truth. He's out there to just win.

The film opens by noting the tobacco industry knew by the late 1950s that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer, and by the 1960s that nicotine was addictive, but PR companies helped them draw up strategies to fight that. You're suggesting there are parallels to climate change today?

Our film is about the straight line of a playbook that can be put from one product to another: 'Attack the messenger. Create doubt. Create delay.' [The PR firm] Hill & Knowlton said in the fifties, 'Doubt is our product.' They've written this - it's out there. So, this is really following how they go from one industry to another, and the big payday today is climate.

There's a news report today that one of the climate-change skeptics you interviewed in the film, the scientist Fred Singer, is apparently threatening you with legal action.

Oh, wow, that's out there? Yes, I got a letter from Fred. What I thought was disappointing about the letter is, Dr. Singer is a real scientist. I think his science became corrupted by his political beliefs at some point.

There was a review which called people in the film 'liars for hire.' That's not anything that is said in the film by any of my characters, and yet Dr. Singer went ahead and wrote about a film he hasn't seen yet. That's disappointing. A scientist should rely on facts, not innuendo.

The film includes scenes of critics calling environmentalists a name I hadn't heard before - 'watermelons.' That is, green on the outside, communist red on the inside. So I need to know: Are you a watermelon?

And if not, what kind of fruit are you?

Well, uh, that's an original question. I would have to say, not only am I not a communist on the inside, I've not really been an environmentalist. I think Food, Inc. and Merchants of Doubt are about transparency - that we need to know who's talking and who they represent.

The film notes there are often industry-backed groups with anodyne names lurking in the background of public policy debates, such as Citizens for Fire Safety, which turned out to be funded by the three largest manufacturers of fire retardants.

When Steve Molloy is talking to Glenn Beck, and Glenn Beck says, 'Are you in bed with Big Oil, and if so, how good are they?' and he responds, 'No, I'm just trying to do the right thing' - he's trying to come off as an independent agent. He's not an independent agent, he's been paid by these companies to create doubt and delay.

The film shows these so-called experts retailing their doubt not just with Glenn Beck but on mainstream outlets such as CNN and Fox News.


I take the film to be an indictment of journalism as it's currently practised.

I think climate turns out to be a particularly difficult subject. A good thing is to try to present two sides of an argument. I applaud that concept. The problem is when there aren't two sides. You know: The Earth is round; the Earth is flat. Or tobacco - 'The jury's still out.' The jury's not still out about tobacco, the jury's not still out about climate. The jury's out as to the solutions to the problem.

You can have conservative solutions, you can have liberal solutions - that's a debate. But I think for the media to present James Taylor from the Heartland Institute - who's taken a class in science - .

I believe he's taken a few classes ...

Yeah, a few classes in college.

He appears as an 'adjunct scholar.' I don't know, I question that. And I would hope the media would.

It's not just the media, though. There's a magician in your film, Jamy Ian Swiss, who suggests that, when people go to see him, they actually want to be deceived. He seems to be implying that we're all just fine with being deceived, that we actually know climate change is man-made and we're okay with listening to the doubters because we don't really want to change our behaviour.

I don't think so. This cancer doctor wrote me and said he sees it with his patients - they still smoke but they don't want it to be true. But I really don't want to condemn. When Jamy said that, I think he was talking about magic. He calls himself 'an honest liar,' because people are there to be fooled. I don't think it's the same in public life, because we don't know we're being fooled. Fire departments around the country getting cancer because of those [fire retardant] chemicals - they were paying with their lives because they were fooled. They didn't sign up for that.

Merchants of Doubt opens Friday for a limited run at Toronto's Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (

This interview has been condensed and edited.


Merchants of Doubt 3

"I'm not a scientist, although I do play one on TV occasionally," says the pundit Marc Morano. "Okay - hell," he adds with a laugh. "More than occasionally." Morano, the founder of, is one of the more charismatic figures in the rogue's gallery of climate-change skeptics on display in Food, Inc. director Robert Kenner's Merchants of Doubt. By turns galling and appalling, and always slickly entertaining, Doubt peels back the scrim of legitimacy wrapped around folks such as Morano and so-called think tanks such as the Heartland Institute, who are funded by rich industrial interests to create just enough questions about the science - of tobacco, of DDT, of asbestos, of fire retardants, of climate change - to prevent change in public policy. See it and be enraged: It's good for you, and maybe the planet, too. (PG)

Associated Graphic

Climate-change skeptics are paid by corporations to undermine research by scientists, such as Ben Santer, seen in Merchants of Doubt.

Haiti, Zimbabwe deportation bans lifted
Hundreds of 3,500 non-status immigrants apply for residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds after years in Canada
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A4

MONTREAL -- Ulrick Lafleur reaches into a brown envelope and gently pulls out a large folded piece of paper from the top of a pile of immigration forms. On official Haitian state letterhead with muted lettering, as if the printer needed ink, it informs Mr. Lafleur that his 49-year-old son, Nazaire, was shot to death and that his body was found on the street on May 12. It contains technicalities - his feet were pointing south, and his head north - but no condolences.

Beneath that letter is Mr. Lafleur's application for permanent residency in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. It is dated exactly a week later, May 19, around the same time he received the letter from Haiti.

Mr. Lafleur is one of 3,500 people in Canada - 3,200 Haitians and 300 Zimbabweans - who were affected when the federal government lifted a hold on deportations to their home countries, deeming the situation in Haiti and Zimbabwe stable. Those without status were given six months to apply for residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Hundreds raced to submit the applications by the June 1 deadline. Some will be granted permanent residency and some will eventually be removed from Canada.

For others who have been in the country for years, it's their second or third application to stay in Canada. Prior rejections and the thought of it happening again have discouraged many from filing the application and they have gone underground.

The moratorium on deportations went into effect for Zimbabwe in 2002 and for Haiti in 2004.

In 2002, many people fled Zimbabwe because of political unrest after Robert Mugabe was re-elected as president.

Two years later, in Haiti, a coup d'état removed president JeanBertrand Aristide, creating years of instability. Then, in 2010, an earthquake hit the country's capital, Port-au-Prince, killing more than 200,000 people.

Haitians and Zimbabweans in Canada claim violence and unrest still plague their countries.

A travel advisory for Haiti on the Canadian government's website, last updated on May 22, says, "Crime rates are high and the security situation is unpredictable."

Quebec Immigration had counted only 500 applications for residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds as of May, prompting its minister, Kathleen Weil, and community organizations to appeal to the federal government to grant an extra three months.

It costs $550 a person and 20 hours to fill out the humanitarian and compassionate demand for residency.

"I am desolate," said Mr. Lafleur, who was denied refugee and residency applications in 2007 and 2010.

If he had attended his son's funeral in Haiti, he would not have been able to come back to Canada, where he has lived for the past seven years, because of his lack of status here.

But he said he would not want to stay in Haiti, either. "I have nothing there. My house was destroyed by the earthquake, and now my son is dead," he said in an interview.

Poignant tales have emerged from Haitians who are deploring the decision that may send them back to Haiti, where they say it's not safe.

For William Antoine, a father of two with one on the way, this is his fourth time applying and his eighth year in Canada. He fears being separated from his children who were - and will be - born in Canada.

"We're really worried," he said last week outside the Citizenship and Immigration Canada office in Montreal, where a protest was held. "We work and pay for our children's education - they're the ones who could really contribute to Canadian society. Who knows?

[One of them] could be prime minister one day." Jean Enor Goin, who was vocal about his story at the protest, fled Haiti in 2007 after he was stabbed for being gay. For years, he suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder because of the incident.

"I am so upset [because of the end of the moratorium], but I love it here in Canada. I have a boyfriend, friends, I work here. I don't want to leave," he said.

Despite calls from several political parties to extend the deadline, the Immigration Department stood firmly by the June 1 date.

"It should come as no surprise, not to the Haitians nor to anyone else, that these temporary measures are coming to an end, because we announced it on Dec. 1," Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said last month in the House of Commons in response to Quebec Liberal MP Emmanuel Dubourg, who brought up the demands for a delay. "If Minister Weil would like to open other avenues towards permanent residence, she can use Quebec's programs to do so," Mr. Alexander said.

The Quebec government has spent $180,000 for five community organizations, including Maison d'Haiti Montréal, to help with completing the forms, which would otherwise require a lawyer.

Quebec is home to 90 per cent of Canada's Haitian population of 137,995.

In response to a request for comment by The Globe and Mail, an Immigration Department spokesperson copied and pasted Mr. Alexander's response in the Commons and another said: "For those who submit an application on H&C grounds within six months of the TSR being lifted, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will defer their removal pending a final decision on their H&C application."

Mr. Dubourg, who is of Haitian descent, said the minister's response to him in Parliament was surprising. "I'd say it floored me even, the shortness of his reply," he said over the phone.

While politicians are asking for more time, the Non-Status Action Committee is advocating for all Haitians and Zimbabweans without status to be granted residency.

Serge Bouchereau, a spokesman for the committee, said he believes that the timing is a strategic appeal by the Conservatives before the fall election to what he called an increasing right-wing sentiment in the world. He thinks that they will move to deport the Haitians and Zimbabweans quietly at the end of the summer, when people are on vacation and then have their eyes on the election campaign.

Regarding the small number of applications submitted to date, Mr. Bouchereau said many feel anguish over the thought of a stranger looking at their file being responsible for their fate.

"Haitians are proud people.

They work hard at jobs many Canadians don't typically fill; they don't use employment insurance most of the time, and they pay taxes."

A friend of Mr. Bouchereau's, Johnny St. Paul, 51, took on extra security guard shifts, sometimes amounting to 16-hour days, to pay for the application. Most of the money he makes goes to pay for chemotherapy for the mother of one of his two sons who lives in the United States. His request for refugee status was rejected when he first arrived in 2012.

Back home, he has an undergraduate law degree under his belt, but he said he had to leave before he could continue his career in constitutional law because he was repeatedly threatened for his outspoken political beliefs.

"My dream," he said, his voice growing louder, "is that my two sons [one is in Haiti and the other in the United States] come to Canada and get an education here."

Associated Graphic

Ulrick Lafleur, one of 3,200 Haitians in Canada without status, marches against deportations in Montreal on Sunday.


Tending to his vegetable garden - with all of its glorious frustrations - leaves Beppi Crosariol with more than a green thumb
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L8

I did not go in search of yogic peace or political enlightenment when I began growing vegetables. I merely wanted free lunch. But as my Toronto garden took on proportions that my downtown friends jokingly call "Saskatchewan," a humbling truth set in. I was not growing vegetables so much as they were growing me.

I've learned a lot from 60 square metres of dirt and manure. About patience, tolerance, communal sharing, nature's invincibility, the honest rewards of backbending toil and the tastiest way to lead a more environmentally benign existence.

I've also learned that Rub A535 comes in Dual-Action Cream.

These epiphanies did not come without a struggle. I first had to digest the depressing truth that I would not be able to grow arugula, the ultimate no-brainer crop and my favourite food. Arugula taught me perhaps the most important lesson of all: that Satan is a flea beetle.

Were it not for that tiny black pest, I might have devoted my entire property, including the useless front lawn, to nature's most perfect, peppery green. (I once had fanciful daydreams of harvesting lunch with my push mower and leaf rake.) But the hopping bugs foiled the plan.

In some gardens, flea beetles are a benign force, merely carving out pinpoint holes in bitter crucifers like buckshot.

In mine, they are so voracious that they quickly outstrip their own food supply, attacking even the youngest shoots when the big ones are gone until nothing's left but scorched earth. I have a theory: My flea beetles may be Italian.

Yes, I tried everything in the organic playbook to suppress their numbers, including tilling over roots and leaves in autumn to destroy their winter habitat, but no dice. These are resourceful bugs and I suspect they have learned to scurry from my shovel in November to multiply in the haven of my neighbour's yard as they plot the following spring's shockand-awe offensive.

So, I was forced to expand my horizons, and my salad repertoire. Today I grow roughly 100 heirloom-tomato plants, including stunning neon-orange Nebraska Weddings and beautifully striped Black Zebras and Berkeley Tie Dyes, as well as about 30 other assorted crops. There's Tuscan kale, rainbow chard, red dandelion, candy-striped Chioggia beets, tongue-searing Black Spanish radishes and five types of garlic, to name just a few. This year I'll be broadening my chili-pepper assortment to eight and devoting more ground to various lettuces, such as Lolita (burgundy-coloured and frilly), Martha Stewart Buttercrunch, Little Gem Romaine, Red Freckles and frisée.

You won't find most of those treats among the offerings at parkinglot garden centres, which specialize in easy-to-grow hybrids that yield supermarketstyle, blemishfree produce. Like many fanatic gardeners, I grow virtually everything from seed, sourced from various organic suppliers, including Toronto's excellent Urban Harvest ( as well as a globetrotting girlfriend who perhaps should have consulted Canada's Seeds Act before importing foreign plant matter in her luggage. I also collect and dry my own, all carefully organized in dozens of No. 3 coin envelopes from Staples.

Most gardeners don't have the luxury of starting 400 plants indoors in the dead of February. It takes space and time, of course, but it also takes something sadly all-too-rare in Toronto, a property uncluttered by trees. You need to hit those infant plants with serious ultraviolet rays the moment they germinate, and it's impossible to do that in a "sunroom" shaded by precious maples and elms. My sunroom is located on the second floor and faces south, with nothing near it to block the sky except the occasional flock of migrating Canada geese. Which brings me to one of those teaching points. Most city folk with yards prefer to trade sunlight for shade and are content instead to burn gas to shop for week-old, trucked-in produce. That's understandable, but I'd rather do without the trees (and car) and be surrounded by a vine and vegetable forest. Perhaps I'm making a virtue of cheapskate economics, but what started as a plan to skimp on groceries now feels more to me like an ideological imperative. I'm trying to commit as best I can to a 100-metre diet, born of newfound awareness at how much a backyard plot can yield. In summer and autumn I literally could avoid stepping off my property for months and not perish from malnutrition, though I must admit that a pig or two would be nice for the sake of protein - and for the company.

My next-door neighbour, Eric, the suspected fl ea-beetle host, tends a similarly large garden and feels the same way. He's from Grenada and likes to grow things for soups and stews, like corn, okra and zucchini. He also sometimes delivers his excess bounty to a local soup kitchen. Eric and I have established an informal trading system. He gets some of my tomato seedlings and hipster lettuces and I get unfettered access to his strawberries and zucchini fl owers, which would otherwise cost me serious coin to buy at a ritzy downtown store. Joe, two doors down, brings me onions and banana peppers and I keep him ankle-deep in parsley.

Growing from seed gives me pride, because it's challenging, but it has also led me down the soiled path to self-righteousness, I must confess. For me there's little thrill in carting home fully established plants from the garden centre to stick in the ground and blast with a hose every three days. That's sort of like adopting a Yale graduate and taking credit for rearing a successful lawyer, or like assembling an Ikea bookshelf and calling yourself a carpenter. The hard work's been done by somebody else.

Seeds cultivated in trays take daily, sometimes hourly, attention with a spray bottle. If the soil becomes too wet, you get mould. Too dry and you shoot blanks, to borrow the fertility-clinic jargon. My seedlings are, in a sense, my babies, which also makes early-spring vacations almost impossible, unless I can find a trustworthy sitter willing to work the spray bottle.

Another downside of growing from seed, besides the annoying self-righteousness, is that it renders you hyperprotective. Before my neighbours to the west moved away two years ago, their son had taken to playing soccer and basketball almost daily in the back of our shared driveway. Nice kid, but like most 10-yearolds he had a poor grasp of statistical probability. When the ball would bounce - with catastrophic regularity - into my garden, I would lose not just another meal but six months of hard work and hope.

I had brought those lifeforms into this world, after all, and I genuinely felt emotional pain each time their lives were cut short by a miscalculated corner kick.

The boy couldn't possibly have fathomed the depth of my anguish, so I always accepted his polite apologies and let him play on the way kids have a right to, tossing the ball back with resignation.

"No problem, Diogo," I'd say. "You can buy me a big fence when you grow up to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo."

It was my yogic peace offering.

Beppi Crosariol is The Globe and Mail's wine & spirits columnist.

Testimony sheds light on backlash fears
Lawyer for 2nd Lieutenant, who alleges a fellow cadet walked into her shower, says the incident could have been prevented
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A3

KINGSTON -- In a makeshift courtroom at the Royal Military College this week, a 2nd Lieutenant in a blue military dress uniform recounted the night she says a fellow cadet - a man who was her friend and her superior - walked naked into her shower stall.

Her testimony, delivered mostly with confidence but occasionally punctuated by tears, revealed the turmoil she has endured in the aftermath of the incident - and the denunciation she faced from fellow cadets for her decision to lodge a sexual-assault complaint against her alleged assailant.

The ostracism was "unbearable," said the officer, whose name is under a publication ban, and who was promoted to 2nd lieutenant this month at the direction of the Chief of Defence Staff after the psychological trauma threatened to end her military career.

Other students were saying "it was something that should not have been reported, that it shouldn't be taken that seriously," she told the court martial of Officer Cadet Alex Whitehead, which is expected to continue at least through next week.

A wide-ranging review of sexual assault in the Canadian Armed Forces that was conducted by former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps and made public on April 30 found there is an "underlying sexualized culture" in the military that is hostile to women - and the military colleges, where "sexual assault [is] an ever present risk," are no exception.

The court martial of OCdt. Whitehead is one of the rare cases in which allegations of sexual misconduct at a military college are taken to college superiors and then land before a judge. And, when they do, the hearings are rarely attended by the media.

Studies say only a small fraction of military women who are assaulted choose to lodge a complaint - for the sake of their own careers, or the careers of the men who assaulted them, or out of fear of bringing disrepute on their army, navy or air force family.

They also fear that the chain of command will be sympathetic and loyal to the accused.

Julie Lalonde, an expert on sexual assault with the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres who was treated with open contempt and catcalls by RMC cadets when she spoke at the school last fall, says there is "an incredibly frightening culture on that campus ... it is a hostile place to be a woman."

Michel Drapeau, a retired colonel who is a lawyer who handles many military issues and is representing the complainant in this case, says he has nine other female clients who attended RMC who say they were also victims of sexual assault.

"The message of non-tolerance maybe exists at a higher echelon, where there is no presence of sexual misconduct on a larger scale," Mr. Drapeau said. But it is not getting through to the cadets who are Canada's future military leaders, he said. "It's a real failure, and a failure that we should have addressed decades ago because there have been many warnings to that effect."

RMC refused repeated requests for interviews.

The 2nd Lieutenant initially rescinded her complaint in the face of the criticism from fellow students. "I was still ashamed of what had happened," she told the court. But, when a second female cadet told her she had been assaulted by OCdt. Whitehead, she was overwhelmed by the thought that "because I had not proceeded, there was a second victim."

First she slit her wrists in a failed suicide attempt. Then she rallied. And now she and the other cadet have helped press criminal charges against OCdt.


The 2nd Lieutenant said OCdt.

Whitehead was her friend for more than a year before things went wrong. One night in September, 2013, the two went with fellow cadets to a bar in Kingston, Ont. When she decided to leave early, she said OCdt. Whitehead offered to go back to the RMC barracks with her. She could smell the alcohol on his breath when they got in the cab.

Back at the college, he walked her to her room and asked to come inside, which she said she allowed because she is a member of a peer support group and she assumed he wanted to talk. But he didn't want to talk, she said, he wanted to kiss her and, despite her protests, the two fell awkwardly onto her bed.

She scrambled from underneath him and "I told him I am going to take a shower and I want you to go to bed," she told the court, explaining that she took her bathrobe and headed to the women's showers where men are not allowed. But, with the water running, she saw his reflection in the bathroom mirror. And then, she said, he was in the shower with her.

She told the court she turned the water to hot - so hot it burned her back - and he left. For the next 15 minutes "I was in the shower, crouched in a little corner crying."

OCdt. Whitehead, who, like his accusers, is in his early 20s, sat with a straight back as he listens to the testimony against him, casting only occasional glances at the witness box.

The petite 2nd Lieutenant did not look at him, either. The defence has signalled its intention to point out inconsistencies in her testimony and to raise the issue of her psychological state.

OCdt. Whitehead was a good person, and a good friend, and everybody makes mistakes, she told The Globe. "Even to this day," she said, "I believe from the bottom of my heart, that the core, the morals that he has are good and it was due to alcohol and a lack of judgment in one moment that he made the mistake again."

Major Edmund Thomas, one of the men who is acting as OCdt.

Whitehead's legal counsel, said the episode has been "devastating" for the young man who entered the military at the age of 18 and held so much promise.

After four years at the college, OCdt. Whitehead was not permitted to graduate with the rest of his class and is now posted to do menial work on campus until the case is over. And, even if he is found not guilty, said Major Thomas, the military will do its own review where the burden of proof is much lower than that of the court martial.

All of this could have been prevented, Mr. Drapeau said, had the leaders at the RMC made clear it to students in year one that sexual assault would not be tolerated.

Now, no matter what happens at the trial, OCdt. Whitehead's career is likely to be affected.

The second officer who accused OCdt. Whitehead of sexual assault will testify next week. There is a long-term concern, she said, about how it will affect her life in the military.

"Everybody empathizes but that's not what you want," she said. As an officer, she said, "you want people to respect you. You don't want that to be the first thing that gets to your unit. You are going to be leading troops and you don't want to be doing it from a position of weakness."

Associated Graphic

Officer Cadet Alex Whitehead arrives for his court martial hearing at the Royal Military College of in Kingston. Allegations of sexual misconduct in the military rarely land before a judge.


'There is something seismic happening below the surface'
Capitalism is breaking down, says the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, most recently, of Wages of Rebellion. Looking down the road, he sees nothing but trouble
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F3

Unpack for us why you think we live on the cusp of a great revolutionary moment?

As a journalist, I have covered two Palestinian uprisings, the revolutions in Eastern Europe, the street demonstrations that brought down Slobodan Milosevic. You know as a reporter the tinder is there; you never know what ignites it. Even the purported leaders of the movement don't know what the spark will be - it is a mysterious force. But as long as the state does not respond rationally to the needs and rights of the citizenry, as long as it continues to exploit, there is always blowback.

And the system of global capitalism is breaking down. It is no longer able to expand the way it did in the past. It has consolidated wealth into the hands of a tiny, global, oligarchic elite.

More importantly, the ideological foundation of unfettered, unlimited capitalism is losing its hold on the imagination of large numbers of people who are not benefiting from this global system. And you see it in terms of people turning against their political elites. For example, the approval rating for the U.S. Congress is in the single digits, and voter turnout is at all-time lows.

That there is something seismic happening below the surface is undeniable. When it will play out, how it will play out, what it will look like - having covered these things in the past - it is impossible to predict.

Why do you think so-called "elites" are to blame?

They have destroyed the liberal institutions and mechanisms that made piecemeal and incremental reform possible. And that is when you reach a very dangerous moment; in essence, the system seizes up. Liberal institutions are designed to ameliorate and address the suffering of the underclass. That is what happened when capitalism broke down in the 1920s and 1930s, and we got the New Deal. [U.S. President Franklin D.] Roosevelt said his greatest achievement was that he saved capitalism. But we've lost those mechanisms in the name of anti-communism and the implantation of a neo-liberal, freemarket ideology that has eviscerated the safety valves by which liberal capitalist democracies could address the problems of the dispossessed.

Yet the global capitalist system you condemn has also produced incredible advances in life expectancy, raised hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, and showered the world in technology innovation.

I wouldn't agree that it has benefited the ordinary worker. It has created a system of neo-feudalism where wages for workers have been driven down to below subsistence levels. Sweatshop workers in Bangladesh are making 22 cents an hour. In China people are sometimes not even paid at the end of the month if they don't meet their quota.

There are rashes of worker suicides. Pollution is rampant because there aren't controls. It is completely Dickensian.

The idea of "trickle down" wealth has been exposed as a lie.

It has made a tiny global oligarchic, corporate elite fabulously wealthy. It has also unleashed global speculation as a form of wealth creation, which is extremely dangerous because it overinflates a market until you get a bubble like the dot-com crash or the 2008 crash with subprime mortgages. And the effects on the global economy are devastating.

How do you respond to critics who say your attacks on corporate elites sound a lot like what you hear from the conspiracyobsessed far right in America?

The focus of the far right is not on corporate power but on perceived government control and abuse. What the right in the U.S. wants to do is destroy government. They want to destroy specific federal government departments, like the Department of Education.

Yet, at the same time, the right venerates the military as if it is not part of government. I support democratically controlled government power, as I don't think there is any other effective mechanism by which corporate power can be regulated.

Where do you see this revolutionary surge coming from when the idea of revolt would seem the last thing on the mind of average middle-class families?

The Occupy movement. The sons and daughters of the middle class who left college in the United States with tremendous debt and found there was no place for them in the workforce. Canada is also moving in this direction. You have walked away from the Kyoto Protocol and passed one of the most draconian anti-terrorism laws in the industrialized world - in some ways, it's even worse than that of the United States.

Canada, like the U.S., has also militarized its police forces. Your government carries out wholesale surveillance. The destruction of privacy itself is quite worrying when, as we know, governments that accrue this kind of power use it for their own ends.

How does progress that has been made in the U.S. on raising the minimum wage fit, or not, into your prediction of a coming revolutionary moment?

Forcing people to live with chronic debt is a form of social and political control, as any African-American will tell you. You cannot sustain a family on $7.25 an hour without benefits. I think a $15-an-hour wage frees families from this crippling debt and gives them a possibility to live above a subsistence level, which is extremely important.

It also unites kids, who largely drove forward the Occupy movement with service workers, many of them undocumented. And those alliances, along with the alliances with groups like Black Lives Matter, are potent and powerful coalitions that stand in opposition to the corporate state.

Are you calling for revolution in the face of perceived injustices, or predicting this will be part of our future?

I've lived through disintegrating societies. Anarchy frightens me because it can very easily devolve into violence, as it did in Yugoslavia. I don't want this to happen. I wish that we lived in a functioning democracy where real electoral and social reform is possible.

But the United States has a very violent culture. As long as corporate power has a stranglehold on our institutions and our government, including our mass media, it will do what it's designed to do and that is to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. And eventually there will be a response, as we're already seeing in the streets of Baltimore and the streets of Ferguson. And eventually there will be a confrontation. Don't forget: They rolled out tanks on the streets of Ferguson against unarmed demonstrators. I fear this is what will continue to happen unless we find a mechanism to check and thwart corporate power.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Podcast: To hear the entire conversation with Chris Hedges, subscribe to The Next Debate podcast on iTunes, and to see a full transcript, visit In this series, Rudyard Griffiths, chair of the Munk Debates, Canada's leading public-affairs forum, talks to renowned analysts and policy-makers about issues and trends that are just over the horizon

Associated Graphic

Canada now has 'one of the most draconian anti-terrorism laws in the industrialized world,' says writer Chris Hedges, a senior fellow at The Nation Institute who spoke in Toronto this week.


In defence of the well-stuffed closet
A warning to those Marie Kondo devotees purging their belongings with a vengeance: There's a fine line between 'editing' your collection and effacing your personal history
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L3 @NathAt

Stylists and fashion editors often describe the act of shopping as "adding pieces to your collection," as though the latest bucket bag were a work of art - and that choosing, buying and bringing it home were somehow on par with curating a museum exhibit. This characterization has always made me bristle, but I'm starting to come around, at least to the idea that there is merit in owning things that are worth preserving.

It started when my mother-in-law unexpectedly died a few years ago. It took us months to go through the clothes she had amassed - and preserved - throughout her life. Everyday garments were mixed in with cherished holiday outfits, stored in labeled boxes ("Sweaters: 1974") or tangled throughout several closets, from her 1967 column-style wedding dress and its floor-length white lace mantilla to boldly patterned home-sewn trousers worn as a teenager.

Soon after, the show "Roman d'une garde-robe" at Paris's Carnavalet Museum opened, surveying 30 years in the life of a single stylish Parisian, a saleswoman named Alice Alleaume, through the lens of her wardrobe. Compared to Alleume's Belle Epoque finery (she wore Lanvin, Worth and Doucet, among others), my mother-in-law's slacks and blouses may seem pedestrian, but they're banal only to fashion history. To me, they suggest another layer of understanding about (and a new appreciation for) a woman I'd only known in the last decade of her life.

I'm grateful that Japanese decluttering celebrity Marie Kondo's manifesto had not yet been published, or I might not have these layers of her cherished wardrobe to puzzle over.

Kondo espouses a method of divesting of anything that does not spark joy (she calls it KonMari for short - and also: branding); that may be a boon to Value Village, but her style of tough love can be ruthless.

It's true that there is a space and stuff crisis in North America, and crammed off-site storage facilities are evidence that we are in danger of being possessed by our possessions. (In the U.S., self-storage is a $25-billion industry.) Kondo urges people to purge - and in the spring especially we peddle castoffs at yard sales and unceremoniously bag the rest and pushed it through the flap of the donation bin, usually conveniently located in a liquorstore parking lot.

Now that my mother-in-law is gone, and there's no way to learn about the story and sentiment behind the clothes she chose (and then chose to keep), I find myself wishing she had pinned notes about occasions and dates to each garment, the way the late fashion plate Marjorie Merriweather Post did. The heir to the Postum (later, General Foods) fortune and at one time the wealthiest woman in America had an interest in dressing well, and as a collector of clothing, there are few like her. Only the fashion-mad Duke of Windsor's wardrobe comes close. It was amassed over 60 years and auctioned at Sotheby's in 1998, but it was divided into lots and dispersed.

Post knew better, and the statuesque heiress's wardrobe (carefully stored in trunks until 1997) is the subject of the comprehensive new exhibition "Ingenue to Icon" opening this week at the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden, her former residence in Washington, D.C. (an accompanying book will be published mid-June). Post's meticulously documented and preserved closet spans more than seven decades of not only historical fashion trends but of personal history; taken as a whole, it also reflects changing women's roles in the 20th century.

Nancy Rubin's 1995 biography of Post mentions that her father, C.W., lamented that his young daughter spent her entire allowance on clothing (a lifetime later, in 1971 at the age of 84, she was still spending more than $250,000 a year on apparel). Clothing became the noted art collector, socialite and businesswoman's first deliberate 'collection,' according to Howard Kurtz, Hillwood's associate curator of costume and textiles and a professor of design at George Mason University.

"At the turn of the century, the Paris exposition was the first time that fashion was ever really shown to the public," he says. "From that moment, it took off and Marjorie was right there."

Merriweather's cataloguing began in 1903, when she pinned a handwritten tag on her ivory tulle and taffeta Sweet Sixteen birthday dress and continued until her death in 1973 - through four marriages and a life in art, business and philanthropy.

As Kurtz explains, no one else - not even socialites - were saving their dresses at the time. In the late 1930s, he says, Post sent out letters to a variety of museums asking them to consider taking her complete garment collection.

"This was as the Met was just starting their costume collection," he notes. A letter in the Hillwood archives indicates that institutions replied but only with an interest in taking one or two pieces.

"She had this moment of clarity," says Kurtz, "when she came back from Russia [her then-husband was ambassador] and saw that everything there was being dispersed, and the fi rst thing she tried to save was her clothing."

Much like an art collection, a wardrobe can be a matter of interpretation and taste - and with Post, Kurtz suggests, her reliance on couture labels such as Worth and Callot Soeurs diminished as she became more confident in herself, instead working with dressmakers to express her own point of view. "You can see that [by the 1930s] she takes the lead. She is not going with major designers, or having a designer dictate. She's herself first."

Across the Atlantic, Edwardian socialite Heather Firbank made a similar move.

Firbank put her clothes into storage in 1926; after her death in 1954, much of that wardrobe was acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum and became the backbone of their now-famous 20thcentury costume collection. As historian Jenny Lister points out in London Society Fashion, an item from the holdings has appeared in every single show of the V&A's permanent fashion galleries since they opened in 1962. Accessible to designers and researchers, her collection also inspired Cecil Beaton's Oscar-winning costume designs for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady and was recently "invaluable" to Susannah Buxton's for Downton Abbey.

Firbank's carefully stored afternoon dresses, tea coats, tailored suiting and elaborate millinery (even sporting ensembles!) have provided insight into London society and made important contributions to English costume history.

However, it wasn't until Lister and coauthor Cassie Davies-Strodder undertook the research of their new book that the personal history behind Firbank's collection emerged. Through receipts and correspondence with dressmakers, they have reconstructed her daily routines, social engagements and even the evolution of her financial and social status - and in doing so, have gained a better understanding of her personality. Thanks to her famously well-preserved clothes, the story of the woman in the dress is known for the first time.

Associated Graphic

POST WITH THE MOST The fastidiously catalogued wardrobe of General Foods heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post (above), the largest collection of its kind, is the subject of a new book and exhibit.

CMHC warns of housing slowdown
Oil-dependent provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan will experience the worst of a cooler real estate market
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B1

After years of tolerating skyhigh house prices, Canadian buyers are set to start flocking to more affordable homes and many others will opt to keep renting instead, helping to take more steam out of the housing market, the federal housing agency predicts.

New-home construction will slow over the next two years as low oil prices continue to take their toll on the economy despite rock-bottom interest rates, Canada Mortgage and Housing Agency said in a new housingmarket forecast. Prices of resale homes will rise 3.4 per cent this year before slowing to 1.5 per cent next year.

Oil-dependent provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan will bear the brunt of the slowdown in the market, CMHC said.

Home prices will fall below the national average in Alberta as oil settles around $50 to $60 (U.S.) a barrel this year.

Outside of Western oil economies, much of the expected slowdown reflects the shifting preferences among buyers, who had been flocking to high-priced newly built detached homes in the past year, but who may start looking toward older entrylevel resale homes and more affordable new builds, such as townhouses and condos, where ample supply has kept prices from rising too quickly.

That will be particularly true in expensive markets such as Toronto and Vancouver, where CMHC expects rising mortgage rates next year will put a damper on demand for detached homes.

"As mortgage carrying costs continue to grow, particularly for single-family homes, demand will increasingly shift to more affordable housing," said Ted Tsiakopoulos, CMHC's regional economist for Ontario.

Both Toronto and Vancouver are likely to see rising demand for rental apartments among buyers priced out of the housing market.

In Toronto, the affordability crunch is likely to lead to a surge of new construction of rentalapartment buildings and new condo projects being turned into rentals instead, according to a new report on Toronto-area residential development by real estate services company Colliers International.

In Vancouver, where land prices are still too high to justify building rental apartments, most new rentals are in the form of "mortgage helpers," usually detached homes that have basement apartments or a small rental home built in the backyard, known as a laneway house.

Roughly 80 per cent of all newly built single-family homes in Vancouver now have some sort of rental suite as part of the property, "effectively making the single-detached homes lower-density, multiple-family dwellings," CMHC said.

Nationally, CMHC expects the average resale home price to range from $402,139 to $439,589 by the end of this year. Reflecting the level of uncertainty among economists about the future of interest rates and oil prices, CMHC says average home prices could fall to as low as $398,191 in 2016 or could rise to as high as $457,200.

The federal housing agency also says it expects that mortgage rates will rise slightly over the next two years, with five-year posted rates set to range from 4 to 5.5 per cent this year, rising to 4.2 to 6.2 per cent next year. A look at the provincial forecasts:


Migration, both from other countries and from within Canada, will help sustain B.C.'s already strong housing market over the next two years. Average resale prices will jump 5.8 per cent this year and 2.1 per cent in 2016.


Rising unemployment and a fall in the number of temporary foreign workers will hit Alberta's housing market. New home construction will slow as low oil prices push Alberta into a buyers' market. Average resale prices will fall 3.7 per cent this year before rising 1.1 per cent next year.


Unemployment will rise from 3.8 per cent this year to 4.6 per cent in 2016, pushing prices down. Average resale prices will drop 0.7 per cent this year and then rise 1 per cent the year after.


The province will see some of the strongest economic growth in the country over the next two years, with GDP growing by 2.4 per cent this year and 2.2 per cent the next. Rising wages and immigration will help Manitoba's housing market, although a recent building boom has meant there's plenty of listings for buyers to choose from. Average resale prices are expected to rise 1.2 per cent this year and 1.5 per cent in 2016.


Ontario's economic growth rate will surpass the national average for the first time in a decade, CMHC says, although it will remain below the province's historic average as businesses boost productivity through investment in new equipment rather than new workers. The unemployment rate will fall slightly over the next two years, but the growing price gap between condos and houses will curb construction of new homes. Average resale price growth will slow to 3.6 per cent this year and 1.7 per cent next year, down from 7 per cent in 2014.


Cheaper oil prices and a low dollar are starting to have an impact on Quebec's economy, helping to boost its housing market. Even so, CMHC predicts unemployment will rise slightly and the glut of new homes, particularly condos, from recent years will keep prices from growing too quickly. Average resale home prices are expected to rise 2.4 per cent this year and another 1.9 per cent in 2016.

New Brunswick

A low dollar and an improving U.S. economy is helping New Brunswick's export economy. But with unemployment on the rise and the number of homes listed for sale at historically high levels, the province's housing market is set to remain weak over the next two years. Average resale prices will drop 0.5 per cent this year and 0.6 per cent the year after.

Nova Scotia

The start of a major federal government shipbuilding contract this year will help boost the province's economy, but beyond that Nova Scotia's employment growth is expected to remain slow. Average resale prices have been falling the past two years, but are expected to turn around, growing 0.3 per cent this year and 0.5 per cent the following year.


More Canadians will be looking to vacation closer to home thanks to a weaker loonie, which should help P.E.I.'s tourism industry, CMHC said. Despite improving economic conditions, unemployment should rise slightly. The housing market outside of Charlottetown is expected to bear the brunt of slower job growth, with average resale prices falling 1.5 per cent this year and growing by just 0.3 per cent next year. That's down sharply from the 5-per-cent price growth the province's housing market saw last year.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The province's housing market will feel the pinch of lower oil prices. Unemployment will likely surpass 13 per cent by next year, CMHC predicts. Home-construction activity will slow, while home prices will likely rise below the rate of inflation. Average resale prices will likely stay flat, growing by just 0.1 per cent this year before rebounding by 1.1 per cent in 2016.

Associated Graphic


Walking away the stresses of modern life
Baseball manager shares his thoughts along with guided tours of some of his favourite pedestrian routes
Monday, June 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L5

In baseball season, Bruce Bochy clocks plenty of air miles, but he also logs a lot of miles on the ground. As manager of the San Francisco Giants since 2007 (and now confirmed through the 2019 season), Bochy is by all accounts a patient, steady presence in the dugout, known for relying on experience and instinct rather than spreadsheets and stats. The seasoned baseball manager and his team have won the World Series three times in the past five seasons.

How does he keep a cool head? In the tradition of thinkers like Rousseau, Kant and Thoreau, Bochy, 60, swears by long strolls and vigorous walks - "the freedom to be alone with my thoughts for a while" - which he makes time for wherever he is.

A man of few words, Bochy is such an enthusiast that he has set a few of them down in A Book of Walks (Wellstone Books, $13.95), his new pocket-size book that's part memoir - with musings on games and life - and part pedestrian guide.

It's complete with illustrated route maps of several favourite walks on the circuit, from strolling the Toronto Islands, to walking from Ohio to Kentucky and back over the historic Roebling Bridge, to winding through Central Park, to taking the long way back along the river from the ballpark in Milwaukee after a tough loss.

On a recent break from travelling with a couple of home games, the straight-talking Bochy chatted about walking the walk.

The tagline for the book attributes your Zen-like qualities to walking. Would you agree with that assessment?

I would. It's my way, whether you want to call it therapy or clearing my head, to get away from the game because sometimes it can consume you, and that's not healthy, you know?

I get out and take these walks for a workout but also to give me some clarity, or a mental break. It also allows me to see sights and sounds and smells of the places I go.

I started with my dog Jessie in San Diego and that's what got me walking. Because I'm an old catcher, I've got old knees and so the running days are over.

Jessie needed exercise and I started taking her for walks. It's kind of become a prescription for me ever since.

One chapter takes place in Scottsdale, Ariz. - where the Giants have spring training - on the Camelback with a few colleagues. Do you prescribe walking to players and others around you?

I usually try to recruit somebody to come with me - I'll get some of my staff to go out, and my general manager [Brian Sabean], he's a walker now, too! And my wife Kim, she's a huge power walker. Even when someone else is with you, when you get into it you don't talk much.

In addition to not talking, do you unplug from devices?

I don't listen to music and I stay away from the phone (though I carry it with me). I had a procedure done this spring - having two [heart] stents put in - and I think walking probably really saved me. My genetics aren't the best - my dad had heart issues and had a heart attack at 42.

I look back, and after he retired from the army he became a postman, walking all the time.

I think that helped him to live as long as he did. It probably helped me - after one day off having these two stents put in, I was back on the field.

Have you read anything on the psychological benefits and philosophy of mindful walking?

I recently learned about the history of the philosophers who walked and I've started looking into it. It's not something we've just found out about, and it's not just exercise - so many in history have done it! This game, it can beat you up at times because you're so competitive and some of the games are tougher than others.

A walk is so beneficial to your health in different ways. I've had angry walks where we've had a frustrating game, to walk back and get it off my mind.

You share some of the history along your regular routes. Did that always interest you?

It's a byproduct of the hobby. I like to learn about the city [I'm in] and the history, and I've become more aware - like about the Roebling Bridge I walk across [between Cincinnati and Kentucky]. First of all, the incredible way it was built, but also that it was interrupted during the Civil War.

The book includes your regular Bay Area walking itinerary at home. Now that you've outed your routes, do you think fans will stake you out?

I enjoy that - a lot of people end up walking with me. They'll have stories, like of their parents, "My mom and dad said they could pass on now because they saw the Giants become world champions in their lifetime," that sort of thing. They're courteous and they'll walk with me for five or 10 minutes.

I've met so many neat people through my walks. If you go to Europe, everybody walks there.

We've gotten away from that. To go to a hiking place, scenic routes in nature, that's all very nice - but if not, go out the door and walk around your city.

All proceeds from A Book of Walks benefit California's Wellstone Center in the Redwoods and its youth program for aspiring writers.

This interview has been edited and condensed.


For those times when you're not out and about on foot, here are some suggested books on the joy of walking.

Wanderlust: A History of Walking (Viking) In elegant prose, Rebecca Solnit offers a microhistory of promenades and pedestrianism, from pilgrims to poets to plebes, and from walking's myriad benefits to its recent decline. "Tourism itself is one of the last major outposts of walking," she writes. A byproduct of reading this sharp analysis and reverie is that it inspires a strong urge to walk.

A Philosophy of Walking (Verso Books) In his book, a bestseller in France, Parisian philosophy prof Frédéric Gros traces the influence of walking on thinkers like Immanuel Kant (who strode daily), and attributes the creativity of Arthur Rimbaud to the poet's famous teenage treks across Paris.

How to Walk (Parallax Press) This book by Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh outlines the spiritual aspect of a slow, concentrated and meditative walking practice for beginners and seasoned meanderers alike. The pocket-size volume includes poems and original illustrations.

Walking (Project Gutenberg) "The chivalric and heroic spirit which once belonged to the rider seems now to reside in, or perchance to have subsided into, the Walker - not the Knight, but Walker Errant." So wrote Henry David Thoreau in his classic essay on the art of walking, available as a free download through Project Gutenberg (

Associated Graphic

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy finds that long regular walks, whether his team is at home or on the road, improve his health both mentally and physically.


For a company that moves in and asks permission later, some say it's reaping what it has sown, reports Ann Hui. But as it faces a court injunction in Toronto that could compromise its growth, the spunky ride-service startup is learning from its mistakes
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A8

As Toronto City Council adjourned for lunch earlier this month, dozens of people gathered outside City Hall with large signs, cheering and chanting. "Make our voices here heard at City Hall," shouted the man at the centre of the horde, Ian Black. "We need city councillors to hear the message."

The scene, captured by TV news cameras, could have easily been mistaken for a political protest, like the one just a few metres away against council's recognition of the anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

But this wasn't a typical protest, and Mr. Black no political organizer. Instead, it was a rally staged by Silicon Valley-based tech company Uber to drum up support for its local ride-sharing service. "Uber's here to stay! Uber's here to stay!" Mr. Black, the company's manager in Toronto, shouted.

At least one passerby did a double-take, remarking to a reporter how strange it seemed for a company valued at more than $40-billion to be staging a protest. But Uber has held similar rallies all over the world, and to view the event as a local battle - against city staff, who have waged a court case set to be heard next week to shut the company down, or councillors who struggle with regulating the company amidst the quagmire of taxi licensing - is missing the point.

For Uber, which launched in 2010, it's about building a global movement. And to meet this ambitious goal, the company knows, requires something beyond the usual marketing tactics. It requires a campaign on a larger scale, a campaign that suggests more is at stake than the survival of an app.

One year ago, Uber - the scrappy tech company that enables anyone with a smartphone to hail a car or turn theirs into a private taxi - was facing a public-relations crisis.

Questions were mounting about the company's safety policies, after a string of alleged sex assaults on passengers. Just last month, a Mississauga Uber driver was charged with sex assault on a passenger. And brash comments from senior executives - most notably chief executive officer Travis Kalanick - landed the company in one controversy after another. Meanwhile, the company's modus operandi of operating with little regard for local regulations, resulted in a growing list of legal troubles.

Through aggressive expansion, the company had quickly become one of the giants of Silicon Valley. But its public persona had not matured beyond that of a bunch of arrogant frat boys who would publicly muse about hiring investigators to do "opposition research" on critical journalists - as one Uber executive reportedly did last year.

So, in August of last year, the company hired David Plouffe, the mastermind behind Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, to oversee communications. His role has since shifted to chief adviser and board member at Uber.

"What I've come to realize is that this controversy exists because we are in the middle of a political campaign and it turns out the candidate is Uber," Mr. Kalanick wrote in an August, 2014, blog post announcing the hire. "Uber has been in a campaign but hasn't been running one. That is changing now."

Since then, the company has worked to present a kinder - less combative - face to the world in stark contrast to the sometimes aggressive lobbying tactics by Toronto's taxicab industry.

Uber delivered puppies to offices. Held "women partner appreciation" events. Teamed up with charities to raise money for the homeless. And in interviews, Uber spokespeople used a remarkably similar, agreeable speaking style - responding to questions with "Great question," or "Absolutely. I'm happy to explain that."

At City Hall, the company won over Mayor John Tory, who has been a vocal supporter of Uber and similar technologies, describing the current taxi industry as "self-interested," and in need of modernization. Meanwhile, a three-year anniversary party held at Uber's Toronto office in February was attended by Tim Hudak and John Baird.

Around the world, the company dispatched its local leaders - referred to as "general managers," to fit with the company's anti-corporate image - on speaking tours.

In Toronto, Mr. Black, a Newfoundlander who, like many other Uber managers, cut his teeth as a consultant with Bain & Company, gave one such speech to the Canadian Club in December. There, Mr. Black acknowledged "missteps" the company had made in the past, and spoke of the need to become "more humble."

"I think there was a time at our organization where we just wanted to run an app in a city that people love, and we thought about that as the extent of our responsibility," said Andrew MacDonald, an Uber regional manager who oversees its Canadian operations. As the company grew, he said, it's become more involved with the cities it operates in - and also learned how to better communicate this to the public.

That kind of "naiveté" follows the "traditional tech marketing approach," says Markus Giesler, a Schulich School of Business marketing professor who has spent years studying Uber. Many tech startups, Mr. Giesler said, pay little or no attention to public relations early on, believing simply that the public will automatically recognize new tech as better.

Through its campaign, Uber has tried to suggest that it is not merely amplifying a message, but championing a cause - framing its plight as a fight against bureaucracy and taxi cartels, against those who would stifle modernization and innovation.

"Change you can believe in" - for Uber.

"David [Plouffe] cut his teeth by scaling political campaigns and helping real people get involved in the democratic process," Mr. MacDonald said. "We want everyone to be a part of this movement."

By attaching its company to larger values - freedom, innovation, fairness - Uber is attempting to follow in the footsteps of brands such as Apple, to appeal to people's emotions. In this case, Uber is trying to appeal to people's "deep-seated belief that [allowing Uber to operate is] morally the right thing to do," Mr. Giesler said.

If it all seems like a bit much coming from a taxi company, that's because Uber's ambitions don't end at ride-sharing. The company, which now operates in 58 countries, has plans to expand to a variety of services.

Earlier this month, Uber Toronto introduced a food-delivery service. In the United States, Uber runs a courier service, and delivers toiletries and other drugstore items - programs that Mr. Black said could be introduced in Toronto in the future.

But first, the company will have to win over the hearts and minds of Toronto residents, and hope those residents in turn will lean on lawmakers. Judging by the attendance of the rally that afternoon - attended by only a few dozen people - Uber still has a ways to go.

"In order for their innovation to succeed, they need to not just have a great product, they need to have the right society - a society that is accepting of certain changes," Mr. Giesler said.

"This is a matter of economic survival for Uber."

Associated Graphic

A potential customer looks at the Uber app in Madrid. Uber has been banned in Spain after a court ruled against it.


Game plan for young athletes: Let's play safe
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A17

If timing is truly everything, then the events of this past week should combine to make play just a little bit safer for tomorrow's children.

Still not as safe as they could be, and arguably should be, but certainly safer than they have been.

This is, in part, thanks to institutions as seemingly divergent as the Governor-General of Canada and Victoria's Secret, to celebrities as different as hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and comic Martin Short - and thanks, as well, to a 17-year-old girl's parents and her best friend in Ottawa who are determined to tell their story, no matter how much it might hurt.

On Wednesday evening in Toronto, corporate, sports and entertainment elites gathered at the Royal York hotel to salute a much-loved medical pioneer and to raise money for Parachute Canada, a charity dedicated to the prevention of injury, in particular blows to the vulnerable head and spine.

Preventable injuries are the No. 1 killer of children. One child is lost every nine hours; each year, 13,000 Canadians of all ages die from incidents that could have, and should have, been easily avoided.

As the sign at the Parachute Gala said, it's "Time to Stop the Clock."

Hosted by Canadian actor Jason Priestley and featuring the music of the Jersey Boys, the absurdist comedy of Mr. Short and a deeppocket auction that included such items as three slots at Gretzky's fantasy hockey camp and a trip for two to take in the unveiling of Victoria's latest secrets, the event raised an impressive $1,109,000.

The cheque was handed over to Charles Tator, the 78-year-old Toronto Western neurosurgeon who is the world's leading expert in concussion research, as well as its leading advocate for a common-sense approach that would make playing sports, even the most physical ones, as safe as it is enjoyable.

In Ottawa during this same week, heartbroken teammates, coaches and parents met in the Keefer Room at City Hall to hold an inquest into the tragic 2013 death of Rowan Stringer, a promising, multisport athlete who was most proud of her role as captain of the John McCrae Secondary School rugby team.

Rowan had suffered a blow to the head in a previous game but, as far too many athletes do in the suck-it-up ethos of team sports, she had hidden her injury. In a text message to her close friend Michelle Hebert, she conceded: "I might have gotten a concussion ... have a headache again." Are you going to play on Wednesday? her friend texted back. "Yeah.

Nothing can stop meeee! Unless I'm dead."

Little wonder sobs could be heard as those prescient messages were read out. Another friend, teammate Judy Larabie, testified what happened in the game Rowan should never have played.

Ms. Larabie was brought down but managed to get the ball to Rowan, who ran a few yards and was herself tackled. She lay there a moment, raised herself, "and then dropped back down." She never regained consciousness.

The day Rowan had taken out her driver learner's permit she had filled out an organ donation form. She died on a Sunday; by Monday, eight families had been helped, including a man who, for the first time, was able to see his own children.

"In a strange way that helped us," says Gordon Stringer, Rowan's father. "She was telling us what to do even after her passing."

Gordon and Kathleen Stringer decided to speak out. Their daughter had loved rugby, lacrosse, snowboarding, ringette - all active sports - and they did not want their experience to be used as a platform to condemn such activity.

"That would be the last thing Rowan would want," her father says. "She'd be scowling down on us if we let that happen."

Kathleen Stringer told the inquest that she would always wonder if she shouldn't have asked more pointed questions about how the child was feeling.

But would her daughter have said what was bothering her if it meant not playing the next game?

The answer, the mother said, lies not in restricting what children play but in making play safer. "You have to look after your brain," she told the inquiry.

"Without it, you're nothing."

"We've got to get out of this mindset that there is a minor concussion or a major concussion," Gordon Stringer adds. "A concussion is a concussion. We need better education and better communication, but we mostly need to change this 'culture of invincibility' that sports has."

It was a theme often heard at the charity gala for Parachute (

Governor-General David Johnston, himself once an accomplished college hockey player, appeared by video to call for more research and education.

Others who gave testimonials by video included Rick Hansen, who talked about the happenstance of such injuries. Canada's world-famous "Man in Motion" was a 15-year-old kid hitchhiking back from a day's fishing when he accepted a ride in the back of a pickup, something that is against the law today, and was involved in an accident that would change his life forever.

The most moving testimonials, however, came from those whose names carried no recognition factor, but were family of young people lost but for momentary inattention.

A mother spoke about the son she lost when he did nothing but reach for a ringing cellphone when he was driving.

A father spoke about the daughter lost when she jogged into downtown traffic, a death he believes he would have prevented had he only talked to her about the dangers of running through city streets while your ears are plugged into music rather than reality.

Another mother talked about the hockey-loving son she had to say farewell to when she gave the okay to remove his life-support system, and how the only comfort she has lies in knowing his organs helped save six other lives.

Had the Stringers been there, they could have talked about their daughter while behind them was displayed photograph of Rowan Stringer in full flight with the ball, a look of steely determination on her face - the resolve they have "inherited" as they bravely tell her story in the hope of preventing another youngster from "playing through it" because, well, that's what's expected.

"I became a doctor because I wanted to help people," Dr. Tator told the gathering in Toronto. "I became a brain and spinal surgeon. I realized that trauma often caused such severe damage to the brain and spinal cord that I could not put the pieces back together. I was frustrated that I could repair skull or spinal fractures, but not the severely injured brain or spinal cord.

"I learned that prevention is the only cure."

Associated Graphic

Rowan Stringer, seen carrying the ball, was suffering from a concussion when she was hit in the head in a rugby game and never regained consciousness.

Commission to chart map of rocky road to reconciliation
Native leaders accuse Ottawa of putting victims on trial, withholding documents and creating hostile atmosphere, calling into question sincerity of PM's statement of regret
Monday, June 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA -- As the head of the commission probing past physical and sexual abuse at Indian residential schools prepares to release a long-awaited report this week, he acknowledges that national reconciliation will not be easily achieved.

Murray Sinclair, the chair of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, who will make public on Tuesday a summary into what occurred behind the schools' walls, says there was never any hope of achieving reconciliation within the five-year lifetime of his commission. But he will make recommendations, he says, about what the government and aboriginal people need to do to move in that direction.

"If you look at the conversations we have had with various individuals, they all talk about reconciliation being important and they all want it to happen and they say they want to be contributors to it," he said. "But we say it takes more than words. In addition to the apology, there has to be atonement and there has to be action."

Indigenous leaders take a much harsher view of the reconciliation process seven years after Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his historic apology for the harms done to aboriginal children and the native community.

They accuse Ottawa and Department of Justice lawyers of putting the victims on trial, of withholding documents that could prove former students' tales of hardship as they apply for compensation, and of creating an atmosphere of suspicion and hostility, calling into question the sincerity of Mr. Harper's statement of regret.

Aboriginal leaders say little has changed since the fanfare of June 11, 2008.

"We can point to a relationship with this government that is unnecessarily adversarial. They spent $106-million last year in legal fees fighting aboriginal rights and treaty rights," said Perry Bellegarde, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

"The relationship has not improved to the point where we can say reconciliation has started."

The agreement between the government, the survivors of the schools, and the churches that ran them, is the largest classaction settlement in Canadian history. It has resulted in billions of dollars in compensation for those who were deprived of their families and their culture, and in many cases subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

For its part, the government says it is living up to the responsibilities to residential-school survivors.

"As Prime Minister Harper said in his historic apology on behalf of all Canadians in 2008, there is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian residential schools system to ever prevail again," Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said in an e-mail.

The settlement agreement requires Ottawa to search for any information it has about wrongdoing at the institutions to bolster the claims of those seeking financial redress, something many observers say is an obligation the government has been reluctant to address.

Justice Sinclair himself ended up successfully taking the government to court in 2013 to force it to scour its archives for millions of documents related to the schools that operated in Canada for more than a century. The result, he said, was a "fire hose" of unsorted data and documents aimed at the TRC that is now being organized for inclusion in the new National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

And there have been other legal actions with similar objectives.

Last year, after telling compensation adjudicators since 2007 there was no record of sexual abuse at St. Anne's Indian Residential School in Fort Albany, Ont. - where such activity was rampant and children as young as six were shocked in an electric chair and made to eat their own vomit - the government was forced to admit to Justice Paul Perell of the Ontario Superior Court that it was withholding thousands of OPP and other documents about abuse at the school. Justice Perrell ordered them to be released.

Now, in another cases from another school - Bishop Horden in Moose Factory, Ont. - many students allege there was abuse in the 1960s that resulted in criminal charges against supervisors.

No documents were produced by the government to that effect. And, in the past few months, government officials were forced to admit under oath that no effort has actually been made to search for the records of residential-school abuse that exist within most federal departments including the RCMP, Justice and Health Canada. Justice Perrell has yet to make a ruling in that case.

Fay Brunning, the lawyer for the Bishop Horden survivors, says the result of non-compliance may mean that many victims of the residential-school system were unfairly denied compensation or were undercompensated and that their cases may have to be thrown out and reheard.

As a former residential school student making a claim for having been abused, "if you are sitting in your hearing and the RCMP have a report that supports you, you are going to be believed," said Ms. Brunning. "But the flip side is also true. If you say in your application that the police were involved and the federal government says it has no documents, it looks like you are either mistaken or lying."

Kathleen Mahoney, a Calgarybased lawyer who helped negotiate the settlement agreement, says there has been a discernible shift "for the worse" over the past three years in terms of the way in which the files of claimants are treated by the government.

The claims assessment process was intended to be non-adversarial.

"The promise was that when [the school survivors] went though this adjudicative process they would be believed, unless there was some reason not to believe them that was obvious," she said. "It's not meant to be a criminal trial or a very difficult process for elderly people who are trying to remember something that happened to them 65 years ago when they were a child."

Phil Fontaine, the former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations who was the prime mover behind the settlement agreement, says there is still much work to do. He points out there are now three times as many aboriginal children in state care as there were at the height of the residential-school experience. There is also rampant poverty on reserves, high suicide and incarceration rates, inadequate housing and long-standing boilwater advisories.

There will never be reconciliation between Canada and its aboriginal peoples, Mr. Fontaine says, as long as those types of socioeconomic imbalances remain.

The words of the apology that were spoken by the Prime Minister were "powerful," he said.

"And the people were willing to accept that as a sincere apology. But they also expected that actions would follow those words."

Canada is, instead, a long way from reconciliation with its indigenous peoples, said Mr. Fontaine. "There are promises to keep. And we will never bring about reconciliation until those promises have been kept."

Associated Graphic

Drummers lead the Walk for Reconciliation in Ottawa on Sunday. The event was tied to Tuesday's release of the report on abuses in the residential school system.


Due process in the age of counterterrorism
Authorities exploit immigration law to control suspected extremists and avoid courts where sensitive information may be divulged
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A7

LINDSAY, ONT. -- From behind the prison plexiglass, the prisoner with a three-inch beard wears an orange jumpsuit and cradles the telephone receiver to his ear.

"I am certain that I am the victim of racial profiling," he says.

He later adds: "I want the world to know they are telling lies against me."

Muhammad Aqeeq Ansari, 31, tells two visiting Globe and Mail reporters he is not a terrorist. Federal agents have been investigating him for four years, he said, adding that he can explain everything - the assault rifles he bought, the money he moved, his alleged ties to extremists overseas.

The non-citizen resident of Canada points out that he has never been charged with a terrorism crime. He is charged under the Immigration Act with being a likely threat to national security and faces deportation to his native Pakistan. He was arrested just days after the terrorist shooting near Parliament Hill and has been in jail ever since.

Unlike criminal charges, for which proof beyond doubt is the legal standard, under Section 34 of the Immigration Act, authorities need only prove "reasonable grounds to believe" he is a threat.

"Can anybody beat that?" Mr. Ansari asks.

Next-best options Counterterrorism in Canada is changing. Last weekend, police in Montreal detained 10 young suspected jihadi travellers at an airport, seized their passports and released them. The Prime Minister and other politicians hailed the stratagem as a victory, even though no criminal charges were laid.

Authorities suggest they are scrambling to keep their "targets" off planes and off the streets.

Since October, when suicidal lone-wolf extremists killed two soldiers, the prospect of police putting together perfect prosecutions for tomorrow seems to have been shunted aside in favour of what works today.

"There has been a considerable shift," RCMP Deputy Commissioner Mike Cabana told a parliamentary committee last month.

The Mountie, who is in charge of the nation's major criminal investigations, said the "key objective in addressing the current threat environment is to mitigate the risk of violence."

He told the Senate Committee on National Security that criminal terrorism charges are not strictly necessary. Sometimes, police have to disrupt potential threats while they continue to investigate. "While disruption measures are sometimes necessary to protect public safety, they can never - nor should they - replace the pursuit of criminal charges," he said.

Few of the reported cases of suspected jihadis over the past six months involve alleged offences under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act. In an e-mail to The Globe on Friday, federal prosecutors said they have charged only 10 people with terrorism offences since last October.

In other cases, suspects got away before authorities could stop them. Sometimes, police opt for lesser charges, such as passport fraud, or invoke a seldomused terrorist peace bond. National-security detectives have also passed some criminal investigations, such as that involving Mr. Ansari, to immigration officials.

In others, they have seized passports.

The common thread in each of these next-best options? The legal burden of proof is much lower than what a criminal prosecution would oblige. And so is the obligation for the state to disclose its files.

Top-secret problem In Canadian counterterrorism circles, there is a problem known as "intelligence-to-evidence."

Government authorities often have a lot of information they do not want to expose in court. The Crown may have to abandon the case if a judge might oblige security agencies to disclose sensitive spying methods, such as a wiretap technique, an informant's identity or a foreign partner's top secret file.

Nowhere in Canada has this been better represented than in the case of Adil Charkaoui. The Moroccan-born resident of Montreal went to the Supreme Court twice in the mid-2000s to counter allegations that he was a terrorist sleeper agent. Today, he faces accusations from Quebec media and politicians of radicalizing Muslim youth.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service had recommended he be kicked out as a top-level threat. He denied the accusation, but the CSIS dossier included allegations he likely attended an Afghan training camp and that significant terrorist figures jailed and interrogated in Morocco, Guantanamo Bay, and the United States recognized him.

Yet, none of this could be called evidence - even in the lowthreshold process for security certificates under which Mr. Charkaoui was charged. His lawyers demanded CSIS officers prove their suspicions, and the government withdrew its case.

Today, CSIS and the RCMP are struggling to find ways to track young extremists without scuttling future prosecutions. Defence lawyers now try to discover if CSIS was involved in a case in the hopes the spy agency will resist any order for disclosure.

Case in point But there can be workarounds.

Ask Muhammad Aqeeq Ansari whether he has heard of Al Capone, and he says he knows nothing of the 1930s Chicago gangster who was prosecuted for tax evasion when all other strategies failed.

All he says he knows is that "a CBSA officer has more power than a judge" because of the low thresholds of proof the Canada Border Services Agency needs in deportation cases such as his.

Mr. Ansari says he first knew he had problems in March, 2011, when a CSIS intelligence officer showed up at his door to invite him to Starbucks. There, he was told someone had written a "poison pen" letter against him alleging ties to extremists: Would he like to get anything off his chest?

He says he was fired from his job as a computer programmer for an Alberta energy company without explanation. He moved to Ontario, got a new job and picked up a hobby - going to firing ranges and legally acquiring guns, including a weapon known as the Bushmaster Advanced Combat Rifle.

Asked about these and nine other guns he bought, Mr. Ansari told two Globe and Mail reporters he acquired them as a natural and logical outgrowth of his love for the video game Call of Duty.

In 2013, he says he was overtly followed by government cars. The same year, police seized the weapons and raided his house. He pleaded guilty to unsafe firearms storage and surrendered them.

His file was passed from CSIS to provincial police to an RCMP national-security squad before ending up at the CBSA. Authorities say they recovered a memory stick on which Mr. Ansari recorded himself talking to a friend in Urdu: "Someone sent me here for a purpose That purpose, I can't tell you."

Mr. Ansari says he was talking about sending money home for charity, but during an immigration hearing, he was portrayed as a likely terrorism sleeper agent.

Early this month, he said he may appeal - but it is probably futile. "My lawyer says to tell you that I'm hopeful."

Associated Graphic

Muhammad Aqeeq Ansari's experience with Canada Border Services Agency has him convinced that 'a CBSA officer has more power than a judge.'

Mr. Ansari says he acquired a combat rifle out of his love for the video game Call of Duty.


Arts and real estate - a winning mix
Toronto's Artscape is exporting its development model to B.C. and beyond, as a glue between private developers, city agencies and community planners
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B7

It was a typical afternoon in the 2 1/2-year-old Daniels Spectrum cultural centre in Toronto's traditionally lower-income Regent Park.

The busy main theatre, with 300-plus seats, was being prepared for another evening event. In the lobby, children were entering for music lessons upstairs. On the second and third floors, the hum of interaction between arts and grassroots organizations was pervasive.

Most commercial developers wouldn't touch Regent Park a few years ago. The centre is now the focal point of the neighbourhood's redevelopment, with new condo towers, largely by Daniels Corp. But the new cultural hub of the community has also been driven by Artscape.

The Toronto-based non-profit developer, which helps create spaces for artists and cultural organizations and incorporates those spaces into larger community planning, is in expansion mode.

Artscape is now readying its new sister organization in Vancouver - BC Artscape - which is looking at seven or eight prospective arts development projects, according to Artscape chief executive Tim Jones. The first president of BC Artscape, Genevieve Bucher, began her job Monday.

Mr. Jones says the organization is also continually broadening its international ties, exporting lessons learned from its Toronto development by mentoring projects throughout the United States and further afield globally.

"We're in the process of becoming a much bigger organization," he said.

The $38-million Daniels Spectrum centre, which Artscape administers, and the organization's other arts-community projects around Toronto has led Artscape to become a model internationally for using local arts and community groups in development planning.

The Toronto-based organization began 29 years ago, stemming from a 1970s movement in Britain to provide artists with affordable studios. Various groups still specialize specifically in providing that, but Artscape has evolved further. It operates as a kind of glue between private developers, city agencies and community planners.

Currently, it has nine artists' spaces in operation in Toronto and another eight in development, and there are 130 artists' housing units and 125 in development in its portfolio, Mr. Jones said.

Artscape and Daniels are trying to build on their partnership with the towering, $700-million Daniels Waterfront development on Toronto's lakeshore announced in March. Occupancy is expected to begin in the fall of 2018, one among the building spree that is starting, plot by plot, by different developers along East Bayfront, an emerging stretch along the eastern edge of the waterfront.

The cultural objective with Daniels Waterfront isn't now quite as clear as it was in Regent Park. "We have a program in mind, but we're not in a position to talk about it publicly yet," Mr. Jones said.

Daniels Waterfront will include offices owned by the non-profit organizations Manifesto and the Remix Project, which are both involved in urban cultural issues and youth empowerment. Artscape will move its main office there. Artscape currently has around 25 employees in its head office. (There will likely be more by the time the office moves in 2018 - the organization has 108 full-time and part-time employees.)

Artscape also plans to forge links with closer proximity to OCAD University and George Brown College. The idea for the lakeshore by planners at Waterfront Toronto has been to create not only a new pocket of condo towers, but a new high-tech hub for the city.

But when asked more about Daniels Waterfront, the conversation turned back to Regent Park as an example of what's to come.

Unlike the east end of Toronto's waterfront, Regent Park already had vital, but often struggling, arts and community groups, such as the Regent Park School of Music, that needed space to work, to exhibit, to perform, to band together.

"One of the big aha moments came from a local resident, who's a member of our steering committee. I'll never forget the day she said, 'What if we had a major destination in Regent Park?' " Mr. Jones recalled. That anchor point became the Daniels Spectrum centre.

"At the time, people from the outside weren't exactly flocking into Regent Park to attend an event. It wasn't on anybody's radar that that would be something to do," Mr. Jones said.

"Our work really happens at the intersection of arts and culture, urban development, community and neighbourhood activism, philanthropy, advancing public policy, generally all of those things at the same time in some kind of slightly messy, quirky, but hopefully growing combination," he said.

The aim is to try to make Artscape's projects, such as the artists' work spaces and artist-led shops in the Distillery District, feel of the community.

"Tim and Artscape understand the importance of not parachuting in from the top into a community and saying, 'Here's what's going to happen,' " said Mitchell Cohen, president of Daniels Corp.

"I think that's one of the key skills that Artscape has developed, that they are now exporting around the country and exporting around the world, in terms of how a cultural organization can play a role in a community by listening to the community," he said.

Daniels is also big on using the arts. As developer of the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, the centrepoint of the Toronto International Film Festival and yearround art-house film programming, along with the soaring Festival Tower above it, Daniels became convinced of the vitality of arts in both commercial and civic terms.

"We understood at that moment, 'How do we continue to do this? How do we continue to build the narrative that development which embraces arts and culture is good for the developer, good for the user [the owner and tenants], and certainly good for the community as a whole? How do we build that story?' " Mr. Cohen said.

The question, however, is whether the partnership between Daniels and Artscape will become more exclusive, especially with Artscape set to move its offices into the Daniels Waterfront.

Sitting together in a café at Daniels Spectrum, Mr. Cohen glanced over at Mr. Jones. They elaborated on the other's stories throughout the conversation.

"We see a long-term partnership with Artscape, building on what we've been doing for the last number of years," Mr. Cohen said.

Yet, Artscape has many privatedevelopment partners. "It's not just Daniels," Mr. Jones said. For instance, Artscape's plans for an arts and cultural space in Weston Village in the northwest corner of the city is with The Rockport Group.

"We're finding increasingly that there are developers who actually get us, who get the value that arts bring in an urban development context," Mr. Jones said. "There's a lot of shared interest."

And, it seems for Daniels, more competition.

Associated Graphic

Left, the Daniels Waterfront-City of the Arts project, with its two towers that will look over Sugar Beach, will rise on the site of the former Guvernmnent entertainment complex in Toronto. Right, the project will include space for retail, office, residential, academic and cultural components.


High times in a hot market
Three to five offers are the norm; a slice of Aura's subdivded penthouse floor- Canada's tallest - listed at $3.75-million
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page G6

The late start to Toronto's spring real estate market appears to have pushed the selling season further toward the summer.

This week, 31 Summerhill Gardens sold for $1.845-million. The house, which was featured in this column last week, belongs to Matthew Teitelbaum and Susan Cohen. Mr. Teitelbaum is the departing director of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the couple put their family home on the market after Mr. Teitelbaum announced he's moving to a new post at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

Real estate agent Eileen Farrow of Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.

had set an asking price of $1.825million and an offer date of May 26. Three bidders were hovering, Ms. Farrow says, but in the end only one registered an offer and the house sold above asking.

Competition among buyers does not seem as fierce as it was earlier in the year. New listings are still arriving on the market after cool weather all the way through April deterred a lot of homeowners from listing earlier.

"I think that the spring market isn't going to end until late June," says real estate agent Ira Jelinek of Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd.

"That's when a lot of summer plans kick in for buyers and for real estate agents."

He says three to five offers are the norm at the moment for houses listed between $599,000 and $1.2-million, where the heaviest competition takes place.

Mr. Jelinek does most of his business with young buyers and sellers in midtown and downtown Toronto. He's seeing a slight thinning of the crowds of bidders that were turning up earlier in the spring.

He says about 80 per cent of his clients who have dropped out of the market have struck a deal by now, while the other 20 per cent have decided to hold off while they save for a larger down payment.

He adds that agents working with buyers have to invest a lot of time in helping their clients to find a property and those who find bidding wars vexing may drop out all together. By contrast, any house listed for sale is likely to sell quickly.

"You've got to list to live in my industry right now."

More listings are coming on as sellers hear about the success of their neighbours, Mr. Jelinek adds.

In the downtown condo market, he sees "good equilibrium," with many units selling within 30 days.

For example, Mr. Jelinek recently listed a condo unit on the 35th floor at 18 Yonge St. The twobedroom, two-bathroom unit had an asking price of $538,500 and sold slightly below that at $526,500.

The agent typically lets others in the building know that a unit is coming onto the market. "I'll door knock before an open house and invite the neighbours."

He made a followup phone call to the owner of a unit with the same floor plan on the 25th floor.

That owner decided to list when he heard about the earlier sale.

This time, Mr. Jelinek set an asking price of $554,000 and the unit sold for $542,000.

Meanwhile, Aura's largest penthouse was completed about a week ago. Canderel Residential Inc., which built the 80-storey tower at the corner of Yonge and Gerrard streets, has divided the top residential floor into four suites.

Unit 7910 is on the market with an asking price of $3.75-million, says Canderel Residential's vicepresident of sales and marketing, Rizwan Dhanji.

The two-bedroom-plus-den unit offers 3,055 square feet of living space in the south-west corner of the building. In addition to being the largest, it also offers the building's prime view, says Mr. Dhanji, gazing out at the CN Tower to the south and Lake Ontario in the distance.

Originally, Canderel offered one 11,370-square-foot penthouse that covered the entire floor. When the $18.5-million unit failed to attract a buyer, the developer rejigged the floor plan, Mr. Dhanji says.

"The demand for pricing in that $18-[million] to $19-million range is very slim in Toronto," he said recently during a visit to the suite. "Had we put this in New York, it would have probably sold in a day. We know that the market is thin here in Toronto so we've carved it up into four suites."

A 7,000-square-foot penthouse at Museum House on Bloor Street West is currently listed with an asking price of $10.5-million. Tridel's Ten York, which is under construction, has a penthouse listed with an asking price of $4.265-million. Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Toronto sold its penthouse in 2011 for $28-million.

There is plenty of choice for those who have $3.7-million or so to spend on a completed condo in the city, including units at the Trump Residence, 155 Cumberland St. and 1888 Bayview Ave.

Aura is currently the tallest residential tower in Canada but some other contenders are on the drawing board or under construction, including "The One" at Yonge and Bloor and two Mirvish and Gehry towers on King Street West.

The largest suite at Aura is now painted and filled with furniture, chandeliers and art. While it offers such luxuries as a free-standing tub in the marble-clad master bathroom, Mr. Dhanji says the panorama is the key selling feature of the unit.

On a cloudy day in the city, residents can see clear skies out the window as they hover above the clouds, he says. On a perfectly clear day, they can see the mist from Niagara Falls across the lake, he says.

"It's pretty incredible - especially in the evening time when the lights go on in the city and you really see Toronto for what it's like. It's very different [from] living very close to the waterfront where ... in the evening time you basically see darkness and see the water."

Some of those who have taken in the vista include downsizing baby boomers who want to sell their north Toronto houses but not give up all of the space, says Mr. Dhanji.

Potential buyers from China, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia have also shown interest, he says.

International buyers are used to living in condo towers and they want to live downtown, he adds.

Mr. Dhanji says the four penthouses, which start at $1,009,900 for the smallest, 900-square foot unit, are almost complete. Workers are finishing up the last two.

All of the building's 994 units are sold except for the last three, says the executive.

ONLINE A video tour of the Aura penthouse can be seem at

Associated Graphic

The Aura building at Yonge and Gerrard has seen the penthouse divided into four suites, one of which is on the market for $3.75-million.


The shock value of destroying ancient monuments plays into the extremist group's game plan, writes Patrick Martin, and is more a political than religious statement
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A10

As Islamic State forces swept into ancient Palmyra Wednesday evening, they would have paid scant attention to the long Roman colonnade that stretched out before them.

Looking for cover in the event that the fleeing Syrian forces might mount a counterattack, they likely would have paid closer attention to the extensive remnants of the magnificent Roman theatre, or the ground around some of the massive arches that still stand along the road and offer protection.

They must also have wondered if any Syrian stragglers were hiding in the medieval citadel that overlooks the site, giving them a fine position from which to fire any weapons.

But Islamic State leaders would have known the greater significance of what they had just captured: one of the finest archeological sites in the Middle East; a place that tells some of the history in this so-called "cradle of civilization" that archeologists call Mesopotamia.

"Palmyra is one of the bestpreserved sites of classical antiquity in the entire world," said Eric Meyers, professor emeritus at Duke University. Its evidence of the blending of Semitic, Roman and Persian cultures makes it "one of the most important UNESCO World Heritage Sites," he said.

The city, known by its Semitic name, Tadmur, is mentioned in the Bible as a place fortified by King Solomon.

And, as Islamic State commanders know, its destruction will send shock waves around the world and draw attention to th