Kim's choice
Her father had it. Her brother and sister have it. Her neice will have it one day. When Kim Teske decides to take her own life, it tests a tightly knit family's courage in the face of Huntington's disease
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F1

ORANGEVILLE, ONT. -- For 10 days, Kim Teske has been refusing to eat or drink. Her speech is garbled; she can still smoke, but her inhalations are shallow; she is struggling to walk and she is withdrawing into herself, as though she is moving ahead to a place where we can't follow, at least not yet.

At one point, she lies down for a nap in the sprawling split-level house on the edge of Orangeville, Ont., where her family has gathered from halfway across the country to say their goodbyes. One of her sisters crawls into bed and snuggles under the duvet with her. A few hours later, when Kim is driven back across town to her own apartment, a brother has to carry her up the stairs.

Kim, one of six siblings and always seeming the most vulnerable, the most childlike, wants to die. She has Huntington's, an incurable genetic disease that combines aspects of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and schizophrenia.

At 52, she is still living on her own but fears that, if she doesn't act now, she will end her days in an institution with strangers pushing mush into her mouth and hosing her down after she defecates.

"I love life and I love me, but I don't want to live like that," the slight, lean woman with short dark hair and impeccably sculpted fingernails said a few months earlier.

"And I have a plan."

We were sitting at the table in Kim's sunny yellow kitchen on a winter weekday morning. Her sisters Dawn and Marlene nodded in agreement. Her mother, Gwen, watched warily from the couch.

Kim's black camisole peeked out from an unbuttoned pink and black checked shirt tucked into her jeans, but the effect was more boyish than voluptuous. "I wore this to the Huntington's fundraiser two weeks ago and I had two fizzy drinks. They told me not to get drunk," she explained in an unbridled style I came to recognize as Kim-speak.

The four of us could have been sitting down to a game of euchre; instead, we were talking about the right to die. This was new territory for the Teskes and all of them were struggling to keep their equilibrium while navigating its emotional, medical and legal shoals. Kim couldn't afford to fly to Dignitas, an assisted-suicide clinic in Switzerland that accepts foreigners; her doctors wouldn't help her die; she had no legal access to lethal drugs; and she didn't want her family to face criminal charges for assisting a suicide.

Her only option, as she saw it, was to starve to death, even if most experts predicted it would take two full weeks. "I don't want to get anybody into trouble, but it is my right to die."

Under the watchful eyes of her family, I asked if she felt any pressure from others. "No, I am pressuring myself," she said. "It's my life and that is how I am going to die. Sorry to miss Mom's birthday, but that is not going to happen."

Gwen was soon to turn 80 and wished she could somehow take her daughter's place. "But I can't," she admitted, bolstered by a lifetime of stoicism. Kim's sisters had pledged to support her by taking turns being with her during her deadly fast. "She can stop any time she wants," said Marlene, an admissions specialist at a community college. Dawn, a nurse at a nearby hospital, finished the sentence: "But this is her choice."

Nobody really expected Kim to succeed. It would be too hard, too awful a death - especially for somebody like Kim, who loved to eat and never seemed to gain an ounce, no matter how many helpings she consumed. She was the sibling who didn't make it in the academic stream in high school and trained instead to be a barber; she was the family jokester who delighted in sneaking up and snapping the bra straps of her adolescent nieces; she was the single auntie who greeted any man under 50 by asking, "Are you married?" No matter the response, she demanded a hug.

"Give me a squeeze," she would entreat complete strangers.

"I cried when Marlene told me what Kim was planning - I couldn't fathom it," her brother Stuart, 54, told me in a telephone conversation from Saskatchewan, where he works in construction.

"Kim will not do this."

Going without nourishment when you are terminally ill and your body is already shutting down is difficult enough. Donald Low, the Toronto microbiologist with a terminal brain tumour who made a video plea last year for legalizing medically assisted dying, stopped eating and drinking in the last stages of his life, but he was deeply sedated and under the care of a top-notch palliative team. Even so, he lasted nearly a week, six days of which he couldn't communicate with his grieving family.

Kim's task was infinitely harder because she was not dying, at least not imminently. Patients with Huntington's typically live with a disintegrating mind and body up to 25 years from diagnosis. There are early- and lateonset variants of the disease, which affects one in every 7,000 Canadians, but most people are diagnosed between 30 and 50.

Because Kim refused to wait for the inevitable, she was planning her death while still of "sound mind," as the clinical description has it, and had the capacity to live independently. But that didn't mean she would go quietly. She wanted to leave a final message supporting the work of Dying with Dignity, a nonprofit organization lobbying for the right to medically assisted death and an end to the Criminal Code prohibition against assisting a suicide.

That's how I had heard about Kim. But this is more than a right-to-die story. This is a story about family: how it copes with a devastating illness that has targeted some members and spared others, filling some with despair, others with resignation and making someone like Kim suicidal. It could be your family, it could be mine.

A family secret

Even before Kim's death wish, life was hard for the Teskes. Gwen and her husband, Larry, were from hard-working stock - she from Saskatchewan, he from Ontario. Larry was 42 when he died of testicular cancer, leaving a genetic secret that lay buried for 25 years: Huntington's disease. Because Larry's symptoms were masked by cancer, nobody suspected that he may have passed on a neurological time bomb to his children.

Back then, Gwen was more concerned about the present than the future. "I looked into the coffin and said, 'How do I go on from here?' "she remembered thinking. "But the good Lord gives you strength," she said. "I had to be there for my kids." At 39, she had six children to support. The eldest, Brian, was 16. The youngest, Deanna, was 9. Gwen put in long hours running a restaurant at a truck stop to put food on the table. As soon as they were old enough, the kids worked there on weekends and after school.

Adversity was only part of the glue bonding the family, whose warmth and unpretentiousness remain obvious today. Hugging is endemic, humour is rarely barbed, no visit is intrusive and nobody is a stranger for more than a minute. "It's all about my mother," Stuart explained. "She's the one who held us together.

She's a rock."

None of the kids gave Gwen any trouble. "Not real trouble," said Lynn Teske, who married Brian in 1978, when he was 21 and she was 19. They had met a few years earlier at a high-school dance, but he had disappeared with a pal when the music stopped. "A girlfriend and I used to drive around Orangeville looking for him, until I found him," she said, laughing at her sweet-sixteen boldness. Nearly 40 years later, she still won't let him go.

Brian had gone to high school in nearby Mayfield, but he switched to Orangeville District Secondary School for Grade 12, "and then we were in the same school." For nearly 20 years, life was busy but good. They had two children - a son, Jason, and a daughter, Sarah - and eventually Brian ran his own construction company with brother Stuart, digging basements and installing septic systems.

Everything changed as Brian approached 40. The easygoing, laid-back guy who never swore, who never spoke harshly or critically of others, became unpredictably belligerent. "There was no filter," his wife said. "If he was thinking it, it came out." Brian developed strange tics, like repeatedly shrugging his shoulders, and opening and closing his hands. One day, when he was sitting at the kitchen table, he picked up a glass and banged it down. After a few crashes on the tabletop, his wife asked him to stop. Bewildered, he asked, "Stop what?"

He also began making strange decisions, according to Stuart, a taciturn guy who fails to hide his tender heart and strong emotions. After 10 years in business with his brother, Stuart quit and moved to Florida to work with standard-bred horses. That's where he met his wife, Rebecca, and their teenaged daughters, Victoria and Gabriella, were born.

Brian's daughter tells much more graphic tales of the changes in her funny and generous father. As a teenager, Sarah lost count of the number of times he backed his Dodge Ram pickup into her Mazda, a car she was buying with her own money. "He'd put a hole right through the hood and I would be on my knees crying and he had no empathy at all." Eventually, things got so bad that the once-profitable business went broke, the Teskes lost their home and had to move in with relatives. Lynn finally persuaded her husband to go to a doctor, who prescribed antidepressants. "He walked around like he was drunk," she said. "It was awful." After repeated trips to the doctor, Brian was finally referred to a neurologist. Having checked his reflexes and asked him to do simple things like stick out his tongue, the specialist looked at Brian and said, "I think you have Huntington's disease. I want you to consider going for a DNA test."

Of course, Lynn immediately searched the Internet. "The more I read, the more I knew in my heart that that was what he had." But denial came easily because nobody else in the family had Huntington's.

His mother was robust, and all his younger siblings seemed fine. Brian finally agreed to go for DNA testing in 1997, when he was 40. But it was another five years before he was willing to ask for the results of the simple blood test that would explain his increasingly bizarre physical and emotional behaviour. "He didn't want to know," Lynn said.

This is a common reaction. At best, one in five of those at risk for Huntington's are tested, because knowing doesn't help when you have an incurable and largely untreatable disease. Lynn, nevertheless, tried to persuade him. "We can't deal with what we don't know," she told Brian.

The entire family went to hear the results in July, 2002. By then, Brian was 45, Lynn was 43, Jason was 25 and Sarah was 22. Lynn said she remembers the doctor saying: "You know, Brian, when I open this envelope, I could be handing you a death sentence." Even before the doctor read the diagnosis, Lynn knew that it would be positive because Brian had become that much worse.

Still, the confirmation was a shock. It took a year for everyone in the Teske clan to accept the news and to suspect that the disease had probably come from their long-dead father. Five of the six Teskes already had children; if they had Huntington's, there was a 50-50 chance they had unwittingly passed it on - a horrifying thought for any parent.

Brian's daughter spent years obsessing about the disease, but refused to be tested. "I didn't want a death sentence. I didn't want to know at 24, 25 or 26 that I was going to be dying of Huntington's," Sarah said.

But that didn't mean she didn't worry: "If my arm had a twitch, I would think that was it." She reached a point where the tension was so grinding that she realized knowing was better than not knowing. By then, she had decided that, if she were positive, she wouldn't have children, although there is now a complicated and costly in vitro fertilization procedure that tests embryos and implants only those that are free of Huntington's. Finally, in July, 2008, on a day Sarah could only describe in superlatives as "the best of her life," she learned she was negative. Now, she is married and the mother of two small children.

On the same day Sarah found out she had won the genetic lottery, her aunt phoned home from Regina to say she had lost. Deanna, the youngest of the Teske siblings, had tested positive. Her daughters, Chantelle and Shelby, were in Ontario visiting their grandmother and extended family. But before they even had a chance to celebrate with their older cousin, they had to grapple with the horror of their mother's diagnosis, which was potentially their own. That is how Huntington's works: It is capricious, sparing some and skewering others, like a fickle finger of fate.

Deanna will tell you now that she wasn't surprised to learn she had it. The year before, when she had gone back to Ontario to celebrate Brian's 50th birthday, she already had a strange tingling in her fingers and toes, and some jerky movements. Her brother pressed her to find out for certain, so she went for testing after she returned to Saskatchewan. The process was gruelling, partly because her marriage was going through a rough patch. Her husband, Mike Smith, another saltof-the-earth type who's a carpenter and a partner in a small construction firm, was "grumpy," she confided to me on speaker phone from her kitchen in Regina. "I didn't need that when I was going through getting the results." So she kicked him out. They went for counselling and eventually reconciled. "He is very supportive and he loves me a lot," she said. "I am happy."

Deanna can no longer work as a hairdresser, manage simple tasks like holding a telephone receiver or speak without slurring some of her words. Yet she radiates cheerfulness, even as her arms flail about like an aberrant windmill. It's as though she got an overdose of chorea (the involuntary movements that typically accompany Huntington's) and escaped the depression and belligerence that are also characteristics of the disease.

She's "good" with older sister Kim wanting to end her life, but that's not for her. "I want to live till my dying day," she said, even if that means being incapacitated in a nursing home. "I am happy and I am in love with my husband and I could never imagine ending my life, ever."

Most of the Teskes long suspected that Kim also had Huntington's. Deanna said that Brian kept "bugging Kim to get tested" because there were doctors and programs that could monitor the symptoms and ease some of them. But Kim was in denial and, Deanna added, may have gone west a decade ago to escape family pressure. After working almost 20 years as a barber not far from Orangeville in Alton, she settled near an aunt in Invermere, B.C.

A few years later, though, Kim could no longer cut hair and was working behind the counter in a delicatessen - until even that job became too stressful. "There were times when she was overhearing customers say, 'Oh, my gosh, I think she is drunk,' "younger sister Marlene recalled.

"Brian had it and so did Deanna, and I was hoping and praying I didn't have it, too," Kim told me the first time we met. She was finally tested in 2008, the summer of reckoning for the Teske family. She was 47. Sisters Dawn and Marlene flew out to B.C. to bring her back to Ontario. A year later, she could no longer drive or handle simple tasks. Though she technically lived independently, her mother and Ontario sisters hovered lovingly.

Of the six siblings, only Dawn and Marlene haven't been tested. They believe they have been spared because, in their 50s, they are still symptom-free. Stuart was at risk of losing his workplace life insurance until he tested negative. "I knew I didn't have it because I had no symptoms, but I did the test for my kids." Does he feel bad that he and his family are safe, while three of his siblings are doomed? "No," he said.

"It bothers me that they've go it, but I'm glad that I don't." As for Dawn and Marlene, they don't have time to feel guilty. Besides full-time jobs and their own families, they are at ground zero, helping to care for their afflicted siblings, including Brian.

At 57, Brian lives in a longterm-care facility. He can't walk or feed himself, his speech is almost incomprehensible and he frequently chokes on his puréed food. Lynn drives to the nursing home on her way from work, bringing him an Iced Capp from Tim Hortons as a treat before she spoon-feeds him dinner.

Kim, who visits once a week, has watched her brother deteriorate. "I don't want to live like that. It is very important for me not to do that," she said on the second day of her fast. "I've never married, so I am making the decision for myself. It would be harder if I had children."

A cruel inheritance

No matter what Kim does, the disease won't stop with this generation of Teskes. Deanna's daughter Chantelle tested positive last year, at 24. "I think deep down inside herself, she knew," her mother said. "At least that is what she told the counsellor." Deanna felt worse for her daughter than for herself. "I cried and I cried and I cried and I felt guilty," she admitted. "And then I decided that's not fair," she said, her sunny disposition rising to the surface. "I shouldn't feel that way. It is a 50-50 situation. I hope she can be like me, or maybe there will be something to stop the movements or cure the disease when her signs show up."

Chantelle tried for a brave face when I met her and younger sister Shelby at the Smiths' bungalow in Regina. The two nestled like cats on their parents' chesterfield. Outside the picture window, a city crew was cleaning up fallen trees from a brutal winter.

"When you don't know," Chantelle said, "it is always on your mind." At the time of her diagnosis, she was married and debating whether to have children. "He really wanted kids," she recalled, as tears began to flow. While they were trying, she tried to rationalize the decision: "If I do have a kid and he has Huntington's," she told herself, "there will be a cure by then." Ultimately, she realized she could not knowingly pass the disease on to a child; she went for testing. Her husband supported her decision, she said, insisting that Huntington's didn't cause their marriage to end earlier this year. Now, she is between jobs and living at home. "My life is kind of upside down."

Bizarrely, a wood chopper began to devour a downed tree outside the window, and we all started to laugh. The tension broken, Chantelle summoned her bravado. "I just want to be happy more than anything else in the whole entire world," she said, her chin rising. "In my family, it has been around 40 when people start showing signs. I'm 25 now, so I figure I have about 15 years."

That's not to say she was giving up. "I hope and pray every day that they can find something to stop it, so at least I can have a chance to live." Both young women look to their mother for inspiration. "The best person in the world as a role model," Chantelle said. "My mother is dealing with it amazingly," Shelby added. "She is always happy and ready to throw optimism your way."

By contrast, Shelby said, her aunt took the diagnosis "really hard." She understands Kim's choice and said she "would probably do the same thing." That may be why Shelby has refused to be tested. "I would dwell on it a lot more than I do not knowing," she predicted. "I don't want to feel sorry for myself, right?"

Jason, Brian's son in Calgary hasn't been tested, either. He is married but has no children. Some family members - all adept at recognizing telltale signs - fear he has inherited the genetic short straw. His mother is waiting it out. "It preys on my mind a lot," she said. "He is 36 years old and, in four years, I am going to know just by looking at him."

The pain in her voice was almost audible as she described the possibility of her son having the same disease as his father. For anyone whose family is plagued by Huntington's, watching for symptoms is almost as harrowing as the fate they herald.

"Between 10 and 20 years to complete the course," novelist Ian McEwan writes of the disease's inexorable march in Saturday, "from the first small alterations of character, tremors in the hands and face, emotional disturbance, including - most notably - sudden, uncontrollable alterations of mood, the helpless jerky dance-like movements, intellectual dilapidation, memory failure, agnosia, apraxia, dementia, total loss of muscular control rigidity sometimes, nightmarish hallucinations and a meaningless end. This is how the brilliant machinery of being is undone by the tiniest of faulty cogs, the insidious whisper of ruin, a single bad idea lodged in every cell, on every chromosome four."

Brian's way

There was a time when Brian wanted to end his life. "He always said he was not going to live in a nursing home," Lynn said, "that when it got to the point where he needed someone to wipe his bum, he didn't want to be here." But somehow, he never found the means or the opportunity. He waited too long, some of his siblings will say quietly.

"I'm here to help you through the disease but not to end your life," Lynn remembered the doctor saying in response to Brian's entreaties. Although grateful for the medical care, the treatment programs and the help from family - for years, Gwen spent one day a week with Brian, feeding him lunch, taking him for drives and doing the family laundry - she wishes there was more home care available. "If you have lots of money to pay somebody to come in, you are fine. But if you don't, you are euchred," she said.

There was a crisis in the summer of 2012. They had a hospital bed in the kitchen, but the bathroom was upstairs and Brian was falling a lot. Sometimes, so was Lynn, trying to keep him balanced as she propelled him up and down the stairs. That October, Brian moved to the nursing home, where he is by far the youngest male patient. Eventually, he won't be able to swallow mush and he will either choke to death or he will be put on a feeding tube. Lynn doesn't think he wants that, but she isn't certain.

"He has a son and a daughter and he has grandchildren," she said. "And then there is his mom and his sisters. He has a lot of family around him." What she doesn't say, but is obvious to anybody who sees them together, is that he is still gobsmacked in love with the girl he met at a dance.

Kim's way

Kim picked April 25 to start her fast. She figured that spring would have arrived, not a certainty given the hard Ontario winter, and that she would be done by her birthday, May 9.

"I will take the movement drugs," she told me in February. The medication helps to ease her chorea, allowing her to sleep. "So we will take them and I will sleep and we are going to have fun at 18 Faulkner," she said, referring to her apartment. "Marlene and Dawn are going to be here, and I told God I would jump out of the window and meet him."

Two months later, she sits on the edge of her bed, smoking cigarettes - the Teskes are like chimneys when it comes to nicotine - and looks out the second-floor window at the oak tree in the front yard. It is her talisman. Kim believes she will be resurrected and come back as part of the tree's towering presence. Whether she is saying that to reassure herself or her family is moot. It is the mantra that sustains her day after day of refusing food and sipping only enough water to swallow her medication.

Both Ontario sisters have taken time off work, made sure that Kim's do-not-resuscitate form is prominently displayed on the refrigerator, gone with her to a local general practitioner (who has refused to help Kim die) and applied for palliative and personal care for their sister.

Then Gwen, the matriarch, who has been watching and smoking for months, intervenes. She can't stop Kim from killing herself, but she can gather all her children together one last time. She summons her younger son first. "It was an awful expense, but it was worth it," she tells me later.

Stuart is the catalyst who makes the reunion happen. He comes twice from Saskatchewan, once by himself and again with Deanna. Nobody has told Lynn or Brian what Kim is doing because they fear it may upset him, but Stuart breaks that well-meaning code soon after he and Deanna land in Toronto, on day seven of Kim's fast. Lynn is glad he did, saying her husband knew something was up. "He has Huntington's, but he's not stupid."

For the first time since their mother's 75th birthday five years earlier, the Teske clan, including Brian, congregate at Dawn's house on the outskirts of Orangeville. The place is a multigenerational jumble of kids, friends, food, instant coffee (with an occasional shot of Bailey's) and frequent trips to the garage, where the smokers gather around an old wood stove to trade anecdotes and josh Dawn's partner, Paul Omrode, about the two gleaming Harleys parked in front of the door, patiently anticipating a summer romp.

The fast could stop if Kim changes her mind or the authorities step in. But no one makes a move, waiting like bystanders at a traffic accident. It is horrible to watch, especially seeing the suffering in Gwen's face as she chain smokes in the garage.

Before Stuart and Deanna head back to the airport, knowing they will probably not see their sister again, the siblings gather to plant a burning bush outside Kim's apartment. She is now too weak to walk to the window. A visiting palliative-care nurse thinks it will be several more days, but Kim has other plans. She dies peacefully, with none of the delirium or agitation that some watchers had anticipated, around noon on day 12, with Dawn by her side. When summoned, along with emergency services, the police decline to lay charges. It is three days before Kim's target date.


Half of Orangeville seems to have gathered for Kim's memorial celebration on May 9, her 53rd birthday. There is food, caffeine, flowers and a slide show documenting her life, from baby pictures to horsing around with nieces and nephews. Nothing has been air-brushed, including a picture taken a day before she died, looking gaunt and focused on the camera as a niece gives her a hug.

There are lots of extemporaneous speakers, but Marlene's husband, Marty Olson, a big, tough former cop, is the closest to an official eulogist. He cheers the mourners with the familiar story about Kim demanding a squeeze from anybody in trousers and short back and sides.

Then his voice cracks as he describes her at Easter, the weekend before beginning her fast. Knowing how much Kim loved to eat, he was making her a hearty breakfast while she sat out smoking on the deck. The window was open and he could hear Kim speaking to herself. Instead of calling her a dork - one of her own favourite putdowns - he listened as she said: "God, I am ready to go. Do you have a bed for me?"

That was the moment he knew she was serious, a realization that had come to all of them at different times. "I don't know how she did it," Lynn Teske said after the funeral. "I still can't get over that she followed through and for 12 days didn't touch anything: food, drink, nothing. It was amazing."

Kim, the most childlike Teske, has given them all a lesson in courage. She achieved her goal: to die on her own terms. That is a legacy nobody can deny. Whether it will help change the law, however, is beyond her control.

The only certainty is that family has prevailed. "It hasn't been easy, but you have to stick together and carry on from there," her mother concludes.

When the Teskes gather earlier this month to celebrate Gwen's 80th birthday, Kim is not forgotten. She is mourned again.


Toronto author Sandra Martin is currently working on a book for HarperCollins about the right-to-die movement in Canada and around the world. She was a Globe and Mail staff member for 16 years, known both for her reporting on the publishing industry and as a noted obituary writer. Her most recent book, Great Canadian Lives: A Cultural History of Modern Canada through the Art of the Obit (House of Anansi), has just appeared in paperback.


An acclaimed photographer, Kevin Van Paassen also spent a decade on The Globe and Mail staff, covering everything from Canada's health-care system and the 2012 Summer Games in London to the war in Afghanistan, before launching his freelance career in Toronto.


Watch intimate interviews with Kim Teske and her family, including two young sisters facing the prospect of living with an incurable illness TGAM.CA/KIMSCHOICE

Associated Graphic

Kim snuggles under the duvet with her sister, Deanna Smith, right. Deanna has also tested positive for Huntington's disease but says that she is determined to live her life to its fullest.

Gathering of the clan: As the Teskes say goodbye, Kim gets a hand from sister Marlene, left, and sister-in-law Lynn (who, below, also helps her through a door at the home of third sister Dawn).

Marlene tends to Kim during a visit to her sister's apartment, then watches as their other sister, Dawn, a nurse, wets Kim's lips to help her medicine go down.

Fond farewells: Kim, seated left, enjoys her final full family gathering with, from left, brother Stuart, sisters Marlene and Deann

Marlene embraces brother Brian, the first of the Teske siblings to confront the dreaded disease.

And Kim does the same. As Brian's condition worsened, she felt she couldn't share his fate.

na, mother Gwen, brother Brian and sister Dawn. The gathering was Gwen's idea. 'An awful expense,' she says, 'but worth it.'

The note Kim left behind was read at her funeral service. 'Please have fun for me,' it ends.

Kim's tiny apartment, with a sunny yellow kitchen - and belongings packed up for the movers.

My travels with Larry
Amid an unprecendent glut, Ian Brown follows a doomed lobster from a Nova Scotia trap to a Toronto table
Saturday, July 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F1

LOBSTER FISHING AREA 32, N.S. -- To the best of my recollection, Larry the Lobster showed up in one of Lloyd Robicheau's traps some time between dawn and 8 a.m. on a Tuesday. My memory of the event is impaired because at the time I was either vomiting overboard or lying in the hold of The Master Rebel, Lloyd's boat.

We were seven kilometres out to sea on a rare gorgeous June day, the eastern shore of Nova Scotia a long eyebrow in the distance, and Lloyd Robicheau had been saying what he often says: "In the lobster racket, sooner or later you're going to get bit."

He meant not just in the business sense, but on a lobster-bylobster basis as well. The feeling had only just returned to his left hand after being nipped by a pincer claw two weeks earlier; now another glistening black devil was trying to sever another of his fingers through his orange rubber gloves. To make a lobster open a claw, you hold the other claw shut. "It's like playing with fire," Lloyd said to Reese Reardon and Glendon Bellefontaine, his crew.

Finally freed, he tossed the waving crustacean into the slotted wooden box that keeps newly landed lobsters from ripping each other apart. Then Lloyd searched across the silvery water for the glint of the buoy that marked his next trap. I returned to vomiting. It was 6 o'clock in the morning, and the sea was as calm as a mussel's day.

In 2013, Atlantic Canada was responsible for 68,000 tonnes, or just over half, of the 131,500 tonnes of lobster landed on the east coast of North America last year. And for the 160 fishermen in Lobster Fishing Area 32 off the coast near Dartmouth, N.S., this year's annual nine-week lobster season (April 19 to June 20) has been breathtaking. So much lobster had been landed in Nova Scotia by the second week of June that the shore price dropped to $3.50 a pound, which was why everyone was so cranky. I'd been calling it a glut until a couple of local exporters begged me to refer to a "bountiful harvest" instead. They didn't want their customers to think lobster was cheap.

To a lobster enthusiast, of course, cheap lobster sounds like a good, i.e. delicious, thing. But it never materializes. There is a voodoo to lobster economics. What used to be poor man's fare, the fallback meal of people too impoverished to afford anything else, is now a billion dollar business and a universal mark of luxury - with the result that a lobster that sells for $3.50 on the wharf can cost $60 and more on a restaurant plate in New York or Toronto or Shanghai, regardless of how many lobsters are pulled from the sea. How this happens is the life story of Larry the Lobster.

Like every other licensed fisherman in Area 32, Lloyd is allowed 250 traps. He checks every trap every day. The routine's always the same, give or take the roughness of the sea. Lloyd steers the boat to a buoy. Reese gaffs the rope and slips it into an automatic winch that hauls the trap off the bottom. A trap consists of a kitchen (where the bait is) and a parlour, and for a lobster operates like a conversation with a Jehovah's Witness: It's easy to get into but almost impossible to get out of. Lloyd's using wire, or "American" traps, at $118 each (plus $30 more for rope and the buoy) whereas most fishermen in Area 32 swear by wood, because it's "darker" and absorbs water faster and is therefore less buoyant. It's not much of a theory, scientifically, but a lot of Area 32 lobster fishermen swear by it. Early on in his fishing career, Lloyd lost 130 traps on the third day of the season, and another 45 at the end, so he sticks to wire.

When the trap has been hauled to the gunwales, Reese - 26, built like a fridge - hauls it onto the boat and starts tossing pregnant females and undersized chicks back into the sea. The little ones look like bath toys. Lloyd helps him. They fling the keepers to Glendon, who measures them and checks for blooms of roe or a V notched in a female's tail (a decade-old conservation measure used to track egg-bearing females that fishermen believe has increased stocks), either of which gets the lobster thrown back. Glendon then bands the claws of the keepers before packing them into grey plastic 100-pound crates, the most common object in the lobster business. While he does that, Reese replaces the trap's bait with fresh redfish heads or mackerel or gaspereau or occasionally a sculpin on a spike (the big lobsters like them) and waits while Lloyd repositions the boat. On Lloyd's nod, he heaves the trap overboard and prepares the next bait bag. They can haul and change out a trap in less than three minutes.

They leave every morning at 3:20 in the pitch dark to avoid the breezy seas of the afternoon. Rocks and whistling are forbidden on the boat, as is turning against the sun while steering out of their harbour. Lobstering's a superstitious business.

Today starts badly. Several strings of traps produce nothing but little ones, and by the point where the boat would normally have landed 250 pounds, they haven't filled a 100pound crate. The mood on the boat grows quiet. "Get out and walk," Glendon says to an undersized lobster, throwing it overboard. Ten years ago, 80 pounds of lobster a day was an average catch in Area 32, and the Eastern Shore was one of the poorest places in Canada. This spring, however, most fishermen are hauling 500 pounds a day. Theories abound, all of which are true to an extent: lobsters procreate in cycles; climate change is warming the ocean, and the lobster are moving north out of Maine's coastal waters; fishermen have better technology and bigger boats; conservation is working. But everyone knows the most important reason: The disappearance of codfish means lobsters have no natural predators.

Suddenly, at 14 fathoms, the bottom gets rockier, to judge from Lloyd's electronic scanner. Two keepers in a trap is all it takes to turn his spirits. Five keepers is a great trap. In an instant, it's a good day again. By 8 a.m., the boys have hauled 300 pounds of lobster, including the aforementioned Larry. "It's in the hunt," Reese says, lighting another smoke. "You move, you try here, you try there. But you're always on the hunt."

By 10:30 they're done. The trio gaff six brimming 100-pound crates up to the dock and into a tank of cold circulating sea water. They then retire to the eight-byeight-metre boatside shacks they live in during lobster season, to await the shore buyer.

The shore buyers in Area 32 have paid as much as $7 and as little as $3 a pound for live lobster this spring. Lloyd's daily catch has ranged from nearly 700 pounds to less than 300. If he can trap 500 pounds a day (not a given) and average $5 a pound (especially not a given), and can get out, weather permitting, five days a week for nine weeks (he has lost as many as 21 days to weather in past years), he'll gross $112,500. The average fisherman on the Eastern Shore grossed $98,000 last year. "If you don't gross $100,000," Lloyd insists, "you can't really call it a living." Still, as people who aren't fishermen say, that isn't bad for nine weeks of fishing.

But they're very big ifs. Lloyd runs the math incessantly in his head. The Master Rebel cost him $200,000, and drinks 95 litres of diesel a day. A license, if he had to buy his today, would be $160,000 more. Reese (who hopes to fish for himself eventually) earns at least $150 a day. Life raft, $1,000; electronics, $30,000. Insurance, traps, bait (500 pounds a day at 80 cents a pound): Lloyd figures it costs him $600 a day to fish. If he nets twothirds of his (theoretical) gross, and doesn't have any mechanical breakdowns, he still has to pay taxes. But nobody knows how long the lobster will last or what prices will do. (They have dropped and risen in the weeks since I went fishing with Lloyd.) That's why, despite the bountiful harvest, he fishes swordfish in the summer, plows snow in the winter, and for a long time farmed wild blueberries.

"A dollar-a-pound drop doesn't sound like much," Reese says. "But on just a crate of lobsters, that's $100 gone, like that." It's all a gamble. That's part of what appeals to us about lobster, and part of what we pay for. It's why Lloyd calls lobstering a racket. Derek Stevens, the shore buyer at Lobsterworld, shows up at 1:40 p.m. to pick up Lloyd's lobsters. It is Derek, in fact, who spots Larry in one of the cases and suggests he would make a fine homarus americanus to follow from trap to plate.

Derek's been at work since 7 a.m. "Price is back up to $4, okay?" he says to Lloyd, almost as an afterthought, and hands him a piece of paper: 590 pounds, or $2,360. By 5 p.m., Derek is back at Lobsterworld, having picked up lobster from 12 boats in three communities - 60 crates in total.

The lobsters are roughly graded - chix (a pound), culls (one-clawed lobsters and other mutants), females to be thrown back, pound-and-a-quarters, poundand-a-halfs, all the way up to jumbos (4.5 pounds) and beyond - and re-stacked in drain-through crates under spigots spouting cold sea water. It sounds like we're standing under a 30-metre waterfall. This is when I get my first real look at Larry.

He's a fine specimen: two pounds, green-black, large claws, male (two penises!), and a brand new rock-hard shell, judging from the unworn spines under his tail. His chitinous carapace (or shell, which is actually his skeleton, just worn on the outside) is an eat-but-don't-be-eaten machine. He has the classic inscrutable, pissed-off, prehistoric arthropod lobster look: I often try to imagine the moment when the first person figured out these things were ultra-edible if dropped in boiling water. Omnivorous, cannibalistic, even selfcannibalizing if they get hungry enough, utterly devoid of any feeling except the urge to eat and scuttle and survive - does that not sound like the devil, or at least the head trader at a large brokerage firm? Larry even has blue blood - like spiders, like snails, like Satan.

Rick Murphy, the owner of Lobsterworld, peddles a few live lobster in his storefront for $5.99 a pound - nothing like the $12.99 they fetch at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto - but sells most of what he buys to shippers. "If I could get 50 or 60 cents a pound, I'd be very happy," he says. He seldom is, thanks to the shore price system, whereby 20-odd buyers up and down the Eastern Shore are forced to match each others' prices. But "there's too many lobsters coming out, not just here but everywhere," which means Mr. Murphy is paying $4 a pound today for live lobster he may not be able to sell for $3.50 tomorrow. Other regions such as Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands price lobsters by auction, or have binding collective agreements that help guarantee fishermen's incomes. Mr. Murphy blames the federal government for glossing over the intricacies of the fiercely independent Nova Scotia lobster fishery.

Like Geoff Irvine, director of the Lobster Council of Canada, Mr. Murphy would like to see more vertical integration between his region's inshore fishermen, if they could agree to a steady shore price or a boat quota, and buyers and shippers, if they'd agree to share their subsequent profits with the fishermen - one of many schemes the Lobster Council is considering. "We're not organized," Mr. Murphy says. "But there could be a lot more dollars landed on shore." Between 2002 and 2012, Maritime lobster landings leapt 40 per cent, from 26,000 tonnes a year to nearly 44,000 tonnes. The shore value of that lobster, however, rose only 6 per cent, from $391-million to $416-million. This is why fishermen like Lloyd think someone in the lobster business is getting richer a lot faster than they are.

At least Larry has a place to rest. For trucking and giving him a home for a few days, Rick Murphy will add 65 cents a pound to Larry's price. Two-pound Larry was worth $8 out of the water. Rick resells him for $9.30.

Larry cools his carapace at Lobsterworld for three days, until he's trucked half an hour down the road to Tangier Lobster Co. Ltd., a shipper, on Friday.

Tangier is the lobster equivalent of a spa in Palm Springs, one of 30-odd companies in North America that specialize in shipping premium live lobster. It's run by Stewart Lamont, a large, pink, pleasant and voluble man who grew up wanting to be a writer in Yarmouth, N.S., but became a lawyer and travel agent for lobsters instead. As the annual North American catch has nearly doubled to 136,000 tonnes a year over the past decade, lowering the price of lobster, Mr. Lamont has turned to Asia as his saviour.

"China has 1.4 billion people," he will tell you, whether you ask or not. "Those 1.4 billion people have a huge disposition to seafood in general, and to lobster in particular." They're also used to paying $35.40 (U.S.) a pound for Australian rock lobster - vastly inferior, Mr. Lamont claims, to the product plucked from the pristine (7 C versus 13 in PEI) Atlantic Ocean.

His trick is to keep the lobster as fresh as the day it came out of the ocean for as long as possible, preferably until the season ends and prices rise. Hence the cutting-edge operation at Tangier, an intricate series of refrigerated, 2to 4-degree ocean-water holding tanks and hi-tech packing rooms designed to keep live lobsters in a state of sluggish semi-hibernation so their shells stay hard and their eggs unreleased.

Outside in the 25 C sun, a lobster will die in an hour. But in Tangier's refrigerated slumberparty conditions, they can live six months. Darrin Hutt, Tangier's operations manager, conducts a blood-protein analysis on every 100 cases of lobster that arrive to see how close the lobsters are to moulting their old hard shells for soft new ones. The ones he can't delay he sorts for immediate sale by size and colour.

Darrin stores the keepers in indoor tanks and "lobster condominiums" - adjustable, individual compartments in which the lobsters don't have to be banded or fed, given their limited movements and lowered metabolisms. You can tell if a lobster has spent a long stretch in a holding tank, Darrin says:

"They're cannibals, he'll eat his own antennae."

Mr. Lamont can truck bugs to New York, Boston, Montreal and Toronto for 25 cents a pound, and can fly them everywhere else for roughly $1.25. In the office next to Mr. Lamont's, imminent orders are listed on a wipe board: 40 cases (at 30 pounds a case) to Sobey's, 100 cases to the largest shellfish supplier in Korea, 67 cases to the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas (where a two-pound lobster dinner sells for $98), 39 cases to Edmonton. That's 7,400 pounds of live lobster. If Mr. Lamont's profit is 40 cents a pound on air shipments - a reasonable assumption - his profit on those orders alone is $3,000.

For these tender ministrations, Tangier adds another $1.15 per pound. Two-pound Larry is now worth $11.60.

But where is Larry? Why, he's lolling in Tangier's outdoor "seasoning" tank, where over the next three days he will defecate what's left of the last meal he ate (the mackerel and gaspereau in Lloyd's trap), which will in turn prevent him from soiling his shipping container. ("The poop really messes things up," is how Darrin put it.) Larry is having a colonic irrigation.

Don't get me wrong: I don't mean to belittle Larry. I realize there are groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who believe, as David Foster Wallace explained in his brilliant essay Consider the Lobster, that lobsters have feelings, and that my decision to eat Larry is an act of cruelty and an affront to his existential spirit.

I'm not a monster; I've had pangs. I have. One afternoon during Larry's spa vacation at Tangier, in fact, I asked Kimberley Shears, the company's director of logistics, whether eating Larry was cruel. Admittedly we were enjoying a delicious lunch of cold lobster tails in Tangier's shoreside gazebo at the time, not the most sensitive choice of nourishment, considering the subject at hand.

Ms. Shears bestowed a kind look on me, and said, "They technically don't have a brain." No, I thought: They have two penises instead, I guess it's a trade-off.

What lobsters have is ganglia, and a stomach where their brain would be if they had one. The jury seems to be out on whether lobsters feel pain. But even if they do, it is the act of confronting one's own desire, and the moral price of that desire, that makes eating a lobster so compelling.

That, in any event, was my thinking on the matter. "My advice," Ms. Shears continued, "is not to be afraid of the lobster." She said it as if many people were.

One afternoon driving along the Eastern Shore I noticed a small house by the side of the road that was covered in carvings of animals and devils and pictures of Jesus. I pulled over and looked around. Eventually the owner came out. His name was Barry Collpitts. He was a folk artist, and a devout Catholic. (Acadia University's art gallery was about to mount a show of his work.) There was a carving of a devil by the door, red and black, with horns and a pitchfork, and the legend I Am Not Welcome Here painted on his chest. I asked if I could buy it.

"The carvings on the house aren't for sale," Barry said.

"Because then I'd have to make another for my house." He meant that if he sold it to me, he'd have to put up another devil-guard in its place. "I guess you're not religious or superstitious," he said.

"But I bet if you did put it up on your house, you wouldn't take it down either."

After that I began to notice how superstitious people who dealt with lobster could be. Not just Lloyd, with his rules about no whistling and no rocks on the boat, but everyone. They're gamblers, reliable people who love tradition and schedules, but who also fancy a spot of danger too, whether it's the possibility of a poor catch or too much catch, of a shipment delayed by weather or some other act of satanic randomness. Even Larry the Lobster looked a bit like the devil, dangerous and foreign but tempting.

Larry embodied the dilemma of desire. Every time I thought of him - I'm serious about this - I was struck by the gravity of what I was about to do: Spend a shocking amount of money to boil alive an animal that had survived on the bottom of the ancient sea for 15 years before I came along.

The following Monday, six days after being trapped by Lloyd Robicheau, Larry leaves Tangier Lobster Co. by refrigerated truck in a cardboard box with two ice packs and seven other lobsters at 11 in the morning. By 7 he's on a plane in Halifax, having been passed as loose cargo from the truck into the rear belly hold of FedEx Flight 7054, a gleaming white 757. The plane stops in Moncton and again at Mirabel Airport outside Montreal for fuel and more freight, and arrives in Toronto, on a dedicated runway at FedEx's vast complex north of Toronto's Pearson International, at 11:05 p.m.

By 1 a.m., Larry's sitting comfortably in a FedEx way station in Toronto's east end, for which FedEx charges $1.44 a pound, bringing Larry's worth to $7.22 a pound, or $14.44 in total. Tomorrow morning at 11:50, FedEx will deliver him to Toronto wholesaler and retailer Lorne Ralph at Seaport Merchants, who will in turn add another $1.50 a pound for handling and delivering Larry to The Abbot, a gastropub in north Toronto, between 4 and 6 in the afternoon.

By then Larry will be worth nearly $9 a pound. He'll arrive with his fellow lobsters in the same unopened box he flew in, and he'll look good - moving and shaking and reaching his claws back behind him as if he were John Travolta dancing his way into a disco. Alas for Larry, he is not.

And so Larry the Lobster reached the final stage of his great journey.

Chris Davis owns the Abbot with his wife Carrie McCloy and doesn't usually serve lobster: It's too expensive. But Lorne Ralph offered him a good price, so Chris thought he'd try it as a promotion and charge $30 a plate for a one-pound lobster.

An excellent lobster dinner for $30 is good value. I now knew, however, that the actual cost of Larry was barely $10 a pound. But that's the formula in the restaurant business. "On the industry standard theory," Chris said, "a third of what you sell it for is food cost." Add another third for labour, and another third for overhead and profit, of which 60 per cent is rent, taxes, heating, napkins and the like. If Lorne sold Chris lobsters at $10 a pound, and Chris sold them for $30 a plate, he made $4 profit per meal. (No wonder nine out of 10 restaurants go broke.) The voodoo of lobster economics never goes away: a chunk of tail meat on a $23 apple, truffle and spaghetti squash salad may shout "Fancy!" to a diner, but the restaurant is making less profit than it can on steak, which isn't alive and doesn't spoil as quickly.

(By the same logic, two-pound Larry would cost Chris $8.70 a pound, or $17.40 in total, and tripled into a $52.20 meal on my plate. I gave the Abbot $60, including the tip. The lesson? There is no such thing as cheap live lobster in a good and profitable restaurant in Toronto.)

Chris planned a two-course meal: a butter-poached lobster crepe with ginger and pea shoots to start, and a boiled lobster later. By 6 p.m., his chef, Kevin Beale, had three huge pots of heavily salted water roiling with lemons and bay leaves. He planned to cook 30 one-pound lobsters for 14 minutes from the moment the water started boiling again after what he called "the drop."

I watched Larry go into the pot. I waved goodbye. I am somewhat ashamed to say I felt no pang. Like, none. But by my count, at least 30 people helped Larry to his demise. I am willing to name names if it helps my moral case.

The meal was served at a communal table to 14 people, none of whom I knew except my wife. This is an excellent way to eat lobster. People are never shy at a lobster dinner, perhaps because you eat with your hands. I asked Ms. McCloy what her next restaurant was going to be and she said, "It's not a restaurant. I want to open a brothel." I think she was serious. Then someone talked about eating tempura lobster in New York City, which sounded delicious and made me think about all the great lobster I had eaten - in the rough by the ocean and in a sublime lobster roll at a restaurant called Neptune in Boston; with friends every New Year's Eve. I couldn't separate the food from the company and the places. I can get quite emotional about this stuff, even if I have no feelings about eating Larry.

Suddenly Larry arrived at the table. He was huge and red and imposing, but for some reason I waited before I cracked him. I owed him that. As I waited, I watched a young woman named Emma take on her own lobster.

She approached it so methodically she might have been a welder.

"It's not for you that you need the bib, "Emma said. "It's for the person across from you. Always break the shell away from you."

But mostly I remembered what Kim Shears said, back at Tangier, on that bright crisp day by the sea: Do not be afraid of the lobster. When I finally broke into Larry, I took my time. I rolled the sweet meat out of each of his legs with my thumb. I had to work to crack his massive crusher claw, but the flesh was astonishing and tender. I dipped his tail in butter or in lemon, and preferred the latter. I sucked his telson dry, and when it looked like there was nothing at all left in him I cracked his chest lengthwise and found mouthfuls of meat in there as well. I felt guilty and grateful, all at once. For that rare sensation alone Larry was worth the money.

Ian Brown is a Globe feature writer.

The catch $4/lb

Larry the Lobster was sold on shore after being lured by the bait fish in a trap set by the crew of The Master Rebel

Shipping $9/lb

Larry was shipped from Halifax to Toronto in the belly of a FedEx 757, a journey that added $5 to the price per pound

The feast $30/lb

Larry's journey ended in the kitchen of a Toronto pub, where the chef organized a promotional lobster dinner

Associated Graphic

Where it all begins: The crew of The Master Rebel fling under-sized lobsters back into the sea off the coast of Nova Scotia


Deckhand Reese Reardon tosses baitfish overboard as seagulls flock off the stern of The Rebel Master. Inset: Fresh mackerel is used as bait in lobster traps.


Larry the Lobster arrives in Toronto.


Larry is served.


With more than 80,000 buildings in disrepair, the Motor City's $2-billion problem is easy to see - but tough to solve
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

DETROIT -- Albert Green has spent two years trying to get the city of Detroit to tear down the house that sits next to his.

It's easy to see why. There's not much left of the ravaged structure, except for its blackened frame, and Mr. Green's biggest concern is that the house may catch on fire, again.

"It's frustrating," he said standing on the sidewalk in front of his house. "I have paid taxes since 1946 and this is what I get."

Mr. Green, 86, has been living here for decades, running his convenience store, Green's Variety, and slowly watching the street fade from a vibrant community filled with families to one where his house is just about the only one left standing. His neat, white-sided home with potted marigolds out front is in sharp contrast to the half a dozen properties nearby, all left vacant and close to collapse.

This neighbourhood, not far from the bridge to Canada, is emblematic of large swaths of Detroit - a city where more than one million residents have fled since the auto industry started closing down plants in the 1950s, leaving empty buildings to fester in its wake. The financial crisis helped propel the city into bankruptcy and pushed the blight further across town. More than 80,000 buildings and vacant lots are in a state of disrepair. In Delray, where Mr. Green lives, nearly 70 per cent of his neighbourhood is empty.

Now the city is trying to figure out what to do with the blownout structures. Getting rid of all the blight is critical to the city's economic recovery. It's a key step toward attracting new investment, new residents and new confidence. But it won't be easy.

A task force convened by the Obama administration has estimated that it will cost $2-billion (U.S.) to remove the blight. So far the city has received just $52.3million from Washington, about enough to tear down 3,800 homes. There is some hope more funding will come as part of a massive restructuring plan that's being developed during the bankruptcy process. But there are many competing interests and creditors all vying for a piece of the action. A bankruptcy court judge will start deciding in midAugust which creditor will get paid and whether Detroit will have enough to start tearing down and rebuilding.

In the meantime, residents can only hope and wonder when the decrepit buildings in their neighbourhoods will finally be removed.

The scourge of blight

Detroit is surprisingly large, at least in terms of land mass. The city spans 370 square kilometres and has a unique mix of leafy estates, working-class neighbourhoods and some of the worst ghettos in America. Today, 38 per cent of residents live below the poverty level and the city's unemployment rate is more than double the national level of 6.1 per cent.

There are some signs of change. The gleaming General Motors headquarters, appropriately called the Renaissance Center, sits by the river that borders Canada and is surrounded by a small but growing pocket of rejuvenated streets. Rents here are climbing, affluent out-of-towners are moving in and there's even a dog park, a sure sign of gentrification.

But that is the exception. Much of the city remains a place where street lights don't work and police officers routinely tell residents that they don't have the resources to respond to calls. In short, most Detroiters have learned to fend for themselves.

"I can't wait 10 years to get the house next door knocked down," said John George, who grew up in the northwest part of the city where he still lives.

Mr. George, 56, spent years in the insurance business but quit in 1988 to fight the blight that was creeping across his neighbourhood and countless others. He made the change after an abandoned home on his block turned into a crack house. Mr. George, who had a young family at the time, could see it from his back window and was enraged.

"People would come in every night, piss in the bushes and party," he said.

He didn't want to move, so he took matters into his own hands and boarded up the house. It worked. The night travellers took one look at the shuttered house and drove away.

Today, Mr. George's "Motor City Blight Busters" business has worked on 1,500 ruined properties in northwestern Detroit, the bulk of which are in one of the hardest hit areas in the city called Brightmoor.

It appears to be an endless task.

For every house that Mr. George and his team board up, refurbish or tear down, another unsightly property pops up.

"It took a long time to get in this mess and will take a while to get out of it," he said.

For now, Mr. George's Brightmoor neighbourhood has been excluded from receiving federal funds. That's because the city appears to be targeting areas that it can quickly stabilize. One is called Grandmont Rosedale, a wealthier part of northwest Detroit that is touched less dramatically by foreclosures.

With its winding roads, brick houses and decent schools, Grandmont Rosedale had always been a stable neighbourhood. But when the housing market imploded and sent millions of homes across the United States into foreclosure, a small strip within the community spiralled out of control. One row of houses leading to an elementary school was abandoned, something unheard of in this part of town. About 20 blighted properties have now been torn down, a move that is helping restore the neighbourhood back to its precrisis state.

Detroit's mayor, Mike Duggan, contends that every neighbourhood can have a similar future. But just how that can happen with scant resources and more than 80,000 properties in disrepair, isn't clear. And the real cost of blight is much bigger than the $2-billion price tag. Blight doesn't just hurt property values. It becomes a breeding ground for crime and a health hazard, all of which leads residents to flee.

'The houses went to hell'

Decades of neglect, bad management and an eroding economic base have driven people out of Detroit and into the surrounding suburbs in droves. The city's population has plummeted from 1.85 million in 1950 to less than 700,000, with more leaving almost daily.

The falling population and weak economy have contributed to the city's financial ruin. Unemployed residents can't pay property taxes or rent and abandon their homes. Soon scavengers rip the building apart and steal the hot water tank, fixtures, copper pipes, electrical wiring and just about anything else of value.

The houses become unsalable and no one has the money or interest in fixing them up. Rebuilding would cost up to $150,000 per property and even then the house would barely fetch $80,000 on the market. It's easier just to let them sit there. Fire damage is prevalent as it allows owners to recoup some of their losses through fire insurance.

"As quick as you clean it up, it's back," said Michael Christopher, 57, who has spent his entire life in Detroit and mows other people's lawns to try to keep his neighbourhood neat. He works two part-time jobs and witnessed his father lose his businesses in Delray.

The plight puts him and other residents in a tough spot.

Eighty-five-year old Mary Fraser lives close to Palmer Woods, a wealthy area near the upper limits of the city that sits next to a golf course and is lined with mansions belonging to former auto executives. But Ms. Fraser's street has become a target for arsonists and every house across from her is burned out.

"The houses went to hell," Ms. Fraser said from her sagging porch. "I hate to see it looking like this."

Ms. Fraser's neighbourhood looks completely uninhabited. Her son and grandson come by to mow the lawn, the only sign that her house has not been deserted. She moved to Detroit from Tennessee in the 1950s and worked until her hip gave out. Now she spends most of her time inside watching television.

Ms. Fraser would like to move, but said she can't afford to, as her only income comes from social security checks.

Unpaid property taxes

Removing blighted homes is costly and time consuming. The process can take months and costs run between $9,000 and $25,000, not including extra costs for taking out any asbestos and maintaining the vacant land.

For grassroots blight removers like Mr. George, the process takes much longer, especially as he has to rely on grants, donations and volunteers. First, he has to figure out who owns the property, and then buy it. There's also the cost of paying the city and gas company to disconnect utilities, and the time required to obtain permits to wreck the building.

Asbestos removal will add an additional $1,000 to $2,500 to the tab. The dumpsters cost money. The final task is to find volunteers, or pay workers, to demolish the house.

The city should be in the best position to remove houses, but the declining tax base means Detroit doesn't have the money. And with so many people out of work, the city's revenues are stretched thin.

"There's a tremendous amount of taxes not being paid," said David Szymanski, the chief deputy treasurer for Wayne County, which encompasses Detroit and other neighbouring cities.

"It is largely due to the fact that Detroit has gone from a population of 1.8 million to under 700,000. Therefore, we basically have housing for one million people who don't exist, so those properties don't generate any tax revenue," he said.

Just about $706-million is owed to Detroit in overdue taxes and penalties, according to detailed property data compiled for the city by Loveland Technologies.

"What has happened is that the situation got so bad that enforcement of collection of taxes became impossible," said Mr. Szymanski, who estimates that Wayne County loses more than $100-million a year in unpaid property taxes.

"It probably started off very innocently. 'I have limited amount of money. I can either pay my taxes or feed my family.' That's an easy choice to make," the deputy treasurer said.

The revenue shortfall combined with growing debts, political corruption and gross fiscal mismanagement finally pushed Detroit into bankruptcy a year ago. It is the largest municipal bankruptcy in the United States and the city owes more than $18-billion to thousands of creditors, including Wall Street banks, bondholders, retired city workers and pensioners.

The bankruptcy plan crafted by the state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, provides the city with about $400-million to tackle blight, though the funds will come at the expense of creditors, who are expected to fight back.

If the bankruptcy judge approves the plan, Detroit still falls short of what's required to remove all the ailing structures.

Even if the city found enough capital to raze the existing blight, it will be facing much more.

The scale of the problem is monumental. Roughly 26 per cent of Detroit's remaining houses are candidates for foreclosure. That's nearly 100,000 homes. On top of that, another 59,000 households are considered "tax distressed" because residents are behind on their property taxes, according to Loveland Technologies' website that maps out every property in Detroit. "Tax distress is the clearest lens to the health of a neighbourhood. If you've got tax foreclosure, it is a bad sign," said Alex Alsup, the chief product officer with Loveland.

In recent years, Detroit, like many other U.S. cities, became a target for real estate speculators, eager to snap up houses that had sunk in value. Rather than drive a rebound in home prices, however, they have contributed to the city's revenue shortfall, with many of the speculators buying houses and then failing to pay the property taxes. Owners are often hard to track down or unresponsive.

Beverly Frederick, 56, patrols her neighbourhood to make sure there is no blight. When she tried to get the listed owner of one property to take care of his battered house, he offered to pay her $40 to cut the weeds and vanished. That left Ms. Frederick and other neighbourhood volunteers to continually weed-whack and mow the lawn.

The city is now suing owners of abandoned houses and auctioning off houses seized through nuisance laws. Meanwhile Wayne county auctions off properties seized through tax foreclosures.

Urban agriculture

The foreclosures and blight have created another problem: what to do with all the cleared land. One in every three houses are gone and the vacant spots have become makeshift dumping grounds.

A city project called "Detroit Future City" developed a grand, all-encompassing plan that would repurpose a good chunk of the unused land into forests, farms and so-called green neighbourhoods lined with apartments surrounded by community gardens and forests.

The plan devotes 22 per cent of the city's land to traditional neighbourhoods, down dramatically from the current 58 per cent.

"Large-scale urban agriculture is part of Detroit's future," said Michael Score, the president of Hantz Farms, a venture created to buy and rehabilitate vacant city land. The company recently bought 150 acres of land in Detroit's east side and is growing a mixed wood forest on the site.

The owner of Hantz Farms, Detroit businessman John Hantz, watched the city become less livable and wanted to do something with the empty spaces. He is among a handful of business people that are trying to help rebuild the city.

Mr. Hantz started negotiating with officials in 2008 to buy the acreage. This year he succeeded and paid about $400,000. However the land came with about 70 blighted properties that will cost about $800,000 to remove. "Land is cheap, but the property is not," Mr. Score said.

Acres of saplings are now planted although the odd blighted house can still be seen from any point on the young farm. Eventually Mr. Hantz hopes to break even on the farm once the trees are large enough to sell.

Rejuvenating the downtown

The most high-profile investor in Detroit is Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans, the country's second-largest retail mortgage lender. Born in Detroit and schooled in Michigan, Mr. Gilbert moved his corporate headquarters to the city from the suburbs in 2010.

He has spent around $1.3-billion to buy more than sixty Detroit skyscrapers and properties, including several city landmarks, and he controls the bulk of the downtown core.

Mr. Gilbert, who is on the Forbes "World's Billionaires List" with a net worth of $3.8-billion, has devoted much of his energy to rejuvenating Detroit. On top of co-chairing the federal-convened blight removal task force, Mr. Gilbert has donated funds to help map out the blighted properties as well as to save the Detroit Institute of Art from selling its collection to pay the city's creditors.

There is a youthful energy in the headquarters of his umbrella company, Rock Ventures, where the route to Mr. Gilbert's office passes a basketball court.

Rock Ventures hired more than 1,000 interns from dozens of colleges and universities across the country this year, training them in everything from marketing to mortgage banking. The average age of his employees is 28.

Jeremy Paolercio moved to Detroit from Manhattan for the opportunity. The 27-year-old is now working as a loan officer. In his one year on the job, he has been promoted and is earning more than he did in New York.

"You can make a name for yourself here," said Mr. Paolercio, describing his move as becoming a big fish in a small pond.

That Mr. Gilbert's efforts have transformed downtown is beyond dispute. A 700-square-foot condo in downtown Detroit can rent for as much as $1,700 a month. Mr. Gilbert's organization has created 10,200 new jobs, though it is not known how many of those jobs were filled by Detroit residents.

"I do believe he is trying to rejuvenate the downtown area. I am all for it. But it doesn't affect the common man... It doesn't mean anything to the neighbourhoods themselves," said Jay Peltier, a Detroit realtor.

Staying put

Many describe the bankruptcy filing as a fresh start for the city. Housing prices have started to rebound and business is picking up in places. Investors are looking for deals, the downtown core is coming to life and Detroit has attracted worldwide attention, albeit more for the blight than its rich culture.

Back in Delray, there aren't many signs of change. The streetlight behind Mr. Green's house doesn't work and the other day he heard the sound of gunshots in his back alley.

In the old days, Mr. Green said he never had to leave the neighbourhood. He and his wife raised their four children here; there was a movie theatre, a hospital and five schools. He used to sell ice cream from his Green's Variety, which he has operated since 1959.

His daughter owns the only other house on his street that is not blighted or razed. She wants her parents to move, but Mr. Green, who has lived in Delray since he was one year old, refuses to leave.

For him, this is home.

"I try not to worry," he said.

Associated Graphic

Albert Green, 86 years old, stands outside his well-kept house that sits next to a burnt, blighted, vacant home in the Delray neighbourhood. Mr. Green and his wife of 68 years have lived in the home for 56 years where they raised four children.


One of the last two remaining vacant 15-storey towers at the Brewster-Douglas housing complex in Detroit is seen during demolition.


Albert Green at the counter of the small neighbourhood store he has owned for 55 years. REBECCA COOK FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Michael Score of Hantz Farms: 'Large-scale urban agriculture is part of Detroit's future.' REBECCA COOK FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Most of the homes in Mary Fraser's neighbourhood are blighted and vacant. REBECCA COOK FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Beverly Frederick watches for deteriorating homes in her neighbourhood. REBECCA COOK FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL


Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R8

'It's very complicated." Ross Frank was on the phone the other day trying to explain, concisely, cogently, the "difficult history" of Plains Indian ledger drawings and how it couldn't be anything but complicated when the subject is a cultural phenomenon informed by unequal parts subjugation, resistance, acculturation, appropriation, admiration, creativity and, yes, beauty.

An associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California San Diego and director of the La Jolla-based Plains Indian Ledger Art Project, Frank is in the forefront of an effort to study, preserve and make available the riches of the mostly 19th-century art form. The illustrations were usually done on lined pages and in prosaic paper ledger books used to record, say, a merchant's spending, or the disbursal of hardtack from a U.S. Army supply depot in Wyoming. Other ledgers might have contained the accounts of an Indian agent on a reservation in Nebraska, or, more sinisterly, the target practice scores of U.S. cavalrymen circa 1874 as they trained to subdue the Cheyenne, Kiowa and the other First Nations they believed were impeding the realization of America's so-called Manifest Destiny.

PILA was founded by Frank in 1995 to promote the preservation of, research on and public accessibility to these palimpsest-like metaphors of cultural collision, largely, in recent years, through high-resolution digitization of ledger books and pages. Yet as this has been occurring, ledger drawings not housed in public collections or in institutions such as PILA have become hot commodities in the art market. Be they intact ledger books or individual renderings, the most vivid and artful depictions of First Nations' history, life and rituals can now fetch tens of thousands of dollars each, and sometimes more.

Unsurprisingly, there is intensifying commercial pressure to break up books and sell their contents page by page, thereby shortcircuiting any possibility of them being studied and understood as whole entities. While no one, not even First Nation peoples, argues that ledger art can't be sold - for one thing, they're not swathed in the religious significance accorded, say, sacred bundles - much more research needs to be done. Faced with the both the anarchy and logic of the market, Frank sees one of his primary jobs these days as "sensitizing people" to the issues.

It was this sense of mission and, of course, expertise that recently brought Frank to Calgary's TrépanierBaer Gallery as guest speaker at the opening of "Keeping Time: Ledger Drawings and the Pictographic Traditions of Native North Americans ca. 1820-1900."

For TrépanierBaer, which typically showcases contemporary artists such as Evan Penny and Chris Cran, it's an unprecedented exhibition and sale. The quality of work available is impressive - there are almost 70 ledger drawings by Sioux, Hidatsa, Arapaho and Cheyenne artists, with prices ranging from $8,500 to $95,000, plus 20 or so related objects. They include a pair of 1880 painted Cheyenne parfleche rawhide bags, and a painted Crow shield and cover from 1870, made of buffalo hide and deerskin which are selling for $175,000. It's the single largest assembly of ledger art ever offered for purchase.

Most of the works are from the collection of the respected Canadian tribal-art dealer Donald Ellis, who operates out of New York. Ellis is perhaps most famous for shepherding the return of the Dundas Collection to Canada from the U.K. in 2006. (The collection's 40 artifacts, from B.C.'s Tsimshian First Nation, were acquired under murky circumstances in 1863 by Anglican prelate R.J. Dundas.)

While Ellis has had a long-standing interest in ledger drawings, what really galvanized his engagement was seeing the nowepochal 1996 exhibition "Plains Indian Drawings 1865-1935: Pages from a Visual History" at Manhattan's Drawing Center. (It came to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto in 1997.) Here was a fresh, little-known graphic art tradition. "Exotic," to be sure. One that seemed to offer "the other side" of the victory narrative found in the paintings of Frederic Remington and Charles Russell, yet whose best works had the colour sense of a Dufy or Vlaminck, the graphic economy and rhythmic dynamism of a Matisse.

"It set the New York art world on its ear," Ellis recalled recently of the show, which drew big crowds and rave notices from the critics. "So I've been sort of quietly, actively working with a few major collectors, building their collections and at the same holding back drawings with the idea of doing a much larger presentation on a commercial level, rather than a museum level."

The drawings at TrépanierBaer, mostly 14 or 22 cm by 29 cm, are flavoured with the same bittersweetness tasted (and remarked upon) by visitors to the Drawing Center show. It's true their depictions of courtship rituals, dancing and hunting, horseback riding, camp life and combat are a continuation of a rich artist-historian tradition among Plains Indian tribes. But for all that these works represent what ledger art historian Janet Catherine Berlo calls a "great flowering of graphic arts on the Great Plains of North America," they are also telling documents of a culture under severe duress.


Before the American Civil War (1861-1865), the imagistic rendering of significant events among Plains Indians largely involved the application of pigments made from minerals, plants and soils on the stretched hides of buffalo and other wild animals. Post-war, this tradition was ruptured as whites of various stripes - soldiers, settlers, adventurers, prospectors, whisky traders and government bureaucrats - gazed firmly westward and, for the next 35 years, proceeded to attack, sack and debilitate aboriginal societies, eviscerate buffalo herds, swarm sacred sites, violate treaties and drive formerly nomadic bands onto confined reservations. Faced with this aggression and displacement, Plains Indian artist-historians switched to a new, non-native, decidedly more convenient medium, the ledger book, variously bought, received as a gift, stolen or scavenged from the whites they were encountering.

A salient example of the phenomenon would be the so-called High Bull roster book of drawings, now in the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Originally the property of a sergeant in the U.S. 7th Cavalry, the book listed the best marksmen in his company, among other records. In late June of 1876, the sergeant was one of hundreds who lost their lives at the famous Battle of the Little Bighorn in what is now southeastern Montana. The roster book was taken from the sergeant's body by the Northern Cheyenne warrior High Bull who, with other Cheyenne, drew over the records with graphite and crayons. Five months later, the book was back in white hands after High Bull himself was killed in another battle with cavalry. From there, Frank speculates, the book "may have been purchased a few times" before ending up in the possession of the wealthy author/suffragist/peace activist Grace Hoffman White, who donated it to the original Museum of the American Indian in New York in 1925.

Paradoxes abound in the "great flowering" that was ledger art. Though it may have been a symbol of an invasive, destructive culture, "paper, when it came, gave more opportunity to different people to draw, rather than just the tribal few," a First Nations' artist remarked. "So you saw things that weren't done before, like courtship rituals ... the soap opera of the day." Aboriginal scouts, hired by the U.S. cavalry, also made drawings in ledger books, sometimes giving or selling their narratives of present and past history to their white employers, who, in turn, would bring them home as souvenirs of their participation in the Indian wars.

One of the most illustrious profusions of ledger art didn't even occur on the Plains, but in a military prison on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Following the conclusion of the Red River War of 187475, close to 75 Plains Indian warriors and chiefs, mostly Cheyenne and Kiowa, were sent by rail to Fort Marion, near St. Augustine, after being deemed "murderers" by military court. Of these, 20 or so were given unlined paper, crayons, pencils, ink and paint, and for the next three years they churned out a voluminous number of drawings, many of them bought by tourists to the region. TrépanierBaer is selling at least eight drawings with a Fort Marion connection, including six especially striking works attributed to the Cheyenne warrior Howling Wolf (1849-1927), one of the most proficient and sought-after ledger artists.

"He clearly loved what he did. There's such attention to every aspect of art-making, from the paper it's drawn on to the colours used, how things are rendered, the subject matter. Extraordinary, really," says Yves Trépanier, coproprietor of the Calgary gallery.

Attribution of ledger art, it should be noted, is fraught and slippery. Frank observes some Fort Marion artists did write their names on some of their work because they were being taught to write and read English. Moreover, most of the Fort Marion drawings in the Calgary sale have inscriptions in English written by the fort's commander, Capt. Richard Pratt.

However, Candace Greene, an ethnologist at the Smithsonian Institution, noted in a recent e-mail: "We know that many inscriptions [found on ledger art generally] are incorrect." What does "count for a 'signature' in ledger art," says Frank, "is a system of 'name glyphs' that hover above the heads of figures" in the drawings. But not all ledger drawings have them (most, in fact, do not); and sometimes a glyph represents both the figure in the drawing and the artist, but other times not.

Connoisseurship of a kind is a factor, too: For example, University of New Mexico historian Joyce Szabo, author of Howling Wolf and the History of Ledger Art (1994), thinks a case can be made that the Fort Marion drawings in Calgary are from the hand of another distinguished Cheyenne warrior, Chief Killer, whereas Trépanier and Ellis, among others, hold for Howling Wolf.

It's been argued that works such as the Fort Marion drawings are "products" of a people in exile and therefore are "tainted" and less "authentic" than the bynatives/for-natives works done prior to incarceration or confinement on reservations. Despite this reality, Joyce Szabo writes in Imprisoned Art, Complex Patronage (2011),"nothing suggests that any of the men was forced to draw ... The men known to have made these images had to want to do so."

Admittedly, Fort Marion's overarching agenda was one of acculturation: Capt. Pratt liked to say his job was to "kill the Indian, save the man," and to that end Howling Wolf and his fellow inmates had their hair shorn and traditional garb removed. Yet at the same time, according to Szabo, "an atmosphere existed that encouraged the creation of drawings and inspired experimentation."

Adds Frank: "In every case that we know of of what might be called 'patronage' of ledger art, it was unlike, for example, trading posts in the Navajo territories when trading-post folks would say, 'Do this design' ... This didn't happen in ledger art. Even when prisoners were in jail or commissioned to fill out a sketch-book album, they were allowed to do whatever came to them. The interest of the people commissioning them was to get the authentic Indian production."

And the results, more often than not, were pictures that display what New York Times critic Holland Cotter, in his 1996 review of the Drawing Center show, described as "a shrewd, bitter, dogged impulse to perpetuate the realities of Indian life, both as longed-for past and often grim but resilient present."


Today, the big issue about ledger drawings has less to do with how much coercion was involved in their creation or what compensation their creators received, and more with maintaining, as Ellis says, "the integrity of the full ledger book."

Almost from their initial transfer to private hands from aboriginal, these books have, in many instances, been broken up and their individual pages scattered. One example involves the late movie star Vincent Price, who in the 1950s acquired a ledger book with more than 100 Cheyenne and Arapaho drawings purportedly done in the late 1870s. Price apparently kept the book intact for decades - but then, sometime in the 1980s as the commercial value of single drawings rose, he allowed the book to be unbound and individual pages sold. Five illustrations (including one double-sided drawing) from Vincent Price Ledger Book, as it's called, are in the TrépanierBaer exhibition/sale. Fortunately, four have been scanned for PILA's digital archives, part of a PILA initiative calling on all the owners of original Price pages to submit an image or images to permit the book's reconstruction online.

Ellis, meanwhile, has been working on a project to "rebuild" some of the actual ledger books dismantled during the 1980s and 1990s. And, to prevent any further dismemberment, the dealer and a "very serious major Canadian client," unnamed, is letting it be known they're prepared "to pay a premium for full books." It's an ethos shared by a U.S. private foundation, also unnamed, which recently acquired a complete book of 140 drawings called the Sheridan Ledger, for donation to PILA.

(Sheridan is John L. Sheridan, brother of Gen. Philip Sheridan, who oversaw the "pacification" of the Plains Indians, declaring, according to some accounts, that "the only good Indians I saw were dead" - a remark subsequently "translated" into white popular culture as "the only good Indian is a dead Indian." John, a lawyer and land agent, acquired ledger art during visits to forts in Oklahoma in the late 1870s. Another batch of his drawings, 40 in total, torn from an unknown ledger book, are called the Sheridan Pages; 26 are for sale at TrépanierBaer. PILA has obtained permission to digitally archive the Sheridan Pages.)

Given the fraught history of ledger drawings, you might think the genre would be anathema to contemporary aboriginals. But in fact artists, men and women such as Michael Horse, Terrance Guardipee and Sheridan MacKnight, continue the tradition by drawing and painting not just in old ledger books but on sheet music, maps, cheques, government documents, boarding-school records and hymnals.

Horse, a Yaqui/Mescalero Apache/Zuni who also acts in film and TV and collects ledger art, showed up at the opening of Keeping Time last month and was "very impressed" by what he saw.

"Very seldom you actually see that many really good pieces of ledger art," he said. Speaking the other day from his home near San Francisco, Horse likened ledger art to the blues, another art form born of suffering and repression yet attesting to survival, preservation, resistance. "Imagine you're a free person, you have no boundaries, only where the wind takes you and the buffalo. And all of a sudden, in just a few years, somebody draws a little square and says to you, 'You can't go out of there' ... When people see ledger art sometime, even people who aren't collectors of native art, they know something's going on here. Yeah, it's a lot like the blues."

Keeping Time: Ledger Drawings and the Pictographic Traditions of Native North American ca. 18201900 continues at TrépanierBaer Gallery in Calgary through Aug. 16.

Associated Graphic

Sheridan Pages (Sundance), Southern Cheyenne, ca. 1885, coloured pencil and graphite on lined paper


Henderson Ledger Book (page 6), Arapaho, ca. 1880, coloured pencil and watercolour on lined paper

Sheridan Pages (page 39), Southern Cheyenne, ca. 1885, coloured pencil and graphite on lined paper

Fort Marion Ledger page, Cheyenne, ca. 1870, coloured pencil and graphite on lined paper

Detail of Chief Killer among the turkeys on the Canadian River, c. 1875-80, graphite, crayon, coloured pencil on paper

Vincent Price Ledger Book (page 238), ca. 1875-78, coloured pencil and graphite on lined paper

The NBA Summer League is a basketball pilgrimage, becoming de rigueur to see and be seen. And Canadians are strutting their stuff like never before
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

LAS VEGAS -- It is 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning outside the Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a half-hour before the doors open to a day of hoops at NBA Summer League. It is 39 C, on the way to an afternoon high of 43 C. The phrase "it's a dry heat" alleviates nothing.

A hundred or so basketball devotees are up against the building, waiting in a sliver of shade. The line is mostly male - boys and fathers, brothers and friends.

Nearby, there's a statue of Jerry Tarkanian, the longtime UNLV coach, immortalized in bronze, a towel between his teeth. "Look at Jerry T!" says an arriving fan to his buddies. "That's awesome. Tark!"

This is a pilgrimage, and this is their church.

And this is where they can mingle with the people they usually see only on TV.

Summer League is 11 intimate days when the world of pro basketball gathers to hang out in Vegas to watch the kids: heralded rookies, undrafted players and those a little older scratching for their last shot. It is a hoops fest of sights and sounds - this year featuring a prominent contingent of Canadian players - yet with real consequences for careers. Only some of what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

'I love you, Anthony!'

Anthony Bennett wasn't here last summer. The No. 1 pick of the 2013 NBA draft, the first Canadian to ever reach such a height, had shoulder surgery and couldn't play Summer League ball. The Cleveland Cavaliers had shocked the NBA when they chose the young man all his confidants call AB first overall. He had been a consensus top-five pick, but No. 1?

Everything went wrong. He piled on weight after surgery and stumbled through one of the worst rookie seasons a top hoops pick has ever played. He did not start a single game and averaged 4.2 points an outing.

Skeptics cackled with glee, the Internet a chorus of mockery. For AB, at 20 years old, it was a boyhood dream achieved and destroyed.

A year later, Bennett is rehabilitated. Warming up for a game on Sunday afternoon, he embraces the ESPN analyst and retired NBA big man Tim McCormick on the sideline. "I'm at the top of his fan-club list," says McCormick a few minutes later. "He's got a lot of work to do, but I really think he's going to be a tremendous player."

McCormick pauses the conversation to say hello to two old friends, retired all-star Grant Hill and voice-of-basketball Marv Albert. This place is a fan's fantasy: Hey, there's Phil Jackson; hey, there's Mark Cuban. The obsessed trawl for pictures and autographs.

Canada has invaded the desert. The United States dominates basketball and 269 of the prospects here are American. The next largest group is Canadian, 14, including back-to-back No. 1 draft picks Bennett and Andrew Wiggins.

McCormick returns to the conversation. He's from Detroit; he knows hockey, too. He predicts a roundball future for the red and white, the country that spawned the inventor of the game, James Naismith, so long ago.

Bennett, Wiggins and the rest are the children of Vince Carter, the Toronto Raptors showman who inspired what is poised to become a golden generation.

"They saw NBA basketball," McCormick says, "and started dreaming. Hockey's a very expensive sport. Basketball, you need some shoes and a ball and you just dream."

The game begins. Twenty pounds lighter than last year, Bennett bounds down the court with the gait one would not expect for a man who is 6 foot 8 and 240 pounds. He happily pops up threes. He throws down dunks. He grabs one, two, three rebounds. He finishes the first 10minute quarter with eight boards. A female fan bellows out: "I love you, Anthony!" Late in the game, Bennett slams in an arena-rattling dunk. He bellows.

He spent a year being laughed at.

No more.

After the game, there's a string of questions about Bennett to Cavaliers coach David Blatt - whose roster includes the morefamous Wiggins and, come fall, a guy named LeBron.

"What's this, the Anthony Bennett show?" Blatt quips.

"Calm," says Bennett of his mood in a scrum of reporters afterward. "I've proved to everybody I can play."

A television reporter asks: "When was the last time somebody said, 'I love you, Andrew,' from the crowd? Did you hear that?" The reporter has confused Anthony and Andrew, Bennett and Wiggins.

"Aw," says Bennett, a bit embarrassed, a bit annoyed, "I never heard that."

"I saw you smile," says the reporter.

"My name's Anthony," Bennett says. "I don't know Andrew."

Bennett chuckles. He of course knows Wiggins, the boy wonder who has overshadowed the rest of Canadian basketball for a couple of years.

There's just one thing: For all their apparent future together in Cleveland, both Bennett and Wiggins keep being mentioned in trade rumours with the Minnesota Timberwolves for all-star forward Kevin Love.

'How do you feel about losing by 30 points, and the game was all your fault?'

The Toronto Raptors, the only Canadian team in the NBA, have one Canadian player on its Summer League roster, 22-year-old Myck Kabongo, who at the moment is a long shot for the NBA. The Raptors wanted to draft Brampton, Ont.'s, Tyler Ennis, but Ennis went 18th to the Phoenix Suns, two spots ahead of the Raptors. Toronto then went way, way off the board to pick Bruno Caboclo, an unknown 18-year-old Brazilian, a raw teenager with intriguing athletic promise.

It's a day earlier, Saturday, and the Raptors are getting punched up by the Denver Nuggets, 45-21.

Jesse Mermuys, the Raptors assistant coach who has the head bench-boss role at Summer League, has called a timeout and unleashes a torrent at his players gathered in a circle. There's five minutes left in the second quarter. "Right now," Mermuys tells his team, "we've got to make a stand." They don't. Another timeout, a couple minutes later. It's 55-27. Mermuys is much calmer.

Denver is hitting everything.

"We're going to have to grind it out," he tells the players.

The scores in Summer League are not what counts. For rookies headed to the NBA, this is step one on a long road. For fringe players, this is the chance to put on a show, impress someone. For men like Mermuys, 34, this is the opportunity to display head coach bona fides. Still, even after a 110-82 loss, the sting is softened.

This is the off-season, in Vegas.

In a corner behind the stands, outside the makeshift locker room, a pointed questioner grabs a mic. It's Kyle Lowry, the star Raptors point guard who two days earlier re-signed for four years and $48-million (U.S.) and is in Vegas hanging out. "How do you feel about losing by 30 points, and the game was all your fault?" Lowry demands. Mermuys's smile is delightful. On the court, the American anthem is about to ring through the arena ahead of the next game, sung by Duncan Jones, the film-director son of David Bowie.

"I'm glad I'm getting this media training right now after I got blown out," Mermuys says. "I feel really frustrated, angry and trying to do the best I can as a young coach to stay composed."

Lowry approves. "That's nice. That's a good answer."

The Sundance Film Festival of the NBA

Vegas Summer League was founded a decade ago and in the first year there were six teams. The figure more than doubled the next year and it became an institution. Twenty-three teams are here this year, and players from 25 countries. Summer League has been called the American Idol of pro basketball. It has also - with all the coaches, scouts and executives dressed casually in polo shirts and shorts in the house - been called the Sundance Film Festival of the NBA.

Because it's mostly rookies, and the pressure is on to make a mark, it can get wild. Players chuck up shots.

"A weird mutant form of basketball" is how one scout puts it.

But the first pillars of reputations can be made. Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas was MVP last summer.

'I'm getting a good vibe. I love it here'

It's early afternoon Monday, and the Thomas & Mack Center, adjacent to the Cox, is almost empty.

The Sacramento Kings - with three Canadians on their Summer League roster, No. 8 pick Nik Stauskas, 7-foot-5 Sim Bhullar and brother-of-Andrew Nick Wiggins - are warming up. Old highlight reels unspool on the scoreboard above.

On the baseline sits Buzz Peterson, the college coach and good friend of Michael Jordan, owner of the recently renamed Charlotte Hornets. Peterson is in town doing a bit of scouting for his pal.

The Hornets have a 24-year-old Calgarian on their roster, Jordan Bachynski, a 7-foot-2 centre who last winter at Arizona State blocked the most shots in all of Division I.

Bachynski wasn't drafted but eight teams wanted him in Vegas.

Many players here have less-certain futures in the NBA, such as Bhullar and Nick Wiggins. Higher-ranked names such as Ennis of the Suns, the No. 18 pick, will likely eventually become NBA regulars.

Peterson says there could be room on Charlotte's regular-season roster for Bachynski as a third centre. "We're really interested," he says.

A couple hours later, after a Hornets game next door at the Cox in which Bachynski played well - a block, a steal and six points in eight minutes of work - one of the best-ever big men chats with reporters, towering over them.

"He's just got to want it," says Patrick Ewing of Bachynski.

The Hall of Famer-turned-Charlotte assistant coach goes on: "Do the things that he's been doing his whole career. Block shots, rebound. As a big, those are the things that will stand out. People drive to the basket - step up and block shots. Defend the rim."

A monk-like summer, in the gym and on the court, lays ahead for Bachynski back home in Phoenix, where he lives with his wife and newborn son. A night of Netflix is as wild as it will get.

The real audition is this fall at training camp, where he is ready for "more intelligent basketball," he says.

Making it is about providing for his young family. Bachynski feels buoyant. "Just showing the coaches what I can do, and what I can possibly be," he says. "I'm getting a good vibe. I love it here."

'Stauskas - rookie of the year'

The story of Stauskas, whose draft stock steadily climbed until he cracked the top 10, has become a Canadian hoops fable.

The backyard court his dad installed in Mississauga. A young Nik shovelling snow in winters.

Shot after shot after shot. It's the basketball mirror of the backyard rink Walter Gretzky made each winter for his boys.

Stauskas is a highly efficient shooter, an assassin. So he's stereotyped: White guy can shoot.

Larry Bird. Can he defend?

He's an affable 20-year-old - but takes it as an insult. To him, saying a ballplayer can't defend is like saying he can't shoot.

"I know a lot of people have questioned me," Stauskas says.

"I'm showing I'm a capable defender at this level."

The believers are confident.

Among a small contingent of diehard Kings fans in their purple jerseys, one holds a sign: "Stauskas - rookie of the year."

On Monday afternoon, he looks like a contender.

With a minute left in the first half, the game tied, Stauskas has an open-look three in the corner and rises for the shot before rifling a pass to a teammate under the hoop who finishes with a dunk.

Before the half ends, Stauskas puts up a three, and hits.

'Show us the dunk! Show us the dunk!'

Wiggins, a 6-foot-8 athletic wonder, has just pulled off one of the feats that lead people to pin so much promise on his 19-year-old shoulders.

Monday night, on the baseline in the second quarter of a game in which he's been a nonentity, he drives to the hoop, busts out a crossover spin move and trampolines to hammer home a dunk.

Immediately thereafter, Wiggins bolts down the floor and swoops in behind top prospect Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Wiggins bounces into the air and, like a ninja, swats away the ball as Noel lays it up.

"Show us the dunk! Show us the dunk!" A fan wants a replay of Amazing, Part 1.

He keeps up his solo chorus for several minutes until his wish is granted, the replay put on the big screen on the wall. The fullhouse crowd roars.

Sport is about spectacle and this is awesome. Never mind Wiggins finished the night with only 10 points. The replays, on the Internet, Twitter and elsewhere, are everywhere, instantly.

The day before, Sunday, Wiggins missed most of his shots and sometimes looked listless. ESPN, grading the top names daily, gave him a C+: "You can see how the narrative about the lack of a 'killer instinct' got started."

Monday's display, however, was the stuff most players can only dream of, and ESPN awarded an A-, even on an otherwise so-so night: "All we're going to talk about is that dynamic dunk off Wiggins's dreidel move."

When the game concludes, Wiggins lingers in the makeshift locker room. He has his knees iced, wrapped in plastic, his left wrist too. He then exits, passing through reporters and into a service elevator. He descends one level and sits for an interview with He then proceeds to get his visage and body scanned for the video game NBA 2K. Wiggins is going to be a star.

No, he's long been a star. He was a YouTube sensation at 14. He's a quiet kid but is not shy. When he went No. 1, dressed sockless in a suit to kill, his smile easy, he publicly announced his goals: rookie of the year, NBA all-star, alldefensive team. Summer League, for Wiggins, is merely prelude.

Associated Graphic

Canadian Anthony Bennett of the Cleveland Cavaliers is on a fine run at the NBA Summer League. He's on a path to redemption after a weak rookie season.


Jabari Parker, left, of the Milwaukee Bucks drives by Andrew Wiggins of the Cleveland Cavaliers in NBA Summer League play last Friday.


A mentor to generations of lawyers
Unconventional thinker bridged French and English legal traditions as dean of McGill law school, head of Law Commission of Canada
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

From an early age, Roderick Macdonald set his heart on doing the impossible. And then did it.

After his older brother, Craig, had tried for years to create a hang glider that actually worked - long before the hang-gliding craze started - a teenaged Rod built one (with Craig's help) and flew it off a hill and across a wide field.

He decided to paddle a canoe to the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto from Camp Kandalore, where he was assistant director, hundreds of kilometres away in central Ontario. At one point he and a friend who accompanied him portaged for nearly 25 kilometres along a highway, one carrying the canoe, the other carrying their packs. In a matter of days, he and the friend reached the CNE.

Then, although he had never played anything more than touch football, the 6-foot-2 young man tried out to become the firststring quarterback for York University's varsity team under head coach Nobby Wirkowski, formerly the coach of the Toronto Argos.

He made it (although he stepped aside once he'd reached his goal, not wanting to risk an injury).

Then he turned that same determined, questing spirit on a career as a law professor.

An anglophone from Toronto, he became a leading expert in Quebec's Civil Code, and the subject of a French-language biography. An unconventional thinker who played old-time protest songs on his guitar, he worked from within the mainstream legal community - as law dean at McGill University, and later as head of the Law Commission of Canada. Prof. Macdonald, who died of cancer on June 13 at the age of 65, never practised law - yet he became internationally recognized for his expertise not merely in one area of law but in a half-dozen or more.

But ultimately, while his ideas and articles have been cited in at least 15 Supreme Court rulings, and while his report on residential schools for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples helped pave the way for the Canadian government's 2008 apology and compensation, his most pronounced effects on the law may be largely invisible. They are the marks he left as an unusually gifted teacher and mentor to generations of law students who grew up to become practising lawyers, judges, academics and politicians.

The boy who set out to prove anything was possible became a teacher who encouraged his students to prove it, too.

"At heart he had a deeply optimistic conception of human potential and strove to help people realize that potential in all of his interactions," said David Sandomierski, a former student of his at McGill, and his co-author on a paper in which Prof. Macdonald set down some of his most deeply held beliefs about the law.

That same optimism pervaded his view of the law: "He believed that law is a beautiful, powerful human creation that can help us lead better, more just lives," Mr. Sandomierski said. "There is a continuity between how he treated you as an individual and what he believed law's promise was to society."

Born on Aug. 6, 1948, Rod MacDonald was a middle-class son of a homemaker mother and a civilengineer father who had been an officer in the Second World War.

He was raised in Toronto.

His biographer, Andrée Lajoie, said in an interview that he got his energy "from trying to be noticed. He was a middle child and his parents were more interested in the other children."

Craig Macdonald said his brother sought their mother's approval till her death in 1981, three years before Prof. Macdonald became law dean at McGill, and never felt he obtained it.

Still, Prof. Macdonald's brother and sister had a similar pattern of setting out on arduous quests. Craig, a biologist, spent 20 years creating a historical map of Ontario's Temagami region, featuring the sites of 1,200 portages, and 30 winter snowshoe routes, and all documented with the Anishinaabemowin names - which he learned from interviews with 400 elders. Sandra, their sister, a social worker who used to work with inmates at Toronto's Don Jail, once drove with friends from London to South Africa, then hitchhiked north to Israel.

"Our parents were very adamant that we follow our own heart and our own interests - that whatever it is, just do it," Craig said.

In 1963, Rod had what he would later describe as an epiphany when a young black radical, Stokely Carmichael, visited his high school, York Memorial Collegiate. "His social conscience woke up," said Prof. Lajoie, a professor emeritus in law at the University of Montreal. (Her biography, La Vie Intellectuelle de Roderick Macdonald: Un Engagement, was published in February by Les Éditions Thémis, the University of Montreal law school's publishing arm.)

A second epiphany came when he worked for the election campaign of federal New Democrat leader David Lewis, and decided "that lawyers could change the world," Prof. Lajoie said.

He had no desire to practise law, but was interested in law as social science and set his sights early on becoming a professor.

His studies at Osgoode Hall Law School did not go well, however.

"I hated law, I hated my classmates, I thought my professors were egotistical and pretentious," Prof. Lajoie says he told her. Only in his last semester did he achieve good marks.

After earning a degree in common law, he went to the University of Ottawa and earned another undergraduate law degree, this time in civil law.

Then he went to a third law school, at the University of Toronto, for his master's degree, and promptly joined the faculty at the University of Windsor Law School in 1975, before moving to McGill in 1979. In 1984, he became the law dean, a position he held for five years. During that time, the school moved to weave Canada's two legal traditions together, rather than have students study them separately.

"He was a bridge between the French and English, the civil law and common law, and fostered that as a mission for the McGill law school," said Nathalie Des Rosiers, the dean of common law at the University of Ottawa law school. McGill's "trans-systemic" or integrated way of teaching common and civil law "is very much due to him."

He became known both for the astonishingly wide range of his scholarship and his commitment to law reform. He could be unconventional - he once attempted to promote independent thinking in a group of 300 judges by playing his Gibson Hummingbird guitar and singing a folk song written by Phil Ochs (the judges gave him a standing ovation) - but governments in Canada frequently sought his advice.

After his term as dean was over, he chaired the Quebec Justice Department's 1991 Task Force on Access to Justice, which led to improvements to legal aid and the civil justice system. He contributed major studies in the mid-1990s to the federal Justice Department's project to harmonize federal legislation with Quebec's Civil Code.

Over the years, he contributed to several royal commissions and inquiries, and served on an advisory panel to the 2007-2008 Bouchard-Taylor Commission on reasonable accommodation of minorities. He was a member of the Charbonneau Commission investigating corruption in the construction industry, though he was not well enough to attend the public hearings. "It's a hackneyed phrase but he was a truly engaged academic," said Stephen Goudge, a retired judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal, who sought Prof. Macdonald's advice before heading a 2007-08 inquiry into wrongful convictions linked to a crusading pathologist. "He cared about the way Canada worked."

From 1997 to 2000, Prof. Macdonald took a leave from McGill to serve as president of the Law Commission of Canada, which produced a study outlining 837 federal statutes that could be amended to treat close personal relationships (including samesex ones) more fairly.

As a teacher, he had the rare gift of being able to reach each student as an individual. "The amount of time and care he took in really helping people figure out who they are and where they were going was unparalleled," said Mr. Sandomierski, who is now a doctoral student at the University of Toronto's law school.

His influence on the Canadian legal community is woven into its human fabric - the lawyers, judges and academics he taught.

"Rod Macdonald was a mentor who helped me develop my interest in helping really vulnerable people," said Jill Presser, a Toronto defence lawyer who works with people caught between the criminal justice and mental health systems.

His teaching could be unconventional. Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella co-taught a course with him in jurisprudence. In February, she told a symposium in Prof. Macdonald's honour that he started the first class, set around a seminar table, by asking, "How do you know this is a table?" Two hours of discussion followed on that one question.

Mr. Sandomierski explains Prof. Macdonald's point: "We shouldn't take for granted what we perceive reality to be. That's a very easy thing to say and a very difficult thing to embody when you're dealing with a legal profession that is so traditional and hung up on the current forms and how things currently exist. He was essentially saying everything is up for grabs. Everything you think law is and should be you actually have within yourself."

His opposition to dogma and fixed rules had a powerful influence on his students.

"Here was someone who was obviously very influential, well published, very successful, and he was telling you to subvert the perceived wisdom," Mr. Sandomierski said. "He was able to question the underlying premises of almost every given in our legal system. And do so in a way that was thoroughly consistent with the ideals of the legal system."

"He wasn't the kind to join protest marches," Robert Wolfe, a professor in the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University, said. "It was just always clear where his sympathies lay. Concern for ordinary people. Concern for social justice."

Prof. Macdonald believed that people create law through their own interactions, and legislators just write it down. In this, he drew on the work of Lon Fuller, a U.S. scholar who might otherwise have seemed his political opposite - he was once a speechwriter for Richard Nixon.

"Very often the best way to achieve a harmonious and peaceful society is to recognize people have the capacity to do what is appropriate under the circumstances and that the law should be designed to facilitate their agency, and not simply to control them," Prof. Macdonald told CBC Radio host Paul Kennedy this year.

Explaining why he had never given in to pessimism, Prof. Macdonald cited his experience interviewing former residential-school students who had suffered physical and sexual abuse. "Many of them had been broken down terribly by the experience but were optimistic about their lives and their children and the development of their communities," he told Mr. Kennedy. "And so how can I as a researcher, as a scholar, looking at these terrible events, become a pessimist? If anything, I would be betraying them if I could not translate the same optimism and desire and belief in the possible into the reports we write and the work that I do."

Four years ago, he was told a bump on his neck was cancerous.

The cancer later spread to his lungs and the base of his skull. In February, hundreds of former students and colleagues attended a two-day tribute to him at McGill.

The outpouring not only of respect but of love and affection was in return for his life of deep generosity, according to Prof. Wolfe, a friend from his Camp Kandalore days.

At that camp, Prof. Wolfe says, a young Rod Macdonald drove campers in a bus, with a canoe trailer hitched behind it, hundreds of kilometres into northwestern Ontario, and then hundreds of kilometres more down a gravel road, toward their destination. And when his friend asked him why he had done it, he offered a simple reply: "Because I wanted them to have a good trip."

Prof. Macdonald leaves his wife, Shelley Freeman, and children, Madeleine and Aidan.

Associated Graphic

Rod Macdonald once tried to promote independent thinking in a group of 300 judges by playing his Gibson Hummingbird guitar and singing a folk song written by Phil Ochs.


Innovative builder brought malls to Israel
Polish-born tycoon gave away millions in philanthropic endeavours in the Jewish state and Canada - the two 'homelands' he loved
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S11

It took an adroit grasp of Hebrew to come up with a term for what David Azrieli was building in Israel. Like earlier pioneers of the revived tongue who had to create words for "airplane" and "automobile" for use in the modern Jewish state, Mr. Azrieli pondered a name for his gleaming creation, the country's first enclosed, American-style shopping mall. Israelis were more used to shopping at small, stand-alone stores or chains; a sprawling, airconditioned mall complete with cinemas, banks, restaurants and piped-in Muzak was a foreign concept. So when it opened in the city of Ramat Gan in 1985, Mr. Azrieli, a one-time Hebrew teacher, dubbed his 25,000-squaremetre edifice "Canion Ayalon."

Ayalon was the name of a nearby valley, and canion was a word he coined by clumping together two Hebrew words: koneh, to buy, and chanayah, to park.

"I felt strongly that we should have a Hebrew word," Mr. Azrieli explained in a biography prepared by his family for his 85th birthday. "Perhaps this is part of my attention to detail." He compared his insistence on using the vernacular with Quebec's zeal to protect French, though he felt that campaign had been "carried to extremes."

The mall was a roaring success and transformed retailing in Israel (for the worse, charged those who rued the shift to Western consumerism). Mr. Azrieli went on to build 12 more enclosed malls in the country in the ensuing years, with yet more to come.

To this day, Israeli teens hang out at the kenyon (a version of Mr. Azrieli's canion).

A hard-charging, soft-spoken real-estate tycoon who fought for the fledging Jewish state and gave away millions in philanthropic endeavours, Mr. Azrieli died at his country home in Quebec's Laurentians on July 9 at the age of 92.

After building office towers, highrise residences, hotels and shopping centres in Canada, the United States and Israel, he remained chairman of Tel Aviv-based Azrieli Group Ltd., one of the largest commercial and office real-estate companies in Israel, until a week before his death, when he stepped down.

"I have always wanted to be a builder," he said in a 1988 magazine profile. "I was always drawing and sketching. Of all the arts, architecture influences people every day. It's very humanistic."

The self-made billionaire was a "Donald Trump-type developer with Trump's splash and vision tempered by Jewish values and Zionist altruism," blogged his friend, McGill University professor Gil Troy. "His story is Israel's story, a redemptive tale of building an old-new land as sleek and modern as many but uniquely soulful and traditional."

Among those is Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv, which was the largest shopping centre and business complex in Tel Aviv when it opened in 1988. Its three sleek office towers dominate the city's skyline but retain a whimsical, almost childlike character, as one structure is a cylinder, one is triangular and one square.

Known widely in Israel as the Mall Man from Montreal, Mr. Azrieli also held interests in the energy, water, banking and environment sectors, through his company. With a net worth of $3.1-billion, he was ranked the 12th-wealthiest Canadian by Forbes this year.

"David was very sharp. He always loved to talk business," Mitch Goldhar, owner of Torontobased shopping-centre developer SmartCentres, told The Globe's Bertrand Marotte. "He had good radar, predicting where things were going. He stepped up on many investments where others were going the other way."

On May 10, 1922, he was born David Joshua Azrylewicz in the Polish town of Makow-Mazowiecki, the second of four children. His father was a prosperous clothing designer and manufacturer, and both parents were ardent Zionists. Three days after the Nazis invaded Poland in September, 1939, Mr. Azrieli and a younger brother fled eastward, hoping to escape the fate of an older brother who had been forced to join a work brigade. The train Mr. Azrieli was riding was strafed by German planes four times; a bullet travelled through his arm and killed the man huddled next to him.

At just 17, Mr. Azrieli settled for a while in the Soviet-occupied city of Bialystok, where he completed high school. Further flights took him to the Uzbek republic where, in Bukhara in late 1942, he joined the Polish Armed Forces in the East, known as the Anders Army, whose plans were to move from Iran through Iraq and on to the teen's longed-for destination, Palestine.

But in the fog of war, the plans went awry, and Mr. Azrieli decided to make a dash for the Holy Land himself. From Iran, he reached Iraq with his brother Adam, who had travel orders for Baghdad. Disguised as an Arab villager, Mr. Azrieli bribed an official and rode the train to the Iraqi capital. Lacking a passport, he dodged guards by disembarking at stops then scampering back aboard into another car.

Once in Baghdad, he hooked up with two members of the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary group (one was the future eyepatched general, Moshe Dayan). "'Suddenly, Dayan burst through the door, muddy and exhausted," Mr. Azrieli later wrote in his memoirs, fittingly titled One Step Ahead. "He gave specific instructions on when and where to meet, and we left the hotel.'" They arranged for the young man to be smuggled into British Mandate Palestine amid a shipment of arms hidden in coffins.

After a five-day bus ride on bonerattling roads, Mr. Azrieli finally arrived in late 1942. Years later, he discovered that of his family, only he and one brother had survived the Holocaust.

He also conceded how recklessly he had behaved, driven by his desire to reach Palestine and get away from the Nazis. "Desertion, in the middle of a war, would surely have led to my execution," he would write. "I was foolish and young."

He studied architecture at the Israel Institute of Technology but quit to fight in Israel's War of Independence, serving in the storied Seventh Armored Brigade during the Battle for Jerusalem.

After the war, he decamped for South Africa, where he taught Hebrew, then to Britain, New York and finally, Montreal, where he arrived in 1954 alone to work as an architect's assistant. He would earn a bachelor's degree from the University of Montreal while teaching Hebrew.

Pooling $3,000 in savings by 1957, he bought 10 lots of land to build four modest duplexes in a suburb, then sold all 10 lots. He never looked back. Mr. Azrieli founded Canpro Investments Ltd. in the early 1960s, focusing on developing high-rise residential buildings and building the Hotel des Artistes, which housed musicians and other artists who performed at Expo 67, according to the family charitable foundation's online tribute.

But what still rankles many Montrealers was Mr. Azrieli's role in the demolition of a landmark on Sherbrooke Street. In 1973, he purchased the historic Van Horne Mansion from the descendants of 19th-century railway magnate William Cornelius Van Horne, and planned to demolish it. There was public outcry, protests and even a credible offer from another developer to buy the centuryold greystone.

Emboldened by the seeming indifference of government officials to the fate of the anglophone landmark, Mr. Azrieli went ahead and bulldozed the building, in the dead of night to avert protests.

Montrealers awoke to a pile of rubble that eventually became the site of a concrete office tower and later a Sofitel hotel.

The episode sparked the creation of the heritage preservation group Save Montreal (now Héritage Montréal).

Though the mansion was razed more than 40 years ago, memories are long; a recent letter to the editor in the Montreal Gazette recalled two sardonic words hand-painted over the cornerstone plaque on the building that replaced the proud mansion: "Thanks, Dave."

In an interview, Mr. Azrieli defended his actions, saying the mansion had not been classified as a heritage property and that the application to demolish it had been approved by the appropriate authorities.

"Everybody knows that I only purchased the land and not the building," he said. "The heirs of Van Horne actually demolished it.

The condition that I bought the land was the building should be torn down."

The bad press continued when a 1994 Gazette article accused him of calling himself an architect when he wasn't. "I never did call myself a licensed architect," he retorted. "I never did sign plans officially."

Three years later, he was granted a master's degree in architecture at Carleton University at the age of 75. In 2008, the university renamed its architecture school the Azrieli School of Architecture in recognition of a $5.5-million gift from him. At least one professor publicly groused that Mr.

Azrieli was unworthy of the honour, citing the Van Horne Mansion episode, while others grumbled that money had done the talking.

Mr. Azrieli was resigned to the blowback. "If you do things," he told the Ottawa Citizen, "then you're subject to criticism."

His better-known Canadian projects included the largest shopping mall in the National Capital Region, Les promenades Gatineau (originally called Les promenades de l'Outaouais). He was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1984 and the Ordre National du Québec in 1999.

"He combined a number of things that resulted in his success," said Myer Bick, president of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation in Montreal, who knew Mr.

Azrieli for 30 years. "He had complete, enormous confidence in himself, in his judgment. He also was a risk-taker, ready to shoot the dice, which he did many times in his career and came out smelling like roses."

Mr. Azrieli's namesake foundation has doled out an estimated $100-million since its founding in 1989, underwriting initiatives in education, architecture and design, scientific and medical research, and the arts. Among the projects it supported was the Institute for Educational Empowerment, a program aimed at Israeli youth at risk, and the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program, established in 2005. To date, it has published 48 volumes of survivors' recollections - 28 in English and 20 in French. An additional nine titles are scheduled for release this autumn.

"In telling these stories, the writers have liberated themselves," Mr. Azrieli felt. "For so many years we did not speak about it, even when we became free people living in a free society.

Now, when at last we are writing about what happened to us in this dark period of history, knowing that our stories will be read and live on, it is possible for us to feel truly free."

In 2011, the foundation donated $5-million to Concordia University, in Montreal, to establish the Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies.

"He was a formidable person, very strong-minded," noted the institute's associate director, Norma Joseph. "And he used his mind for a wonderful vision of community and building."

Later in life, he divided his time between Canada and Israel. "I have two homelands," he once said, "two places I love and where I have been blessed to do what I love best."

Loving what one does is "genuine freedom," he said. "If you have to spend your life doing things you don't love to do, you are no better than a slave. This then, is my message: Do what you love to do."

He leaves his wife of 57 years, Stephanie (née Lefcourt), children Rafael, Sharon, Naomi and Danna, and seven grandchildren. He was buried on July 14 in a cemetery on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives.

Associated Graphic

The foundation David Azrieli founded in 1989 has given out an estimated $100-million in Canada and Israel toward initiatives in education, architecture and design, scientific and medical research, and the arts.


Mr. Azrieli raised the ire of many Montrealers when he razed the Van Horne Mansion to build an office tower on Sherbrooke Street West.

Israelis are resilient in the face of rocket attacks, even tragic acts of violence. But the country is reeling from the recent murder of a young Palestinian - allegedly an act of revenge by a group of disaffected ultra-Orthodox teens. Patrick Martin reports on a new national threat
Saturday, July 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F4

JERUSALEM -- "How can a person who believes in Torah kill an innocent person?" This is the question Benny Lau, the rabbi of the historic Ramban Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem, asked this week just before I arrived in the city.

There are other pressing issues to pursue here: Air raid sirens are wailing every day as Jerusalem is coming under unprecedented rocket attack. And as many as 40,000 reserve troops are being amassed from across the country for a possible ground invasion in Gaza.

But every Israeli I speak to says they are haunted by the July 2 abduction and brutal slaying of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammad Abu Khdeir.

His murder came just hours after the funeral of three Israeli teens who had been abducted and killed in the West Bank - which enraged Israelis, who still search for what many believe are their Palestinian killers.

Mohammad's killing, though, shocked many. Partly because of its cruelty - he was abducted at 3:45 a.m. as he prepared for the ritual Ramadan meal before dawn, and was then burned alive - and partly because of who was allegedly behind it: young members of a Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, family, out for revenge.

Jews everywhere were aghast. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the killing as "terrorism" and vowed justice would be served. Hundreds of Israelis joined the funeral for the young Palestinian on Tuesday.

Scores more continue to file into the mourning tent erected just beside the site where he was abducted.

But as further details emerge (a gag order has barred most news on the arrest), the killing points not to a one-off aberration, but to a growing problem. The alleged perpetrators don't appear to be mainstream Haredim - they are believed to be disaffected ultraOrthodox youth who are turning to violent politics for a sense of meaning and belonging.

"They flunked out of Yeshiva, don't fit into traditional Haredi society, and they have difficulty fitting into secular society," says Gershom Gorenburg, author of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount.

Many remain out of public view, because Haredim do their own policing. But with an average of nine children per ultra-Orthodox family, their numbers are rapidly expanding.

The people apart

The Haredim - the term means "those who tremble" (in awe at the word of God) - regard themselves as the most religiously authentic of all Jews.

They have had a constant presence in Israel for more than two thousand years. But the majority of Haredim arrived in the 20th century; from Eastern Europe and the Arab world in the first half, and from the United States in the second.

Unlike Zionists, they did not come to create a Jewish state. They insist that Jews should not bother with such things but devote themselves to prayer and following the Torah. They reject both modernity and secular culture. Education is strictly religious; TV and the Internet are forbidden. Hassidic Jews, one branch of ultra-Orthodox Jews, even wear clothes like those worn in their European shtetls more than 200 years ago.

About one in 10 Israelis (more than 750,000 people) are now part of this ultra-Orthodox society. They tend to live in close-knit communities around their synagogues in larger cities. And at first, their desire for isolation meant they were largely absent from politics in Israel.

But a small group, Agudat Yisrael, worked with the Jewish Agency to bring Jews here after the Holocaust. In the 1980s, two more parties were launched to represent different branches of Haredim. All of them have since become comfortable players in both left- and right-wing governments. Their primary goal is their own interests. And when mainstream parties need a coalition, Haredim have worked with them to derive benefits for their communities in the form of higher welfare payments, or increased budgets for religious schools.

For many of the Haredim, life is certainly not easy. Many men spend their time at religious seminaries while women take care of large families and also work in sex-segregated jobs. That makes family resources tight. One report suggests half of workingage Haredi men are unemployed, and many accept government welfare.

Some Israelis resent this dependence, and the isolation of the Haredim. There have been recent efforts at integration: The Israeli government is gradually starting to draft Haredi men, limiting exemptions to military service to a much smaller number; there's a quiet push to bring the country's core curriculum (i.e. math and English) to Haredi schools; some entrepreneurs are reportedly hiring ultra-orthodox women for high-tech sector jobs (in sex-segregated offices).

But some young Haredim find themselves caught in the middle of all this, says Mr. Gorenburg.

They aren't suited to religious study. Yet they have no education, or cash, to pursue anything else. So, eerily like their Muslim counterparts, "they act like gangs," he says, causing trouble.

These young men are also "particularly receptive to external political messages," he says.

A 'small leap' to violence

On the day the funeral was held for the three Israeli teenagers killed in the West Bank, Michael Ben Ari, a former member of the banned Kach party who now leads Otzma LeYisrael (Strong Israel), was encouraging acts of revenge.

He posted reports on his Facebook page stating that Arabs were rioting in Jerusalem, had attacked a bus full of religious passengers and overwhelmed a group of border police who had been sent to the rescue.

He even used old photos showing a bleeding passenger beside an overturned bus.

None of it was true, yet 3,700 people "liked" his posts and more than 2,100 shared them.

He also drew hundreds of responses on Facebook from commenters cursing Arabs and describing their preferred method of dealing with them - shooting, slaughtering, burning.

On the streets of Jerusalem, Mr. Ben Ari whipped a crowd of young men into a frenzy. Many set off to hunt for Arabs, which was when Mr. Abu Khdeir was abducted and killed.

Disaffected Haredi youth, says Ami Ayalon, former head of the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet, "hear these calls for revenge and take it as permission to kill."

But many observers also point to an acceptance of violence in Haredi society. "There was something in their upbringing that led them to believe such killing was justified," says Hebrew University sociologist Nachman Ben-Yehuda of the alleged murderers of Mr. Khdeir.

In his book Theocratic Democracy, Mr. Ben-Yehuda notes the use of so-called "modesty patrols" - having made Israeli police feel unwelcome, Haredim patrol their own streets to guard against misbehaviour, using force to impose discipline.

More than that, extremist members of the community have often resorted to violence in an effort to rein in those who betray what they see as the true values of Judaism.

In the 1950s, for example, underground group Brit Hakanaim bombed and burnt Jewish shops that sold pork or "immoral" publications, and torched cars that were driven on the Sabbath. Similarly, young vigilantes in Haredi communities today, such as Beit Shemesh in central Israel, have been accused of breaking up young couples sitting too close together on park benches or busses. Their goal, Mr. Ben-Yehuda says, is to make a purer, and ultimately theocratic, state.

But if Haredi men - disaffected or not - grow up believing that secular Jews are "bad," they are also taught that non-Jews are beyond the pale. "It's only a small leap," says Mr. Ben-Yehuda, "to targeting non-Jews" with violence, "especially Arabs," who occupy sacred Israeli ground.

"The problem is that there's chapter and verse [in the Bible] ... in which aggression toward others is allowed, vengeance is celebrated, and revenge is celebrated," says Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, a pluralist research centre.

Yigal Amir, for example, the man who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, cited scripture as his justification - he believed he was saving the Land of Israel from being spoiled by a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Still, if some Haredim believed both non-observant Jews and non-Jews were "bad," they didn't tend to bother about Arabs - until now. Mr. Ayalon, who was made head of the Shin Bet following Mr. Rabin's assassination, says "things are totally different today." He's seen "the growth of anti-Arab sentiment expressed within Haredi circles in recent years."

Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of the northern Israeli city of Safed, is a vivid example: The city's university had drawn Arab Israelis to study there, but Rabbi Eliyahu issued an edict directing Jewish landlords not to rent rooms to them.

His edict was controversial enough, but young Jewish men also took it as permission to act violently against Arabs in Safed. They broke the windows of their apartments and slashed the tires of their cars.

'Things must be done differently'

Rabbi Eliyahu came by his hate honestly.

His father, Mordechai, started Brit Hakanim. He was imprisoned for 20 counts of violence against less Orthodox Jews, but he later became chief Sephardi rabbi of Israel - and in the 1990s started to integrate Haredim with the national-religious Jews who dominate the settlers' movement in the West Bank.

They have important things in common, he taught. Primarily, the establishment of a theocracy.

That's led to what Mr. BenYehuda calls a "process of Haredization" among some settlers. But also the politicizing of some Haredim. In recent years, as Haredi politics has become more right-wing, and accommodation in Jerusalem more limited, large numbers of them have moved out to the West Bank, creating two of the biggest settlements there (Beitar Ilit and Modiin Ilit).

In these circles, notes Mr. BenYehuda, Arabs are referred to as "Amalekites," a hated foe of the ancient Jews, and one that in those times were targets for extermination.

The larger problem is that there are growing numbers of Haredim in Israel - and as some become radicalized that means a shift is underway: "Thirty years ago, [Israelis] were fighting for national goals," says Mr. Ayalon. "Now it's becoming a religious kind of war, and is likely have a much more negative outcome."

After the murder of Mr. Khdeir, there was an immediate attempt to shut down religious rhetoric and to vilify any acts of vengeance.

In a newspaper piece this week, departing Israeli President Shimon Peres and his successor Reuvin Rivlin wrote: "A national struggle does not justify acts of terror. Acts of terror do not justify revenge... Even in the face of the rage and frustration, the violence and the pain, things can be done differently. Things must be done differently."

But as Mr. Ben-Yehuda points out, little is being done to stamp out the incitement for such acts of terror, "And that's a big mistake."

There's a concept in criminology, he says, called a "hotspot." If a burglar or vandal breaks a window in some community, you better get it fixed. "If you don't replace it, it will serve to encourage further criminal behaviour."

In the same way, he says, "if the incitement isn't stopped, more incidents such as this one will happen."

Patrick Martin is The Globe's global affairs writer and a former bureau chief in the Middle East.

Associated Graphic

Palestinian Mohammad Abu Khdeir, 16, was abducted and burned alive just hours after the funeral of three Israeli teens killed in the West Bank.


Electric cars and Muskrat Falls: A power player's clean-energy vision
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B3

HALIFAX -- Chris Huskilson drives a battery-powered Chevy Volt from his lakefront home to Emera Inc.'s gleaming headquarters on the Halifax waterfront, a former power plant that was given a $53-million makeover, transforming it into one of the Maritimes' most environmentally advanced buildings.

His electric car and his company's new headquarters are outward signs of the CEO's decade-long strategy to transform Emera from a sleepy holding company for Nova Scotia Power into an industry-leading growth story.

Mr. Huskilson has embraced the challenge of reducing carbon emissions in the electricity systems of his home province and the New England states, and has made key acquisitions in New England and the Caribbean of "broken" assets that need to be fixed. In doing so, he has driven growth at Emera, and has earned shareholders fat returns and some enviable compensation for him and his executive team.

He has also courted controversy by pursuing the ambitious - critics have argued, misguided - partnership with Newfoundland and Labrador's Nalcor Energy to build a hydroelectric power station on the Lower Churchill River and transmit the electricity via underwater cable to Nova Scotia and New England. He defends the Muskrat Falls project as one of the largest untapped sources of clean power in northeastern North America.

His advocacy of clean energy is based less on preachy environmentalism and more on hard-headed business sense - electric cars may create significant demand for his product; efficient buildings represent a responsible way to consume electricity; while investments in hydroelectricity and renewables are being mandated by governments.

"Our strategy right now is about producing cleaner energy for customers at the lowest possible cost," he says over lunch.

While acknowledging that customers often get frustrated by the price tag associated with cleaner power, he notes that Emera's utilities are typically responding to provincial and state climate strategies.

"Almost all the places we do business - Nova Scotia, New England, the Caribbean - they are all very carbon intense electricity markets. So the opportunity to reduce the carbon intensity and reduce the emissions from electricity in those markets is what we focus our strategy on," he said.

A low-key executive who likes to stay beneath the public's radar, Mr. Huskilson is one of the top business leaders in Atlantic Canada. He heads the largest multinational company based in Nova Scotia, which is also one of the biggest private sector employers and the parent company of the province-wide electricity utility.

With his rimless glasses and close-cropped, greying hair, the 57-year-old engineer would be Hollywood's picture of a utility company executive - no flash, conservatively dressed, affable but deliberate in conversation.

He is also a lightning rod for criticism in the province, often the target for angry consumers who complain they are being gouged by Nova Scotia Power to benefit Emera's bottom line and Mr. Huskilson's paycheque. It's a subject that clearly makes him uncomfortable; he deflects it by referring questions on executive compensation to the board.

With his multimillion-dollar annual compensation, he is the rare breed in a province where the most ambitious people often leave for opportunities in Toronto or Calgary or New York.

His own ambitions always lay in Nova Scotia.

A true Bluenoser, he was raised in South Shore town of Shelburne, of Icelandic and Scottish stock that goes back five generations in the province.

His father, Graham, who died in April, was a prominent local businessman who owned a garage and car dealerships in Shelburne.

The energy executive is clearly proud of his Nova Scotia heritage. We meet for lunch at the Henry House near the Emera headquarters. It's an impressive stone structure that was built in 1834 and is now a national historic site. A plaque on the outside wall pays homage to one-time resident William Alexander Henry, one of the Fathers of Confederation, who served as mayor and later a justice on the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Emera chief executive orders the seafood chowder, which he suggests is particularly good at Henry House, and enthusiastically recommends it to his central Canadian guest.

And he talks of his love of home. He lives on Grand Lake, 60 kilometres outside Halifax, where he and his family race Tanzer sailboats, preferring the warm inland water to the icy Atlantic.

He traces his heritage to an Icelandic forebear who landed in Nova Scotia five generations ago, and stayed while the rest of the immigrants moved to Gimli, Man. And he expects his lineage to remain in Nova Scotia - three sons are engineers or studying to become one, and Mr. Huskilson says all of them want to pursue careers in their home province.

While many of his engineering classmates headed west after graduating in the 1970s, he joined Nova Scotia Power and was a lifer there, becoming chief executive officer before moving to its parent company, Emera.

"The reason I joined the company originally is that I really wanted to stay in Maritime Canada and in Nova Scotia if possible, to be able to do something that would make a contribution," he says. "So that drew me to this business. And at the end of the day, I've never had a dull day."

After university, Mr. Huskilson went to work on a visionary energy project that proponents hoped would provide a massive source of clean electricity: Nova Scotia Power's effort to tap the enormous potential of the Bay of Fundy.

As a young software engineer, he was part of the team that built a fully automated tidal pilot project, though the utility soon discovered it could not capture large amounts of electricity without causing major environmental damage. The tidal plant is still producing 20megawatts but the vision has been scaled back and Nova Scotia Power is now developing smaller-scale generators that float in the tide.

The downsizing of the utility's tidal-power ambitions was humbling for a young engineer, and a lesson that remained with the energy executive as he prepared to invest $1.5-billion in the underwater transmission system that will bring power from Muskrat Falls in Labrador. The partners spent some $300-million on front-end engineering before even receiving regulatory approval.

Many in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have questioned the expense of bringing Labrador power to Nova Scotia, but Mr. Huskilson is confident it makes economic sense.

The province still depends on coal for 60 per cent of its power, and the federal government has mandated that provinces essentially shut down coal-fire stations by 2030, unless they can virtually eliminate carbon emissions.

The clean energy from the Lower Churchill "will be in the market for decades and decades; it's a 100-year project," he says.

The Maritime Link is a big bet for Emera, but it's just one of several that Mr. Huskilson has made. Since he took the helm, the company has weaned itself off its reliance on Nova Scotia Power, which accounted for 90 per cent of revenue a decade ago and was down to 44 per cent last year.

Shareholders have reaped the fruits of his growth plan. Over the past five years, Emera has provided a 17.5-per-cent return, on a compounded annual basis.

For that success, Mr. Huskilson has been well rewarded. His compensation was raised to $4.7-million in 2013, an increase of 54 per cent. His 2013 pay ranked 57th among CEOs of Canada's top 100 public companies, but was tops in the Maritimes.

His pay raise prompted some inevitable criticism. Provincial Energy Minister Andrew Younger said ratepayers were "frustrated" at news of the pay package when their rates kept rising. The Emera board justified the increase by stating that the CEO's compensation had not been on par with other utility executives, while the company's performance was among the best.

While Nova Scotia Power's regulated rates have soared in the last decade, Mr. Huskilson notes that the provincial government is forcing the utility to adopt more expensive renewable power to combat climate change even as the price of coal and fuel oil rose dramatically.

But the CEO takes some pride in steering one of Nova Scotia's business success stories. In the past four years, Emera has added 500 head office jobs and makes an effort to recruit locally through scholarship programs and other training initiatives.

"We're very proud to be here and be from here," he says.


Personal: Scion of the Shelburne County, N.S., Huskilsons, who trace their roots to Icelanders Erlandur and Guolaug Hoskuldsson, who landed in Canada around 1875.

Son of the late Lloyd (Graham) Huskilson, a prominent local businessman who owned a garage and Toyota and Chrysler car dealerships, and was a founding shareholder of Seabreeze Cablevision, which brought cable television to Shelburne County.

Married with three sons, all of whom are either engineers or studying to become one.

Education: BS in Engineering, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton; MS in Engineering, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton.

Boards of Directors: The Canadian Electricity Association (past chair); Innovacorp, the provincially funded venture capital fund; Algonquin Power, of which Emera owns 25 per pent, and various Emera subsidiaries.

Awards: "Energy Person of the Year" awarded to him and Nalcor CEO Ed Martin for their work on Muskrat Falls hydro development, by the Energy Council of Canada.

Passion: Sailing. He and his family own the largest fleet of Tanzer 22 racing sailboats on Grand Lake near Halifax.

Career: Joined Nova Scotia Power in 1980. Became chief operating officer for Nova Scotia Power in July 2003; president and CEO in November, 2004, when he also became president and CEO of Emera.


On acquisition strategy: "We like broken things."

On being a "Nova Scotia" company: "We've very proud to be here and be from here.

We don't make any apologies about it. Most of the people in our business have grown up in our business, and have developed both the business and themselves."

On engineer's approach to business strategy: "At the end of the day, it is always about doing the proper planning and really understanding the environment you are working in."

Associated Graphic

Chris Huskilson, chief executive officer of Emera Inc.


'Welcome back to hell.' It's an appropriate greeting at a place where bombs and blasts are an everyday occurrence.For six hours this week, Israel held its fire and besieged Palestinian residents could venture out into the streets again.Then the shaky attempt at a ceasefire collapsed and Israeli attacks resumed with a deadly vengeance
Thursday, July 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

It didn't take long to get immersed again in the grit of Gaza.

"Welcome back to hell," said Hasan Jabber, a local Palestinian reporter, who described his eight-kilometre daily commute from the Bureij refugee camp to downtown Gaza as "a white knuckle ride."

We had just sat down to talk when a massive boom shook my chair at the waterfront café of a modest hotel.

About 300 metres to south, at the city's fishing port, a shell had exploded and a ball of black smoke rose into the air. It wasn't clear whether the shell had come from an Israeli ship offshore, a jet or a drone overhead.

I remember thinking it's a good thing no fishermen were allowed out at sea during the current conflict and the port was bound to be deserted.

But because it was deserted of fishermen, it was a perfect place to play a game of soccer in the sand at the water's edge. Four boys from the nearby Beach refugee camp - aged 9 to 11, all cousins - were killed by the blast.

A number of badly injured children were brought to my hotel and cared for by staff until ambulances arrived. All were reported to have survived, including the young boy with a piece of shrapnel stuck in his chest.

Such bombs and blasts are an everyday occurrence in Gaza and keep most people off the streets. On the drive in from the Israeli border on Wednesday, I commented to my interpreter - an earnest young woman named Jihad (what else?), dressed in hijab and fulllength robe - how empty the streets were.

"You should have seen them yesterday [Tuesday]," she said. "It was so nice to see some people out again and some of the shops open."

Tuesday, of course, was the day Israel observed a ceasefire for six hours and the blasts showered on Gaza were silenced. The attempt at a mutual truce failed, however, as Hamas kept on firing its rockets into Israel, one of which caused the first Israeli fatality of this war. And now the bombs are back with a vengeance.

The first stop on my tour of Gaza City was at the site of another enormous blast earlier in the day - the home of Mahmoud Zahar, a surgeon and one of the more extreme leaders of Hamas.

The Israeli Air Force apparently performed a surgical procedure of its own in the early morning hours, destroying much of the fourstorey house with one missile that appeared to enter on the floor right above the front door. And it did so without seriously injuring, let alone killing, anyone.

Dr. Zahar was not at home at the time, of course. Nor were any members of his family or staff. He's somewhere deep underground in Gaza, possibly below a major hospital along with other Hamas leaders, safe from the bombs. His neighbours suffered only relatively minor damage to windows and doors, which were blown right out by the power of the blast.

The fourth floor of the Zahar home appears largely intact, though it looks as if it's being held up by a number of stilts, all that remains of some parts of the lower floors.

Neighbours, cleaning up their broken glass and stepping gingerly over the Zahar rubble in the middle of the street, wondered if the Israelis would be back again to finish the job.

Bad food, bad smells at refugee shelter

Because of the threat of Israeli bombardment - and because the Israelis have been sending out warning notices to some neighbourhoods of impending attacks - there are close to 20,000 Gazans who have sought refuge with relatives in safer districts or in United Nations schools.

The Fakhoura School is one of them, offering temporary housing to about 1,200 people who arrived last week after receiving an Israeli warning. That works out to about 30 people in each of the school's 40 classrooms - a pretty tight fit when you consider everyone has to find room to sleep there.

Most of the people walked here or rode in donkey-pulled carts from Beit Lahia, a few kilometres to the north, and the only cooking equipment or bedding they have is what they brought with them.

The smell of urine is heavy when you walk through the steel gates of the blue-and-white compound. The two- and three-storey buildings are set up around a central square, and lots of people must be ducking around the back of some of the buildings to relieve themselves. There are worse smells at the back of the biggest building, where feces and bad food have been left, now covered in flies. Jihad, my interpreter, covers her nose and mouth the entire time we're in the compound.

The master of the school seems understandably overwrought. When I ask how many people are being sheltered in the school, he tells me to speak to someone at the headquarters of the UN Relief and Works Agency. Only they can answer such questions.

The same went for every other question I asked, except one: Could I walk around the school and talk to the people? "Absolutely," he said. "Feel free."

People complained about the lack of privacy - rooms are divided by hanging blankets and piles of desks - about the lack of mattresses and about the poor food they're provided.

On Tuesday, it was pita bread and lentils. Wednesday, it's pita and a tin of tuna. Those families with money buy what they need from local grocers, but it's clear there are many who don't have the cash.

When it came time to distribute the UNRWA food, a patrol of clean-cut Boy Scouts marched into the compound dressed smartly in khaki shirts and purple neckerchiefs . They were volunteers from Jabalia and organized themselves in front of the distribution doors so as to make sure people stayed in line and there was no pushing or shoving.

Heading toward the exit, we were overwhelmed by the jet-like sound of two rockets being launched from somewhere near the school. Hamas, or some or militant group, clearly is hoping the Israelis won't strike at the launchers, which are kept underground until the moment of firing, because they're close to the school and so many refugees.

As the Hamas-made missiles screamed off into the sky, leaving a white vapour trail, the kids all cheered. One older boy of maybe 12, shouted in Arabic "They're R160s," named for the late Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi who was assassinated by Israel in 2004. These are the big, long-range rockets usually reserved for Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or the airport in between.

Menaces arise from desperation

The Girls Prep School in Gaza City is another makeshift UN centre for displaced Gazans. The people here have arrived only in the past two days and appear to have been more or less dumped in the place.

There was no sense of order here - certainly no school master or UN officials to be seen - and certainly no neat Boy Scouts as there were at the Fakhoura School, another shelter I visited.

Rather, the scene encountered on walking through the steel gates was one of young boys - aged 10 to 12 - fighting. Seriously fighting. And I noticed a number of young men walking about carrying wooden sticks.

When I approached one of the older men to ask where he and other people came from, I barely got the words out of my mouth before I was swarmed by a large group, made up mostly of women and children.

It happened often in Gaza on Wednesday that groups would gather around whenever my interpreter and I stopped to talk to people. They were often just curious and had little else to do.

Some were simply annoying, repeatedly asking, "What's your name?" - the only sentence in English they knew. Others wanted to hear word of "the situation" and when this journalist thought the conflict will be over.

But the group at Girls Prep were different. They were menacing.

It was clear they thought I was some kind of UN official who finally was going to talk to them or bring them some provisions; some held their hands to us, palms up, demanding money.

Some 50 per cent of Gaza's population is unemployed or unpaid; half of its 1.8 million people are on United Nations food aid.

I would happily have gone off with some of the displaced Gazans at the Girls Prep School to inspect the facilities about which they complained, but as I began to suggest that, I found that some of the boys were trying to unzip my backpack slung over one shoulder, while others were reaching into my pockets.

"It's time to go," I announced loudly and looked around for Jihad, my interpreter.

She too was fending off a mob. I pushed my way toward her, and Mahmoud, our tall strong driver, came toward her from the other side. Together, and with great effort, we made our way through the steel gate to where our car was parked.

Even there, kids jostled the car and reached through the open windows to try to grab things, until we rolled up the windows and drove off.

The people of Gaza are becoming desperate.

Associated Graphic

The Gaza Strip is 40-kilometres long and 10-kilometres wide, a densely populated enclave of 1.7 million people, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Israel and Egypt.

Israeli police and members of the media take cover as a siren sounds to warn of incoming rockets during a visit by Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and his Norwegian counterpart, Borge Brende (neither pictured), to a site where a rocket landed in Ashkelon on Wednesday. Interceptions by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system are seen overhead.


Number of Palestinian refugees in Gaza who rely on UN food aid has increased dramatically.

A man stands amid the aftermath of an explosion in Gaza City on Wednesday. The death toll from nine days of conflict between Israel and its adversaries surged past 200, including at least four children who were killed on the beach.


Football's return to Ottawa looks like a touchdown
The rebirth of the team in the nation's capital wasn't easy, but RedBlacks fans are hungry and the players are ready to show what they've got
Thursday, July 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

OTTAWA -- The return of CFL football to Ottawa all began with a private jet whisking Jeff Hunt and John Ruddy off to Toronto seven years ago to brainstorm ideas with then-Argonauts owner Howard Sokolowski over lunch. It was a meeting that Hunt, quite honestly, suspected would be a "real waste of time."

Frank Clair Stadium, part of Ottawa's historic Lansdowne Park, was too old and tired to support a football team. Talk of renovating the site was toxic and worn-out, Hunt initially thought. Yet without a new stadium, discussion about getting a football team was futile, especially since Ottawa had poorly managed, woefully performing CFL teams leave the city twice in the past 20 years.

After bouncing around ideas at that lunch, the two men returned to Ottawa believing there might be a business case for bringing a team back to Canada's capital, if it was part of a much bigger venture. As the stadium's south stands were crumbling and being condemned, this would have to be more like a rebuild, so Hunt, Ruddy and three other Ottawa businessmen formed visions for a massive sports, entertainment, shopping and living complex at Lansdowne Park, a site that sprawls some 40 acres, nestled by the Rideau Canal.

It would have a stadium for a CFL team and an expansion prosoccer franchise too, along with concerts and events, and a renovated hockey arena for the OHL's Ottawa 67's, while still offering an urban park.

There would condos, bars, restaurants - lots of revenue streams and reasons to arrive long before games and stay late. Fast forward to this Friday, and Hunt is the president of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group and will see the expansion Ottawa RedBlacks play the first regular-season CFL game in the nation's capital since 2005. The RedBlacks will face the Argonauts that night in sold-out, renovated 24,000-seat TD Place Stadium, in the heart of a still-being-constructed shopping, condo and entertainment complex that is a $500-million partner venture between OSEG and the city.

Yet it's still the same grounds where great Ottawa Rough Riders such as Russ Jackson and Tony Gabriel once played Grey Cupwinning seasons.

"What to do about Lansdowne has been a topic in Ottawa for 30 years, so this was just another idea, and we had a CFL team that failed twice at the heart of the plan, so you can bet there was skepticism," said Hunt, standing on the field turf inside the new open-air stadium as construction crews worked on a concrete structure overlooking the west end zone that will some day be a condominium tower, full of people watching from their windows.

"But we really began to believe that if you fix Lansdowne, whatever happens here - concerts, FIFA, football, hockey, soccer - if it's a destination, anything that happens here has a chance to succeed."

It's been a long seven-year road to this point, from forging a partnership with the city, appealing to the CFL and overcoming objecting citizens who had alternative visions for "Ottawa's Jewel by the Rideau Canal" and argued them vehemently in public meetings and courts.

The businessmen repeatedly visited Los Angeles to see how their new entertainment hub L.A. Live rejuvenated the area around Staples Centre. Along with Hunt, OSEG also included three Ottawa businessmen with expertise in retail and real estate: Ruddy (Trinity Development), Roger Greenberg (The Minto Group) and William Shenkman (The Shenkman Group).

Then, there was the building of a football team, one that must try to make people forget gaffes from past Ottawa football teams, such as when the Rough Riders drafted a dead guy in 1995 or when past owner Lonie Glieberman promoted a controversial Mardi Gras Night, where female fans were encouraged to flash their breasts in exchange for beads. Forget how poor support and mismanagement caused the oncebeloved Riders to fold in 1996. Forget the Ottawa Renegades, which failed to reach fans or the playoffs in its four years of existence.

The RedBlacks have already sold 16,500 season tickets. The team has reached out to Frenchand English-speaking fans in the city and its suburbs. There were 10,000 fans at a meet-the-team event with a look inside the stadium last week. Some 1,200 fans packed into an Ottawa hotel back in May to see the new team's uniforms unveiled - in the same red, white and black colours worn by iconic Rough Riders.

"Not having Ottawa in the league was a hole in the heart of the CFL," league commissioner Mark Cohon said. "The season ticket sales so far indicate the fans were always there; we just had to give them the right ownership group and the right environment. I truly believe this is going to be one of the best places in North America to watch a football game."

Hunt is applying lessons he learned after buying the 67's in 1998, a team whose attendance was dead last out of the 60 teams in the Canadian Hockey League before becoming No. 1 in just three years. His staff focused on marketing to areas in and all around Ottawa and greatly improving the fan experience.

"In the past, one of the biggest failures was Ottawa football teams only going after males 2535 - a very narrow demographic; but in Ottawa, to succeed in a 24,000-seat facility, you better have a much bigger range," Hunt said. "I thought it would be a couple of years of a well-run team and some on-field success before we could all get past the skepticism, but surprisingly, I think it's happening already. We've had lots of events, a postage stamp launched with Russ Jackson on it, and alumni from successful Ottawa teams coming in for things. No one really talks about the bitter end of those teams any more. It's taken a long time to change that conversation here, but I think it's finally happening."

In January of 2013, the RedBlacks hired long-time Montreal Alouettes assistant general manager Marcel Desjardins, who despite growing up in Oskee Wee Wee country with Hamilton Tiger-Cats fans in Burlington, Ont., was a lifelong Ottawa Rough Riders fan. He was the solo employee early on and did whatever was needed. His first task was to order the players' hot and cold tubs because "they had to go in right away before the walls could go up."

Desjardins relished being the one to build the team from scratch.

"The only reason I would have left Montreal this time would be for a great opportunity, and this was it," Desjardins said. "I wanted to be part of bringing CFL football back to Ottawa by doing it the right way."

He hired head coach Rick Campbell and selected 24 players from existing rosters in the CFL expansion draft, some of whom were crushed they hadn't been protected by their teams. He acquired more, built around solid Canadian linemen and looked for a few choice veterans at each position who could help grow the right chemistry. He jumped when the Ticats released Henry Burris, after he just took them to the Grey Cup final in November. While he's 39, Burris is a 15-year CFL veteran, has won two Cups and is one of the most prolific passers in league history.

"This definitely is not an expansion team to me, this is a wealth of talent coming together," said Burris, who has relocated his wife and two kids to Ottawa, and has taken in the sights of a city he never got to know during quick trips to play the Renegades a decade ago. "I'm hungry after being shown the door in Hamilton. We're getting to know each other, trust each other and we've had to expedite the process because we haven't had much time together. But we don't care that we're an expansion team; we want to win right away."

They held a mini-camp in Virginia, where Campbell addressed players about refusing to play the role of a newbie squad or an assumed easy win for opposing teams. Yet signs of newness are all around. They began training camp up the street at Carleton University before getting into the stadium three weeks ago, with construction crews still labouring about the red and grey-seated stands and concourses while reporters entered in hardhats past cranes and bulldozers.

"A lot of our veteran players have serious chips on their shoulders if they weren't protected or were let go in the off-season, and there are many like me, who asked to be let go," said Paris Jackson, a Vancouver-born receiver who played 11 seasons for the B.C. Lions, before asking for a release. "I pencilled the RedBlacks in a couple of years ago when I knew they were coming back, and I was just waiting for the opportunity to come here. I know everyone across the league fears us because they don't know what to expect from us."

The RedBlacks, despite a fast lead to start their season-opener, are 0-2 and have scored just one touchdown. Their home too, will still look like a work in progress, as much of the retail, parking condo and park projects are still under construction. Still, it will be a full house.

"I can remember when John and I said to Roger, 'We have an idea that will cost a little bit of money, take a little bit of time, but we have a lot of fun,' "recalled Hunt. "Well a little time turned into seven years, a little money turned into $500-million, and we're finally now having some fun."

A SIN SELFISH HEALTHY HARMLESS A WEAKNESS HUMAN NATURE And it's time we finally talked about it. It just may save a life, Peter Scowen writes
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F4

I feel compelled to begin this piece by joining in the newsroom snickering it has prompted, and telling you that I've been thinking about masturbating a lot this week. There, I did it; we can now dispense with the jokes and the discomfort they deflect.

It has been on my mind ever since I learned that a 14-year-old boy in San Diego, Calif., killed himself last fall after a fellow student snuck into their high-school bathroom and recorded a video of him masturbating in a stall. The student of course posted the video on social media, it of course went viral, and two weeks later, on American Thanksgiving weekend, Matthew Burdette, bullied, friendless and beyond comforting, took his own life. Of course.

Matthew's parents are talking about him now only because they have launched a lawsuit against the San Diego Unified School District for failing to help their son.

His story is being flashed around the world. It is international news that, in an age when sexual and social taboos are dropping like flies - gay marriage, LGBT rights, pornography, smoking pot - the shame of getting caught masturbating would drive a boy to suicide. But I completely understand the horror he felt.

I've been asking grown men whether they would have killed themselves in the same situation, and many said it would have crossed their minds. They certainly would have wanted to be dead. We remember, viscerally, the fear of getting caught at that age. Other men I've spoken with, their horror over Matthew's fate contorting the lines of their mouths, say they wouldn't have contemplated suicide but they would have asked their family to move them to another continent.

Only today, thanks to the glories of the Internet, there is no place to run.

Some might say this story begins and ends with cyber-bullying, and the similarities with the tragedies of Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons are undeniable.

But where those two Canadian girls were pushed to the brink by predators and bullies who systematically destroyed their lives with compromising images, this story revolves around a video of something that research consistently shows 95 per cent of men do, and between 60 and 80 per cent of women. We can all relate. There is no doubt the boy who posted the video masturbates, and so do the other boys who mocked Matthew and made his life hell at school.

It's not just boys who are conflicted. The science about the ubiquity and harmlessness of male masturbation is as settled as that of evolution, but no matter how much he tells himself that, and even though a sex shop in San Francisco has declared May to be International Masturbation Month, the average man would never want his habits to be public knowledge.

It's simply too fraught, too weird. A psychiatrist of my acquaintance who has counselled couples told me that some women who catch their husbands or boyfriends masturbating see it as cheating.

It remains today a dangerous act best kept between a man and his conscience, even if it is known to reduce stress, improve sleep, help balance a couple's contradictory libidos and, according to some studies (and contradicted by others), might actually lower the risk of getting prostate cancer.

So how is it that masturbation remains such a complicated act in the 21st century?

And could anything have been done to help that boy in California?

A brief history of masturbation

Like so much human activity, masturbation was an uncontroversial fact of life until religion got involved. Some preChristian societies included ejaculation in their most important rituals and creation myths. But then the Roman Catholic Church came along and declared masturbation to be a "grave disorder."

Islam is equally disapproving, although some sects generously allow a little leeway if it helps a man avoid sex outside of marriage (the leeway is for men only, of course). Judaism technically forbids it, but what are you going to do?

The proscriptions stem from a view consistent across the three religions that sperm should not be wasted by being spilled outside procreation - "seed in vain" is how one Talmudic scholar put it - as well as by the worry that focusing on lust takes the mind off God. (Bans on female masturbation seem to have come as an afterthought; men saying, if we can't do it then neither can our girlfriends and wives.)

But as tempting as it is to point the finger at religion for the stigmatization of "self-abuse," the few modern writers who have investigated the history of masturbation lay an equal share of the blame on crusading Enlightenment doctors and philosophers.

Mels van Driel, a Dutch urologist and the author of the 2012 book With the Hand: A History of Masturbation, writes that an English surgeon named John Marten published a book in 1712 entitled Onania, or the Heinous Sin of Self Pollution that solidified society's already dim view of the churchproscribed act. Marten claimed masturbation stunted children's growth, caused epilepsy, fainting spells and infertility, and was generally harmful to the sacred institution of matrimony. That he happened to sell some laughably dubious cures (penis ointments!) for masturbation at the end of the book was apparently lost on his followers. Onania was a bestseller that was published in countless editions and in the United States.

Later the same century, a Swiss doctor named Samuel-Auguste Tissot, who had no previous expertise in the subject, declared sperm to be a form of concentrated blood and said that spilling it was dangerous and could lead to madness (and blindness, which is where that started). He, too, produced a best-selling book.

Adding to the anti-masturbation frenzy were philosophers, including Voltaire and Immanuel Kant, who considered the act worse than killing oneself because it reduced man, who in the Age of Enlightenment was supposed to be rational, to an animal state (horses, apparently, are chronic masturbators).

"For centuries, the commandment 'thou shalt not masturbate,' which became a paradoxical fusion between the progressive spirit of the Enlightenment and conservative ecclesiastical views, held the community morally in its thrall," Prof. van Driel wrote in a piece for Huffington Post.

The Western anti-masturbation movements that peaked in the 19th century are remarkable for the impact they had on our everyday lives. The innocent little graham cracker of S'mores fame was the invention of a rabid American anti-fappiste named Sylvester Graham who thought his countrymen's love of meats and fats were the cause of their lust and, in 1829, invented a bland bread to help them combat their urges. Another "Grahamite," John Harvey Kellogg, developed an equally unappetizing breakfast cereal made from corn that he fed to patients in a sanitarium in order to quell their desires.

In the 20th century, masturbation was considered the first step in a doomed boy's descent into alcoholism, adultery and ultimate moral ruin, and called into question the character of anyone caught in the act. By the time I was a teen in the early 1970s, Alfred Kinsey and other groundbreaking researchers had already reported that 95 per cent of males masturbate, but it was still socially proscribed, seen as a weak and selfish habit, and intrinsically linked with another great evil of the day, pornography.

Boys understandably went to great lengths to cover their tracks, knowing that getting caught would result in merciless teasing by their conflicted peers and a possible visit to the pastor.

Since the sexual revolution, attitudes toward masturbation have changed in fits and starts. In 1992, the infamous "master of my domain" episode of Seinfeld broke the taboo against talking about masturbation on television.

But two years later, the U.S. Surgeon General was fired for saying young people should be taught about masturbation as a safe-sex practice. A study in 1994 revealed that 50 per cent of men and women who masturbate feel guilty about it, according to a 2002 report by Planned Parenthood entitled Masturbation: From Stigma to Sexual Health.

Today, the stigma is remarkably persistent. Type the word "masturbation" into Google and the first and only recommended result it returns is "masturbation is a sin."

Sexual dysfunction

Matthew Burdette's death is a reminder that North America doesn't get even the small things right when it comes to human sexuality. Ontario's new sex education curriculum includes an option for teachers to address masturbation with Grade 6 students when discussing puberty, but controversy over that and other aspects of the curriculum prompted the government to delay implementing it. And any U.S. Surgeon General today who advocated teaching students about masturbation would face an even bigger backlash than in 1994, thanks to the culture wars raging in that country.

In Europe, though, educators and health officials are doing things that could have made Matthew's life easier. In 2009, the U.K.'s National Health Services actually encouraged children to masturbate as a way of exploring their burgeoning sexuality and practising safe sex. The slogan on a pamphlet distributed to students was "an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away."

In the absence of even nominal public education about masturbation, what Matthew Burdette needed was some person of stature in his social circle - a teacher, or a jock, or maybe a celebrity - to step forward and admit, I do that too. In the absence of that, and if it could help other boys struggling with the fear, guilt and shame of being caught, maybe all of us men should find the courage to stand up and say, don't worry, guys, you're not alone.

Peter Scowen is an editorial writer and editor at The Globe.

Airdrie, Calgary struggle with grim puzzle
Neighbours of alleged killer Douglas Garland say he has always been an enigma, while many close to the three victims remain in shock
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A10

CALGARY -- Surrounded by large yellow fields of fragrant canola and patches of swaying green wheat, the faded sign at the end of Range Road 291 reads "Rural Crime Watch Area."

To long-time residents, the sign always seemed out of place on this farming road in southern Alberta, at the edge of the quiet bedroom community of Airdrie.

Everyone on Range Road 291 knows and helps one another.

This is an area ruled by tradition and hard work, where neighbours share coffee over wellworn kitchen tables. Descendants of the five families that first settled the area a century ago still meet at Christmas annually.

Near the edge of the road, where asphalt gives way to gravel that continues to the horizon, Archie and Doreen Garland have owned a large acreage for more than 40 years. A tree-lined lane runs to their home from the road, with rusted and sagging barbed wire strung across the front of their property. This has been home to their family for decades.

However, to neighbours who know everything about each other, the couple's son was always an enigma.

Douglas Garland, 54, was considered quiet, a loner. He was never seen at the bank, at local bars or shopping at the supermarket. Where most locals would honk and wave as they drove past, Doug would stare straight ahead through the steering wheel of his green Ford F-150.

"They're great neighbours, everyone likes them," says Jim Nevada, a retired chuckwagon racer who lives nearby. "But no one can tell you anything about Doug except his parents. There is a big blank at the end of the road and no one can fill it, not even the neighbours."

Life on Range Road 291 changed forever at 1:30 a.m. on July 14. The quiet street was awash with flashing lights that night as neighbours said Mr. Garland crossed two open fields and was arrested on the porch of the home behind his family's property.

Two RCMP cars now sit at the end of the Garlands' laneway and could be there for weeks. Every slough, ditch, field and corral in the immediate area has been picked through as police search for the bodies of five-year-old Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes.

Calgary police charged Mr. Garland with two counts of firstdegree murder and one count of second-degree murder the day after his arrest. Investigators believe the reclusive man is responsible for an act of violence on a sleepy street a half hour to the south in Calgary.

Over the last weekend of June, hundreds streamed through the front door of the blue-grey clapboard house at 123 38A Avenue in Calgary - the Liknes home. One of the many vehicles to park near the house, police would later reveal, belonged to Mr. Garland, whose sister, Patti, was in a common-law relationship with Alvin and Kathryn Liknes's son Allen.

Why he may have visited the Liknes home around the end of June remains a mystery and the subject of theories in Calgary and the town of Airdrie.

Over the weekend before they disappeared, the Likneses held an estate sale that had been publicized online. More than 200 people walked through their home and bought much of what they owned. The grandparents were moving to Edmonton and wanted to downsize.

The Liknes home is in Parkhill, a small enclave of only a few streets tucked between one of southwest Calgary's main arterial roads, the Macleod Trail, and the Elbow River.

The area is a mix of homes only a few minutes from downtown.

At one end of short 38A Avenue, bare-chested locals cut the grass in front of their tract housing in mid-July, leaving the fresh smell hanging over the area. Only a short walk to the west, an ultramodern mansion with an imposing security system sits by the river.

Tracy, who preferred to withhold her last name, was a local resident who stopped by the Liknes's estate sale, leaving Friday evening with her eye on a set of dressers. Her boyfriend returned the next morning to haggle over the price.

"I spoke with [Ms. Liknes]. She seemed happy, telling us about how they were going to move and take a trip somewhere," she said.

According to the woman, Mr. Liknes wasn't very visible during the sale. When her boyfriend returned the next morning, he also spoke only with Ms. Liknes.

On Sunday, five-year-old Nathan came over to help his grandparents with the sale and spent the night. With blond hair and a cherub face, Nathan was wearing peach-coloured shorts that day, along with a blue hoodie. He was constantly reminding his grandmother to thank people who purchased items.

Police investigators have called the many layers of this case "strange." It's a once-in-a-career mystery, they say, with little information on Mr. Garland except a series of court documents stretching to the early 1990s, few friends and stumped neighbours.

Records start in 1992 when Mr. Garland was arrested for making amphetamines at his family's farm. Instead of appearing in court, he fled to Vancouver where he adopted the name Matthew Kemper Hartley, taken from a 14-year-old who had been killed in a car accident in the 1980s.

With the new identity, he worked in a series of laboratories until the RCMP eventually caught him. In 2000, Mr. Garland was sentenced to 39 months in jail for operating the drug lab.

Police say there may have been "bad blood" between Mr. Garland and Mr. Liknes due to a patent dispute over a pump that could extract gas from wells thought to be dry. Both men may have also shared investments that went badly.

Mr. Liknes's business history shows a series of failures. His latest venture went bankrupt only weeks before he went missing.

According to Winter Petroleum's former chief operating officer, the firm had been a mess before going under. Former employees and creditors lost money.

No one has seen Nathan or his grandparents since that Sunday.

The next morning, Jennifer O'Brien came by the home to pick up her son. No one was home and things were not as they should have been. According to police, there were signs the three didn't leave willingly. Something had been dragged from a side door to the driveway, leaving a dark trail.

Police posted an Amber Alert that Monday, June 30, which was displayed across Calgary, including on the electronic billboards over Highway 2 linking Calgary and Airdrie.

On Wednesday, Ms. O'Brien made a public appeal for her son's safe return, as well as that of his grandparents. "You're all superheroes," she said, flanked by her six-year-old Luke, and one-year-old Maximus.

By Friday, police were calling Mr. Garland a "person of interest." Footage taken from the Parkhill neighbourhood placed his green truck in the area around June 29. Mr. Garland was arrested that day for unrelated reasons. He would be released a week later.

Throughout early July, police searched the fields around the Garland family home. Teams also picked through Calgary's municipal dumps. The searches continued until July 13. Mr. Garland was arrested very early the next day on the porch in Airdrie. On July 15, Mr. Garland was charged with three counts of murder.

That evening, hundreds of green balloons were launched from Calgary as part of a vigil for the missing three.

There is now a rolling vigil outside the Liknes home as families visit through the day, adding teddy bears, flowers and toys to a growing memorial on the parched lawn.

Standing in front of the collection, mothers explain to their daughters what has happened and what they are looking at.

Fathers bring balloons and notes.

On a piece of pink paper, a child has written out the Lord's Prayer for Nathan. Some drop their offerings and walk away quickly; others stay and speak with other strangers who have come from across Calgary to pay their respects.

There are two boxes with green ribbons outside the home. Large and small, homemade and storebought, the ribbons are everywhere in the Parkhill neighbourhood of Calgary. The green symbolizes missing children.

Many neighbours are still struggling with what happened.

"It's still too hard," says one, declining to provide her name.

Several others responded in the same way.

John Monteiro and his wife, Anna, have lived in Calgary for 35 years. "I guess there is nothing we can do now," Mr. Monteiro says as he leaves the Liknes's lawn. "I just can't believe someone would do this to a five-yearold, an innocent."

Mr. Monteiro and his wife walk near the Liknes home daily. They brought balloons and flowers, with the added touch of ice cubes to help the flowers cope with heat that was nearly in the 40s.

Ms. Monteiro says she wants to stop by the home daily. Her neighbour knew the family and she sees a mirror of her life in that of the Likneses'. She has seven grandchildren and a similar home in a similar neighbourhood nearby.

"I'm scared," she says. "I live with my husband and have grandchildren just like they did. This could happen to anyone, this could happen to us."

Associated Graphic

Flowers and gifts left by well-wishers sit at the home of missing Calgary grandparents Kathryn and Alvin Liknes on Thursday.


More than 200 police officers. Nine hundred tips. Calgary officials' grim investigation into the deaths of a five-year-old and his grandparents has a city searching for answers
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A8

CALGARY -- There are green ribbons tied to trees and railings, street light posts and mailboxes, all of them a show of support. The memorial on the lawn outside the Liknes' home in southwest Calgary continues to grow with letters, flowers and stuffed animals - the kind a five-year-old boy would like.

Earlier this month, they were offerings of hope that Alvin and Kathryn Liknes and their grandson Nathan were okay, that some day soon the three missing people would be found alive and their assailant caught and punished.

Only half that hope was answered this week: Douglas Garland, 54, was arrested and charged Tuesday with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder - even without the police finding the bodies of Alvin, Kathryn and Nathan.

Now the offerings on the Liknes lawn are a show of mourning. After more than two weeks, the three are still missing in a case that has demoralized a city that wants to know why. Why did this happen?

Veteran police officers and investigators have asked themselves that question. Some have said publicly they have never seen this sort of case, with 200 people having gone through the Liknes' house as part of their estate sale the day they disappeared. There were 900 tips called in to police. Mr. Garland's sister is in a common-law relationship with Allen Liknes, Alvin's son. Hundreds of officers searched the Airdrie, Alta., property where Mr. Garland lived with his parents.

The police spent Tuesday door-knocking to alert landowners to the search near Airdrie, a bedroom community on the northern outskirts of Calgary. While they weren't looking in city landfills, police are likely to return to the city to sift through the refuse at the Spyhill site in the northwest.

"They're not ruling anything out at this point," said a Calgary Police spokeswoman. "They're looking everywhere."

What has been a formidable effort and weeks-long hunt by hundreds of officers is now morphing into what could be a longer-term search by both police and a wider cast of farmers, rural business owners and oil and gas companies operating in the area. Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson has asked that everyone stay vigilant for signs of anything suspicious as they search for the bodies.

Patrick Roy, operations manager for Foran Equipment Ltd., said he will be asking his staff to keep an eye out as they dig holes for water and sewer upgrades on a road site not far from the Garland acreage. "It's something that's on everyone's mind," Mr. Roy said.

Mr. Garland is set to appear in court on the murder charges on Wednesday.

THE ACCUSED Douglas Garland faces three counts of murder

The first live footage of Douglas Garland showed a trim middle-aged man clad in jeans and a navy T-shirt, hunched away from the cameras and wearing a slightly pained expression as police led him on a "perp walk" through the nighttime streets of Calgary.

The intelligent but troubled 54-year-old was taken into custody Monday and is charged with the deaths of Alvin Cecil Liknes, Mr. Liknes's wife, Kathryn Faye Liknes, and their fiveyear-old grandson Nathan O'Brien. He will make his first appearance in court on Wednesday. Mr. Garland has a criminal past, and according to a court document written by a judge in 2005, suffers from attention deficit disorder and has had multiple breakdowns.

"Mr. Garland attended medical school in Alberta for one year until he suffered a breakdown. He also seems to have been traumatized by causing what he described as a horrific accident due to falling asleep at the wheel," Justice Campbell J. Miller wrote in a tax-court decision nine years ago.

Asked this week to explain the details of the "horrific accident," Justice Miller, via a spokesperson, declined comment.

Mr. Garland was producing his own amphetamines at his parents' Alberta farm in 1992 when RCMP raided and Mr. Garland was charged. He was released on bail and then skipped the province, Justice Miller wrote. Mr. Garland moved to Vancouver and assumed the identity of a dead teenager.

Under the alias, he worked in B.C. until 1999, when he was rearrested and sent to prison for a time. Mr. Garland had been living on his parents' acreage near Airdrie, Alta., when he was named as a person of interest in the case on July 4. Neighbours said he spent most of his time at home and they assumed he was unemployed.

NATHAN Five-year-old was the 'glue' of the family

Nathan O'Brien's parents have described him as the "glue" of the family - a kind and outgoing child who loved butterflies and superhero characters.

Since Nathan's disappearance alongside his grandparents under mysterious and violent circumstances on June 29, people from across Canada have come to hope for the return of the five-year-old with wavy blond hair, brown eyes and a smiling cherub face. Standing just three feet tall, Nathan was last seen wearing peach-coloured shorts and a striped blue hoodie.

But on Tuesday, Calgary police charged Douglas Garland, 54, with the murders of Nathan and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes. The search for their bodies continues. "Your whole family loves you to every star and back," said Nathan's father, Rod O'Brien, who spoke at a news conference earlier this month, when he and his wife Jennifer asked Nathan to be brave. They also made an imploring call for the return of their son.

In an e-mail to The Canadian Press, Teena Prevost, a sister-in-law of Kathryn Liknes, said her family is praying police are wrong. "Until the police can show us the bodies of our loved ones, we will not believe they are deceased," she wrote.

GRANDPARENTS Hundreds visited their estate sale

Alvin and Kathryn Liknes had lived in their split-level house for nearly two decades and appeared to be the last people their neighbours thought would be involved in a mysterious crime that has captured the attention of the country.

On the day before their disappearance, Mr. and Mrs. Liknes - aged 66 and 53 - held an estate sale in their Parkhill neighbourhood home. They had sold the property a year earlier and were leasing it back, but were planning to move to Edmonton and take an extended vacation in Mexico.

Hundreds visited the blue and white house during the sale. Their grandson Nathan and his mother, Jennifer, the couples' daughter, were there to help. The boy reminded his grandmother repeatedly to say "thank you" to people who bought her household items.

Christie Simmons, who lives two doors down, told the Calgary Herald she saw the pair go through the life stages of having teenage children and a driveway full of cars, and then later enjoying their days as grandparents with toddlers in the playground behind their home. "Whenever it came to the Christmas gatherings, Kathy was always there with the turkey," Ms. Simmons said. "They're just standard, down-to-earth people."

THE BUSINESS PLAN Company tanked and lost money

Calgary Police drew a bead on Doug Garland as a person of interest when they located his green truck - CCTV caught it being driven near the murder scene - and when they learned his sister Patti was in a common-law relationship with a Liknes family member.

Then there was the relationship between Doug Garland and Alvin Liknes, the father. Not only did the two men know each other; they were investors in a business plan that tanked and lost money. The point of contention was a patent on a pump system to be used in preexisting gas wells.

The situation worsened in late June when Mr. Liknes' hopes for Winter Petroleum, a junior company that was sinking in debt, were crushed under the weight of $800,000 in property taxes and late penalties. Even before Winter Petroleum collapsed into bankruptcy, the company was in a significant mess.

"We were a two-man operation," said former Winter Petroleum COO Marek Kozera. "It was just him and me."

Mr. Kozera added that when the company collapsed, not everyone - staff or investors - got paid.

For Mr. Liknes, it wasn't the first time a deal had gone bad. In 1994, he declared bankruptcy; his wife, Kathryn, did the same two years ago. In 2008, Bluesky Oil and Gas, with Mr.

Liknes as its CEO and president, registered in Nevada. Bluesky was to merge with a Florida company, Whitemark Homes. Mr. Liknes described the arrangement as "a significant step in the growth of our company." Two years later, Bluesky lost its business licence in Nevada and was gone.

Calgary Police are still looking into the business connections but have stated there was "bad blood" between Mr. Liknes and Mr. Garland.

"I can tell you there are some business issues that we're looking into," Calgary Police spokesperson Kevin Brookwell said earlier this week.

"I can't get into specifics, as to what those are and who's involved. We're dedicating a number of folks who are looking into that."


The victims, the accused and their relatives

Associated Graphic

Douglas Garland was arrested late Monday.


Investigators search a hay field north of Airdrie, Alta., where Douglas Garland lived with his parents.



Nathan O'Brien

Kathryn Faye Liknes

Alvin Cecil Liknes

Folio: Flight MH17
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

My friend Vlad met me just as my train pulled into Donetsk station this spring. He'd called ahead and wanted to know not just what time I was arriving, but which car of the train I was on.

Vlad grabbed me by the elbow as soon as I stepped off and walked me briskly toward the parking lot. "Don't speak English!" he whispered in Russian with uncharacteristic fierceness. "There are people looking for you."

Thus began my most recent trip to the Donetsk People's Republic, which has been thrust to the front pages this week by suspicions the Russian-backed rebels shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Vlad told me that my name and photograph - borrowed from my Twitter profile - had been posted on the Russian social network VKontakte, on a members-only page affiliated with one of the angrier wings of the Moscowbacked separatists controlling the region. Along with several other foreign journalists, I was named as a kidnapping target, someone the rebels hoped to snatch, hold and later exchange for comrades who had been captured by the Ukrainian army.

I believed Vlad because he had fear in his eyes (which are normally mirthful, even while living amid the absurdity of the Donetsk People's Republic), and because he himself had been held as a prisoner for three days and two nights inside the city's regional administration building, which since April had been repurposed as the nerve centre of the armed pro-Russian uprising.

But when we reached my hotel, there was an envelope waiting for me at the front desk. Inside was a flimsy piece of paper with "Donetsk People's Republic Accreditation Certificate" written across the top in bold type. The rebels' official stamp - a rising blue sun over crossed mining hammers - had been applied that morning.

So was I a wanted man, or a reporter who was officially welcomed by the Donetsk People's Republic?

Checkpoints, crude and unsettling

I spent the next week trying and failing to find out, in large part because the pro-Russian rebels who have taken over Donetsk and neighbouring Lugansk were never the unified entity they're too often portrayed as in the media. There are three or more different types of separatists - often distrustful of each other - held together only by anger at February's revolution in Kiev (which saw Donetsk native Viktor Yanukovych deposed by proWestern crowds) and a shared belief that eastern Ukraine would be better off as part of Russia.

In the city of Donetsk, the rebellion has long had an almost surreal feel to it, as political forces that had always floated on the fringe of Ukrainian politics seized the administration building and declared themselves the "people's government." At first, most of the residents the rebels professed to govern simply gave the administration building - surrounded by newly built walls of tires, razor wire and handmade posters decrying the "Nazi" government in Kiev - a wide berth, and went about their lives as best as they could.

Those inside the headquarters were ideologues, including people who had written turgid essays and books about how the Donbass (a term that includes both Donetsk and Lugansk) was never meant to be part of Ukraine, and how the region's destiny was to be once more joined with Russia, as it was before the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

You could interview those trying to establish a Donetsk People's Republic in the morning inside their increasingly squalid headquarters, and then go for lunch a few hundred metres away at the posh Donbass Palace hotel, where the pro-Kiev Governor, billionaire Serhiy Taruta, would still give occasional press conferences under the chandeliers. Donetsk's raucous nightclubs and karaoke bars kept the party going, as if eastern Ukraine's burgeoning civil war was happening somewhere else entirely.

But a short drive away, in the mining belt that surrounds Donetsk, the uprising felt very real. In Gorlovka, a city of broken roads and shuttered coal mines, the residents I met were supporting the Donetsk People's Republic out of sheer desperation. A Ukraine that signed trade deals accepting European Union standards, they feared, would be a Ukraine that closed the few coal mines and aging factories that were still open in eastern Ukraine. These were the rankand-file of the Donetsk People's Republic: locals hoping the revolt would take them not just into union with Russia - the only market that still buys what eastern Ukraine produces - but back in time to something like the USSR.

And then there was Slavyansk, the city that was the de facto military headquarters of the Donetsk People's Republic until earlier this month, when the rebels deserted Slavyansk in order to concentrate their military resources in and around the city of Donetsk. Slavyansk was the city that Western journalists got nervous about travelling to, a place of kidnappings, disappearances and random gunfire.

The crude checkpoints between these places were the most unsettling locations of all. You would drive up to a wall of tires, and masked men with Kalashnikovs would stop and search your car. Often they seemed bored, or drunk. Sometimes they'd suddenly turn hostile. Were they from the main Donbass People's Militia, who might then be impressed with your press credentials? Or the harder-core Russian Orthodox Army? Most feared of all were the mercenaries - Russians and even Chechens - who poured into the Donetsk People's Republic as the conflict dragged on.

Putin's goal: disorder

The allegations of Russian involvement in the Donetsk People's Republic were always easy to prove but hard to quantify.

Some of the masked men acknowledged they had come from Russia to join the fight. Their rapidly growing arsenal - including Soviet-era tanks that were filmed driving into rebel-held Ukraine from Russia last month and, we now know, mobile antiaircraft batteries - also pointed to the rebellion's foreign sponsor.

But this was not Crimea, where well-trained Russian troops - masked, and with the insignia taken off their uniforms - were on the ground even before the peninsula's controversial March 16 referendum on joining Russia.

As surreal as Crimea was, there was a sense that the Kremlin was ultimately in charge of the situation, anxious and able to maintain a semblance of order while it captured what it saw as lost Russian lands.

President Vladimir Putin's goal in Donetsk, I've always believed, was only to create disorder. He wasn't seeking to annex the region as he did Crimea, he was looking to create an angry ministate inside Ukraine, akin to the breakaway Trans-Dniester region of Moldova. The conflict Mr.

Putin nurtured would be Moscow's way of maintaining influence over Kiev, and making sure Ukraine's applications to join the European Union and NATO never looked very attractive.

But, as we can see now, remote control isn't enough control when you're talking about masked men with heavy weaponry.

Masked men with guns

Desperate to figure out if I was in any real danger during my visit, I called a young man named Alexander who worked as something of a foreign media liaison for the Donetsk People's Republic. Alexander was from the first category of separatists. He had been a Russian literature student at Donetsk National University before all this began, and Alexander told me he had gone to the first "anti-Maidan" (opposed to the February revolution in Kiev) demonstrations "out of curiosity." But he says he had always seen Ukraine as a "Frankenstein monster" of a country, an unnatural creation that was doomed to break apart.

When the anti-Maidan protesters swept in and took over Donetsk's regional administration building on April 7, Alexander followed the crowd inside. Then, when the foreign media arrived and started asking questions, he suddenly discovered a role. He was the only one inside the building who spoke any English, so he was thrust in front of the television cameras, tasked with explaining the Donetsk People's Republic to a confused world.

We met at a coffee shop halfway between my hotel and the separatist headquarters so I could ask him about the kidnap threat. I wanted to know: Was I safe in Donetsk?

Alexander's answer told me something about the Donetsk People's Republic that the rest of the world has learned over awful hours and days following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. He told me I had nothing to fear from the leadership of the Donetsk People's Republic. If they had a problem with me or my reporting, they wouldn't have accredited me.

But when I asked him if should feel comfortable travelling through checkpoints, or visiting Slavyansk, Alexander sighed. He clearly didn't want to feel guilty later for saying yes. "I can't speak for all the groups," he said finally.

In other words, there were masked men out there in the Donetsk People's Republic with guns - and anti-aircraft weapons - and no one was in charge any more.

Follow me on Twitter:@markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

A pro-Russian separatist of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic takes part in an oath ceremony in the city of Donetsk.


The 'Donetsk People's Republic Accreditation Certificate' that awaited Mark MacKinnon at the front desk of his Donetsk hotel. 'So was I a wanted man, or a reporter who was officially welcomed by the Donetsk People's Republic?'

Mighty brain helped avert Apollo 13 tragedy
Professor led a group of six Toronto scientists that came up with a solution for the damaged spacecraft's re-entry
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

It was not supposed to happen. When Apollo 13, the third manned mission intended to land on the moon, took off from the Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970, no one imagined that after minutely detailed planning, testing and preparation it would have to be aborted just two days later because of an exploding oxygen tank.

The explosion had crippled the service module where water, food and oxygen were stored, but luckily some additional supplies were available in the lunar module, which became the crew's life raft. The lunar module was needed as long as possible, but then had to be jettisoned. But how?

The U.S. contractor Grumman Aerospace Corp., which had built the lunar module for NASA, put in a call for help to the University of Toronto, where they knew there was a wide range of engineering expertise.

That a tragedy was averted was in large part due to a team of engineers at the university - led by Bernard Etkin as the senior scientist - who stepped in at the crucial moment with nothing more than their slide rules and powerful brains.

Prof. Etkin, usually called Ben, died at the Baycrest Centre in Toronto on June 26, at the age of 96. He had begun as a young lecturer in aeronautical engineering in 1942 at the University of Toronto and never really retired.

"He was a giant in Canadian science and engineering," said Gabriele d'Eleuterio, a professor at the U of T Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) and one of his former students.

"Ben Etkin was one of the best scientists the university ever had," said his colleague Rod Tennyson, who had been a member of the six-man team convened on April 16, 1970, to figure out how to push the lunar module off from the command module to which it was attached so that the command module could re-enter the Earth's atmosphere unimpeded.

If the moon landing had succeeded, the lunar module would have been left behind and no such problem would have arisen.

Without the service module, the crew were suffering from carbon dioxide buildup and dropping temperatures, "but the big problem was 'Okay, guys, how do we get rid of this lunar module prior to re-entry?' "recalled Prof. Tennyson. "That was the basis of the call. There was only a day left before they had to do something; there wasn't much time."

A small tunnel connected the modules. "The tunnel had a hatch in it, and if they closed the hatch and pressurized the tunnel, they would explosively separate the lunar module, then blow it away from the command module just prior to reentry," explained Prof. Tennyson.

"They didn't want the lunar module to come tumbling after them."

The pressure required had to be precisely calculated. "Too high, and it might damage the hatch and the astronauts will burn up because they won't be sealed in the spacecraft. Too low, and the lunar module would not get separated enough from the command module.

"We had maybe six hours to make the calculations, and in those days we didn't have numerical models or computers," Prof. Tennyson remembered.

The Toronto six (it included also professors Barry French, Philip Sullivan, Peter Hughes, a specialist in orbital mechanics, and another senior scientist, Irvine Glass, a specialist in shock waves) assumed that they were not the only ones sweating over the slide rules.

They believed that others were working on the same calculations, perhaps at MIT or Caltech.

"The guy from Grumman never told us that we were the only ones he had asked. We found out later when he sent us a thank-you letter. It kind of shook us," Prof. Tennyson said.

The calculation they came up with was relayed by Grumman to NASA, and from there to the astronauts. It worked perfectly.

You won't find the U of T engineers in Apollo 13, the movie about this nail-biting event, starring Tom Hanks; perhaps the image of these six modest Canadians with their slide rules does not fit heroic American stereotypes.

It took 40 years for their roles to be publicly recognized and for one of the astronauts, Fred Haise, to thank them personally.

In 2010, the still-living members of the group were honoured with medals by the Canadian Air and Space Museum. Mr. Haise spoke at the presentation.

Bernard Etkin was born May 7, 1918, one of five children and only son of poor Jewish immigrants from Belarus, a contested land north of Ukraine. His parents Samuel and Mary Etkin (originally spelled Itkin) ran a small cleaning and tailoring business until they lost it during the Depression. Young Ben, a top student, had to drop out to go to work to support the family; he completed high school via night classes. His adoring sisters, by then out in the working world, helped pay for his tuition when he entered U of T and obtained an honours degree in engineering physics in 1941. A master's degree in aeronautical engineering followed, then a doctorate from Carleton University in Ottawa.

At 21, he was a counsellor at Camp Yungvelt, a summer camp in Pickering, when he met Maya Kasselman, then 16. "He was playing chess and my mother walked by and said, 'Are you sure you want to make that move?' "said his son, David Etkin. They married five years later; a daughter, Carol, came along in 1946, followed by David in 1949.

Bernard Etkin liked to build model airplanes and gliders with his children and pose science problems at the dinner table, challenging his kids to solve them by dinner the following day.

But it was Maya (a family therapist) who mainly raised the children, while Prof. Etkin's academic career took off. He became a professor at UTIAS, chairman of Engineering Science (1967-72) and dean of the university's Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, the largest in the country. Even as dean, he taught first-year students, who found him endlessly encouraging and kind.

"My father exemplified the best qualities of a scholar. He had no ego," recalls his son. "He was pre-eminent in his field but extremely humble. He was an enabler of other people, especially his students."

At UTIAS he designed and built a large wind tunnel where he tested the effects of air movement on buildings, among other things. In the 1960s, when the new Toronto City Hall was to be built, he was invited to provide input on how well the two wings of the boomerangshaped structure would stand up to strong winds, and found that they needed to be more strongly anchored.

Prof. Etkin held 11 patents, including one for a novel way to stabilize a satellite and another for a particle separator.

He wrote the standard textbook Dynamics of Flight, which has gone through four editions since 1959 and is still in use today in English and other languages.

He produced a string of papers on aerodynamics for learned journals, consulted to industry on everything from the stability of airplanes, the design of heliports and the reduction of subway noise and vibration, to the most reliable windshieldwiper design.

He was showered with honours, including an Order of Canada in 2003 and an honorary degree from Carleton University, and was made a member of the Royal Society of Canada. He was invited to lecture in Japan, China, Hong Kong and Israel, where he was on board of governors of Ben Gurion University and Technion university.

Troubled by global warming, he published his last scientific article at the age of 92 in the Journal of Climate Change.

According to his son, Prof. Etkin graphed CO2 concentrations in the upper atmosphere against global average temperatures over a span of 420,000 years (he used data derived from ice cores taken from Antarctic glaciers) to demonstrate that the two are now out of whack in a way that is historically unprecedented.

In their final years, Maya and Ben Etkin lived in a retirement home in Toronto. Prof. Etkin's last patent, which he was working on not long before his death, was inspired by a friend who sat at his table there.

This gentleman had Parkinson's disease, which caused his arm to jerk upward uncontrollably. "My father thought there must a mechanical way to reduce the degrees of movement, and came up with a sleeve fitted with plates, and lined with stretch fabric," recalled daughter Carol. He sent his design to be refined and patented by an engineer he knew in China.

Bernard Etkin died after a short illness of mantle cell lymphoma, which chiefly affects men over 60.

His wife had died in October. Mr. Etkin leaves his daughter, son and two grandchildren.

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Associated Graphic

Ben Etkin also held 11 patents, was showered with honours, wrote the standard textbook Dynamics of Flight and produced a string of papers on aerodynamics for learned journals.

From left, Phil Sullivan, Rod Tennyson, Irvine Glass, Barry French and Ben Etkin were five of the six scientists who helped safely bring the damaged Apollo 13 back down to Earth.


The Northwest Territories could lose between one and two million hectares of boreal forest to wildfire this year. The destruction, and its aftermath, are teaching scientists about the dynamics of climate change
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

The boreal forest is no stranger to fire. Each year, in the Northwest Territories alone, thousands of hectares of wilderness are consumed in flames - part of the natural process of forest regeneration.

But this year, as the region battles its worst fires since the 1990s and smoke drifts for thousands of kilometres to the U.S.

border, a new set of questions is emerging: Is a warming climate amplifying the severity of northern wildfires? Will bad fire years like this become more common? Will the forest that regrows be different in character from the one burning away right now?

Fire on such a massive scale is a drama in three acts - and it's one that scientists are watching carefully for clues to a changing planet.


Weather is a key factor in forest fires. In Canada's northwest, the weather this summer has created optimal conditions for wildfires to spread.

The principal culprit is a ridge of warm, dry air that has been parked around the Mackenzie River valley and points east for weeks. The ridge acts as a roadblock to weather patterns that would otherwise carry moisture into the region.

Since mid-June, temperatures from Yellowknife to Tuktoyaktuk have been well above historic averages while precipitation has been sparse. As the forest dries out, there's less moisture around to slow fire down. If a fire breaks out it can go farther and faster than it would in a typical year, which makes all the difference. In Canada, just 3 per cent of fires are responsible for 97 per cent of the area burned.

"That's the tail that wags the dog - and why this event is having such an extreme effect," says Mike Flannigan, a professor at the University of Alberta who specializes in climate-fire interactions.

This summer's fire season is unusual but still within the normal range of variation for the Northwest Territories. What scientists are beginning to see, however, are signs that blocking patterns are becoming more pronounced in the North as the climate warms.

Years that seem out of the ordinary from a historical perspective may, in fact, represent the new normal. This year, the Northwest Territories could lose between one and two million hectares of boreal forest to wildfire. Last year, the northeast experienced similar conditions and Quebec lost 1.7 million hectares.

This picture is reflected across the entire circumboreal region - the forested area that rings the Arctic. Preliminary results from a NASA-backed study reveal a seesaw pattern between eastern and western Siberia. When one is burning the other is not, indicating how the looping waves of the jet stream facilitate the persistence of ridges of dry air in some locations while moistureladen troughs linger in others.

The data suggest a future of heightened fire extremes, says Prof. Flannigan, who is participating in the study, because "the ridges will be more longlasting and perhaps more intense."


Today, much of what is known about how Canadian forest fires unfold is based on an extensive series of experimental burns conducted in the Northwest Territories starting in the late 1990s.

"It's been a wealth of information for us," says Bill de Groot, a fire researcher with the Canadian Forest Service, based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Those carefully monitored experiments along with studies conducted in wind tunnels and other data can be used to develop fire behavioural models that show how a given forest fire will spread under a particular set of conditions. The models are intended to help predict where and when a dangerous fire is likely to arise.

A key element of the models is fuel mix. Currently models used in Canada distinguish among 16 different kinds of fuel based on forest type. For example, the boreal forest is densely packed with black spruce, which burns well and easily allows a ground fire to transition into an intense crown fire that spreads rapidly from treetop to treetop. This helps explain why this region burns more extensively than any other part of the country, even though locations farther south experience fire-friendly conditions more frequently.

Fires in the remote North are typically caused by lightning strikes. When a tree is struck, the charge travels down the trunk and ignites vegetation at or even below the surface.

A crucial factor in what happens next is the dryness of the litter along the forest floor. A top layer of twigs and needles can dry out quickly and help fuel a newly started fire. But the resulting blaze also depends on the state of the underlying layers of decaying vegetation and moss. These layers hold water like a sponge. When wet they can stop a fire before it gets started. When dry - as they have been across the Northwest Territories this summer - a single electrical storm can lead to many fires.

When deeper layers are dry, they can also harbour and sustain a smouldering fire below ground for days or weeks, even if the topmost layer has been temporarily dampened by passing showers. They can also lead to a more energetic fire.

"There's a whole lot of biomass in those deeper layers," says Mike Wotton, a federal research scientist based at the University of Toronto's Fire Management Systems Laboratory. "As they dry and start to contribute, that can really drive up flame intensity."

Ultimately, understanding this dynamic may prove key to gauging whether Canadian forest fires are part of a positive feedback loop in the global climate system. Many regions of the boreal forest sit atop peat that has been storing carbon for thousands of years. If a higher proportion of this material burns along with the forests it will add significantly to atmospheric carbon, which in turn will accelerate global warming and set the stage for more fire.


All things being equal, a warming planet should create opportunities for more southerly plant species to migrate north.

But while looking for clues as to whether this is happening, Jill Johnstone, a plant ecologist at the University of Saskatchewan, says she has found that two very different patterns can emerge once a patch of boreal forest has burned.

"We're seeing areas where the forest changes and spreads after a fire and we're seeing areas where the forest disappears," she says.

One example of the former type of shift can be found near Inuvik, NWT, where a stretch of boreal forest cleared by forest fire in 1968 has been replaced by stands of aspen and birch.

The amount of fuel consumed in the 1968 fire may have played a role in the change. When fire is less severe, the organic layer on the ground is only partly burned. It forms a loose black fluff that gets hot and dry in direct sunlight and tends to keep seeds separated from moisture lower down. Black spruce seedlings are adapted to this and tend to do better under such circumstances. But when fires become more severe, the organic layer is completely stripped away and aspen or birch seeds can gain a foothold.

This has an effect on wildlife. Woodland caribou, already under pressure from road building and other human activity, are among the losers when lichenrich spruce forests give way to a mixed deciduous bush. In contrast, moose stand to gain.

Permafrost is another casualty of big fires. When permafrost melts away under a fire, the ground can shift, sometimes dramatically, creating crevices and eroded areas where shrubs and other plants more readily take over instead of the trees that were there previously.

The takeaway message is that context matters when trying to predict what will happen after fire sweeps through a northern forest. With comparatively little data to go on, researchers are still struggling to see the big picture.

That's why the current conflagration - once the smoke clears - represents a big opportunity for scientists to learn more, Dr. Johnstone says. Some of the most useful data will come from looking at burned areas within a year of the blaze, since it becomes harder to reconstruct the ecological impact a fire has made as time passes.

"I think it's really important for us to take advantage of studying these big disturbance events," she says. "Because, if we can say anything, we can say that we think they're going to be more common."

The Northwest Territories sees wide variations from year to year in how much of its land area is consumed by wildfire. Scientists anticipate that persistent dry spells due to climate change could boost the number and severity of large burn years.

Associated Graphic

The boreal forest is densely packed with black spruce, which burns well and easily allows a ground fire to transition into an intense crown fire. This is part of the reason that the region burns more extensively than any other part of the country, even though locations farther south experience fire-friendly conditions more frequently.



Boiled or steamed? Lemon or butter? Bib, or no bib? A primer on how to get the most out of one of life's finest pleasures
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

Perhaps you have not noticed it is lobster season.

Perhaps you do not daydream, come the drowsy midafternoon, of all the things you could do to a live lobster selling these days for $10 a pound, which is pretty cheap for a fresh thing 1,600 kilometres from the sea. Perhaps a vision of creamed lobster (steam, remove the meat, heat slightly in some butter in a frying pan, add half and half and a tablespoon of Miracle Whip and some salt and pepper, serve over white bread) has not filled your waking moments, even as it brings on the fear on incipient infarction.

That's fine. We are all entitled to our philosophical opinions. But for those of us who love lobster, who know it to be one of the finer pleasures in life, eating Homarus americanus still presents a range of dilemmas:


This question, the foundational inquiry that precedes all others regarding lobster, wasn't much of a concern until the late David Foster Wallace published his famous essay Consider the Lobster, in which he raises the possibility that a lobster has a right not to be eaten on grounds of cruelty. But even Wallace admitted that the subject was somewhat debatable, given the fact that lobsters may or may not - the evidence is inconclusive - experience pain. ("They're absolutely primitive," is the way Kimberley Shears, the manager of logistics for the Tangier Lobster Co. Ltd., explains it, and Shears may know more about lobster than anyone else on Earth.) What lobsters do have is several ganglia that cause them to respond to changes in their environment. The fact that lobsters predate us, and will likely be scuttling around after we are gone, is not a response to Wallace's argument so much as something to think about.

2. Boiled or steamed?

Less philosophically fundamental than "Should I eat one?" this question is nevertheless asked more often, and is just as unanswerable. More people boil than steam, partly because it's easier. But there are as many methods within the pro-boiling camp as there are campers. The general procedure is to bring a large pot of heavily salted (preferably ocean) water to the boil. Drop your lobster in back first (this may or may not reduce the stress the animal feels, and doesn't change the lobster's fate but may render the flesh more tender). Boil for between 10 (my preference) and 18 minutes (if you're paranoid), for a 11/2-pound lobster, starting from the moment the water comes back to the boil.

Steaming - which Shears prefers - is more complicated. Fill the pot 10 per cent full of salted water; drop the lobster in on its back, preferably on a steaming rack; add a pinch of sugar (optional, in case the lobster hasn't been seasoned long enough, to permit the, um, evacuation of its last meal). Steam 18 to 20 minutes per pound.

3. Should a lobster be sautéed alive?

If you didn't like the answer to question 1, you're really not going to like this. Still: Jenna Mooers, the owner of Edna, an excellent restaurant in Halifax's newly groovy North End, recently told me how her chef friends like to cook lobster. "You split the lobster in half, alive, and" - with the lobster still moving, because lobsters can do that - "pour hot molten butter into each chest cavity. You wait until you see the butter literally pumping through the body [lobsters have sinuses instead of veins]. Then you throw it on the barbecue." I mentioned this to Kevin Beale, the chef at a gastro-pub called the Abbot, in North Toronto, and he said, "That sounds delicious. But I'm not sure I could watch it a second time."

Incidentally, if you look Shears in the eye and say "Baked?", she will reply "If you have to."

4. Lemon or butter?

Lobster is lean: A two-pounder is only 140 calories. It is high in cholesterol, however, even more so when the lobster meat is dunked in clarified butter. Frankly, I find butter too rich, and have taken to spritzing my lobster tail with lemon, which at least leaves you able to move again after the meal. Interestingly, people in Halifax used to eat lobster with vinegar (easier to find than lemons, cheaper than butter), which may have had something to do with the Nova Scotia imprecation against drinking milk after you eat lobster.

5. How does one eat a lobster?

Shears tells people: "Do not be afraid of the lobster." This is excellent advice. Lobster is supposed to be hard to eat (that's why they have survived as a species for so long). Lobster is also an animal you eat with your hands, cracking your way into its insides, preferably in a communal setting, where the hands-on eating makes for better, franker conversation.

Take your time. It's not a race. Use a nutcracker and a tiny lobster picking fork, the full tool belt. Start with the claws. Move on to the knuckle meat. When you detach the legs from the body, detach the entire leg, from high up inside the chest cavity, and use a rolling pin to roll the sweet (and plentiful, if you know what you are doing) leg meat out of the leg opening. The tail is your last reward, and don't forget the telson. Only 20 per cent of a lobster is meat, versus 85 to 90 per cent of a scallop.

6. Bib or no bib?

This dilemma depends on your capacity for irony. If you are an ironic type you will not feel uncomfortable wearing a vast plastic bib with a picture of your dinner on it. Otherwise, stick to a large linen napkin or even a freshly pressed dishcloth tied around your neck. It does the job better and doesn't make you look like a character out of a John Waters movie.

7. Tomalley or not tomalley?

That is the bilious question. The green stuff in the head/body cavity (a lobster's tail is actually its abdomen) is the lobster's equivalent of a pancreas and liver and will reflect the taste of what the lobster has been eating: Frozen bait, for instance, makes tomalley sweeter. The roe is just as good, especially on bread. But you don't have to eat either.

8. Beer or wine?

I think this is no contest. Some people like to drink pilsner or weissbier with lobster, but in my experience, the ensuing bloat, especially if you dunked your lobster in butter, is going to make you want to lie down in the street like a concrete parking curb. Chablis and sauternes are classic, but a dryish sauvignon blanc or a Tavel rosé are my favourites.

9. Hot or cold lobster roll?

Live lobsters don't keep, and neither does leftover lobster meat. This tragedy, fortunately, produced the lobster roll, the ultimate leftover. There are many schools of thought on the best way to prepare your next-day sandwich: meat heated or cold, on white bread (popular in parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland) or a soft bun (white-walled baseball bun or standard submarine type, pan-toasted in butter or not), with or without mayonnaise/celery/tarragon, chopped small or chunky. To my mind, you have to reheat the chunky and plentiful meat (at least one lobster per roll) in a little butter before stuffing it into a butterbrowned, white-sided stadium bun with some tarragon and maybe even some cayenne or a little nutmeg.

Purists such as Shears say even a toasted bun detracts from the beautiful mildness of good lobster meat. Although I completely disagree with it, I understand her point. Even Socrates preferred the plainest possible life, cut back to basics and nothing more - as long as there was still someone around to argue with, over a good meal.


Read Ian Brown's full account of tracking a lobster from trap to plate:


Lobster is an animal that is best eaten with your hands. Don't know how to break into the arthropod's chitinous carapace?Here, a delicious primer:

1. Break the claws away from the body.

2. Crack the shell of each claw using your tool of choice (nutcracker, pliers, hammer, knife, etc).

3. Separate the tail from the body by arching the lobster's back until it cracks off.

4. Bend the flippers back from the tail until they break off.

5. Insert a knife, seafood pick or other tool into the opening where the flippers came off and push the meat out of the tail.

6. Unhinge the back shell from the body. This contains the edible green tomalley (liver).

7. Crack the body apart sideways, like opening a book to get at the last bits of meat inside.

8. The meat in the small claws can be sucked out, like sipping with a straw.

Associated Graphic


Hunted to brink by fur traders, this marine mammal's return is largely accepted, even by those competing with it for shellfish
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

CALVERT ISLAND, B.C. -- The evening before Barb Wilson faced the chiefs of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations she had a nightmare.

The Haida elder and her colleague, Anne Salomon, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University, had asked to speak with the chiefs about the spread of sea otters on the West Coast.

The species is making a remarkable comeback in British Columbia after being pushed to the edge of extinction nearly 100 years ago.

The revival of the otters is seen by some as a great environmental success story, but it is triggering dramatic ecological change and pitting native fishermen against animals that have a voracious appetite for urchins, crabs and clams.

Ms. Wilson wanted the leaders to embrace the change, to look back to a time when there were many more sea otters than now and native communities lived in harmony with them. But on the eve of that pivotal meeting, she was filled with doubt and dreamed she was driving a bus that was careening downhill without brakes.

If anyone had reason not to support sea otter expansion on the B.C. coast it would be the 14 tribes of the Nuu-chahnulth, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. They rely heavily on shellfish harvesting, and the sea otter population has exploded in their territory, leading to increased predation on shellfish that flourished in the absence of otters.

And here was Ms. Wilson about to tell them it was a good thing the otters were back.

"Oh my God," she said to herself the morning of the meeting.

"Do you know what you've gotten into? These guys hate sea otters."

Sea otters were over-hunted by the fur trade starting in the early 1800s. By 1929 they had virtually been eradicated from Alaska to California.

In B.C., sea otters vanished completely until 89 were released by government biologists on the west coast of Vancouver Island between 1969 and 1972. Spilling into bays both north and south of the original release site, with annual population growths of up to 18 per cent in some areas, they had reached a population of nearly 5,000 by 2008. A new study by Fisheries and Oceans Canada is under way, and it is expected to find there are far more sea otters on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island and at two locations on B.C.'s Central Coast.

Sea otters, which are still listed as a species of "special concern," have not yet re-established themselves on Haida Gwaii, inside Georgia Strait and along some stretches of the Central Coast.

But that's coming. The population is steadily expanding and the mission Ms. Wilson and Dr. Salomon have set for themselves is to get First Nations to support a wider return of the animals. They know that will be difficult in some places because sea otters feed voraciously on shellfish that are both commercially and culturally important to native communities.

Although Ms. Wilson initially feared meeting the Nuu-chahnulth, the chiefs listened to her argument and nodded in agreement.

"They came on board," Ms. Wilson said. "That was the turning point."

Ms. Wilson said she was able to win support by telling chiefs: "Our people up and down the coast ate and lived with the sea otters and we want to get back to that ... we both have a right to eat."

Now, one year later, the initiative she and Dr. Salomon started is gaining broad support among coastal First Nations. If the plan succeeds, it will allow sea otter populations to return along the entire coast of B.C.

Bringing back sea otters is important, they say, because it will trigger dramatic ecological changes, reshaping the Pacific near-shore ecosystem.

In a recent conference at the Hakai Beach Institute on Calvert Island, native leaders from B.C. and ocean scientists from Alaska to California gathered to examine how to manage the return of sea otters.

It's estimated that 300,000 sea otters populated the West Coast of North America when Captain James Cook acquired pelts at Nootka Sound, on Vancouver Island, in 1778. The soft, rich coats of the otters became a fashion sensation in China, triggering a fur-trading rush to the B.C. coast. But with as many as 18,000 pelts being collected yearly by trading ships, the sea otters were quickly wiped out.

By 1830 they had vanished from many areas, Norm Sloan, a Parks Canada marine ecologist and co-author of Sea Otters of Haida Gwaii, told the conference.

In their absence, the marine environment changed dramatically, Dr. Sloan said, and the return of the animals will also have an impact.

"It's going to change your near-shore ecology," he said.

"There would be very dramatic change ... [and] people will be competing with sea otters."

James Estes, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, told the conference that when sea otters are gone, sea urchin populations explode. Sea urchins in turn eradicate kelp forests.

Diving near islands in Alaska, Dr. Estes found that where otters existed, there were extensive seaweed beds and diverse ecosystems, but where otters weren't found, there were "urchin barrens" where sea urchins thrived but many other species did not "It was staggering to stick my head underwater and see this," he said, of finding how urchin barrens depended on the absence of otters, and kelp forests on their presence.

"What you see is pretty much the same thing everywhere," he said. "Where otters are gone there are lots of urchins and very little kelp."

The impact is far-reaching and profound, Dr. Estes said, because where there are kelp beds you will find more fish, more sea birds, more mammals, even more eagles.

But delegates at the conference also heard how sea otters are controversial. Ginny Eckert, a marine biologist at the University of Alaska, said sea otters were reintroduced in Alaska in the late 1960s, when 450 animals were released. By 2012 that number had grown to 25,000 sea otters. "This is an incredible conservation success story. A species that was wiped out has come back," she said.

But that has led to concerns in fishing communities. "I think sea otters are hated, and they are shot [in some places]," Dr. Eckert said.

Hup in Yook, Hereditary Whaling Chief of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island, said there is a real worry that as sea otters spread they will come into increasing conflict with shellfish harvesters. But he said native people once lived in harmony with sea otters - before the fur trade led to over-hunting - and he thinks they can again. Some hunting of sea otters will have to be allowed, however.

"It needs to be ... in harmony with nature," he said of the sea otter's place in the Pacific. And that ecosystem, he stressed, includes humans.

Jenn Burt, a marine ecologist and PhD student working with Dr. Salomon, said in summarizing a group discussion that while most people wanted the sea otter back, they didn't want otters to be allowed to wipe out shellfish beds.

"The only way is to hunt them in some way," she said, reporting the views shared by native leaders and scientists. "Maybe you don't have to kill a whole bunch. Maybe you just have to show enough [they will be shot at] so that they learn."

But she cautioned that managing sea otters in that way would be controversial. "As soon as it comes into the public eye it becomes difficult because of the cruelty to animals thing. It's not going to be easy," she said.

Guujaaw, past president of the Council of Haida Nation, told the gathering that the public would accept native hunting of sea otters, but the reasons for it would need to be explained.

"If you use language like eradicate, or kill, or control, the public will be down on it so quickly to rescue these little creatures we'll never get anywhere," he said. "We've just got to be seen as a natural part of the ecosystem ... otherwise it will get stopped before we get anywhere."

He reminded the gathering that before the fur trade began, natives on the West Coast had lived in harmony with sea otters for thousands of years and the marine environment had flourished.

"We want to have another 10,000 years like that," he said.

Associated Graphic

Barb Wilson, left, and Anne Salomon (at Spanish Banks Beach in Vancouver on Wednesday), lead efforts to get First Nations support for the sea otters' return.


A pair of sea otters eat a salmon near dawn at Esquimalt, B.C., on Vancouver Island, in this 2010 photo. They caught the fish in nearby waters and devoured it on a small dock.




Tuesday, July 22, 2014


A story on Saturday about the recovery of sea otters on the West Coast was incorrectly illustrated by a photograph of two river otters, many of whom inhabit coastal areas.

Bloodiest day so far in Gaza conflict
As Israel ramps up offensive and Hamas resistance hardens, death tolls mount on both sides - at least 100 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers killed in a single day
Monday, July 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

GAZA CITY -- Israeli forces greatly expanded their offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza Sunday in the bloodiest day yet of this twoweek-old conflict that seeks to weaken Hamas, the leading resistance movement, and to push it to halt its aggressive rocket fire against the Jewish state. But Hamas, to the surprise of many, pushed back hard, serving notice it could not be taken for granted.

At least 100 Palestinians were killed in fighting across the Gaza Strip, along with 13 Israeli soldiers - the most Israeli troops lost in a single day since the 2006 War in Lebanon. As well, Hamas said it had captured an Israeli soldier, a development Israel has not yet confirmed.

The majority of both Palestinians and Israelis were killed in one community, the border town of Shejaia, the battle for which will long be remembered for its carnage and for the flight of tens of thousands of its citizens - an exodus of biblical proportions.

The Israeli army said it was targeting the neighbourhood because it was a hotbed of Hamas activity.

Several of the hidden Hamas tunnels discovered by Israel in the past three days were found to lead back to Shejaia, which sits between one and two kilometres from the Israel frontier, and almost 10 per cent of all rockets fired against Israel during this conflict are said to have come from there.

Beginning shortly after sunset Saturday evening - the end of the Jewish Sabbath - Israeli ships, artillery and tanks began pounding the community with shells, trying to hit some of the known concentrations of Hamas fighters.

Hamas, however, showed unexpected mettle in battling the invaders, something it had not done when Israeli forces last invaded Gaza in 2008-2009.

"As we moved into Shejaia, we were met by anti-tank missiles, RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades], heavy extensive weapons fire at the forces from the houses, from the surrounding buildings," said Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces.

Seven of Israel's 13 fatalities were said to have occurred there when an armoured personnel carrier was hit by anti-tank fire.

Others were killed setting up positions inside houses of which they took control. All 13 fatalities were members of Israel's elite Golani Brigade.

The presence of militant fighters in Shejaia became clear Sunday afternoon when, under the cover of a humanitarian truce intended to allow both sides to remove the dead and wounded, several armed Palestinians scurried from the scene.

Some bore their weapons openly, slung over their shoulder, but at least two, disguised as women, were seen walking off with weapons partly concealed under their robes. Another had his weapon wrapped in a baby blanket and held on his chest as if it were an infant.

The shelling of Shejaia took its toll of the civilian population there. While the Israelis had warned citizens two days earlier to leave, many had refused in large part because Hamas said it expected people to remain.

By first light Sunday, Israeli tanks began advancing, shelling as they went and the people began streaming out of the neighbourhood by the thousands with little more than the clothes on their backs.

They crossed Saladin Street, part of the great Cairo-Beirut road that runs down the spine of the Gaza Strip, entered Gaza City and kept on walking toward the sea.

Many said they didn't know where they were headed, just away from the shelling and Hamas.

At Shifa Hospital in downtown Gaza, the emergency room was overflowing with victims brought in throughout the night.

Outside the emergency room, Aish Ijla, 38, lay on a bench, his left leg wrapped in a wet new cast from his foot to his hip. "I'm not sure how it happened," Mr. Ijla said. "One minute we were sitting there worrying, and the next, boom, and my leg was torn up."

Naser Tattar, the hospital's director, told journalists that 17 children, 14 women and four elderly people were among the 62 dead from Shejaia. About 400 people, he added, had been wounded in the Israeli assault The head of the Cairo-based Arab League, Nabil el-Araby, described the Israeli attack as "a war crime against Palestinian civilians and a dangerous escalation."

IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz said: "It hurts me to see wounded children and wounded women."

But, he added, the people of Shejaia "should know that they are victims of Hamas setting up in their areas.

"We will continue to act until we achieve the totality of our aims."

Throughout the day, hundreds of people from Shejaia sat out on the lawn behind Shifa hospital, as if it was some massive picnic, and refused to leave, believing it to be one of the few places where they would be safe.

United Nations schools filled up quickly with people seeking refuge.

Robert Turner, head of the UN Relief Works Agency in Gaza, said he expected as many as 85,000 people to find shelter by Sunday night (about 5 per cent of the Gaza Strip's population). He said his facilities were running out of things such as mattresses and hygiene kits and that the UN was now diverting supplies intended for Syria to Gaza.

Efforts to arrive at a negotiated ceasefire in this conflict failed last week when Hamas dismissed an Egyptian proposal that called merely for each side to stop fire and to enter into negotiations to settle other matters. Israel accepted the truce.

Hamas's deputy political chief Mousa Abu Marzook said Hamas would sooner have Israel reoccupy the Gaza Strip than return the territory to the status quo before this conflict.

Any ceasefire that doesn't include the opening of border crossings in and out of Gaza is a complete non-starter, he said.

"We're not asking for the moon," one man said this week in Khan Younis. "We just want to live in dignity like a proper country anywhere."

In an effort to close the gap between Hamas's demands and Egypt's ceasefire proposal, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas was to meet late Sunday in Qatar with Hamas's political leader Khaled Meshaal.

Mr. Abbas declared three days of mourning in Palestine for the victims Sunday and called on the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session over what he called the "massacre in Shejaia."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to arrive in Cairo Monday to lend his weight to efforts at reaching a ceasefire.

Mr. Kerry said Sunday Israel "has every right in the world to defend itself" from attacks by Hamas militants in Gaza, but he won no friends in Israel when he was heard over an open microphone making a sarcastic remark about Israel's efforts at conducting "pinpoint operations" to avoid collateral damage during this conflict.

When looking at the reports of large loss of life in Shejaia, he mockingly described the attack as "a hell of a pinpoint operation."

UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon arrived in Qatar Sunday and will spend the next few days touring the region in an effort to promote a speedy settlement.

Hamas, however, is in no rush.

Though more than 400 Gazans have been killed in the first two weeks of this war, Hamas seems prepared to slug it out with the Israelis in order to show their determination. They believe that Israelis are particularly averse to burying their soldiers. The 18 who now have been killed exceeds by seven the total number who lost their lives in the 22-day 20082009 war.

A few more days such as Sunday, they believe, will have the Israelis ready to make a deal.

Taking into account the possibility that Hamas may have captured an Israeli soldier, the group may well seek to increase its demands.



1 On the first day of a ground assault, Israel said the incursion was to be limited, focusing on tunnels into its territory like this one, used for a predawn attack Thursday.

2 Israeli troops said they uncovered more than 20 tunnel exit points.

3 At least nine people were killed here, including four members of a family.

4 Residents said bulldozers were levelling fields planted with crops.

5 Some staff members at Shifa Hospital have worked nearly nonstop for 11 days.

6 Israeli airstrikes continued, and an F-16 hit a villa.

7 Apache helicopters targeted an apartment building.

8 The town of Shejaia endured heavy casualties - both Palestinian and Israeli - on Sunday, the bloodiest day of the two-week old conflict.

9 About a mile into Israel, dozen; of Israeli tanks were parked in fields with soldiers on standby.

Associated Graphic

Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike hits the Gaza neighbourhood of Shejaia Sunday.


Palestinians celebrate outside the Shifa hospital in Gaza City Sunday night. Hamas said it had captured an Israeli soldier during fighting.



One hundred years ago, the world entered into a conflict whose consequences would be wide-ranging and indelible. It was an awakening and a disillusionment that would change the Western canon, birthing some of the last century's finest writing
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R13

I do not rush to read books about war; in fact, I avoid them. But, strangely, some of my favourite novels, memoirs and poems were inspired by a conflict that claimed the youth of a generation and gave birth to a bitterly disillusioned modern world. The 1960s musical that made satirical mincemeat of the First World War's ideals was called Oh, What a Lovely War! I would say, instead, "Oh, What a Literary War!" To me, it's clear that the literature written out of the Great War outshines that prompted by other wars.

The reasons for that are various. The Great War had a horrid novelty, in that it was Europe's first war in almost a century and the first mechanized war. It began in idealism and naivete, and sooner rather than later many people realized that the whole thing was an apparently endless muddle. When Ernest Hemingway's young hero in A Farewell to Arms asks his lover where they will live after the war, she says, "In an old people's home probably." The conditions of the war - long months living underground in the trenches interrupted by catastrophic battles - struck its soldiers as uniquely dehumanizing. Stephen Wraysford, the hero of Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong, thinks, "This is not a war, this is an exploration of how far men can be degraded." The level of despair voiced by Wraysford was terrible for people, but fruitful for writers' imaginations.

Along with 16 million people, the Great War killed a certain innocence in the culture. Hemingway's Frederic Henry, an ambulance driver on the Italian front, speaks for the so-called Lost Generation when he says of the war, "I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice ... I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity."

Writers about the Great War had to grapple with that loss of innocence in their work, a painful business that enriched their art. By contrast, writers who took the Second World War as their subject were not so shocked by the inhumanity of war, the incompetence of generals, or the cynicism of politicians. They came to their war harder, colder, less susceptible to ideals.

Plus, they had a cause that needed no justification, whereas many British writers about the Great War ended up ambivalent or downright negative about their participation - another dilemma that deepened their work.

The Great War was a literary war in another sense, in that it was fought, at least on the English side, by many men with a classical, intensely literary education. Colonel Gray, in Birdsong, reads Thucydides between battles, and he was not unusual.

Gray is a fictional character, but Colonel C.C. Harrison, of the Royal Sussex Regiment, was not. While waiting for the battle at Hamel to start, in 1916, he read a review of a book of poems in the Times Literary Supplement, and realized that the poet, Edmund Blunden, was a shy young officer in his battalion nicknamed Rabbit. Thrilled at having an author close by, he insisted that the reluctant Rabbit be stationed with him, at headquarters. A colonel who reads poetry reviews on the eve of a battle comes from a world we shall not look upon again, but it wasn't only the Oxbridge elite who took literature seriously. Many rank-andfile soldiers had benefitted from Workmen's Institutes and other forms of adult education that stressed the humanities, and it was not difficult to find copies in the trenches of Everyman Classics and, especially, The Oxford Book of English Verse.

Aside from their literary education, the British soldiers had a training, as Paul Fussell says in The Great War and Modern Memory, "in alertness and a special kind of noticing." So do all soldiers, and for those who went on to write memoirs, poems and novels about the war, that discipline in "noticing" served them well. For the writers who came afterwards, the Great War and its soldier-writers remain a rich vein of inspiration. The following are my favourites in a crowded field - written from the 1920s to 2005, by veterans and non-veterans, mostly British, but one American, one German and three Canadians.


Undertones of War, by Edmund Blunden, 1928. Read quickly, this memoir by a poet with a pastoral vision might seem precious. Read slowly, his laconic accounts of battles, his wry observations about the British army's irrelevant obsessions with drills, hierarchy and tidiness, and his lyrical descriptions of the green and pleasant land that was the French countryside are wonderful.

Good-bye to All That, by Robert Graves, 1929. A fictionalized and irresistibly entertaining chronicle. The frequent deaths go by more quickly than the comic set pieces, but their effect is cumulative.

Testament of Youth, by Vera Brittain, 1933. This haunting account of how the war hollowed out the life of a young woman, who lost her fiancé, her best friend and her brother, is too long. But that is, unwittingly, part of its point, because the carnage and the blighting of a generation's hopes also went on far too long.

The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston, by Siegfried Sassoon, 1937. (A recommended condensation is Siegfried Sassoon's Long Journey: Selections from the Sherston Memoirs, ed. Paul Fussell.) Sassoon's deft, fictionalized memoir of his alter ego, George Sherston, follows his journey from compliant fox-hunting man to defiant enemy of the war.

The Danger Tree: Memory, War, and the Search for a Family's Past, by David Macfarlane, 1991. Macfarlane tells an unforgettable story of what his mother's family and all of Newfoundland lost at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916. The war, he claims, cost Newfoundland its potential for independence: "The century that carried on past the moments of their deaths ... was largely a makeshift arrangement, cobbled around their constant, disastrous absence."


All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, 1929. Remarque's great novel about a young German soldier is not read much in English these days, but it's a fascinating contrast to the stiff-upper-lip English accounts of the war - more straightforward about feelings, more matter-of-fact about the body, and ultimately heartbreaking.

A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway, 1929. Hemingway did his homework so well his Italian readers were convinced he was part of the retreat from Caporetto, which he wasn't. Critics complained that after Frederic Henry deserts and flees to Switzerland with Catherine Barkley, there is too much love and not enough war. But their winter idyll is so deliberately and precisely the opposite of the war that its shadow never really lifts.

Regeneration, by Pat Barker, 1992. Barker's brilliantly original novel is set in a Scottish hospital for shell-shock, peopled by historical figures - Sassoon, Graves, Wilfred Owen, the saintly psychologist William Rivers - and a fictional character, working class, bisexual Billy Prior. The sequels, The Eye in the Door (1993) and The Ghost Road (1995), are less wonderful, but it's impossible not to care about their hero, Prior.

Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulks, 1993. Faulks balances the horror of war with a romance in pre-war France and another in post-war England, but they pale compared with his scenes in the trenches and in battle, graphic, eloquent and quietly horrific.

The Underpainter (1997) and The Stone Carvers (2001), by Jane Urquhart. The war plays a secondary but vivid role in these two Canadian novels. Some of The Underpainter's most memorable scenes centre on a nurse whose experiences in a wartime hospital in France change her life. The Stone Carvers looks at the war from an unusual, retrospective angle, the design and making of Walter Allward's Vimy monument.

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden, 2005. Inspired by the legendary Ojibway First World War hero Francis Pegahmagabow, Boyden tells the story of two James Bay Cree - one shaped by his time in a residential school, the other a traditional Cree - who became formidable wartime snipers. Unpretentiously told by Xavier, one of the snipers, and his aunt Nishka, the novel reflects on civilization, morality and violence, both European and Cree.


There are many collections of war poetry as well as volumes by single authors.

Not to be missed are Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg, who were killed at 25 and 28 respectively. Had they lived, the history of 20th-century English poetry would be written quite differently. Others who wrote fine poems include Edward Thomas, Sassoon, Graves and Blunden.

Katherine Ashenburg is the author of The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History.

Associated Graphic

The uniquely dehumanizing quality of the Great War forever altered the path of Modernism.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014


An article in Globe Books on Saturday incorrectly said that the First World War was Europe's first war in almost a century. In fact, it was the first war that directly involved most of the countries of Europe since the Napoleonic wars (which ended in 1815), but there had been several regional wars in the interval.

The man with the brand
'Oldest living copywriter' worked on successful campaigns for Avis and Volkswagen, and was adept at promoting luxury vacations
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

Harry Yates wrote advertising copy for 60 years, turning in his last job shortly before he died. In a business that values youth, he always kept working.

"He was the oldest living copywriter; most people are washed up after 40," said Steve Catlin, a friend who worked with Mr. Yates for many years, from his home in Gananoque, Ont.

Mr. Yates worked for big advertising agencies in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, and in between worked on his own. He was always busy, if not writing ads and brochures - oddly, a rather difficult thing to do well - then turning out books on subjects such as branding.

After starting as a junior copywriter at a smaller New York agency, Mr. Yates moved to Doyle Dane Bernbach, one of Madison Avenue's revolutionary firms in the mid-20th century. Among other things, founding partner Bill Bernbach was credited with popularizing Volkswagen in North America and Mr. Yates worked on that account and many others.

One of his memorable headlines for Volkswagen was "You've called it ugly. Now you can call it shiftless," to publicize the introduction of the VW Beetle with an automatic transmission. He even appeared in one of his own ads for Avis, carrying a huge fishing net with the headline: "Avis is out to get your clients."

In the late 1960s, Mr. Yates was sent to Toronto to be the creative director at Doyle Dane Bernbach's new office. Aside from short periods working in the United States, he stayed in Canada for the rest of his life.

"Harry was the first international Mad Man who brought the whole New York thing to Canada," said Lou DeLamarter, a transplanted American who knew Mr. Yates in New York and worked for him in Toronto.

Though many people associated him with the television series about the advertising business in the 1960s, Mr. Yates was not a fan.

"That brooding, dishonest jerk Don Draper wouldn't have lasted two weeks in any agency I worked for," he told his wife, Monique Éthier-Yates, after watching the show a few times.

He said women were not treated as depicted in Mad Men and there was little bigotry in the Madison Avenue ad world he remembered.

"There was an episode [of the show] where they promote a Jewish mail-room worker to land a department store account.

Totally unrealistic," Mr. Yates said. "When I was working in New York in the 1960s, many of the copywriters were Jewish and the art directors Italian."

Harrison McGilvray Yates was born in Glasgow in 1933. His father worked in the shipyards on the River Clyde as a tool and die maker and was a leader of the local union. Harry left school at 14, as working-class children were expected to do, and after failing at an industrial job - he was never good with his hands - he went to work as a tea boy, pushing a cart from office to office.

When he was 15, his father landed a job in the aerospace business in Northern California, and the family moved to a town south of San Francisco. Moving from the austerity of postwar Scotland, where there was still food rationing, to the open, prosperous life of California was heaven for young Harry. American law said he had to be in school and the tall, handsome boy with the quick wit and the funny accent was a big hit. Coming from a place where car ownership was rare, he was blown away to see the parking lot of his new high school in Redwood City filled with cars, many of them owned by his classmates.

At 18, he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War, but was stationed in Germany.

When he returned to the U.S., he went to New York University with help from the GI Bill. He supplemented his income by working as an instructor at an Arthur Murray Dance Studio.

When his ad career brought him to Canada, Mr. Yates worked at several agencies, including McCann Erickson and Cockfield Brown, as creative director - ad speak for the person who oversees the writing and design of print ads and television commercials. Later in life, he opened Hilliard and Yates with long-time friend and creative partner Tony Hilliard.

Promoting Caribbean vacation resorts became Mr. Yates's midlife specialty. Around 1974, he started working with Alan Murphy, a Toronto adman, and George Whitfield, an Englishman who had come to Canada to become vice-president of Unitours, a package-tour travel company. Their first client was Cuba.

"No one from North America went to Cuba. To open it up, we needed a brochure that explained it all. Harry wrote it and it was more like a guidebook and we printed it in hardcover, [which was] unheard of for a brochure," Mr. Whitfield said. "It was a masterpiece."

Mr. Yates went on to write copy about Varadero Beach, calling it the most beautiful beach in the world. Canadian tourists packed planes to Cuba. Still an American citizen, though living in Canada, Mr. Yates was officially prohibited from travelling to Cuba. He went anyway.

The trio moved on to Jamaica, where the government was trying to open resorts in parts of the island other than Montego Bay. It started building one in Negril, in the western part of the island. Mr. Murphy said Jamaica had a rather negative image at the time and the idea was to promote the new resort without using the name of the island.

"Harry, Murphy and I were lying in the water when I said 'Isn't this pure hedonism?' Murphy said, 'That's it,' and latched on to the word as the name of the resort. Harry ran with it and wrote advertising copy and brochures," Mr. Whitfield remembers.

Ads that teased: "Be wicked for a week," had Canadians running to the resort. American tour operators wouldn't run them. But in its first six months, Hedonism was 98-per-cent full, and almost all the tourists were Canadians.

The Americans relaxed their restrictions.

The whole idea was a knock-off of the Club Med resorts, using plastic shark's teeth instead of Club Med beads as currency. The next iteration, Couples, for which Mr. Yates wrote ads and brochures, included free booze and cigarettes. A poster, designed by Heather Cooper, featured two amorous lions. Again American operators refused to carry it, but Canadian visitors flooded in.

Later, Mr. Yates moved on to another island, St. Lucia, coming up with what Mr. Whitfield said was his best advertising one-liner: "Give us your body for a week and we'll give you back your mind." Mr. Yates kept writing for his client in St. Lucia until this year.

Mr. Yates and his wife moved to Knowlton, in Quebec's Eastern Townships, on Sept. 11, 2001. For a boulevardier from the big city, country life took some getting used to. In 2007 he published a light-hearted book on his move to a small town with the title: The Knowlton Chronicles: How My Wife Made Me Move To The Country Even Though I Hate Nature.

He was a fixture in the village, wearing his straw hat and lunching with friends, some of them retired admen. But life wasn't totally bucolic. He and his wife kept an apartment in Montreal and Mr. Yates travelled on business to the United States and the Caribbean.

In the last decade, he began writing books on branding, working for and with a client in the United States.

"After he had finished his latest book on branding, Harry planned to return to the book he had been working on for a few years.

The title was, in typical Harry fashion: Getting the Most Out of Death," Ms. Éthier-Yates said. "In the latest version, he ends with these words: If at the very moment of your death you can feel the power of faith in life and love, then you will get the most out of death by going to it with these words: 'I had a wonderful life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.' "

Harrison Yates was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and died on June 10 in Cowansville, Que. He was 81. He leaves his wife, Ms. Éthier-Yates, daughters Katherine Alice and Gwendolyn Anne; his son, John Harrison Yates of Toronto; his stepson, Philippe Couture of Candiac, Que.; grandchildren Phoebe and Emmett Raymond, Harrison and Madeleine Whittle, Astrid Yates, and Maxime and Simone Couture Laguerre.

Associated Graphic

Harry Yates worked for big advertising firms in New York and Los Angeles. In the late 1960s, Mr. Yates was sent to Toronto to be the creative director at the Doyle Dane Bernbach agency, and stayed in Canada for the rest of his life.

Mr. Yates worked on campaigns for Volkswagen and Avis, among others. He wrote the copy for and is pictured in this Avis ad.

He nurtured sovereignty movement's roots
Became a popular agriculture minister after helping open up rural Quebec to separatist parties while he was still a student
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

Rotund, gap-toothed and raspy-voiced, Jean Garon is remembered by many Quebeckers as a colourful Parti Québécois agriculture minister, but he was also one of the sovereignty movement's first evangelists, planting roots in outlying regions that would help the PQ for decades afterward.

While a student, Mr. Garon canvassed the small towns of eastern Quebec, searching for supporters, promoting assemblies with a loudspeaker tied to the roof of his car and appearing on local television.

Clinching those rural ridings would be crucial in the five elections that the PQ later won.

"He anchored the PQ in the hinterland. It was a lasting trend in Quebec politics," said University of Montreal political scientist Denis Monière, who was also an activist in the early days of the movement.

Mr. Garon, whose funeral took place on Saturday, was 76 when he died of a heart attack on July 1 in Lévis, a Quebec City suburb.

Because he affected a populist, folksy style, Mr. Garon was portrayed by humorists as an unpolished bumpkin.

In reality, he was a well-travelled law professor who had married an American woman he met while sightseeing in Paris.

His long-time aide Simon Bégin said the key to Mr. Garon's success was that he was an academic and the son of a businessman, but he came from a small village.

"He was at ease in small towns.

He knew how they worked."

He was born May 6, 1938, in Saint-Michel-de-Bellechasse, downriver from Quebec City. His father, a hotel owner, was also the local mayor, so young Jean grew up familiar with the world of politics.

In the years after the Second World War, his father would read the papers and remark, "Look, another small African country became independent. How come we haven't managed to do that too?" At 17, he was at a Jesuit college when CN Rail announced that its new hotel in Montreal would be named after Queen Elizabeth.

Mr. Garon joined 250,000 other Quebeckers who signed a petition asking in vain for CN to rename the hotel after Montreal's founder, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve.

"If we couldn't even get a hotel name changed ... then something was wrong with the system," Mr. Garon recalled.

By the time he was a student at Laval University, the first major sovereigntist party was founded: the Rassemblement pour l'indépendance nationale.

He started an RIN chapter at Laval in 1961 and became the party's organizer for eastern Quebec.

"Each weekend, with a friend or two, he would drive to a village in Charlevoix or Rimouski or Rivière-du-Loup. ... They'd meet the village priest to rent the parish hall. ... He had a sound system on the roof of his car and he would drive around the village to announce the assembly, then in the evening he'd give a speech and sign up people," Mr. Bégin said.

As Mr. Garon recalled in a 2009 interview for a legislature history project, "I'd go to the general store, grab a Pepsi, chat with the guys, chat about politics, about the Socreds. After chatting a while, I'd ask if there were independentists around. 'Oh yeah, the damn fool in the farm lot there' - so I'd leave the store and go see 'the fool in the farm lot.' "

"I'd ask, 'Do you want to sign up with us as a member?' and then, afterward, 'Do you know others who would want to join?' "He also emulated the Socred populist MP Réal Caouette, who pioneered the use of paid broadcasts on regional television. Mr. Garon would tape several programs in a row, changing his jacket and necktie between segments so they could be aired on different weeks.

The RIN was a Montreal-centric party, with secular, progressive views that didn't mesh with Mr. Garon's more traditional sensibilities. Furthermore, he didn't get along with the RIN's fiery, provocative leader, Pierre Bourgault.

In 1964, Mr. Garon joined a splinter party, the Regroupement national, which two years later merged with provincial Socred members to become the Ralliement national, which was headed by former Socred MP Gilles Grégoire.

The ruling provincial Liberals were also in turmoil, with star cabinet minister René Lévesque unhappy with his party's constitutional stance.

Mr. Garon often ran into Mr. Lévesque at the Aquarium, a Quebec City bar, and was among those who urged him to leave the Liberals and unite the nationalist factions behind him. "The only person who could achieve that is you," Mr. Garon told him, according to Mr. Bégin.

He got his wish within two years. Mr. Lévesque left the Liberals in 1967 and founded a shortlived group, the Mouvement souveraineté-association. By the following autumn, Mr. Lévesque's MSA and the Ralliement of Mr. Grégoire and Mr. Garon had joined to become the PQ.

Prof. Monière said Mr. Lévesque's MSA was mostly based in Montreal, so the merger with the Ralliement opened the door to the rest of the province.

"That alliance enabled the PQ to become a national party.

That's the great contribution of the Ralliement national, of Garon and Grégoire," Prof. Monière said.

Aside from an unsuccessful run for the PQ in the 1973 election, Mr. Garon mostly stayed away from politics in the ensuing years.

He finished his law degree then taught economics and fiscal law.

He came back in 1976 for the PQ's breakthrough victory. In his first cabinet, Mr. Lévesque picked him for the agriculture portfolio.

He tried to beg off, but the premier said he needed a lawyer because the agricultural laws were in disarray.

Driving home, Mr. Garon heard his Liberal predecessor, Kevin Drummond, talk on radio about the portfolio's main issues. He told his wife that he only grasped one-tenth of Mr. Drummond's remarks.

His first months in the job were rough and news reports mentioned him as one of the ministers struggling in their new jobs.

In the legislature, the opposition tried to trip him, but his quick wit helped. During parliamentary debate, one Liberal challenged Mr. Garon to reveal if he knew how many toes a pig had on each foot. Mr. Garon replied that his opponent could get the answer by removing his shoes and counting his toes.

Behind the scenes, Mr. Garon prepared a key legislation he introduced in the fall of 1978, Bill 90.

Previous ministers had tried without success to pass a law to limit expanding suburbs from encroaching into farmland.

Mr. Garon wrangled civil servants, caucus members and the farm lobby to get the legislation through, despite opposition from land speculators and farmers, who wanted to be free to resell their property.

Citing the parable of the talents from the Gospel of Matthew, he told the legislature that "to pave over your farmland and build houses over it, is to waste and destroy your talents."

By now, his grasp of his files was such that he would remain in the agriculture portfolio until the end of the PQ mandate and finished third among the six candidates in the leadership race to replace Mr. Lévesque in 1985.

When the PQ returned to power in 1994, then-premier Jacques Parizeau appointed him to be education minister. He lasted only 16 months. After Mr. Parizeau stepped down following the 1995 referendum defeat, the new leader, Lucien Bouchard, didn't keep Mr. Garon in cabinet.

In his autobiography, Pour tout vous dire, Mr. Garon questioned Mr. Bouchard's commitment to sovereignty, portraying him as a conservative man who didn't truly belong in the PQ.

Mr. Garon was mayor of Lévis from 1998 to 2005. In 2007, he flirted with Mario Dumont's Action démocratique du Québec party but said it was in an unfruitful attempt to woo Mr. Dumont into the sovereigntist camp.

In recent years, Mr. Garon could see that the movement he nurtured decades ago was again splintered in smaller parties.

In a typically blunt-talking interview with Le Soleil last year, he said he was sad Quebec didn't achieve independence, which he blamed on voters being averse to change.

"The people of Quebec are a fearful people. Let's not beat around the bush. We're cowards.

We give the impression we're afraid of our shadows," he said.

"I don't hate the English. Half my family is of Irish, German ancestry. My wife is American. The English-Canadians defend their interests. We just have to defend ours."

Mr. Garon leaves his wife, Judith Schlimgen, and three daughters, Hélène, Marie-Ève and Julie.

Associated Graphic

Jean Garon served as agriculture minister in René Lévesque's government and education minister under Jacques Parizeau.


To the sun - and back
This long and winding 80-km route involves a hairpin corner, goes through tunnels, and inches upward ever too close to precarious cliffs
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D6

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONT. -- Drivers aren't obliged to take the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. There are plenty of roads around the park. But during the summer months when open for travel, millions of enthusiastic travellers go out of the way to experience it.

Built over the span of 20 years nearly a century ago, the 80-kilometre road climbs to 2,026 metres at Logan Pass on a long and narrow 6 per cent grade that is rarely wider than 6.7 metres.

Winding and twisting under overhanging rocks, it takes a hairpin corner, goes through tunnels, and inches upward ever too close to precarious cliffs - forbidden to most trailers or larger motorhomes. Cyclists, motorcycles, enviable convertibles, minivans and tourists in the brilliant red topless buses flock to the spectacular mountain route in record numbers every year. Without stopping, it takes two hours, but you are going to want to stop.

Entrance at Belton Station

Though we live in Alberta, I enter the park from the southwest to follow the route as it was constructed. When the Great Northern Railway was completed in 1893, the national parks created destinations to lure tourists from the eastern United States to this new wilderness. To accommodate them, two boxcars that had served as the railway's depot at the western entrance were replaced by small Swiss-style buildings and renamed Belton Station. Many of those buildings are still intact, housing cafes and shops.

Lake McDonald and the lodge

The road follows Glacier's largest lake from tip to toe. It's 16-km long, and 2.6 km across at the widest spot. Near the midpoint, Lake McDonald Lodge built in 1895 by John Lewis and cleverly called the Lewis Glacier Hotel, was accessed by a steamboat from the village of Apgar. The great western artist, Charles M. Russell, was a frequent guest during the 1920s and was said to have etched pictographs into the dining room's original fireplace hearth. Stop in to see the historic hotel. Better yet, book months in advance for a stay in a lakeside cabin (

Going to the Sun: Legend or just a darn good name?

The road officially received its name, "The Going-to-the-Sun Road," during the 1933 dedication at Logan Pass. The road borrowed its name from nearby Going-tothe-Sun Mountain. Local legend and a 1933 press release issued by the Department of the Interior, told the story of the deity, Sour Spirit, who came down from the sun to teach Blackfeet braves the rudiments of the hunt. On his way back to the sun, Sour Spirit had his image reproduced on the top of the mountain for inspiration to the Blackfeet. An alternate story suggests a local hunter and his companion from the Pikuni Nation created the name after successful hunt in the late 1880s.

Watch for the jammers

The vintage buses with the rollback toppers roaming the road are from the 1930s and were the first authorized motor transportation utility allowed in the parks. The first tour buses were horse carriages hauling 11 people up the road. The brilliant red colour was chosen to match a ripe Mountain Ash berry. The drivers are called "jammers" because they used to be heard jamming the gears of the buses as they grinded up the steep inclines. Back in the days of jamming gears - women were not allowed to sit in the front rows. They were thought to distract the driver. This fleet of 33 buses is considered to be the oldest touring fleet in the world.

Slow, steady and costly or zig-zag?

In 1924, Stephen Tyng Mather became the first National Parks service director and was in charge of designing a route over the continental divide that would bring visitors. Mather, along with key engineers and architects on horseback, rode into the valley, up over the Continental Divide and stared out at the view. George Goodwin, an authority on mountain road construction, waved his arms back and forth - envisioning switchbacks like in Europe. There would be 15 on this side of the valley and another three on the eastern side of the divide. As a car zigged one way, they would see the cars below them zag the other way on an 8 per cent grade. Goodwin thought that was a spectacular engineering feat and an attraction.

However, landscape architect Thomas Vint said that Goodwin's roads would look like logging or mining roads and cause huge scars on the pristine environment. He suggested one long slow road benched into the sedimentary rock of the Garden Wall. It would be longer and far more expensive but would leave the landscape preserved.

Mather took the ideas to other engineers and architects and even though the switchbacks were cheaper, the scenic aesthetically pleasing route was picked because it "performs its work more silently."

The Tripe Arches

This road wasn't easy to build, with most of the materials and equipment brought in by horse. To blast the rock, workers were lowered by rope to hand-drill holes in the rock face. Instead of leaving the blasted rock along the route as unsightly debris, it was used as fill under this road and in the retaining walls that hold the road in place. A crew of Russian stonemasons built retaining walls and the famous Triple Arches.

They could lift most rocks on their own but at the corner, a derrick was used to place the larger rocks. Workers were paid 50 cents to $1.15/hour. In the 1920s and '30s, men were desperate for work and eagerly took the wage. At the peak of construction, more than 300 workers were scattered through the valley.

Almost at the top of Logan Pass

At 2,026 metres, Logan Pass is the lowest pass across the Continental Divide. Near the top, there is a parking lot to pull in to take a break. Walk along the raised boardwalk to see how the road hides in the stratigraphy. It's a lovely spot to watch for wildlife - including mountain goats.

Stretch your legs

Stop at the information centre at the top of the pass to refuel your souvenir hamper, water bottle or coffee cup and give your legs a stretch. There are more than 1,126 kilometres of hiking trails in Glacier National Park, with a few leaving from the Logan Pass Visitor Centre. The easiest is the interpretive trail. The interactive story boards along the way explain the topography, the flora and fauna and history. Another great trail from Logan Pass is the Highline Trail hike above the Garden Wall. Five words of advice: You are in bear country.

Expect waterfalls, walks and wide open spaces as you head to the east

Getting to the top from the west was the great push of the 1920s. But it would be two years before the east side of the road could be started because cash was hard to find. Not only that, landowners knew they held all the cards and inflated the price for their land. By 1931, the last 17 kilometres to St. Mary was open for bids. This side of the pass is not as technical but there were still challenges to overcome. Watch for parking areas leading to hikes along the refreshing Virginia Falls.

Rock work is a masterpiece

Setting an example for the rest of the national parks was important to Mather. The guard-rails and arches are made from native stone, mainly limestone and red and green argillite salvaged from blasts and excavations. Mortar sand was dredged from McDonald Creek. Put it all together and there is more than 13 kilometres of the stone rail lining the Goingto-the-Sun Road. The sturdy walls were such a hit with National Park dignitaries that they became the standard for guard walls in all U.S. national parks.

See the glaciers before they disappear

"Only about 25 glaciers remain from the 150 that were here in 1850," says a sign at the numerous roadside vista parking spots. Citing everything from global warming to natural progression, the sign warns that in as little as a few decades, the view will undoubtedly change. The view from the lookout for Jackson Glacier is perfect for that last opportunity.

Associated Graphic

The view from the lookout for Jackson Glacier. 'Only about 25 glaciers remain from the 150 that were here in 1850,' says a sign at a roadside vista parking spot.


Belton Station features dining and shops.


Going-to-the-Sun is 80 kilometres of twisty road that is rarely wider than 6.7 metres.


Ontario's premium problem
Young and male? Then expect to pay through the nose for auto insurance - rates here are the highest in the nation
Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D1

Nick Dasko bought his first car when he was 22 - a seven-yearold Mazda Protege that cost him $10,000. Then came the insurance bill: more than $6,000, even though he had no tickets or at-fault accidents.

Some of his friends were paying even more - $10,000 was not unheard of.

Ontario has the highest auto insurance rates in Canada, with the average annual premium at $1,544.86 in 2012- 45 per cent more than in Alberta, the second-most costly. For young men like Dasko in the 16-to-24 age group, the hit is the worst - classified by the industry as high risk, they can be charged stratospheric rates.

Auto insurance is the wild west of compulsory services. If you want to drive, you have no choice but to buy it - but what you pay varies wildly.

According to a chart prepared by an independent rating agency for the Manitoba auto insurance plan's annual report, a 21-year-old male with a clean driving record would pay $1,332 to insure a four-year-old Chrysler minivan in Winnipeg. In Calgary, that same driver would pay $3,022. In Toronto, the bill would be $8,069 - an increase of more than 600 per cent.

The obvious question - why?

While it costs more to cover claims in Ontario (the province is plagued by insurance fraud) private insurers claim that the actuarial evidence used to rate drivers shows that males under 25 have the worst statistical record as a group. Consequently, individuals in the 16-to-24 group pay more, even if they've never been involved in an accident or received a ticket for a traffic violation. Essentially, young men are deemed guilty until proven innocent - at age 25.

"You are being prejudged," says Dasko. "It's the last legal form of discrimination."

Public auto insurance programs, such as those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, take a different approach. Standard rates apply to every driver, regardless of age or gender. Auto insurance is much less expensive for a 20-year-old full-time student in Winnipeg driving the same car as his counterparts in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary.

The private insurance industry defends the actuarial approach.

"It's not discriminatory," says Pete Karageorgos, manager of consumer and industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada. "It's based purely on statistical analysis. It's like charging more for house insurance in a high-risk neighbourhood. I think people have accepted this. In a public auto insurance system, young drivers are subsidized. In Ontario, young drivers pay rates that reflect their actual risk."

Statistics show that young drivers do cause a disproportionate amount of damage. Drivers aged 16 to 24 represent 13 per cent of the driving population, but account for 24 per cent of fatalities and 26 per cent of serious injuries. The question is whether Ontario's steep insurance charges for young drivers accurately reflect actuarial data.

State Farm Insurance spokesman John Bordignon says Toronto is a "special case": "It's got the highest population density, the worst roads, and a high rate of theft. The costs reflect those risks."

Contrary to the public system, in Ontario, Alberta and other provinces, every driver must help bear layers of extra costs.

Ontario's industry is made up of more than 100 private companies that are overseen by a government agency called the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. Revenue comes from two sources - insurance premiums, and the money insurers make by investing the money consumers give them.

Private insurers say that their system has the built-in advantage of competition: "If you're not satisfied with your insurer, you can go shop around," says Karageorgos. "With government insurance, there's no choice. Private insurance gives you better service."

Not everyone agrees. The Consumers Association of Canada (CAC) deems private auto insurance to be one of the biggest ripoffs that Canadians face. After studying the industry for years, CAC concluded that a properly run public insurance system was the best choice, but found itself locked into a debilitating public relations battle with the private industry.

"There are some things that should be run by private industry," says CAC president Bruce Cran. "And there are others that should be in the hands of government. Auto insurance is one of them."

Cran says that excessive insurance charges affect everyone, not just drivers: "The costs run through the entire economy," he says. "Everything you buy, every last piece of bread you eat, is carried in a vehicle that has to be insured. So we all pay, whether we have a car or not."

The CAC's investigation of the insurance industry yielded interesting insights into the way it operates, and why costs are so high. In 2004, for example, CAC learned that private insurers had paid $290-million in secret commissions to insurance brokers who steered business their way.

This practice had a direct impact on consumers - instead of hunting for the best price for their customers, brokers sold the policy that offered them the highest commission.

A public auto insurance system can offer fundamental business advantages. Most important, a public system reduces overhead costs - instead of multiple companies, each with its own head office, computer systems, etc., there is just one, which cuts duplication and creates efficiencies of scale.

Other significant savings include profit margin (public insurance systems don't have to pay dividends to shareholders) and advertising - public systems don't have to budget for TV spots and a talking gecko. Public insurance plans can also control costs more effectively - body shops, medical clinics and towing companies must comply with rates set by the public plan, which wields monopoly power over suppliers. Ontario's private insurers, on the other hand, face ongoing problems with gouging and fraud.

As with U.S. health care, the debate over private and public auto insurance has been cast along ideological lines that obscure underlying economic realities. Ontario's private insurance firms admit that rates here are the highest, yet insist that theirs is the superior business model.


Using the website on Tuesday, we obtained quotes for a 20-year-old full-time male student, in the 16-to-24 age group. We listed him as principal driver, clean record, living at home, using a 2008 Honda Civic DX two-door coupe for pleasure (not to commute to school or work) and compiling 15,000 km/year. Deductible was $500 for collision and comprehensive, with $1-million liability. The site harvests quotes from different companies, but those companies do not necessarily quote for all cities; the Canadian Automobile Association does not sell service in Montreal. The Manitoba rate was obtained directly from a dedicated website. *Kanetix provides a "lowest rate" but does not identify it until the consumer calls for a quote.


The courts have upheld the rights of insurers to charge on the basis of age and gender. In 1983, Michael Bates, an Ontario driver, won an Ontario Human Rights Board case where he argued that Zurich Insurance had discriminated against him by charging him more than a woman would pay. The ruling was later overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada, but the judges criticized the insurance company for its policies.

"The fact is, Zurich, as well as other Canadian insurance companies, have too long relied upon the tradition of discriminatory practices in their industry in order to justify their refusal to take the first step in implementing a less discriminatory system," they wrote.

"Simply asserting that a system has been in place for 50 years is an inadequate response to the argument that there are alternatives to the system. The insurance industry cannot rely on its inaction and tradition to support a discriminatory rate classification system."

In 1993, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that genderbased rates were discriminatory, but ruled that there was no "reasonable alternative," and that if premiums were equalized, the higher rates would be unfair to young female drivers because of their superior safety record.


Poll When new drivers get car insurance for the first time, they should: 9 Pay the same as other drivers until they have an accident.

All pay a new driver rate.

Pay more according to gender.

Pay more according to risk as determined by insurance companies.

Associated Graphic


Nick Dasko poses for a photograph in his 2007 Volkswagen GTI in Toronto. Dasko registered his car in California using his mother's address because the insurance is significantly cheaper.


As Glasgow gears up to host the Commonwealth Games, Robert Everett-Green discovers an ambitious, sociable city that begs to be explored
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

GLASGOW -- A few blocks from the Glasgow School of Art stands a tiny park where rugged arteries of stone and brick divide the uneven ground into watercourses. Near a small amphitheatre that rises like a Roman ruin, narrow slabs of concrete are sunk into the ground, with local memories chiselled into their surfaces.

There's one about an unattended truck rolling down the hill and crashing, and another about a man found dead in a bedspread outside a Rose Street tenement. A spectacular mural made from 186,000 bits of glass and ceramic covers a short stretch of wall at one end of the park, though you could easily walk through the neighbourhood and never see it.

For me, Garnethill Community Park is a corner of Glasgow that in some ways stands for the whole city. It's not a place that jumps out at you, more an urban environment to be discovered.

And like much of Glasgow, the Garnethill area has been through tough times, including a mainly destructive experience of urban renewal in the 1960s. The community park was a bleak concrete "gap space" before some artists and residents got the idea, in the mid-1970s, that the neighbourhood deserved more and could create something better.

H.V. Morton, a renowned English travel journalist who did a jaunt through Scotland in 1929, wrote that "Edinburgh is Scottish and Glasgow is international."

That assessment may seem backwards today - when Edinburgh shines as an international cultural destination and Glasgow seems a mainly regional centre - but Glasgow was for a long time a rollicking industrial zone and international port city, while Edinburgh seemed merely romantic and provincial. Glasgow is full of extraordinary buildings that testify to the wealth and enterprise that built up the city during Victorian times. But it's also struggling with its post-industrial present, trying to live down stereotypes ingrained since the industrial revolution, when dire living conditions of the working poor became proverbial, and the benign local term for small mixed apartment structures - "tenements" - became synonymous with "slums."

From a distance, Glasgow comes on very much as a town with something to prove, jostling for international attention through a series of big showcase events. It successfully lobbied to be European Capital of Culture in 1990 (one year after Paris), British City of Architecture in 1999, and this year, host city for the Commonwealth Games, which open July 23, with a related yearlong cultural festival.

Once you get here, you discover "a city of the glad hand," as Morton also said, a vigorous place full of straightforward people and of pleasures both rugged and refined. It's a sociable town, with a pub on every other corner, some of them fitted into disused churches. It's also an expansive, ambitious city, where marquee buildings such as Zaha Hadid's Riverside Museum and Foster + Partners' Clyde Auditorium (known locally as "the armadillo") have revitalized the waterfront - once a major shipbuilding centre - adding a striking modern layer to Glasgow's inventory of wonderful buildings.

Glasgow got the best of the enormous industrial energies released during the 19th century, and you can see the Victorian legacy all over town, in the massive yet airy railway station; the gracious Botanical Gardens with their crystal-palace greenhouses; and the playful former Templeton carpet factory, whose particoloured exterior was modelled after the Doge's Palace in Venice. The University of Glasgow campus - a complex of brawny sandstone structures - delivers perhaps the most concentrated dose of Glasgow's swagger at the peak of its industrial might. Several buildings by Alexander "Greek" Thompson, including the west end's acclaimed Great Western Terrace, give an eccentric, personal twist to neo-classicism.

Across town, the People's Palace museum and its Winter Gardens crystal sit at the end of a Frenchstyle radial park, whose stern rationalist layout is somehow countered by the very human local history packed inside the museum. There are rooms here devoted to political struggles and emancipatory movements, plus a partial recreation of a tiny working class domicile that in the 1930s would have held seven people.

Available shrines of the cult of Charles Rennie Mackintosh - now that the School of Art is under restoration after a fire in May - include the Lighthouse, an inventive repurposing of the Glasgow Herald Building that Mackintosh helped design. Its upper floor contains an interactive display about the man and his work, and includes maquettes of structures proposed but not built. The Mackintosh House is also worth a visit, mainly to see how he modified and turned to his own taste a house he lived in but did not build. And for a genteel thrill take afternoon tea in the Willow Tea Rooms, a partial restoration of one of several tea rooms Mackintosh designed in the city.

Saturdays bring the crowds to outdoor pedestrian malls that occupy parts of Sauciehall, Buchanan and Argyle streets. Buchanan is also home to higherend retailers such as the House of Fraser, a grand multi-tiered arcade comparable to the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. The sprawling flea-style Barras Market takes over a large swath of the east end on weekends, and many of the market's indoor shops are open at other times. The Argyle Arcade is a 187-year-old covered shopping lane that was once paved with cobblestones, and now houses a jewellers' market. It also has an entrance to Sloans, the oldest restaurant bar in Glasgow, whose second floor preserves the original dark Victorian saloons, divided from each other with windows of etched and leaded glass.

One other interior worth mentioning: Near Garnethill Community Park, the squat St. Aloysius' Church presents a neoclassical front in the dark red sandstone found in many of the city's other Victorian buildings. But the Jesuits who built St. Aloysius filled this robust exterior with an airy chapel of green marble, lighter plaster and abundant mosaics over the altar. It's as if they felt the need to camouflage the Mediterranean brio of the inside within a heavy coat of Presbyterian camouflage.

That's my idea of Glasgow: not a series of wonders delivered on a plate, but a city you have to roam around and explore. The search is well worth it.


Air Transat flies direct to Glasgow from Toronto and Vancouver (


Glasgow's main public people movers are sleek doubledecker buses.

But for the visitor, the simplest way to get around is to use the subway, whose single line follows a large oval path through the central and western parts of the city. It's one of the oldest in Europe - built in 1896, it was originally powered by a steam-driven cable - and one of the tiniest, with small cylindrical cars that a six-footer like me has to stoop to get out of.


Good food and libations are easy to find in Glasgow; waves of immigration have added Turkish, Middle Eastern, South Indian and other cuisines to the traditionally heavy Scottish diet.

The west end abounds with small shops selling terrific baked goods and formidable arrays of craft beers.

Ashton Lane, a carless track that slopes down and along from Byres Road, is chock-ablock with restaurants and bars, including the Formidable Chip, ( a former stables that is now a multi-roomed magnet for diners from in town and far away.

Pubs are too numerous to count, though one that stands out for me is Oran Mor (, housed in a former church that stands kitty-corner to the Botanical Gardens.

A second floor was inserted to create a ballroom whose high-vaulted ceiling is covered with a glorious astrological mural by Glasgow painter and novelist Alasdair Gray.

A steel halo flung over the steeple conveys the casual grandeur of this homey pub, whose pocket church-yard is a great place to drink a pint on a fine day.

On weekend nights, Glasgow's restless energies fill the club zones of Sauciehall Street and other avenues with revellers on an aggressive search for fun.

If that's not your style, you can hole up in the lavishly designed, borderline-decadent environs of the Corinthian Club (, a five-level dining, partying and gambling palace housed in a neo-classical former bank and court house.

Associated Graphic

The Clyde Auditorium - better known as 'the armadillo' - is one of the modern buildings that has revitalized Glasgow's once industrial waterfront.


Glasgow sights, clockwise from top: Zaha Hadid's Riverside Museum; University of Glasgow; the Lighthouse; Buchanan Street.


The average national wintering mortality rates for honey bees reflect the changing health of apiculture in Canada. A 15-per-cent rate is seen as acceptable.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

New alarm bells are ringing after a report on honey bees released Wednesday shows that more than half of Ontario's 100,000 colonies died off during the past winter. The news comes as the Ontario government moves to restrict or license the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, a class of chemical linked to the worldwide loss of pollinators vital to the food supply


A hard winter for Canadian bees

A new report on the health of honey bees in Canada says 58 per cent of the colonies in Ontario did not survive the winter.

Among the possible causes cited for the colony failures are starvation during a long winter, weak queens, viruses, and poisoning from pesticides, said the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA), which compiled the survey.

The report comes as the Ontario government moves toward a system of restricting or licensing the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, a widely used class of chemical linked to the losses of bees and other pollinators that are vital to the food supply.

According to the CAPA report, the Canadian average of overwintering bee losses was 25 per cent, a number that falls to 19 per cent when Ontario is excluded.

"This level of winter loss is considered a high winter loss for most Canadian beekeepers..." the report said. "Clearly the impacts of pest, pathogen and environmental factors continue to be a challenge through the year to beekeepers across Canada."

Wintering losses were 28.6 per cent in 2012-2013; 15 per cent in 2011-2012; and 29 per cent in 2010-2011, according to CAPA.

For the latest winter, New Brunswick had the second highest percentage of honey bee losses, 26 per cent. Alberta, which has the largest number of colonies, lost 18.5 per cent of its honey bee colonies.

DEBATE Beekeepers vs. seed treatment companies

Beekeepers and a growing body of scientific research say the neonicotinoid class of pesticide that has become widely used in the past decade is contributing to the decline in populations of bees and other pollinators. They say the chemicals designed to protect crops against worms and other pests are weakening beneficial insects and making them more vulnerable to viruses, parasites and loss of food supply.

Neonicotinoids, known as neonics, are applied by the seed companies on corn, canola and some soybeans. They are also used by vegetable farmers and growers of ornamental flowers.

The pesticide is systemic, which means it is present throughout the plants, including the nectar and pollen eaten by honey bees and other insect pollinators that are responsible for a third of the food humans consume.

Bayer CropScience, the largest maker of neonic-coated seeds in Canada, says the chemical is safe, and that there is not enough of the pesticide in crops' pollen and nectar to be lethal to bees.

That view is not widely held in the honey industry.

"This is a systemic pesticide that is designed to kill something that tries to eat it.

So when a bee tries to eat from the flower, there's still a little bit of poison there," said Dan Davidson, president of the Ontario Beekeepers' Association and a beekeeper in Watford, Ont., who lost about 35 per cent of his bees last winter.

Beekeepers say winter loss tallies underestimate neonics' toll on bee populations because they do not include the ones that disappear in the summer.

"They collapse throughout the summer, and that doesn't stop in the wintertime, it's just beekeepers are not cleaning up the mess because it's frozen. It's just a bigger pile [of dead bees] in the spring," said Tibor Szabo, who breeds queen bees and is vice-president of the beekeepers' group.


Studies link deaths and pesticide

In the most comprehensive study of the effects of neonics, 29 scientists recently reviewed more than 800 scientific reports issued over the past five years and found neonicotinoids are "a key factor in the decline of bees." The group, known as the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, found neonics persist in soil and affect everything from birds' flight to tunnelling abilities of earthworms. "The effects of exposure to neonics range from instant and lethal to chronic. Even long-term exposure at low (nonlethal) levels can be harmful," the group's report said.

Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency in September blamed bee deaths in Ontario and Quebec on planting corn treated with neonicotinoids, calling the use of neonic-treated corn and soybeans "unsustainable."

A recent study co-authored by University of Guelph professor Nigel Raine found bumblebees' foraging abilities were impaired by the consumption of neonicotinoids, and that chronic exposure to pesticides is a threat to colony survival. "Our results show that neonicotinoid exposure has both acute and chronic effects on overall foraging activity," the paper said.

A Dutch study this month in the journal Nature found neonics have adverse effects on bird populations by reducing the number of insects available to eat.

University of Saskatchewan researcher Christy Morrisey found wetlands in Western Canada were contaminated by neonics, and the resulting drop in bug populations was bad news for the birds that eat them.


Large corn crops and a warmer climate

A harsh winter is cited as one of the reasons bee deaths are so high in Ontario. But winter was extremely cold and long in much of Canada, so why were losses not as deep elsewhere?

The answer is unclear, but could lie in one of the province's most important crops: corn. All corn is coated with neonics, and Southern Ontario's warm climate makes it one of the few suitable areas to grow the crop used for ethanol and animal feed. The province grows 62 per cent of the country's corn, followed by Quebec at 30 per cent, Statistics Canada says.

Planting the irregular-shaped corn with air-pressurized seeders kicks up enough dust with the pesticide in it to affect bees adversely. (Bees do not feed on corn pollen; the crop is wind-pollinated.) At Health Canada's direction, seed companies and growers took steps this year to reduce the amount of dust generated by seeding machines, using a waxy lubricant with the seeds and fitting machinery with air deflectors.

Density is another possible factor in the numbers of bee deaths in Ontario. The province's ever-shrinking farm country means fewer bee-friendly meadows and fallow fields, said Mr. Davidson of the Ontario Beekeepers' Association. And beekeepers who want to move their hives away from a farm planting corn have fewer places to go.


The move to control use of pesticides

Last winter, Europe banned for two years the use of three types of neonicotinoids.

The pesticides, which generally coat seeds, are widely used in North America on corn, canola and about 50 per cent of soybeans, in addition to greenhouse flowers and vegetables. Provinces lack the power to ban pesticides, which are regulated by Health Canada. But Ontario is poised to become the first to regulate them by moving toward a licensing system that would require commercial growers to apply to use them.

"Our goal is to develop a system that targets the use of neonicotinoid-treated seed to areas or circumstances where there is demonstrated need, recognizing the important role both pollinators and farmers play in Ontario's agrifood industry," Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Bees are in trouble worldwide. Between 2006 and 2011, the average yearly decline in managed honey bee colonies in the United States was 33 per cent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. In the United Kingdom, 29 per cent of honey bee colonies did not survive the winter of 2012-2013, the highest death rate in Europe.

In Canada, the average winter loss since 2009-2010 is 20 per cent, after reaching a high of 35 per cent in 2007-2008, according to CAPA.

For some fruit growers in China, fewer bees means they have to take matters into their own hands, standing on ladders and using small brushes to do the job of the insects.

"Insect pollination is a vital ecosystem service that maintains biodiversity and sustains agricultural crop yields. Social bees are essential insect pollinators. So it is concerning that their populations are in global decline," Guelph University professor Nigel Raine said in a study published in the journal Functional Ecology.


The average national wintering mortality rates for honey bees reflect the changing health of apiculture in Canada. A 15-per-cent rate is seen as acceptable.

Associated Graphic


Brazil's glory days (just not in football)
Despite the dire predictions, despite the ignominy of their team's semi-final rout, Brazilians know how good the Cup has been for their country, Stephanie Nolen reports
Monday, July 14, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6


As June rolled into July, and the World Cup unfolded with charm and thrills, young Brazilians started a campaign - joking, but only kind of - that they called Copa Permanente.

Let's make it always the World Cup, they said, because everything is fabulous. This is the best place to be on Earth. Somehow, let's keep it from ending.

In spite of all the dire predictions, the hand-wringing and the grumbling in the years and weeks leading up to the Cup - when it began, it was magical. Visitors, whether they went to see games in giant, seething Sao Paulo or in tiny cities in the interior that had never before hosted more than three foreigners at once - they all raved about how beautiful Brazil is, how welcoming its people. The football was fantastic, the logistics were easy, the sense of endless fun was heady.

And Brazilians basked in the reflection of everyone's admiration, said Marvio dos Anjos, a poet, musician and football analyst from Sao Paulo. "There is a feeling that we decided to make Brazil work, and it worked," he reflected. "It's a mirror - if the foreigners are happy in Brazil, maybe living here is worth it. Maybe they're right."

Then came Black Tuesday (you know: 7 to 1), and yes, some of the shine diminished. Brazilians seemed almost visibly to deflate. Even before that game was over, pundits were predicting riots and unrest, or at least a return to the anti-Cup spirit that had seemed widespread before the event began.

Yet it didn't happen. There was a new sense of grim endurance - this party has gone on too long and we'd really like to tidy up now, thanks.

But Brazilians of every stripe seem to sense how very good for their country this event has been. Brazil, the world's sixth-largest economy, the heavyweight of South America, the pole in a left-leaning bloc of emerging countries, feels perpetually undervalued, as if the rest of the world never takes note of its heft or its abilities. That, it seems, changed, these past weeks. And so while football glory eluded them, Brazilians take solace in a public image that feels dramatically enhanced.

Brazil's Cup was not, of course, without its cost. As many as 150,000 people were displaced from their homes for Cup-related projects, according to community organizations. Many of those people, to be sure, would soon have had to move, Cup or no Cup, given the precarious nature of their unserviced slum housing, and many are far happier in the new homes they were given. But the urban redevelopment approach adopted for the Cup left many feeling that the voices of the poor were entirely dismissed.

Roughly a third of planned infrastructure upgrades did not get finished. Some others were completed too hastily, as became clear in Belo Horizonte when a new overpass collapsed and killed two people.

Civil liberties were sharply undermined by the government's response to the possibility of protests: The handful of demonstrators who took to the streets as the tournament began were pepper-sprayed, beaten and detained. Seventeen activists were arrested on Saturday by police in Rio, in anticipation of any sort of demonstration, and two minors detained.

And the price tag was enormous: approximately $12-billion (U.S.), although the final tally won't be in for months. A significant chunk of that spending went on FIFA-standard stadiums in tiny cities, where no one can fathom when or why those venues might next be used.

Nevertheless, the Brazilian government has been trumpeting the economic benefits of the Cup. The federal Economic Research Institute says there will be an inflow of $13.5billion and one million new jobs. Private economists are less optimistic.

Neil Shearing, an emerging markets specialist with the analysis firm Capital Economics, pointed out that the inflow of tourist dollars is countered by a parallel slowing of other business activity during the Cup, and that the larger structural problems that have caused this economy to slow dramatically in the past year remain.

Harder to quantify, but perhaps more important in the end, is the boost to the country's reputation.

And that, said Alessandro Jacoby, a branding expert in Porto Alegre, is huge.

"We pulled off something that we didn't think we could do - and not many other people thought we could either," he said. Of course, he added, it helps that expectations were low, and thus easily exceeded. But Brazil had unparalleled scrutiny under social media over the past five weeks, and the vast majority of it was positive.

The change in perception will endure, he predicted. "Even the performance of our team can't destroy this," he added with the weary laugh that many Brazilians use when they talk about the national squad.

All of this should allay some of the hand-wringing about the 2016 Olympics, which will be held in Rio and about which critics have already been making dire predictions. Brazil has just demonstrated that, however messy the last minutes of preparation may look, it can credibly pull off a large international event. And make it one that even Jerome Valcke, FIFA's secretary-general, who was one of the sharpest critics beforehand of Brazil, admitted was the "best ever."

Even the horrible loss to Germany in the semi-final may yet prove to have a silver lining. A serious conversation, long overdue, began about the sorry state of professional football in Brazil. "We have not been playing good soccer for 20 years," sports analyst Milly Lacombe said after the infamous game against Germany. "People said, 'We play ugly but it's okay because we win.' Well, now we lose."

The humiliating loss of third place to the Netherlands on Saturday only heightened the sense of outrage. The sport's administration is corrupt and incompetent, Ms. Lacombe said, and its directors have enriched themselves for years at the expense of investing in players, training or facilities. They could resist pressure for reform as long as the country's reputation as the cradle of football endured, but this staggeringly highprofile defeat has unquestionably destroyed the image. "Football in Brazil has to change from the root. Maybe with something like this, it will," she said.

The scrutiny on Brazil - internal and from outside - also initiated some new conversations about race, inequality and access to public spaces and services. It is unclear whether they will endure, as the ropes of festive green-and-yellow flags are taken down.

Antonio Prata, a columnist with the national newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, championed the cause of the Copa Permanente in a tongue-in-cheek article in which he noted that apparently, if there are gringos (as all foreigners are known here) in Brazil, important equity issues get bumped up the agenda. Keep the gringos, he wrote, "and thus, there will always be pressure for better schools and better hospitals and more subway lines."

Keep the Cup (the spirit, if not the actual golden trophy) and keep the magic.

"Everyone who comes here can watch beautiful games like last week's, sing in a coloured wig on the metro, get drunk in the street on warm beer and flirt with a Dutch woman who is hooking up with an Ivoirien who is sharing an apartment with 11 Portuguese who know a Uruguayan who swears he will be able to get you three tickets for the game next Tuesday," Mr. Prata wrote.

Let's go, he urged. "Let's make Brazil the most fun country on Earth, and as a bonus, solve all those problems we've had for more than 500 years."

Associated Graphic

Above: Brazil's Marcelo gestures above fallen teammate Neymar, injured against Colombia. Above right: A fan of Germany reacts to the decisive - and only - goal in the final. Right: Argentina fans sit dejectedly on Copacabana beach.

Above, far right: Jasper Cillessen of the Netherlands watches the decisive penalty kick go by him against Argentina in the semis.

Far right: The Netherlands' Robin van Persie scores an outstanding header early in the tournament.


Above left: Mexico's Rafael Marquez fights for the ball with Brazil's David Luiz. Above, centre: Fireworks above Maracana stadium after the final.

Above, right: Argentina's Lionel Messi, named player of the tournament, scores against Bosnia.

Above: Uruguay's Luis Suarez shows off his teeth after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini, sitting beside him, at right.


In an unprecedented doubling-down, the Stratford Festival this summer is offering two versions of the same play. J. Kelly Nestruck joins Chris Abraham and Peter Sellars to analyze these very different dreams
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

This summer, for the first time in its history, the Stratford Festival is presenting two different productions of the same play by William Shakespeare.

A Midsummer Night's Dream appears on the Festival Theatre stage in a big, joyous, gender-bending production directed by Stratford regular Chris Abraham, and at the Stratford Masonic Concert Hall as an intimate, four-actor "chamber play" staged by avant-garde American director Peter Sellars.

Globe theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck brought together Abraham, the Siminovitch Prize-winning artistic director of Toronto's Crow's Theatre, and Sellars, an internationally in-demand opera and theatre director and past recipient of a MacArthur "genius grant," to meet one another for the first time, to dissect their Dreams and discuss the myriad life forms - royalty and pagan spirits; young lovers and amateur actors - who inhabit them.

J. Kelly Nestruck: A Midsummer Night's Dream is probably the most produced of Shakespeare plays - it's certainly the one I have to review the most. What did you think when Stratford artistic director Antoni Cimolino proposed having not one, but two in the same season?

Chris Abraham: Antoni quite savvily asked me first if I wanted to do A Midsummer Night's Dream, and then said, "Oh, by the way. ..." It certainly shaped the way I thought about engaging with the play. It highlighted the fact that there would be two interpretations. I support that idea: engaging an audience - and this audience - with the idea that Shakespeare writes these plays and that there isn't one way to do them.

Peter Sellars: I was particularly thrilled, because anything that liberates Shakespeare from the idea of monoculture is to be applauded. So many people think there is a way to do it.

Nestruck: I have the advantage of having seen Chris's production, which is framed as a performance of the play at the backyard wedding of two men. For yours, Peter, I only know what I've read online, that four actors will play two couples who "become gods, animals, demons, monsters, children, playthings and, finally, gradually, compassionate, honest, loving adults."

Sellars: Very simply, the couples in every realm [of Shakespeare's play] are mirrors of each other, so I thought let's make them the same two couples all the way through. ... We all know the relationship with your partner where you're kings and queens, then the next moment you're animals, and the next you're hell-beings. I call it a "chamber play" in honour of August Strindberg's chamber plays, his really intense portraits of marriage.

Nestruck: Chris, what was behind your decision to centre your Dream around a same-sex marriage - and also introduce gay and lesbian relationships into the play by changing the gender of Lysander and Titania?

Abraham: I found it hard to imagine doing this play without imagining it in the context of the world that I live in, the context of how I understand love and what it is, and how I understand marriage and what it is. I found the focus on the heterosexual relationships at the centre of the story limiting. It's the connection for me of the prohibition of love and marriage [of Hermia and Lysander] at the beginning of the play and ultimately the reversal of that decision that Theseus makes on a dime. ... That's not a piece of bad dramaturgy, that's that power of love in the play - the way in which love is more powerful than reason, than laws, than society.

Nestruck: Maybe I was naive, but it was surprising to me to learn that this is controversial - and that there were walk-outs from several American school groups early in the season.

Abraham: The last time I saw the show, I was sitting it the back row and somebody got up within a couple of minutes of the two guys kissing. He came back in after 10 seconds and said, "God have mercy on your souls," quite loudly.

Sellars: Shakespeare has never struck me as normative in any way. He always strikes me as trying to subvert any established structure. And every single comedy of his is the saddest thing I've ever seen, heartbreaking. So many of the marriages are so fragile, and so many of the final acts are twilight and melancholy. Or have people truly, strangely chastened. For me, Shakespeare's plays don't end - they arrive at a new beginning.

Nestruck: What is the darkness that you find at the end of Dream, where all the lovers are matched up and wed?

Sellars: Puck's last speech: "Now it is the time of night / That the graves, all gaping wide. ..." Hello, it's not exactly heartwarming.

We're not handing out little bonbons. That is serious stuff about mortality.

"If you pardon, we will mend.

..." That's a big question in human affairs. Seriously, how much forgiveness do we really have? But I don't ever want to characterize a Shakespeare play as happy or sad, because it's like saying a Mozart symphony is happy or sad.

What's great about Mozart is it can be really happy or sad at the same point.

Nestruck: Chris, the ending of your production - it's textured, but it's quite joyous.

Abraham: I see constantly in Shakespeare this very, very hopeful evidence of love as the primary force in the universe - a force that has an opposite, but fundamentally a weaker opposite.

Nestruck: So different from love in a Strindberg chamber play - where it's often a destructive force.

Sellars: The worst days of your relationship also make the best days possible. You're not going to have one without the other - it's a total weather system. For Shakespeare, love is not a romantic thing; love is cleaning the bathroom. It's a lot of work and it's a lot of commitment.

Nestruck: While Shakespeare's plays may not be happy or sad, we do split them into comedies and tragedies. Is there a bias against the comedies? We talk about Hamlet and King Lear as his greatest works, but Dream as simply popular. Is there an argument to be made it's one of his best, too?

Abraham: Yeah, probably. I don't know if I would make that argument.

Sellars: I'm not too into ranking things, but in the history of humanity, it's one of the most amazing things ever conceived ... a volatile, exploding volcano of energy.

Sellars: We know why Dream is usually presented to us in a certain [innocuous] image, and when the image of the fairy kingdom in the 19th century, and the children's books, and the Mendelssohn music and all that took over. But Shakespeare actually wrote a play for adults - and it's an adult play, not a kids' play.

Nestruck: I've been telling visitors to Stratford bringing kids to go see the Dream at the Festival Theatre. Chris - you've even included children in your cast, playing the fairies.

Abraham: I wanted children to be there. I wanted that to be part of the inclusive premise of the piece.

I wanted that to be part of the process of making the play too, so guys could kiss and we could do all the sexy humour in the play in a way that both honours the bawdiness of it, but that we would also have to wrangle with children being in the room. That was my largest goal, that it would be something we could do for the whole family.

Sellars: A lot of my shows are about putting all kinds of people on stage with actors. We're interested in theatre not because we're interested in theatre. We're interested in theatre because we're interested in life. For me, you want as much life as possible on stage and you want all life forms. God knows, Shakespeare calls in this play for all life forms - everything in the whole universe is in this play.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

A Midsummer Night's Dream continues to Oct. 11 in Stratford, Ont. A Midsummer Night's Dream, a chamber play continues to Sept. 20 (

Follow me on Twitter:@nestruck

Associated Graphic

Chris Abraham and Peter Sellars flank a bust of their inspiration.


So why should you be treated like one?
We're inundated with declarations about the latest thing that's good for us. But behind some claims are studies based on rodents, small sample sizes and shoddy science. How do we get off the wheel? Adriana Barton offers a crash course in health literacy
Monday, July 14, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

Would you take fitness tips from a mouse? Would you stop drinking red wine based on a study of Italian senior citizens? What about cutting coffee from your diet because of an observational study with no real cause and effect?

Of course not, you say. But articles about wine, chocolate and coffee studies, and a recent controversial report urging readers to "get out of your body's comfort zone" based on a study of exercising mice, imply you should change your diet and fitness choices based on rather narrow conclusions - even the biochemical changes in rodents.

Many readers know better than to put too much faith in animal studies. But surely we can trust weight-loss advice from a heart surgeon? What if his name is Dr. Mehmet Oz, and he - despite having all the medical credentials and reputation as America's celebrity health guru - was forced to appear before a U.S. Senate Committee investigating false advertising?

Now that reams of medical information is at our fingertips and health products are promoted day and night, "it's difficult for patients to wade through what's valid and what isn't," said Dr. Sharon Domb, a family physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Domb said she appreciates a well-informed patient, but added that Internet users often walk into her office misinformed. Online, it is all too easy for unscrupulous individuals to post things that "sound quasiofficial," she said.

Nevertheless, health consumers are consulting Dr. Google in droves. More than 70 per cent of U.S. adults look for health information online, according to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center in Washington. Websites, television and other media outlets have long surpassed health-care providers as sources of health information, said Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, president of the Canadian Medical Association.

"On the whole, the Internet has been a good thing," Francescutti said. But he cautions people to "really do your research" before going into a panic because a mole on the cheek resembles an online photo of a cancerous growth.

Even rigorous research studies should be read with a proverbial grain of salt, Francescutti said. Study results may not hold true for patients who differ in age, sex, socio-economic status or ethnic background from participants studied, he explained: "You can't take one study and apply it to the entire population."

In the age of information overload, it's up to readers to become "healthier skeptics," said Gary Schwitzer, a former CNN health journalist and current publisher of, a group of more than two dozen physicians and science writers who grade health reporting by major U.S. news organizations.

Here's how to distinguish reliable health information from celebrity endorsements and other misleading reports that could waste your money or put your health at risk.


The Internet is a font of credible health information - if you know which sites pass the test, Francescutti said. Reputable sources include the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For searches beyond these well-known sites, Francescutti recommends checking out the U.S. National Library of Medicine's online tutorial on how to evaluate which Internet sources can be trusted. "You have to be careful of snake-oil salespeople," he said.

As for health news, members of the public should look for reports that analyze new studies, drugs, products or treatments with a critical eye, Schwitzer said. Health reports should include independent assessments of the evidence, as well as discussions of the costs, benefits and harms associated with the new drug or treatment compared with older approaches, he said.

Articles about research conducted on animals or human cells - but not yet in humans - should include caveats about how the results may not apply to people. (It was the normally excellent New York Times that came under fire recently for the blog that quoted a researcher urging human behaviour based on his study of exercising mice.)

For research involving "surrogate markers," such as blood pressure or cholesterol levels, reports should explain that numbers on a graph do not necessarily translate into the kind of health outcomes that matter to patients, such as a decreased risk of disease or premature death.

For example, a drug that raises "good" cholesterol may not reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes.


Medical research is not only a science but also a business, Francescutti pointed out. Organizations in what he calls "the health-industrial complex" reap rewards when they present new treatments or study results in the best possible light, whether it's an academic institution competing for research grants or a medical technology company launching a new product.

In reality, however, medical science is far less certain than news releases from research institutions may suggest. Francescutti cautions readers to be leery of reports that use words such as "breakthrough," "stellar" and "ground-shaking" to describe new research findings and treatments. "Sometimes results that are promising in the lab are still 20 years away in terms of having impact on patients," he said.

All too often, new research findings and treatments are not properly vetted before they hit prime time, Schwitzer said. Of 1,889 media reports on health research published from 2006 to 2013, Schwitzer and a team of 38 physicians and science writers found that half relied on a single source for the article, or failed to disclose the conflict of interest of sources. Their review was published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Anecdotes from patients with specific ailments may help readers relate to a health issue, but unless they are balanced with an overview of potential side effects, patient dissatisfaction or treatment alternatives, patients' emotional stories risk putting "an overly positive spin" on the drug, device or procedure being discussed, Schwitzer and colleagues wrote.

Another red flag is the failure to distinguish between a correlation and cause. One observational study found that people who developed certain health conditions were more likely to be coffee drinkers, but did not conclude that coffee caused disease. That didn't stop health bulletins from blaring "coffee can kill you," the authors wrote.

Similarly, patients should be wary of health information that does not explain risks and benefits in absolute terms, Domb said. An alarmist report may state that a new birth-control pill is associated with a 50-per-cent increased risk for blood clots, but if the absolute risk is an increase from 1 in 10,000 patients to 1.5 in 10,000, the true risk is "infinitesimally small," Domb said. "It's very easy to misconstrue statistics."


To better understand health information, it helps to know the lingo: .

Sample size: The number of participants or group of participants in a study; in general, larger sample sizes lend more weight to study findings.

Intervention: The drug, medical device, procedure or other treatment being studied.

Control group: A group of participants, or "controls," who do not receive the interventions in the study but are used as a comparison when researchers are evaluating results in the treatment group.

Placebo: An inactive substance or treatment given to the control group that is designed to be indistinguishable from the actual drug or intervention being studied.

Double blind: A study condition in which neither the participants nor the researchers giving the interventions know which participants have been assigned which treatments.

Pilot study: A small-scale research project designed to test a hypothesis in advance of a full-fledged study.

Observational study: A study in which participants are not assigned to specific interventions but are assessed over time for health outcomes. Observational studies may find associations between certain habits and health conditions but cannot reliably determine cause-and-effect.

Clinical trial: A study using human subjects to evaluate the effects of an intervention on health outcomes.

Randomized controlled trial: A "gold standard" study design in which participants are randomly assigned to either treatment or control groups, with an aim to reduce selection bias.

Adverse event: An undesirable change in a participant's health that occurs during the study, or within a set period of time after study completion.

Meta-analysis: A method for contrasting and combining results from all relevant studies, in the hope of finding patterns or testing the robustness of the main findings using statistical techniques.

Associated Graphic


Where sushi meets sublime
If you're looking for a seafood-induced bliss-state, head to Yasu on Harbord, a sushi counter that will make you dream of Jiro
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M6

A mid the rush of new sushi restaurants into the city these past few years, there's always been a conspicuous absence. We've seen new panAsian spots where they'll wrap your futomaki rolls in Thai black rice, new all-you-can-eat joints (caveat you've-got-to-be-crazy), a "sustainable" sushi counter, vegetarian sushi businesses, aburi-style specialists where nearly everything comes blowtorched, and restaurants where you pluck your sushi from a conveyor belt and hope it's on its first time around. There are big-box-sized rooms where the sushi comes in wooden boats, as well as pressed-sushi purveyors, hybrid sushi-ya-izakayas, an arriviste new Vancouver-style spot where the fish is great (but what they do with it isn't), and a place where they seem to think that deep-fried sushi pizza is an extremely good idea.

But until this past spring, what the city didn't have was the sort of sushi restaurant that you might have seen in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. What we didn't have was a sushi counter that did nothing but top-quality sushi: that served only just-warm, vinegar-seasoned rice draped with superlative fish, made to order right in front of you and served a single bite at a time.

Early this May, an Osaka-raised chef named Yasuhisa Ouchi [Ohoochee] quietly opened just such a spot on Harbord Street.

Yasu, as the room is called, is bright and modern, wide glass out to Harbord's stream of summer bicyclists. The décor is suitably minimalist for a place with such laser-focus: There is little more here than an L-shaped counter, 10 comfortable stools and an open glass icebox where the fish is kept.

At Yasu, there is only one menu option: for $80, you get 20-odd pieces of pristine sushi, cut right there in front of you.

All but two pieces come served over just-warm rice.

It might start with an ivory slice of Japanese amberjack, its texture almost apple-crisp, its flavour clean, brushed lightly with nikiri (sweetened soy sauce), and set on gently roastytasting rice. There will be grouper from South Carolina, sweet and buttery with a minor wasabi backnote (the wasabi is fresh, of course; Mr. Ouchi prepares it a bit at a time by rubbing a gnarled-looking piece of the root on a sharkskin grater). All the fish is seasoned when you get it; you won't be needing a bowl of soy sauce to dunk it in.

The scallops are warmed with a blowtorch and brightened with sour-floral pepper seasoned with summer yuzu; they melt as you eat them, almost like ice cream from the sea.

The fish selection changes constantly. The chef has had Pacific spot prawns, live Maine and B.C. urchin, and Gaspé scallops on the half-shell lately, in addition to many other less common sushi species. To eat a piece of Mr. Ouchi's sardine sushi, to name just one, is to forever banish anything you knew about oily-fleshed seafood.

Where you might be expecting your usual sardines' greasy pong, at Yasu they are fresh enough to taste disarmingly mild: rich and dark-flavoured, umami-dense and meltingly light, without even a hint of fishy.

And as with everything else here, they are beautiful also: Those sardines appear as whole shimmering fillets, topped with a daub of ginger and a tiny green tangle of scallion shavings, lain out on a bed of cloudlike white rice.

Yet what's extraordinary about eating here, beyond all the fish's tastes and textures and remarkably different characters, is how the focus and the pace of the meal - one piece at a time - encourage you to do something that people too often forget when eating sushi: to think about what you're eating.

There's no filler here, no salad or noodles to arrive just as you're about to get to the Tasmanian sea trout; no wagyu beef sukiyaki sizzling at the counter space next to you so that all you can smell is aerosolized fat. (Both of these happened to me at Sushi Kaji earlier this week.)

Both times I ate at Yasu, the progression of fish and the pace of the evening sent me into a seafood-induced bliss-state.

While I've had that experience at a sushi counter in Tokyo and another in Vancouver, I had never before felt it here.

Mr. Ouchi, who is 40, began his sushi training in Osaka when he turned 16, he said. He spent the first five years of his thirties in Australia, much of that time at modernist sushi king Nobu Matsuhisa's Melbourne branch.

He came to Toronto in 2009 and opened a takeout counter in Leaside called Nigiri-Ya.

Yet what he's always loved most is straight-up Edomae-style sushi, made and served to order. "For Japanese, when you think sushi, it's just fish and rice," he said. He sold Nigiri-Ya last fall and took the plunge.

Yasu has so far gone mostly unnoticed. (Credit to The Grid's Karon Liu, who was the first, and until recently only city food writer to feature the place.) The first time I ate there, I was one of just five people at the counter. The second time, it was just me and a friend. There are two seatings nightly, at six p.m. and 8:30, and the restaurant doesn't accept walk-ins (it buys just enough fish for its reservations); I don't doubt this is part of the problem. But maybe it's also asking a lot of the city to accept an $80-per-person sushi place that isn't known and doesn't have a gimmick.

For the record: $80 is a steal for sushi this good. And as for the empty part, I can only hope that this will change, fast.

The last time I was there, they had small, sweet shrimp from Hokkaido, dense, dark purplish bonito dressed with garlic, superb Norwegian mackerel with pickled daikon, and warm, candied-tasting sea eel.

The urchin had just come in from Hokkaido that morning. It tasted intensely of the ocean: of sea spray and iodine. Even the nori was extraordinary. Mr. Yasu's sous chef handed us each a square of it, topped with a cube of rice and a spoonful of vermillion-coloured salmon roe and a squall of summer yuzu zest. Nori is usually unremarkable: it is structure, not splendour. But here it tasted like dark grass and smoke and green tea - it was the first thing we noticed.

(The rice and ikura were exceptional too.)

The final sushi course, a piece of the sweet, sponge-cake-like egg and shrimp omelette called tamago, is one of the most traditional tastes in the Edomae sushi canon; it is also one of the most difficult to make. (In Jiro Dreams of Sushi, one of the great one's acolytes recalls crying when after four months and 250 failed attempts he finally made one fit for service.)

Mr. Ouchi has spent much of his life making tamago, and still it isn't perfect. The edges, where the square pan is hottest, were puffed up a touch too much both times I had it; one of the pieces was slightly cracked. Yet while it may not have been perfect, it was unequivocally delicious. And in the tradition of all great sushi chefs, Mr. Ouchi said he won't ever stop chasing perfection. "I work on making better tamago every day," he said.

Follow me on Twitter:@cnutsmith



81 Harbord St. (at Spadina Avenue), 416-477-2361,

Atmosphere: A bright, serene room built around a simple sushi bar. Friendly service.

Wine and drinks: Well-selected sake, the usual Japanese beers, as well as good Champagne and French wines.

Best bets: There is just one option: 20-odd courses of chef's choice sushi, for $80 .

N.B.: If you're at all concerned about sustainability, ask for a substitution to the bluefin tuna course.

Associated Graphic

Chef Yasuhisa Ouchi garnishes sushi for the omakase menu at Yasu. For $80, you get 20-odd pieces of pristine sushi.


Rather than migrate to suburbs, some growing families just won't leave their tiny urban units
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G1

VANCOUVER -- Kirk Jong and his wife, Elaine, are both engineers in their early 40s, making healthy salaries. They have two children - Kali, 9, and Kyle, almost 5. They sound like your average Canadian family, the kind typically found living in a big suburban house with a yard, a dog and a small, private transit system running everyone to jobs, schools, sports and the mall.

Instead, they're living the antisuburban life. The four Jongs (and a cat) live in what is essentially a large, open room - a compact loft near Vancouver's downtown and its rail-related industrial lands.

They bought the condo unit in 2003 for $269,900 (it's now assessed at $481,000). Their three beds are within inches of each other on the upstairs half-floor. Kali's play area has been carved out of space under the staircase. And a family's worth of stuff is stacked tidily in cabinets, on shelving, and in plastic boxes as high as they'll go along the walls.

"I get told a lot that I'm crazy, that we need to move," says Kirk, who works at a high-tech business in nearby Richmond. Adds Elaine, as the two kids fence beside her with rubber swords:

"My parents don't understand why you'd live in an apartment."

But the Jongs, who both grew up in bucolic southeast Vancouver, say they're not willing to leave their central Mount Pleasant neighbourhood and they feel that buying anything house-like in the area they've come to love would mean too big a jump up the mortgage ladder. This week, the cheapest duplex on sale in the area is listed at $599,000; the cheapest house that isn't a tear-down or on a major traffic street is $899,000. Their building, an artists' live-work loft that was developed in the early nineties, gives them a spectacular view of the city. It's just a few blocks from the comic-book store, the cafés and the other businesses they visit regularly on Main Street. They won't even consider the suburbs.

The Jongs are part of a small but noticeable trend in both the United States and Canada - middle-class families who are so determined to hang on to the central-city urban life they got attracted to in their 20s that they're refusing to follow the normal migratory flight to the land of the split-level and double garage.

Vancouver's chief housing officer, Mukhtar Latif, in a presentation on affordable housing to city council last week, reported that more than 11,000 families with children are living in studios or one-bedroom units in the city. The trend is so pronounced that it's skewing school planning. A new school that is about to be built near Chinatown has had to have more space tacked on at the last minute. Planners never expected that so many children would appear in the areas nearby, because most of the units were small. It turned out they were wrong.

While many of the city's crowded households are undoubtedly the traditional poorer families who've always packed into small spaces, some are not.

Instead, they're middle- to higher-income families. A recent New York Times article on a similar trend noted that the number of white professionals with one or more children living in one-bedroom condo units in that city had jumped by almost a third between 2000 to 2006.

Prof. Andrew Beveridge, from Queens College of the City University of New York, said the pattern was showing up in other expensive American cities. In Toronto, the 2011 National Household Survey showed there are about 72,000 families living in 71,500 units in buildings with five or more storeys - undoubtedly many of them the new, tiny condos proliferating there.

Vancouver has made an effort to attract families to its downtown and central areas, pushing developers to provide daycare spaces and parks and, not always successfully, threebedroom condos. Developers have tended to prefer building smaller studios and onebedrooms, which are snapped up by first-time buyers and investors. There's been a boom in children downtown, but many couples in the past have only lasted a couple of years with an infant or a toddler in 600 square feet, before moving on.

What's different now is the way the parents are hanging in past toddlerhood in the relatively small downtown condo units, people like the Jongs, several of their neighbours in the building, and a host of others.

It takes some strategic planning to live in that small a space, they acknowledge. Kirk and Elaine wear headphones to watch TV while their children tumble around the living area. When Kyle was a newborn and started crying, one parent would have to decamp to the bathroom and shut the door to try to keep the noise level bearable. Kali has never had school friends over because there's just not enough room, although she loyally says that she copes. "I find it more comfortable. I have my brother here all the time."

Kirk describes it as "kind of like living in a hotel room." But he and Elaine also say it allows them to spend real family time together, not the kid-activity-oriented lives they see others embroiled in. The four spend a lot of time outside the condo, eating out and walking all over the city, rain or shine.

"On the weekend, we'll leave here in the morning and we won't come back till 9," says Kirk. They walk to Stanley Park, Gastown, Chinatown, Science World. Since they're so close to Main and Hastings, they frequently walk past the city's most notorious drug corner. But the people hanging out there will call out, "Kids on the block," and everyone is on their best behaviour while the Jongs pass.

That's what they, and many other middle-class families, like - the sense that they're living in a walkable place that's almost like a village and where there's a tolerance for all kinds of people. The Jongs' children know most of the store-owners along Main and can call on them any time if they need help.

And what about adult alone time? Well, that too takes some strategy and planning but it all works, say the two diplomatically.

Like many other city families, Kirk and Elaine are always wondering how long they can hang on living in such a small space. They thought they'd move when the first baby was born. Then the second. "Even now, we keep saying we've got to move eventually," says Kirk. But they also keep putting it off.

In Yaletown, on Vancouver's downtown peninsula, Melanie Osmack says she and all the parents around her have gone through the same angst.

Ms. Osmack, who runs a business targeted at the swelling population of middle-class families around her (pre- and postnatal fitness and yoga classes), said there's been a sea change since she had her son 10 years ago.

Her family and friends in Langley used to think it was just weird that she stayed living downtown with two kids (her daughter is 7) in a 700-squarefoot condo unit. Even when she moved to her current abode, 1,100 square feet with - gasp - a second bedroom, it wasn't seen as a huge improvement. But she's stopped hearing the suggestions that she should move to a real house, after years of her enthusiastic descriptions of the close community she lives in and the many parks and activities she and her children have access to.

"I don't get the pressure any more." But she does wonder what she'll do when her son is a teenager in not too many years and maybe not so eager to share a bedroom with his sister.

Associated Graphic

Kirk and Elaine Jong watch kids Kyle and Kali romping in their Vancouver loft.


The four Jongs (plus cat) on their loft's sleeping level. It's 'kind of like living in a hotel room,' says Kirk Jong.


Prof saw film as a form of resistance
Influential academic challenged students' preconceptions about movies made in Canada while pioneering cinema studies
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S8

I took my seat in Peter Harcourt's Canadian Cinema course at Carleton University in 1978 for three reasons. First, because I needed the credit. Second, because this Harcourt guy, new to Carleton but pretested at Queen's and York universities, had a strange aura of academic celebrity. (One of his own books was actually on the course syllabus.) And third: because I'd watch anything that moved. Even Canadian movies.

By the end of the first month or so, Professor John Peter Harcourt, who died July 3 in Ottawa at 82 of multiple ailments, had entirely rearranged the furniture in my tiny undergrad intellectual flat as it emerged that the real subject of his course was not Canadian movies after all, but rather that peculiar state of being that was "Canadian." As I and many others before and since learned, even our disinclination to watch Canadian movies was a symptom of a certain hopeless Canadian-ness.

In his gentle, reasonable and endearingly informal way - he almost never stood and lectured, but instead would sit on a desk at the front of the class and wave his rolled notes like an orchestra baton - Prof. Harcourt was altering perceptions by stressing their relativity: You were what you saw, and you saw what you were.

Already a broadcaster, pioneering film studies architect, passionate cultural nationalist and published author (Six European Directors, Movies and Mythologies), Prof. Harcourt made the course less about what was up on the screen - although that was always vital, important and revelatory - than what was unspooling in your head. He taught not only that Canadians, both English and French, made movies as distinctive as those produced by any other more firmly canonized national cinema, but that we watched them differently as well.

His modus operandi went something like this: Let's talk about what we don't like about Canadian movies, shall we? Is it their unpolished, tentative nature?

Their warts-and-all legacy in rough-edged documentary? Their lack of stars and avoidance of simple resolution? Their denial, basically, of so much of what we've come to expect from Hollywood movies? Are we disinclined because the movies seem somehow less than what they should be? But are they? Are they less or are they different? Is the fault in the films or the way we have been conditioned to watch them?

And so we would look, closely and openly, and always with the reassuring knowledge that anything we said would be seriously heard and considered by Prof.

Harcourt. It wasn't what you said that mattered: It was that you said it. An idea unexpressed was pointless. A thought unshared was like a movie without viewers.

We would watch films such as Nobody Waved Good-bye, Lonely Boy, À tout prendre, The Backbreaking Leaf, Le chat dans le sac, Pour la suite du monde, Universe, The Only Thing You Know, Mon Oncle Antoine, Wavelength, Montreal Main, Les ordres, Goin' Down the Road. Some of the movies were vaguely familiar, but most were new, strange visions from the entity Prof. Harcourt had already famously called "the invisible cinema." He was the first person I heard call ours "a foreign cinema in our own country."

I'm not sure I had ever felt quite as Canadian as I did in that class. I'm not sure if I had ever felt Canadian at all. But I am sure I haven't shaken the feeling, or the sense that Peter Harcourt changed the way I looked at things.

As with many of his intellectual, generational cohort, Torontoborn Peter Harcourt left Canada for both work and affirmation.

After studying English at Cambridge with the legendary literary critic and scholar F.R. Leavis, he joined the British Film Institute in London. It was there, while watching the National Film Board of Canada's Candid Eye series of short documentaries that he had something of a cultural revelation. As he often recalled, he recognized something of himself in the films' qualities of calculated restraint, respectful detachment and suspended judgement. Already deeply predisposed to the films of Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, Federico Fellini and Jean Renoir, he also knew he was watching their films from a distance. These Canadian-made documentaries, however, were seen from somewhere inside. They were projecting something about himself back.

Arriving home in that gaudy, celebratory year of 1967, Prof. Harcourt's personal sense of newly minted Canadian-ness merged potently with the entire country's post-Centennial surge in cultural pride. His pioneering role in film study at Queen's and York universities positioned him at the centre of a nationalist movement in film criticism that saw the idea of Canadian cinema in terms of a dynamic resistance against the monolithic colonizing presence of Hollywood.

Anthologies of critical writing on Canadian film were published, courses on the national cinema multiplied, and screenings of Canadian movies flickered exponentially. By the time the Festival of Festivals (now called the Toronto International Film Festival) introduced its Perspective Canada program in 1984, Prof. Harcourt's influence was at its height: He was not only an adviser to the inaugural program but a programmer as well, and he was assisted in the latter task by Piers Handling, a former student at Queen's University whose entire career in writing, editing, publishing, programming and administration is inextricably tied to Prof. Harcourt's influence.

Mr. Handling is now the CEO of TIFF, one of the most successful cultural events in Canadian history.

The very nature of Prof. Harcourt's objective - to promote Canadian culture as a form of cultural resistance - meant his message had currency far beyond the classroom. Given his stature as a kind of free-floating nationalist public intellectual, his influence was widely felt: He was just as likely to inspire and befriend filmmakers as he was students, documentary filmmakers, experimental artists, novelists, poets, playwrights and arts administrators. Or, in my case, aspiring movie critics. All it took to be receptive to his thinking was a reasonable conviction that being Canadian meant something and meant something different. And that in difference there was identity.

If he is not as well known as he should be, it is at least partly because ideas such as nationalism, identity, culture and authorship have all come in for such hammering and revision since the heyday of post-Expo Canadian cultural nationalism. It is trickier than ever to suggest that anything is Canadian without qualifying precisely what that means, let alone making the case that something might be good or worthwhile because it is Canadian. And there is also the diminished role of the public intellectual. Prof. Harcourt always believed that the best ideas were too good to be restricted to the academy, and he hopped the barriers regularly.

Today those barriers often seem like battlements that are breached at one's professional peril.

Ever since I first sat in his classroom 36 years ago, I have been living according to his influence.

Not just in terms of spending so much time writing, thinking, teaching and broadcasting about things Canadian - five books and counting on Canadian culture - but in a certain professional vagabondage: Even at this advanced stage of the game, I am not really certain what it is I do, exactly, but I'm convinced I can't help but do it as a Canadian. And I try never to be blind to my own presumptions: What we see is always determined by what we are. The more you know about who you are, the clearer the view.

Peter Harcourt leaves his two children, John and Jenny; his former wife, Joan (née Lucas); and his sister, Elizabeth. A founding member of the Film Studies Association of Canada, Prof. Harcourt published several books, countless articles and many monographs during his long career, and was named to the Order of Canada in 2005.

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Associated Graphic

Professor Peter Harcourt taught that Canadians made movies as distinctive as those produced by any other country, and that we watched them differently as well.

The OkCupid life-hack
Jennifer Solmes had no trouble finding men online to date. But she needed help finding friends who could relate to being a newly-single mother. So, she gamed the system
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

Melissa Kluger didn't anticipate the note that landed in her OkCupid inbox, beginning with the words, "This might be the strangest message you've ever received on here."

It was January when Kluger, a divorced Toronto publisher and mother to a three-year-old, got the note from Jennifer Solmes, another single mom who was looking for friendship. Solmes was dating on OkCupid herself, and the men there kept telling her how many single mothers had profiles up. Looking for women to relate to after a divorce, Solmes had already joined a single-moms' meet-up, but found the women had children much older than her oneyear-old. A local moms' group was inviting, but most women were younger and married. And so Solmes struck on the idea to use OkCupid to meet like-minded women in the city.

"I was kind of like this square peg," said Solmes, a 43-year-old who works in marketing in Toronto. "What I really wanted to find were other moms like me who were older moms, single moms downtown, of young children for play dates. If you're looking for something really specific, it suddenly occurred to me - the best place to find that would be OkCupid, where I could put in my qualifiers. There was really no other way to target."

In other words, Solmes gamed the system and moulded it to serve her platonic needs. She scoured through profiles, looking for women who had the highest compatability index with her, and then messaged them.

"In truth, that was by far not the strangest message I've received on there," said Kluger, 39, who messaged Solmes back the same day. They met in person two weeks later over dinner, and again soon after at a women's beer-drinking event.

They've since become close friends and rounded up a larger group of local single moms on Facebook, making time to meet regularly around hectic schedules.

"I didn't have any success on OkCupid finding a lasting relationship, but I did find a lasting friendship, and I'm really grateful for that," says Kluger.

"It was a bit of a weird thing to send those e-mails, but it really paid off," Solmes said, adding that she found people who could relate to where she was in life: "On an emotional level, I got understanding."

Looking for new friends later in life is a lot like dating, a daunting game filled with hope, pride and expectations. Solmes's life-hack and websites such as, a "dating site for women finding friends," tap into our tendency to hit it off with people who are substantially like us. A Yale study published this week found that we make friends with people who are genetically similar to us, the equivalent of fourth cousins.

Beyond the workplace, meeting and solidifying new friendships can pose challenges when women seek support structures later in life, after they have had babies and the sheen wears off new marriages.

On top of that, social circles naturally shrink through shifting life stages and transient work contracts that take people away from their hometowns. Weekly traditions such as Thursday drinks and Sunday brunch die out once people marry and have kids and reserve prime time for their families; weekends can become quiet for friends who are unmarried, divorced or child-free.

And as values and priorities shift with age, people can grow less flexible and tolerant with their long-time pals: A 2009 Dutch study from sociologist Gerald Mollenhorst found that people lose about half of their close friends every seven years.

"Our friendships still need consistent time together to grow, but if we don't have an area of life like work or mothers' group or church where our time together happens automatically, then we have to create that consistency. That requires initiation, regularity and spending time out of our busy schedules," says Shasta Nelson, San Fransiscobased chief executive of

Nelson says the dating-site style of her venture works for women looking for new girlfriends because women are fairly picky; there have to be many, many common threads. "We have a higher expectation that our friends need to 'get' us," says the author of Friendships Don't Just Happen!: The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of Girlfriends. "We have a deep hunger for having friends who get us in our current stage of life."

Nelson started her website in 2009 after friends complained that they could line up three dates on a weekend through a website, but couldn't figure out who in their city was open to making new buds. The website now counts 40,000 members, 1,000 of them Canadian. Most women looking for a best friend here are in their busy late 30s and early 40s, although Nelson says her fastest-growing demographic is empty-nesters over 55. As on dating sites, women can specify parameters such as age, kids and career path.

Members can dig for compatible buddies themselves, or use a monthly "connecting circle." The goal here is efficiency: Keywords and locations are used to match up 12 to 15 profiles, invites are sent out, and the first six to RSVP get to meet at a café or wine bar. The meet-ups involve "sharing questions" to stir up conversation. Samples: "In what ways are you similar to, or different from, others in your family?" and "What title would you give to the current chapter of your life?"

Rachel Bertsche sees a lot of parallels between scouting for new best friends and dating. "A lot of women feel like, 'Well I don't want to ask her to lunch again because I asked her last time. I'm going to wait for her to reach out to me.' There ends up being a lot of waiting by the phone, metaphorically," says Bertsche, author of the 2011 book MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend.

The author transplanted from New York to Chicago with her husband. Working from home in a new city, she found it next to impossible to befriend women: "I kept saying, am I just supposed to pick up a girl at yoga class? It's really tough."

There is a particular awkwardness to the platonic search, says Bertsche: "People are willing to talk about looking for love, but not friendship. When you say 'I'm looking for new friends,' what people hear is 'I have no friends.' "So Bertsche decided to challenge herself to meet one woman a week for a year - 52 "friend dates" (a book deal followed).

She started with friends of friends, later joining book clubs, improv classes and And then she raised the bar some more, leaving a note for a waitress "who seemed really cool" and trading contacts with a woman in her row on a flight.

Although there were some awkward silences over long meals, Bertsche ended up with 23 new friends and some new ideas about friendship.

"The definition of BFF that I was looking for is something that's not always possible or even ideal. When I was 16 it was great, that person you see every day and talk to on the phone every night," says Bertsche, now 32 with an 11-month-old baby.

Nelson's advice for those seeking to enlarge their social circle later in life? Don't overprune your existing networks, or trade off old friends for new ones at every new life stage. And don't be too fault-finding with new potentials: It's a labour of love, not an audition.

"Most of us," the platonic matchmaker points out, "we actually end up becoming friends with people who wouldn't fit the parameters that we would pick."

Follow me on Twitter:@zosiabielski

Associated Graphic

Jennifer Solmes, right, reached out to Melissa Kluger on OKCupid, after realizing she ranked high on her compatability index. They have since struck a platonic friendship.


Jennifer Solmes, left, and Melissa Kluger catch up over drinks. The women struck up a friendship on a dating site.


Tired of the formless shift dresses of summer wardrobes past? Consider a draped, sculpted number to beat the heat instead. As Odessa Paloma Parker writes, the toga or goddess-style gown has been flattering figures of all types since Antony wooed Cleopatra. Who better, then, to show off this season's versions than two stars of the Stratford Festival's production of that classic, plus four other actors making their debut there this year?
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L6

Stylistically speaking, there's perhaps no more enduring form than the swooping, asymmetrical shape of the stola and palla, the garments worn by women in ancient Rome (meant to symbolize their married status) and, most famously, by the Statue of Liberty. Figure-enhancing garb that conveniently drapes in all the right places, these historic costumes have been redrawn countless times to the same dazzling effect - this season in the form of gorgeous cocktail wear.

"Draping," says Toronto stylist Nadia Pizzimenti, who worked on the shoot on these pages, "can be strategically used to highlight the best features on your body as well as hide the often troublesome parts. Adding asymmetrical points to the draping creates shape and movement, making the dress do all the work for you."

In the early part of the 20th century, designers such as Madeleine Vionnet, Madame Grès and Mariano Fortuny realized the power of pleating, how gathered fabric could be crafted to appear lavish yet refined. Ruching, a technique used on wiggle dresses in the 1950s, has remained popular thanks to Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz, who has used the design element in several collections, giving a sexy twist to the ubiquitous shift-dress shape. For spring/summer 2014, Alberta Ferretti, Joseph Altuzarra, Donna Karan and Clare Waight Keller at Chloé played with handkerchief hemlines, gathering and asymmetrical detailing to create an ethereal array of summer frocks.

For their part, the Canadian design duo Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine have built a mini-empire on these kinds of details. Season after season, their signature toga-like jersey pieces and gauzy gowns with intermission hemlines offer fresh takes on the style. "We've always found there to be a timeless femininity to draping," the duo notes. Speaking of the pastel-pink dress worn by stage actor Sarena Parmar for this feature, they call attention to the "trompe l'oeil rear capelet" that cascades down the back of the dress. "From every angle, this dress appears different, further drawing in and alluring the eye of the beholder."

It's like a wearable set piece.

As Greta Constantine's array of versions suggests, the key to the longevity of this style has been its adaptability. This season's models, including knee-grazing silks, knotted jerseys and sinuous light wools, are especially rich, offering something for every age, body type and occasion, whether it's an evening in the city or an out-of-town wedding (many of these numbers are lightweight and travel well).

By adding just a few fi nishing touches - metal jewellery and a colourful clutch, say - you'll be ready to step into the spotlight with minimal effort. And the reviews are sure to be raves.


JENNY YOUNG's first season at the festival has seen her dive into an eclectic range of roles, from several characters in Alice Through The Looking-Glass to an eccentric monarch in Christina, The Girl King. Noting how pervasive the history and tradition of theatre is in Stratford, the actor has been especially inspired by her surroundings. "The entire [city] feels like it's geared toward having an experience that satisfies the needs of both an ardent theatregoer as well as the dabbler in live performance."

BCBG dress, $229 at BCBG ( Hermès bangles $445 each, scarf, $990, shoes, $1,300 at Hermès ( Orciani belt, $395 at George C ( Shot on location in Stratford's riverside Shakespearean Gardens.


A graduate of Stratford's Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, JENNIFER MOGBOCK marks her triumphant return to the region with roles in three plays: King John, Mother Courage and Antony and Cleopatra. "I came to Stratford for the first time in 2009 and, since then, my biggest goal was to be an actor at the festival," she says.

"Here I am five years later, making my debut and accomplishing one of my biggest dreams."

Helmut Lang dress, $455 at Holt Renfrew ( Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection necklace, $650 through Paula Mendoza ring, $190 through Shot on location at Balzac's Coffee Roasters in Stratford (


Like many actors at Stratford, SARENA PARMAR inhabits the roles of various characters this season (she plays Rose in Alice Through The LookingGlass and appears in Antony and Cleopatra). It's a feature of the festival she particularly enjoys. "You can see an actor play the mother of a future king in the afternoon and a street-smart canteen woman in the evening," she says. "There's something exciting about that to me - that the audience can watch us transform for them."

Greta Constantine dress, $815 through Marni earrings, $370 at Holt Renfrew ( Paula Mendoza rings, $175 each through Shot on location at Confederation Park in Stratford.


A passion for musical theatre and training from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is proving especially handy this season for NATALIE MOORE, who appears in the Stratford Festival's current production of Crazy For You. The "dream-come-true" opportunity has given the Ottawa-born actor, singer and dancer the chance to soak in local ambiance, from the Ontario city's "beautiful parks and gardens" to its food (her favourite spot is Mercer Hall Restaurant, where she likes to dine with her cast mates).

Sportmax dress, $975 at Sportmax boutiques ( Lanvin necklace, $1,300, Celine cuff, $995 at Holt Renfrew ( Bionda Castana shoes, $690 at Hudson's Bay ( Shot on location backstage at the Stratford Festival Theatre (


Of the two Shakespearean productions MAEV BEATY appears in this season (she plays Goneril in King Lear and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream), it's the tragedy that has special meaning to her. Beaty met her husband in a production of the play 17 years ago and this year, "on the opening day, our 10-month-old daughter, Esmé, took her first steps on her own," she says.

Lanvin dress, $1,995 at Holt Renfrew (

Anndra Neen bangle, $310 through Manolo Blahnik shoes, $825 at Davids Footwear (

Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection earrings, $550 through

Shot on location at 51 Avon St., a 150-year-old park-side home near downtown Stratford(


"In 1996, I attended my very first play at the Stratford Festival, a production of Alice Through The LookingGlass," says IJEOMA EMESOWUM. "I remember sitting in the theatre, completely in awe." Eighteen years later, Emesowum is making her Stratford debut with roles in both Alice Through The Looking-Glass and Hay Fever.

Vionnet dress, $1,234, Lisa Corbo rings, $150 to $250 at George C ( Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection necklace, $500 through Diane von Furstenberg purse, $345, Miu Miu shoes, $895 at TNT ( Shot on location in the lobby of Stratford's new boutique hotel, The Bruce.


The Bruce Hotel, Stratford, Ont.

Named after owner Jennifer Birmingham's late father, The Bruce Hotel, Stratford's sprawling new boutique getaway, served as the setting for our portrait of actress Ijeoma Emesowum. Featuring 25 fully accessible rooms and suites, the recently opened retreat on six-anda- half acres boasts a gym and indoor pool, guest pantry and library. At the hotel's restaurant, showcasing the "nouveau Ontario" cuisine of chef Aaron Linley (formerly of Stratford hot spot Bijou), guests can dine on dishes such as purée of Perth County green-garlic soup and tiradito of local trout. During the summer months, a patio - complete with oversized chess set - offers a place to while away the hours before catching an evening performance. The general manager, Paul Gregory, was previously with the Four Seasons chain, having started with the luxury hotel group over 15 years ago. For more information on the hotel, visit www.

Associated Graphic


The written troubles of the brain
Saturday, July 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R13

Wilder Penfield was among the most important explorers of the 20th century. A former Princeton class president and varsity athlete, Penfield traded in his all-American credentials to establish an unconventional medical practice in Montreal in the late twenties. He specialized in neurosurgery, and according to author Sam Kean, "probably did more than any other scientist to explain how the brain works in real time." Penfield kept his patients awake, a common practice, given that the upper brain isn't receptive to physical pain. By administering low-level electric shocks to different parts of the cerebral cortex, he conjured dramatic sights, sounds or sensations in his subjects' minds. His experiments took medical knowledge past the familiar and into the neurobiological badlands. Prior to his interventions, Kean writes, "whole continents of the neural hemispheres remained as sketchy as early-1500s maps of the Americas."

Penfield is one of the many eccentric visionaries who populate Kean's engrossing, cleverly narrated book The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery. Kean draws on bizarre anecdotes (many could be described as tall tales if they weren't actually true) that reveal surprising insights about human cognition. He considers phantom limbs, the complex mechanisms behind facial recognition (and misrecognition), neuroplasticity, synethesia and other discoveries that elevated neuroscience to the forefront of both medical practice and popular culture.

Any history of neuroscience is at least a partial history of psychiatry too, since neurobiology is such a prevailing force within psychiatric thought.The old argument about whether mental illnesses are biologically determined or the product of childhood experiences has had many iterations over the decades since psychoanalysis came to prominence.

Kean discusses Capgras syndrome (arguably one of the most unsettling conditions out there), in which you become convinced that the people you love have been hollowed out and replaced by robots or clones. The man who discovered the disorder roughly a century ago, French psychiatrist Joseph Capgras, had a stock explanation: repressed incestual urges. Experimental data, however, points to problems with the brain's limbic system, which, among other things, produces a warm feeling of recognition in the presence of somebody you love. Take away that feeling, and even the most familiar face can seem eerily vacuous.

Clinicians can assess limbic recognition - or its absence - by monitoring sweat levels on a person's skin. Clearly, Capgras syndrome is a biological disorder with measurable bodily effects.

"In light of brain discord," Kean writes, "many delusions seem, if not rational, at least comprehensible. They're simply the failings of a fragile brain."

We can make arguments like this because, at last, we're beginning to feel our way around that complex, ridged and grooved organ beneath our skulls. This is, in many respects, a positive development - one that has enabled effective new drug treatments - but have we gone too far in our efforts to medicalize psychiatry? Today, many specialists, including experts in psychosis and delusion, are trying to shift our attention back toward social and cultural theories of mental illness. If we're going to better understand psychiatric disorders, they insist, neurobiology has to share space with social studies.

In Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness, New York University psychiatrist Joel Gold and McGill psychiatrist and philosopher Ian Gold cite a wealth of peer-reviewed data suggesting that schizophrenia and various schizoaffective disorders can be triggered by real-world circumstances. The Gold brothers show that people who have experienced poverty, racism, sustained bullying, physical or sexual violence, abandonment, or emotional abuse are more likely than others to develop psychotic conditions. (Individuals living in high-density areas are also more susceptible to psychosis, a fact that is often attributed to urban alienation.) This data doesn't scuttle the biological argument, but it complicates it a bit. Current psychiatric models still treat genetic susceptibility as a pivotal factor. As the Gold brothers explain, a person with high susceptibility may develop a delusional disorder regardless of life circumstances; somebody with moderate susceptibility might only become delusional through exposure to trauma; and people with no susceptibility will probably resist psychosis no matter how many curve balls life throws their way. Even among survivors of extreme hardship, rates of delusional disorders are, in absolute terms, low.

To explain the connections between trauma and psychosis, the Gold brothers consider the suspicion system: the brain mechanism that processes wariness, fear and panic. It's a primitive function - having supposedly evolved around the time that our ancestors began living together in communities - and it favours hunches over sober, evidencebased thought. As the Gold brothers argue, the suspicion system enables all of us would-be Othellos to identify the scheming Iagos in our midst before they get to us. Delusions, they theorize, may be the product of a disordered suspicion system, one that has been pushed into overdrive by traumatic life events.

The Golds are particularly interested in the Truman Show delusion, a mostly 21st century condition named after the 1998 film in which Jim Carrey plays a naïve everyman whose life is the basis of a reality TV show. (The brothers gave the disorder its name in a widely read 2012 paper on the subject.) People with Truman Show delusions believe that the world is watching them. They are living under the gaze of a million hidden cameras, and the people around them - colleagues, acquaintances, lovers - are actually actors employed by a sadistic television studio.

Can a movie really trigger a whole new category of delusional thought? Probably not. But the release of the film roughly corresponds to a dramatic spike in surveillance technology. The Gold brothers suggest that, in an era of closed-circuit television cameras, biometric identification, and now dragnet data collection, the fear of being monitored may be more prevalent than ever. Surveillance, like racism or bullying, is a type of social trauma. It puts all of us on edge, and sends some of us over it.

Whether or not you buy into the suspicion-system theory - i.e. the notion that contemporary culture is triggering psychosis within our mistrustful, cavemen brains - depends on your taste for evolutionary psychiatry. Many people, including experts, find these arguments convincing. I'm not one of them. My suspicion system starts to tingle whenever somebody suggests that the way we are today can be accounted for by the way we used to be. Evolutionary theories can make for compelling reading, but we probably gain more by confronting disorders themselves than by speculating about their ancestry.

Still, Suspicious Minds is an important book. It's sharp, compassionate and incredibly well researched. It gives a window into current psychiatric debates, and it builds toward a theory that is at least plausible and definitely thought provoking, which is all that theory needs to be. While Kean's Dueling Neurosurgeons recounts how neuroscience became such a powerful force, the Gold brothers consider what needs to happen next. Neurobiology has pushed the nature-nurture debate toward the nature end of the spectrum; the Gold brothers and other likeminded clinicians are nudging it an inch or two in the opposite direction.

For this reason, Suspicious Minds works best when dealing with the present, not the distant evolutionary past. The Golds suggest that, in a world with lower levels of inequality, violence, and perhaps surveillance too, we would be less burdened by delusional psychosis. Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders aren't only internal conditions - they're social maladies too. The book stands, then, as a powerful argument for the psychiatric benefits of social justice.

Simon Lewsen is a writing instructor at the University of Toronto and a contributor to Hazlitt, Reader's Digest, Toronto Life and The Walrus.

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery By Sam Kean Little, Brown and Co., 416 pages, $30

Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness By Joel Gold and Ian Gold Free Press, 352 pages, $32

Associated Graphic

Wilder Penfield, brain mapper.


Across Canada, students are educated in classrooms and lecture halls in older buildings laced with asbestos. Officials say it's safe, as long as the toxic substance is undisturbed. But, as scientist Patricia Martens knows first-hand, this passive approach can cost lives
Monday, July 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

Some 60 years ago, lumps of wet, grey material were given to students in art classes to shape and mould into art to proudly display at home. It was especially good for objets d'art such as candle holders, since the substance was famous for stopping the spread of flames.

That material was asbestos, now known as a toxic material for which there is, quite simply, no safe level of exposure.

It's still regularly found in older schools and universities across Canada, wrapped around pipes, above ceilings and behind walls.

Though asbestos is the biggest workplace killer in the country, Health Canada is committed to the position that it's only an issue when fibres become airborne and "significant quantities" are inhaled or ingested. While the Canadian government maintains it has "consistently acted to protect Canadians from the health risks of asbestos," dozens of countries - including Britain, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Germany and Denmark - have banned it outright in recognition of the fact that exposure to fibres can cause various diseases, including mesothelioma and other cancers.

The World Health Organization has declared all forms of asbestos carcinogenic and recommends its use be eliminated; the International Agency for Research on Cancer has said there is no safe form of asbestos, nor is there a threshold level of exposure that is risk-free.

In Canada, many cashstrapped schools and universities follow Health Canada's position that asbestos is safe if contained - abatement is wrapped into other renovation and repair projects, and teachers and staff are taught how to prevent accidental exposure. But despite the best of intentions, accidental exposure happens.

Dr. Patricia Martens - a senior research scientist at the University of Manitoba's Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, professor in its Faculty of Medicine and recipient of the Order of Canada - knows this first-hand.

In the fall of 2012, she thought she had an especially stubborn summer cold or, worst case, that she'd picked up tuberculosis doing First Nations community research (TB is particularly prevalent among First Nations).

"It felt like I had pneumonia ... but it just kept getting worse and worse so I could barely breathe and I felt like I was drowning all the time. So then they sent me to specialists in January and that's when they did the biopsy and came up with this bizarre ruling," Martens said.

The incurable mesothelioma diagnosis was staggering, especially considering that a colleague had recently died of mesothelioma.

"I'm very realistic. I might live a few more weeks, I might live a few more months, I might live another year. But I've already outlasted the median time from diagnosis, which is around a year. So I'm grateful for every day," Martens says.

And as a public-health expert, she has a message: Her illness was entirely preventable at a policy and legislation level. "I don't want anybody to be intentionally or unintentionally exposed."

Her accidental exposure came as a University of Manitoba student, she believes, in the huge dining-exam room in which she ate her lunch every day. It had an open-slat ceiling with beautifully finished wood - and asbestos filling stuffed in the gaps.

Laura Lozanski, a former nurse and the occupational health and safety officer for the Canadian Association of University Teachers, questions the Canadian government's position that asbestos is safe when it is enclosed behind walls and ceilings.

"All you have to do is knock a chair into the wall if it's got asbestos, even though it's intact [and] it's never been disturbed ... now it's been disturbed.

That's all it takes," she said.

Across the country, accidental exposure occurs time and again: In British Columbia, the New Westminster School District was fined for failing to inform workers that the floor in a classroom they were tearing up in 2005 contained the toxic material.

The school board in Algoma, Ont., temporarily shut down a school in 2006 after a teacher and a group of students accidentally disturbed asbestos tiles.

In 2012, a Kawartha Lakes, Ont., elementary teachers' union filed a complaint against the Trillium Lakelands District School Board for allegedly failing to inform staff and students at Bracebridge's Monck Public School about asbestos-containing ceiling tiles in some of its classrooms.

And in April, the auditorium at St. Patrick Catholic Secondary School in Toronto was temporarily closed after tests of its air ducts found asbestos in six out of 18 samples.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is Canada's biggest with some 250,000 students and almost 600 schools. Of those, a majority of schools "are older, so they would have some sort of asbestos present to varying degrees, whether it be a ceiling, or maybe their pipes are wrapped," said spokesman Ryan Bird.

Despite that, there's no plan to proactively remove asbestos.

"If you don't need to remove it because it's not a danger to anyone, then why spend thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove it," said Chris Broadbent, TDSB health and safety manager. "As long as it's undisturbed, it's not an issue."

That approach is echoed in the city's Catholic board, with 90,000 students, as well.

"Don't redecorate, just leave everything alone, just leave the ceilings alone, leave the walls alone, even in new buildings," said Corrado Maltese, the Catholic board's manager of health and safety. He confirmed asbestos is present in 172 of the Catholic board's 201 schools.

As part of efforts begun in 2010 to upgrade 168 schools for full-day kindergarten, the Catholic board has spent about $15,000 to $20,000 per school removing asbestos.

While funding is always an issue, another cash-strapped public institution has taken a markedly different approach to abatement: The Toronto Transit Commission has spent about $40-million since 1982 removing asbestos from behind subwaytunnel liners, a dangerous and time-consuming after-hours process that is 90-per-cent complete.

"The TTC, where appropriate, takes proactive measures to protect its workers, customers and environment," said Brad Ross, the TTC's executive director of communications.

Without government regulation at any level banning the substance, it's up to individual, publicly elected school boards to determine where asbestos abatement fits into overall budgets.

At the very least, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario wants the province to follow Saskatchewan's lead and introduce a mandatory public registry for asbestos in public buildings. (While Toronto's Catholic board makes publicly available online locations of asbestos in its schools, the TDSB doesn't allow public access to its asbestos records.)

"[Asbestos is] a known carcinogen, and asbestos-related disease has been confirmed in a limited number of cases involving education workers," said Sam Hammond, president of the elementary teachers' union.

"I don't want anybody to ever have to experience this lethal form of cancer that you really can do very little about - and was totally man-made," Patricia Martens said. "I want the [Stephen] Harper government to come up with a statement saying that all forms of asbestos is dangerous for human health. We really need to take a deep, hard gulp and say, we've got to do something ... so that nobody else is going to be exposed."

With files from Tavia Grant

Associated Graphic

Renowned scientist Patricia Martens was exposed to asbestos as a student at the University of Manitoba. She now has mesothelioma. 'I wish I had more energy to put to this cause, but what energy I have left, I want people to see that it could strike any one of us, and it needn't have,' she said.


Demolition work at North Toronto Collegiate Institute in 2011 was delayed because of the presence of asbestos in a building.


Little feet, little spaces
Rather than migrate to the suburbs, some growing middle-class families just won't leave their compact downtown condos
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S5

Kirk Jong and his wife, Elaine, are both engineers in their early 40s, making healthy salaries. They have two children - Kali, 9, and Kyle, almost 5. They sound like your average Canadian family, the kind found living in a big suburban house with a yard, a dog and a small, private transit system running everyone to jobs, schools, sports and the mall.

Instead, they're living the antisuburban life. The four Jongs (and a cat) live in what is essentially a large, open room - a 1,000square-foot loft near Vancouver's downtown and its rail-related industrial lands. They bought the condominium unit in 2003 for $269,900. Their three beds are within inches of each other on the upstairs half-floor. Kali's play area has been carved out of space under the staircase. And a family's worth of stuff is stacked tidily in cabinets, on shelving, and in plastic boxes as high as they'll go along the walls.

"I get told a lot that I'm crazy, that we need to move," says Kirk, who works at a high-tech business in Richmond. Adds Elaine, while the two kids fence beside her with rubber swords: "My parents don't understand why you'd live in an apartment."

But the Jongs, who both grew up in bucolic southeast Vancouver, say they're not willing to leave their central Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, and they feel that buying anything house-like in the area they've come to love would mean too big a jump up the mortgage ladder. This week, the cheapest duplex for sale in the area is listed at $599,000; the cheapest house that isn't a teardown or on a major traffic street is $899,000. Their building, an artists' live-work loft, gives them a spectacular view of the city. It's just a few blocks from the comicbook store, the cafés and the other businesses they visit regularly on Main Street. They won't even consider the suburbs.

The Jongs are part of a small but noticeable trend in both the United States and Canada - middleclass families who are so determined to hang on to the centralcity urban life they got attracted to in their 20s that they're refusing to follow the normal migratory flight to the land of the split-level and double garage.

Vancouver's chief housing officer, Mukhtar Latif, in a presentation on affordable housing to city council last week, reported that more than 11,000 families with children are living in studios or one-bedroom units in the city. The trend is so pronounced that it's skewing school planning. A new school that is about to be built near Chinatown has had to have more space tacked on at the last minute. Planners never expected that so many children would appear in the areas nearby, because most of the units were small. They were wrong.

While many of the city's crowded households are undoubtedly the traditional poorer families who've always packed into small spaces, some are not.

Instead, they're middle- to higher-income families. A recent New York Times article noted that the number of white professionals with one or more children living in one-bedroom condo units in that city had jumped by almost a third between 2000 to 2006.

Andrew Beveridge, of Queens College of the City University of New York, said the pattern is showing up in other expensive U.S. cities. In Toronto, the 2011 National Household Survey showed there are about 72,000 families living in 71,500 units in buildings with five or more storeys - undoubtedly many of them the new, tiny condos proliferating there.

Vancouver has made an effort to attract families to its downtown and central areas, pushing developers to provide daycare spaces and parks and, not always successfully, three-bedroom condos.

Developers have tended to prefer building smaller studios and onebedrooms, which are snapped up by first-time buyers and investors. There's been a boom in children downtown, but many couples in the past have only lasted a couple of years with an infant or a toddler in 600 square feet, before moving on. What's different now is the way the parents are hanging in past toddlerhood in the relatively small downtown condo units, people like the Jongs and a host of others.

It takes strategic planning to live in that small a space, they acknowledge. Kirk and Elaine wear headphones to watch TV while their children tumble around the living area. When Kyle was a newborn and started crying, one parent would have to decamp to the bathroom and shut the door to try to keep the noise level bearable. Kali has never had school friends over because there's just not enough room, although she loyally says that she copes. "I find it more comfortable. I have my brother here all the time."

Kirk describes it as "kind of like living in a hotel room." But he and Elaine also say it allows them to spend real family time together, not the kid-activity-oriented lives they see others embroiled in. The four spend a lot of time outside the condo, eating out and walking all over the city.

"On the weekend, we'll leave here in the morning and we won't come back till 9," says Kirk. They walk to Stanley Park, Gastown, Chinatown, Science World. Since they're so close to Main and Hastings, they often walk past the city's most notorious drug corner. But the people hanging out there will call out, "Kids on the block," and everyone is on their best behaviour while the Jongs pass.

That's what they and many other middle-class families like - the sense that they're living in a walkable place that's almost like a village and where there's a tolerance for all kinds of people. The Jongs' children know most of the store-owners along Main and can call on them if they need help.

And what about adult alone time? Well, that too takes some strategy and planning but it all works, say the two diplomatically.

Like many other city families, Kirk and Elaine are always wondering how long they can hang on living in such a small space. They thought they'd move when the first baby was born. Then the second. "Even now, we keep saying we've got to move eventually," says Kirk. But they also keep putting it off.

In Yaletown, Melanie Osmack says she and all the parents around her have gone through the same angst. Ms. Osmack, who runs a business targeted at the swelling population of middleclass families around her (preand postnatal fitness and yoga classes), said there's been a sea change since she had her son 10 years ago. Her family and friends in Langley used to think it was just weird that she stayed downtown with two kids (her daughter is 7) in a 700-square-foot condo unit. Even when she moved to her current abode, 1,100 square feet with - gasp - a second bedroom, it wasn't seen as a huge improvement. But she's stopped hearing the suggestions that she should move to a real house, after years of her enthusiastic descriptions of the close community she lives in and the parks and activities she and her children have access to.

"I don't get the pressure any more." But she does wonder what she'll do when her son is a teenager and maybe not so eager to share a bedroom with his sister.

Associated Graphic

Kirk and Elaine Jong watch as their children romp in their Vancouver loft. It's 'kind of like living in a hotel room,' says Kirk.


Snarled city
We're facing the worst construction season in years, and it's all happening at once. But the people who oversee the projects say this is 'a necessary evil' to tackle our repair and maintenance backlog. It's the price of progress. But it's not ending anytime soon, Marcus Gee writes
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M1

Stephen Buckley and Jeffrey Climans understand that they may not be the most popular guys in Toronto right now. Mr. Buckley is the city's general manager of Transportation Services. Mr. Climans is director of Major Capital Infrastructure Coordination. Together, they help oversee the scores of projects that have torn up roads, blocked lanes, diverted buses and streetcars and turned Toronto into what sometimes seems like one giant construction site.

Bloor Street West is getting new sidewalks and asphalt. Dundas and Spadina is being dug up for track and water-main work. Construction fencing is going in and heavy equipment is setting up on Eglinton Avenue for the Crosstown light-rail transit project. Then, of course, there is the Gardiner Expressway, now in the midst of a massive rehabilitation that often slows traffic to a crawl even more snail-like than usual. With contractors hurrying to finish projects for next year's Pan American Games as well, it is feeling like the worst construction season in years.

Mr. Buckley and Mr. Climans don't try to minimize the public's annoyance. They hear about it all the time.

They just ask people to wipe the construction dust from their eyes for a second and try to see the bigger picture.

After decades of short-sighted underinvestment, Toronto is finally making progress against its repair and maintenance backlog.

"We are at the point where we feel we are no longer losing ground," says Mr. Buckley.

"There are cities that aren't making these investments that in 10 or 20 years are going to be in a bad situation, where I think Toronto, by doing the right thing, will be in a much better situation."

Much of Toronto's infrastructure was built in the postwar years and is now reaching the end of its natural life, which means a lot of major work has to be done at once. Mr. Climans says the city is spending close to a billion dollars a year on various projects and will continue spending at that pace for seven or eight years at least.

This summer's construction blitz is only the beginning.

To illustrate the scale of the work, Mr. Climans pulls up a website the city uses to track and co-ordinate all its projects. It's called T.O. INview (for infrastructure viewer). Click on road resurfacing and dozens of squiggles appear on a map of the city to show those projects. Click on bridge rehabilitation and several dots appear. Do the same for water-main replacement, on-street bikeway construction, gas-line work, laying of communications cable, storm-water management and all the other kinds of projects and soon the surface of Toronto is nearly covered with the multicoloured tattoos of its work boom.

The result, no way around it, is a big mess. Viewed from the ground, it can seem as if nobody is in charge. Drivers fumed when lane closings on Lake Shore Boulevard this spring coincided with the Gardiner work.

Campaigning politicians, picking up on the frustration, insist things would be different if they were in charge. John Tory said this week that if he became mayor he would set up a special committee to co-ordinate projects and make himself its boss for the first six months. Karen Stintz says she would appoint a "transportation czar" instead. Olivia Chow would fine companies like condo builders that needlessly close down road lanes for construction.

If only it were so simple. The task of rebuilding the nerves and arteries of an aging city is almost unimaginably complex. When you dig up a street in Toronto, it often means bringing in everyone that has stuff underground. Do the water folks need to get in there to fix their pipes? How about the telecommunications companies and their fibre optics?

Mr. Buckley and Mr. Climans help choreograph this delicate ballet of cranes, diggers and dump trucks. After the bad press over poorly co-ordinated projects such as the St. Clair streetcar line, they have been working hard to make sure work is done in the right sequence and with the minimum inconvenience to residents.

"We have to invest, we have to improve, we have to upgrade the infrastructure - it's a necessary evil - but we're doing it in a kinder, gentler way," says Mr. Climans.

That means taking more care to tell the public about planned construction and its effects.

T.O. INview gives all the players a heads-up about what work is planned and where, in case they have to do work of their own in the same place.

"We are putting all our marching orders out in plain view," Mr. Climans says.

The aim is "less surprise, less uncertainty and ultimately more accountability." A second website for the general public lists all the construction projects ward by ward, as well as the many parades, marathons and other special events that can snarl traffic.

Yes, Toronto could get projects done faster by ordering roundthe-clock work on high-priority projects, as Mr. Tory proposed this week. The city is considering just such a step. But it would boost the cost, and in a city where more and more people are living on busy main streets, residents would be sure to complain about nighttime work.

As Mr. Climans puts it, "we can't turn the city off." Along with Mr. Buckley, he is faced with the challenge of "shoehorning into a vibrant, active environment all the investment that is required not just for the next year but for the next 10 or 100 years."

It's easy to rant about the crazy amount of work that is tearing up the city, but wouldn't it be worse if the work wasn't being done at all? Many people who complain now about all the road work were complaining not long ago about the poor condition of the roads.

It's easy to cast blame, too - to say that all we need is a new mayor to crack the whip. But it isn't Rob Ford's fault that the city is overwhelmed by construction right now. It isn't anyone's fault. It's just that we have a whole lot of important and necessary work to do at the same time. It's going to be a pain no matter who is in the mayor's chair.

So if you feel like fuming over all the congestion and roadwork, fume away. But don't forget the payoff: a better, sounder city down the (torn-up) road.


Areas to avoid:


The intersection currently has one lane open in both directions, but will close completely for a few weeks starting July 28.


Many commuters are already familiar with this construction headache. Front Street is set to reopen by December, according to the city's site.

3. GARDINER EXPRESSWAY Stretches of the Gardiner from the foot of Fort York west to Humber Bay will have lane closings ending as early as the fall and as late as 2016.

4. QUEEN'S QUAY WEST The waterfront area, which has been plagued with construction for a while, is due to be completed come December.

5. THIS WEEKEND: The Honda tndy car-racing event is running through the weekend, which means some road closings by the waterfront. Strachan Avenue will be closed between Fleet Street and the Lake Shore until midnight Sunday. Same goes for the Lake Shore, which will be closed from Strachan to British Columbia Drive.

Associated Graphic

Traffic has been reduced to single lanes in all directions at Dundas St. West and Spadina Ave. for water main and streetcar track repairs.


Anger over rebel control of crash site
Canada joins international community in demanding immediate, independent investigation as militants load bodies onto refrigerated rail cars, hold on to crucial black box recorders
Monday, July 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

International outrage is growing at eastern Ukrainian rebels - and their patron, Russian President Vladimir Putin - over their treatment of passenger bodies and the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane that fell into rebel-held territory after being shot out of the sky last week.

Three days after Flight 17 was hit by what is believed to be a sophisticated surface-to-air missile - which U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry alleged was supplied to the separatists by Russia - the corpses of 192 of those who died on board, plus fragments of eight other bodies, were finally loaded Sunday onto refrigerated rail cars in the town of Torez, near the crash site. The bodies were badly decomposed after being left uncovered for two days in the field of wheat and sunflowers where the plane came down, 40 kilometres from Ukraine's border with Russia.

It was unclear where or when the train would travel. Torez, as well as the nearby centres of Donetsk and Lugansk, are under the control of the rebels, who declared independence from the central government in Kiev two months ago, sparking a bloody civil war in the region.

The remains of almost 100 other passengers had not yet been recovered, and some may have been incinerated in the initial explosion. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte - whose citizens accounted for 193 of the total 298 dead - called the rebels' behaviour at the crash site "appalling," saying they had tampered with evidence and picked through victims' possessions.

John Baird, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, has talked with his counterparts in Australia, the Netherlands, and Malaysia about the tragedy and says the international community is calling for an immediate and independent investigation.

The fact that the Russian Federation is not using its influence with the separatists in the eastern Ukraine to allow the bodies of those who perished to be repatriated is troubling, Mr. Baird said in a telephone interview on Sunday from London.

"The fact that the crime scene - and this is a crime scene - is being disturbed is another urgent concern," he said. "The security and safety of civil aviation is paramount and, frankly, there must be justice brought to bear on those who are responsible for this and those who have aided and abetted it."

The Ukrainian government has sent rescue teams to the site, but Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the country's National Security and Defence Council, said they were working under the supervision of armed fighters from the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic and forced to turn bodies they found over to the separatists.

International investigators have yet to reach the area, as widespread calls for a ceasefire have not brought about an end to fierce fighting in the region between the rebels and Ukrainian government forces. There are also continuing concerns over the fate of Flight 17's crucial "black box" flight recorders, with the rebels - after several denials - admitting Sunday that they had them and would hold them until international aviation experts arrived.

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), who had already been deployed in the Donetsk region, did briefly inspect the refrigerated train cars on Sunday. A spokesman said the monitors saw body bags with tags on them and experienced the overwhelming smell of decaying corpses.

"We were escorted to the railway station by heavily armed guards of the Donetsk People's Republic," said the OSCE's Michael Bociurkiw. "They are the ones in charge of that area."

The rebels' insistence on maintaining control of the crash site is fuelling international anger.

"Drunken - I mean literally, drunken - separatist soldiers are piling bodies into trucks unceremoniously and disturbing the evidence," Mr. Kerry told Fox News Sunday.

"Airplane parts have been removed," Mr. Kerry said. "We need full access and this is a moment of truth for Russia.

Some of the leaders of the separatists are Russians. Russia arms these separatists. Russia trains these separatists. Russia supports these separatists. Russia has refused to call on them publicly to do the things that need to be done."

One Canadian - 24-year-old Andrei Anghel of Ajax, Ont. - was killed aboard Flight 17. On Saturday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak tweeted that he felt the tragedy "personally," because his step-grandmother was among the dead.

Western leaders continued to up the pressure on Mr. Putin to rein in the rebels and allow a proper probe into what happened to Flight 17. There were signs this was happening Sunday, as well-trained men wearing the uniforms of Ukraine's disbanded Berkut riot police took over the disaster site, enforcing a semblance of order that had been missing in the first 48 hours following the crash.

The Berkut were loyal to Ukraine's former president, the Kremlin-backed Viktor Yanukovych, until he was ousted by a pro-Western revolution in February. The Berkut later played a supporting role during Russia's March seizure and annexation of the Crimea Peninsula from Ukraine. The appearance of men in Berkut uniforms at the crash site suggests the force might have been reactivated by Moscow.

Ties between Moscow and the West have plunged to post-Cold War lows this year, with Canada, the United States and the European Union imposing a raft of sanctions meant to punish Russia for its actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

In a separate interview with CNN, Mr. Kerry said that - because of video posted on social media, plus U.S. satellite observation of the area - "we know with confidence" that the missile that knocked Flight 17 out of the sky was an anti-aircraft system from Russia that had been transferred to the separatists.

"We know because we observed it by imagery that at the moment of the shoot-down we detected a launch from that area," Mr. Kerry said. "Our trajectory shows that it went to the aircraft."

The Kremlin has blamed Kiev for the tragedy, suggesting it could have been the Ukrainian military that shot down Flight 17 and questioning why a passenger airline was allowed to overfly a conflict zone in the first place. Russian media has complained of an unfair effort by the West to try and blame Mr. Putin for the disaster.

"The statements of representatives of the U.S. administration are evidence of a deep political aberration of Washington's perception of what is going on in Ukraine," Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said Saturday. "Despite an obvious and indisputable nature of the arguments provided by rebels and Moscow, the U.S. administration is pushing its own agenda."

In an editorial printed on the front page of The Sunday Times newspaper, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the downing of Flight 17 - which had 10 British citizens on board - was a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which he said had been "fomented by Moscow."

"This is a direct result of Russia destabilizing a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training and arming them," Mr. Cameron wrote. "If President Putin does not change his approach to Ukraine, then Europe and the West must fundamentally change our approach to Russia."

With a report from Gloria Galloway in Ottawa

Follow me on Twitter:@markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

Victims' bodies, collected at the side of the road near the crash site, were loaded onto refrigerated rail cars on Sunday.


A piece of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is seen at the crash site, near the village of Grabove in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on Sunday.


Why BMW's game-changing i3 represents the best and worst of EV technology
Thursday, July 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D1

To understand why the electric car hasn't taken over the world yet, imagine this:

A beautiful supermodel enrolls at MIT and earns her doctorate.She adds an MBA from Harvard. She patents a brilliant new technology, founds her own company, and becomes a billionaire. Then she marries a school dropout who watches TV in his underwear, eats fast food every day, and has never held down a job. He gains a lot of weight, and gambles away his wife's fortune. They move to a trailer park.

This couple represents the technical conundrum that is the electric car. The wife is the electric car's motor: brilliant, efficient and inspiring. And her corpulent loser of a husband is the electric car's battery - a deadweight underachiever who drags her down.

Look at the BMW i3, a fantastic, game-changing car that is, unfortunately, powered by a battery. Aside from the power source, the i3 is a vehicle you would covet - it has a striking shape, an aluminum chassis and the interior is constructed using carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, an extremely strong yet lightweight material that provides superior protection for the i3's occupants in the event of a crash. The interior is further crafted using renewable natural resources such as eucalyptus wood, wool and naturally treated leather.

After a life in gas-powered vehicles, driving the i3 is a revelation. It whooshed up to highway speed as if propelled by an invisible force. The stereo is crystal clear, and I realized just how loud a traditional car really is - in the i3, the loudest noise is air rushing over the body.

A wide-screen monitor sits on the dash like a miniaturized highdefinition TV, tracking the i3's functions through advanced software, transporting the driver into the automotive future - at least until the battery runs out.

The i3 is part of a sweeping corporate plan. The transportation world is changing fast, and BMW wants to be on the cutting edge of future vehicle design. The i3 is aimed at a small but critical group of buyers: upscale, urban, environmentally conscious trendsetters who appreciate advanced technology.

On the technology score, it does not disappoint. You don't just drive the i3. You have a digital relationship with it. Considering the BMW badge and the $44,950 base price, that is to be expected. The car is packed with enough software to run a stock exchange, and it is linked to the web, a small glowing dot on a distant server. The i3 can monitor your driving and compare your energy use with other i3 drivers (which might be dispiriting for some). But even the least-efficient i3 driver will outdo every gas-powered car on the road, and the fuel cost (the electricity loaded into the battery) will be pennies per kilometre.

I enjoyed my time in the i3. It was quick and smooth. The controls were intuitive and well designed. Other drivers stared at the car - they knew they were looking at something new and different.

At the heart of the i3 is its battery, a 500-pound unit that's flatpacked into the bottom of the car, keeping its weight low for stability. Under optimum conditions, and driven in its most efficient mode, the i3 will do up to 160 kilometres on a single charge. But, as they say, your mileage may vary. I travelled 81 kilometres in a mix of urban and highway driving, and nearly drained the battery. According to the i3's display, I only had 22 more kilometres of range left.

Here, we come to the electric car's built-in problem - the low energy density of batteries. Pound for pound, a battery holds only about a tenth as much energy as gasoline. This is unfortunate, given all the advantages of electric power. The electric motor itself is superior to internal combustion, with vast torque, clean running, and excellent packaging - there's no need messy fuel or exhaust systems, and the electric motor can run in forward or reverse, eliminating the need for a transmission. But, like the beautiful billionaire who married the overweight bum, the electric motor must live with the battery.

Weight and low energy density are just two of the battery's problems. There's also the matter of recharge time - for drivers used to refilling a gas tank in three minutes, a 15-hour recharge comes as a shock. (That time can be reduced dramatically using a high-output charging station, but it's still dead slow compared with filling a gas tank.)

Scientists and engineers are working on technologies that will replace the battery, and make the electric car king of the road. Among the possibilities is an ultra-capacitor, a brick-sized device that will store huge amounts of power, and can be recharged almost instantly. But for now, the electric car is shackled to the battery.

BMW's engineers have invested a lot of effort dealing with problems created by the limitations of battery technology. The i3's software monitors the state of charge, and does its best to maximize its range. As the charge level runs down, the i3 shuts down functions to preserve its battery, like a downsizing corporation shedding staff.

But there's more to it than that. The i3 uses BMW's ConnectedDrive software to link the driver with services that extend the maximum travelling range - like charging stations, for example.

But it also includes intermodal routing, which is a fancy way of saying "another way to get there when your car dies."

The intermodal routing system can connect drivers with public transit and car rental companies. It can locate train and bus stations, and even pulls up schedules and fare information. This is telling. The i3 is only too aware of its limitations - it's like marrying someone who has their therapist's number tattooed on their forehead for your convenience.

For those unwilling to pay close to $50,000 for a car that may leave them stranded, BMW offers a small, range-extending gas engine. It will cost about $10,000, and is installed in the tail area. (To understand how it works, imagine a gas-powered generator sitting in the trunk, feeding electrical power to the battery.) The extender motor won't recharge the battery, but it will keep the i3 going until the gas tank runs empty (which won't take long, since it only holds a few litres of fuel).

For a certain customer, the i3 will be ideal. That customer's profile looks something like this: An early adopter with a short commute, rich, and with an appreciation for eco-chic style (it's hard to beat an interior made out of resin-infused plants). This customer will also have a garage to install a rapid-charging station - and another car with a gas engine.

As I exited the i3, I was impressed. This is a sophisticated, ultra-green car that uses minuscule amounts of energy. If it were a person, the i3 would be that beautiful billionaire scientist. But then I pictured the i3's massive battery, which had barely made it through my 81-km ride, and a single thought shot through my brain: What's SHE doing with HIM?

Associated Graphic

The BMW i3 is a great machine offering a fascinating digital driving experience - but its range is limited by its battery power.


Teaching the finer points of beer
Some are meant for careful sipping, some pair better with spicy food - and Canada's only Master Cicerone wants to spread the word
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L3

Between tastings, festivals and promotional to-dos, summer is perennially busy for the beer industry. But this particular summer will be especially hectic for Mirella Amato, Canada's only Master Cicerone, or beer sommelier. Along with the public appearances that comprise her beer career, Amato released her first book, Beerology, last month. Its format, with a focus on four different types of "brews" - refreshing, mellow, striking and captivating - is unconventional, more choose-your-own-adventure than textbook. Accompanied by charts and graphs developed by Amato when she was studying for her beer-judge certification exams, the book is a straightforward plunge for both beginner and accomplished beer drinkers.

Tell me about your 'crusade.'

One of the main reasons people aren't more adventurous in the beers they drink is they don't know those beers exist, or they don't know where to start. My crusade right now is to promote beer appreciation, share information about beer, with the goal being that everyone in North America gets to the point where they have the same basic knowledge they have of beer that they do of wine.

When it comes to pairing with food, what are your general guidelines?

You have to be mindful of the intensity of your beer and the intensity of your food: They need to match up. If you have a light salad, you don't want to pair that with a 14-per-cent-alcohol, really roasty imperial stout that's been aged in a barrel. It's going to completely bowl over your salad. On the other hand, if you have a big, rich stew with meat and tons of spices, if you pair that with a light lager you might as well be drinking water.

I use a little trick, something that I just realized one day, and haven't read anywhere, so I call it Mirella's rule of thumb: Line up the colour intensity of your dish's main ingredient with the colour intensity of your beer. If you're having white fish or chicken, use a pale golden or amber beer. If you're having pork or lentils, you might want to go with an amber beer. If you're having steak or portobello mushrooms you'll go with a brown beer, and with chocolate cake you want to go with a black beer.

I'm not sure why it works but it just does, and if you do that, and keep in mind the intensity, you'll be fine. For example, in the light amber-beer spectrum, with chicken, if it's just steamed, you'll want a light golden beer, like a Helles, but if that chicken is in a curry and a spicy, rich sauce, you might want to go for a pale ale. It's in the same colour family but is more intense.

What are some common mistakes people make when pairing beer?

It's my understanding that in pairing wine with food there are problem foods - asparagus is one. With beer, that's much less of an issue. There are two things you do have to be careful of: One, if you have a really oily fish, you're going to want to select a beer that doesn't have too much hop. The hop can distort the flavour of the fish oils in the same way red wine can. The other thing is, if your food is spicy you want to stay away from a higher-alcohol beer, because it aggravates the sensation of heat, which is why wine can be a challenge with spicy food.

What styles or types of beer are underappreciated?

Pilsner. I really believe there's a beer for every mood, food and occasion. I think when people explore craft beers they're drawn to the flavourful big beers, and those beers are delicious and they're exciting, but the Pilsner also has its place. When it's warm out and you want to be refreshed, nothing, nothing is as refreshing as a Pilsner.

What's amazing about beer is that there's this huge spectrum of flavours. Right now, all of the flavourful, crazy beers are getting a lot of attention and the more subtle, nuanced beers are getting less attention. It's okay to drink those beers. They have a time and a place, and it worries me sometimes because if the demand is no longer there, there's going to be fewer and fewer of them. It's way more stimulating to see a range of beers from a Pilsner to an imperial stout than to see a selection of 50 IPAs and 30 imperial stouts. We're falling into the same trap of all the beers being in the same range again.

A few years ago the popularity of heavily hopped IPAs was incredible. What do you think the next big style or trend in beer will be?

I wonder if sour beers will do that. The thing with IPAs is that they have a bold bitterness to them, which is a polarizing flavour. There are many people, when they first had it, didn't like it, but then it grew on them. I'm seeing a similar thing happening with sour beers right now, where people are not quite wrapping their brains around them.

Someone who works in wine and beer sales told me he is encountering more insufferable beer lovers - who will only drink certain styles of beer or judge other people's beer choices - than wine lovers. In an effort to have beer taken more seriously, some people are going too far?

I'm not of the notion that beer needs to be elevated or better respected; I think it just needs to be better understood. In discovering and praising its bolder aspects, and the fact it can be paired with food, we shouldn't lose sight of its strengths. It is a great social beverage. At the end of the day there's a huge spectrum of beers out there, and while beer certainly has the ability to tread in wine territory, in terms of food pairing and beers that are meant for careful sipping, there are also areas beer is in, where wine is going to have a hard time going. If I'm on a dock on a hot day, I need a refreshing beer: Nothing else will do.

This interview has been condensed and edited.


This summery cocktail brings together the fresh flavours of cucumber and lime with herbal notes from both gin and Pilsner. The resulting combination of flavours takes the refreshing nature of Pilsner to a whole new level.

11/2-inch-thick slices of cucumber (peeled) 1 tsp (5 ml) granulated sugar 1/2 tbsp (2.5 ml) lime juice (juice of half a lime) 1/2 ounce (15 ml) gin 2 1/2 ounces (75 ml) Pilsner Cucumber wheel for garnish

Cut the cucumber slices into thin strips. Muddle the lime juice, cucumber and sugar at the bottom of an 8-ounce (240 mL) rocks glass. Add gin and stir. Half-fill the glass with ice. Gently pour in the Pilsner and garnish with a cucumber wheel.

Reprinted from Mirella Amato's Beerology.

Associated Graphic

Mirella Amato's rule of thumb for pairing food and beer: Line up the colour intensity of your dish's main ingredient with the colour intensity of your beer.


For Willem Dafoe, 'the target is always moving'
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R3

Maybe he doesn't like to talk about it. Maybe he mistrusted my intentions. But when I interviewed Willem Dafoe by phone this week, he had a lot less to say about the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, with whom he locks horns in the new political thriller A Most Wanted Man, than I thought he might.

The two have had similar careers. In film, they used their unconventional looks to their advantage, alternating steady character parts with the occasional leading role. On stage, they worked with companies they co-founded (Dafoe stayed in his, The Wooster Group, for more than 20 years), presenting challenging pieces. They vibrate with the same intensity on screen and share a deep commitment to their characters. They even lived in the same neighbourhood in New York. But - incredibly to me - A Most Wanted Man is the first time the two had worked together. So I imagined they'd had a lot to talk about. "Not really," Dafoe says. "I'd seen Philip perform over the years; he'd seen me. But it's strange, I didn't know him personally. He was sweet with me, easy to work with. He was a pro; he'd been around the block.

But we didn't share reflections."

"Nothing?" I press.

"We had very little contact except doing our scenes," Dafoe replies. "I think he had his hands full."

Whether Dafoe is referring to the demands of Hoffman's lead role, or to his personal life, he doesn't say. Certainly Hoffman carries A Most Wanted Man, which opens Friday. His role as Gunther Bachmann, who heads a small, covert anti-terrorist unit in post-9/11 Hamburg, is one of the last he completed before his drug-related death in February, and it uses everything he had: his physical skills, his sad humanity, his shrewdness and anger. He knows the world is a messed-up place. He knows he can't fix it. But he can't help trying anyway.

Based on the novel by John le Carré, and directed by Anton Corbijn (Control, The American), the film follows a Chechen Muslim who illegally immigrates to Germany. Though he may not be a terrorist, he may have ties to some, and he pulls a number of unwilling accomplices into his wake, including Gunther and his team: a human-rights lawyer (Rachel McAdams); an international banker (Dafoe); and the CIA, in the form of Robin Wright.

It's a prickly, smart, elegant thriller, with a distinctly European point of view (Corbijn is Dutch) - the Americans are not the good guys they think they are. And if the ending doesn't punch you in the heart, you may not have one.

"The beauty of this story is, everybody is trying to do the right thing on some level," Dafoe says. "But they're all flawed, they all have moral dilemmas. The line in the film that every good man has a bit of bad in him - that's always been a big attraction for me."

Dafoe chuckles dryly. He'll turn 59 next week, and his distinctive, slightly nasal voice sounds lower and gruffer than it once did. You can still hear a touch of his native Wisconsin in his vowels, but he has learned to be a careful enunciator. I got the impression he was a bit weary of doing interviews, that he was choosing words rather than conversing freely. He and his wife of nine years, the Italian actress and director Giada Colagrande, live a peripatetic life, keeping homes in Rome, New York and Los Angeles, while following their work around the world. (Dafoe also has an adult son from a previous relationship.)

This year, Dafoe has been on screen steadily: making his O face in Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac; gritting his teeth as a comic baddie in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel; shattering the hopes but steeling the spines of the teenaged lovers in The Fault in Our Stars. He has worked with Anderson and von Trier before, and is more drawn to directors than characters or projects.

"If I like the company I keep, I'm more trusting, and more able to challenge myself to not do the same old, same old," he says. "To not let your level of engagement get stale or fake or feel inessential - that's the thing you've got to beat over and over again."

Theatre-wise, he and Mikhail Baryshnikov have been touring a two-man show, The Old Woman, an absurdist piece directed by a master of experimental theatre, Robert Wilson (with whom Dafoe had previously done an acclaimed production of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic).

Dafoe and Baryshnikov dress identically in black suits and white makeup, kind of a cross between Kabuki and German Expressionism, and there's a lot of miming and movement. They've played several European cities including Paris and Manchester, did a week in Brooklyn in June, and are bound for South America and then back to Europe.

That may sound exhausting, but Dafoe thrives on it. "When you're travelling, you're given the opportunity to reinvent yourself, to reconsider things. The target is always moving," he says.

His secret to enjoying life is "to have flexibility, to feel newness in everything I do. The only thing I can brag about is this: As I get older, things go faster and faster, there aren't enough hours in a day to do the things I want to do, be the things I want to be - but I'm never bored. And that, if you ask me, is an accomplishment, because I look around and I see a lot of bored people."

So what does he want to do; who does he want to be? "Not feel stuck or limited," he answers. "Not be mired in 'should' or 'I' or 'I'm not happy unless I have x.' To challenge conventional notions of pleasure and pain.

To be immune to that."

His life and work are so intertwined he can't separate them - nor does he want to. "I'm always preparing for something," he says. "I can't tell whether I'm a little dumb, or I will this kind of dumbness, but each time I do something, the pleasure and the process and the challenge always feel different."

Dafoe likes to act on his feet, but most of his scenes in A Most Wanted Man were static, behind desks or in the back seats of cars.

So his challenge was to create energy in those confined spaces.

"The scenes have so much dilemma and mystery that that's what we concentrated on," he says. "Anton [the director] was a photographer first, and once he sees his shot, he has the scene. He doesn't do a lot of takes. So everything you do, there's a pressure on it. The heat is turned up - it makes you play everything for keeps."

So maybe it makes sense that Dafoe doesn't have a lot of Hoffman stories. Maybe their relationship is where it should be - on the screen, thrumming, making us watch with our hearts in our mouths.

Associated Graphic

Willem Dafoe, shown on the red carpet at Cannes in May, stars in A Most Wanted Man.


To salsa or not to salsa? Summer street fests stir debate
For some establishments, huge street festivals are a boon. But not everyone benefits from massive crowds - some even lose business
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M5

For two days in the summer, Salsa on St. Clair transforms the street into a vibrant dance party. With the street brimming over with potential patrons crowding onto patios and shelling out cash for street fare such as tacos and burgers, it looks as if a business owner's dream come true. But for some, it's a nightmare.

Toronto hosts dozens of street festivals every summer across the city, blocking off sections of main arteries from traffic to host music, art and food events. They draw crowds of hundreds of thousands - or one million, in the case of the Taste of the Danforth - and are billed as celebrations of the city's vibrant communities. But behind the scenes of Toronto's street festivals, there are people who aren't as enamoured with the events and it's a cause for endless tension among the organizations tasked with hosting these festivals.

"Every year, it's a debate," says city Councillor Joe Mihevc. His ward is home to the Salsa on St. Clair festival, a Latin food and dance party that runs for the 10th year this weekend.

"Some do better than others, depending on the nature of the festival and [at Salsa] a lot of food is eaten so the restaurants do better than, say, the cleaners or the hairdressers."

Street festivals tend to disproportionately benefit restaurants and bars, while service and some retail stores have their regular customers blocked out. Some still find the foot traffic benefits their business and will make efforts to cater to festival-goers by offering different wares or hosting sales, but for other businesses it's all bad news.

"I actually lose business because of Salsa," says Winston Burnett, a co-owner at Spectacular Sounds Ltd, an audio equipment store on St. Clair. Since most of his products are large speakers and equipment, his customers need to be able to easily load their purchases into a car. No cars means no business.

"Maybe it helps the restaurants, because a lot of them have outdoor patios and all that, but for my business? No. It kills it."

Spectacular Sounds Ltd. is a paying member of the Hillcrest Village Business Improvement Area (BIA), the business collective that pays Canadian Latin broadcast company TeleLatino to organize and host the event each year. TeleLatino originally cooked up the idea for Salsa based off of the Calle Ocho Cuban festival in Miami. They approached the Hillcrest Village BIA, who was eager to participate, as they'd been looking for a festival to focus a spotlight on their community.

Though the neighbourhood wasn't necessarily a centre for Latin culture, the BIA and TeleLatino hoped to build one through Salsa.

"We have a Little Italy. We have a Chinatown. We don't have a Little Havana, but this festival has kind of created this hub in Toronto," says Bruna Aloe, the public relations manager for the Salsa festival.

"It's Canada's biggest street dance party and so it's managed to unite Latinos and Latino lovers over the course of the weekend in an area that, 10 years ago, was desperately searching for this revitalization."

But each year since the festival started, the debate over the costs and benefits to various BIA members gets more tense.

"The only people it seems to benefit in this area are bars that can do extended patios. For us, it's a break-even proposition," says Kirby Azuma, owner of Noir Coffee and Tea, a coffee shop on St. Clair and also a member of the BIA. To counter the crowds, Mr.

Azuma has to bring in extra staff for the weekend, a cost he says is rarely covered by in the increased revenue.

"There are so many places that just shut down for the weekend and it's really criminal for them because they're paying into the BIA. Their taxes are going to fund this thing and they lose the revenue for the weekend."

A newly opened bake shop on St. Clair has opted to close for the weekend - though the owner says she wasn't fussed over the lost revenue - as has The Stockyards restaurant and Roast, a local butcher shop. Roast's owner has instead decided to set up a barbecue stand in front of the shop, but his regular business will be squashed by Salsa.

Even some bar owners who participate question if the festival is of benefit to their business.

Business owners expressed frustration with rowdy crowds, litter, vandalism and increased pressure from bylaw officers who crack down during festival times, meaning owners must be extravigilant while also juggling massive crowds. For some, it's not worth the headache, even when they come out on top, financially.

Of course, there are businesses owners who love these events.

Frank Pronesti, another BIA member who owns two restaurants on St. Clair - The Rushton and Catch - says if other businesses embraced the festival, they'd see the benefits.

"We do well for sure. It is a lot of work to get prepared for it but I think the benefit of it is way positive. It's been a very successful festival," he says. Though restaurants and bars stand to gain more than some other businesses, Mr. Pronesti says promoting the neighbourhood to new customers is a benefit to everyone on the strip. "It's brought a lot of attention to this neighbourhood. Just the media attention we get has been fantastic for us."

No single event will ever be a boon for every business in a given area, and it's up to the local BIA to weigh the options and vote on whether it's of a net benefit. After participating in Salsa just once in 2007, Hillcrest's neighbouring BIA - the Wychwood Heights BIA - decided that benefit simply wasn't there. On College Street, the end-of-summer Tarantella Festival met its demise this year because businesses weren't seeing the same kind of payoff they get during the Taste of Little Italy.

At Toronto's largest street festival, the Taste of the Danforth, similar tensions arise. The bash draws crowds of more than one million people, but restaurants have to pay fees to extend their patio or set up food booths. Due to the extra hassle, many businesses there choose to opt out or close entirely.

But even with ongoing tension between business owners, the city's headline street festivals are here to stay. The popularity and support from city council makes many of the events too big to fail.

Albert Stortchak, the acting chair of the Danforth BIA, whose antique lighting store just south of the Danforth on Broadview doesn't stand to benefit from the likes of Taste of the Danforth, says it's best if the city's business owners learn to support their neighbours.

"I've lived in this neighbourhood off and on all my life and I think if we relax and embrace it, it's once a year. A lot of the businesses, this is the weekend that can make or break them."

Associated Graphic

The annual Salsa on St. Clair Festival starts this weekend. Every year there's a debate in the neighbourhood about whether the festival is good or bad for the area.


Massey Tower rises from quirky footprint
Located on Toronto's iconic Yonge Street, mixed-use project is hemmed in on all sides, providing challenges at every turn
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B6

Given Toronto's rapidly changing skyline, just finding a plot of land to build on downtown is becoming a challenge in and of itself.

Gary Switzer, CEO of Toronto's MOD Developments Inc., saw this first-hand two years ago when he bought the vacant Queen-Yonge branch of the Canadian Bank of Commerce at 197 Yonge St.

"I think there were a lot easier sites available, just empty parking lots surrounded by streets, but those sites are all gone, so now we're more in a New York-style situation, where you have to make the sites," he says. "This one, people would have walked away from in the old days."

Squeezed in between its sister building to the north - a former Bank of Toronto branch - and the Heintzman Building to the south, and with the rear portions of and vital access routes to heritage performance spaces Massey Hall, the Elgin Theatre and Winter Gardens to the east, there wasn't much of a footprint to work with when he envisioned the Massey Tower project.

The 60-storey mixed-use development will front onto Yonge, with the four-storey Beaux-Artsstyle Bank of Commerce building acting as the lobby for the condominium tower.

The bank has sat shuttered and unused in a prime location across from the Eaton Centre since 1987. Mr. Switzer, in conjunction with Hariri Pontarini Architects and ERA Architects, felt the time was right to put some life back into the building, originally constructed in 1905 by Darling and Pearson Architects.

The City of Toronto owned the entire site at one point, and had grandiose plans in the 1980s to install a so-called theatre block between Dundas Street to the north and Queen Street to the south, but that proposal fell apart.

Given the hustle and bustle of the area - 42 million people walk north-south annually through the Yonge-Dundas intersection, making it Canada's busiest intersection, according to the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area Association - the Massey Tower proposal to add about 700 residential units to an area more historically associated with retail has been warmly welcomed.

"It's coming back," says Mark Garner, executive director of the Downtown Yonge BIA, who also notes that 175,000 people live within a five- to eight-minute radius of Yonge and Dundas.

"This used to be not only a retail mecca but a performance mecca for music in Canada and you're seeing that energy come back, so I think it's an asset that we need to go back to and revisit and say this is where it needs to be, it needs to be on Yonge Street."

MOD bought the Massey Tower site, which also includes the small plot of land on which the Colonial Tavern, a famed jazz venue, once sat between the two heritage bank buildings. MOD paid Salvatore Parasuco of Parasuco Jeans fame between $20-million and $30-million for the site in January of 2012.

After the land was assembled for the project, that's when the fun really began. First, the state of the Bank of Commerce heritage building became a main cause for concern.

"It's kind of scary when you see buildings 20 years, 30 years without occupancy, because you start to realize that they'll get to a point of no return. They start falling apart," says ERA founding partner Michael McClelland, whose company is responsible for the heritage aspect of the project.

"This building was pretty heavily deteriorated on the interior." ERA Architects has begun to painstakingly remove and store every tile in the mosaic floor, as well as other historic fixtures.

This has to be completed before work on the 60-storey condominium tower can begin. The historic elements will then be replaced once the tower is complete. Mr. McClelland described the project as "one of the most complex sites we've had to deal with."

Mr. Switzer also had to think on his feet when it came to providing parking. With no room in the rear of the building to build a ramp, a traditional below-grade parking lot was out of the question. That's when he looked abroad for ideas for above-ground parking, and stumbled upon an automated system similar to the one being used at The Eddy condominium development in Ottawa.

"The system we're using is from Amsterdam," he says, adding that they travelled there to investigate car elevators installed in buildings that are more than 400 years old. "Basically you drive in, into an elevator, the car's on a palate, you put your key fob on a pad and you leave the elevator, the doors close and it takes your car away."

But in Mr. Switzer's eyes, that isn't the most difficult problem facing the development, which won the 2013 BILD project-of-theyear award, is 90-per-cent sold and is set to be completed in four to five years.

Asked what the biggest challenge is, Mr. Switzer said that it's not the new build or the restoration, "but all the complications with how unique this site is, surrounded by all these existing buildings, including Massey Hall, the back of the Elgin Theatre, the old bank at 205 Yonge [which is held by another land owner], of just fitting everything in on a block that is still operating."

But the ability to tie multiple needs together was key to getting the project off the ground. MOD is bequeathing a 450-square-metre portion of land behind Massey Hall, valued at $6.5-million, to the concert venue so it can undergo a total restoration and expansion, while some of the below-grade area of Massey Tower will provide garbage and recyling space for the hall, the Elgin Theatre and the Heintzman Building. Planning permission for the Massey Tower project was originally rejected, but a motion to overturn by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam eventually saw the development being given approval.

"We did have some planning concerns from a technical perspective, because the Massey Tower was not in line with some urban design guidelines that we had in place, particularly to look at how properties relate to each other on a local basis," says Sarah Henstock, senior planner for the City of Toronto. "But from an overall city building standpoint, we certainly thought of the project as a good thing."

Another selling point that helped assuage the City of Toronto was the two storeys of retail space that will be built on the space between the two bank buildings. But make no mistake, the heritage aspect of this project was key to it getting the green light.

"It's always sad when heritage buildings remain unloved, and that's one of the reasons we have the heritage inventory is to try and recognize how important they are, and that was a critical component of this development," Ms. Henstock says.

"You celebrate the past, but you also need to make it viable in the future."

Associated Graphic

In this architectural rendering, Massey Tower springs skyward with the classical roofline and columns of the historic 1905 Canadian Bank of Commerce building below. Once it is restored, the bank, which has been shuttered since 1987, will become the entryway to the condo tower.


Something new under the sun
We've explored the Moon. And Jupiter and Mars. But as Ivan Semeniuk reports, the next series of space missions are finally set to chart new territory - and perhaps change our understanding of the solar system
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F3

When astronauts set foot on the moon 45 years ago this week, those who watched on live television witnessed not just a spectacular feat of engineering but a landscape utterly unlike anything on Earth. Chasing that thrill - of seeing other worlds for the first time - has been a key part of space exploration ever since.

"People love it when we go somewhere new," says Alan Stern, a planetary scientist at Boulder's Southwest Research Institute.

That can be a challenge, however, as there are fewer "firsts" left to explore. The International Space Station is just a short step from home, and places like the moon and Mars have been visited multiple times by robot explorers. But Dr. Stern is about to change that: He's the lead scientist on a mission called New Horizons, which is set to unveil the biggest piece of unexplored real estate in the solar system - Pluto.

And his is just one of several upcoming efforts that promise to show us new terrain, off the wellbeaten path and out of Earth's orbit.

The impact on science will be significant: Every new mission tells its own story about the origins of the solar system, and, in doing so, reveals something about our own place in the cosmos. But these missions will also revive a previous era in space history, showing us what we've never seen before.

The building blocks of life

The Pluto encounter is set for July, 2015, but first up on the view screen is another mission called Rosetta. Launched by the European Space Agency in 2004, the spacecraft is less than three weeks from reaching comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a four-kilometre-wide pile of ice and dust named after the two Soviet-era astronomers who discovered it.

Other spacecraft have approached comets before and captured fleeting glimpses, but Rosetta will be the first mission to orbit one. In November, it will also drop a 100-kilogram lander onto the comet's frozen crust.

It's a tall order. The comet is steadily vapourizing, so the lander will have to find a spot to latch onto that's not disintegrating under it. Once on the surface the probe may even see the comet changing in real time, says Dr. Stern, who is also on the science team for Rosetta."It's much more rapidly evolving than any object we've ever been to."

This week, photos from Rosetta revealed the mission's first big surprise: The comet looks like it's made of two distinct sections, one rounder and one flatter, stuck together in a way that one scientist on Twitter compared to a rubber duckie. The weird shape could pose an additional challenge for the lander, which will have to cope with the comet's small but complex gravitational field as it tries to touch down.

The payoff is a better understanding of the raw material that larger planets are made of, and a first "in situ" look at what happens on a comet's surface as it warms in the sun.

Other journeys to small places have a similar goal, including OSIRIS-Rex, a NASA-led mission to bring back a piece of a nearby asteroid called Bennu. This week, the Canadian Space Agency awarded the contract to build Canada's share of the mission, a laser altimeter (a.k.a. lidar) that will map the asteroid in three dimensions and help scientists assess where to move in and grab a piece once the spacecraft arrives in late 2018. In exchange, a share of whatever OSIRIS-Rex returns in 2023 will end up in Canadian labs.

It's not the first time such a mission has been attempted. Japan did it in 2005. But they only managed to retrieve a few grains. The mission to Bennu will mark the first time a spacecraft has made contact with a carbon-rich asteroid - precisely the kind of object that may have once carried the building blocks of life throughout the solar system.

"It will give us insights into what kinds of organic molecules might have seeded Earth before life evolved," says Ed Cloutis, a planetary scientist at the University of Winnipeg who will be among the researchers trying to find the most interesting spot to grab a sample on the asteroid.

Collectively, asteroids like Bennu - of which there are hundreds of thousands - form a part of the solar system that Canada is especially well-qualified to explore: The lidar that will be used on OSIRIS-REx is a spinoff of one previously built for a Mars lander; the technology that went into the Canadarm could be repurposed for grappling with small asteroids.

But there's limited support from the federal government, so Canadian researchers have to find other ways to leverage their expertise and get a piece of the action. For example, Dr. Cloutis is gearing up for some big revelations next February as an outside collaborator on NASA's Dawn mission, which will make the first visit to Ceres, the largest asteroid.

With a diameter of 950 kilometres Ceres is comparable in size to Quebec, but it remains too distant for astronomers to see in any detail from Earth. It's physical nature is a mystery. Especially tantalizing are recent hints that Ceres is releasing trace amounts of water vapour from a hidden, internal source.

A new part of the solar system

But Pluto remains the big prize in this latest exploration boom.

With its own atmosphere, one large and four smaller moons, Pluto presents a rich trove of new information. Its complex formational history will likely have something to say about our own Earth-Moon system. And with the possibility of internal heat and a subterranean ocean, Pluto cannot be ruled out as a haven for alien life.

Pluto was the solar system's ninth planet until its demotion by the International Astronomical Union into a new class known as "dwarf planet." But whether it is an "official" planet or not, it's a novel world and the gateway to an entirely different part of the solar system, full of thousands of small icy bodies.

After it leaves Pluto, New Horizons is meant to be directed at another of these bodies. The trouble is that a suitable target has not yet been found and time is tight.

This month astronomers have turned to the Hubble Space Telescope in a final attempt to sift out some appropriate targets for New Horizons. "It's a real challenge ... you're looking at the gaps between the stars for these faint moving things," says JJ Kavelaars, an astronomer with the National Research Council, based in Victoria, B.C., who is participating in the Hubble search.

Meanwhile, excitement continues to build around the Pluto visit. By early next year, the probe will have crossed to the point where it can see Pluto better than any telescope - a thrill we should do our best to savour, says Dr. Stern.

"It's rare that we get a chance to go somewhere and expect to be nothing but surprised."

Ivan Semeniuk is The Globe's science reporter.

Associated Graphic

The Rosetta mission will land on the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko this November, a rare chance to explore new territory in space.

Meet the sobriety coach hired to keep Rob Ford on track: 'Everyone deserves a chance'
Monday, July 14, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's sobriety coach wants the world to know that he loves his job - even though he's had a hard first couple of weeks at the office.

Ever since Mr. Ford's return from rehab, Robert Marier has been glued to the mayor's side, and he's feeling the weight of his new, very high-profile job.

The 49-year-old Montrealer, who left his wife behind in Quebec to live out of a suitcase in a Toronto hotel, began working as the mayor's "sobriety coach" just two weeks ago. Since then, he's been thrust into the spotlight of the media - including an accusation that he kicked a protester, which he denies - all the while entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the chief magistrate of Canada's largest city on track in his recovery.

But despite it all, Mr. Marier - or "Bobby," as he's known to friends - says he has no regrets working with Mr. Ford.

"I take the hard cases," he said in an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail. "I take the cases that other people will run away from. The burning buildings - I run in." Mr. Marier said the job has nothing to do with his political views. "It's not about that," he said. "I just think everyone deserves a chance."

Mr. Marier, who spoke to The Globe on the condition that he would not discuss his ongoing work with the mayor, is a recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict himself who used for 23 years, and has been sober for 10 years.

"I have a chronic illness and there's no cure, but there is a solution," he said. "To me, the solution is helping other people.

I'm not ashamed to tell my story."

Mr. Marier's own story of addiction began at the age of 15. He grew up the youngest of six kids "with every advantage of the world" in Montreal. But when he used cocaine for the first time with friends at school, he said, "I was pretty much off to the races."

He tried university for a while, but dropped out after a few years - "having ADD, like me, I didn't get much done ... my favourite colour is shiny." He jumped from one job to the next, he said - as a server at restaurants, as a "handler" for local bands, and then a stint in Los Angeles working for a film-distribution company - but addiction continued to plague him.

In 2004, he was arrested for fraud after writing a series of bad cheques the year earlier - a charge he was given an absolute discharge for. According to court records, he wrote seven cheques to American Airlines on a closed bank account, totalling about $10,000. At the 2011 court appearance, the judge was told Mr. Marier had been struggling with drug addiction at the time of the fraud, but had since "turned his life around."

In 2006, he appeared in a Quebec court on an assault charge, though that charge was later withdrawn. He said that charge came after he was involved in an alteration with a gas-station owner for urinating near the property.

"I've dealt with all that stuff," he said. "I've paid for my past."

After a "serious drug accident" which he refused to elaborate on, and a stint in rehab, he began learning about addiction and became involved in the sobriety community.

Mr. Marier has no formal clinical training, instead using his own experience - a "been there, done that" attitude - when working with clients. Working through a company that hires him out, he said he's helped hundreds of clients in the five years he's been coaching.

As a coach, he works one-onone with clients to "reinforce the positive results of continued abstinence," according to a description he provided to The Globe. He's also tasked with running "interference" between clients "and those who seek to provide drugs and/or alcohol" - associations the mayor claims he's cut out of his life.

Donny M., a recovering cocaine addict who asked that his last name be withheld, credits Mr. Marier for saving his life.

The 24-year-old had seen Mr. Marier around in AA meetings, but in 2010 he was surprised (and irritated) when the grey-haired man approached him in a McDonald's restaurant.

"He just came up to me and asked me about cleaning my apartment and stuff like that - 'did you make your bed this morning?' "Donny said. "It's a Bob thing ... addicts, we think we're too good to do the things that normal people do. We think we're above it," he said.

Over the next four years, Mr. Marier became Donny's AA sponsor, showing up at 8 a.m. every Saturday morning to drive him to meetings.

"I've never met anyone more persistent, and it's exactly what addicts need," Donny said. "If he's at your house and he wants to get you to a meeting, which is like your medicine, you'll just go.

It doesn't matter who you are, if you're Rob Ford or the president of the United States," he said.

Another former addict, Cory R. (who also asked that his last name be withheld), echoed this about Mr. Marier. "I don't think that there's any other person on the face of this planet who could do what he's doing right now" with the mayor, he said. "He's able to read people immediately ... he's able to call people on things and the lies that they hide behind."

Both Cory and Donny expressed disbelief at the reports of kicking - "He's not an idiot," said Donny.

A CityNews video last week shows a police officer accusing Mr. Marier of kicking protester John Furr during a chaotic press conference. Both the police officer and Mr. Furr maintained the kick happened, though Mr.

Marier denies it. No charges were laid.

"It didn't happen," Mr. Marier said. "We touched each other. It was a grazing, and there was no kicking motion. Absolutely none."

And despite the report, Mr. Marier appears to still have the full confidence of the mayor's office.

"Bob's doing a good job," the mayor's brother, Doug Ford, said Friday. "He's not going to be around forever. I don't even know what the time frame is, either. But he's doing a good job."

Mr. Marier would not comment either on how long he plans on working with the mayor. But he indicated that he's in it for the long haul.

"As long as it takes," he said.

With reports from Ingrid Peritz and Tu Thanh Ha

Associated Graphic

Mayor Rob Ford is helped with his jacket by his sobriety coach Bob Marier, left centre, while his driver and bodyguard Jerry Agyemang, left, and communications officer Amin Massoudi look on as they arrive at an announcement at a TTC transit yard in Toronto on Friday.


Which is better, a RRIF or an annuity?
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B11

It's easy to find advice about putting money into your retirement piggy bank. Far rarer are tips about how to get it out.

That's a pity, because choosing the right option can mean a sixfigure difference to the amount of income you collect over the course of your retirement.

For many Canadians, the problem emerges the year they turn 71. At that point, they must wind up their registered retirement savings plans (RRSP).

They have two options if they don't want to immediately pay income tax on the total amount of RRSP savings they've accumulated.

Like most people, they can convert to a registered retirement income fund (RRIF). Or they can do what practically nobody does and buy an annuity.

Which is better? Surprisingly, the numbers favour the unpopular annuity.

You won't hear this advice often, probably because buying an annuity means giving up control of your investments and handing over a large cheque to a life insurance company in exchange for a regular monthly payment. That doesn't tend to appeal to the swashbuckler in us.

In contrast, a RRIF lets you maintain your existing portfolio of stocks, bonds and mutual funds - although you do have to make minimum annual withdrawals that grow bigger as you age.

The problem is that the flexibility and independence of a RRIF come at a considerable cost, according to Paul Goldstein, who runs an eponymously named financial services firm in Toronto.

He has constructed an example that demonstrates the eyepopping difference between the two options for a typical couple.

In his example, Joe, 71, and Jane, 69, have accumulated an RRSP portfolio of $1,000,000 and want it to generate a healthy retirement income that they can't outlive. They are not in a position to take stock market risk, so they want to stick with fixed-income products and are dismayed to realize that, at today's paltry rates, they can't expect a yield much higher than 2 per cent.

Mr. Goldstein looks at the amount of income this couple will receive each year by sticking to a RRIF and compares it with what they would receive by buying an annuity that guarantees them an income for life.

He assumes they will choose an annuity with a guarantee period of 15 years. This means that even if both Joe and Jane are hit by a bus a day after starting their annuity, their heirs will continue to receive payments until the 15 years are up.

In addition, he assumes their annuity will contain a provision that payments will fall in half after 15 years if either spouse dies.

At today's rates, Joe and Jane could hand over their milliondollar nest egg and buy an annuity that would pay them $71,220 a year, with all the features mentioned above.

How does that compare with the RRIF alternative? Mr. Goldstein assumes that Joe and Jane will withdraw what is required by law each year. That varies from year to year and is calculated according to a formula based on the age of the younger spouse.

In the first year, Joe and Jane would have an income from their RRIF of about $48,000. That, of course, is $23,000 less than they would have received with the annuity.

And the annuity's advantage keeps on growing. After 15 years, Joe and Jane would have pocketed total annuity payments of just under $1.1-million versus about $815,000 from a RRIF.

Since the annuity pays them a guaranteed income of about $71,220 a year as long as both are alive - or $35,610 if one dies after 15 years - they are always better off than under the RRIF alternative, which produces just over $26,600 a year in income by the time Jane turns 95.

To be sure, Joe and Jane will not leave a portfolio behind if they go the annuity route. People who are intent on leaving a large bequest often cite this as a reason to avoid annuities.

However, Mr. Goldstein's numbers suggest this objection is overblown. For starters, whatever is left in the RRIF after both Joe and Jane pass on is immediately subject to tax. If the amount is large, the tax bite is likely to consume nearly half the cash left in the fund.

In contrast, the annuity will have generated far more money in total than the RRIF - and it will have done so in a tax-efficient manner, since the entire income would have been received year-by-year and thus been taxed at a lower rate. By Mr. Goldstein's calculations, Joe and Jane consistently wind up ahead with the annuity.

Can you take issue with this conclusion? Sure - you can assume that Joe and Jane take the RRIF route and hit the right combination of buoyant stock markets and benign interest rates to leave them better off than with the annuity.

But that involves risk - remember the crash of 2008? - and, most times, annuities win. Fred Vettese, chief actuary at consultants Morneau Shepell, compared how annuities would have fared versus a RRIF invested equally in stocks and bonds over every 30-year period between 1938 and 2001 and found that in 30 of the 35 periods, annuities would have produced the higher income.

Mr. Goldstein says annuities deserve more of a role in retirement planning. It's tough to disagree.

Follow me on Twitter:@IanMcGugan


1. Consider your circumstances

Annuities offer good value for nearly all retirees, but they're not perfect for everyone. People with extremely large portfolios and investing acumen may have the ability to take on market risk in a registered retirement income fund, says financial adviser Paul Goldstein. Those who have no resources beyond their registered savings and worry about having money for emergencies might also still find a RRIF has advantages.

2. Compare

Annuity pricing varies widely among companies. It's not unusual to see one company offering monthly payouts that are 10 per cent larger than another's for the same annuity product.

3. It's not all or nothing

Fred Vettese, chief actuary at consultants Morneau Shepell, suggests that annuity skeptics may want to keep a portion of their RRIF savings in equities but convert the part that would otherwise be in bonds into an annuity.

4. You're never too old

Unlike most things in life, annuity deals get better with age, Mr. Goldstein says. Annuities can make sense in your 60s, but as you pass 70, the advantages of buying an annuity become even more compelling as payout rates soar.

Associated Graphic

The thought of buying annuities for retirement is not popular, probably because it means giving up control of your investments in exchange for a regular monthly payment. To risk-takers, that is not an appealing option.


Irishman takes the lead with a sizzling six-under 66 after opening round of low scoring, while Woods is in the hunt after early troubles, three strokes back. Will McIlroy's Friday curse come back to haunt him?
The Associated Press
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

HOYLAKE, ENGLAND -- Rory McIlroy had everything go his way Thursday in the British Open.

A lovely summer day in England with abundant sunshine and minimal wind allowed him to attack Royal Liverpool. He made half his six birdies on the par fives and kept bogeys off his card. And on the day Tiger Woods made a promising return, McIlroy took the lead with a six-under 66, his best score in nearly two years at a major.

Now if he can only find a way to get to the weekend.

McIlroy either set himself up for a good run at the claret jug or another dose of Friday failures. In what already has been an unusual year for golf, no trend is more mysterious than Boy Wonder going from awesome to awful overnight.

Six times in his past eight tournaments, he has had a nine-hole score of 40 or higher on Friday that has taken him out of the mix.

"It's not like I've shot good scores in first rounds and haven't backed them up before," McIlroy said. "I'm used to doing that. I just haven't done it recently. We'll see what tomorrow brings and what weather it is and try and handle it as best I can.

"Hopefully," he said, "it's just one of those things and I'm able to turn it around tomorrow."

Woods also would like to keep moving in the right direction. He got off to a troubling start with two quick bogeys, nearly made another one on the fourth hole, and then looked like a 14time major champion when he ran off five birdies in six holes toward the end of his round for a 69.

Not bad for guy who had back surgery on March 31, who started taking full swings only a month ago and who had not played in a major in 11 months.

"It felt good to be back out there competing again," Woods said.

Such pristine weather - how long it lasts is the big unknown - gave just about everyone a chance to score. Matteo Manassero broke par in the Open for the first time since he was a 16year-old amateur. He began his round by hitting into a pot bunker, blasting out to the fairway and holing out from 160 yards for birdie. He made five birdies on the back nine, three on the par 5s.

That made him the low Italian - barely.

Francesco Molinari and Edoardo Molinari have games that are nothing alike, though they shot the same score. They were in a large group at 68 along with Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Shane Lowry and Adam Scott.

David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., is off to a solid start after an opening round of two-under 70. Graham DeLaet opened one stoke back of Hearn, birdieing two of his final three holes for a round of 71.

Scott stands out as the No. 1 player in the world, and because he was the only player in the top 10 who played in the afternoon, when the wind made Hoylake tougher. Scott went out in 31 and was slowed only by two bogeys on the back nine.

Even in tame conditions, the British Open can mete out punishment - to players, to spectators and even a golf club.

Phil Mickelson was trying to get back to even par when he hooked his approach to the 18th beyond the out-of-bounds stakes down the right side of the hole and had to scramble for a bogey and a 74. He hasn't broken par at a major since winning at Muirfield last summer.

That still doesn't top the bad day of Ernie Els. His opening tee shot hit a spectator in the face, and the sight of so much blood shook the Big Easy. When he got to the green, he missed a onefoot putt, and then carelessly tried to backhand the next one into the hole and missed that one. The triple bogey sent him to a 79.

Henrik Stenson knocked a 30foot birdie putt off the 12th green and made double bogey, and then took two hacks out of the shin-high grass left of the 17th fairway. Walking to his next shot, he snapped his gap wedge over his thigh as if he were a baseball player - Bo Jackson comes to mind - who had just struck out with the bases loaded.

Through all this activity, two names came to the forefront - McIlroy and Woods, both trying to restore their games from different circumstances.

McIlroy's only victory this year was at the BMW PGA Championship, where he started his week by breaking off his engagement with Caroline Wozniacki. He could have had more chances to win except for that 40 on the front nine at Quail Hollow, the 42 on the front nine at The Players Championship and the 43 on the back nine at the Memorial.

He met with Jack Nicklaus, and the topic of his freaky Fridays came up.

"I didn't mention it to him," McIlroy said. "He mentioned it to me - 'How the hell can you shoot 63 and then 78?' No, I think what we talked about was just holding a round together. And he was never afraid to make a change in the middle of the round ... to get it back on track."

The trick for McIlroy is to not get derailed in the second round. For the year, he is 55-under par in the first round and 15-over par in the second round.

Woods gave a light fist pump when he rolled in a 30-foot putt from just off the green on No. 11. He then hit a beautiful approach to six feet for birdie on the 12th. That put him under par in a tournament for the first time since March 9, the final round of Doral. Okay, the sample size is small - that was the last tournament he played until returning to Congressional three weeks ago after back surgery.

Even so, he was playing with such rhythm late in his round that he might have wanted to keep going. That makes Friday a big day for Woods, too.

Associated Graphic

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the 13th hole during the first round of the British Open at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club on Thursday.


Phil Mickelson looks for his ball in the rough on the 18th. His major-tourney struggles continued with a two-over 74: He hasn't broken par at a major since winning at Muirfield in 2013.


Tiger Woods drops his ball on the third hole Thursday. Woods started with two bogeys, but later sank five birdies in six holes.


Business is blossoming as baby boomers are customizing their 'toys' with impressive options
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D1

Wayne and Betty-Jo Hovdebo were at the communal campfire at a park near Caroline, Alta., a couple of years ago when they noticed one of the regulars wasn't there.

Word soon spread that he was out tricking up his golf cart, the common mode of transport in many camp communities, with the express purpose of coming up with something more eyecatching than the Hobdevos' new model.

"I said, 'We can't let that happen,'" recalls Betty-Jo with a laugh.

So they did some research in hopes of adding a few bells and whistles and were blown away by the vast array of possibilities they found. After a few months - and about $7,000 - they were tooling around the campground in a head-turning fire-engine red cart that looked more like a 1940s-era pickup truck than anything built for a golf course. It even has an ooga horn for effect.

"We've always had a truck and usually red, so it suited us," BettiJo says. "It's perfect for hauling wood around the cabin and it's just so much fun."

Whether for practicality, fun or simply keeping up with the Joneses, the humble golf cart is taking on a role that was previously the domain of sports cars and customized trucks. But these eye-popping carts aren't spending all their time on fairways; they're showing up in large numbers at campgrounds, RV parks and in gated communities.

Evidence of their rising popularity is the number of retailers reporting vastly increased sales in the past few years.

"Over the first four years we were pretty stable, but in the last five years we're selling a lot more high-end models," says Don Brooks, owner of O'Tools golf cart refurbishing in Forest, Ont.

Things are so good for Koolsville Kustoms that the Calgary operation almost tripled the size of its operations over the winter and reeled off $250,000 in sales in the first two months of this year.

"Things are booming here and people want their toys when they have a few extra bucks in their pocket," says Koolsville owner Mike Pledge.

That they do.

Entrepreneur Rick Browne needed something to get his family around Cedar Springs, a rustic cottage community on the Niagara Escarpment in Burlington, Ont. Since the community has its own nine-hole golf course and since the Brownes love luxury vehicles - there's a Mercedes SLC and Porsche Panamera in their garage - they opted for the best.

That meant turning over about $30,000 to Bennett Golf Cars & Utility Vehicles in Stouffville, Ont., for a custom-painted purple golf cart and a top-of-the-line European-made Garia model that not only resembles a Smart car but came with a refrigerator, champagne bucket, heated windshield, sunroof, wipers, headlights and turn signals.

"It's a toy," says Browne, who's in the heavy equipment leasing business. "And nobody else has one quite like it. I love the looks I get when I go on the course or drive down to the community centre."

These toys come with some impressive options - air conditioning, chrome steering wheels, custom dashboards, mag wheels, gun racks, stereos - and a lot of style.

There are basically no limits when it comes to creating a golf cart that will be the talk of the club or trailer park - except maybe a turbo charger. Some look like Harley Davidsons, Corvettes, Mustangs and Model Ts.

There's even one that looks like an 18-wheeler.

Instead of serving strictly as utility vehicles or hauling golf clubs, they become their owners' pride and joy.

"I baby it," Calgary trucker Rick McIntosh says of his electric-blue cart that has a retro feel to it.

"I'm always polishing it up.

"Lots of friends want to rent it for golf, but I just don't want to take it out of the resort. It sure would look good on a golf course, though."

There are many reasons for the popularity of customized golf cars. In addition to making a fashion statement, they're incredibly practical for those with vacation properties.

As with most trends, the customizing wave is fuelled by aging baby boomers who are retiring to rural areas, RV parks and cottages.

"They're almost family vehicles," says Bill Bath, sales manager at Bennett. "People don't want to be driving their cars around at the cottage, so they park them and use the carts to get the kids and grandkids around."

They're practical and feel safer to older drivers not comfortable with getting behind the wheel of an ATV.

Once you get past an initial investment that can range from $3,500 to $20,000, carts are economical to operate. But their appeal goes beyond that.

"It's almost like a little romance, because it's an emotional thing," says Brooks. "You drive an electric cart with all the bells and whistles and it's fun.

It's an expression. It's your own little hot rod."

As the business has grown, more options have become available as manufacturers scramble to both create a market and satisfy it. In addition, with proper lift kits and tires, golf carts can be turned into anything from hunting vehicles to ambulances, snowplows and fire trucks.

There's even one model that was built to accommodate a casket.

"They're great for little cottage communities where a regular fire truck or ambulance can't get in," Bath says.

The environmental angle is a big attraction, too. With batteries improving and coming down in price, electric models are hot sellers because they're quiet and emissions-free.

Many retailers believe they're on the verge of an explosion, believing it's only a matter of time before these vehicles become street legal. While allowed on roads in many American and European jurisdictions - some can hit 40 km/h - they're restricted to golf courses and private roads in Canada.

With the population aging, the golf cart could be the answer for many.

"It's so needed here," Brooks says. "You can fit a wheelchair on the back of some models and a golf cart just makes more sense than scooters."

And you can do so many more cool things with them.

Associated Graphic

Rick Browne's golf cart is equipped with a small cooler, 12-volt power plug, windshield wipers, speedometer, sun roof, wine cooler, and front and rear headlights. The suspension and steering are superior to a normal golf cart.


Koolsville Kustom in Calgary built these golf carts (clockwise from top left): a replica 1940s pickup, a Jeep, a streetrodder kit, a Porsche and a rebuilt 1977 Harley-Davidson.


Filmed over 12 years, Richard Linklater's Boyhood is at once a bold cinematic experiment and an intimate, palpable triumph. In short, Liam Lacey writes, you've never seen anything like it
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R1


Written and directed by Richard Linklater

Starring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Lorelei Linklater

Classification 14A; 166 minutes 4

Richard Linklater's Boyhood, both a fictional drama about growing up and a wonder-rousing cinema experiment, deserves all the accolades it has been receiving since its appearances at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals earlier this year. Presented in 143 scenes shot in 39 days over a dozen years with the same cast, the film explores that permeable border between drama and documentary in a way that evokes recognition, melancholy and joy, while sticking to the mundane experiences of one boy's life.

The subject of Boyhood is played by Texas actor Ellar Coltrane, and we see him travel from the age of six to 18, from a cherubic child, to a pudgy, uncertain adolescent, to a bony, deep-voiced man. His head and body pop and lengthen over the years along with the length and complexity of his sentences. It's like a time-lapse photo of an expanding consciousness.

You could measure Boyhood against some similar projects - François Truffaut's Antoine Doinel film series, starring Jean-Pierre Léaud as the same character over four feature films, one short film and 20 years, comes to mind, or Michael Apted's documentary Up! series - but Linklater's film is very much its own hybrid creature. While the dramatic scaffolding is lightly drawn, it becomes apparent that Linklater has organized his material along certain themes, most notably that of the passage of time and the dream life of childhood.

When we first meet Coltrane's character, Mason, his parents are getting a divorce.

His father (Ethan Hawke) has gone to Alaska to look for work. His mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette), is overwhelmed, stuck in a dead-end job and raising Mason and his attentiondemanding older sister, Samantha (the director's energy-charged daughter, Lorelei Linklater). Olivia starts from a position of disappointment, a place where she repeatedly returns.

Time is the subject matter: Mason, tellingly, collects ancient arrowheads and dreams away the school days. His first descent from the world of innocence into experience comes when his mother announces they're moving to Houston, so she can return to school and find a better life for her children. Mason has to leave his house and best friend behind and, before he goes, he sees a dead bird - a small harbinger of death.

Closely tied to this idea of time is the feeling of the vulnerability of childhood experience, how dependent we all are on the choices and behaviours of adults. After the family relocates, Mason Sr. (Hawke) comes to visit. He's a motor-mouthed charmer with boundary issues (he stops by his ex-wife's house when he's expressly been asked not to). He wants Olivia back, but it's obvious that she is wary, that she's been hurt before, and not eager to wait for her husband to grow up.

Mason Sr. really likes to talk - a characteristic of Linklater's characters - offering a kind of running commentary on his own life experiences, trying hard to be the fun alternative to the stress-worn Olivia. By the end of the film, Mason Jr. has grown into a more sensitive version of his father, and another articulate dreamer, mulling about his destiny in the world.

That repetition is not just a function of the script but of some inspired casting in finding a kid who grows so persuasively into a moody intellectual. More amazingly, the pudgy little cherub of the early scenes also develops the heavy brow and hollow cheeks of a young Ethan Hawke.

The place where design meets happy accident is one of the film's constant pleasures. The other is the beautifully observed social reality that the actors embody, as they thicken, mature and show the effects of gravity, both physical and emotional. Olivia, who wants to improve herself, forges an upwardly mobile relationship with a middle-aged psychology professor, Bill (Marco Perella), who turns out to be an overbearing drunk. Among the patterns here, Olivia repeatedly shows bad judgment about men: The irresponsible Mason Sr., the scholarly Bill, and later, a nice-guy Iraq veteran who turns mean, all chafe at their adult responsibilities. Boyhood, it turns out, is a lot about having disappointed older men take their frustrations out on you.

The focus, as in the Truffaut stories, is on the resilience of children, the adaptations and misadaptations when their world can suddenly turn dangerous at the dinner table. The small, intimate touches here are the best: Frightened by his angry stepfather, Mason hides out in a bedroom and obsessively watches his favourite comedy video: a 2007 Funny or Die sketch in which Will Ferrell is terrified by the girl toddler who is his drunken landlady. Pop music and culture moments serve as markers: Lorelei's sassy impersonation of Britney Spears's 2000 hit Oops! ... I Did It Again; a 2005 night-time trek to buy the first copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; the Nintendos and iPods and speculation about the future of Star Wars. The more conventional movie coming-of-age moments - an encounter with bullies, highschool graduation, the heartbreak of first love and betrayal (ouch!) are heart-rendingly authentic and free from tidy resolutions.

Linklater has already experimented with time in his Before trilogy with Hawke and Julie Delpy, who play the same characters in three movies over an 18-year period, each film set within a 12hour time frame. The risk in Boyhood was obviously much greater, though the quasi-documentary approach allows the freedom of not having to tie up all the narrative loose ends.

At one point, Olivia advises an immigrant gardener to go back to school, and he pops up a few years later in a new role, grateful for her advice. But those happy coincidences are as rare as they are in life. Other characters - including Mason and Lorelei's unhappy stepsiblings - simply fall out of the picture, as people sometimes do.

Though photography and cinema have long made special claims for representing reality, in the era of computer-generated imagery and Instagram home snaps we no longer assume that any film is an accurate record of life. Yet Linklater's experiment in temporal sampling reminds us how much film can serve as a gateway to a larger reality. Throughout Boyhood, we recognize one moment after another, and those moments trigger our own sense of the patterns in our lives.

Boyhood opens July 18 in Toronto and in other cities throughout the summer.

Follow me on Twitter:@liamlacey

Associated Graphic

Boyhood, starring Ellar Coltrane, left, and Ethan Hawke, is a film where design meets happy accident.

Overcoming obstacles was a matter of course
Veteran lost his leg after the Second World War, went on to outlive the doctors who told him he wouldn't live past 40
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

On one of the worst days in Sam Gillman's life, a surgeon gave him two options. It was 1953 and the doctor had just operated to remove the 32-year-old's leg and part of his hip after a diagnosis of cancer.

"You have a choice," the doctor told him. "You can get in your wheelchair, head downtown and sell pencils on the street corner.

"Or," he said, "you can get on with your life."

Mr. Gillman chose the second option. He became a champion for disabled people and an inspiring role model. By the time of his death on June 12 at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, he had excelled as a businessman, community leader, pilot and equestrian.

Sam Gillman was born in Sherbrooke, Que., in 1921. His father, Abraham, worked as a fur peddler and later as a fur wholesaler.

His mother, Celia, raised Sam and his two younger sisters.

In 1940, the 19-year-old enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and later received a commission as a pilot officer. He ferried aircraft from Britain to India and flew Allied commanders to and from Lord Louis Mountbatten's Ceylon headquarters. At the end of the war, Flying Officer Gillman received the Burma Star for his service in that theatre.

When the fighting ended in 1945, Sam Gillman returned to civilian life. For a man who had gone through the Second World War unscathed, fate was about to play a cruel trick. In 1947, he broke his femur in a tobogganing accident. When the leg was X-rayed, doctors discovered a cancerous tumour. For the next six years, Mr. Gillman endured a series of painful operations as surgeons tried to excise the spreading growth. Finally, he was told there was no choice but to amputate the leg and part of his hip. Doctors also told him he probably wouldn't live past 40.

The loss of a leg for such a young man was devastating. The worst part, according to his daughter Lynn Gillman, was that he could no longer ride a horse. Mr. Gillman had been an expert rider before his surgery and had owned a horse for years. But at the time it was generally considered impossible for a one-legged man to ride.

Other challenges emerged, including one key personal hurdle. In 1956, just three years after losing his leg, Mr. Gillman met Helen Goodman on a blind date in Montreal. He was smitten but faced stiff opposition from her parents. How could a disabled man support their daughter, they wondered. How could the young couple even have children?

Undaunted, Sam and Helen married a few months after their first date and settled in Sherbrooke. They eventually had two daughters, Celia and Lynn, and a son, Zachary. The marriage would last 58 years.

But having overcome his inlaws' concerns, Mr. Gillman still had to deal with society's attitudes toward disabled people.

"In the 1950s and 60s, most disabled people were kept at home or sent to an institution," Lynn Gillman recalls. "Not my dad.

"He proudly walked and drove around Sherbrooke and never let the stares from strangers deter him."

Mr. Gillman worked at first in his father's store. But the fur business didn't interest him. So he eventually started his own industrial electronics store, Sherbrooke Electronic Supply. Over the years, it expanded to include stores in Saint-Georges-deBeauce, Drummondville and Mont Joli, Que. In the late 1970s, he sold the stores to his employees.

Now in his mid-50s, Mr. Gillman decided he wanted to learn to fly again. Most people were doubtful, since the foot controls for a plane's rudder made it all but impossible for a one-legged man to become a pilot.

Mr. Gillman began researching the topic. Eventually, he read about a disabled man in California who learned to fly after designing and building a set of hand controls for his plane.

He wrote to him, asking the pilot to build him a set of controls, too. The man refused. More letters followed, but each time the man said no. But after months of Mr. Gillman's non-stop requests, he finally agreed.

Eventually, a plane with newly installed hand controls was delivered to him in Sherbrooke.

The former RCAF pilot learned to fly again after more than 30 years, but the Ministry of Transport, nervous at the prospect of a one-legged pilot flying with hand controls, ordered him to accumulate twice the number of flying hours normally needed to qualify for a pilot's licence. Once again, he overcame that challenge.

"I will never forget the look on his face when he came home from his test," Ms. Gillman says.

"That was determination."

There was just one more item on Sam Gillman's agenda. In 1990, when he was nearing 70, he decided that he wanted to ride a horse again. In some ways, this challenge was even harder than learning to fly with one leg.

Balance is difficult enough for an able-bodied equestrian; it seemed impossible for a onelegged rider. Yet Mr. Gillman found a way, equipped with a special custom-made saddle and his trademark stubbornness and determination.

"He rode for himself but he also rode for the many disabled people, especially children," Lynn Gillman says. "I'm sure it gave them and their families inspiration to see my dad sitting up so proudly on the horse."

Mr. Gillman was active in his community, serving as chairman of his synagogue in Sherbrooke, president of the local Kiwanis Club and as an active member of The War Amps of Canada.

Years later, Mr. Gillman would recall his doctors' prediction that he would not live past 40. He noted with a chuckle that he had outlived all of his doctors.

He remained fit until just before his death. Two or three times a week, Mr. Gillman would go to the YMCA and work out under the supervision of a trainer.

He only ended these sessions at the age of 92, when he became too weak to continue.

But for all his achievements throughout his life, his children say Sam Gillman's greatest gift to them was his attitude about overcoming obstacles.

"My father never made any excuses," his son, Zachary, says.

"No matter how much pain he was in or how difficult a task was with his disabilities, he just did it the best way he could."

Associated Graphic

After losing one of his legs to cancer, Sam Gillman became a champion for disabled people.

Mr. Gillman, who had been an expert equestrian in his youth, began riding again when he was nearly 70 years old using a custom-made saddle.

Who controls Hollywood?
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R2

The plot of Zach Braff's new movie, Wish I Was Here, is indebted to the structure of the 1927 talkie sensation The Jazz Singer, which told the story of an entertainer (Al Jolson) choosing between the religious way of his father or secular life. The script also refers to an idea that dates back to the silentmovie era: the alleged Jewish control of Hollywood.

At one point in Wish I Was Here, the main character's adolescent daughter Gracie is asked by a gentile neighbour why she had to drop out of private school, and she explains the family's straitened means. "But I thought the Jews ran Hollywood?" says the boy. "Me too," says Gracie mournfully. (The thought might have occurred to Braff, who is Jewish yet was compelled to finance his movie outside the studio system.)

That old "Jews control Hollywood" saw just won't go away. It was a favourite theme of the ravingly anti-Semitic claims by the Henry Ford-owned Dearborn Independent back in the 1920s.

Every few years, it pops up again. Just last month, English actor Gary Oldman was quoted in Playboy magazine saying that Mel Gibson was being punished "in a town that's run by Jews" for his infamous anti-Semitic comments in 2006. Oldman has since apologized.

And last year, the Academy Awards and host Seth MacFarlane were criticized by the AntiDefamation League (a centuryold organization that was created to refute these kinds of attacks) and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre for the use of "Jews run Hollywood" jokes. Jokes about Jewish control and a "secret synagogue," they said, perpetuated a dangerous negative stereotype about Jews in Hollywood for a global audience.

There was no Jewish media consensus on the risk of MacFarlane's jokes. The columnist in the right-of-centre Commentary magazine was more offended by the appearance of the U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama, on the show. The Jewish Journal dismissed the condemnations as missing the satiric point. In Jewish Daily Forward, J.J. Goldberg (author of Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment) noted that with Jews occupying 84 per cent of the president and chairman jobs at the major studios, the controversy raised an interesting discussion.

What is agreed is that Jewish people hold many important jobs in Hollywood. The AntiDefamation League website quotes a 1995 article by Steven G. Kellman, a professor at the University of Texas in San Antonio, who at one point writes: "Boosters and anti-Semites agree: Jews have been prominent and predominant in all phases of the [motion picture] business: production, distribution and exhibition." Kellman's conclusion was that "though individual Jews control Hollywood, Jewishness does not."

Historically, though, the studio owners' Jewishness did influence movie content, though hardly in a pro-Jewish way. The argument of Neal Gabler's 1988 book An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood (later made into a Canadianproduced documentary called Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream) is that the uneducated Eastern European merchants who came to California in the late-1910s and '20s, and who established the major Hollywood studios, had an agenda. They wanted to excel in an unrestricted line of enterprise and keep the anti-Semites at bay. So they "created their own America," that was much more tolerant, integrated and idealistic than the social reality. As a compromise, they largely effaced representations of Jewish life in America.

In the post-Second World War era, institutionalized anti-Semitism decreased and Jewish artists came out of hiding through the sixties and '70s. Jewish directors (Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg) and stars (Elliot Gould, Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, George Segal) emerged into the spotlight, even as the movie business became departments of multinational conglomerates. And the "Jewish control of Hollywood" canard seemed to belong to the sort of conspiracy paranoia associated with people who wear tinfoil hats.

And of course there was Marlon Brando. In a 1996 interview with Larry King, Brando, a longtime supporter of Jewish causes, complained about how the studios perpetrated negative stereotypes of some minorities, and asserted once again that "Hollywood is run by Jews." He then cried the next day when he apologized for his comment. To put the matter to rest, 60 Minutes even did an investigation on the subject of Jewish Hollywood stereotypes.

Screenwriter-actor and conservative Ben Stein wrote for E! Online about how he had been asked by 60 Minutes to refute the charges. The editor said their research showed that "only" about 60 per cent of the top positions in Hollywood were occupied by Jews, but Stein said that that if Jews, who represent about 2.5 per cent of the U.S. population had 60 per cent of the top movie jobs, that was certainly prominent. His comment, he says, was not politically correct enough for the program.

The more important question, Stein asked, was why does anyone care? "I marvel that when people criticize the auto industry for making trucks that catch fire when they are struck, and cars that turn over on a turn, no one ever says, 'The gentile auto industry.' "

This point was made again, with more satirical bite, in 2008 by columnist Joel Stein (no relation), writing in the The Los Angeles Times (Who Runs Hollywood? C'Mon!). Stein begins by describing how upset he was by a poll that shows only 22 per cent of Americans now believe "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," down from a lofty 50 per cent in 1964.

"As a proud Jew," complains Stein, "I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you'd be flipping between The 700 Club and Davey and Goliath on TV all day."

After fencing with Anti-Defamation League head Abraham Foxman about why the phrase "Jews control Hollywood" is considered dangerous in a world where most Americans still view Hollywood "values" with deep suspicion, Stein ends his column with this mischievous flip of the bird.

"But I don't care if Americans think we're running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them."

Both Joel and Ben Stein's articles have been widely reprinted on the Internet. The bad news, however, is they've mostly been reprinted on anti-Semitic websites. So now we know who cares. And we also now know that neither candour nor satire can effectively deter hostile stupidity.

Follow me on Twitter:@liamlacey

Associated Graphic

The script for Wish I was Here, starring Zach Braff, centre, refers to an idea that dates back to the silent-movie era: that Jews control Hollywood.

Why Putin can't back down
The Russian President has spent 15 years shaping a narrative that casts the West as the enemy - and the country has bought into it
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

The pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin grows each day. He must end his support for the rebels accused of shooting down a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine, Western leaders say, or face tougher economic sanctions and greater political isolation.

And each day, Mr. Putin makes it clearer that he's not about to bend.

Mr. Putin is in a trap of his own making after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. He's unable - even if he were willing - to meet the West's demands, in large part due to the anti-Western opinion in Russia that he and his Kremlin have moulded over 15 years in power.

Having cast the West as Russia's enemy for so long, and having personally vowed to protect ethnic Russians everywhere, analysts say Mr. Putin would be fiercely criticized at home if he pulled an about-face and abandoned the separatists of the Donetsk People's Republic under pressure from Washington and London.

Much of the world sees the pro-Russian rebels as the villains of the MH17 saga. But they have been portrayed as heroes - standing up for their right to speak Russian and choose their own course - on Kremlin-run television for the past five months, making it almost impossible for Mr. Putin to desert them now.

"People are still supportive of the government, and they buy into this picture created by Russian TV of a fascist government in Kiev trying to destroy the population of the southeast [of Ukraine], of Novorossiya," said Sergey Utkin, head of strategic assessment at the Moscow-based Russian Academy of Sciences.

"It's a myth that's dear to Russian conservatives," he added, "and we have quite a lot of Russian conservatives these days - call them revanchists if you like."

"I'm afraid we can't hope that this conflict will end soon. Most probably, it will escalate."

In such an atmosphere, Mr. Putin is under domestic pressure to do more, not less, to support the rebels in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, an area collectively known as Donbass. "Putin risks coming into contradiction with public opinion [if he cuts support to the rebels]. Public opinion is very clear - do not allow the killing of ethnic Russians in Donbass," said Sergei Markov, a Moscow-based political scientist and unofficial Kremlin spokesman.

Amid Ukrainian allegations of a renewed buildup of tanks and troops on the Russian side of the border, Mr. Markov said the option of direct Russian military intervention in eastern Ukraine remained very much on the table. "The fact that Putin didn't send the troops in yet is because it requires more preparation."

Kiev and the West accuse Russia of having fomented the civil war in eastern Ukraine, supplying the rebels with fighters and weapons including tanks and anti-aircraft systems. More than 1,000 combatants and civilians have been killed since fighting began in April.

While other observers feel Mr. Putin is extremely unlikely to send Russian troops into eastern Ukraine following the MH17 disaster, there is still a sense in Moscow that the country is locked into a confrontation with the West with no obvious way out.

Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin, once a close associate of Mr. Putin's, warned Tuesday that there were some in Russia "who have long wanted to distance us, who have wanted isolation." He said Russians risked seeing their standards of living fall by as much as one-fifth if the conflict in Ukraine continues and the country's confrontation with the West grows.

"All this has fallen onto fertile ground and I'm just surprised at the scale of the anti-Western rhetoric which has emerged here," Mr. Kudrin told the ItarTass news service.

Since last week's downing of MH17, which killed all 298 people on board, Russian media have created another alternative reality, one in which the rebels aren't presumed guilty of firing the surface-to-air missile. Theories suggesting the Ukrainian military may have downed the plane to frame Russia and its allies are given plenty of airtime.

Tuesday saw a fresh tranche of actions aimed at upping the pressure on Mr. Putin. The European Union said it was preparing new sanctions to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine, while the United Kingdom announced a public inquiry into the 2006 death of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB operative who was poisoned with polonium while sipping tea in a London hotel, to determine whether the Russian state was involved.

Some Russian observers argue that each new round of blame and sanctions from the West makes Mr. Putin even less likely to do what's being demanded of him.

"Any pressure like [new sanctions] would only strengthen the hardliners in Russia, and only lead to a more robust and tough position," said Pavel Andreev, executive director of the Valdai Club Foundation, a state-backed foreign-policy think tank in Moscow.

Indeed, rather than acknowledging his weakening position and stepping away from his unsavoury allies in eastern Ukraine, Mr. Putin emerged from a muchanticipated meeting of his Security Council sounding as if he was preparing instead for an arms race against the NATO military alliance.

"NATO is demonstratively reinforcing its grouping on the territory of East European states, including in the areas of the Black and Baltic Seas," Mr. Putin said, referring to recent alliance deployments in Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. "Because of this, we need to implement all planned measures to boost the country's defence capabilities fully and in time, naturally including Crimea and Sevastopol."

Crimea and the Black Sea port of Sevastopol are considered part of Ukraine by those in the West who consider Russia's March annexation of the peninsula illegal. The seizure of Crimea marked the start of a fresh spiral in relations between Moscow and the West, with the United States, the EU and Canada implementing several rounds of sanctions since then.

The Crimea annexation was part of Russia's response to a February revolution in Kiev, which saw the Moscow-friendly government of Viktor Yanukovych ousted in what Russia says was a Western-supported "coup." The new government of President Petro Poroshenko is portrayed by the Kremlin as having "fascist" leanings, even though far-right candidates were distant finishers in May's election.

Associated Graphic

Russian President Vladimir Putin heads a meeting of his security council in Moscow Tuesday. His country faces the threat of even tougher sanctions from the West over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.


Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a meeting of the Security Council in Moscow's Kremlin on Tuesday.


The turf war in Gaza is very much about Israel and Hamas wanting to get the better of the bargain. With both sides entrenched in their mistrust of each other, expect the conflict to continue to be drawn out
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A8

Gaza -- While it's commonly thought the interests of Israel and Hamas are worlds apart, the parties at war in Gaza share a singular attitude. Each is mad as hell and not going to take it any more.

Israel's argument in this Sisyphean conflict with Hamas is basically this: Hamas is a terrorist organization that has no right to attack civilian Israelis whether by suicide bombs, as they once did, or by firing rockets at them. The attacks must stop.

Hamas's argument goes like this: Israel is an occupying power that may have withdrawn its settlers and army from inside the Gaza Strip, but maintains a stranglehold on the territory, preventing Gazans from having a normal life, while carrying out targeted killings of people inside. The siege and the killings must stop.

If a deal between these two warring sides is possible, it would look like this: Hamas would stop all attacks on Israelis, and Israel would end its siege and the killings. Israelis would be able to live quietly even in the area bordering Gaza, and Gazans would be able to come and go as they please, by border-crossings into Israel, as once existed, or by sea or air. No one in Gaza would need to fear the extra-legal hand of Israel reaching in for them.

The conflict in Gaza, like the one that took place in 2012 and the one before that in 2008-09, is a crude attempt by the two parties to negotiate such an agreement, with each side wanting, in true Middle Eastern fashion, to get the better of the bargain.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has modestly set Israel's goal in this conflict as the establishment of long-lasting "quiet" for his people.

To that end, Israel would like to use this war to destroy tunnels constructed by Hamas and other groups that allow militant resistance fighters to burrow under the Israeli border and wreak havoc, killing and kidnapping Israelis. Attacks on such tunnels now are being carried out. It also would like to reduce the number of rockets held by Hamas and other groups, which are the biggest threat to Israeli quiet.

To some extent, this is achieved by letting Hamas fire lots of rockets at Israel, shooting down the ones that might kill a large number of people. Hamas is obliging in this regard, although it doesn't seem as if it will run out of rockets any time soon. Israel also shells the sites of rocket launchers, but that doesn't do the whole job.

The most effective way would be to go into the cities of Gaza, where many of the rocket launchers are hidden among the citizens, and spend months finding and eliminating the launchers and the arsenals. Even if you eliminated them, however, what's to stop Hamas and others from building more and better ones?

One way would be for Israel to eliminate Hamas, as the United States removed Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Mr. Netanyahu is under enormous pressure from his own right wing to do exactly that; he himself argued for it at the time of the 2008-09 war.

But such an operation would cost the lives of many Israelis and Palestinians and, as in Iraq, would risk chaos and greater extremists taking Hamas's place. The other way is through an agreement by which Hamas abides.

Israel knows a political solution is the only viable one; that means Hamas must get some of what it wants in return. To a large degree, Israel's ulterior motive in this war is to pressure Hamas to reduce its demands in the bargain at which both will eventually arrive.

Hamas presented a long list of demands going into this war, including the opening of border crossings, airport and seaport, the payment of salaries and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

But are they going about getting these things in the right way?

Firing rockets at Israel only draws Israeli retaliation that leads to death and destruction in Gaza.

Doesn't that turn Gazans against them? Wouldn't it be better to accept a ceasefire and negotiate?

Hamas certainly doesn't think so, and it may be right. Stop the rocket fire and what leverage does it have in negotiations? Hamas's refusal to accept a truce put forward by Egypt on Tuesday led to a truce more attractive to Hamas being proffered on Thursday.

Hamas's refusal of those terms also contributed to the Israeli ground invasion now under way.

So how do all the casualties that will result affect Gazans' attitude to Hamas? In 2006, Israel sought to retaliate against the Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah after the group attacked and abducted Israeli soldiers on the border. Besides targeting Hezbollah fighters in south Lebanon, Israel also destroyed a number of bridges, roads and power stations, believing that the Lebanese would blame Hezbollah for the war and turn against them.

Instead, the Lebanese united in opposition to Israel. The same thing is happening in Gaza.

"When you create fear, you build hate. This is what Israel has done," Rawia Shawa, an independent member of the Palestine Legislative Council, daughter of a former mayor and scion of an influential family, said in an interview this week.

"I hate Hamas," she said, referring to its religious agenda. "But we are nationalists, and when you have a common national cause, you'll make an alliance with the devil."

"I don't like Hamas either," said her son-in-law Jason Shawa, owner of a printing company. "But they're defending this place [Gaza] from the Israelis."

Aren't they doing so by hiding rockets among the citizens, using them as human shields?

"Where do you want them to put them?" he asked. "Out in the open where Israelis can destroy them? No, this is the way resistance fighters operate. We aren't concerned by it."

The negotiations to end this conflict may be long and drawn out.

Associated Graphic

Top left: Palestinians looking for their belongings pick through the rubble of a building after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday.


Right: Tanks manoeuvre outside the northern Gaza Strip, part of Israel's effort to destroy tunnels constructed by Hamas that have allowed militant fighters to wreak havoc.


Bottom left: Netream Netzleam holds the body of her one-year-old daughter Razel, who medics said died yesterday from injuries sustained in an Israeli air strike. 'When you create fear, you build hate. This is what Israel has done,' said Rawia Shawa, an independent member of the Palestine Legislative Council.


The sweet spot
In Montreal, the city's finest pâtisseries are located in some of the best neighbourhoods to explore, making it easy to work off all those chocolate-hazelnut-cherry triple cream puffs
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

MONTREAL -- Visiting a city the first time is easy: Every street yields new discoveries, every top-rated attraction is a fresh experience. But the second, the fifth, the 10th visit? You have to get creative. Setting out with a themed mission is a great way to go. In Montreal, for instance, seeking out the latest and greatest pastry shops offer up prime carb-loading and caffeinating - plus an entry point to the city's most happening neighbourhoods. Got your stretchy pants packed? Here are five spots to try.


The neighbourhood: Up-andcoming St. Henri - not far from Westmount - is "becoming an amazing food area" thanks to a stream of new restaurants on main street Notre Dame, says coowner Jacqueline Berman.

The shop: Framed shots of the bakery's own pies and cookies adorn the white walls. Three tables inside are crowded with locals lingering as much over conversation as over sweets and coffee from 49th Parallel, a Vancouver-based ethical roaster.

Shelves hold jars of granola and other take-home goodies, while glass cases are piled high with pies of the mini- and full-size variety, in seasonal and timeless flavours.

Most popular: Classic Quebec apple, and lemon meringue, which some say is the best in the city.

We tried: A flaky, fruity muffintin-size rhubarb pie, a steal at $1.99.

The calorie earner: Across the street, Square Sir-George-ÉtienneCartier offers tennis courts, plenty of picnic-friendly green space and an outdoor pool open daily with free admission.

4615 rue Notre Dame Ouest,


The neighbourhood: A residential corner of the perennially popular Plateau, which chef and owner Stéphanie Labelle describes as bobo, or bourgeois bohème - "a lot of families, artists and people enjoying good things of life."

The shop: A nondescript building with partially updated 1970s interior. Decor does not matter, though, as your eyes will be drawn to the white-painted shelves holding preserves, granola and copies of the Montreal Gazette - not to mention the glass-fronted cases filled with rows of éclairs, pots de crème, square cheesecakes topped with cubes of sour cherry jelly and other delights. Sunday mornings fill up fast thanks to a popular brunch.

Most popular: In season (spring), the namesake rhubarb tart; in summer, the strawberry-based fraisier.

We tried: The nutty, crunchy pistachio-grapefruit dacquoise and, in a cute, stamped brown paper to-go bag, a chamomile macaron.

The calorie earner: The shop's a bit of a walk from the nearest Métro station, so it's worth staying in the area to explore. Head to nearby Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier for a run, a swim or a game of pétanque. 5091 rue de Lanaudière,


The neighbourhood: The Village, whose LGBT community base is diversifying, as young families and artists move in thanks to affordable real estate.

The shop: Chef Marilu Gunji, who was raised in Japan and graduated in pastry from Le Cordon Bleu. She brings her detail-oriented style to a wealth of pastries, cakes and cookies as well as savoury dishes. Tiny, perfectly decorated cakes sit under bell jars on white shelves along one wall.

Most popular: The passion-fruit cake, which came recommended by a fellow customer (a Montrealer who rides in daily on a Bixi rented bike for his regular snack).

We tried: The picture-perfect, melt-in-your-mouth triple cream puff in chocolate-hazelnut-cherry, topped with miniature fresh mint leaves.

The calorie earner: Gunji likes to burn off steam at Moksha Yoga in the nearby Plateau. Or rent a Bixi from the station around the corner and take it for a tour on the separated bike lanes along nearby boulevard De Maisonneuve. 1701 rue Amherst,


The neighbourhood: Picturesque Old Montreal, where some of New France's first settlers landed in 1642. Nowadays, the tourist traps are receding in favour of some of the hottest places to eat - and to be seen.

The shop: Chef Christian Faure and his wife and business partner, Pamela Bakalian, created a space where historic appeal (think classic Québécois grey stone walls) co-exists with modern elements such as clean white tables and acrylic chairs. They also run a pastry school that offers a professional program as well as classes for "serious amateurs" and "little bakers" (i.e., kids).

Most popular: The éclair ParisBrest, choux pastry filled with a praline-hazelnut mousse that's lighter than the traditional buttercream.

We tried: The sweet-tart Tarte passion framboise, whose precise flower-like design of fresh raspberries and passionfruit cream showcases the shop's mission of providing accessible luxury pastry.

The calorie earner: Walk or cycle the nearby waterfront trails for a voyageur's-eye view of the heart of Montreal. Quadricycles - multipassenger pedal-powered vehicles - and pedalboats, in which to cruise the Bonsecours Basin are available for rent from company Écorécréo ( 355 Place Royale, PATRICE PÂTISSIER

The neighbourhood: Little Burgundy, near Atwater Market and home to plenty of antiques stores and popular restaurants such as Joe Beef and Vin Papillon.

The shop: Local TV personality and pastry chef Patrice Demers, formerly of critics' favourite Les 400 Coups, started the shop along with business partner Jean-François Archambault to showcase his sophisticated, modern-looking creations, often featuring citrus and seasonal fruits.

Most popular: Kouign Amann, a sweet, ultra buttery croissant-like pastry; St. Henri coffee cake, using coffee from the namesake local roaster.

We tried: A thick and creamy chocolate ganache sandwiched between tender-crisp sablé cookies with only a bare minimum of sweetness. It is a chocoholic's dream.

The calorie earner: Do as Patrice does (as well as many Montrealers) and go for a run along the scenic Lachine Canal. Or take a kayaking lesson or tour from nearby H2O Adventures ( 2360 rue Notre Dame Ouest,

The writer travelled with assistance from Tourism Montreal. It did not review or approve the story.


Finding fresh experiences in a city you've visited many times over can be a challenge. Globe Travel is here to help. Today, we suggest a pastry tour of Montreal.

Coming up in the next two weeks: Niche tours - photo walks, brewery crawls - in Vancouver.

A DIY adventure triathalon in Victoria.

Associated Graphic

Try the treats at Rustique Pie Kitchen in Montreal's St. Henri neighbourhood.


Choose carefully at De farine & d'eau fraîche

meringues at Rustique Pie

Fraiser cake at Pâtisserie Rhubarbe.


Weed Inc.
Despite a raft of regulations and other obstacles, entrepreneurs are abuzz about legalized marijuana in Washington State. Iain Marlow reports from Bellingham where the seeds of a new indusry are taking root
Monday, July 14, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

BELLINGHAM, WASH. -- When he decided to open a marijuana store, the first challenge Tom Beckley faced was getting kicked out of the house by his girlfriend.

"I've been sleeping in my truck," he says.

But Mr. Beckley, whose Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham, Wash., became one of the first retail stores to open last week after Washington legalized the sale of marijuana, doesn't seem perturbed. In fact, he looks relaxed and is optimistic. After all, his store had a lineup around the corner on Tuesday when it opened to sell greenery, bagged with names such as Cheese Quake and Catatonic, which sell for about $75 (U.S.) for a 3.5 gram bag.

In Washington, as with Colorado, the seeds of a new industry have been planted by citizens who voted to end the prohibition on weed. Beyond the jubilation of activists and smokers, though, are risk-takers such as Mr. Beckley who face unpredictability, complicated regulations, rigourous background checks and suppliers who are struggling to get licensed and grow their product. It must be meticulously barcoded, tested in a third-party lab for THC levels and quarantined before it is sold to the public with tobacco-like warnings.

These entrepreneurs see themselves as the vanguard of a new, billion-dollar industry. "It's going to be bigger than anyone's imagined," says Mr. Beckley, who used to work as an electrical inspector for the city of Bellingham.

That hope has nurtured business owners through the wild ride of the industry's early days. Store owners only found out they got one of the state's 334 retail licences through a lottery, and were then given roughly a month to get their stores built and their product - from pounds of loose marijuana to pre-rolled joints and pipes - sourced, paid for and delivered. There are no restrictions on the number of suppliers. But there has still been a scramble for growers to secure licences, get inspected and begin raising plants painstakingly tracked by the state from seedling to their journey across the state in, for example, the trunk of a silver Honda Civic.

Which is the type of car Aaron Nelson is waiting for when he opens the front door of Bellingham's 2020 Solutions on a sunny Thursday afternoon. "Is it here yet?" he asks, looking both ways down the quiet street.

He's waiting for weed that didn't arrive in time for a planned opening a couple of days earlier. A misclassification in the state's tracking system - a supplier was labelled as a retailer - meant the shipment was never sent. Because of the industry's infancy, as well as the sheer number of regulations, no one is risking his licence, or the sector's reputation, just to sell weed a day or two earlier than possible. And so 2020 Solutions staff spent Thursday afternoon barcoding glass pipes - including a 12-inch monster called "The Gandalf" - as they waited for their scheduled opening time: 4:20 p.m. At one point, a man driving a large Coca-Cola delivery truck slowed down to ask: "Any free samples?"

Eventually, a car drives up and two middle-aged men open the trunk. "Smells good, doesn't it?" one says, as a strong aroma wafts out. He begins unloading boxes containing 859 small tins that each hold three separate, prerolled joints. There is a brief bit of celebration as the weed is moved into the back room, and then the store's owner, Troy Lozano, who also operates two contracting businesses in Bellingham, shuts the door.

Pot store owners are understandably cagey. Despite its newfound legality in Washington state, banks don't want to touch the weed business until there is nationwide legislation. Running a marijuana store, consequently, means dealing entirely in cash; Mr. Lozano's store even has an instore ATM. But mostly the owners and operators are bewildered by the endless number of regulations, which govern everything from the size of signage and how far their stores can be from elementary schools, to what sort of warnings must be on the label and what products they can offer (the state is still licensing companies to produce marijuanainfused "edibles," such as brownies and candies, but such producers need their kitchens inspected and approved).

But the state's stringent regulations, and the resultant compliance measures, can be a business opportunity on their own. Ben Curren, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who sold his previous company to GoDaddy for an undisclosed sum, has launched a new business with software tailored to help marijuana store owners comply with the law. It may be a niche market for now, but Mr. Curren suggests a number of U.S. states, such as California, are "broke and desperate for tax revenue," and that the industry is destined to grow, particularly when pharmaceutical companies see the potential profits.

"Marijuana is just the next batch of small businesses that are ready to explode."

Werner Antweiler, a professor with the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business, compared the situation now to the era after prohibition: A lot of smaller players, with inevitable consolidation ahead. Currently, he said, the criminalization of marijuana use is not good economics: Police crackdowns temporarily limit the supply but leave demand unchanged, thus increasing the pay-off for those who want to supply and distribute the drug illegally.

"Once you bring it out in the open you can regulate it, control it, tax it and you can intervene and modify the demand, as we have with tobacco," Prof. Antweiler says. "That's the economic argument. It's very compelling."



Typical current price of marijuana per gram in Washington State. It was pushed well beyond what marijuana sells for on the black market due to limited supply


Number of retail licences to sell recreational marijuana issued by Washington State Liquor Control Board out of 334 applicants


Washington State's haul in excise taxes, excluding state and local sales taxes, from legal marijuana sales on the first day of legal marijuana sales

Associated Graphic

Tom Beckley holds up a bag of weed at Top Shelf Cannabis, one of the first marijuana stores in Washington State. Budding owners had to apply for one of the state's 334 retail licences through a lottery.


2020 Solutions in Bellingham, Wash., one of the first legal dispensaries in the state.


Israel, Hamas confirm ceasefire proposal
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

JERUSALEM -- Israel's security cabinet was to meet early Tuesday to consider an Egyptian proposal for a truce that would halt all hostilities in the eight-day conflict between Israel and militant Palestinian movements including Hamas effective Tuesday.

If both sides agree to the ceasefire, Israel would stop aerial, naval and ground operations against militants in the Gaza Strip and agree not to engage in a ground offensive or to harm civilians. At the same time, all Palestinian factions would hold their fire.

While being welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the proposal may face its biggest hurdle in getting accepted by his largely right-wing cabinet. Hamas's top leader in Gaza confirmed Monday there was "diplomatic movement," even though Hamas said its agreement was not a foregone conclusion.

If accepted by both sides, within 48 hours of the ceasefire, Israeli and Palestinian delegations would travel to Cairo for continued indirect talks to discuss details and implementation.

The far-ranging proposal is similar to one reportedly put forward in secret last week by Egypt. At that time, Mr. Netanyahu was said to have favoured it in principle, while Hamas rejected it.

Now, the offer may look a little more attractive to Hamas.

The death toll in Gaza has mounted to a total now of more than 175, and Israel has mobilized almost 40,000 troops declaring it was prepared to launch a ground invasion of Gaza in order to silence the group's rockets. As well, there is growing international criticism of Hamas for its use of civilians as human shields.

The United States on Monday welcomed the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, as did the Arab League.

The agreement would give each side the ability to claim victory.

Israel wanted, in the words of its Prime Minister, "a sustainable quiet," a peace that would last longer than a couple of years.

The Israeli government also wanted to seriously damage Hamas's armaments' infrastructure and its ability to import weapons. After eight days of bombardment, it can claim to have achieved this. And, because of its technical achievement in the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system, it can claim to have won this conflict without the loss of a single Israeli life.

For its part, Hamas began this war with a long list of demands that included the release of prisoners, the payment of salaries to 43,000 civil servants by the Palestinian Authority, as well as an end to the state of siege imposed on Gaza by Israel and an end to various aggressive acts by Israeli authorities.

In the end, as predicted last Friday by a senior Hamas-affiliated imam, Naif Rajoub, Hamas would be agreeing to end its rocket fire in exchange for Israel ending its own - nothing more, at least not on the surface.

Hamas can claim to have won, not so much by this ceasefire agreement but because it has reestablished itself as the pre-eminent Palestinian resistance movement, a position that some groups in Gaza had been doubting.

Hamas's capacity to launch hundreds of missiles against Israel, and to have them travel much farther and more accurately than ever before, allows Hamas to again claim that Israelis had been frightened by them.

Even the flight Monday of a drone launched in Gaza and flown into Israeli airspace adds to Hamas's lustre in the eyes of its constituents.

And while it suffered damage to its Gaza infrastructure and 175 Gazan lives were lost, Hamas still is standing - the ultimate mark of success in war.

That is what riles some members of the Netanyahu cabinet.

Late Monday night, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, whose party represents the interests of Israel's large settler population, was said to be planning to vote against the ceasefire.

Mr. Bennett has emphasized the importance of not just damaging Hamas in this conflict but of destroying it.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's vote also is in doubt. A week ago, Mr. Lieberman pulled his Yisrael Beitenu Party out of an electoral alliance it had with Mr. Netanyahu's Likud party, because he considered the Prime Minister too soft on Hamas.

Since then he has called for a large-scale ground invasion not only to wipe out Hamas but to possibly reoccupy the Gaza Strip.

There was a hint Monday that a deal might be in the offing.

Israel pointedly cut back on the number of assaults it carried out on Gaza Sunday night and Monday, and Hamas followed suit.

As well, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, whose nephew was killed in the week-long conflict, said in a speech Monday that Hamas had not sought escalation in tensions with Israel, but that Israel had violated the previous truce, reached in December, 2012.

The implication was that Hamas would be content to return to a truce such as that.

The truce of 2012 also was arrived at through mediation by Egypt, then under president Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood to which Hamas is affiliated.

Mr. Morsi now is in an Egyptian jail under trial for capital crimes and the country is run by the man who overthrew him, former military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

The truce, if agreed on, would be a victory for Mr. el-Sissi too, as Egypt is once again the lynchpin in efforts at ending fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants.

As negotiations go forward, Egypt would receive guaranties from both Israel and Hamas, and promises to implement the framework.

The ceasefire also would be a victory for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas who leaned heavily on Mr. el-Sissi to assume this traditional Egyptian role. Mr. el-Sissi remains a strong opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood and all related groups and it wasn't clear if he would be willing to help negotiate a deal involving Hamas.

For his part, Mr. Abbas launched strong criticisms of Hamas last week for demanding too much as its price for reaching a truce, and for trading in war with the blood of Palestinians in Gaza. An adviser to the Palestinian president said his efforts all were being aimed at securing a long term agreement on a two-state solution.

Associated Graphic

child cries as air raid sirens sound at an emergency shelter in Beersheba, Israel, on Saturday. During the past five days there have been injuries but no atalities from the nearly 700 rockets and mortars fired into Israel from Gaza.


The Etobicoke prowler: A quiet, leafy neighbourhood's waking nightmare
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M1

At 8 o'clock on a summer weeknight, Enfield Avenue, in southwest Etobicoke, is bustling.

Residents walk dogs, kids bike up and down the street in full gear, people play Frisbee in the middle of the road.

But after dark - the day's gardening done and the garbage bins dragged out and ready for pick-up - something feels different.

"Everybody's just locking up tight," said Joyce Champagne, a resident of Enfield Avenue, one of two streets where an intruder broke into a series of homes last weekend. For the third straight summer, neighbourhoods in south Etobicoke have been on edge as a prowler roams their streets, entering residences through unlocked doors and windows while people are sleeping.

After the latest spate of breakins, Toronto police are taking a new tack, enlisting an OPP criminal profiler. Police would not disclose who the profiler is or get into the profiler's opinion on what kind of person might be behind the crimes. However, when asked for his expert opinion, Jim Van Allen, the retired manager of the OPP Criminal Profile Unit, told The Globe he's seen this before, and the suspect won't stop until he's caught.

"Clearly he's been doing it enough to satisfy me that he's enjoying it, and that enjoyment is going to contribute to his decision to keep doing it," he said.

South Etobicoke has seen as many as 23 break-ins, some of them including sexual assaults, since 2012.

Investigators are evaluating 10 of the incidents where similarities have been found in the suspect's description and MO to determine whether it's the same man committing the crimes.

"There are certain similarities in the crimes [and in] the suspect that would lead us to believe that they may be related," said Detective Steve McIlwain from Sex Crimes, one of the lead detectives investigating the incidents.

In most cases, residents wake to see a strange man standing at the foot of the bed before he flees. Fewer than 10 of the 23 break-ins also involved sexual assaults.

In 2012, a 62-year-old woman and 70-year old woman were both sexually assaulted after a masked man entered their homes on the same night near Bloor Street West and Islington Avenue, and Royal York Road and Norseman Street The most recent break-in and sexual assault occurred in June, according to Det. McIlwain.

Police have described the intruder as darker-skinned, tall and skinny, wearing dark clothing and a white bandana over his face. In the most recent slew of break-ins last weekend, police chased a suspect by foot and helicopter, but he managed to elude capture, according to Constable David Hopkinson, corporate communications officer for Toronto Police.

"I woke up and this man was standing right at the side of my bed, staring at me, and I just started screaming," one victim of last weekend's break-ins, Maeve McCarthy, told the CBC.

Based on more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and 15 years of heading the OPP's criminal profiling department, Mr. Van Allen provided The Globe with his opinion on what kind of person Toronto police could be dealing with.

Mr. Van Allen said the fact that the suspect keeps coming back to the same spots and protects his identity with a mask indicates he likely lives in or near the area.

"He's really close in that neighbourhood, we're talking a stone's throw away, let's say a good chip shot ... If you put all the occurrence locations on a pin map, he would be probably be right in the middle of it," Mr. Van Allen said.

The neighbourhoods that the prowler's been active in since 2012 covers about a 5-kilometre by 5-kilometre area that spans Lake Shore Boulevard West to Bloor Street West, Park Lawn Road to Brown's Line, often hitting two or three homes in close proximity to each other on the same night.

Still, Mr. Van Allen believes, the perpetrator is not somebody a lot of neighbours are going to know personally: He's shy, lacking in social skills, and single - either living with a relative or by himself in a rented room.

"You're looking for a real nondescript kind of guy," he said.

Despite his withdrawn nature during the day, the prowler is likely out testing doorknobs almost every night, likely peeping through windows and selecting his victims in advance, largely because he doesn't know how to go about initiating a mutually beneficial relationship with an age-appropriate female.

"These guys fantasize about being in a relationship with a woman. He wants to be close to women and this is the only way that he can do it," Mr. Van Allen said.

Normal for a repeat offender, the prowler's confidence is growing and so will the comfort zone of where he operates, said Mr. Van Allen.

Joe Cestnik lives next door to one of the houses hit last weekend on Gort Avenue, and never imagined this would happen on his street.

"[My wife] told me we should be extra cautious about closing doors and windows because we might have a repeat of what happened at Royal York and Bloor [in June], and I said there's no way, not here of all places. Guess what? A couple days later, we get hit," he said.

Although police say no weapon has ever been seen by victims, Mr. Van Allen believes the prowler could become violent if interrupted or if somebody tries to apprehend him.

"Another danger is the fact that these guys don't deal well with stress ... If they encounter some aggression or active resistance, they tend to panic and they might be inclined to use violence against a victim at that point," he said.

Indeed, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair told CityTV last week that the suspect is becoming increasingly brazen.

With a cool summer so far, people might be keeping windows open instead of blasting their AC, but both police and Mr. Van Allen said the best protection against this type of criminal is to keep doors locked and windows shut.

"It's the start of summer. We've got a lot of summer to go that this guy could still be active in," Mr. Van Allen said.

Associated Graphic

The Toronto Police Service released this image of a suspect in the investigation.

America's losing its closest friends
Obama is presiding over a diminution of U.S. prestige, warn Derek Burney and Fen Osler Hampson
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A11

Foreign policy is like gardening, former U.S. secretary of state George Shultz used to say.

And it begins, he pointed out, by making sure that relations with America's neighbours, key allies and friends remain regularly and well-tended. It is an axiom of foreign policy that Barack Obama's administration is ignoring to its own detriment.

There has been abundant criticism about the way the United States has handled its relations with Russia, China and an unfolding succession of crises in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and now Israel-Palestine - much of its justified. But there is also a major, growing problem in America's relations with its key allies, where it is not only losing friends but also its capacity for influence.

U.S. relations with Germany - Europe's economic and political juggernaut - have sunk to an alltime low. Edward Snowden's revelations that U.S. intelligence operatives were conducting widespread operations in Germany, including tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone, enraged Germans. Memories of East Germany's Ministry of State Security (Stasi) major intrusion into the private lives of ordinary citizens during the Cold War are still raw, and U.S. insensitivity to Germans' strongly held belief in the last right to privacy has cost relations dearly.

But the problem does not stop there. Germany's decision on Thursday to expel the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Station chief is unprecedented in allied relations. The fallout will be felt not just in joint intelligence and security operations, where Germany and U.S. intelligence agencies have historically worked closely together, but the fallout may be felt in other key areas of co-operation, such as RussiaUkraine, nuclear talks with Iran and U.S.-EU free-trade negotiations.

The health of U.S. relations with key allies is not much better across the Pacific. The Japanese government's recent decision that it would reinterpret its constitution and lift the ban on collective self-defence - the biggest shift in Japanese defence policy in 70 years - has sent shockwaves throughout the region. Japanese fears about China's growing military assertiveness are clearly behind the move, but so too are Japanese doubts about the strength its alliance with America at a time when the U.S. defence budget is shrinking and Washington is sending mixed and confusing signals to the region.

Mr. Shultz also once wisely remarked that "foreign policy starts with your neighbourhood."

This was the reason his first two trips as Ronald Reagan's newly appointed secretary of state were to Canada and Mexico, respectively. It was also the reason his boss paid as much attention to North American relations as he did, with those efforts culminating in the 1988 Canada-U.S. freetrade agreement and, subsequently, NAFTA.

Today, U.S. relations with Mexico are being overwhelmed by the humanitarian crisis at the border, a situation unlikely to improve any time soon. Relations with Canada look more like a weed patch than a garden on just about any issue, be it trade, energy, border management or joint infrastructure development.

Of course, you would never know it, given the sycophantic reportage by some members of the Canadian media. Those who have defended U.S. Ambassador Bruce Heyman's clumsy remark that the relationship is currently no worse than a new car with a scratch - or choose myopically to blame their own government - ignore crucial facts about Canada's national interests: Permission for the Keystone XL pipeline - now in its sixth year of deliberations - has been postponed yet again; the administration has failed to advance expenditures for U.S. customs facilities on the new WindsorDetroit bridge, the full cost of which Canada is already shouldering; protectionist label requirements on Canadian beef and tighter Buy America provisions are adding additional strains to cross-border trade. The list goes on.

Irritants aside, the real problem is that the Obama administration has shown little capacity for imagination and executive leadership during its six years in office to tap the extraordinary potential in NAFTA and the major dividends that would flow from much greater levels of cooperation among the "three amigos." A coherent negotiating strategy on trade using the highly integrated nature of its three economies as leverage would be to enormous mutual advantage in trade negotiations with Europe and Asia.

Using the weight of three democracies with the human capital of almost 500 million people and a continent rich in resources such as energy and agriculture, North America could be a global economic and political powerhouse. Just think how much better North America would be as a united force contending with 1.3 billion Chinese and with other major economies. Alas under Mr. Obama, NAFTA, the world's biggest and most successful trading bloc, has been sputtering and barely running on idle. Instead, America follows a "hub and spoke" strategy on the TransPacific Partnership to feather its own nest exclusively.

The malaise in North America is symptomatic of a broader diminution of America's global role and prestige. The President's approval ratings, notably on foreign policy, are at an all-time low. He is seen increasingly as disengaged on policy - foreign and domestic - and focused essentially on campaign fundraising while the world is becoming a more violent and dangerous place.

The need for a more resilient and confident America is stronger than ever but, without a firm political hand at the helm, the war-weary American public will prefer to avoid global engagement and demand attention to problems at home. That is all the more reason America needs friends to share the burdens of global leadership. But neglect by Washington, whether benign or worse, is not likely to encourage much more than a waiting game by America's closest allies and neighbours.

Derek H. Burney was Canada's ambassador to the U.S. from 1989 to 1993. He was directly involved in negotiating the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Fen Osler Hampson is a distinguished fellow and director of Global Security at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and Chancellor's Professor (on leave) at Carleton University. They are the authors of Brave New Canada: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World.

Associated Graphic

Revelations that U.S. operatives tapped the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is just one example of how U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has soured relationships with traditional allies.


Economic cross-currents buffet Ontario
Liberal government's ability to address loss of manufacturing jobs is severely tested by its need to address province's $289-billion debt
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A11

Ontario is under pressure to reinvent itself.

A decline of the high-productivity manufacturing sector and an economic power shift away from the United States mean the province cannot count on returning to the swift growth that has defined much of its history any time soon.

Its debt, meanwhile, creeps ever higher - at $289-billion, it is one of the largest of any subsovereign jurisdiction in the world - requiring more than $10-billion annually to service.

These are the twin problems Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa are grappling with in their budget, reintroduced this week after the Liberals trounced their opponents in the June election.

"Ontario is not going to be that rapid-growing a province over the next five or 10 years or maybe even longer. And if that is true, then even a moderate debt problem will become increasingly difficult to get rid of," said Don Drummond, the economic sage who two years ago mapped out a path for the province to balance its books. "Ontario is the quintessential example of an economy caught in the crosshairs of the shift in global growth."

That shift explains the Liberals' wildly split budget. While it pours new dollars into key areas, particularly public transit and business grants, it contains aggressive targets for spending restraint in others.

Ms. Wynne talks significantly more about the first half of this equation than the second.

Earlier this week, she toured the Toronto outpost of video game developer Ubisoft. The company is in the middle of a decade-long expansion of its local facilities, on the second floor of a former General Electric factory building, funded in part by $263-million of government money. Ms. Wynne wants to do more such deals. She is creating a $2.5-billion jobs and prosperity fund offering financial incentives to lure companies to Ontario.

"Our economy is evolving and it's very important that government work to facilitate that transition, facilitate that evolution," she said. "It will not look the same as 1976, but it will be a very bright future."

Those at the forefront of the province's economic shift welcome Queen's Park stepping in.

Communitech CEO Iain Klugman, whose organization helps technology companies in Waterloo Region, points to three key things the sector needs more of: infrastructure, including a light rail line in Kitchener-Waterloo and more frequent train service to and from Toronto; venture capital, which is often in short supply; and larger "anchor" companies to complement the cluster of startups in the area.

"We're at a tipping point right now. We've got the fundamentals in place. We've got talent that's on par with anywhere in the world. It's a couple of key missing pieces that could vault us," he said.

The downside to the province's transition is that not all jobs, or employers, provide an equal economic lift. Traditional manufacturing offered mass employment in a high-productivity sector. But as it declined - shrinking 9.3 per cent from 2002 to 2011 - the work that has replaced it does not always offer the same number of jobs or productivity levels. That's why the province's prospects for economic growth are modest for the foreseeable future, and why it must tackle the debt.

To that end, the government is promising to erase the province's $12.5-billion deficit in three years.

Mr. Sousa says he has taken action on 80 per cent of Mr. Drummond's 362 recommendations. The claim is difficult to verify: His office refuses to release an internal spreadsheet that shows which recommendations have been implemented and which rejected.

But Mr. Drummond says it is credible. Among other things, the province has successfully controlled health-care costs, including by curbing unnecessary diagnostic tests. It has also saved money by overhauling publicsector pension plans, obliging civil servants to pay more for their retirement benefits, and making them work longer before they can collect them.

He also points to several areas where the Liberals have made little progress. One is business subsidies. He contends many of the government's current grants and tax credits do not have their intended effect, and should be scrapped. Another is education, where the number of administrative jobs has ballooned in the past decade. Mr. Drummond suggested merging office functions and IT departments across the government.

Such steps, he acknowledges, will mean job losses. It's a thorny subject: Ms. Wynne won last month's election largely by campaigning against then-Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak's promise to axe 100,000 public-sector jobs.

"That's the interesting thing about the 100,000 job shed - that's probably going to result at any rate. Not as an explicit target, but you can't deliver the numbers that are behind the budget without having fewer civil servants," Mr. Drummond said. "Math is math."

All that said, the province's debt is less dire a problem than it is often portrayed, experts say.

The debt-to-GDP ratio is still manageable, at 39 per cent. Most importantly, bond traders and credit raters are confident Ontario has the ability to pay, thanks to a diversified economy and a large tax base.

"At the end of the day, it's the revenues that the province can generate that are going to repay the debt. And that's why the actual debt size is not necessarily a concern, it's the revenue that's behind it," said Michael Yake, Moody's lead analyst for Ontario.

The Liberal budget reflects this nuanced view of the problem - outlining tough targets for reining in spending while trying to preserve and increase the government's footprint in key areas.

"You can see it as 'lots of cuts' or 'lots of spending,' but it's really more of a reallocation of resources," said Mike Moffatt, an economist at the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ont. "Reasonable people can agree or disagree with the details of the plan, but the larger macro picture makes a great deal of sense."

Associated Graphic

Premier Kathleen Wynne swept to victory by campaigning against then-Tory leader Tim Hudak's promise to cut public sector jobs - now, she likely will have to do just that to get the province's finances in order.


Surf and turf
This jutting land mass is home to inventive sushi, fresh fish, a world-class aquarium and a sublime private road
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D6

The Monterey Peninsula is lumped like a barnacle onto the long hull of California's central coast. Located two hours south of San Francisco and five hours north of Los Angeles, the jutting land mass is home to America's greatest golf course, one of the world's best aquariums and an iconic 11-turn racetrack. Hop off Highway 1 to explore the sublime 17-Mile Drive, an inventive sushi bar and sharks. We know you wanted to see sharks.


Park at Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf and walk to the end of Wharf 2 - past rows of locals casting for sand dabs - to find the Monterey Fish Co. Operated by the Tringali family since 1941 (four years before John Steinbeck published his novel about Monterey's fishing industry, Cannery Row), the Monterey Fish Co. runs a retail shop at the end of this dock where boats come in bearing local spot prawns, squid, Dungeness crab and halibut. If you remembered to pack an empty cooler in the trunk, the guys behind the counter will scale and clean a beauty of a fish for you, and pack it on ice.


Beyond an unassuming storefront on Lighthouse Avenue, chef Tamotsu Suzuki executes wizardly moves at his sushi spot, Crystal Fish. Sit at the bar, order an Asahi draft, and ask Suzuki - the friendly guy in the black baseball cap - about the daily sashimi specials and anything else funky he's got going. (This spring he's experimenting with Japanese shiso mint that he grows in his home garden.) Crystal Fish's long list of inventive rolls is the highlight: The Golden California, a west-coast classic of avocado and crab that Suzuki tempura fries and drizzles with a sweet glaze, is immensely satisfying. The Cannery roll is even better: filled with spicy scallop and avocado, and topped with tuna slices and macadamia nuts.


Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Monterey Bay Aquarium lives at the far end of Cannery Row on the site of a former sardine cannery. It pumps in 8,000 litres of seawater every minute to host its 600-odd species of fish, turtles, kelp, otters, penguins and more.

You can watch divers in the massive Kelp Forest and Open Seas tanks conduct daily feedings, providing a square meal to such fish as the California barracuda and the Southern stingray, plus enough different sharks to cast the entirety of Discovery Channel's Shark Week. This spring, the aquarium opened its newest exhibit, Tentacles, which features octopuses, cuttlefish, nautiluses and squid - including the vampire squid, whose Latin name, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, literally translates as "vampire squid of hell."


From the wide-brimmed parkranger hats and polite-but-authoritative demeanour of the men collecting a $10 entry fee to access 17-Mile Drive, you'd think this was a National Park road.

But the peninsula's most stunning drive is actually a private toll road administered by the Pebble Beach Corporation. Still, it's worth shelling out a tenner to a group of superrich investors (including Arnold Palmer and Clint Eastwood) to follow the dotted red centre line of this immaculately maintained drive as it snakes along the rocky granite coast, past multimillion-dollar beach bungalows and some of the most beautiful golf courses in America: Spyglass Hill, Cypress Point, Poppy Hills and Pebble Beach. Most visitors enter and exit the loop road at the inland Highway 1 gate, but the choicest coastal segment runs nine miles from the Pacific Grove gate down the coast to the Carmel gate. If you remembered to grab some oysters from Monterey Fish Company and packed a shucker, too, stop off at Spanish Bay and snag a picnic table on the wind-swept beach.


Carmel-by-the-Sea is the same town that tried to ban hippies in the 1960s via a city ordinance against tree climbing and lawn sitting, and elected Clint Eastwood mayor in 1986. Haight-Ashbury it is not. So an olive-oil tasting bar certainly fits in with the image of a tony seaside enclave that believes it's too special for something as mundane as parking meters. But Trió Carmel is actually a rather pleasant and affordable place to taste and purchase a dozen different freshcrushed extra-virgin olive oils from around the world (including one producer, Belle Vue, from the Carmel Valley). Located on Dolores between Ocean and 7th - yes, Carmel also refuses to number its streets, which is really going to annoy your GPS navigator - the self-service tasting room also features several Monterey County wine producers. Try pairing one of the dozen-plus fused/ infused olive oils with a Modenamade balsamic vinegar: Gremolata oil with Serano honey balsamic, anyone?


If the rubbernecking Sunday drivers crawling along the peninsula are bumming you out, cross Highway 1 to head inland a couple of miles on the 68, where you'll find the speed limits increasing dramatically at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Built in 1957, the 2.24-mile, 11-turn circuit hosts the only Superbike World Championship race in the United States each July. The raceway is also available for private rentals, though that will cost you more than the $10 fee on 17-Mile. Your best strategy to experience Turn 2 (the Andretti Hairpin) and Turn 8 (the Corkscrew) first-hand is to attend the monthly evening bike rides. Camp at one of five different campgrounds inside the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, including several track-side locations. Imagine grilling that fresh-off-the-boat rockfish from Monterey Fish Company over the campfire as SBK bikes buzz across the asphalt just beyond the oak trees. A road trip, indeed.


Video A driver's paradise in the Kootenays

Associated Graphic

The par-4 14th hole at Cypress Point golf course.


The 30-year-old Monterey Bay Aquarium lives at the far end of Cannery Row.


There's a $10 entry fee to access 17-Mile Drive. It's worth it for the spectacular coastal segment.


Trió Carmel is great for fans of olive oil.


Loblaw, Empire shares seem fully valued
Competition from U.S. rivals means the very real possibility of eroding profit margins - and share prices - for Canada's major grocers
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B9

It was just over a year ago that the Canadian grocery landscape shifted dramatically with the announcement of two large deals: Sobeys Inc. acquiring Safeway's operations in Canada, and Loblaw Cos. Ltd. following with a deal to buy Shoppers Drug Mart Corp.

That came just a few months after I suggested a wave of M&A in the sector - and that investor excitement about the transactions could lead to gains for the grocers' shares in 2013. That prediction was dead-on, but the latter half of my forecast - that heavy competition in the grocery space would lead "the story to turn stale" in 2014 - hasn't yet materialized.

A big part of that has been the shocking incompetence of Target Corp. and its disastrous Canadian expansion. Rather than providing tough new competition for Canadian retailers, Target has created a money-sucking white elephant that some analysts say is easier scrapped than fixed.

That means that the major Canadian grocers have posted better results than some expected, and the share prices have followed. While none of the companies has returned to their merger-induced peaks of mid-2013, all have posted at least small gains, year-to-date. Loblaw, the largest, which reports its first full quarter of Shoppers Drug Mart ownership next week, is the big winner, having gained more than 17 per cent this year as its numbers have impressed.

It's possible more of the same is in store for the remainder of 2014.

But we'll stick to our original forecast: Competition from WalMart Stores Inc., and perhaps Target, means the very real possibility of eroding profit margins - and share prices - for Canada's major grocers over the long term.

As Target has amply demonstrated, Canada is not the United States. But our thesis is based on what happened south of the border as Wal-Mart and Target built out their network of grocery-selling stores.

A decade or so ago, U.S. grocery giants Kroger Co. and Safeway had EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margins of 7 per cent or more. In those 10 years, however, Wal-Mart tripled the number of its "super centres" to more than 3,000, and Target added more than 1,000 stores that had a full line of groceries. Kroger and Safeway now regularly post EBITDA margins below 5 per cent (and sometimes below 4 per cent).

The rising tide in U.S. markets has lifted Kroger's and Safeway's multiples above the levels seen in our first analysis in February 2013. But they have enterprise values - market capitalization plus net debt - of less than seven times EBITDA. The three major Canadian grocers' EV/EBITDA multiples all check in at 7.5 to 8.5, per Standard & Poor's Capital IQ. If their margins decline, their multiples will likely follow quickly.

Target's botched Canadian arrival in 2013 didn't send the legacy grocers' traffic of profit numbers into freefall - Loblaw, in particular, impressed with its combination of sales and margin results - and many investors concluded that competition wasn't dealing the grocers a crushing blow.

"It's easy when Target's messing up to say, 'We've done everything right, and improved our proposition, and customers are happy with us,'" says Morningstar analyst Ken Perkins, who covers Loblaw and Metro Inc. "So the market said: 'Maybe this is absorbable. Maybe it's not a big deal for these guys.'

"Mr. Perkins, however, fears it's a false sense of complacency, and he estimates both companies' fair values a few dollars below their current levels. "It's sort of out-ofsight, out-of-mind for the longterm perspective of what's going to happen in the next three to five years," he says.

But what if you don't believe that Canada will ever see the U.S. level of competition? Given what's happened so far, and how our original forecast is at least deferred, it's worth examining the views of those who see a path to profits for investors in the grocers' shares.

Analyst Irene Nattel at RBC Dominion Securities says 2013, with Target's entry and 39 former Zellers turning into Wal-Marts, saw Canadian grocery square footage grow 3.5 per cent, twice as fast as the historical norm. After the second half of this year, that number should normalize, "which should help ease pressure on the incumbents."

To Ms. Nattel, who has an "outperform" rating on Loblaw stock, one of the big stories at the retailer is the completion of its multiyear effort to modernize its information technology and supply chain. She believes it will create efficiency gains that will not only improve margins but also free up cash to invest in driving sales.

The acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart, she says, "should result in accelerated underlying earnings growth, enhance Loblaw's exposure to health and wellness, provide increased penetration to Loblaws in urban areas, and create an even larger gap relative to competitors in terms of both revenue and EBITDA," she says. Her target price is $55, versus Friday's close of $49.44.

Perry Caicco of CIBC upgraded Empire Co. Ltd., the parent of Sobeys and Canada's second-largest grocer, to "sector outperformer" in late June after its fourth-quarter earnings report and its decision to close about 50 stores in its newly expanded network. With EBITDA that beat Mr. Caicco's forecast, and the prospect of the worst-performing stores culled from the network (and reducing overall grocery industry square footage growth in 2014), Mr. Caicco added $2 to his price target, raising it to $82, versus Friday's close of $72.85. "As we have detailed in previous reports, 2015 looks like it could be a better year for the industry, and Sobeys' closure announcements make that more probable," he says.

It's understandable if investors agree, and decide to try to ride the grocers' gains further. But we warn, again, that this story has a limited shelf life.

Loblaw (L)

Close: $49.44, up 48¢

Empire: (EMP.A)

Close: $72.85, down 55¢

Associated Graphic

A Metro store in Mississauga: Canada's major grocery chains have posted better results than some expected.



'I don't like accusations of guilt'
Saturday, July 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F3

More than 30 years ago, James Lovelock proposed "the Gaia theory," which posits that Earth is a self-regulating organism, with life forms that manage the planet's chemical composition to sustain their own existence. This idea, together with his support for action against climate change, made him a darling of the environmental movement.

Today, though, the 94-year-old scientist and inventor is something of a contrarian, earning enemies for his support of nuclear power, his opposition to wind turbines and solar panels, and his disdain for so-called "greens."

His new book, A Rough Ride to the Future, introduces a new theory - that the invention of the Newcomen steam engine in 1712 triggered a phase of "accelerated evolution" - but also settles old scores.

You're regarded as an early alarm-ringer on climate change, but you've since said that some of your predictions, specifically in The Revenge of Gaia, were a bit alarmist. What's your stance now?

Not just me, but scientists generally, were in a state of alarm roundabout the turn of the 21st century.

We were carried away by the connection between the composition of the ice cores of Antarctica and the climate going back right through time, perhaps as long as a million years ago. It showed there was almost a direct, linear connection between the amount of carbon dioxide in the air and the average global temperature - and made all of us feel that, at long last, we could predict the future with a fair degree of confidence.

But we now live in a world which is quite different. Not only is carbon dioxide in the air, but aerosols, all sorts of things. The surface reflectivity is changing. Crop patterns change.

So we're no longer in a position to say that just because carbon dioxide rises by such and such an extent, therefore the temperature will rise likewise.

So you still regard climate change as a threat, you're just not sure to what degree of a threat it is.

Exactly. Or when it will be a real problem.

You also write that we shouldn't feel guilty about causing climate change because we didn't realize the effects that burning fossil fuels would have. But we've known for at least several decades. Don't you think we have to hold those responsible to account?

But who is responsible for it? I see all of us as responsible for it. I know it's fashionable to blame big business, the oil companies, coal companies and so on ... But it's you, me and everyone else who drives their cars to work, who burn fuel to keep warm in the winter. We're all in this, and most of the things we're doing, we have to do. We have no options.

But isn't there's a different kind of responsibility for those who directly profit off the continued use of fossil fuels?

I think this is more of a political argument than a scientific one, and I'm not at all happy with politics of any kind - above all, I don't like accusations of guilt. I think they're very suspicious.

Your portraits of environmentalists are pretty unflattering. What do you see as your relationship with the movement today?

Now greens are mainly urban, and their knowledge of the countryside and feeling for it is almost zero, and they imagine you can cover all the fields with solar panels and therefore you'll get your electricity without contaminating the atmosphere. I think this is very poor thinking.

You've become controversial for speaking out against some forms of renewable energy and for supporting nuclear power. How do you respond when environmentalists accuse you of advocating dangerous solutions?

I think nearly all of the arguments against nuclear energy are just false and highly political.

I would even wonder if they're corrupted in some way or another by rival energy producers, like coal or oil companies. I long for some investigative journalist to find out where all the antinuclear money comes from.

I asked representatives of the nuclear industry why they didn't have full-page advertisements about the safety of nuclear energy, because they have good evidence for it. And they said, "We'd love to, but we are really only a cottage industry and we don't have the money."

But there was a time when nuclear power was being used more, and it still is in places like France.

That's right, and then enormous propaganda began to downgrade it. I wouldn't say it was intentional at first, but things like The China Syndrome had an enormous influence. And then, lo and behold, a short time afterwards there was the real Three Mile Island accident. But what an accident! Nobody was killed. Nobody was even injured.

People were killed in Chernobyl. There were actual radiation-related illnesses and deaths.

But the actual number of deaths in Chernobyl was not all that high. It was about 75 total. [Estimates vary wildly about actual death rates.]

And all the nonsense about remote damage by radiation spread all over Europe has been proven to be totally untrue.

There was a recent bit of evidence that's quite fascinating: In the hottest parts of Chernobyl, the old reactor that they haven't been able to get near enough to examine, birds are nesting - and they've found that they are radiation-resistant. Evolution has taken care of the nuclear problem.

There has been evidence of adverse effects from radiation among birds, though, such as higher frequencies of tumours and abnormalities.

Chernobyl was a horrible thing, no doubt about that.

But it's a question of how you compare: What's the risk of powering your nation by nuclear power, compared with coal or oil? I think the case in favour of nuclear is enormously strong.

We seem to have forgotten Paracelsus's suggestion that the poison is the dose.

You can have a lot of radiation and it'll kill you, but a small amount will do nothing.

Drew Nelles is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

James Lovelock at his home in England.


Simons fashions itself into major anchor tenant
Department chain bursts out of Quebec into West and Ontario with store environments that offer a unique experience
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B7

La Maison Simons, which dates back to an 1840 dry-goods store founded by an entrepreneurial Scottish immigrant newly arrived in Quebec, took until 2012 to expand beyond its home province.

With annual sales of more than $300-million, the privately owned department store chain is now making up for lost time. In addition to eight stores in Quebec, Simons is expanding into other parts of Canada with as many as four more stores scheduled to open in the next three years.

At least one will be a new build while the others will be the result of costly renovations of pre-existing space. All the properties will place a premium on high-end retail design inclusive of innovative architecture, contemporary furnishings and commissioned art work by leading artists.

It's how president Peter Simons, a self-described art and architecture junkie, is looking to put his mark on Canada's rapidly changing retail landscape: stores as beautiful as their designer label clothing.

"We are in a period where physical stores are asking themselves what they can do differently from what the Web can offer, and I think that the response to that is grabbing people with an experience," he says from his Quebec City headquarters.

"There's no doubt that for us it's a question of our store environments. We feel that a quality environment is the first step."

Creating stylish retail environments is part of a plan to establish supremacy for his Made-in-Canada brand which carries a unique mix of home decor and men's and women's fashions.

The West Edmonton Mall, where Simons first landed after bursting out of la belle province two years ago, involved an extensive renovation. This included the construction of a new glass box extension to house a massive suspended crystalline installation piece by Canadian architect Philip Beesley which Mr. Simons insisted on having to make sure his new store had presence.

The Edmonton project cost Simons at least $40-million, considerably more than what the company had previously spent on expansions. The Ghermezian family, which owns Canada's largest mall, also invested about $10million in the store, pushing the project past the $50-million mark. Another $500,000 was spent on promotion.

"I think the building in Edmonton was an engineering and architectural feat that maybe went a little overboard," Mr. Simons says now. "It was more costly than it was initially set out to be but I'm not going to go home at night and regret that we tried to build something beautiful."

And yet the expenditure has paid off.

The privately-held firm has generated more than $600 of sales per square foot at the Edmonton store since opening on Halloween in 2012, outperforming the industry average, Mr. Simons says.

The success of Simons at the West Edmonton Mall has since prompted other mall owners to seek it as an anchor tenant at their properties.

On the horizon are new stores planned for Ottawa's Rideau Centre in 2016 in addition to one opening in the fall of 2015 in nearby Gatineau, Que.

Also noteworthy is the property being developed for Simons at Square One in Mississauga by Oxford Properties, a project scheduled to open in 2016.

There's also talk of Simons opening next in Toronto and Calgary, but where is still a guessing game.

In the meantime, the new Simons store at Park Royal Shopping Centre in West Vancouver is already under way with a planned opening for the fall of 2015 and a budget of $25-million.

The new 100,000-square-foot West Coast location will occupy the western end of the Park Royal Mall, formerly the site of a food store. Part of the mall will be torn down and rebuilt as a block housing Simons and other commercial retail tenants.

Toronto firm DesignStead is handling the retail design which will reference the art and culture of the Squamish Nation, a West Coast Salish tribe local to the area. Mr. Simons calls it "a unique architectural concept."

Unique is his favourite word when it comes to describing his stores.

"It's going to be about local textures and and weaving traditions," Mr. Simons says. "I like the idea of textile traditions being interpreted architecturally. I think that has some interest."

Simons chose the location because the mall's owner, Lorco Investments, Ltd., is family-run.

"I'm not dedicated to only family-run businesses, there are less and less of them, anyway," Mr. Simons says.

"But I think they're great partners because they're private enterprises. They're able to take a little bit more of a unique, not solely financial, look at the affair at hand. They're able to take some risks that they believe in without necessarily always having to justify [them] with the next quarter's return."

Maureen Atkinson, a senior partner with the Toronto branch of retail consultancy company, J.C. Williams Group, believes Mr. Simons is on to something. "

"If all people wanted to do was buy something, then the Internet is easier. So there's got to be an experience, and that's what he's talking about."

"I think he's a very smart retailer," Ms. Atkinson says. "But is the Internet killing off bricks-and-mortar retailers?

Chris Lund, chief executive officer of Perennial Design, a Toronto-based retail store design and strategy company, thinks not.

According to Statistics Canada, e-commerce accounts for less than 6 per cent of total Canadian retail sales. It's slightly higher in the United States at less than 9 per cent, he writes in a report published in the Strategy trade magazine: "The lion's share of Canadian retail sales, 94 per cent, is still done at traditional brickand-mortar locations ..." For savvy retailers, Mr. Lund concludes, "brick-and-mortar retail will continue to thrive and grow."

Mr. Simons is positioning himself as one of those savvy retailers.

"We're there for the long term, so we've got to try," he says. "We want to build a world-class Canadian brand and there are none left, really."

Associated Graphic

La Maison Simons spent more than $40-million in establishing its first store outside Quebec in the West Edmonton Mall.


Not content to coast on an impressive history, Zadar offers up some of Croatia's most novel ideas
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page T1

ZADAR, CROATIA -- 'My goal is to export," says Dubravko Vitlov, watching over a pot of bubbling cream. "I want to make more people happy," he adds with a boyish enthusiasm.

Vitlov is a master chocolatier here in Zadar, Croatia, and he's demonstrating his technique for a television crew shooting a story about high-end travel experiences.

Vitlov has already made his chocolate moulds using Belgian couverture chocolate worked on a slab of cold marble. Now he's fussing over the filling, flavouring the cream with cinnamon, vanilla, star anise, cardamom and - surprisingly - green pepper extract. It tastes ... exotic.

If Dubrovnik is the pearl of the Adriatic, then Zadar is surely the plum. Not only does it have more history than its famous sister city to the south - it's much older, founded 3,000 years ago - but Zadar also seems to be bursting with fresh flavours, new ideas and a youthful vigour.

No doubt I'm so enamoured partly because I arrive with the first flush of spring. Trees stagger under the weight of their blossoms.

A bride and groom step out of a church in the old city under a shower of rose petals. Locals lounge at outdoor cafés, enjoying lattes and gelatos in the sun while watching children play among the ruins of the old Roman forum. In winter, part of it is flooded and used as an outdoor skating rink.

Nothing like having your history and using it too.

And Zadar's history - or at least what's left of it - is impressive. Bombs dropped during the Second World War destroyed about 70 per cent of the city. More recently, the War of Independence inflicted damage. But the city is experienced at recovering from ruin; in the sixth century, a devastating earthquake toppled most of the Roman structures, leaving only fragments of columns. "Centuries later, they were dug out of the ground and used in new churches," our guide, Ivana Dundovic explains as we admire the Romanesque interior of St.

Anastasia's, the largest cathedral on the Dalmatian coast.

During the Renaissance, Zadar was capital of Dalmatia under the Republic of Venice. Tourism officials are hoping to have the city's Venetian walls declared a World Heritage Site, along with half a dozen of the city's oldest churches, the archbishop's palace dating from the fourth or fifth century, a Benedictine convent and the remains of a Roman temple.

Of these, the convent of St. Mary's is the most fascinating.

"It's the second oldest convent in the world," says Dundovic. Founded in 1066, it is today home to 25 to 30 world-savvy nuns who make their own liquor and "even own stock in a Croatian football team," she confides.

The convent houses the Gold and Silver of Zadar, a museum full of reliquaries from the eighth to the 18th centuries, many in the shape of finely wrought arms and hands. It's a little ghoulish to hear that these reliquaries actually contain body parts - the remains of saints. One, for instance, is said to contain the shoulder blade of St. Mark. When the nun leading our group bursts into song at the end of a rather sombre tour, I chalk it up to the local joie de vivre.

Zadar could easily coast on its history - it also has a museum of ancient glass, and an archaeological museum - but it doesn't. A few years ago, wanting to improve its pier for cruise-ship passengers, a local architect had the brilliant idea of installing organ-style pipes under the concrete steps leading down to the water. When waves hit the 35 pipes - all different sizes - air is pushed through, creating musical notes. The Sea Organ shared the European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2006.

Since then, solar panels have been installed to even greater effect. At night, the installation - called Greeting to the Sun - lights up under your feet, synchronized to music from the Sea Organ.

The city's food scene comes with the same streak of fun and creativity. One afternoon, we stop for coffee at Art Hotel Kalelarga and spot what appears to be a green cheesecake in a glass showcase. I'm guessing mint or lime, but fronds of asparagus decorate the top, along with big curls of chocolate. It is asparagus season - but in dessert?

"Lots of people were very skeptical about it at first," hotel receptionist Ivan Lalin tells me later, "but very quickly it became one of the most selling cakes in our hotel."

I have to give it a try. When I bite in, the filling is light but rich, suffused with olive oil, white chocolate and - yes - asparagus. It's a wild, bitter variety that grows only in Dalmatia and two small parts of Italy, according to Lalin.

Oddly enough, it works, adding a depth of flavour you don't expect - much like the city itself.

The writer was a guest of Tourism Croatia. It did not review or approve this article.


Croatian Airlines flies direct to Zadar from major European cities. WHAT TO SEE

Museum of Ancient Glass Considered the best collection of ancient glassware outside Italy, it includes delicate vessels that Roman women used to store perfumes and

Archaeological Museum On the doorstep of the old forum, this museum houses more than 100,000 artifacts including Roman statues and stelae. St. Donat Church This pre-Romanesque church is loved for its acoustics. A series of classical musical evenings is on until Aug. 14. WHERE TO STAY Hotel Bastion is built on the remains of a medieval fortress and offers 28 luxurious rooms. Rooms from 180 euros ($262) a night.

Art Hotel Kalelarga is a new hotel in the heart of the old town. From 150 a night.

Associated Graphic

St. Donat church, built in the 9th century, features extraordinary acoustics.


City officials are hoping to have the Venetian walls and several other historic structures declared a World Heritage Site.


The promenade's steps double as a musical instrument.


Much of Zadar was destroyed in the Second World War.


Alouettes-Bombers tilt could be battle of the backs
Grigsby, Whitaker are second and third in the league, respectively, in rushing and will take the field Friday
The Canadian Press
Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S5

Nic Grigsby has been quite a find for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound running back has played a big role in Winnipeg opening the season 2-0. Grigsby ran for 122 yards in the club's season-opening 45-21 win over the Toronto Argonauts before rushing for 67 yards and scoring three TDs as the Bombers rallied for a 36-28 victory over the expansion Ottawa Redblacks.

Grigsby is second in CFL rushing with 184 yards on 35 carries (5.3-yard average) and yards from scrimmage (251). Heady stuff for an off-season free agent who had bounced between football and baseball.

Grigsby rushed for 2,424 yards and 28 TDs over his college career at Arizona. After being undrafted by an NFL club, Grigsby had brief stints with Miami, Tampa Bay and Oakland before heading to Arizona Christian University to resume playing baseball as an outfielder and last fall spent time with the Minnesota Twins rookie squad before landing a tryout with the B.C. Lions.

Grigsby's speed has given new starter Drew Willy a valuable weapon as opposing defences must respect the Bombers' ground attack. Willy is second among CFL passers with 615 yards and also has four TDs against two interceptions.

Winnipeg leads the CFL in time of possession (33 minutes a game), first downs (512) and points (81). But Grigsby won't be the only standout runner on the field Friday when the Bombers visit the Montreal Alouettes (1-1).

Veteran Alouette Brandon Whitaker is third in rushing with 135 yards on 24 carries (5.6yard average) after two injuryplagued seasons. In 2011, Whitaker ran for a CFL-high 1,381 yards with four touchdowns while adding 72 catches for 638 yards and six TDs.

Whitaker has been a key part of Montreal's offensive attack this season. Former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith has completed 35 of 70 passes for 341 yards with no touchdowns and an interception as the Alouettes' starter.

After opening the season 18of-41 passing in a 29-8 loss to Calgary, Smith completed 17 of 29 attempts for 154 yards in a 24-9 victory over B.C. But if Montreal has an advantage, it's being at home as Winnipeg is on the road after going 2-0 at Investors Group Field against East Division competition.

And there's also the matter of Montreal's defence, which is allowing a league-low 19 points per game and recorded five sacks against B.C. - with John Bowman accounting for four.

The Alouettes will look to take advantage of an inexperienced starter on the road with his new club for the first time and if they put sustained pressure on Willy, that would diminish the impact of the Bombers' run game.

Winnipeg has surrendered six sacks this season.

Prediction: Montreal.


Edmonton (2-0) has some significant injuries to deal with. Canadian defensive lineman Don Oramasionwu suffered a season-ending knee injury in last week's 28-24 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. International offensive lineman Thaddeus Coleman is out indefinitely with a dislocated elbow.

The good news is receiver Fred Stamps resumed practising Wednesday. Stamps has seven catches for 114 yards and a TD after two games. Quarterback Mike Reilly has completed 68 per cent of his passes for 482 yards with four TDs against two interceptions while rushing for 55 yards on six carries. Veteran Henry Burris finished 17-of-30 passing for 241 yards and two TDs in Ottawa's debut in Winnipeg last week. Running back Chevon Walker ran for 62 yards and a TD on 15 carries and if the RedBlacks (0-1) can establish their ground game against Edmonton, it would give Burris easier short-and-short opportunities to convert. But worth considering is Edmonton has recorded a CFL-high 11 turnovers (seven interceptions, four fumble recoveries).

Prediction: Edmonton.


An impressive turnaround by Toronto (1-1), which dispatched the defending Grey Cup-champion Saskatchewan Roughriders 48-15 after a disappointing 45-21 season-opening loss in Winnipeg. Toronto's Ricky Ray effectively neutralized a Riders' defensive front that opened the season with 10 sacks against Hamilton by throwing underneath the coverage and allowing speedy receivers such as Chad Owens to make huge gains after the catch. Owens had 11 receptions for 159 yards and a TD and also returned six punts for 89 yards. The Argos' defence could be buoyed by the return of linebacker Shea Emry (concussion) and addition of veteran defensive back Dwight Anderson, acquired this week from Saskatchewan. Calgary's aggressive defence will present many of the same challenges the Riders did, so the expectation is Toronto will again look to take a lead and establish a balanced attack like it did versus the Riders.

Running back Jon Cornish (concussion) won't play but Calgary (1-0) comes off a bye week and youngster Bo Levi Mitchell was 16-of-25 passing for 313 yards and two TDs in the Stampeders' 29-8 season-opening win over Montreal on June 28.

Prediction: Toronto.


An unenviable situation for B.C. (0-2). Not only must they try to get their first win at Mosaic Stadium, but they'll face an ornery Riders team that was outmanned and outplayed in Toronto last weekend. It's hard to imagine a repeat performance from the Riders (1-1). The Lions have been their own worst enemy this year with nine giveaways - tied with Hamilton for most in the CFL - including a league-leading six interceptions.

B.C. has also surrendered nine sacks, second-most in the league. Unfortunately, the potent backfield tandem of Andrew Harris and Stefan Logan has struggled, averaging 3.5 and 3.9 yards per carry, respectively.

Kevin Glenn, replacing injured incumbent Travis Lulay (shoulder), has struggled in his two starts. The veteran quarterback has thrown for 410 yards with two TDs but has also surrendered six interceptions.

Prediction: Saskatchewan. Record: 3-5.

Associated Graphic

Bombers running back Nic Grigsby disputes an out-of-bounds call in the RedBlacks' end zone in last Thursday's game.


McIlroy soars with birdies galore
Boy Wonder posts second-successive six-under 66 to build a commanding four-shot lead at Royal Liverpool
The Associated Press
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S2

HOYLAKE, ENGLAND -- Rory McIlroy only saw birdies at Royal Liverpool, mostly on his scorecard, and even one pheasant that trotted across the eighth green as he was lining up a putt. That was but a minor interruption in his command performance Friday in the British Open.

Once he made a birdie, and then another, nothing could stop McIlroy.

Not another collapse in the second round. Not anyone in the field. And certainly not Tiger Woods.

After a bogey on his opening hole stirred memories of another "Black Friday," McIlroy looked more like the Boy Wonder who won two majors in a runaway.

With three birdies in his last four holes, he posted a secondstraight six-under 66 to build a four-shot lead over Dustin Johnson.

McIlroy spoke of an "inner peace," and the two secret words that triggered his powerful swing and set up birdie chances on just about every hole.

"People call it the zone, people call it whatever," he said. "It's just a state of mind where you think clearly. Everything seems to be on the right track. I've always said, whenever you play this well, you always wonder how you've played so badly before. And whenever you've played so badly, you always wonder how you play so well. I'm happy where my game is at the minute. And hopefully, I can just keep up the solid play for another couple of days."

Woods is fortunate to even play for two more days.

He started the second round only three shots behind. He finished it on the 18th hole, standing over a six-foot birdie putt just to avoid missing back-toback cuts for the first time in his career. Woods made the putt for a 77, matching his second-worst round as a pro in the British Open.

Woods hit driver five times - four more than he hit all week when he won at Royal Liverpool in 2006. None found the fairway.

Woods was 14 shots out of the lead and still thought he had a chance, referring to Paul Lawrie making up 10 shots in one round to win at Carnoustie in 1999.

That was against Jean van de Velde. This is Rory McIlroy, who has won both his majors by eight shots.

"Two 66s from Rory is a bit special, but he is just that - he is a bit special," Graeme McDowell said. "So he's going to be tough to catch this weekend if he keeps that up."

McIlroy was at 12-under 132 - the same 36-hole score of Woods in 2006.

Dustin Johnson birdied the last two holes for a 65, the low score of the week. That ordinarily would put him in the last group with McIlroy, except they will have company in a historic decision at golf's oldest championship. Because of a nasty storm approaching England, the Open will go to threesomes teeing off on both sides Saturday.

Francesco Molinari (70) will join them. He was part of a large group at six-under 138 that included Rickie Fowler (69), Sergio Garcia (70), Charl Schwartzel (67), Louis Oosthuizen (68) and Ryan Moore (68).

David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., is tied for 24th after shooting a 73, while Weyburn, Sask., native Graham DeLaet did not make the cut.

Johnson had a chance at the claret jug three years ago until a 2-iron that went out of bounds on the 14th hole at Royal St.

George's. He also lost a threeshot lead in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and missed out on a playoff at Whistling Straits for grounding his club in sand at the 2010 PGA Championship.

"I'm glad and I'm in the last group," Johnson said. "Just go out there and try to shoot a big number."

Four shots can be lost quickly in any major, especially in links golf, particularly in nasty weather. McIlroy followed up a recordtying 63 at St. Andrews in 2010 with an 80 the following day.

Even so, the ease with which he moved around Royal Liverpool was more frightening than any forecast.

McIlroy picked up his first birdie with two putts from across the green on the par-five fifth. But it was on the par-three sixth, when McIlroy deposited an 8-iron to seven feet for birdie, that he found that peace and put the pedal down on the rest of the field.

He ushered the pheasant off the eighth green, regrouped and holed a seven-foot birdie putt, chipped to tap-in range on the 10th and then kept giving himself chances on all but one hole until ending with three birdies.

McIlroy was in such a groove that with the wind at his back, he hit driver 396 yards on the 17th hole and pitched to eight feet.

It was only Friday - a fantastic one, not a freaky one - but the kid looked like he was going for a knockout.

"Once I got to seven [under], I felt like, 'Okay, this time I feel good. I can get to eight. I can get to eight, nine, 10, 11, 12.' "The 17th hole is where Woods fell apart. He started double bogey-bogey and made only pars the rest of the way until his tee shot on the 17th was about 100 yards short and 50 yards wider than McIlroy's drive.

Hanging his head, Woods was walking down the fairway when he was told it was out of bounds.

Back at the tee, he hooked that shot closer to the 16th fairway and made triple bogey.

A birdie enabled him to make the cut, a small consolation considering what McIlroy is doing.

"It's not a surprise. He's done this before," Woods said. "Once he gets going, he can make a lot of birdies and he plays pretty aggressively to begin with. And when he's going, he can get it going pretty good."

As for those two secret words that keep McIlroy locked into what he's doing?

"I'll tell you on Sunday, hopefully," he said.

Associated Graphic

Rory McIlroy had to usher a pheasant off the eighth green before holing a seven-foot birdie putt.


Kiev and Moscow trade blame after Thursday's catastrophe over eastern Ukraine, which saw a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, with 298 aboard, blown out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

Russia and Ukraine traded angry accusations of involvement after a Malaysia Airlines plane with 298 people on board crashed Thursday in a rebel-held area of eastern Ukraine.

The Boeing 777, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, U.S. officials said. The downing of the passenger jet dramatically raises the stakes and further drags the international community into eastern Ukraine's violent three-month-old rebellion.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said it was a "not an incident, not a catastrophe, but a terrorist act," and his government pointed the finger of blame at Russian-backed insurgents operating in the area of the crash.

Grisly video posted online from the crash site near the village of Grabovo, east of the city of Donetsk and slightly more than 40 kilometres from the Russian border, showed a wide area of scorched black earth covered in burned bodies and scattered personal belongings - laptops, holiday clothes and a Lonely Planet guide to the Indonesian islands of Bali and Lombok - as well as twisted remnants of the plane. Another video showed debris falling from the sky, suggesting a mid-air explosion. There were no reports of survivors.

At least one Canadian was among the dead, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a strongly worded statement Thursday. "While we do not yet know who is responsible for this attack, we continue to condemn Russia's military aggression and illegal occupation of Ukraine, which is at the root of the ongoing conflict in the region."

The pro-Russian rebels declared an independent People's Republic of Donetsk in May, sparking fighting that has killed more than 1,000 people. In recent weeks, the rebels have demonstrated they wield a new and sophisticated arsenal, including anti-aircraft weaponry.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said "no stone will be left unturned" in finding out what had happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, adding the plane made no distress call before the crash. "If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice," he said at a news conference.

The shock and scale of the tragedy will push the conflict in Ukraine - and the Kremlin's support for the rebels - back to the top of the international agenda. Tensions between Moscow and the West were already at their lowest point since the end of the Cold War following February's pro-Western revolution in Kiev, and Russia's subsequent annexation of Crimea and support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The United Nations Security Council announced it would hold an emergency session Friday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the United States announced a fresh round of sanctions intended to punish Moscow for supplying the rebellion in the provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk with fighters and weaponry. On Thursday, President Barack Obama warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that there would be "continued costs and isolation" unless the Russian side took steps to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine.

A White House readout of the call ended with Mr. Putin mentioning to Mr. Obama that reports were coming in of a downed passenger plane near the UkraineRussia border.

In televised remarks to his national security team, Mr. Putin said responsibility for the disaster lay with Kiev, and specifically Mr. Poroshenko's decision to restart military operations against the rebels earlier this month after a brief ceasefire.

"This tragedy would not have happened, if there had been peace on that land, or in any case if military operations in southeastern Ukraine had not been renewed," Mr. Putin said. "And without doubt the government of the territory on which it happened bears responsibility for this frightening tragedy."

Russian media quoted separatist leaders saying they were willing to agree to a two- or three-day truce to allow for an investigation into the fate of flight MH17. The Interfax news agency reported that the rebels had already recovered the plane's black box, which would hold crucial information about its final few moments.

Questions were immediately raised about why passenger airlines were flying over eastern Ukraine at all given the intensity of the conflict and the increasing targeting of military aircraft in the area. Eurocontrol - the central authority governing European air traffic - said the airspace had been closed below 9,750 metres due to the risks posed by the fighting on the ground, but that MH17 had been flying at an authorized altitude, more than 10,000 metres above Donetsk. Following the crash, Eurocontrol announced a complete shutdown of eastern Ukraine's airspace to commercial traffic.

Aleksandr Borodai, one of the leaders of the Donetsk People's Republic, said the Ukrainian military was behind the shooting down of MH17 and that rebels had no weapons capable of hitting a plane flying at 10,000 metres.

However, the rebels told Russian media last month that they had seized control of an anti-aircraft base in eastern Ukraine containing Soviet-era Buk mobile surface-to-air missile systems capable of firing missiles with a range of 25 kilometres. The batteries require specialized training to operate, target and accurately fire.

Videos posted by local residents on YouTube showed a Buk system moving in the rebel-held town of Snizhne on Thursday, some 20 kilometres from Grabovo, where wreckage from flight MH17 was eventually found.

The head of Ukraine's SBU intelligence service said an intercepted phone call proved Russian military officers were involved in the shooting down of MH17. In the recording, which was posted online, one man - speaking in Russian and identified by the SBU as a separatist fighter - tells a man identified as a Russian military officer that the rebels had shot down a plane, believed at the time to be an Antonov-26 transport. In a later call, a different voice describes finding "civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper" at the crash site, as well as documents belonging to an Indonesian student.

Follow me on Twitter:@markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

Debris from a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 lies scattered on the ground near the Ukrainian village of Grabovo, about 40 kilometres from the Russian border, on Thursday.


No roads lead to this 'world apart'
To reach architect-designed Georgian Bay mainland cottage, you must take a boat (or skate in the frozen winter months)
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G6


Asking price: $3.295-million

Agents: Paul Crammond and Sheila Waengler (Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.)

Taxes: $18,200 (which includes two adjoining vacant parcels, for sale separately) .

The back story

The craggy point at the end of the Tadenac Peninsula was vacant land owned by the privately held Tadenac Fishing Club when the late James McCutcheon purchased it in the 1970s.

Mr. McCutcheon was a lawyer who asked his former University of Toronto fraternity brother, architect Peter Warren, to design a cottage for his family in a remote location dubbed "A World Apart."

Following his studies at U of T, Mr. Warren had gone on to earn a master of architecture degree at Yale University and then started his career at the Torontobased Parkin Partnership. There he was part of a team that worked on the Art Gallery of Ontario and Bell Trinity Square.

When he wasn't working on cultural landmarks and corporate edifices, Mr. Warren sometimes designed cottages and country houses for family and friends.

"It was an interesting kind of process," says Mr. Warren, explaining that the zoning requirements were quite restrictive on Georgian Bay. They brought in local builder Leonard Roi for the job.

They chose a site that took advantage of the rock formation and the outlook, then set about designing a cottage that wouldn't appear too obtrusive.

"We wanted to make it look as comfortable as possible on the rock."

The modern building had cedar shingles that weathered gradually to blend into the surroundings.

Over time, one cottage expanded into a family compound.

Mr. Warren designed an addition to the main cottage that virtually created a second residence. It was allowed under the zoning rules because the two parts had a continuous roofline.

"As long as you're connected by a roof, it's still one building."

Mr. Warren recalls spending a lot of time to make a smooth transition between the two parts. When it came to designing the boathouse and other building's, Mr. McCutcheon insisted that all of the rooflines be the same.

"We had some fun with it," says the architect.

The property is on the mainland but feels more like an island because there's no road leading to it, says real estate agent Paul Crammond of Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd. To reach the cottage, residents and their guests drive to King Bay Marina at the end of Twelve Mile Bay Road. From there, it takes about five minutes of calm boating to reach the property.

"It's a really protected boat ride," says Mr. Crammond, adding that it's also a good place to land a float plane.

Mr. Crammond, who is based in the town of Port Carling in Muskoka, says that, although Georgian Bay and Muskoka are not a great distance apart geographically, they have quite different cultures. Cottages tend to be much farther apart in the Georgian Bay area, and navigating the 30,000 Islands by boat is far more challenging.

"I think that people on the Bay don't think that Muskokans are real cottagers," he observes.

The cottage today

The cottage sits on a 12-acre property with 1,200 feet of contoured shoreline. There's a small, curving sandy beach and lots of sloping rock that provides gentle access to the water.

"They love all the waterfront activities that kids can do safely," Mr. Crammond says.

There's a dry-dock boathouse and a dock for several boats.

The modern cottage is built of British Columbia cedar with wall-to-wall expanses of windows. The roof lines are kept low so that the cottage blends into the terrain.

"It doesn't tower over the land," Mr. Crammond says.

"When you look at it from the boat, it looks as if it's part of the land."

The main cottage provides 3,400 square feet of living space centred around a combined living and dining room with high ceilings, clerestory windows and a stone fireplace. A separate kitchen opens to a large screened porch.

A master-bedroom suite and four other bedrooms provide lots of sleeping accommodations. A family room behind the kitchen gives kids an indoor place to gather for games or to watch movies.

The main cottage is winterized, Mr. Crammond says, which means family members can walk across the ice from the marina when they want to visit during the winter.

The self-contained guest wing attached to the main cottage has two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchenette and living area.

There's also a two-bedroom guest cottage. An enclosed pavilion can be used for large family gatherings or it can serve as a gym and yoga studio on rainy days.

From the shore, Mr. Crammond points toward two uninhabited "picnic islands" of flat rock which shelter the dock from western winds and also provide more tranquil spots from which to watch the sunset.

"They take a flotilla with kayaks and canoes," Mr. Crammond says of the McCutcheon family.

Farther out, the American Camp Islands are owned by the charitable Georgian Bay Land Trust. "The neat thing about those picnic islands is you can look right over them," he says.

"They don't block your view but they sure block the waves."

Behind the property, land is privately held by the members of the Tadenac Fishing Club.

Besides the main property, the two vacant adjoining parcels are also offered for sale by the family.

The best feature

Mr. Crammond says the secluded setting of the cottage makes it particularly private.

"You see boats going by but they're not coming 20 feet off your dock. They can't."

In some cottage areas, people drive to the golf course or head into town for shopping. On Georgian Bay, the natural landscape is the draw.

"It's traditional cottaging," says Mr. Crammond. "You and your family and your neighbours create your own entertainment."

Associated Graphic

he 12-acre property has 1,200 feet of contoured shoreline with sloping rock plus a dock and boathouse.


The cottage is built of British Columbia cedar with wall-to-wall windows. The roof lines were kept low so that it blends into the terrain.

Summer League: The other Wiggins waits for his shot
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

LAS VEGAS -- In Las Vegas this week, at the 11-day basketball convention that is NBA Summer League, there are two categories of players: the anointed, the ones who have been hyped for a long while and were chosen near the top of the NBA draft; and the rest, players ranging from from lower draft picks and undrafted rookies to young men who have a couple years of experience on the fringes of pro hoops.

The latter group is the reason Summer League features an odd sort of basketball in which players, in a happy chaos, chuck up shots to rack up stats, hoping to catch the notice of one of the many scouts and NBA executives milling about. Summer League, for most, does not lead directly to the NBA.

But if shots fall, they can help players land spots in the Development League, or on a team somewhere in Europe, and maybe another shot at next year's Summer League, and maybe - maybe - a seat on an NBA bench.

There are also two Wigginses here in Vegas this week.

One, of course, is Andrew Wiggins, who's in that fortunate first group.

Now 19, he achieved his predicted destiny last month as the No. 1 pick in the draft.

He hasn't played particularly well so far - hitting barely a third of his shots in his first two games - but it hardly matters.

He's shown flashes and he's working on elements of his game, such as taking the ball hard to the hoop. The results of a week in cooking-hot Vegas in July will not alter his path to the starting lineup of the Cleveland Cavaliers on opening night of the NBA season.

The other Wiggins is 23-yearold Nick. He's in the unfortunate group - he's here on the 16player roster of the Sacramento Kings thanks to the weight of powerhouse agency BDA Sports behind him, whose client list includes Nick's younger brother.

The first couple days of Summer League have been a painful grind for Nick Wiggins, watching all of the first two Kings games from the team's bench.

There are a bunch of players the Kings really want to see play in the positions Nick would fit.

So he watches, and waits for his shot.

Late Sunday afternoon, after the Kings defeat the Charlotte Hornets 72-65, Nick sits in a folding chair in the makeshift locker room behind the stands at the cozy Cox Pavilion, answering questions for a small group of Canadian reporters. Vice Sports, filming a Web series about the promising cohort of young Canadian players, wants to know: How does it feel to be like Brent Gretzky? To be the other Wiggins?

Nick Wiggins is two inches shorter than his ballyhooed brother, and a little slower.

The fractions of ability that separate the NBA from the D-League or Europe seem small, but they may as well be a chasm, often unbridgeable, as in all elite sports. The rung below the pinnacle is a long way down.

The hardest thing for Nick, by Sunday, is that he hadn't had any playing time, hadn't got to put up his shots, hadn't had the chance to catch one scout's eye.

"It's definitely tough, you know," he says, his voice even but his eyes far away. It would be no fun for anyone to answer such questions after a day at work, where you sat there but had nothing to do. It is especially not fun for a 23-year-old chasing a boyhood dream. "I wish I could be out there. I feel like I have the talent and the ability to be out there playing with those guys.

But I just got to wait on my turn."

So from the sidelines, Nick watches. He studies the speed of the pro game, how refs call the game, how physical you can be.

"And just waiting on my opportunity," he says.

Unlike Andrew, Nick has never had a rapid ascent in basketball. He played junior college after high school before landing at Division I Wichita State, where as a senior he was a role player coming off the bench - scoring an average of 5.1 points a game on a team that earned one of the No. 1 seeds going into the 2014 NCAA tournament.

"I've never been a player to take that big leap," said Nick. "I always took stepping stones."

Success now will be measured by landing a pro deal, maybe somewhere in Europe.

There is no chance with the Kings. Sacramento coach Mike Malone is diplomatic.

"Nick Wiggins is in a tough spot," Malone says, because there are better players ahead of him.

"He's just got to remain patient and wait for his opportunity."

Nick isn't bitter about the gifts possessed by his kid brother. Not at all, not at all," he says. "Seeing him do so well is a positive motivation - I'm very happy for him. He deserves everything. Worked very hard for it."

He stands up to depart. He has a diamond-studded hoop in one ear. He's a positive person and fights to remain so. He's usually a more effusive personality, but this week is not easy. "I know it's going to take time," he says. "I'm willing to keep pushing." He walks out of the gym. An hour later he tweets: "The harder the road the more beautiful the journey!"

On Monday afternoon, an opportunity comes. A tiny one. At the end of a game that is already settled, with two minutes left, Nick is subbed in. He runs the floor with energy, and he gets his chance. The ball is kicked out to him in the corner, but he bobbles it, and the defender takes it down the floor for a basket. Wiggins grinds on until the game ends. His scoreline is a long list of zeros, save for that one turnover. He'll need another chance.

Associated Graphic

Wichita State's Nick Wiggins, centre, during an NCAA game in March, has long played in the shadow of his younger brother Andrew.


How competition has failed us
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B14

A Bigger Prize By Margaret Heffernan (Doubleday Canada, 391 pages, $32.95)

One of the prevailing beliefs of capitalist business is that competition is a vital, energizing force. Indeed, that belief seems integral to the modern, Western world. Survival of the fittest, Darwin's description of nature, is applied widely.

That occurs despite the warning signals in recent years - the ethical corrosion, financial crashes and the overheated rhetoric of our aimless partisan politics. "Competition has become the default motivator, as though, exhausted and demoralized, no culture or politics could offer a superior driver or decisive alternative," Margaret Heffernan writes in her insightful dissection of competition and call for collaboration, A Bigger Prize. Ms. Heffernan has had a varied career, including stints at the BBC, running a trade association and serving as chief executive officer of multimedia companies. She knows capitalism and competition from the inside - she isn't throwing potshots from some radical, anarchist cult. But she is convinced that our culture is caught up in a testosterone-fuelled feedback loop: "We've been persuaded that if we aren't top dog we must be underdogs, if we aren't winners we're losers. What's striking in its absence is any equivalent urging to hone our collaborative gifts. We know they're in there - we just don't make much effort to refine them. Opting to compete rather than to collaborate is a choice, however, not an evolutionary inevitability, and a choice that incurs high costs, not just for our family relationships but for friendships, organizations, institutions and the world that we create."

That's quite a canvas of collateral damage, but she tackles it all in this wide-ranging book.

She starts with education, where many North American parents prod their children to be competitive and mourn that schools aren't as tough as in the past.

She points to research by psychologists Teresa Amabile and Beth Hennessey that concluded there are five ways education can kill creativity: Having children work for an expected reward, telling pupils to focus on an expected evaluation, deploying lots of surveillance, setting up restricted choices and creating competitive situations.

"These practices all typify the education systems and policies we currently deploy. We say we want motivated, creative students - but we opt for methods and structures known to undermine both," she writes.

We all know the rebuttal to her, however. It's a competitive world, and if our youngsters can't match the students of other countries, notably Asia, our society will lose out. But what about the competition? She takes readers to a school in Singapore that is trying to nurture creativity and collaboration - an experiment the country's minister of education says is being eagerly watched since the country needs more of what that school seeks to instill in students and we are eager to jettison.

She travelled to Finland, which finished first in reading, third in science, and fourth in math in the definitive Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings. Finnish students don't take regular standardized tests until they are 18 and, while they get written assessments, don't receive grades.

"We can make competition out of anything - for fun. But we just don't think it's the way to inspire a love of learning. We focused on equity and co-operation instead of choice and competition," says Pasi Sahlberg, the last chief inspector of schools - back in the early 1990s - and now a consultant. Remember, these kids aren't losers, as our rhetoric would claim. They are doing better than Canadian students.

She says that in business, competition has given us clone wars.

Supposedly, competition stirs us to be creative. But as all those look-alike TV shows, movies and fast-food franchises show, competition tends to lead entrepreneurs to copy others. It's much safer that way. We even see me too prescription drugs. But she says the bigger problem in pharmaceuticals is that competitive fervour keeps research data secret, reducing the ability of societies to build upon the knowledge scientists have gained.

She looks at the financial crisis, where competition among banks led to the subprime mortgage debacle, encouraging homeowners to load up on debt they could not afford. One chief credit officer at a bank told her: "There was no way on earth that we could hire, let alone retain, a single good salesperson if we weren't prepared to let them sell subprime. They stood to make huge commissions off of these deals." She adds: "Classic economic theory turned out to be wrong: A competitive market had not diversified risk but concentrated it. Competition hadn't produced variety but rather had encouraged everyone to do the same thing. When the market crashed, there were no safe havens left."

Competition, of course, has led businesses to ignore the external costs of their operations that society has to pay, notably, but not exclusively, damage to the environment. Competition has led us to supersize everything, which is not always the healthy thing to do - even in organizational structure, where more manageable sizes are preferred.

It has also encouraged a race to the bottom, seeking lower-cost goods, pushing down our own wages and creating social problems elsewhere.

She goes on and on, not just listing the damages she ascribes to competition, but also indicating why the alternative, collaboration, is preferred. It's sobering reading, well researched and illuminating in its examples and scope.


Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove, who created the Thinkers50 global ranking of management gurus, bring together some of that wisdom in Future Thinkers (McGrawHill, 208 pages, $23.95) and Business Thought Leaders from India (McGraw-Hill, 174 pages $23.95).

Consultant Brendan Reid offers vital career strategies he says aren't taught in business school in Stealing the Corner Office (Career Press, 221 pages, $18.50).

Lead Me Out to the Ballgame (Major League Press, 265 pages, $21.75) by academics Howard Fero and Rebecca Herman offers stories and strategies from the diamond to develop your leadership.

Associated Graphic

Margaret Heffernan argues that during the financial crisis, competition among banks led to the subprime mortgage debacle.


Boyhood: Beautiful or horrific, depending on how you look at it
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R1

Life is just as spectacular as it is in the movies, but only very occasionally, and then mostly in hindsight. That's enough to make the rest of it worth living, and it's enough to inspire a body of work, but the long process of waiting for meaning to accumulate rarely makes for exciting drama. The work of American filmmaker Richard Linklater is an exception. The long trail of fleeting moments is a theme in his movies, which somehow collapse the difference between art as it makes life seem and life as it mostly is. Romantic moments come wrapped in the mundane, which his eye redeems.

Boyhood is Linklater's latest and most ambitious project: a movie shot in increments over 12 years, during which a young boy, Mason (played by the eerily gifted Ellar Coltrane), becomes a young adult. We also chart the growth of his older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, Richard's daughter), and his parents (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette), who separate before the movie begins: Hawke, the "fun dad," slowly becomes responsible, while Arquette goes back to school and grapples with single motherhood.

The movie is an experience of the life cycle in under three hours, and its concept is its story: The project is remarkable, but the plot isn't meant to be. Even when important things happen, time moves on at a steady side scroll, as it does in life. Boyhood is as moving as you've heard it is. It's also horrific, depending on how you look at it, because the life cycle is all there is, as far as we know, and it derives meaning only from itself. Considering this stirs up either a sense of grace or desperation. In one of the film's most affecting scenes, Arquette breaks down as she watches her son pack for college. "I just thought there would be more," she says.

In an earlier scene, Mason asks his father whether there's any real magic in the world. Hawke hedges, making a case for the magic of the non-magical, before conceding that no, technically the world contains no elves. Watching Mason grow up, watching Coltrane grow up, means reliving certain foundational disappointments, and relearning lessons you've forgotten or never quite internalized. (I still haven't wrapped my head around the fact that the adult world isn't static - it feels like a sweater that I failed to grow into.)

But the harshest toke is the cumulative effect of the movie itself. You expect life to have texture, moments and pauses as significant as they're made out to be before "real life" starts (another misconception of youth - continuing into adulthood - being that life starts and stops at points other than birth and death). But big moments only blow up in memory; you might have had a hunch at the time, but ideally you didn't, because the more aware you are of how precious the moment is, the more aware you are of its passing forever.

Meaningful things don't happen; they haunt.

Boyhood has most in common with Linklater's Before trilogy, which advances in real time: A 23-year-old American, Jesse (Hawke), meets a French woman, Céline (Julie Delpy), on a train, and the two decide spontaneously to spend a night together in Vienna (Before Sunrise). They reconnect in Paris after nine years, over the course of which Jesse has written a novel about the experience (Before Sunset); and, nine years after that, deal with the trials of marriage and family life (Before Midnight). Like Boyhood, it's a risky concept, one that only Linklater could pull off: He's an excellent listener, with a tenderness for life and a retractable ego, capable of stepping back and letting his movies grow around the people in them. As a result, his work is mostly unhampered by his generational biases: Before Sunrise holds up despite the neobeatnik romanticism characteristic of Generation X but unfashionable now (hungry, middle-class twentysomethings don't backpack through Europe any more; they do internships).

Mason's formative experiences are no less familiar for being mediated by the Internet, or less profound for taking place to the sound of Daft Punk.

The Before trilogy succeeds because Linklater deals in universals, and because it feels true: There really is ecstasy in this life, followed by heartache, followed by tedium, which Linklater doesn't ignore. The series is as much about the irritation and banality that form the substance of a relationship as it is the occasional bliss that inspires one. True romance, as with anything else, is a cycle rather than a grand narrative: Before Midnight, the final instalment of a great love story, is essentially about a lover's spat, which is ultimately, touchingly, resolved.

Boyhood is similarly low key. There are no splashy boybecomes-man moments, and in the end, Mason does nothing more incredible than graduate from high school and leave for college. His mother's relationships - particularly one with an abusive, drunken professor - are sometimes harrowing, but the film moves past them apace; his dad starts a new family, but everyone pretty much accepts this and gets along. These don't feel like plot points so much as things that happen in sequence and culminate in a spectacle of living.

Two things make Boyhood difficult to analyze. One is that it's so completely an experience; the second is that, if you think too hard about that experience, it becomes the awful truth: All of everything leads nowhere except back to the beginning.

The same problems arise in new guises, the same lessons are learned and forgotten, kids grow up and (in the sequel, maybe) make new kids. To accept this is, of course, grace. The real world isn't magic, but the consolation, as Hawke's character tries to express, is that the mind is elastic, and internal worlds are infinite. There's no point, but the lesson is that we don't really need one.

Associated Graphic

Ethan Hawke stars in Boyhood, a film that has most in common with filmmaker Richard Linklater's Before trilogy.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Canadians look to end 60-year winless drought on home soil
The Canadian Press
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S4

MONTREAL -- It was at Royal Montreal 60 years ago that Pat Fletcher won the Canadian Open.

No other Canadian has won his national open golf tournament since then, but the PGA Tour event is back at the tree-lined course that played host to the 2007 Presidents Cup.

Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet and David Hearn are among the 19 home-grown players looking to end the losing run.

"It's hard to believe it's been 60 years," Weir said Wednesday after playing only nine holes of a rain soaked pro-am event. "We have more capable players in the field now and I think we're going to see it going forward.

"It's going to end at some point, so hopefully, if not myself, it's another Canadian that gets it done this week. It would be nice to get the streak over so we don't have to talk about it any more."

Winning the Canadian Open has never been more accessible thanks to a less-than-desirable date - just after the British Open, which ended with Rory McIlroy's impressive victory on Sunday at Royal Liverpool.

Most top golfers don't want to play the week after the British, although the Canadian Open helps those who do by laying on a charter flight to get them in early to readjust to the eastern time zone.

Only eight of the top 50 players on the Tour's FedEx Cup standings are in the field, although they include third-place Dustin Johnson and fourth-place Matt Kuchar.

McIlroy is not there. Neither are 2000 Canadian Open champion Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson.

But thanks to RBC's sponsorship of Tour regulars - Kuchar, last year's winner at Glen Abbey Brandt Snedeker, two-time champion Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald and others - and the presence of nine past champions, there is at least a competitive field.

For Weir, an eight-time Tour winner, winning at home would be a dream.

"This is my 24th Canadian Open, so I've been at it a long time," the 44-year-old Weir said.

"But ever time you come back it's special.

"It was the first professional event I watched live as a kid. I still remember doing a junior clinic with Andy Bean and Tom Kite and being one of the kids on the range that got to walk up there and get close to those guys.

That really spurred my interest in professional golf."

A strong showing would boost Weir's chances of making the FedEx Cup playoffs. He is 128th with four weeks left in the playoff race and needs to get into the top 125.

It is also a special event for Hunter Mahan.

The American was the 36-hole leader of last year's Canadian Open when he got the call that his wife was about to give birth to their first child, a girl. Mahan immediately withdrew to fly home to Dallas to attend the birth.

Snedeker fired a 63 in the third round and held on to win.

"It's one of those things you talk about with golfers, what if you were in the lead and you had to go home on Saturday or Sunday," Mahan said. "It's one of those crazy things you talk about and discuss with your family or your wife, but most of the time, it never happens.

"It's kind of neat that we have the video of it all happening and then the newspaper clippings and all that, so it will be a fun story to show her and tell her about how she entered the world." Snekeder said he was on the seventh hole at Glen Abbey when he saw Mahan's name come off the leaderboard.

"I started putting two and two together," he said. "I was playing a great round of golf. It was a fortunate break for myself. Hunter was playing great. He would have been a tough guy to catch over the weekend.

"I did follow through and we made sure we sent a couple of nice gifts to the Mahans for baby Zoe. It's something we'll probably both remember the rest of our lives."

Mahan said he was happy to be back in Canada, especially at Royal Montreal, where he and Furyk were part of a U.S. squad that thrashed Weir and the International team. Returning internationals include Els, Vijay Singh, K.J. Choi, Geoff Ogilvie and Stuart Appleby.

The Bodog gambling site has Johnson, Furyk and Kuchar as the betting favourites at 12 to 1, with DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., as the eighth favourite at 25 to 1.

DeLaet's pro career may have been saved by a victory on the Canadian Tour in 2008 at StRaphaël, a short drive from Royal Montreal. Now he hopes to get a PGA Tour title in the same neck of the woods.

"My game feels a lot closer [to top form] than it probably looks," said DeLaet, currently 31st in FedEx Cup standings. "You always know deep down when you're playing well, and hopefully I can just clean that up a little and this can be the breakout week."

Furyk, who won in 2006 and 2007, is coming off a 65 on Sunday to finish fourth in the British Open, but now has to play on a different continent and a very different course.

While Royal Montreal is often called "traditional," Furyk said that only fits the tees and the fairways. The recently redone greens he considers modern and those could be a key factor once play begins.

With heavy rain on Wednesday, the course will be soft and scores may be low.

"What this golf course requires of you is the dead opposite of what you'd see in links golf," said Furyk. "And the rain is going to spread the gap even farther."

Associated Graphic

Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., tees off during a pro-am event at the Royal Montreal Golf Club on Wednesday. Weir will be competing in his 24th Canadian Open this week.


The soul of soccer now resides in Germany
Monday, July 14, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1


Fourteen years ago, German soccer reached its nadir.

It finished bottom of its group at Euro 2000, prompting a national bout of garment-rending.

That prompted a top-to-bottom rebuild of the country's sporting infrastructure. It was, more importantly, a complete reimagining of what German soccer meant.

In the past, the team had relied on size and mental strength to overcome finesse sides. In the years since, it has switched its onus to skills and suppleness.

Quite literally, if you are a child who plays soccer with any aspiration in Germany, you will find yourself weighed and measured by the powers that be.

The results are out there on the pitch in yet another golden generation and, for the fourth time in its history, a world championship.

Its remarkable 120-minute, 1-0 victory over Argentina on Sunday evening was the closing of a circle.

Germany's past and present met in a classic final that cements its place as the world's finest footballing country.

Supporters of Brazil will take issue with that statement. And, yes, this is still the romantic home of the game.

But its soul migrated on Sunday night at the Maracana. Brazil has the history and the swagger. Germany has the will and the consistency.

It is the side that can play any way against any opposition, and find the jiu-jitsu to turn your best qualities against you. It has an adaptability that is unique in the game.

It had floated through this tournament in high style. More Brazil than Brazil, and never moreso than when it humiliated the host in their semi-final.

Five days later, it had transformed itself into a team of open-field battlers. In the extratime period, Argentina repeatedly went for the legs of Germany's midfield fulcrum, Bastian Schweinsteiger. He spent what felt like 20 cumulative minutes trying to get up. The last of those challenges left him bleeding copiously after a mid-air face wash. You can put away the war metaphors. What made his reaction special was that he had none. He simply continued on in that irrepressible way we quite rightly think of as definitively German. They don't respond to challenges. They rise to them.

Over two hours, it was a game of intense brutality. In the first seconds, Argentina's Marcos Rojo came streaking horizontally across midfield to deliver a flying hip-check to Germany's leading scorer, Thomas Mueller. That set a tone so low, only dogs could hear it.

What followed were an aching series of gruesome tackles. Christoph Kramer was seemingly knocked unconscious by an Ezequiel Garay shoulder. Manuel Neuer came charging out of his net and kneed Gonzalo Higuain in the head at full speed. The first wasn't called a foul. The second was - against Higuain.

You couldn't blame Argentina. This was its only winning strategy. Though it fields the best player in the world, the skill level gets thinner than mountain air after Lionel Messi. It hoped to unsettle the Germans.

Instead, it recalled for the Argentines another way Germany used to win - by meeting force with the amplification of the same.

This wasn't simply a scrap.

That would've been unwatchable. Instead, it was an attritional battle occasionally leavened by wild aspiration.

Argentina had its chances. No country takes its soccer more seriously (though many are tied for that lead). And so Argentines will ache for a generation over the breakaway that Higuain shot wide early and another that Rodrigo Palacio dinked over the net late.

Germany had almost nothing in that regard. It controlled play, but it rarely came to anything at the other end. It was 0-0 after regulation, and the fifteen minutes that followed.

Then, the main chance. Andre Schuerrle diving in off the wing in the 113th minute. Substitute Mario Goetze finding space between the Argentine defence, but coming in at an impossible angle. Goetze took Schuerrle's pass off his chest, and then stretched at full length to toepoke into the corner. Goetze is right-footed. He took the shot with his left.

Goetze is only 22, one of the post-2000 generation. He has a long and likely laurelled career still ahead of him. But with that wonder goal, he wrote the first line of his obituary.

It ended in perfect metaphor.

Messi had a free kick from distance, but within his considerable range. The Maracana crowd was frothing in the long seconds as he set up. Messi's pre-kick routine is to paw flat-handed against his temples, as if ridding himself of negative thoughts. It's never seemed so fraught.

He approached, and skied it over the bar. That was his legacy going awry. Poor Messi. Later, he was deservedly named the player of the tournament. He's still one of the best ever. But he will never rid himself of that "one of" now.

Afterward, the predictable emotions. The Germans eventually worked their way into the stands to accept their trophy.

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter appeared to forget that it wasn't his to hand over. At the last moment, he turned to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was lurking behind him unhappily. She gave the statue to German captain Philipp Lahm with a look so studiedly neutral, she must've practised it.

Perhaps she understood that what she was surrendering wasn't just a holy object. It was a bequest. Germany came to Brazil and stole its throne while all 200 million in the host country watched. This wasn't a coronation, but a coup.

The Germans are the kings of this sport now, and for the forseeable future.

Follow me on Twitter:@cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

Germany's Mario Goetze shoots the lone goal past Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero during the World Cup final at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.


Argentina's Lionel Messi, right, walks over the pitch as teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi hugs Javier Mascherano after losing their World Cup final to Germany 1-0 in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.


As coffins arrive in the Netherlands carrying victims of Flight MH17, Mark MacKinnon looks at who is condemning Russia and, more importantly, who isn't - especially emerging powers like China and Brazil
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

In Kiev, Brussels, Washington and Ottawa, the response to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was angry and almost unanimous: The evidence was seen as clearly pointing at Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, which means Moscow itself was at least partly to blame.

But while Western powers like to refer to the "international community" when mustering a case they believe in, such solidarity doesn't really exist. Among Russia's allies - most crucially, its fellow members of the BRICS club of emerging powers (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) - the initial response to the tragedy was silence, followed by increasing skepticism of the evidence presented by the U.S. and Ukrainian governments.

That means Russia - even as Western governments move to punish the Kremlin for its continued support of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic by escalating economic sanctions - will still have an escape valve for its economy. As markets in the West close, Moscow can turn east and south, a process under way since March, when the first Western sanctions were implemented in response to Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

The media commentary in China, in particular, has been in step with the Kremlin's own statements - criticizing the West for judging Russia too quickly and without enough proof. Beijing has echoed Moscow's calls for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and an "objective" probe into what happened.

The official Xinhua newswire printed - unchallenged - the Russian military's claim that it had detected a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet flying near the Malaysian passenger plane shortly before the explosion that brought Flight MH17 down.

"The Western rush to judge Russia is not based on evidence or logic. Russia had no motive to bring down MH17; doing so would only narrow its political and moral space to operate in the Ukrainian crisis. The tragedy has no political benefit for Ukrainian [pro-Russian] rebel forces, either," read an editorial this week in Global Times, a newspaper affiliated with the ruling Communist Party of China. The paper called for the downing of Flight 17 to be investigated "without preconditions or preconceptions."

And it's not just China, although Beijing's status as the world's second superpower gives it special clout. There have been only messages of condolence, and no condemnations of Russian President Vladimir Putin, from leaders of Brazil, India and South Africa following the plane crash.

"First, it should be established what really happened," Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said. "The Brazilian government will give no assessments until the circumstances are clear."

Even the European Union - where most of the 298 dead on board Flight MH17 were from - seems reticent to go as far as the United States and Canada in new sanctions against Russia. The 28nation bloc said Tuesday it would impose an arms embargo on Russia and financial restrictions on Russian firms, but the details of those proposals were still to be worked out amid squabbling over who should bear the brunt of the pain while confronting the Kremlin.

Britain criticized France for going ahead with the planned sale of two advanced warships to Russia, while France retorted that Britain should concern itself first with the Russian oligarchs living in London. The business lobbies in Germany, Italy and Cyprus are also loudly opposed to any new sanctions.

"The U.S. is saying 'All the international community is with us,' but even the Europeans aren't really with us," said Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, a New York-based consulting firm that analyzes political risk.

Mr. Bremmer added that while Mr. Putin has been facing intense pressure from the West since the crash, the Kremlin's strategic situation hasn't been significantly altered. Many of the sanctions the West has announced since last week were likely coming anyway. Meanwhile, the battle for control of Ukraine - with Russia seeking, through its proxies, to weaken the central government and force it to give up its ambitions to join the EU and NATO - still rages with no compromise in sight.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian army said it had made gains around the separatist capital of Donetsk, with the pro-Russian rebels withdrawing from the outskirts to positions in the city centre.

Mr. Bremmer called the downing of Flight MH17 an "accelerant" to the Ukraine crisis, rather than a turning point. "You would think that the downing of an airplane with 300 people on it, most of which are from Europe, would have an enormous impact on the way the world views this crisis, but the fact is, it really doesn't."

China and Russia - despite a long history of enmity - have been pushed toward a closer alliance in recent years by their shared feeling of American military containment. Both governments also see a string of recent popular uprisings, such as the one that toppled the Moscowbacked government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine earlier this year, as sponsored and encouraged by the United States, feeding paranoia that Washington could try and stir up unrest in Beijing or Moscow.

There are also economic benefits to being one of Russia's few friends right now. As the EU frets over how to reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas, China has happily become a larger consumer, signing a 30-year deal in May to buy Russian gas amid suggestions that Western sanctions helped Beijing get a better deal from Moscow.

Two days before the crash, Mr. Putin and the other BRICS leaders were in Rio de Janeiro to announce the establishment of a BRICS-backed New Development Bank, with $50-billion (U.S.) in initial capitalization, as well as a $100-billion currency reserve fund. Those developments are an enormous challenge to the Western-dominated economic order of the past 70 years, and more important to the participating governments than placing blame over a downed passenger plane.

Follow me on Twitter:@markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

Hearses carry victims of Flight MH17 on their way to be identified by forensic experts. The bodies arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday, where they were met by King Willem-Alexander and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in a ceremony.


Forget me, forget me not
Saturday, July 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F9

Earlier this year, the European Union Court of Justice ruled that Google and other search engines can be ordered to alter the results of online queries in order to protect a new right: "the right to be forgotten."

A Spanish man, Mario Costeja Gonzalez, had complained that his past kept following him around. Sixteen years earlier, his home had been foreclosed on and auctioned off. Sixteen years earlier, a newspaper story had mentioned those facts. Sixteen years later, the news still showed up on Google when one searched for Mr. Costeja. According to Europe's highest court, his rights were infringed by the easy searchability of that information. It ordered Google to protect his right to be forgotten, by writing that old news out of its Internet searches. And it ruled that Mr. Costeja, and all future Mr. Costejas, had a right to be free from search results that produce information about them that is "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive."

What happened next is no surprise. After the court's decision, all hell broke loose. All sorts of people are now coming to Google, asking for part of their history to be forgotten. Google says that, since May, it has received over 70,000 "take-down" requests, covering 250,000 Web pages. Those numbers will surely grow, and apply to other search engines. The precedent is unprecedented. Search engines are in the business of finding information. Should they also be forced to lose it?

The right to privacy is one of the most fundamental rights in a liberal society. It has long involved the right to live a private life without interference, preventing others and especially the state from prying too deeply into one's personal affairs. It is also a guarantee that the state will keep confidential certain information to which the police or other authorities may need to have access, but which no one else should know. There are also long-standing laws against libel and slander: You can't go around spreading defamatory falsehoods.

But the European court is taking notions of privacy and protection of reputation, and stretching them in a new and untenable way. The case that sparked those 70,000-and-counting take-down demands isn't about a right to be protected from defamatory falsehoods. The story about Mr. Costeja that the court ordered Google to un-find was true, and it was news. But in Europe at least, the court has created a right to demand that search engines lose such information. It has also got Europe's judges into the impossible business of determining when something that was newsworthy ceases to be.

The European court has not, however, ordered newspapers to disappear old news stories. That would violate freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It has instead simply decided that search engines aren't entitled to the same protections as journalists - and can therefore be ordered to disappear search results that might find those old news stories.

That makes the new rules less than comprehensive, which is a good thing. But it also makes the principle behind them even harder to understand, much less justify. It's like admitting that ordering the removal of certain books from the library would be a violation of freedom of speech - while simultaneously ordering the scrubbing of those same books from the library's card catalogue. The books are still on the shelves. They're just really hard to find.

The European court's decision was wrong - but it was right to wonder and worry about how the Internet age is changing the nature of privacy. Once upon a time, there was no need to talk about a right to be forgotten: It was a thing that just happened. No court intervention was required. Forgetting and being forgotten, getting lost, being undocumented and unknown was a fact of life for most of human history. It was also a fate that could to some extent be chosen: People could, for example, come to the New World to make a clean break and a new start, leaving the past behind, along with old identities, names, misdeeds and mishaps.

That is mostly no longer possible. From credit records to tax rolls, from news databases to social media fingerprints, the amount of information available on each of us is greater than it has ever been. The question is what should be public, and what should remain private.

It might not be so difficult to come up with answers - if we stick with the principles that have long served Canadians: freedom of speech and the press, protections against libellous speech, and a deep body of privacy law. Part of that last principle are rules covering what private corporations and especially government can do with your personal information, and whom they can share it with. Governments keep all kinds of records on people; you can't run a modern state - a legal system, a tax system, drivers' licences and so on - without them. Those databases are necessary - but so are broad restrictions on who has access, and how they are used.

Consider police databases. The police need to have comprehensive info not only on people with criminal records, but people who have had contact with the police, including mental health incidents.

Where it can get problematic is how police use this information - and whom they share it with. The increasing use of police checks by employers, voluntary organizations and other branches of government often pushes beyond the bounds of reasonableness and privacy.

A police database contains things that police may need, but which a wider audience shouldn't necessarily have easy access to, such as mental health records.

Because Canadians have no choice but to give reams of private, personal information to government, they should be able to expect that information will be kept confidential. They should expect the same of information given to private organizations: banks, credit card companies and so on. But when it comes to public, legal and newsworthy information? To be forgotten may sometimes be a wish. We don't see how it can be a right.

Penalty shootout packs a punch, Argentina advances
Netherlands The Dutch made no mistakes, but took no chances in regulation, only to gamble and lose on penalty kicks. What was the coach thinking?
Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1


The Dutch do not have a style. They have a desire. No country has ever got so close to the World Cup title and fallen short so consistently. Those failures have corrupted its soccer soul. It doesn't know who it is any more. The results of that psychic tension showed here.

In the 1978 final, with less than a minute remaining in regulation against Argentina, the Dutch were an empty net and a struck post from the world championship. At the time, it seemed unfair. That team was one of the most unreasonably positive in the history of the game. Since then, it's begun to seem like a sort of justice.

Over four decades, Dutch teams have been, by turns, groundbreaking, aspirational, heedless, bullying and - this time around - suicidally cautious.

The Dutch came to Sao Paulo on Wednesday not really intending to play Argentina. Instead, they hoped to bleed them over 120 minutes of grim, error-free football. They made no mistakes, because they took no chances.

They gambled on the crapshoot of penalties and rolled sevens. Four days ago, they subbed in goalkeeper Tim Krul and beat Costa Rica in similar fashion. The move seemed inspired then. On Wednesday, they were out of substitutions by the end of the game, and that now seemed like carelessness.

Instead, their undersized regular 'keeper, Jasper Cillessen, was overwhelmed by Argentina. He should've saved at least two. It was over by the time the South Americans had completed only four rounds. Argentina moves on.

On Tuesday, Brazil loses 7-1. On Wednesday, its bitter rival books passage to a World Cup final at the Maracana. There are no games on Thursday, but if the current trend continues, Brazil should expect biblical plagues.

Perhaps there are a few in the tactics gang who enjoyed watching this 0-0 chess match on grass (if, occasionally, the opponents rose from opposite sides of the table and walked around to give each other a good, hard kick). Not a single one of those could be Dutch.

This was soccer brinksmanship. It wasn't 22 players playing.

In the first half, the Netherlands' two remarkable forwards - Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben - had fewer touches of the ball than Argentina's goalkeeper.

This was was two coaches coaching.

Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella had nothing at his disposal aside from Lionel Messi, who was blanketed and buffeted throughout. Drawing the game out was his only choice.

But what was Dutch coach Louis van Gaal thinking?

He's been as big a star here as any player. But over the course of a month, his constant fiddling eventually amounted to gross interference.

In its first game, the Netherlands routed Spain 5-1. That was a hallelujah moment. It should have been a mission statement.

Instead, it was a tactical feint.

From that point on, the Dutch began disappearing inside themselves - scoring three, two, two, zero, and then zero again. Zero is not a sustainable number.

Nonetheless, van Gaal was sold as a savant. His decision to insert Krul into the quarter-final penalties was the bold stroke of a genius.

His ego has always been healthy. After being hired to his first head-coaching job, he began his introductory press conference with, "Congratulations on signing the best manager in the world." He meant it.

He's been saying it ever since at a succession of top clubs, never pausing to wonder why he's always wearing out his welcome.

The cracks are inevitable in any van Gaal team, and too often at the crucial moment. In his postgame presser, he said two of his players refused to take the first penalty. He declined to name them, calling it "a humiliating question." Humiliating for whom?

As it ended in tears - another World Cup opportunity squandered - one's mind wandered back to a snippet from the autobiography of a more ambitious genius, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He and van Gaal worked together briefly at Ajax. It didn't go well.

"Van Gaal liked to talk about playing systems," Ibrahimovic sniffed. "He was one of those in the club who referred to the players as numbers. There was a lot of five goes here and six goes there, and I was glad when I could avoid him."

There was the inevitable divorce. Ibrahimovic went elsewhere and became one of the best players alive. His final judgment on the coach: "a pompous ass." Van Gaal stuck with his numbers.

Calling penalties "the most terrible scenario," he seemed to round back on himself on Wednesday night.

"It's simply a matter of luck and we did not lose today," van Gaal shrugged. Well, half right.

What he managed to do here was show so much caution, it amounted to wild risk-taking.

That's some trick.

This was the failure of a single ego, rather than that of a team.

Van Gaal convinced himself that he could think his way through the problem of Argentina. He forgot to include a crucial variable - that he doesn't get to play.

If the Dutchman has a twinned opposite in soccer history, it's the Irishman Brian Clough.

Clough also won European championships and titles as a manager. He also came up from nothing. He was also a supreme egoist. But he never confused the drawing board with the field of play.

"Players lose you games, not tactics," Clough once said.

"There's so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes."

In the end, van Gaal ended up rolling dice with himself. It would be easier to forgive if he'd been playing with his own money, instead of using Dutch pride as his currency.

Follow me on Twitter:@cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

Ron Vlaar of the Netherlands misses a penalty shot against Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero during their World Cup semi-final on Wednesday. Argentina won 4-2 on penalty kicks to advance to Sunday's final against Germany.


Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero saves the third penalty shot from Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands.


Saturday, July 12, 2014


A Thursday Sports story on the World Cup incorrectly said Brian Clough is an Irishman. In fact, he was born in England.

The birds and the bees (and the chemicals)
Are neonics the new DDT? Fortunately, nature is resilient - but don't get me started about Monarch butterflies
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F2

Last year, my husband's honeybees - the ones he keeps with friends of his - ran into trouble.

Only one hive survived the winter. The Bee Boyz, as they call themselves, were devastated.

They wondered if they'd made some fatal amateur mistake. But far more experienced apiarists were almost wiped out too. One of our neighbours lost 200 out of 230 hives.

By then, everyone had heard of colony collapse disorder. Bees were dying everywhere - but why? There were lots of theories, but fewer facts. Some bees, the ones trucked up and down the United States to pollinate almonds and other commercial crops, seemed to be dying of overwork. Some people blamed the blood-sucking varroa mite. There was also a new culprit with an unpronounceable name: a new class of insecticide known as neonicotinoids. Neonics, as they're also known, are supposed to be much safer and more effective than the older ones.

All through last summer, everyone swapped speculation with the neighbours about what was ailing the bees. A lot of people blamed neonics. My husband wasn't sure. "Bees are very complex organisms," he said. Last fall, for the first time since the Bee Boyz had been together, there was no honey harvest.

Since then, I've learned that there are few things more political than bees. The great bee dieoff has provoked shouting matches between beekeepers and farmers, between environmental groups and agribusinesses, and among scientists on all sides who call each other's research flawed and pathetic.

The media have fuelled the panic with stories about "Beemageddon" and "a crisis point for crops." Environmental advocacy groups have leaped to the conclusion that if bees are dying, people must be to blame. The Guardian newspaper, a bastion of left-wing eco-thought in Britain, refers to neonics as "killer nerve agents."

More than 330,000 people have signed a British petition demanding that the insecticide be banned. The European Commission, always nervous about the supposed perils of GMO crops and other suspicious frankentechnology, slapped a two-year ban on neonics. The Sierra Club, the David Suzuki Foundation and other environmental groups want Canada to ban them, too.

But others aren't so sure. The U.S. Agriculture Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, Britain's environmental agency and many scientists maintain that neonics rank very low on the list of bee-killing bad guys. They say the biggest problem is the blood-sucking bee mite. Top bee researcher May Berenbaum, of the University of Illinois, told Associated Press that she was "extremely dubious" that a ban on neonics would have any effect on bee health.

Canada, meanwhile, has been waffling. The federal government's Pest Management Regulatory Agency has blamed neonics for recent bee deaths in Ontario and Quebec. It says extreme weather conditions caused the dust from newly planted corn fields to waft onto nearby foraging bees, and has mandated new measures to control the problem. This precaution has not mollified the activists, who warn that neonics are a new DDT in the making.

The Beemageddon story line has another problem.

In spite of some unusually high local die-offs, the overall bee population doesn't actually seem to be falling. The United States has more honeybee colonies than it did in 2006, when colony collapse disorder struck hard. In Canada, the number of bee colonies fell a bit between 2012 and 2013, but was still way up from what it was in 2009. The same goes for honey production. Go figure. And in Western Canada, where most of the honey comes from canola and most of the canola is treated with neonics, the bees are fine.

The bees aren't the only insects causing panic these days. Monarch butterflies are endangered too, and their population decline is clearly real. As usual, there seem to be a bunch of reasons, ranging from habitat loss to severe weather conditions. But everyone agrees that the main reason is their loss of food supply: milkweed. Milkweed is where the monarchs lay their eggs, and it's the only food that monarch larvae eat. In the past few years, milkweed has been all but eradicated along their migratory path to Mexico.

What happened? Well, here's the ironic part. Millions of acres of former conservation land across the U.S Midwest were plowed under to grow herbicide-resistant corn for ethanol, which by law must be added to gasoline. Ethanol prices have tripled, and the ethanol lobby is now one of the strongest in America. So much for protecting the environment.

Fortunately, nature is resilient.

Even Chip Taylor, the ecologist who founded Monarch Watch, doesn't think the butterflies will disappear entirely. Schemes are afoot to replant some of the milkweed that's been destroyed. And if there is any justice, the stupidly misguided and vastly destructive ethanol program will be killed.

Whatever the truth turns out to be about neonics, there's no doubt that some new technologies do real harm to the environment. Yet I'm optimistic that we can find a balance - even if we don't always get it right the first time. When DDT was first used in North America, it killed a lot of bird life. But then we learned.

Used properly, it's a lifesaver. And the birds came back.

A few weeks ago, the bee inspector came around and took a look at the Bee Boyz's lone remaining hive. He pronounced it healthy.

So the Boyz started up again with a Queen and a small posse of attendants. The new hives have grown amazingly fast, and things are really buzzing. Every week or two, they get together in their bee suits down by the honey shack, and dream of glory at the Royal Winter Fair, just like the old days.

And there's lots of milkweed in our meadow this year. I just saw a monarch a couple of days ago. Maybe there's hope.

Associated Graphic

The media have fuelled the panic with stories about 'Beemageddon' and a 'crisis point for crops.'


Skateboard maker ready to set new wheels in motion
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B4

Each week, we seek expert advice to help a small or medium-sized business overcome a key issue.

Ted Hunter isn't a skateboarder. The 62-year-old furnituredesign professor at Toronto's OCAD University would rather rip an ocean wave on his windsurfing board. But his innovative woodworking technique - called "pinching" - could change the shape of the skateboard and furniture industries.

Not bad, considering the discovery came out of a bet. "I was on a forum talking about building skateboards and somebody says, 'Laminated skateboards are basically all the same. They're really boring. Everybody knows how they're built,'" Mr. Hunter recalls. "I said on the forum, 'I bet I can come up with a laminated board that you can't figure out how I built.'"

So he got to work. A year later he found a way to "pinch" layers of wood veneer to make them ripple like the surface of the ocean, all while strengthening the product and still preserving the flat, rideable side of the board. The conventional process requires inserting pieces of veneer to create contours.

"I built a number of boards and posted them on the forum and not one person could figure out how I did it," Mr. Hunter says.

But now, four years since he patented the pinch process in Canada and the United States, Mr. Hunter has some figuring out to do on his own: What should be done with the process he created? "We've just sat on it. We want to make the right move."

Mr. Hunter has been teaching for 23 years and working with skateboards since 2002, when he and his wife, Norah Jackson, launched the Roarockit Skateboard Co. in Toronto. The fiveemployee company produces DIY skateboard-making kits using another wood-shaping process created and patented by Mr. Hunter.

Roarockit makes about $500,000 a year in revenue from an average of 100 customers a month. Among them are independent builders ordering online from all over the world and participants in an after-school mentorship program.

As for his "pinch" method, "We know it's a good idea but I don't really think we want to start manufacturing - we don't have a lot of cash." Mr. Hunter and his wife have toyed with the idea of licensing the process to manufacturers of skateboards, furniture and housewares. The process could be used to add designs to the back of a chair, for instance - a swirl or a fleur-de-lis. But they are overwhelmed by the thought of building out a new enterprise.

"We're not sales people and we're not really business people," Mr. Hunter says. "The problem with [licensing] is we have none of those contacts, and both Norah and I aren't great at walking in a door and saying, 'Hey, here's what we've got, you should be using that.'"

The pair also worry that explaining their idea to potential licensees could result in the method being stolen. "I'm 62 and the last thing I want to do for my 20 years left on this earth is be involved in litigation," Mr. Hunter says. "With Roarockit we feel as if we're giving something back to society, and we don't want to change that."

The experts How can Roarockit best capitalize on its pinch technology?

Knud Jensen Professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Toronto

In terms of practicality, if a manufacturer were making furniture in the U.S. one has to wonder whether it would be worthwhile to send stuff up here to get it pinched and then send it back down. If Mr. Hunter wants volume and large scale then it would seem impractical to do this. Eventually he would have to scale up in order to make this worthwhile. He'd have to raise funds and set up marketing and everything else. I don't see any way other than licensing.

Steve Copeland Founder and consultant at the product development firm Humanscope Inc., Barrie, Ont.

One of the first things I tell inventors with great ideas is to do a one-page business plan outlining how this is going to get to market. In retirement age does he really want to start a business?

Not likely. Licensing is the way to go. On the one-pager he should explain the advantages of what he has developed and which companies could benefit from it.

Would it save them money? Would it give them a new market? He needs to understand who they are and what their goals are.

As for not being a salesman, we never see ourselves as one but we all are. He's got a passion for making stuff out of wood, and he's found a unique way to do it so - that's his sales pitch.

Kevin Mako President of the product development firm Mako Invent, Toronto

A strategic partnership could be a good way to go - whether it's a company like ours or a company that is in a product-specific industry like skateboards or furniture, or even one that works with wood materials that could really utilize and enhance the technology. He could find potential partners, sign a non-disclosure agreement with them to protect his intellectual property and have confidential discussions with very targeted partners in industries that could really utilize the technology or specific projects built using the technology. These connections could be colleagues who know certain key industry people, or found by poking around online.

If your company could use expert help, please contact us at

Interviews have been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

Ted Hunter, founder of Roarockit Skateboard Co. with his wife, Norah Jackson, below, came up with a new way to shape wood veneer, visible on the board at far right. But he isn't sure what to do with his patented method, which could be used on furniture and other products made of wood.



Brazil excels at celebrating a chance to celebrate
This Cup was different because the people hosting the party refused to let it flag: Brazilians kept smiling long after they had good reason to stop caring
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1


Thirty-two days is a long time to maintain a consistently high level of excitement.

Five weeks after the Rapture, people will be stepping over the open pits leading down to hell and wondering, "When does Game of Thrones start again?"

On Day 3 or 4 here, there was a small media-centre stampede after Brazilian great Roberto Carlos was spotted lining up to get an espresso at the cafeteria. Chairs flung aside. At least one table knocked over. Screaming and elbowing. This was the march up to Golgotha, minus the dignity.

By Day 32, Ruud van Nistelrooy - maybe the best striker on Earth 10 years ago - was wandering around a breakfast buffet at the Copacabana Marriott, trying to find a Styrofoam cup for his coffee. Nobody bothered looking up.

Wait staff ignored him. He stood there in affable bewilderment for a long, long time before a hostess streaked by and threw a stack of cups at him.

Yes, it was getting awfully late in the day.

The atmosphere doesn't build at a World Cup. It slowly bleeds away. By the end, the hosts just want everyone to leave so they can take a crack at cleaning up the dishes before going to bed.

All the guests just want to loll around on couches, hoping to sober up before facing the inevitable catastrophe awaiting them at the airport.

That's what made this one different. The people throwing the party refused to let it flag. Brazilians kept their smiles long after they had good reason to stop caring.

I learned a lot of Portuguese before coming here. By "a lot," I mean five words - all of them derivations of "beer."

There's no point preparing for this sort of road trip. You show up with some cash and throw yourself at the mercy of fate.

"Beer" failed me again and again. I couldn't master the inflection at the end of cerveja. I mean, cerveja. How bad can you mangle that? Well, I managed.

Like most everyone in the world who isn't Canadian or American, Brazilians have a frustratingly tin ear for anyone who attempts to speak their language poorly.

Also, they call draft beer chopp. That didn't work either. We couldn't help ourselves but order by miming Bruce Lee splitting cabbage. This meant nothing to Brazilian waiters, who regarded us as if we were having a co-ordinated seizure.

There were many of these small (and large) failures of communication. In one case, trying to be conversational, one Canadian media member inquired after a cabbie's girlfriend. He drove us to a strip joint. In another, they X-rayed our bags whilst leaving a stadium, apparently because someone had stolen a bottle of whisky. Billions of dollars are theoretical. Twelve-year-old scotch is not.

These many wrong turns sparked a motto: It was the right thing to do, but it was a total failure.

There were many total failures. Inevitably, you spent a lot of time lost and confused.

But it always pulled short of true disaster. They shoot down helicopters here, but through some miracle, I remain in body whole. That's down to Brazilians - shopkeepers, cab drivers, stadium volunteers and random passersby would not allow me to get myself killed.

In each case, as you wandered toward the edge, someone got hold of you and pulled you back. These people would just materialize, Virgil-like, to guide you.

They would sidle up, concerned, and say something in Portuguese. You stood there, gaping. They talked s-l-o-w-e-r and LOUDER. Eventually, they're an inch from your nose and screaming at you like you're an especially stupid donkey. It isn't taking.

Finally, frustrated, they take hold of your arm and march you toward the place you're supposed to be. For a month, Brazilians were the parents and we were their children.

There was only one proper way to respond to all this rough helpfulness - a thumbs up. That one gesture (not properly complete without a slight dangle of the pinky) solves all problems here. You could walk up to a Brazilian, stab him in the leg with a sharpened spoon, flash a thumbs up and he'd invite you to live in his house.

On that last day, Brazil was at its absolute best. They were in the majority at the Maracana, as they had been at every game, everywhere. They absorbed the taunts of the Argentine supporters with more good humour than the occasion called for.

Though their songbook is large, Argentina's supporters couldn't help themselves. Again and again, they went back to their new favourite, Decime Brasil.

"Brazil, tell me how it feels, / Having your Daddy there at home ..." If Americans came 10 feet over the border and started singing a song of similar, fire-starting intent, it'd be 1812 all over again.

God bless Argentina, but having lived here a little while, you were glad to see them lose.

You'd become too much of a homer by that point.

And God bless Brazil for having the forbearance to trust that a wrathful but just deity wouldn't stand for this sort of nonsense.

That's what happens after five weeks. The tingle of arrival and newness and "SWEET JESUS, IS THAT A MONKEY?" begins to dull. Things become familiar.

Without ever really noticing, you start to think of this place as your own.

So you're dragging yourself back to your apartment one last time very late on a work night after the final. The bars up the street are throbbing. As usual, Rio is out celebrating the chance to celebrate.

You are, in that moment, where you belong. It's not home, but Brazil did a very able impression for five weeks.

Follow me on Twitter:@cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

An Argentina fan blows into a vuvuzela on Copacabana beach before Sunday's final, which, to the joy of Brazilians, Argentina lost.


Heavy metal quandary
Tattoos, piercings, defibrillators, intrauterine devices - increasing metal use poses risks as magnetic resonance imaging gets stronger
The Canadian Press
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L5

We humans are made of flesh and bone, of cartilage, sinews, muscles and tendons.

But a surprising number of us carry around embedded metal as well. The potential list of metal bits is long: stents or shunts, surgical screws or plates, artificial joints or implanted electrodes, dental posts, body piercings or even so called permanent makeup, eyeliner or eyebrows that are tattooed on.

What does all that metal mean if a doctor suggests you should get a diagnostic scan using magnetic resonance imaging, more commonly referred to as an MRI?

As the name suggests, the machines use powerful magnets to produce detailed images of soft tissue, organs and joints.

Metal is a problem in the rooms where MRIs are housed.

In a highly publicized and tragic example of why, a six-year-old boy from New York State died in 2001 from injuries incurred when an oxygen tank left in the testing room flew across the room and struck him in the head when the magnet was turned on. In another cautionary incident, a metal worker who had a metal sliver in his eye - the result of an old work accident - lost his vision when the magnet caused the shard to move, severing his optic nerve.

Those stories are rare. But there are more common reports of minor incidents, such as people complaining of burns when their tattoos heated up while they were in an MRI. Why? The inks used to draw the body art contain metals, which are embedded in the skin.

"There are thousands of incidents a year of minor injuries," says Dr. Jerry Froelich of the University of Minnesota, speaking of MRI-related events in the United States reported to the Food and Drug Administration.

"The major ones like an oxygen tank that kills somebody makes the news. But there are thousands of other ones that are reported or not reported that are minor instances that should not have occurred."

So, who should stay out of an MRI?

Figuring out the answer to that question is a complicated business and a moving target, given the fast changing field of medical devices. People who administer MRI scans and the professional organizations that oversee the field of radiology give it serious and ongoing study.

"I do spend a lot of time reviewing paperwork to determine whether or not our research subjects are safe or not safe. And almost a day doesn't go by that I don't get a request from a researcher: 'I have this patient with such and such and such. Are they safe?' "says Froelich, who is chair of the American College of Radiology's MRI safety committee.

In research, scientists like Froelich are using increasingly powerful magnets as they strive for greater detail in the images the machines make. They can currently capture neuron bundles in the brain and are trying to get to the point where they can see individual neurons.

The goal, he explains, is to see deeper and deeper into the brain in hopes of identifying the cause of traumatic brain injury, psychiatric diseases or other problems.

"... We know that we're getting closer and closer to seeing what's happening on a cellular level within the body."

The stronger the magnet, the more important the issue of embedded metal becomes.

When the devices were first developed in the 1970s, the chief fear was shrapnel. Over time the concerns have expanded, as more metal is being used in surgeries, in implanted medical devices and in dentistry.

There are pacemakers and implanted defibrillators. Neurostimulators - electrodes implanted in the brain - and cochlear implants to give hearing to people who would otherwise be deaf. There are penile implants. Artificial joints. Prosthetic eyes. Intrauterine device or IUDs for birth control. Diabetic pumps.

Nicotine patches or dermal patches that deliver pain medication through the skin are sometimes backed with metal foil.

Makeup and hairspray may contain tiny bits of metal and some MRI clinics will instruct patients not to use these products on the day of their scan.

People who have some implanted devices cannot undergo MRI scans, though decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. For instance while some new pacemakers are designated MRI-compatible, many can't be put into an MRI.

Likewise ear implants, breasttissue expanders and certain types of older model surgical clips are considered contraindications for MRIs, says Dr. Anish Kirpalani, co-director of the MRI program at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

Some metal - the posts used to hold dental implants, for instance - aren't a safety issue.

But depending on how much metal there is and where it is in conjunction to the part of the body being scanned, the metal could distort the image being captured.

Kirpalani says his clinic has a regular handheld magnet and will use it at times to test whether something metal in or on a patient is likely to pose a problem. He and Froelich describe detailed intake procedures aimed at finding out whether patients are safe to scan.

The goal is to get as much detail as possible. For example, people who have implanted devices are asked for specifics, down to model and manufacturer. People who have had operations of any sort are queried to see whether they might unknowingly have metal clips or pins implanted.

When available, medical records are checked.

With detailed information, many people can be safely scanned. "But if they don't have medical records and we don't know what's in them, then commonly they cannot have an MRI," Froelich says.

In fact, if your doctor orders an MRI for you, you should come armed with as much information as possible about metal in and on your body.

"You need to be open," Kirpalani says. "That's one thing I would stress, that people disclose these kinds of things to us."

Associated Graphic

The metal bits in tattoos leave people susceptible to an MRI scan's effects, as patients have complained of getting burns when their ink heated up.


Defying Hamas, thousands flee Gaza
Harper denounces rocket attacks, urges allies to support Israel
Monday, July 14, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK -- As rockets from Palestinian militants in Gaza continue to fly into Israel and Israel continues to strike hard at Gaza, the options for each side are hardening. Both sides are employing brinkmanship, carrying out their biggest raids yet this weekend and threatening much more to come.

Israel's warning to people in some northern Gaza neighbourhoods to evacuate or be in danger from a coming bombardment was effective. About 10,000 people left their homes, even though Hamas told them to stay.

Not only did it get the area pretty well cleared for whatever operation Israel has in mind, but the tactic also exposed Hamas as trying to use human shields as their first line of defence.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper seized on this tactic in condemning Hamas Sunday, making his most strongly worded statement since the latest round of violence erupted. Mr. Harper, long a firm supporter of Israel, called on allies to speak out against "terrorist acts."

"The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification," his statement said.

Both Hamas and Israel have brushed aside the latest calls for a ceasefire, determined to push for their own strategic objectives.

For Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it is "to achieve a sustainable quiet" for his people.

For Hamas, it is to restore its lustre as the pre-eminent Palestinian resistance movement. It already has gone a long way to achieving this by its display of far-reaching firepower.

In between both these sides is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who opened a second front in the conflict with his unprecedented televised criticisms of Hamas.

In doing so, he risked the wrath of his constituents who could view him as a traitor in the larger conflict with Israel.

Hamas's directive to Palestinians not to abandon their homes in the face of Israel's possible onslaught is exactly the kind of thing that prompted Mr. Abbas to call out Hamas.

Hamas need not endure the risk of a full-scale ground invasion from Israeli, but it might be trying to extract a little more respect from its constituents by refusing to agree to a ceasefire for a day or so.

"It is the Palestinians who are losing with every minute that this war continues," Mr. Abbas said, describing the victims' blood as "fuel to those who trade in war."

"I oppose these traders, on both sides," he said.

Hamas officials denounced Mr. Abbas as "a criminal" and labelled him as a member of Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party for his traitorous behaviour.

"He is out of touch with his own people," said Naif Rajoub, a leading West Bank Hamas figure in an interview Friday. "They expect him to stand behind the Palestinian people in Gaza," he said.

"We are behind the people," countered Abdullah Abdullah, former Palestinian representative to Canada, and an adviser to Mr. Abbas. "[We are] just not behind Hamas.

"It's the people who are suffering in this war, the women and babies, not the Hamas leadership," he said.

The Gaza Health Ministry said at least 160 Palestinians - among them about 135 civilians, including 30 children - have died during six days of warfare, and more than 1,000 have been injured.

Theatre director Fathi Abed Rahman, who lives and works in the hardscrabble Amari refugee camp in Ramallah, said he's disappointed with his president. "He said those things [about Hamas] just to appeal to the West."

Mr. Rahman works out of a theatre built 11 years ago from funds provided by Canada. He points proudly to photos of some of his youth company's performances: a daring play on corruption in the Palestinian Authority, another on the suffering in Gaza during the 2008-9 war, in which 1,300 Gazans were killed.

"I can tell you how these young people feel," Mr. Rahman said.

"They think it's time [Mr. Abbas's] Palestinian Authority departs, and they be given a chance to run things."

A merchant in downtown Ramallah (not a refugee), said Mr. Abbas's remarks were simply the truth. "It's about time someone blew the whistle on Hamas," said the man, who would only speak anonymously for fear of possible reprisals.

A rug merchant, Louay Manasreh, said it's wrong for the president to divide the people the way he's trying to. "As president, he must represent all Palestinians."

Mahmoud Labadi, a senior member of the International Relations Commission of Mr. Abbas's Fatah Party, said he understands why people feel this way.

"Everyone here [in the West Bank] has suffered and when they see their countrymen in Gaza getting attacked, they naturally want to support them.

"Perhaps it was the wrong time for the president to say these things. But he's determined to try to stop the bloodshed," he said, noting that in the people's haste to attack him for criticizing Hamas, they overlook the fact that he also blasted Israel for its attacks.

That's not exactly news, of course. It was the attack on Hamas that was the surprise.

"He's looking at the big picture," Mr. Labadi emphasized repeatedly. "Not only does he want to avoid a ground invasion and any more killing, but he wants a larger agreement so that the people won't go through this again and again every two years or so."

"That's why he is being so diplomatic."

Apparently, a proposal put forward last week by Egypt was part of Mr. Abbas's handiwork. It called for a 40-hour truce, to be followed by negotiations of a long-term agreement.

Israel accepted the proposal in principle, said well-informed Israeli journalist Avi Issacharoff of the Times of Israel. But Hamas balked.

Give them a couple more days.

With a report from Josh Wingrove in Ottawa and Reuters

Associated Graphic

n explosion is seen in the Gaza Strip after an air strike Sunday. About 160 alestinians have died after six days of bombings.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Monday's front page headline on the Middle East incorrectly said "thousands flee Gaza." In fact, people are fleeing their homes in northern Gaza for other locations within Gaza.

Rift between Moscow and West deepens
Obama points finger at Russia as rebels block international investigators at crash site
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A3

The downing of a Malaysian passenger plane is pushing Russia and the West into deeper confrontation, with Moscow rejecting the growing consensus that pro-Russian rebels shot down the Boeing 777 over eastern Ukraine, and the United States suggesting the Russian military may have played a direct role in the disaster.

U.S. President Barack Obama called the deaths of the 298 passengers "an outrage of unspeakable proportions," and laid blame directly on separatists in eastern Ukraine and their backers in Moscow.

"Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine," Mr. Obama said in Washington. "We know that [the separatists] are heavily armed and they are trained, and we know that that's not an accident. That is happening because of Russian support."

He called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop backing the rebels and to allow a full independent investigation into the crash of Flight MH17 on Thursday in a field near the town of Grabovo, about 40 kilometres from the Russian border.

That region of Ukraine is controlled by fighters from the selfdeclared Donetsk People's Republic, which seeks union with Russia. In recent weeks, the rebels have used tanks and other advanced military equipment, including anti-aircraft weapons that are said to have come from Moscow.

"We don't have time for propaganda, we don't have time for games, we need to know exactly what happened, and everybody needs to make sure that we're holding accountable those who - who committed this outrage," Mr. Obama said.

Relations between Russia and the West were already at a postCold War low, with the White House imposing fresh economic sanctions on Moscow this week over the Kremlin's support for the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Russia and the West backed opposite sides in February when protesters deposed the Kremlinfriendly government of Viktor Yanukovych. A month later, Russia seized and annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine after a referendum there.

The United Nations Security Council, of which Russia and the United States are permanent members, passed a unanimous resolution on Friday calling for an independent investigation of the crash, and Mr. Putin in a phone call to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed support for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.

But he kept to language the Kremlin has used throughout the months-long crisis, effectively calling for the government in Kiev to meet with the rebel leaders - which the Ukrainian government has rejected. Aleksandr Borodai, one of the leaders of the Donetsk People's Republic, told reporters that there would be no ceasefire, and at least 20 people were reported killed when shells fell Friday on the rebel-held city of Lugansk.

Mr. Borodai promised international investigators would have access to the crash site, but monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) who reached the area on Friday said that did not happen.

"They did not have the freedom of movement that they need to do their job. The crash site is not sealed off," OSCE spokesman Thomas Greminger told Reuters.

Mr. Borodai said a corridor would be opened to allow bodies of the victims to be moved to the government-controlled city of Kharkiv for identification by relatives. "Hundreds of bodies are currently lying in fields. Speaking not in my official capacity, but in my human capacity, this is not right," he said.

The rebels say they have no fear of an investigation, claiming it will show the Ukrainian military, not the separatists, shot down MH17. The rebels say they don't have the weaponry to target a plane flying at more than 30,000 feet.

However, Russia's Itar-Tass news service reported on June 29 that fighters from the Donetsk People's Republic claimed to have taken over an air defence base in eastern Ukraine "equipped with Buk missile defence systems." A Buk launcher was filmed in rebel-held territory near Grabovo on Thursday shortly before the plane crashed there.

There were conflicting and confusing claims over who has MH17's flight recorders. Mr. Borodai said his fighters recovered most of them, and planned to give them to the OSCE. But later Friday, another rebel spokesman said the black boxes were taken by officials from the Ukrainian government's Ministry of Emergency Services.

The UN Security Council showed more signs of acrimony than co-operation. U.S. envoy Samantha Power went further than Mr. Obama, suggesting the type of weaponry believed to have been used to shoot down MH17 was so sophisticated that "it is unlikely that the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel, thus we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel in operating the system."

Russia's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, warned against attempts to prejudge the outcome of the MH17 investigation.

Mr. Churkin said the downing of the passenger plane could not be separated from the monthsold political crisis in Ukraine and Western support for Kiev's military operations against the separatists in Donetsk and the neighbouring region of Lugansk.

"We place all blame on the Kiev government and call on the Ukrainian side to take measures to stem such incidents in the future," Mr. Churkin told the Security Council. "Kiev chose the wrong path and, their western colleague prodded them - and I'm talking about the U.S., here - and pushed them to escalate the crisis."

Mr. Churkin said the Ukrainian government was also culpable for allowing airlines to fly over conflict area.

An emotional Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk urged the international community to see in the MH17 tragedy proof of how dangerous the war in eastern Ukraine has become.

"We ask our international partners ... to make everything we can to stop this war."

Associated Graphic

Members of the UN Security Council stand in a moment of silence on Thursday for the lives lost on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.


The Canadian connection to a child-abuse scandal in Britain
Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

LONDON -- He was a diplomat - and reputedly also a Cold War spy - who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1971 while serving as her High Commissioner to Canada. It would later come to light that Peter Hayman was also a member of an influential group that lobbied to legalize pedophilia in Britain.

The tawdry tale of the late Mr.Hayman's secret life made headlines in 1981 after an envelope containing hard-core child pornography and diaries of his experiences and fantasies regarding sex with children was found on a London bus. Now it has emerged again as a key element in a seamy political scandal amid claims he was part of a wider network of child abusers who worked - and were protected - at some of the highest echelons of power in this country.

The decades-old case of Mr. Hayman - and the establishment's effort to sweep it under the carpet - has cast doubt on Prime Minister David Cameron's pick to run a wide-ranging inquiry into allegations of child abuse and coverup in and around Parliament in the 1980s. Some say Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, a high-profile retired judge named by Mr. Cameron, is an inappropriate choice to head the inquiry since her brother was the attorney-general who decided not to prosecute Mr. Hayman.

Britain has already been rocked by news that two popular television entertainers of the 1970s and 1980s - Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris - were sexual predators whose abuses were widely known in some circles but never made public. Now the country's establishment is bracing for the possible release of some or all of a list, reportedly as many as 20 names long, of an organized ring of pedophiles that allegedly operated in and around Parliament during the same era.

According to media reports, the names include MPs, including at least one member of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet, as well as a senior civil servant and an official in the Royal Household.

Some of the names were included in a dossier of 114 files, handed by an activist MP to the Home Office in 1983, that detailed child abuse allegations against top political figures. The files have since gone missing and their existence had been long forgotten until Labour MP Tom Watson raised the dossier again in the House of Commons in 2012, calling for police to investigate "a powerful pedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10 [Downing Street, the Prime Minister's residence]."

Police subsequently launched a sprawling investigation, known as Operation Fernbridge, that has focused on the widespread abuse of young boys at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, in southwest London, some 30 years ago. They are believed to be close to making several arrests in connection with the cases.

Some of the men police are believed to be investigating are dead, while others are reportedly still active in Westminster. Whistle-blowers have also claimed that an organization known as the Pedophile Information Exchange, which lobbied to lower the age of sexual consent, received government money in the 1970s.

The name of Mr. Hayman - also known as "Member 330" of the exchange - is the only one made public so far. The fact he escaped punishment after the incident with the envelope on the bus (until a 1984 arrest for gross indecency in a public toilet) has been held up as proof of an establishment effort to protect one of their own. Mr. Hayman, who was married and had two children, died in 1992 at the age of 78.

It's not clear whether anything found in the envelope related to Mr. Hayman's time in Ottawa.

The sordid snippet of history has snarled the current U.K. government's efforts to clear the air over whether well-connected child abusers were protected.

Prime Minister David Cameron's appointment of Lady ButlerSloss on Tuesday to head an investigation was initially welcomed; she was the first woman to head the Court of Appeal, and later headed the inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. But the public mood turned against her on Wednesday when it came to light that her brother, Baron Michael Havers, had been the attorney-general who decided not to prosecute Mr. Hayman.

"It is a wholly unnecessary fuss," Lord Havers said in 1981 after maverick Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens used parliamentary privilege to raise the case.

"Absolutely nothing has been achieved by naming a man who has been retired for seven years.

All Mr. Dickens has done is made certain that Sir Peter's shame and embarrassment are known to the world." (Mr. Hayman, knighted in 1971, had retired in 1974 after his completing posting to Canada).

Opposition politicians, as well as lawyers representing some of the alleged victims of the Westminster child abuse ring, said that Lady Butler-Sloss should reconsider her involvement in the inquiry. "She's part of the establishment, and that raises concerns and the relationship in terms of her brother, I think, is too close for comfort. I think that's the conclusion most people will reach," Labour Party MP Simon Danczuk told the BBC.

Lady Butler-Sloss, 80, has said she had no intention of stepping aside. A spokesman for Mr. Cameron stood by the appointment of Lady Butler-Sloss, who he said commanded "widespread respect and confidence."

Her suitability has also been questioned because she sits as a life peer in the House of Lords, an institution that may come under scrutiny in any inquiry. Lord Leo Brittan, the Thatcher-era Home Secretary who received the 114 now-missing files from Mr. Dickens outlining the pedophilia allegations, also currently sits in the House.

Mr. Dickens, who died in 1995, said in a 1983 newspaper interview that his files contained "eight names of big people, really important names, public figures."

He also said he had been harassed - and his house had been broken into twice - after he went public with Mr. Hayman's name.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Thursday and Saturday news articles on British scandals included an incorrect name for former prime minister Margaret Thatcher's then home secretary. He is Lord Leon Brittan, not Leo as published.

The Canadian connection to a pedophilia scandal in Britain
Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

LONDON -- He was a diplomat - and reputedly also a Cold War spy - who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1971 while serving as her High Commissioner to Canada. It would later come to light that Peter Hayman was also a member of an influential group that lobbied to legalize pedophilia in Britain.

The tawdry tale of the late Mr. Hayman's secret life made headlines in 1981 after an envelope containing hard-core child pornography and diaries of his experiences and fantasies regarding sex with children was found on a London bus. Now it has emerged again as a key element in a seamy political scandal amid claims he was part of a wider network of child abusers who worked - and were protected - at some of the highest echelons of power in this country.

The decades-old case of Mr. Hayman - and the establishment's effort to sweep it under the carpet - has cast doubt on Prime Minister David Cameron's pick to run a wide-ranging inquiry into allegations of child abuse and coverup in and around Parliament in the 1980s.

Some say Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, a high-profile retired judge named by Mr. Cameron, is an inappropriate choice to head the inquiry since her brother was the attorney-general who decided not to prosecute Mr. Hayman.

Britain has already been rocked by news that two popular television entertainers of the 1970s and 1980s - Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris - were sexual predators whose abuses were widely known in some circles but never made public. Now the country's establishment is bracing for the possible release of some or all of a list, reportedly as many as 20 names long, of an organized ring of pedophiles that allegedly operated in and around Parliament during the same era.

According to media reports, the names include MPs, including at least one member of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet, as well as a senior civil servant and an official in the Royal Household.

Some of the names were included in a dossier of 114 files, handed by an activist MP to the Home Office in 1983, that detailed child abuse allegations against top political figures. The files have since gone missing and their existence had been long forgotten until Labour MP Tom Watson raised the dossier again in the House of Commons in 2012, calling for police to investigate "a powerful pedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10 [Downing Street, the Prime Minister's residence]."

Police subsequently launched a sprawling investigation, known as Operation Fernbridge, that has focused on the widespread abuse of young boys at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, in southwest London, some 30 years ago. They are believed to be close to making several arrests in connection with the cases.

Some of the men police are believed to be investigating are dead, while others are reportedly still active in Westminster. Whistle-blowers have also claimed that an organization known as the Pedophile Information Exchange, which lobbied to lower the age of sexual consent, received government money in the 1970s.

The name of Mr. Hayman - also known as "Member 330" of the exchange - is the only one made public so far. The fact he escaped punishment after the incident with the envelope on the bus (until a 1984 arrest for gross indecency in a public toilet) has been held up as proof of an establishment effort to protect one of their own. Mr. Hayman, who was married and had two children, died in 1992 at the age of 78.

It's not clear whether anything found in the envelope related to Mr. Hayman's time in Ottawa.

The sordid snippet of history has snarled the current U.K. government's efforts to clear the air over whether well-connected child abusers were protected.

Prime Minister David Cameron's appointment of Lady ButlerSloss on Tuesday to head an investigation was initially welcomed; she was the first woman to head the Court of Appeal, and later headed the inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. But the public mood turned against her on Wednesday when it came to light that her brother, Baron Michael Havers, had been the attorney-general who decided not to prosecute Mr. Hayman.

"It is a wholly unnecessary fuss," Lord Havers said in 1981 after maverick Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens used parliamentary privilege to raise the case.

"Absolutely nothing has been achieved by naming a man who has been retired for seven years.

All Mr. Dickens has done is made certain that Sir Peter's shame and embarrassment are known to the world." (Mr. Hayman, knighted in 1971, had retired in 1974 after his completing posting to Canada).

Opposition politicians, as well as lawyers representing some of the alleged victims of the Westminster child abuse ring, said that Lady Butler-Sloss should reconsider her involvement in the inquiry. "She's part of the establishment, and that raises concerns and the relationship in terms of her brother, I think, is too close for comfort. I think that's the conclusion most people will reach," Labour Party MP Simon Danczuk told the BBC.

Lady Butler-Sloss, 80, has said she had no intention of stepping aside. A spokesman for Mr. Cameron stood by the appointment of Lady Butler-Sloss, who he said commanded "widespread respect and confidence."

Her suitability has also been questioned because she sits as a life peer in the House of Lords, an institution that may come under scrutiny in any inquiry. Lord Leo Brittan, the Thatcher-era Home Secretary who received the 114 now-missing files from Mr. Dickens outlining the pedophilia allegations, also currently sits in the House.

Mr. Dickens, who died in 1995, said in a 1983 newspaper interview that his files contained "eight names of big people, really important names, public figures." He also said he had been harassed - and his house had been broken into twice - after he went public with Mr. Hayman's name.

Kim Cattrall takes on a new taboo: getting old
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R4

F ans of Sex and the City are used to hearing Kim Cattrall speak frankly, but Sensitive Skin, the new series premiering on HBO Canada on July 20, still may pull them up short. In place of jokes about oral sex and bad lovers are rueful quips about hormone-replacement therapy and achy breasts. Adapted from a 2005 BBC Two series starring Joanna Lumley, the HBO version stars Cattrall as Davina Jackson, a one-time model in the grip of a midlife crisis. Cattrall is also an executive producer. We spoke with her by phone.

You shot Sensitive Skin in Toronto over the winter. But where do you live these days?

Where I work is where I live, it seems. I'm between New York and London, and since Sensitive Skin - which has been in my life now for three years - I guess I live in both of those places. I certainly pay taxes in both of those places.

That jet-setting life seems to echo Davina - at least the life she had 30 years before the show takes place. There are other elements that seem to echo your life.

I don't think a lot of people know who I am. They assume they know who I am. Most people think I'm Samantha Jones - which I don't see in Davina for a millisecond. I see somebody who is not embracing and going forward. She's very trepidatious and fear-based and vulnerable, and I don't consider myself that way. I've never been in a 30-year relationship, I don't have any children, I don't have a sister like that, I don't live in Toronto, I never put my ambitions on hold. This is a woman who's stuck, who's in a midlife crisis. I'm having my own midlife crisis, but it's not Davina's, it's completely different.

What is the key to Davina for you?

I think the common thread is to be seen: to be seen clearly.

Do you mean the desire to be seen for who you are?

Yes. Not for who people think you are, or want you to be. Because she has these labels, as all women do: being somebody's daughter, somebody's sister, somebody's wife, somebody's mother. And then who are you? I've also been somebody's fantasy, somebody's nightmare [laughs] - in a much more public way. It's to be authentically yourself, and what you want, and trying to figure that out.

You seem much more in touch with who you really are than Davina is with herself.

Of course. She's just now becoming curious. Or becoming conscious. And she's not alone. It's usually now, at this period of time, that men and women are shedding off the need to be successful: They've done it, they've attempted it, the need to be the perfect parent or mate. Your world, which has been so large, for the first time you start to turn around and realize that it's narrowing, and time is of the essence. Time means something different. That's why I don't need to just be on a film set anymore.

You know? I need to be on a film set where I have something to say. Or something affects me. When men have a midlife crisis - I'm told - they buy a sports car or try to have an affair; they become figures of comedy, or pity. Davina is having a midlife crisis, but rather than a sports car, she buys an aggressively fashionable and deeply uncomfortable couch. She also considers an affair. Do you see her as comical?

No. But what we're attempting is to take situations that are real and make them bearable, not just for Davina but for us as an audience, by using the comedic craziness of the reality. The couch is like another character, it's her attempt at change, but it's very superficial. And she thinks if she gets that couch, that will be the answer; if she moves to downtown Toronto and sells the suburban home, that will be the answer. We're using these characters for comedic effect, but we're not making them grotesque or bigger than life. Much as, in the same way Sex and the City took on sexual taboos, we're taking on taboos of aging here.

Would you hope people see those in their late-50s and 60s differently because of this?

I hope so. I don't want it to be on a soapbox. I want to open it up and use comedy in doing so. We have "anti-aging clinics," you know? We live in a world where people are pushing [aging] further and further away - it's terrifying - and making themselves into alien beings in the process.

You've spoken lately about how unfair Hollywood is to older women: That the scripts dry up once you hit your late-30s and you become, in the eyes of casting agents, less sexy and desirable. When you were younger - and getting work in part because you were young and sexy and desirable - did you feel things were unfair to your older colleagues?

I didn't have that consciousness. I was just trying to pay my rent and work as an actress. But I continued to study, I continued to do theatre, I continued to work at my craft, and that has brought me to the point of being an executive producer. And taking time out, especially after the series, to take another trajectory - because I could have gone on to play Samantha Jones for the rest of my life - but I thought: "Well, then I won't act any more, because I can't learn." That's what keeps you young. That's the secret. That's what I would say to Davina: Work. We have work.

This interview was condensed and edited.

For Brazil's sex workers, a brothel boom turned to bust
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

RIO DE JANEIRO -- In Vila Mimosa, they were expecting a blowout.

This neighbourhood, with its whimsical name and filthencrusted cobbled streets, is the one synonymous with the sale of sex in the city with the unrivalled global reputation for licentiousness.

In the days before the World Cup began in mid-June, the staff of the brothels that line the main street of Vila Mimosa put up green-and-yellow bunting, flags of European nations and signs that said "Welcome!" in a halfdozen languages. They took on extra staff, and the women started to make mental lists of what they would do with the windfall from the mass influx of foreign tourists.

And? Nothing. "It's dead around here," sighed Monique da Cruz, sipping a Coke and staring at the quiet street a few days ago. "It's not even worth it for us, coming to work." She said she was making the equivalent of $300 a week instead of the usual $600 to $700. The only foreigners looking to buy sex were Argentines who, with their devalued currency, found Rio prices too high; they tried, but failed, to haggle.

Men spent their money on soccer tickets, Ms. da Cruz speculated, or got drunk with their friends instead, and the promised boom in business turned out to be one more myth about sex in Brazil.

Brazil has had a reputation for debauchery since the first Portuguese explorers arrived and sent titillated letters full of descriptions of naked indigenous people.

It became, eventually, a part of the national identity - some nonspecific quality of sexiness that all Brazilians, but women in particular, are said to possess, brewed from the tropical climate, the mesmerizing natural beauty, and stereotypes about race and the mixing of it. The tourism industry has not shied away from using the image to market Brazil, and women here often seem to relish it even as they strain against the restrictions it imposes.

It makes for a country where gender identity is rigid and restrictive; where the sale of sex is legal; and where sexual morality is muddled: women wear only pasties to dance in the Carnaval parade, but it is entirely unacceptable to be topless at the beach.

The sociologist Marlene Teixeira Rodrigues, an expert on gender and prostitution at the University of Brasilia, calls it the "daily hell" of Brazilian women.

"On the one hand, women live with sexual harassment every day. On the other, they have to live up to expectations. There is a demand for us to be hypersexual, for a performance that fits that idea ... especially if you're mixed race and even more if you're black. At the same time, since our culture is also conservative, there is also the possibility you will be discriminated against for having that desire."

When 675,000 tourists, most of them men, descended on the country for the World Cup, it seemed that "sex with a Brazilian" was on the top of their to-do list. It was an implicit message in much of the marketing around the Cup. The sportswear company Adidas, for example, launched a line of World Cup T-shirts that had slogans such as "Looking to Score" and a soccer ball made to look like a woman's buttocks in a thong. The company was forced to withdraw them after complaints.

But however keen visitors were to explore their stereotypes of Brazilians, far fewer men than expected seemed prepared to pay for sex.

Before the Cup, there were dark predictions from anti-trafficking organizations that tens of thousands of people, including children, would be moved into and within Brazil to cater to sex tourists. It was enough of a concern for government that President Dilma Rousseff warned that Brazil welcomed visitors, but was "ready to act against sexual tourism."

Buying and selling sex is legal in Brazil. Profiting on someone else's sale, by pimping or running a brothel for example, is not. But establishments, from the "houses" in Vila Mimosa to the high-end brothels, called termas, of Copacabana, operate freely, paying off police and putting up with occasionally being ostentatiously shut down. (It was from the most legendary of these, Centaurus, that Justin Bieber was photographed leaving last year, "disguised" in a branded sheet.)

Those fears of mass trafficking were ridiculous, according to Thaddeus Blanchette, an anthropologist focused on sex work at the Federal University. "You have waiting lists to get taken on at the termas that are two years long," he said. "They called up their reserve list in anticipation of the Cup. They didn't need to traffic anyone in here."

Prof. Blanchette is associated with a university-affiliated group that studies sex work, called the Prostitution Observatory. While police have yet to release any information about sexual exploitation cases investigated during the event, the Observatory collated the government figures to show that from 2004-07 fewer than 1 per cent of reported cases of sexual exploitation involved a foreigner, suggesting that the high-profile focus on trafficking was misdirected.

"Men don't go to brothels to dominate women. They go to [act out their] masculinity," he said.

"And if you're already there in the stadium drinking loads of beer, cheering with all your friends, you don't need to go to a brothel."

The Observatory also found that during the World Cup many sex workers had left the brothels and Vila Mimosa and headed for the beachfront in Copacabana, the focus of the foreign tourist festivities, where they sought clients with hotel rooms.

Ms. da Cruz, who at 44 has been in the business for 21 years, says she would have done the same.

"But I'd have to know English, Spanish or Italian to be able to work there."

Associated Graphic

In this photo taken in May, 2011, a sex worker waits for customers at the Vila Mimosa prostitution zone in Rio de Janeiro. There was a dearth of sex tourists during the recent World Cup.


A baseball for Garth
My catch made me a hero for a moment. But then I was that selfish slob denying a little girl her wish
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L6

It was damn near perfect: a hot March day in Florida and I was at a ballgame. JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, known as "Fenway South," is the winter home of the Boston Red Sox.

I took my seat along the first base line, three rows above the visitors' dugout. In my left hand I held a Fenway Frank, in my right a cold Budweiser. It couldn't get any better ... and then it did.

The game was close for a few innings, then the visiting Baltimore Orioles started lighting up the Red Sox pitching. Balls were caroming off the replica "Green Monster" wall. The guy with the ladder was busy running out and putting up new numbers on the manual scoreboard.

Nobody seemed to care too much that the home side was getting pummelled. They were too busy happily doing nothing.

Spring Training games aren't really about winning or losing (except against the Yankees).

They're more about catching a few rays, the love of baseball, beer - or all three, After the Red Sox were retired in the seventh inning, a lot of fans started to leave. Maybe they were hoping to beat the traffic. But I wasn't going anywhere, except a few rows down to an aisle seat above the dugout. I wanted more room on the off-chance that a foul ball was hit anywhere near me. I'd never caught one.

In the top of the eighth inning, an Oriole hit a high foul ball a dozen rows behind me. I stood and turned, tracking the ball.

Fouls can bounce off anything or anybody and go anywhere. I was ready. The ball hit in the walkway, took a hard bounce off the back wall and was coming in my direction, now a towering pop fly.

I ranged a few steps to the right, called off a couple of seniors, put both hands in the air and made a barehanded catch. The crowd went wild! I held the ball high to acknowledge the ovation of my new fans.

As I sat, clutching my baseball, the roar of the crowd was still ringing in my ears. A real baseball, a hardball, is a wondrous thing to hold. The printing read "Official American League" and the leather was perfectly smooth except for the roughed-up spot where bat met ball. It couldn't get better than this ... and then it got worse.

From the next section, a few rows up, I heard a man's voice: "My daughter would really like a baseball. It's her first game."

Then a woman's voice: "And her grandparents are here."

What? Who? Daughter, grandparents?

I turned and yelled up at them: "This ball's for a lifelong Red Sox fan." I was thinking of my friend Garth from the Maritimes, who grew up watching Boston ballgames on TV.

Not giving up, the woman said: "He's not here. Doesn't count."

What just happened? A few pitches ago I was a hero. Had my fans turned? Would I be tomorrow's headline news? "Kid at first ballgame denied baseball, "or "Selfish, beer-drinking slob disappoints three generations of nice New England family."

As the inning went on, I kept looking at my baseball. I silently snorted. "If Dad wants a ball for his entitled little brat, do what I did - catch one."

Should I fight for Garth? Maybe yell back, "The next one's for her!"

Maybe I should just give her the damn ball, I thought. I've got three grown daughters of my own. And I guessed this poor girl had spent most of her young life being embarrassed by her parents. So what was it going to be? A baseball for Garth - or the kid?

By the time the inning ended I'd made my decision. I walked up the aisle and stopped at the man's row. "Where's your daughter?" I asked.

"That's her," he said, pointing to the row below, "Jennifer, sitting with her sister." (I hoped she didn't want a baseball too. It's not that easy.)

I walked toward Jennifer. She was older than I expected, not a child at all - more like mid-teens! (Ah, what the hell, Garth's fiftysomething.)

I handed her the ball and said: "Jennifer, I'd like you to have this baseball."

Then she threw it back on the field.

No, she didn't. She took it and thanked me. She looked genuinely pleased. And then she handed it to her sister to hold. I don't know if anyone else noticed that, but it made me feel good. As I walked back to my seat, I heard the mother say: "Oh, what a nice man." If the father said anything I didn't hear it, but he did come up to me later and thank me.

And once again my fans were applauding me. And once again I acknowledged them.

My dad took me to my first ball game and I've been a fan ever since. We used to go to the old Maple Leaf Stadium on Lake Shore Boulevard in Toronto. That was a long time ago. Dad's gone now. So is the stadium. So is the Maple Leafs team.

One of the many things my father taught me was how to score games. It's been a while, but here's how I'd score this one: Jennifer, 1 (baseball). Me, 0. But 2 ovations I never expected, and the memory of catching a foul ball. It was damn near a perfect game.

Except of course for poor old Garth. But he doesn't need to know any of this. And there was never much chance I was giving him the ball, anyway.

Tom Cornell lives in Thornhill, Ont.


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Associated Graphic


The importance of being courteous
Manners, which an increasing number of parents dismiss as old-fashioned, matter more than ever
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L3

Last week in England, Kate Reardon, editor-in-chief of the high-society magazine Tatler, gave a graduation speech at a private girls' school in Gloucestershire in which she highlighted the importance of manners over good grades. Her exact words were, "It doesn't matter how many A-levels you have, what kind of degree you have - if you have good manners people will like you. And if they like you they will help you."

Reardon was immediately pilloried in the British press for impressing upon a bunch of teenaged girls the outdated message that being polite is preferable to being ambitious. Telling young women to mind their manners is anti-feminist, the critics cried - who cares about good behaviour when we can drive our girls to lean themselves inside-out?

"Editor Tells School Girls Politeness is More Important than Good Grades," read one headline. In fact, if you read the entirety of Reardon's speech (available on the Tatler website), you will see she devoted just as much airtime to hard work as she did to the importance of being punctual and tidy. Reardon herself passed up university for an entry-level position at American Vogue (something that could never happen today, but never mind) and worked her way up from there, so she knows from personal experience the value of attitude over A-pluses. The point is, hard as it may be for some parents to hear it, Reardon is absolutely right.

Institutional achievement and politeness should not be mutually exclusive, but both are essential for young people to find fulfilling work and relationships later in life. The problem is that many middle-class parents today - of both daughters and sons - are obsessed with the former and unconcerned about the latter. Most parents I know spend far more time ferrying their children to extracurriculars or supervising homework than they do encouraging them to engage in conversation with adults or insisting they pass around the canapés before taking one for themselves. There is a sense that these social skills will somehow take care of themselves so long as the child "does well" on paper.

This is a huge mistake - not just for ensuring your children's future achievement but also if you have any interest in making a contribution to society as a whole. Raising well-behaved children well should be a significant civic duty.

Manners, which an increasing number of parents dismiss as old-fashioned, actually matter more than ever before. As Reardon pointed out in her speech, this is not about "using the right spoon for soup or eating asparagus with your left hand" but the importance of "being polite and respectful and making the people you interact with feel valued."

Such deep internal values must be impressed upon children from the outside in. When it comes to character we must fake it in childhood to make it as adults. Am I implying that teaching a child to simply say, "Excuse me," before interrupting can lead to a successful career and a happy marriage later in life? Yes, absolutely.

In the digital era, when kids are communicating through a coded vortex of social media and smartphone screens rather than face to face, it's especially important for parents to invest time and energy to impart social rules for how to communicate properly with other humans in the flesh.

If you don't believe me, take it from Myrrha Brady, a recruitment consultant at the Four Corners Group in Toronto. After 14 years recruiting executives, Brady points out there's a reason employers are still doing inperson interviews. "If they didn't care about manners, we'd just send them the transcripts and they'd hire graduates that way," she says. "Of course qualifications are important, but how you present yourself and interact with others is equally important."

The biggest problem she says she has run into with ambitious, overachieving youngsters is "a sense of entitlement which can lead to overconfidence." By which she means, well-qualified job applicants who essentially act like jerks.

The thing about manners is that they are actually much more time-consuming to instill in your children than, say, teaching them to play the cello or speak fluent Mandarin. That's because most parents will naturally outsource the latter two skills (unless they happen to be Chinese cellists) whereas good manners require tireless, everyday, hands-on effort. Take "please" and "thank you" - by far the most superficial of all our accepted behavioural etiquette constructs. To teach a child to say these things consistently and without prompting, the average parent must correct that child several dozen times a day from the time they are initially verbal until about 5 or 6. On average, that's more than 100,000 verbal cues until a child actually gets it. Your pet goldfish learns tricks faster than that. And that's not even counting the thousands of mandatory apologies, forced thank-younotes and supervised household chores. Raising a well-mannered kid is a slog, and no babysitter, tutor or fancy private school is going to do it for you. In the old days, friends and neighbours corrected other people's kids for being selfish or insolent (often with a highly effective though hypocritical smack upside the head!) but no more. When it comes to instilling basic values and good behaviour, parents have never been more on their own.

This is why I agree with Kate Reardon as both a feminist and a mother. If you want the world to be a better place because you brought one more person into it, spend less time Googling top tutors and more time teaching them to pass the butter. The results - though they won't go on the transcript - might actually surprise you.

Associated Graphic

Tatler editor-in-chief Kate Reardon was pilloried in the British press for a recent graduation speech impressing upon female grads that being polite is preferable to being ambitious.


Our version of smooth sailing
It hasn't always been fun. It's never been lucrative. But it's always been interesting
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L6

I know I'm asking for trouble as I nudge my wife awake with the words, "is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?" Neither of us are Queen fans, to say the least. On the other hand, they're not entirely rhetorical questions. K replies with a typical morning response; a low growl that manages to convey the genome of menace. It's the sound of sweetly poisoned coffee, of warmed bath towels spiked with fish hooks. K is a morning person like Henry VIII was an advocate of relationship counselling. I'll pay for this later when she sticks some awful hair band tune - Dude Looks Like A Lady or something - on repeat in my brain. (Sorry about that, by the way.)

We're lying in the V-berth of our Morgan sailboat. The sun is pouring in through fluffy cumulus clouds and our cat, Squeaky, is purring like a contented water pump. The wind is moderate, southerly, nice and steady. Great sailing conditions. Then I realize why I woke up with that particular lyric in my head, and I ask myself, well, how did I get here?

Seventeen years ago, K and I were penniless. She'd dropped out of school, due to the high cost of learning, and I'd been relieved of my contractual obligation to sell defective coffeemakers to the hotel trade. Neither of us being entrepreneurs, we started a business; not so much on a shoestring as on a badly executed drawing of a shoestring, by which we slowly began to pull ourselves up.

Starting with a bag of leather scraps and the craft section of the public library, we learned a trade, and slowly our nano-enterprise grew into one of the world's tiniest multinational trading corporations. Along the way, we lost our home, and for one awful year we lived in our workshop, an aluminum shed between a collision repair shop and a battery depot that left the country station on 24/7. Maybe that's where we picked up the earworm bug. It hasn't always been fun, and it's never been lucrative. As of now, we have no savings, no pension, and our retirement plan is to die, cheaply, out of everyone's way. But it's always been interesting. Like the ancient curse-proverb, we have lived in interesting times.

So interesting, that six years ago K left the business to retrain for a real job. She emerged with degree and diploma and landed a job in the GTA. Solutions tend to have a way of generating problems that can either go bad or become new solutions. K, bless her, is a raisedin-the-country girl, a solitary creature of woods and meadowlands. She doesn't do well without access to nature, and a parkette four blocks down the street from an apartment above a laundromat is not it.

Around this time a couple of friends, who had dropped off the radar, resurfaced. They had got married and sailed their 30-foot sailboat across the Atlantic Ocean, stopping at the Azores, Canary and Cape Verde Islands, before returning to Ontario and blowing our tiny minds with an awesome slide show with music.

The image of their tiny boat, determinedly pushing its way through the monster-filled darkness of the immense Atlantic night, was a bright metaphor for how we felt about much of our lives. So we thought, "Let's get a boat. Don't live in Toronto, live off Toronto." That's what friends are for.

Mere days later, we were cruising yacht brokers at Port Credit, checking out our live-aboard options. It seemed as though invisible brooms were sweeping the way clear. The first person we spoke to was distracted, a tern having just made a deposit on his shoulder. However, he directed us to a co-worker who was selling the boat that he, his wife, and their cat had lived on for five years. It was love at first sight.

The bank was a shorter story. A 12-year-old with an oversized suit and Adam's apple politely showed us the contents of his hanky before shepherding us to the door. Still, the Western economic superstructure is a tenuous edifice, and we wouldn't have slept well with its collapse on our consciences. Happily, a total stranger with a boat was prepared to take the risk. Five months later we owned a beautiful, blue sailboat; our ticket to Everywhereon-Sea. That was 2012. We have lived on the boat ever since.

K's fancy job eventually dissolved in a toxic solution of office politics, and she exited, stage left; back festooned with cutlery. She has since taught herself boat skills and is preparing for a career change into marine services. I am dusting off my writing pencil and preparing to teach my beloved language to peoples of the nonEnglish speaking world. We have laid our plans as best we can. The tiny multinational trading company is up for sale, and should provide a cushion during the transition to a cruising lifestyle. We are frugal; we'll be fine.

Later, we're off the Toronto Islands in a choppy 15 knots. K is at the helm humming Hot Blooded for my benefit. I'm on the winch preparing for a tack, and Squeaky's hiding below in the hanging locker. As we come smartly about, and I realize I'm going to spend the rest of my weekend with a fever of 103, K looks across and shouts above the wind: "To answer your questions, yes; and no, but kind of yes!"

Billy Ditchburn, the lovely K. and brave Squeaky the Cat live aboard the SV Artful Dodger II, just off the coast of Toronto.


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Associated Graphic


Murder charges pending in case of missing boy and grandparents
Police say evidence 'removed all doubt that it was a missing persons file'
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

CALGARY -- Calgary police are certain a fiveyear-old and his grandparents, missing for the past two weeks, are dead, with murder charges against one suspect on the way.

The bodies of Alvin Cecil Liknes and Kathryn Faye Liknes and their grandson Nathan O'Brien have not been located. This makes the charges especially unusual, experts say.

"The preponderance of evidence is such that has led our investigators to believe that they are dead," Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson told reporters Monday. "Hence, two counts of firstdegree murder, one count of second-degree murder."

Calgary police would not release the name of the individual they suspect committed the murders until they formally press charges.

"It is safe to say that even as the days went by, there's always a hope. There's always a glimmer of hope," Chief Hanson said. "Unfortunately, with the laying of the charges, we've taken that hope away from the family."

Investigators made an arrest in the case at 1:30 a.m. Monday, near an acreage outside Airdrie, Alta.

Douglas Garland, who police called a "person of interest" in the missing persons case, lived on this property, owned by his parents.

Officers called the case a "mystery" when they launched the investigation, and the most significant question - the location of the bodies - remains unanswered despite police pressing murder charges. Chief Hanson on Monday pleaded with landowners around Airdrie, where Mr. Garland lived with his parents, to search their properties for anything suspicious.

He urged energy companies operating in nearby fields and pastures to be vigilant in looking out for anything unusual. Calgary Police Service members and RCMP officers have already combed through the Garlands's rural property, nearby swamps and a pasture.

They also picked through two of Calgary's three landfills. More than 200 officers were assigned to the case and 900 tips came in, Chief Hanson said."This level of public support and engagement has never been seen in previous investigations of this magnitude," he said at the press conference. "This file has been built piece by piece by piece by piece.

[If] somebody out there is thinking that there is one piece that is the smoking gun, one piece of information that has led to a break in the case, I'm here to tell you that this has been the compilation of an immense investigation."

Chief Hanson would not discuss why police believe the three family members are dead, saying only that the evidence "removed all doubt that it was a missing persons file [and] supported our now-firmly-held belief that it is a homicide." He would not discuss when police believe Nathan and Mr. Liknes, 66, and Ms. Liknes, 53, died. He did not reveal a motive.

Mr. Garland knew the family. There was no sign of forced entry at the Liknes home, where the three were last seen by Nathan's mother on June 29.

Ian Savage, president of the Calgary-based Alberta Criminal Defence Lawyers Association, said it is rare for murder charges to be laid if no bodies have been found. He estimates it happens in only 1 per cent of murder cases.

"What this suggests is that the police have strong circumstantial evidence or forensic evidence or both," Mr. Savage said. "On the flip side [with no bodies], it means the chance of a successful defence improves."

Ed Ratushny, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, is a celebrated lawyer whose work in the field of criminal evidence has been published and cited by the Supreme Court of Canada.

"A case like [this] will turn on 'circumstantial' rather than 'direct' evidence," Prof. Ratushny said in an e-mail. "But in each situation, every essential element of the offence must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Obviously, there is no direct evidence such as a witness to the murder, so a jury would have to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt from the 'circumstances' that there actually was a murder as well as that the accused committed this murder."

The accused is expected to be in court Tuesday regarding the charges, Mr. Hanson said.

Mr. Garland is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 6 on charges relating to identity theft.

Police laid those charges early last week after they released Mr. Garland from questioning regarding the disappearances. The identity-theft charges meant he spent last week in the Calgary Remand Centre until he made bail Friday, which came with a string of conditions, including abiding by a curfew between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Patti Garland, Mr. Garland's sister, is in a common-law relationship with Allen Liknes, one of Alvin and Kathryn Liknes's sons. Allen Liknes joined Rod O'Brien, Nathan's father, when Mr. Garland appeared in court July 4 via closed-circuit television on the identity-theft charges.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Alberta Premier Dave Hancock and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi all expressed condolences Monday. Nathan's parents work at Cenovus Energy Inc., and its chief executive also offered his sympathies.

Police lay first-degree murder charges when they believe they can demonstrate "preintent," Chief Hanson said. They apply second-degree murder charges when "preintent - the intent to commit the act - may not be there."

Nathan, who was just learning to print and has one older brother and one younger brother, was sleeping over at the Liknes home the evening of June 29.

"Nathan wasn't supposed to be there," Mr. O'Brien said in a press conference July 2.

With files from Kelly Cryderman

Associated Graphic

From left, Nathan O'Brien and grandparents Kathryn and Alvin Liknes. The three have been missing since June 29.


Nathan O'Brien and his grandmother, Kathryn Liknes, are shown in this police handout photo. Police say they have not found the bodies of the two or of Alvin Liknes, and are asking the public for help.


Brazil relegated to run-of-the-mill status
Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S2

SAO PAULO -- Inside Brazil, the reaction was that predictable mix of disappointment and incipient rage.

Almost every newspaper headline in a country with plenty of them ran a headline riff on the words Humilhacao (Humiliation) or Vexame (Disaster).

The Metro chain led with the most atmospheric front page - a darkened Estadio Mineirao with only the accusatory final tally lit up on a distant scoreboard.

A very few were trying to look on the bright side of soccer life.

"We'll get the sixth title in Russia," Pele tweeted. Well, anything's possible. But some things are less possible than others.

This country continues to produce top young talent, but very little of it featured here. Brazil was the sixth-oldest squad at this World Cup (while Germany was the sixth-youngest).

Among the current starting XI, the only locks to make the roster at World Cup 2018 are Neymar and Oscar.

You don't win World Cups with a team full of guys who've never been there before. This isn't getting better in four years' time since, by their own standards, nothing short of a championship is good enough for Brazil.

Realistically, their next shot at that will come at Qatar 2022.

When you're trying to imagine how hard this will be to explain to Brazilians, imagine Canadians being told, "You'll have to wait eight years to be the best at hockey again." Then imagine the bulk run on pitchforks.

That's Brazil's end of it. Since it's not going to suddenly become intrigued with the possibilities of handball, it'll struggle out of it.

What's more intriguing is the damage this has done to Brazil's worldwide brand.

If all it took to win hearts was titles, everyone would love Germany. Even Germans are frequently iffy on Germany.

What Brazil projected for more than half-a-century was something more fetching than victory - it was glamour. No country has ever produced so many romantic figures and footballing rogues.

Take, for instance, Socrates, the man who fairly invented the slow-moving, quick-thinking midfield general, and the fulcrum of those heroically failed teams of the eighties.

He was a leftist philosopher, a qualified doctor, a newspaper columnist, a chain smoker, a high-functioning alcoholic and the guy who helped bring down the junta. In between, he found time for soccer, and was better at it than just about anyone in the history of the game.

"There's more to life than football," he once said. And better yet, proved. Some very good soccer-playing countries have produced one or two players who capture your imagination.

Brazil gave birth to dozens of them.

If the sum of its parts was often greater than the whole, it rarely overwhelmed it. Brazil's best teams were always a collection of individualists sublimated to a single goal. They were - to borrow a phrase from Barcelona and use it in a more fitting context - mas que un club.

That ended here, and who knows for how long.

The Guardian captured that feeling in the morning's obits: "One of the striking things about this World Cup is the extent to which Brazil have gone from being everyone's second favourite team to hardly anyone's." There were several factors that weighed in to that hasty peeling-away.

First and foremost, in a tournament stacked with electrifying sides, the Brazilians were dreary and dull. Occasionally - as against Colombia - they were brutal. There was nothing uplifting or admirable about the style of this Brazil team.

When they weren't chopping down their opponents, they were rolling around on the ground feigning injury. How much of the viewing public thought Neymar was really injured until they carried him down the tunnel on a stretcher?

I'd wager none.

Once that happened, they became depressingly maudlin.

It's not clear why their manager Luiz Felipe Scolari allowed the team to react to Neymar's absence like it was a death rather than a spell on the disabled list.

Looking back on it, the semifinal was won as the teams got off their buses. Brazil slunk in looking desperate, all wearing their "#ForcaNeymar" ballcaps like the world's most downtrodden scout troop.

Germany fairly floated after them, laughing easily. One side was getting ready to play. The other one was already imagining how it would feel to lose.

Scolari would say afterward that he saw his team "cracking up" after the first goal. From this vantage, that was happening long before the whistle.

Beyond Neymar, none of these players inspired. For those who take their cues on the world's best from watching the Champions League (i.e. everyone), this was a stunningly unimpressive group. Against Germany, Brazil fielded three forwards who play for Zenit St. Petersburg, Shakhtar Donetsk and Fluminese. When we think of Brazil, we think of its striking prowess.

That lack of quality (perhaps unfairly) lent the entire group an also-ran feeling.

Most important, while defeat can be romantic as well, there is nothing fetching about a 7-1 loss. No one sings songs about the time the hero got his ass absolutely handed to him.

Since so many of Brazil's nonBrazilian fans were casual to begin with, they can casually wander over to a more attractive, more hopeful side. By this morning, most will have emigrated to the Dutch. They play the sort of soccer we once associated with Brazil.

Within this country, and after some lengthy period of garment rending, the legend of Brazil will resurface. That's a function of faith.

But outside, in the hearts of so many who only swung by to bask in the pomp every four years, it may never recover.

Associated Graphic

Brazilian newspaper front pages Wednesday recounted the carnage from Tuesday's 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany. Many headlines used the words 'humiliation' or 'disaster' to describe the result.

Road warriors: The new breed of food truck
Mobile vendors go well beyond the traditional street festival fare of hot dogs and hamburgers
Monday, July 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

When Zane Caplansky went to Toronto's Olympic Island Festival in 2010 to serve his signature smoked meat sandwiches and brisket sliders, he had a revelation. With a captive and hungry audience of music fans there to hear the likes of Arcade Fire and the Sadies at an all-day concert, it should have been a windfall for the eponymous Caplansky's Deli. But Mr. Caplansky couldn't keep up with demand.

"We were making everything by hand," he says, retelling the story. "Customers were frustrated, and across from us, there's this poutine truck serving fast all day."

Unlike Mr. Caplansky's mobile setup, the poutine truck was fully equipped to provide fast service that could deliver to the high volume of customers there. People who preferred Caplansky's didn't want to wait in line for three hours, and so the deli lost a lot of potential business. The choice for Mr. Caplansky was clear: He needed to get in the food truck business.

The next summer, Caplansky's Deli debuted Thunderin' Thelma, a $90,000 food truck affectionately named after his nana.

Emblazoned with an image of Mr. Caplansky, one of a new breed of food-truck operators who go well beyond the traditional hot dogs an hamburgers, his offerings were an instant hit on the local food scene.

They followed the lead of American counterparts in cities such as Portland, Austin and Los Angeles.

The rise over the past several years of such food trucks, which offer fresh foods from creative young chefs looking to fill a gap in the market, is not limited to Toronto. They have been heralded as invigorating the food scene in cities across Canada, but business isn't always easy.

In Tofino, British Columbia, Jason Sussman and Kaeli Robinsong founded Tacofino in 2009, and their friend Ryan Spong joined as a business partner a year later. There was a certain amount of excitement for what this new type of food truck could offer - the lower startup costs meant new entrants could more easily get into the business, experiment with different locations, and distinguish themselves from traditional street food like hot dogs by offering fresh, creative dishes.

Other food trucks, with names such as Thailicious (Ottawa), Attila the HUNgry (Edmonton) and Steakout Truck (Calgary) have popped up around the country. Even in chilly Winnipeg, 15 food trucks now roam the streets.

"The revolution is you have these great chefs, and they're making food with fresh ingredients," says Mr. Spong, whose business specializes in Mexican meets Asian fusion.

While food trucks only represent 1 per cent of the U.S. restaurant industry, that's still $650-million, according to a 2012 U.S. study by Intuit. Growth is expected to continue, with a fourfold increase projected by 2017.

Despite the numbers, Mr. Caplansky and Mr. Spong point out that food trucks face unique challenges.

"People think that owning a food truck is a gold mine and a recipe for success, but it really isn't," says Mr. Caplansky, who founded the Toronto Food Truck Alliance.

"We have all the same concerns as a brick-and-mortar restaurant, plus mobility."

Mobility has its difficulties. Trucks break down, and few mechanics are willing to work on them. Poor weather is also a concern, because as delicious as kimchi fries and curry burritos may be, people do not like to wait in rain or snow.

"It's a tough business on the street," says Mr. Spong, who adds most vendors also need a standalone venue in which to prepare food, whether a restaurant or commissary. "If you have to have a standalone kitchen, and staff for both, then you have a very high breakeven each day."

In addition to the startup costs of purchasing a vehicle, Mr. Spong says Tacofino pays over $3,000 a month in costs unique to the vehicle, not including the permit fees.

Given all the challenges, food trucks have their skeptics.

"It's not a viable business model," says Arron Barberian, who co-owns Barberian's Steakhouse in Toronto and is chair of the Toronto Restaurant Industry, a lobby group.

"The restaurant business is a very difficult business, and when you add the additional difficulties of a truck, it doesn't work," adding that he doesn't have anything against food trucks, but believes they're a fad.

Many food truck owners argue municipal regulatory and fee changes make it more difficult for their model to succeed.

Food truck operators say Toronto's permit fee is prohibitive at more than $5,000 a year, while and trucks must be 50 metres away from established restaurants.

Despite making 125 permits available in May, only nine food trucks have decided to purchase, the majority of trucks choosing to rent from private property owners such as commercial parking lots and serving festivals and events, which can be lucrative and come with a relatively predictable volume.

Mr. Caplansky does not plan to buy one of the permits, and has not enjoyed the regulatory process.

"It has been the most frustrating, most difficult, most painful experience I've ever undertaken," he says. "The fact that only nine mobile vending permits have been purchased speaks for itself."

City officials from Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal each stressed that the regulations were meant to balance competing business interests while meeting planning and health requirements.

Despite his frustration, Mr. Caplansky remains upbeat about the potential for food trucks.

"Six or seven members of the Food Truck Alliance are now starting up brick-and-mortar restaurants - food trucks served as an incubator for them."

"There will always be a platform for disruption in the food space," says Mr. Spong optimistically.

"There will always be young people with little capital but lots of creativity."

Associated Graphic

Zane Caplansky serves deli sandwiches at his Caplansky's food truck in Toronto.


Watching men watching sports
Why do they get so worked up? The competition, the simplicity, the vicarious thrills. And don't forget the 'man love'
Saturday, July 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F2

The other evening, I was in a bar watching the World Cup with some Dutch men. The Netherlands was playing Argentina, and all the men were wearing orange shirts. They cheered and groaned, pounding the table with their fists and yelling at the television. They were surprisingly emotional, for the Dutch.

I learned that one of the fans was a leading expert on pension funds. He showed me a photo of what he wears at home in Amsterdam when he watches his team play. It's an entire orange outfit, complete with a tail (I never gathered why). His wife always kisses the tail for luck.

What is it about sports that can turn the most sober, solid men into crazed fanatics? Whatever it is, I'm envious. Sport gives men access to an intensity of experience that leaves most women simply baffled. We are relegated to the sidelines. Our job is to make the popcorn. I can't say I'm bitter about that, because even though I enjoy rooting for the home team, I just don't care that much.

Sports is the purest embodiment of things guys love - competition, prowess, aggression, combat, winning. Even couch potatoes - especially couch potatoes - can get their thrills vicariously. Plus, sports is simple. There are winners and losers and scores and rules and, unlike life, the outcome is usually clear. As in combat, there are the good guys (our side) who are righteous and brave, and there is the despicable, evil tribe from across the valley who deserve to get the crap kicked out of them.

Men get as emotional about their teams as I get watching Gone with the Wind. When the Canadian hockey team beat Russia back in 1972, I thought it was ... well, very nice. Men thought it was the greatest moment since the end of the Second World War. The gritty little guys had kicked the communist robot juggernaut's ass. To this day, they can all remember exactly where they were when it happened.

My husband's deepest sports bromance is with the Boston Red Sox. He grew up in Quebec's Eastern Townships and his dad used to drive him down to see the games. For his entire life, he stayed loyal to the Red Sox, which were a lovable but awful team because of the Curse of the Bambino. (You can look that up.) At last, in 2004, the curse was broken and they won the World Series. "I can't remember if I thought I was going to burst into tears, or whether I actually did," he says.

Women confirm their values by sharing the most intimate moments of their lives with other women. Men confirm their values by talking with other men about what happens on the field. Sports is a safe house for their emotions. It's a place where they can let their feelings show and not be judged. It's also a safe house for masculinity, Canadian blogger James Howden writes. In a world that has become increasingly feminized, sports is a space where men can get away from women and have "honest, fulfilling and meaningful encounters with other men."

We're talking about "man love" - and it's rampant both on and off the field. Man love was what was going on when those phenomenally attractive Dutch players wrapped themselves in a group embrace as they steeled for the sudden-death kickoff round.

They reminded me of soldiers in the trenches during the First World War, pledging their loyalty to their comrades one last time before they went over the top into the jaws of almost certain doom.

It's not for nothing that we think of sports and war as two sides of the same coin. And sure, female athletes should be honoured too. But we honour them not because they play like women but because they play like men. (Though usually not as well.)

Playing sports teaches boys what it means to be men, which is something that only other men can teach. They learn to be tough and aggressive, to play to win, to suck it up when they lose or get hurt. These are valuable life lessons, though ones that aren't particularly fashionable in today's caring, sharing, feminized, personal-best world.

These days it's popular to ridicule sport, to pathologize and exaggerate its testosteronecharged excesses. But the values associated with sports and masculinity - perseverance, striving for excellence, risk-taking, selfsacrifice - are at least as necessary to society as the nurturing values of compromise, sympathy and understanding. And they're thrilling to see in action.

Which still doesn't explain why sports matters to them so much. As sportswriter Bill Simmons puts it in a quote on Mr. Howden's blog, "That's just the way it's always been. Ever since I can remember. You get older, your life changes ... and yet, one thing never changes for anyone who truly cares about sports. See, there's no feeling quite like watching your team blowing a big game. It's devastating. It's paralyzing. It's the only feeling that a 6-year-old, a 42-year-old and a 64year-old can share exactly. You never get over it. You never stop thinking about the three or four plays that could have swung the game. It becomes something of a sports tattoo. You live with it forever, and then you die."

Anyway, the Dutch team lost to Argentina in the penalty shootout. Everyone was sad. The man who usually wore the orange tail had been convinced that they might go the distance. Maybe it was his fault for not being home so his wife could kiss his tail. We'll never know.

Associated Graphic

Fans celebrate a Dutch win at the World Cup: An intensity of experience that leaves most women baffled.


When it comes to concussions, race teams are ahead of the pack
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

Former Target Chip Ganassi driver Dario Franchitti sometimes walks with a limp, although it depends on the shoes he's wearing, how long he's been on his feet and what he's been doing.

The uneven gait became a fact of life after his right ankle was turned into a bony maraca in a violent crash during an IndyCar race on the streets of Houston late last year.

"It's not bad," Franchitti said. "I have a lot of hardware in it - I don't know how much actually, but they had to stretch my leg and reconstruct it. Trust me, if a small limp happens occasionally, I'll take it."

What he can't take is getting his bell rung again.

Like many players in contact sports such as football and hockey, Franchitti, 41, made the only real choice available to him after the Texas accident caused his third big concussion: Retirement.

Simply put, another concussion could mean permanent brain damage for the popular four-time IndyCar champion and threetime Indianapolis 500 winner.

"It could have been a lot worse and I am thankful it wasn't," said Franchitti, who swaps his familiar red Target-logoed overalls for jeans and a black team polo shirt at this weekend's Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Exhibition Place. He is now an adviser for the Ganassi team.

"I had a lovely time in racing and there's no regrets it didn't go on longer - well, occasionally I think I would love to have gone for [a record-tying] four Indy 500 wins, but the reality is that I wasn't getting any younger anyway and it gets harder and harder to do what these guys do."

As in many other sports, concussions have become a major concern in motor racing, where drivers' heads often get thrown around fiercely in crashes. Think shaking a stick that has a bowling ball attached to the top end by a short rope.

While they've been a part of racing for decades, concern about concussions in motorsport intensified after megastar Dale Earnhardt Jr. admitted he hid one sustained in a heavy testing accident and drove in some NASCAR Sprint Cup races during the 2012 season while still exhibiting symptoms.

But years before it became a hot topic, many racing series quietly began establishing baselines for drivers using Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) developed in the late 1990s by the Sports Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. It measures the brain's reaction times, calculation abilities and memory, among other things, which can be compared to the results of a test done prior to the event that caused a brain injury. It can be taken anywhere, on a laptop or even a smartphone.

Former Championship Auto Racing Teams medical director Dr. Stephen Olvey implemented the testing about 12 years ago for all drivers in that series to ensure he had a scientific way to keep concussed drivers out of the cockpit.

"Athletes will deny the symptoms because they want to stay in the game or the race," said Dr. Olvey, who is an associate professor of Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery at the University of Miami and a founding fellow of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile Institute for Motorsports Safety.

"The thing that we are all worried about is detecting concussion and being aware of when it happens. What we are trying to do is educate parents, crewmen, owners and other drivers so if they suspect that a driver is not acting normal in any way following an event of some kind that they will notify someone so they can get tested."

In racing, concussions can occur even when the driver's head doesn't get hit by anything. The forces in a vicious high-speed spin alone can cause the head to rotate so violently that a driver can be knocked out. It's the same principle that causes the lights to go out for boxer who is pegged by a hard uppercut to the jaw.

Canada's James Hinchcliffe had his own concussion scare in an early May race this year when an errant piece of another driver's front wing hit him almost square in his helmet's visor. The initial impact from the debris and the second hit, which happened when his head snapped back, both exceeded 100 times gravity.

The Andretti Autosport driver surprised many experts by matching his preinjury ImPACT results just five days after not knowing what month it was when he was hauled away in an ambulance. Ten days after being cleared, he raced in the Indianapolis 500.

"Concussions are definitely something we are very conscious of and again it's usually one of those situations where it takes another incident for us to really kind of light the fire, but this is one we seem to be chasing pretty hard now," Hinchcliffe said.

"If you've never had one, you drive around and think: 'Well, you know if I get one, I get one. It happens.' As someone who hopes to do this for many more years, it sucks to have the freebie already gone - I have spent my get-outof-jail-free card."

Dr. Olvey urges any parent with a child in racing to get a baseline test done to make sure that any suspected concussion can be diagnosed effectively. Young brains are especially sensitive to them and need to be given added care in concussion situations.

"You really need to make sure that if they have one that it's treated appropriately and completely before they are allowed to go and do it again," he said.

"But I would like to say that if someone asked me whether I would rather have my son race cars or play football, I would have him race cars."

Anti-spam law is a pain in the marketing plan
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B6

Each week, we seek expert advice to help a small or medium-sized business overcome a key issue. What do you do when the government, with the stroke of a pen, restricts one of your most important means of communicating with customers?

For years, Macadamian Technologies Inc. had compiled a list of its clients' e-mail addresses. The software design and development firm, which is based in Gatineau, Que., used it to cultivate relationships with current customers and woo prospective ones as well by sending out helpful white papers, customer testimonials, podcasts and videos.

That was before one of Canada's most comprehensive and strict privacy bills, called Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), took effect on July 1.

The law, which was passed to combat electronic spam, requires businesses to get express consent from recipients in order to send commercial messages such as e-mails or texts.

The 17-year-old company's database had yielded good results over the years, but now its use has been severely curtailed.

"Our reach is going to be reduced. That's really a concern," said Brooks Riendeau, senior manager of market development for the company, whose software applies to a range of activities, including social media, productivity and health care, where, for example, they assist physicians in accessing patients' records any time and anywhere.

To comply with the law, Macadamian sent e-mails asking for consent. It noted the kind of content it had been providing, and explained what its customers could expect to receive in the future.

The response? About 10 per cent opted in, Mr. Riendeau said, noting that while an overwhelming majority of the remaining 90 per cent didn't expressly reject Macadamian's approach, neither did they respond. And that, under the CASL legislation, is as good as opting out.

Having a pre-existing business relationship doesn't necessarily help, either. The CASL law provides for the notion of "implied consent" if the other party is already a customer.

For instance, one could argue that a prospective client who has filled out a form and requested a piece of information from Macadamian would then be considered to have a relationship with the company. But that "really doesn't necessarily go all the way with the new CASL legislation," Mr. Riendeau said. It expressly requires a direct, simple affirmation of consent in order to continue sending communications, he said.

Macadamian now finds itself looking for alternative strategies that will provide the same type of reach it found through its database.

The experts How can Macadamian make up for the reduction in effectiveness of its e-mail marketing?

Kersi Antia Associate professor of marketing at the University of Western Ontario's Richard Ivey School of Business, London, Ont.

Even if a firm gets lucky doing e-mail solicitation, the best they can hope for is about a 1- or 2-per-cent response rate.

Alternatively, some companies are doing some very neat things to create a buzz about their brand, and gaining both recognition and customers. One that stands out for me is WestJet, which is using social media platforms in a very creative manner, such as the "Christmas Miracle" video or the April Fool's Day messages they've been sending out in the past few years.

Social media creates buzz, and viral marketing takes on a life of its own. Think creatively about what you would like your brand to stand for, in terms of a message you could get out that people would be receptive to.

Think: How can I be different from the others? Increase your credibility and relevance. Show how you're in the forefront of what's going on out there such as with Q&As and blog postings, or white papers for interested parties to download, and thereby consent to being contacted.

Mark Hanley Manager, entrepreneur centre, Kingston Economic Development Corp., Kingston

Why not consider going back to the age-old tradition of print media? I realize it's more expensive and it has to be distributed in a reliable manner. But print media still has its place.

The other option is cold calling with one-on-one personal telephone calls. That is very time consuming. But blast e-mails represent a lazy way of marketing.

Firms should take more of a targeted marketing approach.

I recall what one company did long ago, before the Internet.

They went to a trade show and investigated the list of buyers who were going to be in attendance, and contacted each one of those buyers by fax, telephone and with a hand-addressed brochure. Then they booked times in hotel rooms to meet one-on-one and show them the product.

They came back with about 10 times the signed orders required by their investor.

Rob Cameron Chief product and marketing officer, Moneris Solutions Corp., Toronto

Look to partner with associations and agencies that would have already captured the express consent of members of those targeted industries. Pharmaceutical, health advocacy and education groups might, for example, be a great place to look. I would also look at opportunities to leverage existing or even new business relationships to create complementary solutions to address a wider customer base.

And a third area to look at, given their strength in digital user experience, is creating compelling content and information that would actually bring people in their target verticals to them.

With those inbound interactions would come the opportunity for them to create leads and ultimately, sales.

Facing a challenge? If your company could use expert help, please contact us at Follow us@GlobeSmallBiz.

Interviews have been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

Macadamian Technologies was relying on clients' e-mail addresses for marketing and outreach. Canada's anti-spam law has curtailed that, says Brooks Riendeau, senior manager of market development.


Kent Monkman's new commission for the SITE Santa Fe gallery in New Mexico, James Adams writes, brilliantly blends art history with colonial critique
Thursday, July 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

It's hard to suppress a chuckle, even an outright laugh, when confronted by one of Kent Monkman's intricately detailed, richly coloured paintings or mixed-media installations or videos. Yet for all his puckishness, this Cree-Irish Canadian from St. Marys, Ont. is one of the most ambitious and serious figures in contemporary Canadian art, his works complex postcolonial acts of revenge - or at least reversal - combining outrage with the outrageous. So it is with his latest creation, Bête Noire, an epic-scaled sculptural installation/diorama, 490-by-490-by-305 centimetres, commissioned by SITE Santa Fe gallery for SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, opening this week at the New Mexico institution for a run ending Jan. 11.

Close to 50 international artists, chosen by a four-person curatorial team, are participating in the much-anticipated exhibition - its theme is Unsettled Landscapes - billed as a "radical rethinking" of the famous SITE Santa Fe biennial. Seven of the artist participants are Canadian, most of them aboriginal; Monkman, 49, however, is the only one of the seven to get one of 13 commissions to produce original work for the SITE site.

When it was conceived in 1995 to "bring the global contemporary art dialogue to the art-rich American Southwest," the Santa Fe biennial was one of just a handful of such events.

Now, notes Canada's Candice Hopkins, a member of this year's curatorial quartet: "They number more than 200." Hereafter, the biennial will occur every six years, so the curatorial team can "work with artists to develop their best work," she says, while ensuring the event "is not at all driven by art-market interests."

Bête Noire marks the Torontobased Monkman's fourth (and biggest) foray into the diorama or diorama-like idiom. A staple of Western museum presentation, the diorama historically is known for the earnest stiffness of its taxidermied creatures (sometimes of the extinct or endangered variety) positioned in a pseudo-naturalistic environment against a painted background.

Growing up in Winnipeg, Monkman occasionally would visit what was previously called the Museum of Man and Nature there, "where they had, still have, these life-size dioramas of First Nations people frozen in their idyllic, precontact state. As a kid on school trips, I remember being fascinated by them and sort of disturbed."

The neighbourhood around the museum was more roughshod and impoverished than now, he recalled,"with First Nations people tumbling out of bars, but inside the museum, these same people were much more idealized in these glass displays."

Bête Noire's backdrop, in acrylic, is based on Albert Bierstadt's famous 1888 canvas The Last of the Buffalo, depicting - with typical Western wrong-headedness and historical inaccuracy - the extermination of the bison herds by horse-mounted aboriginals, not gun-toting whites. Monkman turns the historic table by presenting the buffalo as a contentedly living, largely thriving species. What is dead is a large, flattened Picasso-like bull or steer (made largely from pieces of real cowhide, in fact) in the diorama's foreground. He's been felled by two pink arrows fired by the hog-riding Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, a sort of longstanding alter ego/muse of Monkman, inspired by the gender-bending, cross-dressing berdache of aboriginal cultures.

That's Monkman's face on Miss Chief. "I've been putting a cast of my head on all of these different figure sculptures for a while," he observed recently, just a few weeks, in fact, after the close of his first-ever commercial solo show in New York, at Sargent's Daughters gallery. "I started to do that after going to the Museum of Natural History in New York and visiting the Native American Wing. I noticed they'd basically standardized all the Native Americans with one face.

It was hard to tell if it was, like, male or female, although it kinda looked more male than female - something that was particularly awkward on the female mannequins. So," he said with a laugh, "I thought I'd just standardize everybody with my own face."

As with pretty much all of Monkman's previous output, Bête Noire is a rich engagement with art history - where the art has been presented (museums, galleries) and what the art has contained. "I've been thinking a lot about modernism the last couple of years, how that deconstruction of the European painting tradition, the flattening of pictorial space, ran concurrently with the flattening or suppression of indigenous cultures, probably the worst of which happened in the last 150 years with the reservation system and the residential schools."

This thinking, too, has led Monkman to a consideration of the (mostly male) icons of modern art, including Picasso. "He was so macho; his work was really an extension of his penis. ... So I've been pondering that male dominance of Western art, the tension between male and female. It's informed a lot of my work. ... In this case, Miss Chief is taking on this bull, Picasso's bull, this Cubist-like creation and symbol of machismo for modern art [and] deflating it."

Unsettled Landscapes, the inaugural edition of SITElines: New Persepectives on Art in the Americas, opens to the public Sunday at SITE Santa Fe in Santa Fe, N.M., and runs through Jan. 11, 2015.

Associated Graphic

Detail from Bête Noire by Kent Monkman, an epic-scaled sculptural installation/diorama that goes on display this week in New Mexico.


Kent Monkman's Bête Noire is an epic-scaled sculptural installation/diorama, 490-by-490-by-305 centimetres, that goes on display this week at that SITE Santa Fe gallery in New Mexico.

Monkman was inspired by Albert Bierstadt's famous 1888 oil painting, The Last of the Buffalo.

Snowpiercer keeps its message straightforward
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R1


Directed by Bong Joon-ho

Written by Bong Joon-ho and Kelly Masterson

Starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Song Kang-ho, John Hurt

Classification: 14A; 126 minutes 3 ½

Snowpiercer feels like a response to that oft-repeated, tricky-tosource leftist refrain that "it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism." The film, based on a French graphic novel and co-written and directed by South Korea's Bong Joon-ho (making his English-language debut), imagines an end-ofthe-world scenario where the scaffolding of capitalism remains perfectly intact, without even actual capitalism bunging up the works.

In 2014, a last-ditch attempt to forestall global warming by releasing a concentrated coolant into the atmosphere backfires, leaving the earth trapped under ice. What few survivors remain rocket around the planet on the Snowpiercer: an enormous locomotive initially developed by an eccentric engineer as a luxury holiday alternative, repurposed post-apocalypse as a "rattling ark," forever circumnavigating the globe, powered by a perpetual motion engine that's worshipped like a god.

And, as it was apparently impossible to envision an alternative, the train is separated, head-to-tail, cabin-by-cabin, by class.

The wealthy snack on sushi and laze about in saunas in the front, while the teeming stowaways in steerage subsist on jelly-like protein slabs and slowly plot their insurrection. Their leader is Curtis (Chris Evans, Captain America himself), who snatches the glowering upper-crust emissary Mason (Tilda Swinton, splitting the difference between Margaret Thatcher and The Simpsons'Mr. Burns) and leads the charge toward the front of the train to capture the engine.

Because there's no wealth (and very little labour) produced aboard the train, its class hierarchies exist only for themselves, propagated by the chugging forward momentum of convention. With its astonishingly unembellished capitalist parable - if it even makes sense to call it that; it's more text than subtext - in which the train serves, literally, as both a narrative and thematic vehicle, Snowpiercer is almost bracingly simple. And better for it.

Kneading ripped-from-today'sheadlines relevance into blockbusters has become boringly de rigueur. The Avengers acknowledged the surveillance state; The Dark Knight Rises brought simmering class tension in America to full boil; Star Trek Into Darkness and Captain America: The Winter Soldier tried to pinch some residual resonance by dallying in stories about drone warfare. Any time something with an engine hits something assertively erect it is, intentionally or not, about 9/11.

It'd be passably interesting, if the messaging weren't so consistently muddied. Time and again, these superhero sci-fi spectacles acknowledge the machinery of the contemporary politics of power only to reassert the basic premises that bogusly authorize them in the first place. There are good guys and bad guys, and as long as the self-ennobled good guys are around, the bad guys will rue the day. Basically: Hovering remote controlled gunships don't kill people; people kill people.

Hooey. And Snowpiercer knows it.

In this movie, it's the system - the machinery itself - that's faulty. The rallying revolutionaries aren't uncomplicated good guys, their rank-and-file dominated by thugs, inebriates, cannibals and junkies (South Korean superstar Song Kang-ho). Likewise, Bong and co-writer Kelly Masterson (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead) even manage to make Swinton's bitter gargoyle briefly sympathetic, just another pitiable human playing her role within a perverted system of inequality and disorder. A particularly gripping (and violent) mid-train melee recesses as radicals and black-shirted police forces take a breather to count down the New Year, as if, even amid their bloody antagonism, they are collectively bound by circumstance.

This is powerful stuff, and all the more so for its straightforwardness. (Again: literally, the story moves in a straight line.) As with John Carpenter's They Live (about magical sunglasses that reduce the corporate upholstery of billboards and ads into simple edicts to "OBEY") and Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan's Josie And The Pussycats (about record company honchos conspiring with the U.S. government to drive teenage consumption via subliminal messaging), Snowpiercer's howling obviousness is its greatest asset. It's a reassertion of basic premises, as artless and elegant as a graffiti scrawl across a bank reading "CAPITALISM STINKS!"

It's only when Snowpiercer gets too clever for its own good that it lolls. Toward the climax, the train's "benevolent" conductor (Ed Harris) applauds Curtis's bloody revolution as "a blockbuster production," a not-so-sly joke on the film's own precarious status within the popcorn flick pantheon. And the casting of a hunched, browbeaten John Hurt as the tail-end's radical paterfamilias, Gilliam, works as a dystopian cinema twofer joke: at once suggesting Hurt's performance as Winston in Michael Radford's adaptation of 1984, as well as director Terry Gilliam, whose Brazil is the Citizen Kane of this strain of dorky downer sci-fi. But these are minor movie geek distractions in a film that otherwise moves with the effective, impressive chug-alug swiftness of its namesake locomotive.

As its curtain drops, Snowpiercer offers an alternative to the existing order that such films seem so often incapable of conceiving, the future of humanity shouldered on perhaps the unlikeliest survivors of revolutionary uprising. Without "spoiling" it, it's a film that at least opens up a possibility for change, instead of providing another rote reshuffling of power from the Black Hats back to the White Hats.

Or maybe such sunny, optimistic readings are just a product of what Swinton's character terms, early in the film, "the misplaced optimism of the doomed."

Associated Graphic

Tilda Swinton, centre, plays the upper-crust emissary Mason.

Snowpiercer, an enormous locomotive repurposed post-apocalypse as a 'rattling ark,' shuttles Earth's survivors endlessly around the globe.

A renovation worthy of the Great War
After a $74-million overhaul, London's Imperial War Museum reopens with new First World War galleries
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Print Edition, Page T4

LONDON -- Outside London's Imperial War Museum, two colossal grey naval cannons present their 16.5-metre-long barrels at a low angle, as if preparing to shell the town. This type of 15-inch gun was first used to bombard Gallipoli in 1915, and since January has been the only artifact from the IWM's immense First World War collection visible here.

An ambitious $74-million renovation closed what was once an asylum for the mad - the infamous Bethlem Royal Hospital, or Bedlam - but which since 1936 has memorialized the insanity and heroism of war.

Today, the museum reopens with new and expanded First World War galleries, which curators hope will change our perspective on this great conflict of a century ago.

"This is a museum that really connects with ordinary people's lives," IWM director Diane Lees says. "Wars are not isolated events. They happen in the context of developing societies."

Lees likes to say that the IWM's job is to look at "the causes, the course and the consequences" of armed conflict. The new First World War galleries will, accordingly, devote more attention to political and social conditions prior to the war, to the home front's role in supporting and sometimes challenging the conflict, and to lasting results on the combatant nations and on the waging of war itself.

Those who fought the war and most who remember it are gone - a fact that has made its mark on plans for the galleries. Curator James Taylor says the museum can no longer assume, as it could when his war-veteran granddad led him around when he was 7, that living memory can help fill in the blanks around artifacts.

The display will run on two sides of a horseshoe-shaped promenade, with the war represented on the outside wall, and the home front - including Germany's - on the inside. Rather than hitting all the big battles, Taylor says, his team has tried to tell a story that covers the war's chronology while highlighting major themes and developments.

It also wanted to give visitors some striking "pub facts" to take away with them, such as the surprising extent of air raids during the war. Powerful artifacts, such as a blood-stained tunic (donated by the man who was wounded in it) and a letter written by a woman unaware that her lover was already dead, have been given a stronger context, Taylor says. A big British howitzer that used to stand on the floor of the museum's atrium amid a jumble of other large objects will now command the area at the top of the horseshoe that deals with the Battle of the Somme.

"Many people think that the machine gun was the war's dominant weapon," Taylor says, "but over 60 per cent of casualties were caused by artillery." The high-tech weapon of the day was a 75-mm cannon that could load and fire 10 times faster than Napoleonic artillery, and that forced armies to dig themselves into trenches.

The exhibits will also question popular mythologies, such as the Christmas truce, which Taylor says was not just a poignant interlude but also an occasion to bring in the dead. He also debunks the idea of a prewar "Edwardian idyll" that was smashed by the conflict. "Large portions of the population were living in abject poverty," he says.

War offered many people the chance of adventure and steady pay.

The IWM has five different branches, of which the London headquarters was the most in need of investment when Lees, a veteran of five previous cultural building campaigns, became director six years ago. The heritage structure, lodged within a protected park, did not allow for any expansion, so architect Foster + Partners was asked to thoroughly rejig the existing space.

Structural reinforcements made it possible to create a new atrium in which large objects can be presented on different levels, instead of crowded together on the floor.

The Second World War galleries, which used to share a level with the Great War, have been sent upstairs, allowing the space for the First World War to expand by one-third.

But while its physical quarters in London remain constrained, IWM is expanding around the globe through a "digital redistribution" of materials online.

Through a site called, 2,800 registered partners in 49 countries are able to download 16 free display panels about the First World War, ready to be printed and displayed. Lees is keen to de-imperialize her collections by digitizing them or lending important artifacts to Commonwealth partners. "We want to take the Vimy Ridge flag, which is a centrepiece in our galleries, to Canada for 2017," she says.

The IWM is also gathering and displaying items from conflicts in progress. It has been collecting in Afghanistan for 4½ years, has made 1,200 recordings of troop and family experiences, and two years ago exhibited a motorbike captured from Taliban insurgents just weeks earlier. Ideally, Lees says, the museum will display a similarly nimble response to any continuing conflict involving Commonwealth troops, inserting new objects into exhibitions whenever possible.

Unusually, the museum's visitor response cards ask not just for people's opinions of the exhibits, but also what could have been done differently. Sometimes, the results make for tough reading, although Lees says that's part of running a museum that connects emotionally with people in ways that a science museum might not.

"The more you open up the conversation, the more contested it becomes," she says. "You have to expect that the criticism and praise will be in equal measure."

Admission to the Imperial War Museum London is free. For more information visit

Associated Graphic

Changes include a revamp of the historic, grand atrium by Foster + Partners and a First World War trench exhibit.


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