Globe correspondent Mark MacKinnon learns the truth about what it means to be a Scot
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F5

'Aye, a MacKinnon. So you're one of them, are you?" I don't have much experience being "one of them." I've travelled to many places where the concept of "us" and "them" has ripped families - and countries - apart. But I am a spectator, a witness. Even at home, watching the seismic Quebec referendum in 1995 on an oversized TV set at my university's pub felt like watching a sporting event instead of a nation on the verge of breaking in two. I cheered each time the "Non" side gained a fraction of a percentage point, and gasped when "our" lead shrank, but privately I was jealous of the young nationalists I knew in the Parti Québécois. They had a cause. Something to believe in. Something I lacked growing up in the comfortable numbness of suburban anglophone Canada.

But now in faraway Scotland, I'm immediately recognized - by a man in a Glasgow church with an accent so thick his Rs rumble like an old car starting in winter - as "one of them."

My name adorns hotels and war monuments from Glasgow to the Isle of Skye. And the history that has led to next week's referendum on leaving the United Kingdom is interwoven with that of my family. My ancestors died fighting for Scottish independence, most recently with Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie - the "young pretender" to the British throne who led them to disaster at Culloden. Now, their cause is within "my" people's grasp.

Of course, I'm not quite a participant - only those who have lived in Scotland for the past five years may cast a ballot on Thursday. But wherever I go in Scotland I am inevitably asked: "How would you vote, if you could?"

I decided that, before answering, I need to better understand the land my ancestors left so long ago, and perhaps a little of what it means to be Scottish today - as well as what's at stake in next week's crucial vote.

My starting point is the story on the back of a whisky bottle.

Haggis was served at my father's birthday party. I avoided it

While growing up in Ottawa, being of Scottish descent meant little to me.

I felt more in touch with my mother's Irish side and my grandmother's French ancestry than with the traditions associated with my family's name. Haggis was served at my father's 50th birthday party, but I avoided eating it after hearing what it was made of - sheep's innards.

Being Scottish mainly meant having to correct misspellings - Mckinnon is the most common, although I've also received mail for Mr. McCannon and Mr. McSkimming - and token gestures such as wearing a vest with our clan's "hunting tartan" on my wedding day.

There was also Drambuie: I don't remember the first time I tried the honey-sweetened take on Scotch, and I'm not sure it ranks in the pantheon of great whiskys, but for years my favourite bar trick was to spin the dark red bottle around and proudly read out my family history to my drinking companions.

"When Bonnie Prince Charlie came to Scotland in 1745 to make his gallant but unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne of his ancestors, he presented the recipe to a MacKinnon of Skye as a reward for his services," I'd pronounce, not really knowing what or where Skye was (this was before smartphones and Wikipedia). "The secret of its preparation has remained with the MacKinnon family, and the manufacture has been carried on by successive generations to this day."

That was it. A tartan, some dodged haggis and the Drambuie story. Oh, and a fridge magnet with our clan motto: "Fortune favours the brave."

I suspect that I'm far from alone in this experience. The last census found there were 4.7 million Canadians of Scottish descent, meaning we make up just over 15 per cent of the population. History books are replete with the contributions of Scottish Canadians - from Sir John A. Macdonald, William Lyon Mackenzie, Alexander Graham Bell and Tommy Douglas (all born in Scotland) to Kim Campbell, Bob Rae and Beverly McLaughlin (all of Scottish descent) - so "we" have made our mark.

But we've done so quietly.

There's a Little Italy, a Chinatown and a prominent Irish pub in most Canadian cities, but until I visited Edinburgh for the first time 15 years ago, I'd never seen the Scottish flag, the Saltire, hanging in public.

Years later, when I was posted to Jerusalem as a Globe and Mail correspondent, I became fascinated with the way Jews were judged by how connected they were to their land and their culture. Never been to Israel? You're "a bad Jew."

But I had never made the typical expat pilgrimage (we're known here as "tartan turkeys") to play the bagpipes or try on a kilt. I was, by anyone's standards, a bad Scot.

This journey turns to be one of constant surprises, beginning with the fact that, until I started planning it, I didn't realize that I had a chief - one "Anne MacKinnon of MacKinnon."

No echoes of Quebec's anxiety, no need for a Clarity Act

The first stop on my quest is Edinburgh, and I expect the capital to be a hub of activity and debate on the eve of such a crucial moment in history.

The question that voters must answer is beautifully clear: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" There will be no echoes of Quebec's anxiety over what "sovereignty association" really means. No need for a Clarity Act. But there would still be pandemonium after a Yes vote.

By most standards, Scotland has done well in the 307 years since the Acts of Union were signed joining it to England and Wales in a newly named Great Britain.

Although at one time considered something of a fiscal basket case, Scotland today would rank in the top half of the 34 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development economies in terms of gross domestic product per capita - at $39,600 in 2012, almost $4,000 higher than the rest of Britain.

Scots complain about being governed poorly by the English in faraway London, but two of the past three prime ministers, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, were born in Scotland. And while David Cameron is widely reviled here - his Conservatives won just one of Scotland's 59 seats in the last general election - his name also reveals his Scottish roots.

Scotland already has some independence within the union. It has always had its own legal system, and a 1997 referendum created a Scottish parliament in Edinburgh with broad autonomy and taxation powers. But foreign affairs, defence, social security, monetary policy and energy - particularly controversial because of Scotland's North Sea oil wealth - are still in the hands of Westminster.

How successful a fully independent Scotland would be depends on unknowables, such as whether it would be smoothly accepted into the European Union (of which Scots are much more fond than the rest of increasingly Euroskeptic Britain), and whether a Scottish government could convince a jilted Britain to create a currency union that would allow Edinburgh to continue using the pound sterling.

A vote for Yes, then, is unquestionably a vote to step away from comfort to plunge into dark waters. But a No vote also would push the Scots somewhere new and uncertain - by unravelling one of their treasured myths, that of a people who would choose "freedom" over all other considerations.

Many outsiders know Scottish history through Braveheart, which tells the story of William Wallace, who united Scotland's fractious clans in the 13th century to confront the oppressive English. The film is based on history as dodgy as Mel Gibson's accent, but it does a decent job of capturing Scotland's sense of itself.

Scots - even many of those who say they will vote No to independence - are obsessed with the idea that the English look down their noses and treat them unfairly. A convincing No vote would deal a body blow to what they call the "Braveheart spirit" here. It would mean that Scots, whose independence was negotiated away by their leaders three centuries ago, now consent to that arrangement.

People in Edinburgh are worried, although only quietly. The debates, so far, are polite and respectful. As I crisscross the city, all I see are a giant orange "You Yes Yet?" poster in the window of a food shop on the famed Royal Mile (beside a picture of a woman responding to No campaign literature: "I smell shite") and one No sticker ("Proud to be Scots, Delighted to be United") in the window of a home in the upper-class Inverleith neighbourhood.

Hardly evidence of a nation on the brink.

But the relative calm is misleading, based in part on polls consistently showing the pro-union side comfortably in the lead. (This week the mood suddenly changed when, for the first time, the Yes side crept ahead with 51 per cent.)

'No one knows what will happen. I think there's a lot of fear'

Below the surface, opinions are sharply divided, as I find when I arrange to meet three friends at a café (and bicycle repair store) called Ronde. One is a Yes supporter and one No, with the third undecided but leaning to No.

The conversation is raucous at times, the friends trying to talk over each other to make a point. Eventually, the entire café joins the fray. First, the barista goes Yes, and the bicycle mechanic comes out from the back to ask politely that I scribble down his reasons for doing the same. Then his customer - an oil company employee who has come in for a tuneup and a coffee - counters with his arguments for supporting No.

The random gathering becomes an even split, just as the pollsters are finding, when the oil exec is backed by two women who have been swayed by the "Better Together" argument that Scots would suffer financially for going it alone. One projection is a per capita hit of about $2,500 a year (versus the Yes estimate of an $1,800 annual windfall).

"The whole thing about independence is no one knows what will happen," says Shelagh Atkinson, a fiftysomething visual artist. "I think there's a lot of fear."

Robin McBride, the oil man, also fits the No profile: slightly older (55) and substantially better off.

"My concern is that, if we say yes, we're going to turn in on ourselves," he says. "We can subdivide and subdivide until I put a sign on my gate that says you have to pay to get in."

The other males, though, are typical of the Yes camp - two of them working class (one argues that Scotland, once free of the Conservative governments repeatedly foisted on it by England, would build a Scandinavianstyle social democracy) and all swayed by the emotional pull of independence.

"It's a matter of faith," says Finbar Lockhart, the 21-year-old barista. "You just have to decide you're willing to take the leap."

And what, I ask, does it mean to be Scottish in 2014?

The question sparks long silences from both sides. "They say you're Scottish if you like haggis and Irn-Bru," Mr. Lockhart finally offers, referring to the dish I once refused to eat (and still don't much like) and Scotland's electric-orange soft drink.

"That's the jokey answer. But I guess you're Scottish if you feel like it's home."

I lost my clan chief almost as soon as I knew I had one

Home, haggis and Irn-Bru, couldn't keep our clan chief in Scotland.

I first heard the rumblings via the clan's (members-only) page on Facebook that Anne MacKinnon of MacKinnon, who inherited her post from her father, Neil, is an absentee chief. In fact, no one seems to know where she is. I find a street address - in Somerset, in western England, of all places - but no phone number or e-mail address.

I write to the Standing Committee of Scottish Chiefs (yes, there is one) and get this disheartening reply: "I am afraid Anne MacKinnon is not on the standing council by her own volition. Nor does she have much to do with the MacKinnons."

The closest thing to a replacement I can find is Gerald McKinnon, the "Representative of the Clan MacKinnon of MacKinnon" - a title bestowed on him by Anne's father. But even he now lives in Victoria, and tells me he too has failed to make contact with our chief.

"It quickly became obvious that she did not have the same interest in clan affairs as her father or grandfather did. Our policy then has been to respect her privacy."

I've lost my clan chief almost as soon as I knew I had one, but there is still the Drambuie bottle.

Which leads me, magically, oddly, to the great-grandson of George Brown - the same man who became a father of Confederation after launching a little newspaper called The Globe in Toronto.

Jonathan Brown is an Oxford history graduate who dabbled in farming before becoming the Drambuie Liquor Company's "brand heritage director" 15 years ago (even though his great-grandfather was an ardent advocate of prohibition).

He assures me that the story on the bottle is true. Mostly. As far as anyone knows.

The MacKinnons were loyal Jacobites, meaning they supported the claim of (the ousted Catholic) King James II and his descendants to rule England, Scotland and Ireland. They had, indeed, joined Bonnie Prince Charlie when he arrived from France in 1745 to seek his grandfather's throne, and marched with him until his final, terrible defeat at Culloden the following year. Fortunate to miss the battle itself - the MacKinnon fighters were sent to find food for the prince's starving army - the clan later sheltered the fugitive Charlie in a cave on the Isle of Skye, its stronghold. His thanks was to share one of his few remaining possessions, the recipe for his personal whisky.

Little of that can be proved, Mr. Brown acknowledges as we chat in his kitchen over tea, biscuits and, of course, glasses of 15-yearold Drambuie. But it is known that, more than a century later, a MacKinnon came across a scrap of paper with a recipe that fit the legend. He took it to the Broadford Hotel on Skye, where the owner started serving it to patrons (setting off a decadeslong feud over who deserved the credit - and the royalties).

The hotel in Broadford is still standing. Maybe there are answers there. I need to head north.

Alcohol and politics don't mix: 'No indy talk at bar'

But first I stop in Glasgow, an hour's train ride west of Edinburgh - and a vast change from the capital's fairytale Scotland of castles and kilted bagpipers on every corner.

Glasgow is the country's complex and divided soul, a gritty place where voting patterns often mirror soccer affiliations. Rangers fans have traditionally been Protestants, and usually pro-union, holding Northern Ireland-style "Orange Order" marches (even during this politically charged summer). Celtic fans are usually Catholic, with ancestors who came from Ireland during the potato famine, and are voting yes, or at least telling friends and family they are.

Unlike sterile, polite Edinburgh, here the independence debate is everywhere. The first whisky bar I visit has posted a warning: "No indy talk at bar."

"It's okay at the tables," the bartender explains. "But here at the bar, the staff were getting dragged into the arguments. Politics and alcohol don't mix."

The bar is not far (down aptly named Hope Street) from the hub of the entire Yes campaign, a sunken street-front office with walls covered in posters: "Independence, it's what we all want in life," one reads. "Scotland is wealthy enough to be a fairer nation," proclaims another, contrasting the priorities of a "Nordic" Scotland with those of capitalist England.

Stuart McDonald, the campaign's youthful senior researcher, is in an upbeat mood when we meet. "There's obviously a chance we can win this," he says, smiling as we settle into chairs the same blue as the Saltire.

In fact, Yes strategists believe the polls chronically understate their real level of support. Pollsters themselves acknowledge that Yes supporters who are young or working class tend to be underrepresented in surveys.

Nor do polls capture the fact that Yes supporters are generally more passionate - and thus more likely to vote. Throw in the getout-the-vote capability of First Minister Alex Salmond and the Scottish National Party and there's plenty of room to shock the world Thursday. (No pollster predicted the SNP would form its majority government in 2011.)

That's what the Yes side is about.

Hope and belief.

Not far away, hidden from sight on the cramped fourth floor of an office tower, the Better Together camp is trying to convince Scots to vote with their heads rather than their hearts.

Like their support base, most No staffers seem about 20 years older than those on the Yes side. There are fewer laptops and smartphones here, more piles of paper. The literature attempts to highlight what would be worse if Scotland goes it alone, without being too downbeat.

"There is a concern of sounding too negative," says Bill Symon, a former newspaper editor whose job is to persuade businesses, which prefer stability to the unknown, to go public with their concerns.

But many companies worry about a backlash. Two No voters from Aberdeen - Scotland's oil hub and key to its hope of becoming a European energy power - tell me that cars and shops of known union supporters have been vandalized. "There's a lot of people who are afraid to put up a No sign because they'll be vilified," says another No voter, asking not to be identified.

One thing is certain: We are almost as Catholic as the Pope

When I start my journey, I reach out to see if my relatives know more than the Drambuie Company about where we are from. No one does. An industrious cousin once tried to retrace our roots and hit a dead end when she discovered our grandfather's grandfather had left no birth certificate. But one thing we know for certain is that we are almost as Catholic as the Pope.

My late grandfather MacKinnon, who was born in Prince Edward Island, was so devout that he initially didn't want to attend my wedding (my wife was raised in the United Church of Canada). We got the whole clan on board only by promising to hold a Catholic ceremony a month later.

So when I walk into the austere St. Colomba Church in downtown Glasgow - a sacred place for the MacKinnon clan, with our family coat-of-arms hanging in one room and, in the cathedral itself, a plaque listing the names of the 232 MacKinnons who died in the First World War - I assume it to be a Catholic place of worship.

In fact, it is a Presbyterian Church, and the volunteers who cheerfully give me an on-the-spot tour are astonished to meet a MacKinnon who is Catholic.

Perhaps, they speculate, my ancestors were converted on the way to North America. "When I went to Canada, I found a colony of MacKechnies who were all Catholic too," says a laughing Donald MacKechnie.

"We were told that on the boat there was a very vigorous Roman Catholic priest. They all left Scotland as Presbyterians, and they all arrived in Canada as Roman Catholics."

So which side of Glasgow's great politico-soccer divide would I be on? After a pause, the retired machine-tool designer and member of St. Colomba's board decides that I'd be a Rangers fan, since all MacKinnons are, but I'd probably have to sit in a special section for those who don't know the words to No Pope of Rome.

Are my relatives, then, being Protestants and Rangers fans, automatically No voters? Mr. MacKechnie briefly stops chuckling.

"This is red-hot Yes country," he replies. (It is the only time he says "yes" instead of "aye.")

Scots, he tells me, have suffered under English rule at least as badly as "the Indians" did in North America. "I can't understand why anybody would think voting no is a good idea."

When I ask if he knows any No voters who attend St. Colomba, his smile returns. "If there were any, they'd be taken outside and shot."

Another Yes surprise springs from the considerable effort the campaign has made to separate its case for independence from any narrow, "pure laine" idea of who is or isn't a Scot.

Anti-immigrant sentiment is scant in Scotland simply because there are few immigrants. A 2011 census found that 96 per cent of residents were white, and 84 per cent identified as Scottish.

Nonetheless, the government's external affairs minister is one Humza Yousaf, whose mother came from Kenya and father from Pakistan - the latter believing, until he arrived, that Scotland was already independent. Before becoming a politician, the younger Mr. Yousaf worked as a spokesman for Islamic Relief.

"Nobody has a checklist. Nobody says that you have to have red hair or like a certain food or you have to have white skin and blue eyes and your last name has to end in Mac-something," Mr. Yousaf tells me in his soft Glaswegian accent. "If you want to be Scottish, then that's fine with me. Come and join the party. The more the merrier."

In fact, a poll carried out by Awaz FM - a local radio station whose listeners are primarily Scots of South Asian descent - found that 64 per cent of visible minorities planned to vote Yes. Many, including Mr. Yousaf, became nationalists during the Iraq war, which the SNP opposed fiercely and the British government did not.

I want to see where the clans made their final sacrifice

My ancestors had their own reasons to oppose the English so fiercely. Clans from the north of Scotland have always been the first and fastest to rally to the flag of independence. They provided William Wallace with his army in 1297, and 41/2 centuries later stood at Culloden.

Today, Inverness, the highland capital, is still Yes country. Shortly after arriving, I nearly trip over a chalkboard sign in the city centre that's counting down the days to the referendum.

I want to see where the clans made their final sacrifice for Bonnie Prince Charlie, so I head a half-hour east to a bumpy, overgrown field where 1,500 highlanders died in a hopeless last stand that a competent commander never would have asked his men to make. After the fight, the English set out to extinguish the rebellion for good. Jacobites who lay wounded were bayoneted to death, while those who fled were chased down by cavalry. Clans who rose up were soon stripped of their lands, prompting many families - MacKinnons among them - to leave for good.

"Do you know how long the battle lasted here? Just one hour - the English slaughtered the Scots," Les Butterworth, my driver to Culloden, tells me.

He is wearing a "No Thanks" button - a rare sight in the highlands. "Ireland's problem is religion - it boils down to Catholics and Protestants ... in Scotland, our problem is history."

Mr. Butterworth promises that I, as a MacKinnon, will "feel it" - a sense of history, sadness, understanding of whatever it was that brought my Protestant ancestors to rally to a Catholic cause - as soon as I set foot on Culloden.

I stand for nearly an hour among the rocks that mark where clansmen were buried in mass graves. But whatever emotions Mr. Butterworth expects to wash over me never materialize - it all happened so long ago.

Only this revelation hits me: It was because of Bonnie Prince Charlie's bad military judgment that I was born a Canadian. I am who I am because my ancestors followed a pretender - a charlatan - into battle.

Next, the Drambuie trail finally leads to the Isle of Skye - the place my family is from.

The first building I see on the island: the MacKinnon Family Guest House in the tiny port of Kyleakin. There are no rooms available, but I decide I must at least have dinner there.

"Your name?" the waitress asks.

"MacKinnon, " I say, as though delivering the punch line to a joke.

"Party of one?" she continues.

"What time?" I'm not sure what I expected - a hug, the summoning of a piper? - but something more than this.

I cancel the reservation and drive on toward Castle Maol, a small fort that was once the effective seat of the MacKinnon clan, guarding the narrow strait between Skye and the mainland.

The hike up to it is more than worth the effort. Suddenly, I find myself feeling whatever I was supposed to feel at Culloden. Castle Maol is something tangible, something that, but for the twists of history, might have been my father's, mine, my daughter's. This is my Braveheart moment. I have come to reclaim my family's castle.

Except there is nothing left to reclaim, just ruins - three piles of stone, splitting away from each other as if magnets of the same pole. I take a few selfies, climb back down and follow the trail across Skye. After a token stop in the town of Broadford at the hotel where the Drambuie recipe was first tested and tasted, I arrive in another tiny port.

Elgol has a population of 150 - most with my last name, making it the last part of the island that can be reasonably called MacKinnon lands. Not far from away across the soggy grasslands lies the cave where my ancestors hid their prince - and in Elgol, at last, I find a member of my clan who can explain our history.

Neil MacKinnon is a retired teacher and member of the local historical society. When I ask him just who the MacKinnons are, he tells me the story, again, of Bonnie Prince Charlie, Culloden and Drambuie, though in much more detail. But as the tale reaches its conclusion, Neil suddenly drops a bombshell:

A few years back, he took a DNA test as part of a local genealogy project only to find out that we are descendants of a king who ruled in the fourth century - and not in Scotland.

"We have the same ancestry as the O'Neill's of Northern Ireland," he says matter-of-factly.

I laugh. I have come all the way "home" to discover that the MacKinnons were once immigrants here, too.

So maybe we are as much Irish as we are Scottish - and maybe less Catholic than I was raised to believe - but I came here with a mission: to make up my own mind about how I would vote next Thursday, if I could.

I have received no guidance from my clan chief, and even our family's best historian is torn.

"It's a difficult subject to talk about," Neil says, looking out the window at the single sheepclogged lane past his house.

"Scotland could do quite well as an independent country. Even opponents say so; even David Cameron says so. But then what would be the losses in economic terms, in social matters? We've been together since 1707. The UK has made its mark in the world. It's a hard thing to see all that go."

Like many of the Scots I have met from Edinburgh to Skye, he sees the referendum decision as an argument between his head, which thinks things are fine as they are, and his heart, which proudly beats for Scotland.

I am just as conflicted.

As a journalist, I can see all the holes in Alex Salmond's arguments. Scotland has done well in Britain. Far from the repressed culture William Wallace fought to preserve, it has all the trappings of nationhood - a parliament with wide powers, a national flag that its athletes compete for at the soccer and rugby world cups - as well as the economic advantages that come with being part of a borderless kingdom of 63 million people, rather than an independent country of just 5.3 million.

I can't help remembering that, when I was a member of the Ottawa press gallery 15 years ago, I was friends with a few members of the Bloc Québécois. Sometimes, over beer, we'd discuss what it would take to put the "neverendum" behind Canada for good.

One hazy evening, we came to something like an accord: There would be no need for another referendum if Ottawa would grant Quebec the same international status that Scotland had. Let Quebec send its own hockey team to the world championships and wave the fleur-de-lis the way Scots proudly wave their Saltire. Let the world see them as a nation. "Scotland status," we called it. Distinct society-plus.

Breaking up one of the more successful unions the world has ever known makes no sense. Trouble would follow. Publicly, I would advise against it, but I also realize that, whatever my journalist brain tells me, if handed a ballot in the privacy of a voting booth, I would mark it Yes.

It doesn't quite make sense, but in my heart, which perhaps still pumps a trickle of highland blood, it feels good to believe in something.

Fortune favours the brave.

Mark MacKinnon is The Globe's senior international correspondent, based in London.

Associated Graphic

Left to right: The Union Jack, Cross of St. George and the Saltire. The vote on whether the Scottish flag will fly alone seems to be split down the middle.


'We've been together since 1707. The U.K. has made its mark in the world. It's a hard thing to see all that go.' Even family historian Neil MacKinnon, seen here in Elgol with his wife Mary, is torn over the vote.


Better Together buttons: Leery of going too far.

Jonathan Brown, above, is the great-grandson of Globe founder George Brown, and works for Drambuie. 'He assures me that the story on the bottle is true. Mostly.'


The ruins of Castle Moil loom over the Isle of Skye: 'Something tangible, something that, but for the twists of history, might have mine.'


Ken Symon, below, at the Better Together campaign headquarters: 'There is a concern of sounding too negative.'


Yes campaigner Stuart McDoonald: 'We can win this.'


Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B6

TOKYO -- This is the second of an occasional series from The Globe and Mail's Brian Milner, who visited Japan to assess the results of dramatic efforts to revitalize the world's third-largest economy.

The brightly lit, extremely loud but spotless arcade near the Shimbashi rail station in central Tokyo features row after row of beeping electronic machines with flashing lights and screens displaying popular animated characters. Smiling, uniformed attendants eagerly explain how to play the uniquely Japanese amalgam of pinball and video slot machines known as pachinko.

Nearly 12,000 pachinko parlours across Japan lure more than 11 million people annually to risk their money at what is officially described as a leisure activity, but is actually the country's only legal form of machine or table gambling.

The 85-year-old industry has been steadily losing ground in recent years as its customer base ages and shrinks and young people prefer playing games online. It has also been dogged by a seedy reputation - including possible links of some operators to mobsters and even to North Korea - that its bigger corporate players have worked hard to dispel. Yet the industry still expects revenue to reach a staggering ¥27.9-trillion ($286-billion) this year. Outside analysts put the number closer to a still impressive ¥20trillion, giving it a value similar to the auto sector.

But pachinko's reign as the only game in town is about to come to an end as Japan heads toward legalizing casino gambling for the first time in one of many reforms introduced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Casinos have gone from a pipe dream in this conservative country to a near sure thing, because long-time advocates have shrewdly attached their goal to the wide net cast by Abenomics, Mr. Abe's package of aggressive monetary and fiscal policies and structural reforms.

As far as the government is concerned, it's all about shoring up struggling local economies, juicing tax revenues and doubling tourism to about 20 million visitors a year by 2020, when Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics for the first time since 1964. It's also about reclaiming a flood of Japanese gamblers crowding into casinos in South Korea, Singapore and other Asian markets.

In their determined efforts to steer Japan back to a path of sustained economic growth and restore its former lustre and global clout, Mr. Abe and his allies are leaving no straw ungrasped. That includes the idea of adding more teams to the country's hugely popular major baseball leagues and jumping into the long-prohibited world of casino gambling.

Yet there seems to be little concern that casinos have rarely lived up to their hype as major drivers of job growth and commercial development.

"For some of the more affluent tourists, the casino is one idea we would like to offer," says Tsukasa Akimoto, a lawmaker with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party who heads the parliamentary casino caucus. "The thinking is that there will be casino entertainment along with other types of services. It is part of the strategy for Japan to be more touristfriendly."

The legalization drive has the support of Mr. Abe, his governing Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition, a casino caucus that includes opposition members and regional politicians who see it as a partial solution to years of economic malaise.

Critics of the initiative, which is expected to come to a vote this fall in a special session of the Japanese parliament, the Diet, say the Abe government is desperate to reverse its sinking popularity in the wake of deteriorating economic growth and a lack of progress on key promised reforms.

"People who are trying to revive the local economies are making a mistake if they're trying to prop them up with this casino plan," says Takanori Shibata, an economics professor at Seigakuin University in Ageo, northwest of Tokyo. "Thinking that casinos will lure in foreign visitors is very optimistic. I don't think that will turn into reality."

The casino prohibition, which dates in its modern form to the 1880s, was based on traditional Japanese notions of hard work and duty. The law is so strict that Japanese-registered cruise ships are not allowed to operate casinos on board, even in international waters. But there is plenty of legal betting on lotteries, as well as horse, powerboat, motorcycle and bicycle races, which account for a combined total of close to ¥5-trillion annually.

Professional boat racing alone, which is largely confined to Japan and South Korea, accounts for about 20 per cent of that amount, according to government figures.

Pachinko is not included in the official gambling statistics, because of its designation as pure entertainment.

Illegal gambling, including casinos, siphons off similarly large sums, all of it untaxed and much of which ends up in the coffers of the yakuza, Japan's version of mafia-style organized crime syndicates, which reap fat profits from gambling, protection rackets and loan-sharking.

The prospect of such rich virgin territory is bound to appeal to the global casino industry, which is beset by problems in the overbuilt U.S. market and running out of room for further expansion in saturated parts of Asia. Even in such growth markets as Macau, by far the world's most lucrative gambling mecca, dark clouds loom on the horizon in the form of a further Chinese crackdown on government corruption, including gambling junkets, that could put a serious dent in its biggest source of customers and cash.

Total revenue at Macau's 35 casinos fell in June, the first monthly decline since 2009, and dipped again in July. Elsewhere, markets have also been levelling off.

Beijing's determination to rein in the big spenders could put a crimp in any projections for Japan, which is surely hoping to lure a hefty chunk of Chinese gambling money - the much sought-after whale in gambling initiatives across Asia and as far away as Vancouver. Reflecting their increasing disposable incomes, Chinese tourists have been flocking to Japan and other countries in the region, despite rising political tensions between China and its neighbours.

Estimates of the possible casino take in Japan vary widely, and much will depend on their location, size and tax structure. The economic potential is huge, but "it is too early to judge," says Toru Mihara, director of the Institute of Amusement Industry Studies at Osaka University of Commerce, who has been advising legislators.

Bullish analysts reckon revenue could reach a whopping $40-billion (U.S.) within a few years, based on the size of the gambling market and the government's two-tier strategy of allowing two or three large-scale resorts in major cities and eventually up to 10 smaller casinos in other, touristic regions, such as Okinawa in the south and Hokkaido's ski country in the north.

But the actual market may turn out to be no more than half that amount - perhaps $21-billion or $22-billion, when fully built - Morgan Stanley analysts estimated in a spring report, using total lottery sales and gross domestic product as their gauge. "Japan may struggle to convert pachinko players or attract Chinese VIP customers," the report said. It added that returns might fall below consensus estimates of 20 per cent of operating profits, because of high building costs and various levels of taxation.

The big "integrated resorts" would include hotels, convention space, entertainment complexes and shopping malls. The government hopes to have them running in time to take advantage of the huge influx of visitors for the Olympics. But the plan must pass legislative and regulatory hurdles first, including the creation of an agency to police the industry.

The national government would select the locations based on recommendations from local authorities, which would be responsible for inviting bids and awarding the licences. All the casinos would be privately owned. The government's preferred model is not Las Vegas but Singapore, which has allowed only two integrated resorts. Their revenues could surpass $8-billion this year, up from zero in just four years of operation.

What the Japanese will not do is import a U.S.-style system with different rules for each state or legal structures advocated by some American gambling companies. "You have to understand the precise background on how things work in Japan," Mr. Mihara said in an interview in the cramped, windowless office he uses when in Tokyo.

Still, foreign players already operating in other Asian markets are expected to join several domestic bidders for licences. Japanese companies that have signalled their interest include Dynam Japan Holdings Co., a major pachinko operator, Konami Corp., which manufactures slot machines and video games, railway company Keikyu Corp., media heavyweight Fuji Media Holdings and Mitsui Fudosan Co., a large property developer.

But much will depend on the tax structure and the percentage of the gambling haul the owners are allowed to keep. Both levels of government intend to get a piece of the action.

"There are successful and unsuccessful casino operators, so we have to be very careful," Mr. Akimoto of the LDP says during an interview in his office. "It's not that easy a business to operate," he adds, noting the fierce competition. "In Japan, I don't think we can build that many."

He is well aware of the industry's woes in the U.S. market, where doors are closing from Mississippi to Atlantic City.

Three large casinos have gone out of business in Atlantic City alone this year. And another operator, Trump Entertainment Resorts, filed for bankruptcy protection this week after losses shot up to $25.7-million in the first six months of the year, compared with a $5.1-million shortfall for all of 2013. One of its two Atlantic City casinos, the Trump Plaza, will be shuttered next week and the other, the Trump Taj Mahal, may soon join it.

U.S. casino operators expecting a gold mine have ended up playing Russian roulette with their investors' money. And they are bound to be leery of jumping into Japan with both feet. Las Vegas executives have already warned Japanese policy makers that the only market where casinos would make enough of a return to justify a multibillion-dollar investment is Tokyo. But the booming capital has shown little interest in getting into the gambling game as it gears up for the Olympics.

By contrast, authorities in such cities as Osaka and Kushiro in eastern Hokkaido have high hopes that casino resorts will provide a badly needed shot in the arm for communities pummelled by industrial decline, high unemployment, and weak spending.

Numerous towns outside bustling Tokyo and tourist hot spots like Kyoto have been hit with what has been called the "shutter street" phenomenon - whole commercial streets of closed shutters on shops, factories and service businesses.

In Osaka, Japan's third-largest city, a new wave of policy makers sees gambling as part of the solution to the decline, exacerbated by the loss of key employers, which have moved their head offices to Tokyo in recent decades to be closer to the political centre.

"The result was much brain drainage and funds outflow," says Ichiro Tanioka, president of Osaka University of Commerce.

Like most casino proponents, Mr. Tanioka dismisses the risks, even though no detailed studies have been done on the potential economic and social impact in a country already suffering from an epidemic of problem gambling.

"When measured by the increase of tax revenue, decline of unemployment or increase in the number of tourists, [there is] no doubt that this would have an overwhelmingly larger impact than any other previous new industries that have emerged," says Mr. Tanioka, 58, a criminologist who has done extensive research into the history and development of Las Vegas, as well as the international casino business.

About 5.4 million people, nearly 5 per cent of the adult population, fall into the category of "pathological gamblers," according to a national survey released last month by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. For men over the age of 20, the legal minimum for pachinko (although no one is ever carded), the addiction level is an astonishing 8.7 per cent.

By comparison, problem rates in other Asian markets like gambling-mad Hong Kong and South Korea are below 2 per cent. And Japan has few treatment facilities for addicts.

Such a high level in a population with less than full access to legal gambling (even playing poker for cash is prohibited) ought to sound a warning bell for legislators, says the gambling foe Mr. Shibata, who argues that the social costs will outweigh any economic benefits.

Suicide is another risk factor not being taken into account, says Mr. Shibata, who has studied the social and economic impact of casinos in the U.S., where 39 states allow them in one form or another. Japan's high suicide rate has been trending lower in recent years, but "economic suicides are increasing on a statistical basis [to about 20 per cent of the total].

Gambling has the possibility to raise that number," he says.

But gambling advocates argue that the real problem lies with smaller "convenience casinos," including pachinko parlours, with lax supervision.

"No doubt, with casinos opening, patients suffering from gambling dependency will come to the surface," Mr. Tanioka says. He cites the Kansas state law making it mandatory for casinos to earmark more than 1 per cent of gambling revenues for research and treatment of addicts and suggests Japan would implement a similar health measure. "As long as large-scale casinos would be developed under the [same] plan in Japan, I do not believe that will trigger a sudden emergence of new patients." What's more, "it will offer an avenue for treatment" for those who are already suffering from addiction.

Surprisingly, a large number of pachinko operators welcome the proposed liberalization in the belief that it could help their own flagging business by fuelling more interest in gambling. With no more than three large casino projects likely to be approved, pachinko will remain the only legal option for most Japanese.

But the industry faces a further winnowing of its ranks, which are already down by more than 8,000 stores in just the past five years.

"Almost every corner has a pachinko shop," says Motoyuki Nakajima, managing director of the Pachinko Chain Store Association, who acknowledges his members are divided on the issue. "People don't commute to casinos."

Associated Graphic


Japan's once-booming pachinko industry is grappling with a greying customer base and the threat of new competition from casinos.


There is no greater faux pas when it comes to fashion than two women wearing identical outfits. But what do you do when you can't get a certain Isabel Marant number you saw on an acquaintance out of your head? If you're author and artist Leanne Shapton, co-editor with Sheila Heti and Heidi Julavits of the new anthology Women in Clothes, you give in to temptation, track it down on eBay and start wearing it around town - with all of the attendant guilt, fear, pleasure and pain
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L8

I saw a dress on a woman at a party and wanted it for myself. It was a long, printed dress. It looked comfortable and light and cool and inscrutably chic. When I asked the woman about the dress, she said it was Isabel Marant. She said it sort of apologetically, acknowledging with a faint, resigned smirk that while it looked vintage - could have been seventies Yves Saint Laurent or handmade - by being off-the-rack designer it was less interesting, cheating somehow. The fact that this was communicated so quickly and silently was interesting. It must have been then that I realized that I, too, might one day own the dress.

Later that day I was with a friend, C, and saw the woman again and spoke to her. C knew her a bit. She lived in the country but worked as a stylist in the city. I admired her hair: worn loose, flecked with grey. And her manner: warm, thoughtful, sincere. She wore no makeup, and the dress, which was sack-like, lent her a modesty I liked. We spoke about our children. Then, in a lull in the conversation, I came back to the dress, complimenting it again. She nodded, knowing.

Then I did something that surprised me: I leaned down and picked up the edge of her skirt and touched it, marvelling aloud at the light, smooth fabric.

I have never touched another woman's dress like that before. A fur sleeve once, but I've never had that grasping, clutching impulse. I wondered if it had something to do with my post-pregnancy confusion about my body, its new aches and shapes.

My breasts are mysterious, they have moods and urgency and look like sea creatures. My body gives off new smells and I picture an orangutan when I think of my nursing posture. Though my pre-baby weight is within spitting distance, my relationship to clothes has shifted. I don't know quite who I am anymore, and yet I am more defi ned than ever. In the past, when I looked at clothes, I'd imagine a version of myself in them.

Some part of me has always thought I could wear almost anything and look good, but photographs of me always disappoint. The dawning knowledge of my asymmetries and lumps, my perceived flaws, has been somehow kept at bay until now. Now I see them and accept them; I'm just not sure how to dress them.

I touched this woman's dress and marvelled, then the moment passed, the sun went down, I changed my daughter's diaper and headed home. A week and a half later, after thinking about the dress in an abstract way on a regular basis, I typed "Isabel Marant dress" into eBay.

After a few pages of scrolling, I found it.

It was $360, marked down from $1,200.

I checked the return policy - 14 days - and bought it.

I felt weird after clicking Buy It Now. The whole process went so fast. Seeing the dress on another woman, ascertaining its provenance, touching it, then going after it. I'd never bought something like that before, never had that "It could be mine" feeling about the clothes of a woman I'd met. I had that feeling after seeing things in print or on people I did not know, but I'd always felt it was only fair to let a woman, from vaguely one's own social circle, own the dress if she found it first.

Maybe it's my competitive-swimming background, but I go around thinking in terms of firsts. It's only fair.

Was it to do with childbirth, this slackening of my own rules? After depending so heavily on other women, more than I'd ever had to before, was I coming to realize how shared an experience mothering was, and so didn't feel so bad copying another one? I've always been interested in how women mimic and copy one another. I'd copied things I'd admired before: cumulative lessons in being myself. I copied the way a friend placed tulips in a beer stein in 1993, the way another woman sitting in front of me on an airplane wore men's trousers in 2001 (it turned out to be Phoebe Philo).

The way yet another said "Please" when ordering in a restaurant in 2007.

I wondered if my feelings also had something to do with admitting I want something. I've struggled with admitting what I want most of my life, not admitting until the last possible moment that I wanted a child. Admitting I flat-out wanted this dress was new to me. I was nervous.

When the dress arrived, I laid the small package on the bed and looked at it. I still felt it was someone else's discovery. I wonder if the lovely woman had any sense of how much covetousness her dress inspired, that in fact I would hunt down and capture her dress. Would I have still wanted it if she'd been unfriendly? I wondered if men did this to other men's women. Or if women did this to other women's men.

I opened the package. All folded up, the dress looked deflated. On the woman's body it had been large, airy and flowing.

The fabric was very fi ne and thin, so the entire thing squashed down to a little pancake. I fluffed it out. It was still great.

I put it on. I loved it anew.

I kept the tags on in case I changed my mind. But the next morning, in a rush to get to the passport office, I threw it on. It felt soft and cool against my skin. The cut felt above par for so uncomplicated-looking a garment; there wasn't too much material across the shoulders, chest and arms, but plenty from the armpits down.

I was worried about the size, but it fit perfectly. I slung my baby into her carrier and set off. By the time I reached the passport office I was sweating and my daughter had drooled down my chest. The dress was giving off a "new dress" scent: something gluey, sizing and thread and tarpaulin. I worried about my daughter sucking on it and moved it away from her face, then worried about her breathing in factory fumes and regretted I hadn't washed it before wearing it, something I usually do with my new clothes.

After the passport office, I walked to my designer friend R's studio to pick up a tape recorder. We stood chatting and passing around the baby. While I was talking to another woman, I felt R touch the dress. When I got home, I washed the dress, then put it straight back on.

I wore it the next day to get an ice cream cone with a friend. And the day after that, to a show in Brooklyn and a late dinner.

On both of these occasions I felt good. The good of knowing I had on something that was attractive to me. It didn't matter if I thought I looked attractive in it. In fact, I think I looked merely okay in the dress.

I wonder what wearing a designer piece bestows on the wearer, because what I was feeling I can describe only as designer security. I was leaning on the fact that I'd paid a lot for this security. The "thingness" or value of the dress made me feel protected and attractive in a lazy way - the mass security of doing what other people do, or buying into the "Expensive is good" mindset. I suppose I expected the dress to do some of the heavy lifting.

The specifics of the dress: It is a long-sleeved, printed dress, made of a silk and cotton blend. The colours are olive greens and navy blues and the print is imperfect and messy, an Indian/Liberty pattern that includes tiny pomegranates and vines. There are a number of pin-tucks across the shoulders in the back and along the collarbone, making the top part tidily but comfortably tailored. The dress unbuttons to the belly and has a tiny frilled collar. The sleeves have short, buttoning cuffs. It has two hip pockets and a drawstring. It delivers a demure, feminine, slightly hippie feeling and falls to just above the ankles. It's sensuous, with its almost transparent fabric. It has a quality I love in clothes - of being a platonic ideal of an image of something, an illustration. It evokes David Hamilton photographs, Wales in the sixties, Woodstock, early Laura Ashley, libraries and flea markets. There is something gauzy and French seventies about it, like it should smell a little, and warmly, wonderfully, of B.O.

There is reliable drama to the idea of two women wearing the same dress. It's considered a faux pas, documented in movies and stories as a mortifying event, and more recently and efficiently in the cruel "Who Wore It Best?" features in celebrity weeklies. A woman need only own the same expensive dress as another, and wear it weeks and miles apart, to be shamed in a photographic comparison.

What I felt in the dress was a deep dread of running into the woman I had coveted the dress on, and also C, who was with me when I fi rst saw it. It's hard to explain this dread other than that of being caught red-handed, of appearing to not have my own mind when it comes to dressing. As these things go, on the fourth day of possessing the dress I ran into C at a coffee shop where I was meeting another friend, A.

When I saw C across the room, I felt a jolt of panic before relief that, fi nally, I could make my confession. I pointed at the dress as she approached and said "I found it!"

She said in reply: "You found it." Then she told me she had looked for it online for my birthday. She touched it and asked if she could borrow it someday. We told A about the dress at the party. She admired it and declared that it looked perfect and she wanted it and was going to look for it, too.

That night, I wore it to a farewell party for a friend, P. She and I had had a strained relationship for the past year, and in deciding what to wear that night I chose the dress as a sort of protection.

I went to the party carrying my daughter in a sling, which provided a little more armour, too. The heat of her little body was comforting, and the thin material of the dress kept the inevitable sweatiness manageable. On arriving, P told me that a man I'd been involved with 10 years before would not come to her party if I was there, that he was waiting until I left. On top of the existing tension between P and me, this cast an uneasy feeling over the evening. My daughter fell asleep against my tense chest. I stayed for an hour longer, growing defiantly aware of some tension my presence was creating.

When I saw P and another woman look at me and whisper into each other's ears, I left, feeling downcast. Walking home, I texted two of my friends, who were in Korea, and told them I missed them.

When I got home I bathed my daughter and put her in her crib, took off the dress and pumped breast milk.

The next day involved a long drive, stopping to breast-feed at a gas station. I put on the dress once more. My husband and I met a painter friend, J, for lunch, and we talked about discernment and nostalgia. I told him about the dress, that I was disappointed I didn't uncover it in a vintage store but bought it for its approximate qualities to a perfect version of a dress you'd fi nd in a vintage store. He immediately said the colours of the dress were ideal for me. As we were leaving, he touched the dress and said it really was a very good dress.

We arrived at a friend's house in the early evening, in the rain. By this time the dress felt like a part of me. I'd forgotten about it, which I took to be a sign of its true integration into my wardrobe, the way that, in Bernice Bobs Her Hair, F. Scott Fitzgerald has a character say something like: If you are conscious of what you are wearing at a party, you made the wrong choice. The material soothed me, and the cool, wet breeze blew the skirt out in gentle billows. I knew it smelled of milk and baby vomit and me and car, but I wore it for a few hours more, dropping some pulled pork and slaw onto it, finally taking it off for a bath before bed.

Leanne Shapton's Covet Diary: Regarding the Dress of Another is reprinted from Women in Clothes by arrangement with Blue Rider, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, © 2014 by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton.

Associated Graphic

FROCK STAR Leanne Shapton lusted after, then bought, this Isabel Marant dress. 'It evokes,' she writes, 'David Hamilton photographs, Wales in the sixties, Woodstock, early Laura Ashley, libraries and flea markets.'

'It's 48 hours of craziness'
Two days, dozens of outfit changes, countless interviews, 32 athletes just trying to keep up welcome to the Player Media Tour
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S2

NEW YORK -- Fashion week is under way in New York and no one enjoys the event more than the New York Rangers' stylish GQ icon, Henrik Lundqvist, a man born to wear Zegna. For the next two days, Lundqvist will be in his element, making more wardrobe changes than a runway model. He will be in uniform, in sweats, in Rangers' branded gear, along with a variety of different suits - casual for print interviews, a more elegant grey, three-piece number for an evening appearance on the David Letterman show.

Lundqvist is here along with 32 of the NHL's greats and neargreats for a two-day media blitz, known colloquially as the Player Media Tour (PMT). He will have his pictures taken by photographers and sit for interviews with the NHL's national television rights holders, the players' association's own website, NHL Network, and for one-on-ones with a handful of writers from national publications. He will be hustled from the 15th floor down to the 11th floor up to the 13th floor and back to the 15th floor of the NHL's headquarters with military-like precision. EA Sports is on hand to do head scans for their video onloading - and if players find themselves at loose ends for a few moments, they have a chance to try out the latest edition of the video game.

"It's 48 hours of craziness," Lundqvist explained.

Welcome to the seventh edition of the PMT, arguably the single most important promotional event on the league's 2014-15 marketing calendar. Many of the intermission features and publicservice announcements that will show up on your television screens during the coming hockey season were recorded in a crammed two-day period last Monday and Tuesday in New York.

The players spend one day mostly sequestered at NHL headquarters in downtown Manhattan; the other day is spent across the river in New Jersey, where onice action is filmed at the Prudential Center, the home of the Devils.

The attraction on the media side is clear: a chance to get oneon-one face time with a who's who of NHL stars and up-andcomers, a rare and unique opportunity in an era of pack journalism. But it is equally valuable for the players, especially the star players, who can find the demands on their time so great that it can act as a distraction when training camps for the 2014-15 season officially open next week.

Pat Brisson, the Los Angelesbased co-head of the Creative Artists Agency's hockey division, has 14 clients in attendance, including Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby. Brisson believes the PMT is a godsend, especially to his high-end clients, because it helps them knock off about 80 per cent of their training-camp media responsibilities in a concentrated period of time.

Jointly organized by the league and the players' association, the PMT has become so much more efficient, according to Brisson, that nowadays, they can get more work done in a day and a half than they previously did in three.

"Every one of our clients that is invited, we recommend they go," Brisson said. "We consider it an honour."

Lundqvist echoes Brisson's sentiment, noting that "the 48 hours of craziness" is actually a good thing.

"You don't want to spread it out, you want to pack it in and do it now so you can lock your head into the game and focus on hockey when training camp starts," Lundqvist said. "This time of the year, right before the season starts, with the U.S. Open, Fashion Week, there's always a lot going on in the city ... so it's fun."

The PMT began modestly just before the 2006-07 season when the league invited four players to New York to promote an upcoming milestone in U.S. hockey history. Mike Modano was poised to break Joey Mullen's record for most goals by a U.S.-born player and Phil Housley's record for most points. Kane, just entering his draft year with the London Knights but already projected as one of USA Hockey's next generation, was invited too. All of them were uniquely positioned to provide background and anecdotes on what would be an important milestone in U.S. hockey history.

The concept was so well received that the NHL realized it had hit upon a good thing. There was a time when the league was criticized for not using its best and most marketable assets - those attractive, mostly squeakyclean players - to promote the game. Not any more. In year two of the PMT, they expanded the roster to about dozen players and added a few extra media outlets.

The event has grown exponentially ever since. The league picks up the tab and the players' association and the agents do the lion's share of the player recruiting.

From the mundane to the arcane, no subject is off limits. ESPN asks every player who would play them in the movie of their life. The Toronto Maple Leafs' Jonathan Bernier answered "Denzel Washington" and an hour later, the Philadelphia Flyers' Wayne Simmonds answered the same way. Told that Denzel Washington is already taken, Simmonds - in mock horror; this is comedy of a sort - asked "by whom?"

"He can't take Denzel Washington," Simmonds protested, for obvious reasons and to laughs all around.

Kane, not to be outdone, chose the Rock as his body double. Kane is here accompanied by his father and by Brandon Faber, the Blackhawks' senior director of communications and community relations, who is also the organization's resident expert on Jimmy Buffett. Following the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup win in 2010, my time with Kane was spent mostly discussing how he came to go on stage with Buffett, the legendary crooner, during a Wrigley Field concert that summer. Kane brought the Cup on stage and joined in on the Buffett standard, Boat Drinks, which references watching hockey in a freezing-cold climate while daydreaming of travelling to somewhere warm.

"They asked me to come to the Buffett concert this year, too," Kane said, picking up the conversation seamlessly, "but I didn't think it was right - showing up without the Cup.

"The two times I was there previously, we had won the Cup and I went on stage and it was awesome. The first time, it was great and the second time, it was even better. I hope there's a chance to do that again in the near future."

There is time to discuss new contracts Kane and Toews have signed with the Blackhawks; the heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference final; and his decision to skate again this summer with a bunch of his friends in a Buffalo men's league. Like Lundqvist, Kane also has an extra obligation scheduled - an interview with Men's Journal right at the end of his day.

Kane's energy may be flagging a bit, but he is gamely playing along, fully aware of what works and what doesn't with his disparate array of interviewers.

Despite predictions to the contrary, the NHL has had two strong seasons of growth since the 201213 lockout cost them half a season. There is a widely held belief that one reason the fans returned so quickly was they had a hard time holding a collective a grudge against the players, who are mostly a polite and likeable group.

"Interviews are one thing," New York Islanders' emerging star Kyle Okposo explained, "but the marketing really comes from your interaction with the fans. It comes when you're in a restaurant and a kid comes up to you and asks you to sign an autograph, it's talking to him and saying, 'Hey bud, how you doing, do you play hockey?' That's how you build hockey. They remember that. The kids remember if you were nice or if you weren't - and so even if you're in a bad mood, you have to take that time to market your sport and yourself that way. That's really important.

That's what hockey players do really well - how they interact with people."

Kane, Lundqvist, Crosby, even the New York Islanders' John Tavares, are old hands at the PMT. Crosby and Tavares both spend time updating their injury situations - both are fine for the start of the new season. A jetlagged Alex Ovechkin is here too, patiently explaining that in his first meeting with new Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz, they spent most of the time talking about everything but hockey, so they could get to know each other. They'll discuss the hockey issues before they get on the ice next week.

Patrice Bergeron, the cover boy for NHL 15, is also here, explaining the evolution of the commercial for the video game, which has seen him cast as a beat poet, an odd choice since most of the people who might purchase the game would have not been born in that era.

At the other end of the spectrum are some of the NHL's rising stars who are attending the PMT for the first time, many of them awed by the scope and complexity of the event.

"It's an honour to be here," said the Florida Panthers' Nick Bjugstad. "I was looking at the list, kind of wide-eyed. There are a lot of good players here. If you say no to this, I don't know what you'd say yes to."

In the salary-cap era, where the revenues are divided among the players and the owners on a 5050 basis, growth helps everyone.

Lundqvist is asked about the other part of his job, the sales part, not something a young player necessarily dreams of when growing up in Sweden, with NHL dreams in their heads.

"We know the hockey business so well, but promoting the game is important too," answered Lundqvist. "They're giving us a chance to be in this position, to help grow the game. If you have more kids play the game; and more fans; it's going to help everyone.

"I don't feel I have to do it; I like it. For some guys, it might not be interesting, but for me, it is. I like to see how different companies do different things and learn what works and what doesn't. For me, living here, it's easy."

The PMT is most convenient for the players with New York connections - Lundqvist, Okposo and Tavares, who noted that "this time of year is always a hectic time for a lot of guys. You're moving back to cities. You're packing and unpacking. If you're a guy with a family and kids, you're trying to get them settled into a school. I live 30 minutes down the road, so I'm not flying in; it's right in my backyard. But it can be a lot for the California guys, who've got a travel day in and a travel day out and two days here.

It's not always good timing, but we appreciate everybody that's part of the game and what these two days can mean for the game."

And for Tavares, best of all, the constant costume changes have an expected side benefit - it gets him back into the rhythm of his daily life as an NHL player after a summer away from the game.

"I always say - the amount of time I spend taking my clothes on and off on a road trip is ridiculous," Tavares explained. "I counted it one time - it's like 10 times a day, if you count putting your equipment on, your underwear on, your suit on, your suit off, how many times you shower.

"So it's a lot of changes, but it gets you ready for the season."

Follow me on Twitter:@eduhatschek

Associated Graphic

During his time at the two-day media blitz known as the Player Media Tour, the New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist will make more wardrobe changes than a runway model.


Think that fashion is merely adornment? Consider the wealth of apparel being carteds week in preparation for an upcoming show on the political power of clothes. As Nathalie Atkinson observes during anexclusive sneak peek, glad rags both formal (gender-neutral Japanese couture) and casual (pro-peace military jackets) have the ability to provoke, inspire and change. Even the length of a gown can inflame. (Just ask Margaret Trudeau)
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L6

The few passersby who look up from their smartphones while walking down Toronto's Bay Street notice a row of alabaster bottoms peeking cheekily through the office-tower window above. The peculiar sight makes them stop, quizzically, although the provocation isn't intentional.

The mannequins are props for the upcoming Design Exchange exhibit Politics of Fashion/Fashion of Politics, where, once dressed, they are destined to spark conversations. They'll be wearing examples of how the fabric of social change and cultural activism has long intersected with fashion and style. They still do.

Inside, preparations for the show are underway in the D/X library hall. Sara Nickleson, associate curator and director of collections, explains that the mannequins' poses, configured by herself and exhibition designer Jeremy Laing, are meant to conjure the idea of an army. They stand at attention, often in groups. The last fi nishing touches of the curatorial process happen to parallel a designer's runway collection process: The fashion brigades stand ready in the wings, waiting to be dressed in statement-making pieces, as the curator sees what "meaningful looks" of the 80 they have assembled will work together best.

With a more compressed lead time than usual - just six months - it's down to the wire (garment loans are still arriving from designer archives, private collectors, institutions and even online purchases). "We're right now securing items from [New York singer and drag artist] Joey Arias, who has Klaus Nomi's estate and archive," Nickleson says, referring to the famous plastic tuxedo the late German countertenor wore during performances as well as publicity shots from the 1970s. Nomi died from AIDS complications in 1983.

Nearby, David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust boots speak to glam rock and what it did for gay culture in the 1980s, while a voluminous black Yohji Yamamoto coat demonstrates how "Yamamoto had said that he thought tight clothes were for the pleasure of men and that real femininity comes out when it's covered up. That really spoke to me," Nickleson says. The cocoon-like Yamamoto represents one of the three influential Japanese designers in the show (the others are Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons). All are notable for showing avant-garde tattered and torn black clothing in 1980s Paris and, adds Nickleson, for their clothing's political relationship to the body. "Their take on dressing is radically different from Western ideals. They even talk about gender-neutral clothes rather than unisex clothing." One elaborately pleated "dinosaur" dress by Miyake has both a hood and ridged dorsal fi n. A black Gaultier man skirt influenced by the Japanese leads into recent examples from Montreal designer Rad Hourani, the fi rst to show a unisex collection at Paris's haute couture shows. Nearby, a gold box swaddled in tissue contains an Issey Miyake handbag concurrent to Kawakubo's fi rst Hiroshima Chic collection - a potent political statement made even more so when combined with photographs of the 1945 bombing, which will be plastered on the pillar adjacent to the clothes.

Nickleson wears purple curator gloves as she shows a reporter around, handling luxurious rarities such as an armoured shoulder piece of brass paillettes by Alexander McQueen especially gingerly. As an example of how organizers have had to improvise even in the last week of exhibition's mounting, she had originally planned to focus on the political undercurrents of McQueen's work with tartan. "It references war and the Jacobite revolution and his heritage," she says. His 1995 Highland Rape and 2006 Widows of Culloden collections specifically take on Scotland's turbulent political history, periods when wearing Highland kit, an expression of cultural identity, had been illegal and, as tartan historian Jonathan Faiers has studied, Scottish tradition was commodified by the English. "I mean, I found one on eBay for $30,000," Nickleson says of the plaid, but otherwise surviving examples were already committed to other exhibitions elsewhere. Thus garments like the McQueen shoulder piece (on loan from a private Canadian collector) will instead show his commentary on royalty and the military.

A leather poncho and a floor-length hand-embroidered bathrobe dress by Maison Martin Margiela, meanwhile, incorporate salvaged elements and glamorously address upcycling and sustainability. Their medium is their message, but the exhibit's conversation about fast fashion is dominated rather more literally with Moschino's iterations of fast-food worker uniforms and a stylized McDonald's M, the brainchild of latter-day pop artist and house creative director Jeremy Scott. "He is all about satire and poking fun at the fashion industry and consumerism," Nickleson says.

At one point, the curator unfurls a terry-cloth towel pinned top to bottom with campaign buttons - the ultimate accessory of democratic fashion. They are covered with slogans for long-ago Art Eggleton, Ed Broadbent and John Sewell campaigns and a legendary Toronto urban-affairs fight ("Expressway No, Transit Yes" and "Fighting the Spadina Expressway"). The buttons come from the collection of a former D/X intern's mother.

"That's the funny thing about sourcing the way we did," says Nickleson. "Things came from unexpected places."

Not least of all are the unexpected boons that have come via guest curator Jeanne Beker. "Every time we met and talked about a new development, she always had a personal story about her relationship with the moment," Nickleson says of the legendary fashion journalist (and new Globe Style columnist). Beker's role shaping the exhibition helped secure more challenging pieces, like those from Scott and Hussein Chayalan. "Everyone we reached out to knew her." (Beker is also creating an audio guide, recording some of her stories, and will host curator tours throughout the run.)

Someone else everybody knows: Margaret Sinclair Trudeau Kemper, whose wedding dress, the one she made herself to marry Pierre Trudeau in 1971, is on a rack, protected by knotted netting and a garment bag. It arrived with another, arguably more important, white dress best explained by a blue scrapbook the lender included with the shipment. "It's the photo album from Margaret Trudeau's 1977 trip to the White House, given to her by President and Mrs. Carter; the Presidential Seal is on the front, and it's inscribed by both."

The pages show photos of the receiving lines and dignitaries, with Mrs. Trudeau conspicuous in a simple white dress that isn't notable for its label (it was a Montreal custom dressmaker) but for its length and the all-but-forgotten furor that caused. "Traditionally, women wore full-length gowns to the White House. She was apparently the fi rst woman to wear a calf-length dress, and she had a tear in her pantyhose. And everyone thought it was really awful," Nickleson explains of the controversy.

Given the scrutiny of politicians and their spouses today, with pundits analyzing the meaning of rolled-up sleeves on the campaign trail and the symbolic implications of a J.Crew cardigan, the Trudeau context is intriguing. There may be no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation, but, in this case, the state of the nation's most famous bedroom was certainly hinted at that state dinner. On one hand, the calf-length dress could simply have been free-spirited Maggie's modern update on formal expectation; on the other - and especially in hindsight - it could also be read as a sartorial precursor to her impending rebellion, given that the visit was on the eve of her marital split (partying with the Rolling Stones and visits to Studio 54 came shortly after). In addition to five paper dresses from Trudeaumania 1968, pieces from the late prime minister's own wardrobe (including a Dior cape) are en route.

In the exhibition space upstairs, the windows are whitewashed, for both functional and artistic reasons - it mutes the sunlight, and adds to the overall guerrilla aesthetic dominating a section on political T-shirts, such as the Sex Pistols example from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's Seditionaries label or the slogans from Katharine Hamnett's 1983 collection (including Choose Life, familiar to devotees of Wham! music videos).

The leopard-print burqa by Jeremy Scott is the showpiece that Shauna Levy, president of the Design Exchange, expects to see most on Instagram. "What we're trying to do is really demonstrate how fashion is a tool for communication," she says. "We embrace the notion that design is everything and I think that fashion is one of the platforms people most readily understand and identify with."

A black dress from Hussein Chalayan's controversial Between collection from 1998 will also be a lightning rod. For that show fi nale, models emerged in varying lengths of chadors, beginning with a nude one wearing a sliver that covered only her eyes and progressing in varying longer lengths. "Because there was an uproar about it, he has been very quiet about the meaning of his exhibition," Nickleson says. Did the D/X request a specific length, like the provocative mini-chador? "We wanted to," she says of the one she had hoped to secure. "But we couldn't. That [collection] was pre-9/11 and they have since stopped showing it."

One of the fi nal zones is After Words, which features a video of Chalayan's 2000 collection addressing immigrant displacement (such as the forced migration of his own Turkish Cypriot family after the upheaval in Cyprus in 1974). When it was fi rst shown, the models stripped furniture of its covers and wore them as dresses, folding the frames into suitcases; the line came on the heels of the confl ict in Kosovo and waves of displaced Serbian and Albanian refugees. At the D/X, the installation will relate back to the vestibule's walls, which will hang with controversial Benetton ad-campaign imagery (including a Bosnian soldier's uniform covered in blood) by Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani.

After walking through the exhibition, attendees who don't believe they consciously choose what to put on in the morning will fi nd that in itself is a choice. Indeed, even nudity can makes a statement, as the PETA and Femen displays attest. Just ask those mannequins mooning the financial district.

Politics of Fashion/Fashion of Politics runs from Sept. 18 to Jan. 25 at the Design Exchange in Toronto (

Associated Graphic


1. Design Exchange curator Sara Nickleson unpacks a message-laden MA-1 flight jacket as the Toronto museum prepares for Politics of Fashion/Fashion of Politics, an exhibition opening Sept. 18.

2. A piece from Vivienne Westwood's Anarchy in the U.K. collection.

3. Hussein Chalayan's fall/winter 2000 collection is brought to life in the exhibit's After Words zone.

4. A 1970 Woodstockece print pantsuit.

5. Paper dresses sporting images of Robert F. Kennedy and Pierre Trudeau, circa 1968.

6. A Barack Obama dress from Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.

7. Alexander McQueen's armoured shoulder pie

8. Topless Femen protesters crash a Nina Ricci show in 2013.

9. A machine-gun-embellished top by Jeremy Scott.

10. The closing look (centre) from Maison Martin Margiela's fall/winter 2013 show.

11. This image, part of a 2014 Diesel ad campaign, ran with the words, 'I am not what I appear to be.'

12. Political buttons.

13. Rad Hourani was the first designer to present a unisex couture show in Paris.

14. Nickleson shows off a Mickey Mouse helmet from Jeremy Scott's Right to Bear Arms collection.

15. A fur-like Chloe jacket, made of glass, plastic and linen, by designer Stella McCartney, known for eschewing animal products.

16. A bag bearing a stylized McDonald's logo from Jeremy Scott's fall/winter 2014 collection for Moschino.

17. Diesel's fall/winter 2014 collection by Nicola Formichetti.


Naomi Klein: The price of free trade is unchecked climate change
In her new book This Changes Everything, Ms. Klein argues that saving the planet will take more than lower emissions - we need a radical rethink of capitalism
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F1

During the globalization wars of the late nineties and early 2000s, I used to follow international trade law extremely closely. But I admit that as I immersed myself in the science and politics of climate change, I stopped paying attention to trade. I told myself that there was only so much abstract, bureaucratic jargon one person could be expected to absorb, and my quota was filled up with emission mitigation targets, feed-in tariffs, and the United Nations' alphabet soup of UNFCCCs and IPCCs. Then about three years ago, I started to notice that green energy programs - the strong ones that are needed to lower global emissions fast - were increasingly being challenged under international trade agreements, particularly the World Trade Organization's rules.

In 2010, for instance, the United States challenged one of China's wind power subsidy programs on the grounds that it contained supports for local industry that were considered protectionist. China, in turn, threatened to bring a dispute against renewables subsidies in five U.S. states.

This is distinctly bizarre behaviour to exhibit in the midst of a climate emergency. Especially because these same governments can be counted upon to angrily denounce each other at United Nations climate summits for not doing enough to cut emissions, blaming their own failures on the other's lack of commitment. Yet rather than compete for the best, most effective supports for green energy, the biggest emitters in the world are rushing to the WTO to knock down each other's windmills.

As one case piled on top of another, it seemed to me that it was time to delve back into the trade wars. And as I explored the issue further, I discovered that one of the key, precedent-setting cases pitting "free trade" against climate action was playing out in Ontario - my own backyard.

Suddenly, trade law became a whole lot less abstract.

Sitting at the long conference table overlooking his factory floor, Paolo Maccario, an elegant Italian businessman who moved to Toronto to open a solar factory, has the proud, resigned air of a captain determined to go down with his ship. He makes an effort to put on a brave face: True, "the Ontario market is pretty much gone," but the company will find new customers for its solar panels, he tells me, maybe in Europe, or the United States. Their products are good, best in class, and "the cost is competitive enough."

As chief operating officer of Silfab Ontario, Mr. Maccario has to say these things; anything else would be a breach of fiduciary duty. But he is also frank that the last few months have been almost absurdly bad. Customers are convinced the factory is going to close down and won't be able to honour the 25-year warranty on the solar panels they purchased. Suppliers who had been planning to set up their own factories nearby to cut down on transport costs are now keeping their distance.

Even his own board back home in Italy (Silfab is owned by Silfab SpA, whose founder was a pioneer in Italian photovoltaic manufacturing) seemed to be jumping ship - cancelling a $7-million investment in custom machinery. What are the chances he would choose to open this factory here today, given all that has happened, I ask. At this, all attempts at PR drop away and he replies, "I would say below zero if such a number exists."

And yet in 2010, the decision to locate the company's first North American solar manufacturing plant in Ontario seemed to make a great deal of sense. One year earlier the province had unveiled its climate action plan, the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, centred on a bold pledge to wean Canada's most populous province completely off coal by 2014.

The plan was lauded by energy experts around the world, particularly in the U.S., where such ambition was lagging. On a visit to Toronto, Al Gore offered his highest blessing, proclaiming it "widely recognized now as the single best green energy [program] on the North American continent." The legislation created what is known as a feed-in tariff program, which allowed renewable energy providers to sell power back to the grid, offering long-term contracts with guaranteed premium prices.

The catch was that in order for energy providers to qualify, they had to ensure that a minimum percentage - 40 to 60 per cent - of their workforces and materials were local to Ontario.

The provision was an attempt to revive Ontario's moribund manufacturing sector, which was reeling from the near bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler. Compounding these challenges was the fact that Alberta's tar sands oil boom had sent the Canadian dollar soaring, making Ontario a much costlier place to build anything.

In the years that followed the announcement, Ontario's efforts to get off coal were plagued by political blunders. Large natural gas and wind developers ran roughshod over local communities, while the government wasted hundreds of millions (at least) trying to clean up the unnecessary messes.

Yet even with all these screwups, the core of the program was an undeniable success. By 2012, Ontario was the largest solar producer in Canada and by 2013, it had only one working coal-fired power plant left. And by 2014, more than 31,000 jobs had been created. Silfab is a great example of how it worked.

The Italian owners had already decided to open a solar panel plant in North America. But Ontario - overcast and cold a lot of the year - wasn't "on the radar screen," Mr. Maccario admitted. That changed when the province introduced the green energy plan. Its local-content provisions meant that in communities that switched to renewable energy, manufacturers like his could count on a stable market for their products, one that was protected from having to compete head-to-head with cheaper solar panels from China. So Silfab chose Toronto for its first North American solar plant.

Ontario's politicians loved Silfab. It helped that the building the company purchased to produce its panels was an abandoned auto parts factory. And many of the workers the company hired also came from the auto sector. Then things started to go very wrong. Just as the U.S. has acted against local renewable supports in China, so Japan and then the European Union let it be known that they considered Ontario's local content requirement to be a violation of World Trade Organization rules.

Protectionism, of a sort

The WTO ruled against Canada, determining that Ontario's buy-local provisions were indeed illegal. And the province wasted little time in nixing the local-content rules that had been so central to its program. It was this, Mr. Maccario said, that led his foreign investors to pull their support for factory expansion. "Seeing all those, for lack of a better term, mixed messages ... was the straw that broke the camel's back."

From a climate perspective, the WTO ruling was an outrage: If we want to keep warming below catastrophic levels, wealthy economies like Canada must make getting off fossil fuels their top priority.

How absurd, then, for the WTO to interfere with that success - to let trade trump the planet itself.

And yet from a strictly legal standpoint, Japan and the EU were perfectly correct. One of the key provisions in almost all free trade agreements involves something called "national treatment," which requires governments to make no distinction between goods produced by local companies and goods produced by foreign firms outside their borders.

Worse, it's not only critical supports for renewable energy that are at risk of these attacks. Any attempt by a government to regulate the sale or extraction of particularly dirty kinds of fossil fuels is also vulnerable to similar trade challenges.

For instance, in 2012, the U.S.-incorporated oil company Lone Pine began taking steps to use NAFTA to challenge Quebec's hard-won fracking moratorium. It has since announced plans to sue Canada for at least $230-million U.S. under NAFTA's rules on expropriation and "fair and equitable treatment."

None of this should be surprising. Of course the richest and most powerful companies in the world will exploit the law to try to stamp out real and perceived threats and to lock in their ability to dig and drill wherever they wish in the world.

In some cases, governments may successfully defend their emission-reducing activities in trade court. But in too many others, they can be relied upon to cave in early, not wanting to appear anti-free trade. Trade challenges aren't killing renewable energy, but the growth is not happening fast enough. And the legal uncertainty that now surrounds some of the most significant green energy programs in the world is bogging us down at the very moment when science is telling us we need to leap ahead.

To allow arcane trade law, which has been negotiated with scant public scrutiny, to have this kind of power over an issue so critical to humanity's future is a special kind of madness. As Nobel Prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz puts it, "Should you let a group of foolish lawyers, who put together something before they understood these issues, interfere with saving the planet?"

A new idea of trade

The greatest tragedy of all is that so much of this was eminently avoidable.

We knew about the climate crisis when the rules of the new trade system were being written. After all, NAFTA was signed just one year after governments, including the U.S., signed the landmark United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio.

And it was by no means inevitable that these deals would go through. A strong coalition of North American labour and environmental groups opposed NAFTA precisely because they knew it would drive down labour and environmental standards.

But for a complex set of reasons, the leadership of many large environmental organizations decided to play ball. "One by one, former NAFTA opponents and skeptics became enthusiastic supporters, and said so publicly," writes journalist Mark Dowie in his critical history of the U.S. environmental movement, Losing Ground.

The errors of this period cannot be undone, but it is not too late for a new kind of climate movement to take up the fight against so-called free trade and build this needed architecture now.

That doesn't - and never did - mean an end to economic exchange across borders.

It does, however, mean a far more thoughtful and deliberate approach to why we trade and whom it serves.

Excerpted from This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Copyright © 2014 Naomi Klein. Published by Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Associated Graphic

'The greatest tragedy of all is that so much of this was eminently avoidable,' writes Naomi Klein in her new book, to be released this week.


Steadfast in pursuit of a better Israel
She helmed the Canada-Israel Committee and the Kahanoff Foundation, and was a columnist for The Globe and Mail
Monday, September 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S8

If Israel were a modern-day monarchy, Shira Herzog would have been a duchess, Michael Marrus, an eminent professor of Jewish history at the University of Toronto, said last week. Ms. Herzog, who died Aug. 24 at home in Toronto at the age of 61, following a six-year battle with cancer, parlayed brains, an irrepressible drive and a fine pedigree to shine a powerful light on progressive, democratic policies in the Jewish state to which she remained forever dedicated.

While Ms. Herzog hailed from what might be called Israel's royal family - her grandfather was the first chief rabbi of Israel, her uncle the country's sixth president and her father a distinguished diplomat and senior adviser to prime ministers - she spent most of her adult life based in Canada from where she pursued the dream of a better Israel.

"Fate and choice have forged my Israeli and Canadian dual identity," she wrote in 2007. She was fortunate, she said, to be "born into a family that made its mark on the state" of Israel, even though she chose to live in Canada, a country she first experienced as the child of an ambassador in Ottawa.

"I move back and forth seamlessly between the two countries and societies in what are, for me, three interlocking circles - Israel, Canada and North America's Jewish communities," she wrote.

As such, Ms. Herzog was forever on the go.

As research director and executive director of the Canada-Israel Committee (CIC) for a decade, beginning in 1977, she spent time most weeks in Ottawa meeting with parliamentarians, officials and journalists, or on forays to Jewish groups across the country, always trying to bolster support for Israel and to report back to the Jewish communities she served.

In the 27 years that followed, at the Kahanoff Foundation, her job of seeking out and fostering social-development opportunities in Israel meant spending an average of about five months a year there, spread out over several visits.

"Other kids went to Florida or to a cottage," her son and only child, Kobi Bessin, recalls. "We went to Israel. That was my beach."

The peripatetic lifestyle came naturally to Ms. Herzog. She was born Jan. 17, 1953, in Jerusalem to Pnina (née Shachor) and Yaacov Herzog, two influential figures in the early days of the state of Israel. Her mother, a pharmacist, represented Israel at the World Health Organization for several years. Her father spent terms in Washington and Ottawa and, in Israel, served four prime ministers - frequently conducting secret negotiations outside the country, often on the spur of the moment.

On one occasion, in 1963, the dapper diplomat, under the watchful eye of Israel's Mossad agents, first visited the clinic of a London physician, Dr. Emmanuel Herbert. He was ushered into an examination room, where Jordan's King Hussein, another "patient," sat waiting. It was the start of extensive secret talks between the two countries - still technically at war - that would eventually lead to peace between them.

Sometimes the talks were in London, but Ms. Herzog described how her father also "went fishing" a surprising number of times throughout the 1960s, when he should have gone to the office.

On those occasions, dressed in leisure clothes and a peaked cap, he set out for the southern port city of Eilat, where he took a small boat out into the Gulf of Aqaba. Out of view of the shore, he pulled alongside a yacht owned by King Hussein, and went on board for yet more discussions.

Indeed, her father was absent so often that Shira, as a child, is said to have once sworn she would "marry a man who could take his children to buy shoes."

She didn't. She married Berl Bessin, a Jewish-Canadian businessman with interests in Israel and the Far East, who travelled as much as she did and wasn't the one to buy their son his shoes. (Actually, Ms. Herzog "preferred to buy the shoes herself," says son Kobi Bessin, 34, now a Toronto lawyer.)

Friends say it was because of Mr. Bessin, whom Ms. Herzog married in Israel in 1973, that she returned to Canada from Israel in 1974. There, she completed a master's degree in English at York University before starting work at the CIC. The couple divorced in 1991. "It was the best thing for both of them," their son said. Each was a strong, independent and controlling personality.

Ms. Herzog was relentless in pursuit of a better Israel.

"She felt she was carrying a torch from one generation [of Herzogs] to another," said her cousin, Isaac Herzog, son of former president Chaim Herzog and now leader of Israel's opposition Labour Party.

"If this table could talk ..." said Kobi Bessin, reflecting on how many great Jewish and Israeli figures had sat around it discussing plans for a Jewish state, rescue operations for European Jews and arguments for war and peace with Arab neighbours. The long claw-and-ballfoot mahogany dining set had come with his great-grandfather, Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog, when he moved his family from Ireland to Mandatory Palestine in 1937 to become chief rabbi of the nascent Jewish community. It was passed to his son, Yaacov Herzog, the diplomat, and then to Yaacov Herzog's daughter, Shira.

She was as determined to succeed as those Herzogs who had come before.

"I spent a rich, challenging decade at the Canada-Israel Committee, in the forefront of Israel advocacy on behalf of the Jewish community," Ms. Herzog wrote. "On matters related to the [Canadian] government's Middle East policy, this meant creating a sometimes tenuous bridge between Canadian opinion leaders on the one hand and the profound emotions of Canada's Jewish community on the other hand."

This is when this writer met Ms. Herzog. Journalists found her remarkably intelligent, informed and willing to point out liabilities in Israeli policy as well as assets.

Unlike those advocates for Israel who believe that faultless praise for the country can never be overdone, Ms. Herzog's words carried with them much greater credibility.

As Israeli Consul-General D.J. Schneeweiss acknowledged, "Shira built partnerships better than any diplomat."

At the Kahanoff Foundation, first as vice-president responsible for Israeli programs and later as the foundation's president, Ms. Herzog continued building partnerships, this time with Israeli social entrepreneurs, helping them develop self-sustaining programs that focus on the education and well-being of Israeli minorities.

"She was not a philanthropist," said Isaac Herzog. "She was a revolutionary."

"I've taken different things from Israel and Canada," Ms. Herzog wrote, noting particularly Canada's strength in diversity.

"In Canada, I've learned to appreciate the value of accepting 'the other'; of finding ways to accommodate differences; and of protecting the physical and ideological space granted to every individual to pursue his or her potential - regardless of ethnic affiliation." This she applied in her Kahanoff projects.

Ms. Herzog's most valuable assets were also inherited from her father: an analytical mind and remarkable eloquence.

"There was never a wasted word in anything she said," her son noted. "It was almost Talmudic."

No surprise there. Her father, besides being a legally trained diplomat, also was a rabbi, who had learned at the knee of one his country's greatest rabbis, his own father. What is somewhat surprising, her son adds, is that if you read one of his grandfather Yaacov Herzog's essays, "it sounds just like mom."

Ms. Herzog's father, while serving as ambassador to Canada, showed his scholarship and articulacy to great advantage in what would be his most famous public success - a 1961 debate at McGill University with the renowned British historian Arnold Toynbee, who had questioned modern Israel's legitimacy.

By all accounts Mr. Herzog triumphed - his biographer, Michael Bar-Zohar, said that Mr. Toynbee's wife, Veronica Boulter, scolded her husband at the end of the encounter, saying "I told you not to take part in this debate."

Armed with analytical skills passed down to her from her father, Ms. Herzog set out on the third chapter of her career: columnist, first for the Canadian Jewish News, then, for the past 12 years, for The Globe and Mail.

Her reasoned, argumentative approach won her many admirers and more than a few detractors, some of whom questioned her loyalty to the state.

"I've never shied away from questions and critical views regarding Israel's policies," she wrote. "Indeed, I've publicly taken issue with such policies myself. But I have zero tolerance for delegitimization of Israel's very existence and defamation of Jews as such. It's important to make this distinction, even though it's sometimes blurred by friends and foes alike."

Each of Ms. Herzog's carefully crafted columns showed the high standards she upheld in everything she did.

"She was a perfectionist," her son and many of her friends said, whether in Pilates, where she insisted on reaching instructor level, in editing young Kobi's essays or looking for solutions to Israel's problems.

Even in the Shira Herzog tribute held last week to benefit the New Israel Fund of Canada, she picked the speakers, the songs that would be performed and even left a recorded message in case she couldn't make it to the event - there was no emotionalism in this voice from the grave; it was all business.

As Ms. Herzog's tombstone will say, quoting Ecclesiastes, Chapter 9, Verse 10: "Whatever it is in your power to do, do with all your might."

In summing up the dual Israel-Canada nature of her life's work, Ms. Herzog quoted Israeli poet, Chaim Guri, who wrote wryly, "What's seen from here looks different when seen from there."

"If, as I am," she wrote, "one is fortunate enough to be able to be both here and there, perhaps this can help to build bridges.

Inspired by a family heritage of learning, diplomacy and respectful, informed dialogue, I've tried to do this in a modest way."

Shira Herzog leaves her son, Kobi Bessin; daughter-in-law, Shelby Greenberg; and grandchildren, Olivia and Ethan, in Toronto. She also leaves her sister, Eliezra; and brother, Yitzhak, in Israel.

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Send us a memory of someone we have recently profiled on the Obituaries page. Please include I Remember in the subject field.

Associated Graphic

Shira Herzog hailed from what might be called Israel's royal family - her grandfather was the first chief rabbi of Israel, her uncle the country's sixth president and her father a diplomat and senior adviser to prime ministers.

Shira Herzog with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, centre. Ms. Herzog's father, Yaacov Herzog, served four Israeli prime ministers.

Fall TV: Powerful women? Diversity? Uh, it's about time
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R1

First, the big picture. Yes, the best, most innovative and serious minded of TV shows are still on cable. Add a handful of satisfying or arresting series on network TV to the mix. There's no bonanza of brilliant TV this fall, but some new cable series of startling quality will debut, with many more to come in early 2015. It's a good menu for the next few months.

In themes, trends and strategies, U.S. network television is going in two directions. First, the invasion of comic-book heroes.

Gotham on Fox, The Flash (The CW), Constantine (NBC) and, later, a spin-off from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. called Agent Carter (ABC). The intent is obvious.

Seriousness is being ceded to cable and these shows, connected to movie franchises and comic books, are aimed at drawing in a younger audience more interested in flash and fun than thoughtful sober-mindedness.

Second, some networks are sticking to familiar successful formulas. CBS isn't losing money on CSI and Person of Interest, police procedurals with elements of high-tech, gadget-savvy nerdiness. So along come NCIS: New Orleans; also Scorpion, about nerdy-but-witty tech geniuses doing good; and Stalker, about tackling stalkers, obviously. NBC has State of Affairs, which feels like a knock-off of The Blacklist. ABC has How to Get Away With Murder, from Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal), which feels like it's deeply inspired by Scandal. Some viewers like cookiecutter shows. And some series are shorter - cable-style 10 episodes.

Two cultural shifts are evident. First, we see more diversity as network series are beginning (beginning!) to look the way America looks - ABC's very droll Black-ish and crude Cristela, along with CW's wonderful Jane the Virgin, and on CBS, The McCarthys. Amazingly, these aren't peopled entirely by bland white actors.

Secondly, powerful women abound. CBS's earnest but simpy Madam Secretary has Tea Leoni as U.S. secretary of state, juggling international politics and family life. On NBC's State of Affairs, former Grey's Anatomy star Katherine Heigl is a top CIA official working for a female president (Alfre Woodard).

The following list of recommended shows are mostly American and British. There are few new Canadian productions - very oddly, CBC declined to release its showcase Strange Empire drama, coming Oct. 6, in time for this review - but more will come in 2015.

For now, here are 10 shows worth your attention:

Red Band Society (Fox, starts Sept. 17)

The premise seems too saccharine: It's set in a children's hospital and the narrator is a boy in a coma. But the pilot absolutely sings with wit and verve. This turns out to be a Glee-style teen drama that happens to be set in a hospital, not a high school. The ensemble cast, playing kids and teens with both physical and mental problems, is excellent and the show doesn't steer away from the grim realities of death and loss. An elusive blend of sombre pathos, black humour and feel-good vibe is captured in the pilot. An outlandishly odd but quality network show.

Gotham (Fox/CTV, starts Sept. 22)

It's typical of where network TV is going, but this "origins tale" about the beginning of the Batman story is by far the best of the superhero shows. If you like the lurid, unreal look of comic-book dramatizations, Gotham looks stunning. It's childish fun, of course, as characters address each other with chestnuts such as, "Listen hotshot!" and "Do the right thing for once!" But it is very well cast. While little Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz, who was the silent, genius kid on Touch) is only a cipher at first, others are emphatically there. Much is seen through the eyes of straightarrow Detective James Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie, from The O.C. He's wonderful, all gravity and grace. With him is Donal Logue, eating the scenery as the palooka cop Harvey Bullock.

Robin Lord Taylor, as the vicious, soon-to-be Penguin, is sensational.

Black-ish (ABC/City, starts Sept. 24)

"I'm gonna want my family to be black, not black-ish." That's what wealthy black businessman Andre "Dre" Johnson (Anthony Anderson) shouts. He has a struggle with this, since the kids seem to want to be white, preppy people, and maybe even Jewish.

A comedy with real zip and zest, this also benefits from Dre's dad, played by Laurence Fishburne (who's also an executive producer), turning up often to make hilariously deadpan remarks.

The Honourable Woman (Sundance Channel/BBC, starts CBC, Sept. 29)

It's a superb political drama and taut spy thriller. Homeland without the hysteria. Nessa Stein (Maggie Gyllenhaal) inherited her father's business and wealth (he was assassinated) and tries to resolve the Middle East peace process through a charitable foundation, supporting hospitals and laying communication cables in the West Bank. A business partner dies, suspiciously. England's MI6 is looking into it (Stephen Rea is brilliant as the smoothly conniving head spy). Then there's a kidnapping. Then it seems Nessa, who sleeps in a panic room, is less then pure. The Honourable Woman orbits around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but never avoids it - an astute, tough-minded and thoroughly gripping drama. A must-see.

Survivor's Remorse (Starz, airs SuperChannel, starts Oct. 4)

Basketball prodigy Cam Calloway (Jessie T. Usher) is sprung from the ghetto when signed by an NBA team. He takes along assorted members of his extended family. Some want to remind him of his roots, others want to feed on his fame and money. Very funny, this toxic comedy touches on some racial issues rarely broached on TV. LeBron James is executive producer but sitcom veteran Tom Werner (The Cosby Show, Roseanne), who is also an executive with Fenway Sports Group, is really in charge.

The Affair (Made for Showtime, starts The Movie Network/Movie Central, Oct. 12)

Adults only, please. And not because it's grown-up stuff about a sexually charged affair between two already-married, troubled people. Created by the team behind HBO's In Treatment, this is sophisticated storytelling. Noah (Dominic West) is married to his college sweetheart (Maura Tierney), with whom he has four children. He meets and begins an affair with Alison (Ruth Wilson), a waitress whose marriage (to a mercurial man played Joshua Jackson) is undermined by the death of a child. It begins as seemingly torrid, but then becomes deeply sinister, as we see events from several points of view. Truly emotionally wrenching.

Jane the Virgin (The CW, starts Oct. 13)

This is an absolute gem of a comedy with its own weirdly buoyant rhythm. Gina Rodriguez, who is fabulous, stars as Jane, who wants to stay a virgin until marriage. Then, she is told she's pregnant. Her mom is all, "It's the immaculata!" but the reason is more mundane. And there's Jane's mystified boyfriend, who hasn't actually had sex with her.

Based on a telenovela, the show is loopy, self-mocking about telenovela plot twists and, all in all, funny and utterly charming. Rodriguez glows in what is an unusually adorable comedy from the tiny CW network.

Death Comes to Pemberley (PBS Mystery, starts Oct. 26)

This adaptation of P. D. James's charming 2009 sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, done as a murder mystery, is light as air, but hugely entertaining. It does, after all, blend two staples of Brit TV into one - the lush period-piece literary adaptation, and sorting out who is responsible for the dead bodies. This mash-up has Elizabeth Bennet (Anna Maxwell Martin) married to Mr. Darcy (Matthew Rhys from The Americans) and running a grand country house. After viewers feast on the frocks, bonnets and gorgeous house, along comes Elizabeth's hugely irritating sister Lydia (Jenna Coleman) screaming, "Murder! Murder!" Captain Denny, a friend of her husband (the dodgy Wickham), has been murdered and, well, there must be an investigation. Drollery pops up constantly amid the mystery solving.

Olive Kitteridge (HBO Canada, starts Nov. 2)

From what has been made available, this four-part, two-night miniseries adaptation of the Pulitzer prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout is dazzling, a magnificent piece of TV drama.

Its guiding force is Frances McDormand, who optioned the book herself and brought in Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) to direct. The novel is a series of 13 interconnected short stories that take place across 25 years in a small Maine town, and the miniseries distills it to put Kitteridge (McDormand), a depressive, often acid-tongued math teacher, at its core. Around her, a family and town, sharply drawn, go about their troubled lives. Suicide haunts everything, but there is great warmth. The cast includes Peter Mullan and Martha Wainwright. It screened recently at the Venice Film Festival to adoring reviews.

Worricker (BBC, airing PBS Masterpiece Contemporary, starts Nov. 9)

The great Bill Nighy reprises his role as MI5 spy Johnny Worricker, first introduced in the TV movie Page Eight in 2011. Created by playwright Sir David Hare, Worricker is the sort of spy who is all understatement, dry wit and cunning. A raised eyebrow is a big emotional moment for this man who loves art, jazz and complicated women. And Hare writes beautifully for the character. Hare's name also attracts a startling cast to the short series off dramas, with Christopher Walken, Winona Ryder, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes also playing key roles.


Last season's hit, The Blacklist, is back with James Spader's character as arrogant as ever, and little resolved from last season. (NBC/Global, Sept. 22)

The Walking Dead has survivors being used as guinea pigs by the Terminus people looking for a cure. The producers promise drama that is "brutal" and "explosive." (AMC, Oct. 12)

American Horror Story is back for a fourth season as Freak Show. (FX Canada, Oct. 8)

Takin' music streaming to the streets
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B3

One of the chief crusaders for the future of music is a failed bass player.

It's a sales pitch that might make music snobs cringe. "I realized it was not my calling," Anthony Bay, chief executive officer of Rdio Inc., says of his decision to give up the four-string in the Grade 6. "I wasn't good enough."

What he was good at, it turns out, was selling digital media. While he's steered clear of any more instruments, the business of consuming culture online has woven its way throughout Mr. Bay's career. The music-streaming service CEO's near-30-year career has landed him management and executive roles at some of the world's tech powerhouses, from Apple to Microsoft and Amazon.

Being one of streaming music's biggest cheerleaders is a tough gig. Mr. Bay, 58, took the reins at San Francisco-based Rdio last November, inheriting a challenge few would desire: Bring some black ink into an industry that's swimming in the red. While powerhouses such as Netflix have shown there's money in streaming video, sustainable profitability has yet to emerge in the audio market.

"The single biggest issue we have is awareness," Mr. Bay says over lunch at TOCA, a restaurant in Toronto's Ritz-Carlton. He was in town for the spring Canadian Music Week, an annual industry conference and festival where he spoke and rubbed elbows with labels. "The average person doesn't know what streaming music is, and what subscription music is."

But persuading the public to buy into such a crowded, fractured market is no easy feat. Services such as Rdio, and its major competitors, such as Spotify, Beats Music and Deezer (only some of which are available in Canada), let users build their own libraries and playlists from catalogues of 25 million to 30 million songs. These what-you-wantwhen-you-want services can effectively replace the need to own a music collection. While Rdio doesn't disclose many numbers, other services have as many as 10 million paid users.

Other competitors include lessinteractive, radio-like services such as Pandora Radio and Songza that offer playlists curated to listeners' tastes, which Rdio began to offer free in numerous countries last spring to entice users into paid subscriptions.

To casual observers, the nuances that separate these services are minimal. Most, as with Rdio, have tiered offerings, ranging from free, ad-supported playlists to paid monthly memberships that allow unlimited access to Web and mobile music streaming for $5 to $10. None of them has proved it can be profitable, save for publicly traded Pandora, which has struggled to maintain investor confidence.

The streaming market is growing - by one account, revenue grew 51 per cent last year, versus a 2-per-cent drop in downloads - but potential profits are dogged by royalty costs for the music they stream, keeping margins tight even as numerous companies fight to build scale.

"It's still super early," Mr. Bay says of the burgeoning marketplace.

He is familiar with operating in the unknown. After starting his career with Apple Inc. in 1986, he moved to Microsoft Corp. in 1994, working on its Internet portal, MSN. Back then, he says, "the Internet was not built to stream. It was built to break streams into bits so that enemies could not disrupt them."

As it turns out, he explains, "putting Humpty back together was pretty hard."

So Microsoft tasked him with figuring out how to make streaming more broad-based in the age of dial-up, and he learned that digital adoption can take time. "We had 'Internet Commerce Day,' where we wanted to convince people it was safe to buy things on the Internet. Talk about quaint."

Mr. Bay left Microsoft in 2000 and helped run a handful of offbeat digital music companies, eventually landing as Inc.'s global head of digital video in 2011. He quit the company last March after just a year and a half. "I longed a bit more for the entrepreneurial part," he says. He took a break from work to travel, but companies quickly began to court him. A few months later, he wound up at Rdio after its CEO Drew Larner stepped aside to become executive chairman.

The streaming company, which launched in 2010 and quickly became a dominant player in Canada, is funded by Skype cofounder Janus Friis.

Mr. Bay soon set up a personal account with a library that reveals his past as a seventies college radio DJ: The Doobie Brothers, the Eagles, Queen. Some classical for good measure. His modern favourites, which he thinks are influenced by Buckingham-Nicksera Fleetwood Mac, tend to have a country flavour, he says, "much to the chagrin of my children."

His arrival heralded a series of tweaks to Rdio's free memberships, settling this month on curated playlists, similar to what Pandora offers in the United States, to attract a wider customer base. The "freemium" model is the foundation of his plan to make the company profitable: "You have to get scale, but with a cost structure that makes sense."

Earlier this year, Rdio made a vague announcement that it had formed a "strategic partnership" with Shaw Communications Inc., but laid out few terms. A few weeks later, as we're eating, Mr. Bay elaborates: The global company is partnering with local media firms in the countries where it operates to sell local ads on the new free service. "Our relationship with Shaw is to take on more of a Canadian personality - so we have a Canadian face."

The company has similar partnerships in the United States and Brazil with media companies that can curate local content and have local sales teams sell ads to run on Rdio, which is available in 60 countries. The partnership gave Rdio boots on the ground to promote its offerings to Toronto International Film Festival crowds, too, including a free Ellie Goulding concert during the festival.

Such partnerships also advance public awareness of the company - particularly important in Canada, where a recent government agreement on royalty rates for digital streaming has encouraged more competitors to enter the marketplace. Just weeks before Rdio announced in August that it would be TIFF's official music partner, its chief global competitor, Spotify, soft-launched in Canada. "There are clearly alternatives" to Rdio, Mr. Bay says, but he'd rather focus on customers than competitors. "Our goal is to get as many people as possible to try us, and make them as happy as possible so they stick around."

Shuffling Cobb salad around on his plate, Mr. Bay reveals that he learned a lot of his management strategy from his old boss at Amazon. Jeff Bezos, he says, once told him that "We've never had a customer say, 'I wish Amazon had less selection. I wish Amazon shipped products slower. I wish you made it harder to find something.' So what do people want? They want more selection, more convenience," Mr. Bay says, finally taking a bite.

More selection may be an understatement. "Our goal is to get every song ever recorded on any device anywhere in the world. Not everybody's trying to do that, by the way. You get these debates about, 'Will people ever listen to that?' Which, I think, is not the point."

But unlike streaming video services, Mr. Bay doesn't expect a dominant player to emerge in music. "We don't have to get 100 per cent to be successful," he says. "There's no media company equivalent of Google or Facebook. So I doubt this will turn into that."

He also doesn't believe streaming music will cannibalize other ways people listen to music. "It tends not to ever be that blackand-white," he says. "Streaming enables new types of listening. Some people want to own a record - a physical thing. Some people want to own a DVD. Vinyl's coming back."

One of streaming music's chief selling points is its potential for discovery, making it a crucial companion for other types of music consumption. As with Twitter, Rdio users can follow friends, celebrities and publications to see what they're listening to, which the service uses to serve up a library of suggestions. I mention that the night before our lunch, I saw Angel Olsen, a folky songwriter from Missouri with a country tinge, play a concert after I'd heard her on Rdio. After the show, I bought her record on vinyl.

Mr. Bay calls me "a perfect case study" for how streaming fits into music's future. "You heard an artist you would not have known about," he says. But still, he knows he needs scale: "How many of you does there have to be to make this work?"


Personal: Born in the San Francisco Bay area, he splits his time between Rdio's headquarters there and Seattle, where he lives with his wife and three children.

Education: Bachelor's degree in economics from University of California, Los Angeles, 1978; MBA from San Jose State University, 1990.

Old favourite artists: The Doobie Brothers, The Eagles .

New favourite artists: Luke Bryan, The Band Perry, Florida Georgia Line .

In his own words:

On growing streaming music: "There's, I don't know, maybe 100 million people who listen [to streaming music] out of a billion and a half smartphones. If you look at the number of connected devices, on a global basis, most listening is pirated music. If you look again at streaming video, the piracy went down when there were good video services that were legal. ... If we go out a few years, there will be hundreds of millions of people on streaming music services. So that's a huge opportunity."

On his favourite music today: "I have developed a lot more affection for country, much to the chagrin of my children - although my daughter actually likes country."

Associated Graphic

Anthony Bay, chief executive officer, Rdio Inc.


Astringent and even slighty medicinal, bitter has a bit of a bad rap. But as Chris Nuttall-Smith discovers while prepping a particularly complex and tart meal with cookbook author Jennifer McLagan, that's undeserved - in fact, it's perhaps the most sophisticated of tastes
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

At 9:40 a.m. one recent Monday, Jennifer McLagan handed me a shot glass and a bottle of Fernet-Branca. Fernet, as the Italian digestive liquor's advocates call it, is flavoured with a secret blend of a few dozen herbs, roots, oils and flowers, including gentian. Gentian, according to Fernet's manufacturer, contains "one of the most bitter substances known."

I'd tried it before, years ago, and still remember the taste - like dandelion sap mixed with cigarette ash and stale-dated cough syrup. My eyes began watering in anticipation. I quickly took a slug and coughed. McLagan didn't speak. She didn't look entirely impressed.

McLagan is 60 and speaks with a soft Australian accent. She keeps her hair in a tidy bob and wears subtly red-framed metal glasses. You'd never peg her as one of the most prescient thinkers and authors in the hard-living world of professional cooking.

Now she pulled a tall, brown clay bottle from a cupboard, this one containing another, more bitter liquor, from Latvia.

She poured out a splash. "Even a lot of people who like Fernet can't stand it," she said. It was as good as a dare. I grabbed the edge of the counter and took a sip. "Not bad," I lied.

McLagan had promised to take me on a taste tour through the world of bitter this morning. She calls it the world's most dangerous flavour. And the booze was only the beginning. I drained a glass of water, swishing it around my mouth as discreetly as I could.

McLagan's first book, called Bones, was published in 2005 as a reaction to the rise of the boneless, skinless chicken breast; in our rush for convenience we'd abandoned the tastes and the textures of cooking and eating bone-in meats. Within a few years of Bones' publication you could scarcely go to a restaurant without seeing whole roasted marrow bones on the tables. Fat, McLagan's ode to the deliciousness and, yes, the healthfulness of animal fat, came out three years later. ("That one was about six years ahead of its time," she says.)

2011's Odd Bits celebrated animal hearts, livers, kidneys, hooves, lungs, tripe and other offal, lending not just momentum, but also many of the techniques and recipes that propelled the rise of North American noseto-tail cooking.

Bitter, which will be released this week in Canada and the U.S., is perhaps her most difficult subject yet. "Bitter is a negative to most people," she told me. "It's a bad word in North America." But it's also the most complex and sophisticated of the tastes, the book argues - or as McLagan's friend, the cook and author Naomi Duguid puts it in Bitter's epigraph, "Bitter is the gatekeeper of adult taste."

So maybe my response to the Fernet and that Latvian rotgut were a little childish. I had time to redeem myself. McLagan had laid out a pair of knobbly green bitter melons on her kitchen counter, as well as celery leaves, orange zest, walnuts, prunes marinated in black tea, a package of ground pork and a bottle of homemade tonic water. We were about to make a very bitter lunch.

Bitter was borne from McLagan's remembrance of the grapefruit she used to eat for breakfast growing up in Melbourne, Australia. The grapefruit of McLagan's childhood was white-fleshed and bitter - her mother used to sprinkle it with sugar to temper the taste. Bitter is a learned taste. You come to love it by experience.

"My experience with grapefruit gave me a positive attitude to bitter, and it became an important part of my flavour palate," she writes.

Today most grapefruit is pink and sweet-tasting - the bitterness has been bred out of many popular varieties. In North America especially, we've forgotten how complex and interesting bitter foods can be.

McLagan studied politics and economics at university in Melbourne before moving to Paris and London in her early 20s, where she worked as a cook. She moved to Toronto in the early 1980s; she and her husband, a prop and special effects maker named Haralds Gaikis, have lived here for 33 winters, she says.

McLagan worked as one of the city's top food stylists until Bones' publication. She's been a fulltime cookbook writer ever since.

The pair spend winters and summers in Ontario, spring and fall in Europe (they keep a small apartment in Paris). In Europe, bitterness never disappeared. In Italy, she'd drink Campari with soda and an orange slice, and the gently bitter digestives called amari. In France, she'd eat bitter frisée salads with a poached egg and nubs of fatty bacon sprinkled on top.

She built bitter into her cooking. "Citrus zests, turnips, rapini, chicories and cardoons became some of my favourite tastes, and I found myself craving them," she writes. When McLagan made caramel she'd cook the sugar until it began smoking - the heat breaks down sugar's simple sweetness into a few hundred new molecules that taste sour, buttery, alcoholic, fruity, toasty, nutty and, with enough cooking, complexly bitter. In North America, caramel was almost always one-note sweet.

That complexity is perhaps bitter's greatest drawing power: Unlike sweet, sour or salty, which are simple, easily describable sensations, bitter comes in myriad flavours and textures, from astringent to burnt-tasting to herbal-medicinal, and nearly every person experiences them in a different way. "Thousands of different compounds in foods elicit a bitter response," McLagan writes.

In her kitchen that morning, we started with something simple, a bowl of prunes chilled in a bath of strong black tea and orange peel. The sweetness of the fruit, the tannins and astringency of the tea and the bitter-floral oils of the orange played off each other, so that no one flavour spun out of balance.

McLagan roasted celery stalks until they were crisp and caramelized, subtly bitter and sweet at the same time, with tarragon thrown in for a layer of anise.

Before lunch, she handed me another glass. She'd mixed some gin with an orange-coloured tonic she'd made the week earlier.

Her recipe calls for allspice, star anise, lemongrass, citrus zest and juice, peppercorns, powdered cinchona bark from the tropics, salt ... the sensation of drinking homemade tonic water after a lifetime of the store stuff was like seeing a full-colour movie for the first time after being stuck all my life with black and white.

"In the kitchen, eschewing bitter is like cooking without salt, or eating without looking," McLagan writes. I'd hardly been a bitteravoider until then - I'd even begun seeking it out in green vegetables and chocolate, especially - but clearly I hadn't also fully embraced its possibilities.

Bitter is filled with recipes for arugula and prosciutto pizza, caramel ice cream, pumpkin-radicchio risotto and a pretty spectacular looking grapefruit tart - hardly what you'd call doubledare dishes.

She uses bitterness as a team player, as a way to temper salt, spice or sweetness, or to mellow the decadence of fat.

"As soon as you put fat with bitter - maybe that's why I did this book. You put bacon dressing on some bitter greens, it's just delicious. Or braise some endive in butter and it caramelizes and it just retains a tiny bit of its bitterness."

McLagan cautions that you'd never make a meal of only bitter dishes, just as you'd never make a meal of only sour or salty or sweet.

Except for at her house that morning. Bitterness was the entire point. The last savoury course she made was Asian bitter melon seared with pork, chiles, garlic and onions. As she served it, she cautioned that it was the most intensely bitter recipe in the book.

I hope she's right. Even against the sweetness of the onions and garlic and the seared pork's savoury voluptuousness, that bitter melon was what you'd call pungent. Still, I liked it.

I even had a second helping.


Most people aren't born with a love of bitter foods - it's something you develop over time.

Here are Jennifer McLagan's tips for getting started.

1. Buy some chocolate. Every day for 10 days, eat a small piece of cheap milk chocolate, followed by a piece of 65 per cent cocoa chocolate, and then a piece of 85 per cent cocoa chocolate (the most bitter), letting them melt slowly on your tongue. "They say it takes 10 tries of a food to adjust your palate," McLagan says. "I think a lot of people could eat chocolate for 10 days."

2. Eat your tea. Pour hot Earl Grey over prunes, add a piece of orange peel, and let it steep in the fridge for a couple of days. The taste is only slightly bitter - and fabulously complex.

3. Cut the bitter with fat. Braise some endive leaves in butter and a bit of salt until they turn caramelized and golden.

4. Eat some walnuts. Whether in a Waldorf salad, a lightly sweetened cake or as a substitution for pine nuts in Italian pesto, walnuts add a mildly tannic-bitter interest. Just don't peel their skins or blanch them in water first, McLagan warns - it takes away walnuts' goodness.

5. Drink a Negroni. Combine one part each of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari over ice in a glass. Add an orange twist and stir.

Associated Graphic

The idea for Jennifer McLagan's latest book was sparked by memories of the bitter grapefruits she ate growing up.


Jennifer McLagan blends complex flavours in her new cookbook, Bitter.


A herald of Canada's golden age of geology
Scientist's early fieldwork blazed the way for Arctic resource exploration - and he even had a mineral named in his honour
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

When the astronauts walked on the moon in July, 1969, their main mission was to collect rocks and dust from the Sea of Tranquility. They were test pilots first and narrowly trained field geologists second.

When Yves Oscar Fortier explored Canada's remote northern reaches in the 1940s and 1950s, he was also breaking new ground in a hostile environment. But he was a geologist through and through.

Dr. Fortier, who died peacefully in Ottawa on Aug. 19, two days after his 100th birthday, conducted milestone work in the Arctic for the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) that was, in many ways, like a months-long moon mission.

His most ambitious project, Operation Franklin, in 1955, mustered 28 scientists to systematically study and map the cold, barren sedimentary rock of a polar region larger than Britain.

This included the Queen Elizabeth Islands and many of the other islands in the triangle at the northern end of the country. (The name Operation Franklin was a nod to the ill-fated 1845 expedition led by Sir John Franklin to search for a Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic. One of the long-lost ships from that expedition was recently discovered.)

Dr. Fortier and his team used long-range Sikorsky S-55 helicopters to deposit 600-kilogram payloads of food and fuel at intervals across the tundra. He then launched research groups from bases on Melville, Bathurst and southern Ellesmere islands.

Mission control was in Resolute on Cornwallis Island and Eureka on Ellesmere. Bad weather scrubbed more than half the planned flights but, despite this, ground-truthing geological investigations were completed across 260,000 square kilometres.

"It was the most ambitious Arctic expedition in Canada," says Denis St-Onge, a geologist and emeritus scientist at the GSC. "They determined the great geological zones of that region."

The resulting rock samples, maps and reports were an extraordinary revelation, describing thick layers of sedimentary rock and structures similar to those found in oil fields. They became a standard reference for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic islands, and brought Dr. Fortier and his assistants, Raymond Thorsteinsson and Timothy Tozer, international renown.

"[Dr.] Fortier's work in the Arctic changed our understanding of the geology and the economic potential of various parts of the region," Dr. St-Onge says.

"And not just oil and gas. There are many other minerals there."

Born in Quebec City on Aug. 17, 1914, Yves Oscar Fortier was four when his mother became a widow at the age of 25, with five children, the youngest only six months old. She found work with the provincial government and eventually wrote and produced radio plays. Dr. Fortier was fiercely proud of his mother.

He was a dedicated student, receiving arts and sciences degrees from Laval, Queen's, McGill and Stanford universities.

His McGill thesis was on the geology of chromite, an important industrial mineral used to make chromium metal, an ingredient of stainless steel. By 1942, then 28, he was teaching mineralogy at Stanford.

The Second World War and its aftermath ushered an intense and unabated interest in Canada's mineral and energy resources. The oil boom in Western Canada and the uranium rush across the Canadian Shield created a huge demand for reliable geological information about a vast land.

In 1943, Dr. Fortier joined the GSC, the national agency for geoscientific information and research.

Romance was in the air, too. Dr. Fortier was an avid skier, and on one mild Saturday in March, 1945, he hit the slopes.

"Mom was living in Montreal, Dad was at the GSC," recounts their daughter Claire Fortier.

"Mom took a bus with friends up to the Laurentians to ski, and Dad and a friend went from Ottawa up there too. Mom was playing the piano in the lodge lobby when they met.

"They chatted at the piano, then as they parted, Mom went to the desk to ask about a Catholic church, because the next day was Sunday and she had to go to mass. Dad 'overheard' this and said he'd see her in church the next day. Mom waits on the church steps and he doesn't come. She thinks, 'oh, the soand-so,' and goes in. There, inside, is Dad. He sat right beside her, and love was born."

Yves Fortier and Gertrude (Trudy) Biermann were married on May 25, 1945. The first of their four children, Georges, was born in 1949, followed by Marc, Mimi and Claire.

Dr. Fortier kept a healthy balance between home and work, despite the demands of - and his enthusiasm for - his career.

"He really tried hard not to work on the weekends," Ms. Fortier says of her father, "but the odd time he did, especially when he was head of the GSC, he would take Mimi and me to work with him. We'd play in his office while he worked. He really liked having his family around him. He hated not to be with us."

Through this period, Dr. Fortier was playing a key role in the systematic search for domestic sources of strategic minerals, metals and hydrocarbons, first as a prolific field geologist and then as the director of the GSC.

From 1945 to 1963, Dr. Fortier's geological fieldwork focused on Quebec's Mont Orford, then covered wide swaths of the mineral-rich Northwest Territories, including Great Slave Lake, Ross Lake and the Yellowknife region.

In 1950, he led a three-man party conducting a coastal survey in a canoe with an outboard motor while circumnavigating Cornwallis Island (the first since Sir John Franklin).

But his biggest scientific undertaking was Operation Franklin in 1955, after which the fieldwork phase of his career tapered and the leadership phase broadened.

Over several years, as author and editor, he reviewed, assembled and published the data from Operation Franklin. Then, from 1964 to 1973, he led the GSC through its great expansion.

"He proved his capacity in Operation Franklin," Dr. St-Onge says, "and he demonstrated this further by being the leader of the GSC and making it Canada's prime research institute, by far, for decades. He put it on the world stage. The International Geological Congress was held in Montreal in 1972 when he was director, in large part because of him. He pushed very hard to have it. And he was invited to congresses around the world for years."

Dr. Fortier received many honours for his life's work. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1953 and received the Massey Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 1964 and the Logan Medal of the Geological Association of Canada in 1974.

He was also named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1980 and Companion of the Royal Society of Canada in 1991.

And, as any great geoscientist would be, Dr. Fortier was fascinated by the Apollo project and its collection of moon rocks.

"Like so many people, we watched it together at the cottage on a little black-and-white TV with fuzzy reception," Ms. Fortier says. "The GSC got a moon rock sample to put on display, and since Dad was director, we got to see it first.

Dad expressed absolute curiosity but, typically, was most interested in what was in it and where it fit in the whole story of geology."

Dr. Fortier was highly accomplished, energetic, philosophical and fair-minded, but even he had imperfections. As they say, all geologists have their faults.

"He could be quite impatient," Ms. Fortier says. "We all felt that every once in a while. He had been top dog, so he liked to have his orders followed, which certainly became more trying for him as we got older, because we would do things differently and it wasn't the way he would do them."

In retirement, Dr. Fortier was an avid sailor, piloting increasingly complex boats, from a GP14 dinghy and a Tanzer 28 sloop to a Cabot 36 yacht. With his wife, he sailed on Lac Deschênes in Ottawa, down to Chesapeake Bay, and around the Caribbean. And he enjoyed his cottage life, especially the water skiing, on Otter Lake, west of Ottawa.

One long-standing tradition among geologists is naming a new mineral in honour of a prominent person or scientist.

By the end of their 21/2-hour moonwalk, the Apollo 11 astronauts had collected 21.5 kilograms of geological samples and discovered three minerals, one of which, in 1970, was named for Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins: armalcolite.

Five years later, the International Mineralogical Association approved a name for another new-found mineral. It had been discovered on Mont SaintHilaire, a subsurface magma intrusion also known as a volcanic plug. Thanks to eons of erosion of the surrounding sedimentary rock, that plug today is an isolated hill a half-hour drive east of Montreal. The mineral takes the form of transparent, needle-like radiating crystals in colours that range through pink, purple, violet, beige, dark brown and bronze. Its name: yofortierite.

Dr. Fortier leaves Trudy Fortier, his wife of 69 years, and his four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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In Operation Franklin in 1955, Yves Fortier and 28 other scientists surveyed barren, sedimentary rock in the Arctic, including the Queen Elizabeth Islands and many of the other islands in the North.


Dr. Fortier, left, was instrumental in making the Geological Survey of Canada a world-renowned scientific institute. He received the Massey Medal from then-governor-general Georges Vanier in 1964.


As go the Argos, so goes the CFL. And it's been going badly this underwhelming season, with the league trying to weather a perfect storm of problems. Canadian football still has a long way to sell itself, Rachel Brady writes
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

Toronto -- Jim Barker rhymed off an exasperating list of factors that have dogged the Canadian Football League this season, and then shook his head in amazement.

"The league was hit by a perfect storm," the Toronto Argonauts general manager said. "I've never seen something like this since I've been in this league, and I don't believe I'll ever see it again."

The CFL had an underwhelming start to its 2014 season, competing against the World Cup for viewers while trying to overcome big hurdles. Its star power took a hit with the retirement of some all-time league leaders, including Anthony Calvillo and Geroy Simon, and injuries to the likes of Chad Owens and Travis Lulay. The league and its players were at odds while negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement, one some players panned on social media. Hamilton's new stadium, originally slated for a July opening, was agonizingly delayed. Ottawa's expansion team mustered a single win in the season's first half. The team in Toronto, living in anticipation of being sold, had no practice home, so it shuttled players to various locations in a hodgepodge daily existence.

While summer-time CFL football often lacks the drama of post-Labour Day action, this year's early-season contests have been particularly low-scoring, and the records of East and West divisions laughably lopsided. Western teams won 26 of the 29 games played against Eastern teams through the first 11 weeks, and even the worst team in the West (Winnipeg at 6-5) has a record better than anyone in the East.

The league's two most accomplished quarterbacks have been shadows of themselves: Toronto's Ricky Ray lost five of his top receivers; Ottawa's Henry Burris played on an expansion team struggling through its debut season. Attendance has dipped in many buildings.

In Toronto - the market the CFL regularly calls central to its success - single-game attendance has been in the neighbourhood of 16,000-18,000 fans, as low as any reported by the Argos in the past decade. The team must vacate Rogers Centre by 2017, but Toronto's oldest sports franchise has nowhere to go.

A sale to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. seemed promising as Argos owner David Braley met with the company about possibilities, including a new home at a refitted BMO Field, shared with Major League Soccer's Toronto FC. But talks stalled. Even if negotiations do resume, much has changed: Both CFL commissioner Mark Cohon and MLSE president and chief executive officer Tim Leiweke have since announced they are leaving their jobs in 2015.

The Argos fired some employees in their business operations this summer, and several others quit in light of the uncertainty. One source who spoke on the condition of anonymity called the business work environment "really toxic" and said the leaders "just aren't forward thinkers."

The Argos did partner with MLSE on a new practice facility, which was scheduled to open when the team broke training camp, but multiple delays meant it wasn't ready for move-in until Labour Day. While waiting, they bused players to various practice locations - sometimes as many as three different venues in one week, the travel time all counting against the league-mandated four-and-a-half hours daily that players can spend in practice and meetings.

Sharing their game-day stadium with the prioritized Toronto Blue Jays, the Argos had just four home dates at Rogers Centre through the first 11 weeks. They have played turnover-plagued football en route to a 3-7 record, most with such stars as Owens and Andre Durie on the shelf.

"This last month has been as tough as any I've ever worked in the CFL, aside from a time in Calgary when I once had the owner's son playing quarterback for me," Barker said with a half-hearted laugh. "But that's history now - we're in a practice facility that's very workable, and as bad as we're playing, we've still got a chance to win the division."

League-wide, an average of 45.8 points has been scored per game through 11 weeks this year. If that rate continues, the CFL would be on course for its lowest-scoring season since 1985. Compare it with 2013, when games saw an average of 52.4 points scored.

"I don't think it's a trend," Cohon told media in Edmonton last weekend. "I think it's a blip. When I look at the past several seasons, there are these cycles. Probably next year or later this year, you'll see the numbers go up."

Most experts attribute the lack of scoring first to injured starting quarterbacks and receivers, along with a handful of first-year officials and players new to the league, due to the addition of a ninth team, the Ottawa RedBlacks. Still, some see more reasons.

Paul LaPolice, head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers two seasons ago and now an analyst for TSN, also credits this year's defences. He says Canadians now starting at positions usually played by internationals, such as running back, free up ratio spots for Americans on defence. Added designated import spots this year have also bolstered defences and special teams, while coverages are more complex.

"There is so much more defensive coverage being played, more combination coverages and pattern reading, and it's harder for the quarterbacks," LaPolice said. "I watch tape every day, and today I was watching film on Calgary and even playing it back in slow motion - I couldn't recognize one coverage, and I've been doing this for 14 years."

Retired CFL linebacker Leo Ezerins, executive director of the league's alumni association, says games also seem slower-moving, thanks to more penalties and the new use of video review on pass interference.

"The games are just too long, and over all, I'm seeing a lot of flags thrown this year," Ezerins said. "Some of this stuff is taking away from play on the field."

Ezerins also notes that the league is driven by its quarterbacks, and in 2014 most haven't dazzled. Only four teams have started veteran CFL quarterbacks this year. Now, even the Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders are without their long-time starter as Darian Durant is having season-ending elbow surgery. Fresh faces are just starting to earn recognition, including Drew Willy, Zach Collaros and Bo Levi Mitchell.

"I was helping coach some highschool football in Aldershot, Ont., and I asked the kids to name their favourite football team. Of the 40 kids, six said CFL teams - four Ticats, two Argos. The rest named NFL teams. The league still has a lot of work to do in selling itself, especially in Southern Ontario," Ezerins added.

On Labour Day in Hamilton, that initiative took a step. The Tiger-Cats managed an ugly 13-12 win over their rival Argonauts - a game that featured just two touchdowns - but the more important attraction was Hamilton's new Tim Hortons Field. It's a big draw for the Ticats, and one that puts a white-hot spotlight on what the Argos so desperately need.

"If in the next six months, we don't yet have a solution to where we're going to play - either a lease signed to play at BMO Field, or a commitment to build a new CFLappropriate stadium - then I believe this franchise is in real trouble," Argos president Chris Rudge said. "I believe it's the most urgent issue facing the CFL and at this week's Board of Governors meeting, we'll be pressing the discussion. It's not just a Toronto issue; it's a CFL issue."

At least now, the Argos have a practice facility, nestled next to Toronto FC's at Downsview Park in north Toronto. Their modest former practice facility at the University of Toronto Mississauga suffered a fire in 2011 but was patched back together for two more seasons as the team searched for another solution.

The team is in the middle of four road games while the Blue Jays finish their regular season. On the remote chance the Jays make the playoffs, the lease states they could bump the Argos out of any scheduled October home games if the dates are needed for baseball.

Cohon indicated to media last week that BMO Field would have to be expanded and renovated to be suitable for the Argos, which could require some $20-million.

"I think the table is set to get a deal done," he said. "The question is whether I can work with David Braley and the [MLSE] board to get it done while I'm still here."

Barker and the Argonauts isolate themselves from buzz about ownership and stadiums, and the GM has been around the CFL long enough to experience how much change can happen on the field in the second half of a 19-week season. Television ratings that slumped versus the World Cup have improved since, especially in recent weeks.

"Our league has undergone lots of change this year and so many injuries, and you put it all together and you get a rocky start to the season, but I see the play getting better every week, more exciting," Barker said.

"I think it's wrong to look at the first half of the season and say 'this is how the CFL is going to be from now on.' Playoff races are supposed to be exciting, and the East race certainly will be exciting this year."

Associated Graphic


Polish corporal fell in love with Canada
After surviving imprisonment by the Soviet army, he fought in the Middle East and Italy with Polish troops, but ended up in Quebec
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, September 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S8

Aleksander Topolski, who has died at the age of 91, was a boy soldier in Poland in 1939 when he was captured and imprisoned by the Soviet army. He survived to fight in the Middle East and Italy in an expatriate Polish army. After the war he became an architect in Britain, then set off on a round-the-world trip in the mid-1950s. But when he stopped to visit a friend in Chelsea, Que., he fell in love with the place and spent the rest of his life there.

Boguslaw Aleksander Topolski was born in Naklo, Poland, on Feb. 20, 1923. His father was a high-school principal, but Aleks never had a chance to finish high school. He was just 16 when Poland was invaded by Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east.

Aleks Topolski, known by the nickname Dzidek, had been in the equivalent of the cadet corps in high school and so was a soldier, though not in a combat unit, when he was 16. He tried to escape over the border to Romania, but was captured by Soviet troops and imprisoned in Czortkow (now Chortkiv, in Ukraine). Not fully grown, teenaged Aleks looked more like a boy than a man.

"My mother, accompanied by my sister, Maria ... made many trips ... [to the prison] trying to see me or at least to deliver some food and warm clothing for me," Mr. Topolski wrote. "My enraged mother paraded back and forth in front of the prison gate holding aloft my little shirt - I still wore the size for a 12-year-old - and shouting at the guards and passersby, 'Look at the size of prisoners the Soviets are keeping in their prison!' "

From Czortkow he was shipped to a number of prisons, first in Poland, then in the Soviet Union. He ended up in Kiev, and was put to work as a draftsman in a foundry, in part because of his small size. He was luckier than his friends, who worked at hard labour. While he was in Kiev he perfected his Russian.

The Soviets were as brutal as their then-allies the Nazis. Under orders from Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, they executed ("liquidated, " in Soviet-speak) intellectuals and members of the officer class. At Katyn Forest in April and May of 1940 the Soviets executed about 22,000 Polish army officers, policemen and other members of the Polish elite.

Stalin blamed the Nazis, which the rest of the world readily accepted, and it wasn't until 1989 that Soviet scholars revealed the truth. The following year, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev officially acknowledged his country's role in the massacre.

The Soviet Union annexed large swaths of Eastern Poland, much of which belongs to Ukraine and Belarus today. Poland lost about 70,000 square kilometres, roughly the size of New Brunswick.

When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June, 1941, Aleks and other prisoners were transported in boxcars to gulags in the sub-Arctic. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill put pressure on his new ally Stalin to release Polish prisoners of war and allow them to form a Polish army. The army would be commanded by General Wladyslaw Anders, who was released from the NKVD (predecessor to the KGB) prison in Moscow. But the Polish government in exile in London first needed convincing.

"The British government encouraged the Polish government in exile to do a deal with the Soviet Union. The Soviets called it an amnesty and the Poles objected to that term," said Piotr Wrobel, a professor of Polish History at the University of Toronto. "The Soviets wanted to contain the [Polish] army but they couldn't. Over 100,000 Poles crossed the Caspian Sea to Iran."

Mr. Topolski was among those who went to Iran, then continued on to northern Iraq, where Polish troops guarded oil fields in Kirkuk, close to where the Islamic State and the Kurds are fighting today. Later, the Poles moved on to Palestinian territory, which was then under British control. About 3,000 Jewish soldiers deserted to stay and join Zionist militias, including Menachem Begin, the future prime minister of Israel.

The British asked Gen. Anders to track them down, but he refused. While in Palestinian territory Mr. Topolski finished high school, then moved to Italy with the Polish II Corps, now part of the British Eighth Army. The Poles stayed in Italy for the rest of the war.

Cadet Officer Topolski (this was his Polish rank - the British classified him as a corporal) fought in the major campaign at Monte Cassino in 1944. Close to 1,000 Polish soldiers died in that campaign alone.

Mr. Topolski was with the army in northern Italy just before the war ended. He had fallen in love with an Italian girl named Aegle and assumed they were going to be married, but nothing came of it.

He was accepted into a university in Britain, and Mr. Topolski and other troops sailed for Scotland from Naples. He and the other Poles were bitter about what was happening to Poland and they discussed it with a sympathetic British officer.

"Our English captain knew plenty about the Poles and our ordeals. More than once he told us he felt guilty about how the Poles had been betrayed at the summit meeting of the three top Allied leaders at Yalta. He realized what it meant to us that Churchill and Roosevelt gave away Eastern Europe, including Poland, to Stalin," wrote Mr. Topolski in his latest memoir.

Back in Britain, he didn't last at university and worked at odd jobs, including at a Dickensian place in London called the Walters' Palm Toffee factory. He later wrote about quitting that job right in the middle of a shift.

He returned to study at the University of Manchester, receiving an architecture degree in 1954.

After graduating, he worked for the London County Council, the municipal government at the time. He left Britain because of a complicated love affair; unlike the Italian girl, who spurned him, this British girlfriend was anxious to marry. Mr. Topolski headed for Australia, however, in 1956.

Along the way, he landed first at Idlewild (now Kennedy) Airport in New York and declared his worldly assets as $60. From there he made his way to Ottawa and went to see a friend in Chelsea, Que., just outside Ottawa. He cut short his travels and stayed. He went to see an architect in Ottawa who looked him over, hired him on the spot and put him to work that day.

Mr. Topolski married for the first time at the age of 42, in 1965. He and Joan Eddis (who was divorced) couldn't be married in a Catholic church, so they settled for a judge in an Ottawa police station. He joined the civil service a couple of years later, thinking he needed some stability. The couple had two children together and raised her son from her previous marriage.

At Public Works Canada he designed a number of government buildings, many of them post offices, including the post office in Wakefield, Que., 20 minutes from where he lived. A cultured man who loved opera, ballet and classical music, he returned to university when he retired after 25 years in the civil service. He graduated cum laude with a degree in classics from the University of Ottawa.

"He knew Italy and the Mediterranean so well he wanted to know more about it," said his daughter, Alexa Wagschal. "He travelled a great deal in Europe and the Middle East. He was always reading books and newspapers and for the last 20 years writing about his life." She said her father knew Latin from his studies in Poland and spoke Polish, Russian, English, French, Italian and some Spanish and German. He also spoke Greek and in his later years was learning Turkish.

Mr. Topolski was an accomplished artist and some of his sketches depicting his time in the Soviet prison camp were included in his first book, Without Vodka, which describes the time from just before the outbreak of war to his arrival with Gen. Anders's army in Iran.

"He self-published it at first, but then a Toronto publisher, McArthur & Co., took it on and published it in 2000," said his wife, Ms. Eddis, a retired journalist and journalism professor. She edited her husband's books.

Though he was a charming man with many friends, Mr. Topolski's wife found him "too bossy" to live with. He and Ms. Eddis remained married and were close friends, collaborating on his many projects, but for many years they lived apart to maintain the peace.

Aleksander Topolski died of a heart attack on Aug. 14. He was 91. He leaves his wife, Ms. Eddis; his daughter, Ms. Wagschal; his stepson, Rory Munn; and his sister, Maria Topolska. His son, Greg, died of melanoma in 2008.

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Associated Graphic

Sixteen-year-old cadet Aleksander Topolski, centre, poses with school friends during weekend manoeuvres in Horodenka, formerly part of Poland and now Ukraine, in 1939.


Mr. Topolski, left, takes part in Remembrance Day ceremonies in his adopted hometown of Chelsea, Que., on Nov. 11, 2004. Right, Mr. Topolski is seen in September, 1942, in Pahlevi, Iran, after crossing the Caspian Sea with General Wladyslaw Anders's army.


Canada's real top chef
Just as the country's culinary experts debate the definition of Canadian cuisine, along comes Jeremy Charles, of Newfoundland's Raymonds Restaurant: one of the 'humblest, most salt-of-the-earth guys you'll ever meet - and he's figured it all out'
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

ST. JOHN'S -- Derek Dammann, chef at Montreal's Maison Publique, and chef Jesse Vergen of New Brunswick's Saint John Ale House - two of the most talented and respected chefs in Canada - were seated at an elegant corner table in a Newfoundland restaurant. They were, as locals might say, in the middle of having a feed.

A seafood platter lay between them. This wasn't, however, the usual basic shellfish-plus-bivalve medley. The platter - a freshly felled cross-section of tree trunk - had arrived bearing delicacies like smoky surf clams stuffed with wild sea greens and chives and salsa verde capelins ensconced within razor-thin shrouds of lardo. The two chefs were incredulous.

"This is, by far, the best food in Canada right now," exclaimed Dammann, a mixture of admiration and surrender colouring his voice.

"It's ridiculous," added Vergen, not realizing what was still to come - the Acadian caviar, the cod, the grouse, the seal, the moose. Vergen would later describe that tasting menu at Raymonds Restaurant, in downtown St. John's, as "probably the top meal I've ever had in my whole life. In terms of terroir-driven food, nothing even comes close."

For those who haven't yet tried chef Jeremy Charles's wild foods at Raymonds: Dammann and Vergen can assure you it's worth the pilgrimage. By now, Raymonds has won several "No. 1 restaurant in Canada" awards. High-level international chefs have been wowed by Charles's abilities through his appearances at Cook It Raw events - prestigious gatherings of the world's top chefs.

"Jeremy is easily Canada's most important chef at this point," explains chef Daniel Burns of Luksus in New York, who has cooked at Noma, the Fat Duck and Momofuku Labs.

All of this buzz (alongside that emanating from nearby Mallard Cottage, run by Todd Perrin) is luring curious diners to Newfoundland. As Dammann states, "I'm positive that what Jeremy and Todd are doing here will make St. John's the next major food travel destination in the world."

Not bad for a place that, 10 years ago, felt almost bereft of dining options. Sure, Newfoundland had its old standbys - cod tongues, toutons and scrunchions - but nobody would have considered them contenders for the world's next "it" cuisine. Now, with the rise of nose-to-tail dining, Newfoundland food is finding itself up there with other formerly disdained and now-desirable cuisines such as Roman quinto quarto or traditional British fare.

What's happening at Raymonds Restaurant is more complex - and exciting - than that.

They're certainly using indigenous ingredients and local traditions, but they're mixing these with a new-Nordic-inspired understanding of how best to transform the bounty around them. Think fresh diver scallops in a sea urchin beurre blanc, or moose charcuterie paired with crispy puffs of lichen. Not exactly salt junk and hard tack. What Charles and his team are doing is not only helping redefine Newfoundland cuisine, but they're also getting into something more profound - into questions of identity, of what it means to live on the Rock and live off the land and be part of this immense country.

"All of us chefs are looking for the identity of Canadian cuisine today," says Vergen, "and then along comes Jeremy Charles, one of the nicest, humblest, most salt-of-the-earth guys you'll ever meet, and he's figured it all out."

Newfoundland cuisine has always been one of necessity, of making do with what nature gives you, and of ingenuity.

"Newfoundland has a very distinct culinary tradition that is still very much alive," explains Ian Mosby, a food historian and L.R. Wilson postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University. "Their cuisine has always been connected to the cod fishery, to isolation and to poverty.

Newfoundlanders couldn't afford to eat many imported foods, so they developed a culture of eating locally available ingredients."

Raymonds is tapping into the roots of Newfoundland cuisine while also elevating it into a highly refined version of itself. A meal at Raymonds is not cheap: A seven-course tasting menu, with wine pairing, is $220 before tax and tip. Those prices are a reflection of the new Newfoundland economy, buoyed by the oil boom.

The real forces that conspired to make Raymonds a reality are two Jeremys: Jeremy Charles and Jeremy Bonia, the restaurant's co-owners and partners. The two had previously worked at Atlantica in nearby Portugal Cove, and they're intimately connected to Newfoundland. Charles, 36, was 7 in St. John's, and much of his youth was spent around fishermen. "My childhood memories are about going down to the wharf when boats were coming in," he recalls. "I'd be cutting out cod tongues and selling them to the tourists. As a young boy, you tried to get a bit of loot to buy a fishing rod to keep you going for the summer."

Charles often joined his father on hunting and fishing trips, where he discovered his love of working with his hands. "For me, it all began with tying flies - the intricacy of it," he says.

"Whatever you can imagine you can tie onto a hook. There are endless possibilities - kind of like cooking."

His fly-tying approach to the culinary world is part of the reason Charles's food is so meticulous. "The attention to detail in every dish at Raymonds is astounding," notes Dammann.

"Take that surf clam. Everybody in Canada has access to surf clams, but nobody knows how to cook a surf clam like Jeremy Charles."

Why is that?

"Because he's put so much thought into it. ... The execution of technique is always there in every plate. Plus he's a hunter.

Being able to hunt, forage and fish in your own backyard - and serve the things you catch in your own restaurant - basically means he has the advantage over every other chef in North America. He simply has a closer connection to the ingredients he's cooking than anyone else."

Other chefs can forage, but few of them are legally allowed to serve wild game, as Raymonds can, thanks to Newfoundland's more understanding laws.

Unlike other places (New York, Paris or Montreal, say) that have taken inspiration from the avant-garde foraging movement in Scandinavia, Newfoundlanders actually have access to a dazzling array of readily available Arctic edibles, from beach peas and Scotch lovage on the water's edge to cloudberries and partridge berries in the barrens.

Part of the reason Raymonds has been so accepted locally is the number of foragers, hunters and fishermen working with them. "I've turned over a lot of rocks trying to find the people living off the land," Charles explains. "We've made a lot of relationships and are supporting people and encouraging them to support us." Hunters now know to provide Raymonds with braces of partridge, spruce grouse or ptarmigan. Trappers are out snaring hares for them in the fall. Fishermen bring them their finest snow crab, cod, sea urchin, even seal meat, in season. Newfoundland has been undergoing difficult transitions over the past decades. By forging new ties, Charles is helping certain traditions to stay alive, albeit in an updated guise.

Charles's awareness of what makes Newfoundland unique stems from the time he's spent abroad, whether cooking in his 20s in Montreal, Los Angeles and Chicago, or with his peers at international conferences, or attending the MAD symposia in Denmark, or making trips to eat at top restaurants like Fäviken - an avant-garde wild-food temple in Sweden. The only way you can know what makes your corner of the world so special is to truly understand the qualities that set it apart.

Charles himself is a perfect embodiment of Newfoundland - self-effacing yet knowledgeable, as ahead of his time as he is linked to the past. He did the interview for this piece while returning from a fishing trip in Labrador. He and his friends had been travelling by helicopter, and at one point they dropped down onto a tiny island to forage for some oyster plants, caribou moss "and other lovely shore greens." Before heading back, they paused just long enough to hack a couple of chunks off a nearby iceberg - for ice in the cocktails they'd make that weekend.

One of Charles's most interesting dishes is his take on cod sounds. The sounds are the cod's ballast, the part that allows the fish to go up and down in the water. It inflates and deflates, letting them submerge or rise. It's a part you never find for sale in the rest of Canada. In the past, Newfoundlanders would cook the sounds up in fat.

What he and his team decided to do was put the cod sounds in their dehydrator to see what would happen. Out came these translucent, brittle discs. "We tried frying them like chicharrones, and they puffed right up," Charles recalls. They'd become an entirely new thing, a kind of enlarged, crispy fish chip. "It's like a Newfoundland nacho," Charles says, with a laugh. "You add some crème fraîche and shrimp and cod roe and it's a beautiful, unique thing."

Associated Graphic

Raymonds is creating a highly refined version of Newfoundland cuisine.


Chef Jeremy Charles, co-owner of Raymonds, grew up around fishermen in St. John's. Now, he enlists local hunters, fishers and foragers.


Robo-advisers: Bad name, good concept
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B10

The latest trend in investing advice has been stuck with an unfortunate nickname that may do it more harm than good.

"Robo-advisers" are online operations that build customized portfolios for clients, typically with exchange-traded funds, and then monitor and rebalance them on an ongoing basis. The price is roughly halfway between the rock bottom pricing of do-it-yourself investing and the cost of having an investment adviser. It's a good concept, but it needs a better name.

For one thing, the term "robo" suggests soulless, oppressive technology. Is anyone keen to receive a robocall while at home? Second, there's the use of the term "adviser." For the most part, robo-advisers barely qualify as advisers in the best sense of the word. That's not actually a problem, but we should be clear about what they do and don't do for clients.

Robo-advisers already have a significant presence in the United States, where recent estimates have them managing more than $15-billion (U.S.) in assets. They're mostly in the startup phase here in Canada, with some firms up and running on a limited basis or available only in select provinces. For example, Nest Wealth ( is operating in Ontario for the moment, while Wealthsimple ( will launch Monday in Ontario and British Columbia. WealthBar ( is operating in B.C., Alberta and Ontario, but on an invitation-only basis for now (there's a waiting list to which you can add your name). Another player is the online brokerage ShareOwner (, which offers model ETF portfolios to investors in all provinces and territories.

Each firm has a different fee model, but you should expect to pay something in the area of 0.6 to 1 per cent of the value of your account on an all-in, annualized basis. That includes the cost of advice, the fees associated with owning the ETFs in your portfolio (these fees are known as the management expense ratio) and the cost of the trades to buy your ETFs and then rebalance them periodically.

While online brokers for DIY investors have been around since the Internet took off back in the 1990s, the investment industry is only just now figuring out how to offer financial advice online. The discount broker BMO InvestorLine has pioneered a model called adviceDirect that provides advice to clients by phone and over the Web, but gives them final say on what to invest in. Now, robo-advisers are introducing a model where clients have all the work done for them.

It's a big leap to give your money to an online firm you've never heard of and trust the people there to invest it intelligently for you. And yet, robo-advisers make good sense for the right type of investor. That would be someone who has neither the time nor inclination to learn about do-ityourself investing and wants advice at a reasonable price.

At this point, we need to discuss what an adviser actually is. Ideally, advisers create a customized financial plan based on your personal situation and then use it to guide your investing. However, some advisers are just salespeople who recommend products for clients to buy and then collect fees and commissions for the minimal work of monitoring the portfolio on a continuing basis.

Robo-advisers - let's call them online advisers instead - are a far better option than an adviser who merely sells mutual funds with the high fees that are common in the industry. They're also an improvement over a haphazard portfolio of mutual funds sold at a bank branch, and incompetent DIY investing based on chasing hot stocks or sitting entirely in cash.

But you don't get the full financial planning overlay for your investments with an online adviser. Instead, expect to have your portfolio based entirely or in large part on a questionnaire that asks about your age, current financial position and risk tolerance.

There are variations on the theme, however. WealthBar does personalized financial planning that includes retirement projections and tax optimization, and most players offer the option of speaking to a live adviser by phone to discuss your portfolio.

Nest has the simplest cost structure at a flat $80 per month, or $40 if you're under the age of 40 (ETF fees are extra, and trades cost $9.99 apiece). The firm has a $25,000 minimum investment, but it's clearly after people with $100,000 to $150,000 or more.

Wealthsimple, targeting young professionals who are just starting to put serious money into their investments, has a $5,000 minimum investment and fees starting at 0.5 per cent of assets (ETF fees extra, but trades included). WealthBar has a similar pricing model - a minimum of $5,000 and fees starting at 0.6 per cent (again, ETF fees are extra, but trades are included). Another pricing variation is ShareOwner's $40 flat fee for accounts of over $100,000, or 0.5 per cent of your balance otherwise.

For context on price, the total fees on a portfolio of mutual funds held through an adviser might cost 2 to 2.5 per cent, close to a full percentage point of which would be routed by fund companies to the adviser and his or her firm. The fees on a low-cost DIY portfolio of ETFs might run you no more than 0.25 to 0.5 per cent, with trading commissions extra (they'd typically be $10 a pop, or zero if you have a broker offering commission-free ETF trades).

The portfolios that online advisers build for you typically include seven to 10 different ETFs from a select group of companies chosen by the firm. Wealthsimple has negotiated lower costs from the ETF companies it works with and says the aggregate ETF fee for clients would be in the 0.25-per-cent to 0.3-per-cent range. Nest claims to have ETF fees down as low as 0.15 per cent.

The investing process with these firms is simple and addresses concerns people will have about handing money to a virtual company with no history behind it. At Nest, WealthBar and Wealthsimple, accounts are held in the client's name at third-party financial firms that are members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. CIPF offers protection of up to $1-million for assets in accounts at member firms that become insolvent. Note: You should never send money to your online adviser directly. Instead, it should be sent to the third-party firm holding your account. Money in most cases can be sent in the form of an online banking bill payment, or by cheque. ShareOwner, which offers the most rudimentary online advisory experience through its model ETF portfolios, is a broker unto itself and a member of both CIPF and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

Don't be put off by online advice when you see the term robo-adviser used. Think instead of technology finally being used to offer a reasonably priced investing solution to people who aren't DIY material and who can't find what they need in the world of human advisers.

Follow me on Twitter:@rcarrick


Robo-advisers, a buzzword describing online investment advice firms, are starting to appear in the Canadian market. Here are 10 key questions to ask before you sign up: .

1. What advice do you provide?

Background: Online advisers typically create a portfolio for you based on your age, current financial circumstances and ability to tolerate stock market ups and downs.

2. What's the price?

Background: Most firms either charge a percentage of your account value - 0.6 per cent or thereabouts per year is a typical starting point - or a flat monthly rate.

3. What will the monthly cost be for my own account?

Background: Tell the firm how much you have to invest, and find out what your monthly fee will be.

4. How are the fees paid?

Background: The usual way is to deduct them every month from cash in your account.

5. What's included in the price?

Background: Brokerage trades needed to manage your portfolio may or may not be included in the advice fee; the cost of owing individual ETFs is not included and must be considered to arrive at your total cost of investing.

6. Do you have a minimum account?

Background: $5,000 is a typical minimum, but it could be higher.

7. Can I talk to any humans?

Background: Some firms have advisory staff available to go over certain points related to your portfolio; ask what investment industry credentials these people have.

8. Where is my account actually held?

Background: All assets should be held in your name at a third-part broker that is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund; your online adviser should simply be able to buy investments for you and move money around within the account.

9. What if your company goes bankrupt?

Background: Your account should be unaffected as it's held at a third-party firm.

10. How do I get money in my account?

Background: You should be able to send money directly to your account at the third-party firm via your online banking website - just set up the firm holding your account as a bill payee.

Rob Carrick

Associated Graphic


A footwear titan looks north
Vince Camuto, the former Nine West honcho who turned Jessica Simpson into a billiondollar fashion brand, is gearing up to charm Canadian women with his own eponymous line
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L4 @Jeanne_Beker

"I never met a man in my life who has as much guts as he does!"

The beautiful Louise Camuto - 1989's Miss Sweden and a Miss Universe fi rst runner-up - is singing the praises of her husband, Vince. He's sitting across from his adoring wife of 15 years at a Bay Street boardroom table in Toronto and looking elegant in an impeccably tailored suit and dark glasses. The indefatigable designer, who co-founded the iconic Nine West brand in 1978 and recently turned Jessica Simpson into a billion-dollar fashion empire, is gloating. Now poised to take Canada with his eponymous brand, the New York born-and-raised Camuto, who started his career as a shoe salesman, is ambition personified and a style visionary. Camuto Group - which he founded in 2001, a couple of years after selling Nine West to Jones Apparel Group for nearly $900-million (U.S.) - continues to be a whopping success with 11 brands across 30 categories of sportswear and lifestyle products.

With his wife acting as creative director and muse, Camuto claims his fi nger is on the pulse of fashion desire. Giving women what they want in terms of comfort, affordability and styling has become his specialty, but his marketing savvy is an important part of the picture, too.

Earlier this month, luxury publisher Assouline released Life of Style, a mega coffee-table book that documents, among Camuto's other luxuries, Villa Maria, a former Long Island convent that he and his wife restored over five years to create a 20,000-square-foot home. I met with Camuto just prior to his personal appearance at Hudson's Bay to talk about his passions, brand building and how he revolutionized the shoe business.

You pride yourself in knowing what women want. How do you manage that?

I'm a good listener. Basically, I think it's a special quality of the brand: Forget about the shoes right now - just totally listen. I think the problem in the fashion business is that a lot of designers look down at and don't talk to - or with - women. I love fashion. I live my life with fashion, and we want to deliver something that women really want. It sounds basic and very simple but it's difficult to interpret and really difficult to translate into fashion.

Among your many talents is having incredibly strong vision, which was clear a long time ago, when you founded Nine West. But fashion was very different then.

Back in the eighties, the men that ran the shoe business thought a shoe priced under $100 had to be moderate. So, most of the vendors were making moderate shoes because they didn't think the consumer would understand a little fashion. But we broke that rule at Nine West and offered women a different shoe - one that was comfortable and fun but wasn't really expensive. Now, of course, everybody is trying to go into the fashion business and so the competition is great.

What is it about the business that turns you on so much?

The fashion business changes every 90 days. There's nothing more exciting than that. Every 90 days! I've always tried to be in touch with women from all over the world and really talk to them. I did a pretty good job of that and learned that if there's a trend, women all over the world want it. If it's motor boots, they all want motor boots. If it's slim pants, they all want slim pants. But somehow you've also got to be in touch with where the trend is going, and that's what's really exciting.

It's like you have to have a crystal ball. If you do your research and listen to women - they'll tell you.

Some people say fashion has turned into a monster because it has become such a big business. The pressures can be brutal, especially on young designers.

Yes, it's not easy. I mean, for somebody just walking in as a designer, it is very difficult, because not only do you have to design, but you need to know how to source the product. And then you need people to take the message out there, to execute for you, to fi nd you fabric for clothes or leathers for shoes.

And the shoe business is quite complex because there's also fit involved. I've watched women all over America wearing very expensive footwear and they say to me, "These shoes from," well, I don't want to mention the names of the designers, but we know them, "These shoes ..."

... are killing me! Yeah, well [laughs] ... The shoes are very expensive - sometimes $1,000! And the women will complain and tell me, "Look at my toe!" But we pay close attention to the way we make our shoes and really understand the comfort, the foam, the pitch, the materials. Women appreciate that. That's why they're buying the brand. And the business is on fi re in America.

The Jessica Simpson brand is more successful than anyone dreamed and it's one of the fi rst celebrity brands that really took off. What made you want to invest so much in that business?

In 2004, we were looking for another brand and we just thought that Jessica Simpson was an American type of brand - you know, the girl next door. We were really lucky because we just bet on the right horse!

And are you looking to cultivate more celebrity brands?

No. Now we're concentrating on our own brand, Vince Camuto. We launched the Louise et Cie brand just about a year and a half ago, and it's doing incredibly.

What frustrates you the most about the business?

The pressures. You just want to be on time all the time. You know, in fashion, if you miss something, it really bothers you. So that's what makes you tick, and that's what makes you excited every day. And if we were a public company, I'd be frustrated every day! If we want to do whatever we hatever want to do, we can, because we're cause not public!

Would you defi ne yourself as rself fearless?

I do like to take risks, but if you're confi dent in your people, it's great to really build. And I'm a builder. A builder of people, a builder of business and a builder of seeing people and the brand grow.

And what advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who are launching their own brands or just trying to keep afloat in this treacherous economy?

I think you have to be attached to something. It's very hard for designers to start a brand by themselves. They have got to have resources. I know people who live in England and run to Italy twice a week. They sell maybe 10,000 shoes the whole year. So it's difficult. You just have to feel excitement. If you don't feel excitement, I say, stay at home. If you don't have the passion, do something else.

You obviously don't look at it as work. For you, it's fun.

No, I'm lucky. I think a lot of people share the same feeling, including my wife. We love what we do.

So, are you talking about business in the bedroom at night?

Basically, we like to stay up and have fun. Sometimes we talk about structure and what we can do to make it better, but it's not relentless. We love other things. We love art. We love beauty. We love the idea of our restoration of Villa Maria. It's all a part of a life, a long journey. It's not just that I want to take this business and move it here or sell it there. That's the problem with the business today. So many are consolidated and then hedge funds come in and buy them. There's no feeling, no passion for people and, unfortunately, for the product. What they want is a bottom line. Our thing is now Canada. There are 35-million people here, so there's got to be at least, by my guess, close to 20-million women. Imagine that!

And you're going to capture all of them?

I would say 90 per cent. Because, if you look around, a woman needs a lot of pairs of shoes today. It's not just one. You want to buy hundreds of pairs. Women need a fl at, they need a midheel, they need a high heel, they need a dress sandal, they need a low boot, high boot, fl at boot. So now, we have to expose ourselves to Canadian women. They really understand fashion, maybe even more than their sisters in America. So it should be great eventually.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic

WINNING PAIR Footwear designer Vince Camuto, author of a new coffee table book (left), poses with his wife and muse Louise.


In Russia, secrecy over war in Ukraine begins to crumble
Monday, September 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

MOSCOW -- A cemetery on the outskirts of Pskov, in northwestern Russia, has become a dangerous place to visit. Inside are recently dug soldiers' graves that some believe prove the Russian military's direct involvement in the war in Ukraine.

Russian journalists who tried to go to the cemetery were chased away by young men in tracksuits, who appeared to have been stationed there to dissuade visitors. A local politician was beaten unconscious after he started investigating why men from the elite 76th Guards Air Assault Division, which is stationed in Pskov, were coming home dead.

For months, Russia has denied its army is fighting inside Ukraine, and those who say otherwise are branded "foreign agents" and enemies of the state. But the returning corpses are a fact that even state-run television can't completely hide. That's forced the Kremlin to adjust its narrative - it now admits there are "volunteer" soldiers aiding the pro-Russian rebels in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions - in order to avoid losing the support of a public still traumatized by the wars in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

Lev Shlosberg, a member of the Pskov regional assembly, is still recovering from being beaten at the graveyard two weeks ago.

"They were well-trained professionals who knew how to beat people," he said of his attackers, in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail written from his hospital bed.

Mr. Shlosberg has no doubts why he was targeted. He had witnessed the burial of a paratrooper several days earlier - he believes the soldier was killed fighting in eastern Ukrainian - and told journalists about it. The message he received was painfully clear: No one is allowed to talk about Russia's secret war in Ukraine.

"[The attack] is the revenge of those who are involved in sending troops from Pskov to Ukraine ... We broke their secrecy by publicizing the soldier's funeral," Mr. Shlosberg, a member of the opposition Yabloko party, wrote. "Because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has decided to lie to the whole world ... any recognition of the lie would be a real blow to Putin. Therefore, the entire state system, including the military, continues to lie."

In August, parents distraught over the whereabouts of their sons began to contact Svetlana Melnikova, who helped found the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers during the Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan - where the Kremlin also initially sought to play down its role. The group took on eight cases, and Ms. Melnikova says the group was eventually able to reach two of the missing soldiers. Both sent text messages saying they were serving in eastern Ukraine.

"It looks like a war, people are being shot just like in a war, people are dying just like in a war," Ms. Melnikova said in an interview last week in her group's cramped office in central Moscow.

She admitted she had no hard evidence to prove her assertion that up to 15,000 Russian soldiers have served in eastern Ukraine this summer. Some of those troops have reportedly been withdrawn since Mr. Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko arranged a Sept. 5 ceasefire, which appeared in jeopardy Sunday after fresh fighting was reported in the city of Donetsk.

"This invasion of Ukraine is a secret operation. There's nothing on TV, journalists say nothing about it. Nobody can say that we are there," Ms. Melnikova said with a sigh. "Relatives believe their sons and husbands are in the Rostov region [on the Russian side of the Ukrainian border] and everything is fine. They believe what they see on TV."

The Kremlin's line has shifted several times over the course of the crisis in Ukraine. In March, Moscow denied there were Russian soldiers in Crimea even as well-trained troops, wearing no insignia but backed by columns of armoured personnel carriers, took control of the peninsula. A month later - after Crimea had been annexed by Russia - Mr. Putin proudly admitted the "little green men" had indeed been Russian soldiers, deployed to ensure order ahead of the controversial referendum on joining Russia.

In the same April speech, Mr. Putin referred for the first time to eastern Ukraine as "Novorossiya," or "New Russia," a Czarist-era term that was interpreted as a green light to the increasingly bold separatist movements that had taken over government buildings in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

But little was provable about Russia's involvement in Ukraine. There were occasional videos of Russian military equipment moving around the region - most famously in the case of the Buk anti-aircraft missile system blamed for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 - but Moscow always claimed the rebels could have obtained their arsenal from the Soviet-era stores of the Ukrainian army.

In fact, the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk "people's republics" bitterly complained of how little help they were getting from Moscow against an increasingly effective Ukrainian army. As recently as a few weeks ago, the rebels seemed on the verge of defeat.

In late August, reports of Russian involvement took a more concrete form. On Aug. 14, two British journalists in south Russia witnessed what they said was a column of Russian armoured vehicles entering eastern Ukraine. A series of rapid battlefield reversals followed, with pro-Russian forces opening a new front along the Sea of Azov coast.

The evidence left behind by the retreating Ukrainian army - columns of shattered tanks and armoured vehicles - suggested that this new offensive had direct support from Russia's military.

NATO said it believed that several thousand Russian troops had helped in the thrust along the Sea of Azov coast.

While the Kremlin dismissed NATO's accusations as fantasy, there were other grimmer signs that Russian troops were now fighting and dying in Ukraine.

The St. Petersburg branch of the Soldiers' Mothers was designated in August as a "foreign agent" after chairwoman Ella Polyakova told the independent news site Dozhd that 100 injured soldiers had arrived in St. Petersburg hospitals after being wounded in an undisclosed location, which she suggested was likely eastern Ukraine.

Photos of the Pskov burials, and of a refrigerator truck photographed crossing from Ukraine into Russia with the marking "+ 200 +" - an apparent reference to "Cargo 200", the Soviet-era code word for corpses - have been also widely shared online in recent weeks, raising the first questions inside Russia about the military's role in Donetsk and Lugansk.

Opinion polls show most Russians believe what state-controlled media is telling them about the conflict in eastern - the rebels in eastern Ukraine are portrayed on TV here as fighting to defend the Russian language and culture against an ultranationalist government in Kiev. But that could rapidly change if body bags started coming home in larger numbers.

"People support the separatists in [the Donetsk and Lugansk regions], but they don't precisely know what's happening there," said Lev Gudkov, director of the Levada-Centre, Russia's lone independent pollster. "People don't want to see the Russian army there ... When they began to see dead bodies coming back to Russia in August, they began to realize this is real."

Mr. Gudkov said Mr. Putin's approval ratings remain well over 80 per cent, undented so far by the mounting Western sanctions against Russia. But support for the government's policies in Ukraine, Mr. Gudkov said, has started to fall fast, from more than 70 per cent in the spring to closer to 40 per cent today.

The Kremlin appears to have realized that public backlash could quickly mount if it stuck to denying the war even as Russian soldiers were being killed in Ukraine. So it changed the narrative again.

State media now acknowledge that there are Russians fighting in Ukraine. But they are described as volunteers - and heroes. News shows last week featured footage of Mr. Putin praying in a Russian Orthodox church where he said he lit a candle "for those who suffered in defending people in Novorossiya."

"The major failure of the state was not - strangely - that [the soldiers] were killed in a war that we're officially not fighting, but that they're trying to hide [their deaths]," said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the foreign-policy journal Russia in Global Affairs.

"That's why, very quickly, [staterun television channel] NTV, for example began to show how our heroes - volunteers of course - died fighting for Novorossiya."

It's a version that infuriates Ms. Melnikova. She says the Soldiers' Mothers are certain the Russian troops fighting in eastern Ukraine were sent there by their commanding officers.

"A few weeks ago, soldiers started getting new contracts saying they'd been sent to Lugansk. If they didn't sign, someone signed for them," she said. "In my opinion, this is an invasion ... But they want everyone to shut up and not talk about it."

Follow me on Twitter:@markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

Svetlana Melnikova, who helped found the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers during the Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan, has been helping Russian parents who are distraught over the whereabouts of their missing sons. 'People are dying just like in a war,' she says.


Is there a Cup in Canada's future?
Canadian teams are Stanley Cup-less since 1993, and recent history suggests that miserable streak isn't likely to end soon. The Globe's pre-training-camp survey shows what off-season changes the seven franchises have made in their efforts to win it all
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S3


Say hello to: RW Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, D Tom Gilbert, C Manny Malhotra, LW Jiri Sekac

Say goodbye to: Brian Gionta, Josh Gorges, Daniel Brière, George Parros, Ryan White

Job openings: There might be a spot up for grabs on the second or third line, likely on the right side but possibly on the left - it depends on where Rene Bourque and Parenteau end up. On defence, watch the head-to-head competition between youngsters Nathan Beaulieu, 21, and Jarred Tinordi, 22, for a spot on the third pairing.

Pressing questions: What's the likelihood goalie Carey Price will put up monster numbers again? Will defenceman Alexei Emelin be less awful playing on his natural left side? How big a step forward can Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller take this season? Galchenyuk is going to play centre in camp, but what about the regular season? The Habs will have a more mobile defence, which should ease the strain on Price. It's unfair to ask the big goalie to deliver a bigger season than he did last year, however. The Habs aim to be a better possession team, and added players such as the puck-moving Gilbert and faceoff specialist Malhotra. But the club's success this season could hinge on the progress of youngsters Brendan Gallagher, Michael Bournival, Galchenyuk, Beaulieu and Tinordi. Rookie forwards Sven Andrighetto, Jacob De La Rose and Sekac will push hard for roster spots.

Sean Gordon


Say hello to: C David Legwand, RW Alex Chiasson

Say goodbye to: Jason Spezza, Ales Hemsky

Job openings: The Sens' roster is pretty well set, the likeliest battle is among the goalies. Thirtysomething veteran Craig Anderson and fourth-year pro Robin Lehner both signed fresh contracts this summer. Anderson will be looking to overcome an injury-blighted 2013-14 in which he took a big step backward, while Lehner is seeking to prove he's more than just a great prospect.

Pressing questions: How does Ottawa overcome the loss of Spezza's points? What about the leadership vacuum created by the departures of Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson in successive off-seasons? The Senators had decent offensive pop last season, but were terrible defensively (27th in the league in goals against) and had middling special teams. Spotty goaltending didn't help, but the bigger problem was the consistently shoddy play of defencemen Jared Cowen, Marc Methot and Eric Gryba. They'll need to return to form, and Kyle Turris will have to show he has the chops to be a true No. 1 centre. The good news is Ottawa has oodles of forward depth and a good balance of skill and steel. They also have X-factors in powerhouse offensive defenceman Erik Karlsson and head coach Paul MacLean, as sharp a bench boss as there is in the NHL. SG


Say hello to: D Stéphane Robidas, C Mike Santorelli, C Leo Komarov, LW David Booth, D Roman Polak, C Dan Winnik, C Petri Kontiola, RW Matt Frattin, RW William Nylander, D Henrik Tallinder (camp tryout)

Say goodbye to: Carl Gunnarsson, Mason Raymond, Nikolai Kulemin, Dave Bolland, Jay McClement, Paul Ranger, Tim Gleason (buyout), Jerry D'Amigo, Drew MacIntyre

Job openings: There aren't many. The Leafs brought in a pile of depth forwards, opting to go for quantity over quality in free agency, and taking a few low-risk gambles in a bid to build more effective third and fourth lines. That will create fierce battles for spots in camp and force Toronto to waive or trade an extra body or two prior to the season-opener. There are questions about who plays right wing on the second line, who is the seventh defenceman and who fills the No. 3 goaltender's role.

Pressing questions: Robidas will be counted on for big minutes in the Leafs' top four on the blueline, but he's 37 years old and still not fully recovered from badly breaking his leg twice last season. So who will handle the tough assignments on the back end? Without Gunnarsson, someone else will have to slide in alongside captain Dion Phaneuf and take that thankless task. Finding lines that work up front will also be a challenge with so many newcomers. James Mirtle


Say hello to: C Mathieu Perreault, LW T.J. Galiardi

Say goodbye to: Olli Jokinen, Devin Setoguchi, Al Montoya

Job openings: In goal, Michael Hutchinson will get a chance to replace Montoya, and may push starter Ondrej Pavelec, who had a dismal 2013-14 season. Nikolaj Ehlers (drafted ninth overall in 2014) and Josh Morrissey (13th overall in 2013) are bright prospects, but the Jets are unwilling to impose their kids on the starting lineup, so the two will have to have exceptional camps to make the major-league roster.

Pressing questions: How will Evander Kane respond to a summer of trade rumours, which followed a season when his offensive production fell way off? Is Dustin Byfuglien suited to playing forward (where he was switched after coach Paul Maurice replaced Claude Noël), or does he eventually drop back to the blueline? Is Mark Scheifele ready to play as a No. 2 centre, after injuries derailed his previous season? Eric Duhatschek


Say hello to: RW Teddy Purcell, LW Benoît Pouliot, D Nikita Nikitin, D Mark Fayne

Say goodbye to: Sam Gagner, Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones, Anton Belov, Mark Fraser

Job openings: The Oilers have a pressing need for a No. 2 centre after Gagner was traded away. If Leon Draisaitl, drafted third overall in the 2014, is ready for prime time, then all of the other forward pieces fall nicely into place. If not, then the Oilers will need to choose a centre-ice corps behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from among Boyd Gordon, Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander, or shift a winger to the middle.

Pressing questions: Can Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth do what last year's season-opening goaltending tandem of Devan Dubnyk and Jason Labarbera couldn't - stabilize a talented young team with defensive issues? What is Nail Yakupov's future after a dismal sophomore year for the former No. 1 overall draft pick? Will the Nikitin and Fayne signings enable the Oilers not to rush blue-chip defensive prospects Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom to the NHL? ED


Say hello to: G Jonas Hiller, RW Devin Setoguchi, LW Mason Raymond, LW Brandon Bollig, D Deryk Engelland

Say goodbye to: Mike Cammalleri, T.J. Galiardi, Kevin Westgarth, Chris Butler, Shane O'Brien

Job openings: With last year's goal-scoring leader, Cammalleri, off to New Jersey, the Flames have a need for pure finishers, meaning Johnny Gaudreau, who played one NHL game last season after turning pro, and former top prospect Sven Baertschi will get a chance to crack the NHL roster.

Pressing questions: How much does just-acquired Jonas Hiller still have left in the tank? Can defenceman Mark Giordano duplicate the sensational 47 points in 64 games he had last season? Will rookie sensation Sean Monahan's development continue to be onward and upward, or will he suffer a sophomore slump?



Say hello to: G Ryan Miller, RW Radim Vrbata, C Nick Bonino, RW Linden Vey, D Luca Sbisa

Say goodbye to: Ryan Kesler, Jason Garrison, Mike Santorelli, David Booth

Job openings: Not many. New general manager Jim Benning worked over the roster this summer to bolster a team that finished sixth-last in the NHL in 2013-14. Free agent Vrbata is slated to fit on the first line with the Sedins, and free agent Miller is the new starter in net. Bonino, acquired from Anaheim in the Kesler trade, slides into the second-line centre slot, and Vey likely fits in on the third line. All in, it leaves little room for young Canucks such as Bo Horvat and Nicklas Jensen.

Pressing questions: The 2014-15 Canucks are all questions and no certainties. Can this team keep up with the powerful California troika of Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose? Can the Sedins, who turn 34 on Sept. 26, revive their game after their worst season in a decade? Can Miller, at 34, serve as a steady backstop? Can Alex Edler erase the disaster of last season and re-establish himself as a top defenceman? Can the team find a way to score goals after the lowest-scoring full season in franchise history? Can the power play connect after generating many shots but few goals last season? Can rookie coach Willie Desjardins succeed in NHL debut at 57? Will the 2014-15 Canucks resemble the Canucks of the first half of last season (23-11-7, 2.7 goals per game) or the ugly second half (13-24-4, 2.0 goals a game)? David Ebner

Associated Graphic

David Booth, right, is among the depth forwards the Maple Leafs have brought in. For Toronto, it's a case of quantity over quality.


Ryan Miller enters the 2014-15 NHL season as the Vancouver Canucks' starting goaltender.


How much art can you take?
A thought-provoking group show at MoCCA is a study on the form, function and future of the contemporary art institution. It comes at the perfect time
Thursday, September 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

To paraphrase Dr. Johnson, the imminent loss of a lease can concentrate the mind wonderfully. For proof, pay a visit to the just-opened TBD exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in downtown Toronto.

MoCCA has been housed since January, 2005, in a 990-square-metre repurposed textile factory directly north of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on Queen Street West. By and large, it has been a happy stay, one that's helped make the not-for-profit museum a well-regarded cultural fixture locally and nationally.

However, its landlord, a consortium of developers, has let MoCCA, which houses a permanent collection of approximately 400 works by more than 150 Canadian artists, know its lease will expire on Aug. 31, 2015. And so the search is on for new digs, better, bigger digs, it's hoped.

This looming change of fortune is stressful, of course. Existential even. In the meantime, it's provided a wonderful curatorial opportunity for Su-Ying Lee, MoCCA's assistant curator since January, 2013.

She's the brains behind TBD, a thoughtprovoking group show - part rumination, part conversation, part interrogation - on the form, function and future of the contemporary art institution, and our presumptions and assumptions about it. Lee, 45, is an artist herself, known for doing collaborative projects in unlikely situations or circumstances - a revolving door at Toronto's Metro Hall, a former storefront, the laneway behind her home in Little Portugal. It's an aesthetic - whimsical, refractive, DIY - that works well here.

TBD is commonly used as the acronym for "to be determined" - an apt descriptor for MoCCA's circumstances, both currently and in the near future. But like any acronym, TBD prompts other constructions, many of which will surely come to minds of visitors as they peruse Lee's concoction.

"To be destroyed," for one, "To be deconstructed," for another, "To be developed," "To be discussed," "To be decided," "To be decontextualized" - Lee's TBD gives space to them all in the endangered place that is MoCCA which, as she notes, is having to contend with "the preoccupations of real estate and architecture" that have been such a part of the modern art world the past 20 years.

The audience for art is indubitably larger than ever. But the experience of that art often has been about anxiety and intimidation as much as pleasure - a circumstance Lee addresses at once outside MoCCA's physical plant with the installation of a sign, by Toronto artist Jesse Harris, reading: "How Much Art Can You Take?" The polystyrene letters are strung across MoCCA's courtyard/parking-lot entrance like the signage found at a usedcar lot, the words at once invitation, promise and threat (as in, "Do you have the nerve to cross this courtyard to see a lot of socalled art that likely won't look anything like the Mona Lisa or Norman Rockwell?").

They're also a query/challenge to the community at large since MoCCA's neighbourhood was once one of Toronto's grittiest and bedraggled. The irony, of course, is that MoCCA's presence has, along with the arrival of other art galleries and renovated hotels, restaurants, expensive clothing stores and condominiums, contributed to a gentrification/revitalization that is driving MoCCA if not out of existence then out of its current habitat - a habitat Vogue recently rated the second-hippest district in the world.

Indeed, MoCCA's departure is only the other side of the creation "myth" of the public art museum. As one U.S. critic has observed, the museum comes into the world as just one more "reflection of the social order - with modes of display (and the objects housed therein) steeped in both the ethos and the economy of the day" - and it leaves that way.

Lee further addresses the accessibility/intimidation issue by offering two lobby entrances to the exhibition. The first is the formal doorway with heavy pull handles that's always been there, mediated by a large reception desk. Take this route and you encounter the ephemera usually associated with an exhibition - the title wall, the names of the artists in the show, the introductory didactic wall panel, tips-of-the-hat to various sponsors.

However, to the east of this, Lee has cut an opening into the lobby wall, free of doors, that allows the viewer direct access to the main gallery without any of the narratives and rites of passage associated with an official entrance.

This opening, moreover, aligns with MoCCA's main entrance, a glass door, thereby permitting Queen West passersby a direct sightline across the courtyard and into the interior space.

No matter what entrance you use, however, you will be counted, registered, in fact, on a display counter in the lobby.

Attendance, of course, is one of the most important metrics for the contemporary art museum; it sometimes seems the primary index of a show's significance, an institution's worth and a government's level of support. To spoof this "quantity-as-value" convention, Toronto artist Jon Sasaki has devised a "performance" to double MoCCA's visitations during TBD's seven-week run. Once a week he'll visit the museum and note the total number of visitors in that duration. If it says 200 patrons have visited, he'll proceed to go in and out of MoCCA 200 consecutive times: Et voilà, a doubling of official attendance!

Often, visitors to a contemporary gallery are mystified (or at least intrigued) as to why it's devoting precious time and space to one artist or a group of artists and not another. How has this privilege come about? In his TBD presentation, Toronto conceptualist Bill Burns intimates that semi-divine forces (a.k.a. curators and collectors) may hold the answer. He has installed two model constructions, one of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the other of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the exterior of the Pompidou holds a gigantic billboard reading "Hans Ulrich Obrist/Priez Pour Nous" while a billboard on SFMoMA declares: "Steven Cohen/Watch Over Us."

Affixed on a wall beside these models is the model of a yellowand-green Cessna airplane pulling a banner reading "Beatrix Ruf Pray For Us" (it is, in fact, a smallscale replica of a stunt Burns did last year with a real Cessna at Art Basel Miami Beach).

Burns's invocations of intercession are an art-world in-joke - Obrist and Ruf are influential, career-making European curators, Cohen one of the world's biggest-spending art collectors - but they speak to the church-like status of art institutions in our secular age, the brand power of names and Burns's own desire to both twit and be recognized by the charmed circle of the international art world.

TBD is full of such provocations - there are more than a dozen "interventions," installations and works by artists from Vancouver, Los Angeles, Madrid, Rotterdam and Stockholm - all in the service of destabilizing our fixed notions of how the art world works. One of the most interesting is the "wall of ideas" on MoCCA's northern interior perimeter.

It's the result of an open call Lee made earlier this year to architects worldwide, seeking proposals to reimagine galleries and museums "once our existing ideas about them are destroyed." Submissions totalled more than 130 from which a jury chose 69.

Predictably, most are on the blue-sky side: One urges MoCCA to "divorce itself from the archaic model of having a permanent venue" and instead embrace "the fluid essence of contemporaneity" by using "an ever-revolving roster of locations in Toronto and beyond." Others are funny, like the one that envisages MoCCA hosting exhibitions in a giant disc hoisted above ground by a mobile crane (the crane operator would also serve as museum director and, as such, would have to have an MFA degree, 10 years' experience in the culture sector and at least 100 proven hours' working a crane).

Lee thinks MoCCA 2.0, whenever it's birthed, wherever it's berthed, will be distinguished by "a return to the space we know" - a fixed structure, in other words, with four walls, a ceiling and floor. It's a view shared by Vancouver-trained, San Francisco-based architect Andreas Mede.

In fact, "as cultural literacy weakens, as all expressions are accepted as ART, as critique no longer exists," it's the museum that "will remain the point of discussion," he writes in his contribution to the wall of ideas. "A wall, a roof, a window and light. Simple, raw, adaptable." Talk about "itinerant galleries" and "mobile units" is all so much empty theorizing: "The future has been - the past is to come."

TBD runs at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen St. W. in Toronto, through Oct. 26 (

Associated Graphic

Jesse Harris's installation outside the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in downtown Toronto asks 'How Much Art Can You Take?' - as if, at once, to invite, promise and threaten passersby.


The readable woman
Margaret Atwood's new collection of short stories is wise, sharp, timely and self-aware
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R20

Stone Mattress By Margaret Atwood McClelland & Stewart, 288 pages, $29.95

Many years ago, I almost met Margaret Atwood at a galathing to which I was obliged to wear a tie. She was at a nearby table and someone, some eager publicist or agent, offered to introduce me. To a young writer, this seemed like an opportunity - an opportunity for what, I wasn't sure, yet not one to turn down regardless. But then this intermediary had second thoughts: "Better not. She can be prickly about these things."

In 2012, on stage at the Vancouver Writers' Festival, I would at last be granted that meeting. Margaret Atwood was not prickly at all. Or, if she was, she was prickly in an entertaining way: caustic, wry, quick-witted to the point of impatience, maybe a little didactic, very small. She was also friendly and generous. Of the 500-odd attendees, roughly 490 had come to bask in Ms.

Atwood's oracular glow, eight-orso others were fans of the tech/ SF/YA writer Cory Doctorow, and my friends Graeme and Kelly claimed to be there for me. CanLit's Grande Dame des Lettres shared the stage amenably. Afterward, she even bought my book.

There was something almost ceremonial about this, perhaps a common impression to any neophyte's approval by celebrity. After all, Alice Munro might have won the Nobel Prize, but there is no question that our biggest literary star is Margaret Atwood. In Mark Jarman's story, Love Is All Around Us, she appears as a flight attendant, a Hare Krishna, a hockey ref and, maybe most perversely, as the author of The Stone Angel; the story ends with snow and a sardonic paean: "Peggy... Without you we are lost." My generation and its affiliates (X, Y, Pepsi, etc.) grew up with a new Atwood paperback dutifully added to our parents' bookshelves every year, while The Handmaid's Tale introduced us to a notional sort of feminism, at least as explained by some harrowed Grade 10 English teacher who likely feared himself and his goatee the targets of its satire. For as long as I can remember, like CityTV, Margaret Atwood has been everywhere.

For anyone still counting, Stone Mattress is Atwood's 55th book, and her ninth of short fiction. Let's dispense with another formality: Is it good? Yes, of course it's good. In case you haven't been paying attention for the past 45 years, Margaret Atwood is a very good writer. The ubiquity she enjoys, and of which most authors in this country are, frankly, envious, is not by self-promotion alone (though she's good at that too). And I'd suggest that she's at her best writing short fiction - Dancing Girls and Wilderness Tips being my favourite of her books - as the form's necessary restraint tempers a tendency, more evident in the novels, toward pedantry.

Stone Mattress, clarifies a postscript, is not a collection of stories, but "tales," which "removes it at least slightly from the realm of mundane works and days, as it evokes the world of the folk tale, the wonder tale and the long-ago teller of tales." Whether timelessness is simply a matter of taxonomy is up for debate, but whatever you call its contents, the writing throughout the book is terrific. Here's an old poet, in the second of a trilogy of linked pieces that open the book, perving out on a grad student:

"She's wearing her hair in a bun, like a ballerina's. Buns are so sexy. They used to be a treat to take apart: it was like opening a gift... the undoing, the dishevelment, the wildness of the freed hair, spilling down the shoulders, over the breasts, over the pillow. He enumerates in his head: Buns I have known."

So much is happening in this short passage: it elegantly flips a cliché of male desire before closing with a zinger of a joke, albeit one tinged with melancholy as per that wistful "used to be."

These sorts of gems are strewn, seemingly effortlessly, throughout the collection, whether its characters are lamenting TV's portrayal of "the olden days" ("the colours are wrong - too clean, too pastel") or plotting the seduction and murder, more than five decades later, of a high school assailant: "It's paltry. It's vicious. It's normal. It's what happens in life."

If Stone Mattress's persistent boomer nostalgia might begin to seem a bit much, one of Atwood's great gifts is to anticipate potential criticisms and undermine them, and the collection's final story catches out haters with an ironic wink. Torching the Dusties, a J.G. Ballardian take on Alice Munro's The Bear Came Over the Mountain, features the seniors' homes of the world laid siege by youthful protestors in baby masks. ("They say we've had our turn, those our age; they say we messed it up," explains one resident; "They have a point there," replies another.)

The stories (tales, fine) here are not all winners, with two commissioned pieces - the teenwolf confessional Lusus Naturae, which reads like an entry in Monologues for Beginners, and a listless revival of the cast from The Robber Bride - limping considerably behind the rest. Yet for the most part Atwood's narrative control, her ability to surprise and her sparkling language are on full display. If it's completely ludicrous to include the word "underrated" in a review of a Margaret Atwood book, then I'd at least suggest her short fiction is comparatively underappreciated: it's less cluttered by grandiosity than the recent novels, which are so broad in scope and theme that it's hard, amid all the bioterrorism and soap-eating, to trace their genesis to a human being. Stories, by nature of their inherent focus, are often more autobiographically transparent, so Stone Mattress not only showcases its author's talents at their most refined, it also affords a glimpse behind the curtain to the woman working the megaphone.

Sure, we've heeded R. Barthes's and M. Proust's calls not to treat fiction as a breadcrumb trail to the soul of the writer. But the fact is that Margaret Atwood's public persona is so pervasive, and so fundamental to her work, that we no longer "read a Margaret Atwood book" so much as we "read Margaret Atwood." She has become, in ways both self-intended and thrust upon her, a pundit, a brand, an iconoclast - and now an icon. That status not only risks rendering her writing secondary to her own cultural phenomenon, it places the reviewer (hi!) in a double-bind: write something positive, you risk coming across as a grovelling sycophant; write something negative, and it'll be dismissed as jealousy and sour grapes.

What I'm getting at, and trying to forgive myself for, is what really interests me about this new book: the septuagenarian, beyond the persona, who wrote it. The characters here are largely, by their own description, of the "geezer generation," the elderly and sometimes infirm, those seeking a place in this youthy world as it ignores or dismisses or even assaults them. While Atwood has remained, to both admiration and resentment, a staunchly central figure in not just literary but popular and academic circles since the 1970s (escaping only the otherwise robust purview of Toronto's Ford Bros.), the old folks of Stone Mattress seem less sure-footed as they teeter toward the other side.

In The Dead Hand Loves You, Jack observes his failing body in the mirror and opines, "You used to be so young," while the narrator of the Torching the Dusties demands, "What is old age but one long string of indignities?" There is always something of the eternal to a certain type of celebrity, something so essential to the moment that it seems to transcend mortality. In the stories, or tales, or, I think, revelations of Stone Mattress, there is a surprising excess of fallibility and doubt; these are less the grand narratives of Odysseus or Scheherazade than something a lot more personal - often painfully so.

Recently Margaret Atwood was the first writer to sign on to the Future Library, which will bank stories for 100 years for publication in 2114. (A concurrently planted forest will provide the paper.) There must be something thrilling in the knowledge that one's work will remain after one is gone. I'd imagine that legacy is something an author, even a famous one, only begins to consider later in her career, alongside the same preoccupations that befall the rest of us mortals.

But if these vibrant stories are any indication, Peggy has a long way to go before she leaves us for lost. And most of all, as one aging writer remarks in Stone Mattress: "Fun is not knowing how it will end."

Pasha Malla is the author of four books.

Associated Graphic

Atwood catches out haters with a wink.


THERE ARE BUGS IN THERE (and that's okay)
Back-to-school is peak season in Canada for lice, leaving parents scrambling for care when kids are banned from the classroom. Are our policies outdated? Sarah Elton makes the case for getting lousy
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, September 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

When my six-year-old complained of an itchy scalp one morning before school, I did what I suspect many other parents do: I waited until after she got home later that day to look in her hair for dreaded signs of lice. That afternoon, I peered behind her ears and had to stifle a scream.

It wasn't the dozens of caramel-coloured lice eggs that turned my stomach. Rather, it was the threat of having to figure out childcare the next day so my husband and I could go to work. In some school districts in Canada, you're not supposed to send your kid to school with lice. Kids enrolled in the Toronto District School Board also aren't allowed back to class until their hair is free of eggs and nits, the old casings from hatched eggs. If a lice-check finds the bugs at my daughter's school, you get a call and you must pick up immediately. You could be looking at up to a week out of class.

This, plus the prospect of dealing with an infestation, caused me to panic.

Compared to how other countries respond to the critters, Canadians are hysterical. Considering that the return to school is peak season for lice, and that lice have become more resistant to chemical treatments, it's time to ask whether Canadian lice policies are unreasonably harsh.

No one tracks lice statistics, but anecdotal evidence suggests the number of cases is on the rise. Karin Kutasewich operates a Toronto franchise of the Lice Squad, a company parents can hire to help rid their families of lice. She says her business spikes when kids return from camps and sleepovers where they had opportunities to share head lice. "September is my busiest time," she says - business typically goes up by about 30 per cent.

That means lots of anxious parents, worrying about how to get rid of the unwanted creatures. There are no province-wide lice policies, so the rules are set by either the boards of education or the schools themselves. In Vancouver, the lice policy is modelled after the bed-bug policy and states that while no student should be excluded from school because of lice, an affected child should be "discreetly sent to the administrator's office." In Montreal, where each school makes its own rules, one school has a particularly complicated protocol: If a teacher suspects a child has lice, the kid will be sent to the office for confirmation. If lice are found, siblings are searched before the parents are summoned and told to treat the hair. They then must return with their kids the next day to prove they are clean. If not, it's back home for them.

Compare that with Britain, where kids are permitted in school with lice. The teacher's union there even recommends against excluding children from school who have persistent lice problems. In Paris, if a child has lice, the administration posts a notice, warning parents about the case, but the affected child is allowed to stay.

In its position statement on the topic, the Canadian Paediatric Society holds that excluding kids from school because of lice "does not have sound medical rationale." And the Centre for Disease Control states on its website that children with lice should be allowed to finish their school day, start treatment and then be allowed to return. This is because, as annoying as lice can be, they are not disease-carrying and, contrary to longstanding misconceptions, you don't get lice because you're dirty.

Here, in Canada a "huge stigma" remains, says Natalie Coulter, a mother of two. "People think it's gross and people think it's dirty. You become a bit of a leper." Coulter is one of the few people approached for this article who was comfortable talking about her family's experiences. Her daughter, now in Grade 4, has had lice three times. Other parents were happy to talk privately about lice, but didn't want to go on the record.

Compare that to the matter-offact reaction to lice elsewhere. Cameron Stauch, a father of two whose wife's job moves the family around the globe, has dealt with lice in his children's hair both in India and Canada. He's seen firsthand the different cultural reactions to the critters. In India, where lice are commonplace and where his daughter caught some at a Montessori school, he watched as nannies practised tagteam nit-picking in the playground. There was no stigma attached to identifying who had.

Not so at his daughter's school in Ottawa. Affected families needed a certificate from what he called "the lice doctor" to get back to class.

Kutasewich also encounters different attitudes. A few years ago, she dealt with an actress from Britain who was in Canada for work. The stylist wouldn't touch her hair because she had lice.

"She said, 'What's the big deal?

My daughter has lice sometimes, and so do I!' "Kutasewich says.

"Are we more hysterical about it? Yes. There are some parents who are so hysterical they want to burn down the house."

Getting rid of a persistent lice infestation can make you crazy. Kutasewich has had clients whose infestations have lasted for more than a year. Part of the problem is that the chemicals parents have relied on in the past don't work any more. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Medical Entomology that analyzed the DNA of lice in Canada and the U.S., most of the insects are resistant to the insecticides. Also, something people don't talk about is that lice is often a family problem. And it's not just young children, but teens as well.

Some parents are pushing back against the hysteria. "My attitude toward lice has completely changed," says Sutapa Majumdar, whose two elementary schoolaged kids have had lice a handful of times. "I don't feel it is a big deal." Coulter feels similarly. "The first time was a big deal. The second time was a bit of a big deal and the third time it wasn't at all."

Their attitudes changed as they learned how to treat the lice without tearing the house apart and worrying about having to shave their kids' heads.

The way I dealt with our lice problem was by outsourcing. Within two hours of having found lice in my daughter's hair, a professional nit-picker was at our house, equipped with a light and scary-looking goggles to help her to see the critters. We all had a treatment and, for a total price of $220, my daughter also received a lice-free certificate to bring to school the next day. We nailed the problem by combing our hair every few days with a special comb over a three-week period and, to our relief, we never missed a day of school. I'd dreaded lice for years, but after we had our first bout, I realized that fear of the unknown was worse than the reality. When it comes to lice, we need to calm down and get on with the school day. As Coulter says, "they don't really do anything." Except itch.


Don't panic when you find lice. Unlike Natalie Coulter, who, when confronted with lice for the first time, washed everything her kids' had ever touched, including the seat covers of the car - "I kind of went crazy," she said - you don't have to spend days doing laundry. Instead, all you need to do is:

Wash pillowcases, pyjamas and clothing worn in the past two days in hot water and dry at high heat.

Soak combs and brushes in soapy water overnight.

Put stuffed animals, bedding, as well as clothing you can't wash, in a bag for two weeks, says the U.S. Centres for Disease Control. Lice and their eggs can't live longer than three days if they're not on your scalp.

Many parents find combing is more effective than drugstore treatments. Buy a pricey, but effective, lice comb that catches the insects and their eggs. The CDC says that flea combs made for cats and dogs can be effective, too.

The Lice Squad suggests putting olive or coconut oil in the hair for at least four hours before combing.

And be sure to comb every few days for several weeks to catch any newly hatched bugs and their eggs.

Associated Graphic

Karin Kutasewich, who runs Toronto's Lice Squad, says September is her busiest time.


Karin Kutasewich of Lice Squad Toronto examines a client's head for lice and eggs.


Wangersky on Michael Crummey Bezmozgis on Lee Henderson Adderson on Fred Stenson Weir on Marilynne Robinson Pick on Lizzie Stark Bergen on Colm Toibin Henderson on Simon Hanselmann Snyder on Kim Thuy St. John Mandel on David Mitchell
Fall book season is upon us, and there's almost too much to read. To help guide you, Globe Books asked the authors of some of autumn's most anticipated works to tell us which volumes they can't wait to get their hands on
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R15

I can't wait to get my hands on Michael Crummey's Sweetland. Crummey's an almost magical writer: his characters and places form up inside my head, and won't leave. His last book, Galore, was so rich that I deliberately didn't race through it. Sometimes you hear people say that they just couldn't put a book down: with Galore, I would read part, put it down, and come back knowing that, like a plate of brownies, it would be right there waiting for me, as intense as ever. The biggest letdown for me is when I've run out of Crummey. On top of that, the premise for Sweetland - the internal conflict of an isolated Newfoundland town where residents have to vote unanimously to collect government payments to leave - is an intriguing one, to say the least. In his hands, it will surely rock. I look forward to a slow, delightful read.

Russell Wangersky's new novel, Walt, is forthcoming from Spiderline/House of Anansi Press.

I'm looking forward to Lee Henderson's new novel, The Road Narrows as You Go. He is one of the truly original writers we have in this country, capable of doing what many contemporary writers aspire to do: to legitimately blend the high and the low, the absurd and the sincere. His previous novel, The Man Game, was an exceptionally well-written, genuinely moving and audaciously imagined book that didn't get nearly the attention it deserved. I would read anything he writes, even a book about a woman who secretly believes her father is Ronald Reagan.

David Bezmozgis's new novel, The Betrayers, was recently published by HarperCollins.

I simply can't wait for Who by Fire by Fred Stenson. It has to be a sign of genius that a writer can enthrall me with novels on subjects I have absolutely no interest in. Stenson did it with the fur trade (The Trade) and with the Boer War (The Great Karoo). I expect to be just as wowed by his take on, yes, the Tar Sands! On the page Stenson is like Frank Sinatra in a stetson - smooth and pitch perfect. And if details give literature its staying power, Stenson is writing for the ages. It's been years since I read The Trade, but I still remember the factor picking his teeth with the point of his knife. I remember the 1880s bowling alley in Lightning, and how in The Great Karoo the Canadian soldiers woke to find the water in their metal drinking flasks frozen and tinkling like chimes.

Caroline Adderson's new novel, Ellen In Pieces, was recently published by HarperCollins Canada.

Megg is a witch, Mogg is her cat, Owl and Werewolf Jones are their closest friends, and some of their hilarious stories are collected in a 212-page book coming out this month called Megahex, by the cartoonist Simon Hanselmann, which I will read as soon as I get a copy. This is Hanselmann's big debut with Fantagraphics, and even though this is not the rumoured 1,000-page Megg and Mogg story, this is still a big debut because Hanselmann has gained a serious following through his Tumblr, Girl Mountain, where he regularly posts his art, and through the limited-run small-press books he's done over the past few years with Floating World, Space Face and others, featuring Megg and Mogg and the gang. Hanselmann has an impeccable style that's deceptively simple looking - sort of like a homemade Sabrina the Witch comic but going places Sabrina would never ever dare to go (even if Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's writing the Sabrina script) - Hanselmann's sense of humour is super contemporary (dark, depressing, hysterical, and full of drugs), and he puts his characters into realistic and familiar situations and then lets them go nuts. Megg and Mogg are unforgettable leads, and Owl and Jones are the perfect foils, and Hanselmann's art pops off the page thanks to his gorgeous use of colour. Hanselmann is a consummate artist and writer.

Lee Henderson's new novel, The Road Narrows as You Go, is forthcoming from Hamish Hamilton Canada.

There are two books I'm particularly interested in reading this fall. The first is Man, by Kim Thuy, which is the story of a woman from Vietnam who comes to Montreal in an arranged marriage. I want to read this because the language sounds luscious and poetic, and because it's a story of dislocation and location, of a newcomer, an outsider, and because I'm drawn to exactly that Canadian story, told over and over again, and always original. My second choice is non-fiction: Between Gods, by Alison Pick, a memoir about faith by a writer who only learned her father's family was Jewish when she was a teen. I want to read this because Pick is a masterful writer, and because her essay in this spring's The M Word, which was adapted from a chapter of Between Gods, brought me to tears, and because the theme of spiritual seeker is personally compelling.

Carrie Snyder's new novel, Girl Runner, was recently published by House of Anansi Press.

I suspect I won't be the first to say this, but the book I'm most looking forward to is David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks. It actually came out last week, but I've been a bit swamped by deadlines and haven't been able to pick up a copy yet. I'd been hearing great things about Mitchell for years, and this year I finally read Cloud Atlas. I don't think I've ever loved a book more; the characters were wonderful, the structure was fascinating, and there was such a sense of exuberance about it. I've been hearing from bookseller friends lately that The Bone Clocks is written in a similar style and is possibly even better.

Emily St. John Mandel's new novel, Station Eleven, was recently published by HarperCollins Canada.

Include me in the queue that's waiting eagerly for the October release of Lila, the third novel that Marilynne Robinson has set in her fictional town of Gilead, Iowa in the mid-20th century. This one delves into turbulent past of the woman who will eventually marry a man many years her senior - the Congregationalist minister John Ames, whose dying letter to his six-year-old son was the framework for Gilead, the stunningly human and humane first novel. Robinson is one of those writers whom I read with a combination of joy and a sort of exquisite despair ("Oh, so this is what a novel is"). And she's a prose stylist so superb that she can conjure a book title - When I Was a Child I Read Books, a collection of personal essays - that on its own can stand as a tiny masterpiece of prosody.

Ian Weir's new novel, Will Starling, is forthcoming from Goose Lane Editions.

I'm looking forward to Lizzie Stark's new book Pandora's DNA: Tracing the Breast Cancer Genes Through History, Science, and One Family Tree. It details Stark's decision to have a double mastectomy after learning she had inherited her mother's BRCA1 gene mutation - the same mutation that famously prompted Angelina Jolie to do the same. Stark's book promises a heady mix of personal narrative, genetics, and medical history. I met the author at Yaddo last summer (an artist residency in New York) and can vouch for her brilliance and wit. But don't take my word for it. The book has already received starred reviews from Kirkus, Library Journal, and Publisher's Weekly. (That's American for dynamite).

Alison Pick's new memoir, Between Gods, was recently published by Doubleday Canada.

Colm Toibin manages to move in a different direction with each book, from his Man Booker shortlisted novel The Master, in which he explores the art and desires of Henry James, to Brooklyn, a more contained novel about the longings of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish girl trying to break free of her past. His new novel, to be published in October, is Nora Webster, about a widowed mother of four in a small Irish town. That's what I know about the book. What I know about Toibin is that all of his characters fight against social restrictions and their own self-imposed sense of "right." From his fictional creation of Henry James to Eilis Lacey, there is the unavoidable battle between responsibility and freedom. Toibin is fiercely intelligent. He takes characters of common clay and makes them complex and full of doubt and longing. I absolutely trust him as a novelist.

David Bergen's new novel, Leaving Tomorrow, is forthcoming from HarperCollins Canada.

A growing number of interior designers and homeowners are becoming experts on the differences between Helvetica and Times New Roman, embracing vintage sign icons and font-focused coffee-table books to decorate their spaces. Matthew Hague surveys the trend, from A to Z
Friday, September 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P54

There's no polite way to put this, but it's true: Typography nerds - those lovers of all things lettering - tend to be huge snobs. They turn up their noses at poorly spaced or ill-conceived letters the way a wine aficionado might grimace at an off bouquet.

That's not necessarily a bad thing - and it's not just because they are fussier than the rest of us. It's because they've obsessively studied the subject and appreciate the look of a perfectly proportioned typeface that is well balanced, properly set and evenly tracked.

Beautiful type is like a symphony for the eyes, whereas fugly fonts (we're looking at you, Staccato) are like daggers to the retina.

This discernment seems to be spreading beyond the world of graphic design. Despite the long-lamented death of the printed word, people seem more curious than ever about the physical form of our language, especially when it comes to accessorizing their living spaces.

Words and letters have been elevated to an art form, gracing the interiors of our homes and offices, living rooms and lives like a fi ne painting or photograph. The writing, it seems, is now literally on the walls, but not always as intelligible text - sometimes it's just a giant A or Z reclaimed from a vintage sign and recontextualized as a stylish objet. If incorporated with care, they look sharp and unexpected, even sexy.

It's possible that our collective fascination with fonts is a direct result of computer programs like Microsoft Word. Seriously. When we were all trying to change the default from the ubiquitous Times New Roman, we pulled down the font tab and realized how many other options are out there, from Arial to Verdana.

More likely, though, it's because type touches something that makes us uniquely human - the deep-seated need to communicate. After all, the roots of typography go way, way back - beyond the invention of the printing press in 1450 to cave drawings and quills and letters hammered into stone. Its history is codified in type itself.

The first mechanized typeface, for example, was Johannes Gutenberg's Blackletter. It was based on the calligraphy that monks used when they had to hand-copy the Bible. But because the ornate, Gothic letters were hard to read when passed through the presses, it was soon supplanted by something even older - so-called Roman type. It was developed by a French designer named Nicolas Jenson in the 15th century but was inspired by the chiselled letters common on ancient Roman buildings (it still forms the basis of many popular fonts today, including Garamond and Cambria).

That's not to say that typography hasn't evolved. Roderick Grant, the chair of graphic design at OCAD University in Toronto, suggests that one of the reasons typography is an interesting field of study is that it is constantly changing. "It's like architecture," he says. "I can't imagine anyone saying we don't need any new building designs. Because of evolving needs and technologies and cultures, there will always be a need for new expressions."

For example, the rise of advertising in the 19th century had a huge influence on typography. Before then, serifs - letters with little line strokes at the tops, bottoms and sides - were standard and everywhere. The dashes were practical, helping with legibility by guiding the eye. But advertisers wanted to pack as much text as possible into a playbill or poster, meaning those space-consuming dashes had to go. So a second major family of fonts, sans serif, was invented (including frill-free Helvetica, which was first crafted in 1957 and is still used for wide array of corporate logos, including American Airlines, Crate and Barrel, American Apparel and The North Face).

Not that serif versus sans serif fonts is the ultimate deciding factor for some people's typeface preferences, especially when it comes to incorporating text elements in interiors. According to Christine Flynn, the choice can be a lot more intimate. Flynn runs Love the Design, an art gallery and vintage store in Toronto's Rosedale neighbourhood. Oversized letters and numbers from disused industrial neon signs are among her most popular items. She has a notebook full of requests that she carries around on her buying trips, listing all the errant Ms and Rs and Qs people want to decorate their walls with.

"People don't necessarily care if they get a serif," she explains. Instead, they are looking for something "quite personal. It could be the initial of someone's name or a lucky number." Something that, through type, expresses their identity.

That expressivity is something that Ian Brignell has spent a lot of time considering.

He's a top Canadian graphic designer and true type artist. He has worked for major brands like Bell Canada and Harvard University. He often has to distill the complex, abstract ideals of his clients - things like trustworthiness and dependability - into a few letters.

"I do it through a number of a ways," he points out. "Curves and flourishes tend to connote lightness and femininity. Dense and dark has a sense of urgency. Rounded forms tend to be friendly."

Good points to consider the next time you're on the hunt for a character with character to add to your own wall.

To watch stylist Alanna Davey explain easy ways to incorporate lettering into your own living space, download the free Globe Style Advisor iPad app at

Associated Graphic

PUNCTUATION MARKS Aiming for a room with boldface drama? Offset graphic black-and-white elements with a hit of primary red or blue. Take a Line for a Walk chair by Moroso, $4,799 at Klaus ( Shibuya vase by Kartell (on credenza), $216, Hollywood ottoman by Bonaldo, $900 at Suite 22 ( Manuscript carpet by Nani Marquina, $3,682, Digitable by B&B Italia, $1,700 at Kiosk ( Cork letter A (next to books on floor), $49 at BoConcept ( Harvest double dresser, $1,199, Tasaraita mug by Marimekko, $20 at EQ3 ( Number 2, $85 at Love the Design ( Micah Lexier's Diagram Sculpture (BEST) (2013) and Things Exist 23 (2011), price on request at Birch Contemporary ( All books throughout provided by Swipe (

Photography by RODRIGO DAGUERRE, Styling by ALANNA DAVEY

FIVE ALIVE They've got your number: These days, sign manufacturers that usually create pieces for retailers and restaurants will often supply custom letters and numbers on request. Nendo chair, $3,650 at BoConcept ( Number 5, price varies depending on size and material at Channel Letter Depot (www. Hay Felt Letters (in bowl on floor), $5 each at Klaus ( Loony basket by Herve Van der Straeten, $410, Coupe bowl by Michael Verheyden, $420 at Avenue Road ( Blue hand-woven rug, $2,450 at Julien Armand (

WINGING IT Salvaged elements such as the silver model-airplane part perched behind the desk above often incorporate retro typefaces. Scour vintage-furniture shops for similarly graphic accents. Desk lamp by Marset Funiculi, $388 at Lightform ( Stash desk, $479, rug, $65 at Urban Mode ( Model-airplane wing, $395, letter Y, $115, plastic H and 2, $2 each at Queen West Antique Centre ( Eye-chart flask by Wild Eye Design, $34, cardboard radio by Suck UK, $48 at Bergo ( Letter B, $89 at Absolutely Inc. ( Flexket basket, $67.95 at Swipe ( Custom configuration unit by USM, $2,571, Regard men's bicycle by Martone, $1,460 at Avenue Road ( Office chair by Gispen, starting at $650 at Julien Armand ( Framed Untitled gouache-on-paper works (2012) by Shaan Syed, $1,800 each at Birch Contemporary (

FEELING FONT A feature wall papered with a typeface print is an easy way to mix serif and sans serif styles. RAW lounge chair by Muuto, $1,579 at RADform ( Tracy Kendall wallpaper, price on request at Hollace Cluny ( Anisha lamp by Foscarini, $833 at Kiosk ( Smartville clock, $119 at BoConcept ( Siirtolapuutarha bowl by Marimekko, $59 at EQ3 ( Dang media console, $1,079 at Urban Mode ( Letter W, $40 at Love the Design ( Two actions #7 (2002) by Micah Lexier, price on request at Birch Contemporary (

Whither criticism in the age of Rotten Tomatoes?
The days of critics holding sway over a movie's fate are long gone, especially now that tweets go out before the credits stop rolling
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R3

Perhaps there is irony in selecting the print medium to explore the criticism of film criticism and the rise of cyber film critics, armchair bloggers and tweeters that might be leading to its alleged demise. And while this debate is hardly news, the emotion and passion was never more heated than after the sold-out Cannes screening of Life Itself, the Roger Ebert documentary that I attended in May.

Full disclosure: I've had my share of negative reviews from film critics; and yes, I often warm myself with words once imparted to me by the actress Tyne Daley on a flight from Los Angeles: "Barry, a film critic is someone who never actually goes to the battle, yet who afterwards comes out shooting the wounded." Or my personal favourite from comedian David Steinberg: "Critics are like piano players at a gang bang."

But I would be lying as a filmmaker if I denied the power, art and emotion of film criticism and the anticipation of opening the paper next day to see if I need a picture frame for a review or fish to wrap it in.

In Cannes, after the screening, several of us met to toast Roger and discuss whether there remains an audience for informed film criticism, and if reviews still have the power to influence the box office or an artist's career as they did in the halcyon days of the best practitioners, such as Pauline Kael (The New Yorker), Andrew Sarris (Village Voice), André Bazin (Cahiers du Cinéma) and Stanley Kauffmann (The New Republic). It was Kael who wrote: "The critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising."

In the Ebert documentary, Time Magazine's film critic Richard Corliss is forced to apologize to Ebert for his attack in a 1990 essay in Film Comment. Possibly driven by self-importance, Corliss labelled Ebert as a "television evangelist" and "junk food" peddler arguing that the "well-turned phrase has been replaced by a gaggle of thumbs." Ebert responded passionately: "I am the bridge between audiences and foreign, independent and documentary films." Ebert attributed the malaise of film journalism to studio-driven marketing campaigns targeting "a star-obsessed public with choreography that puts a star on the cover of Vanity Fair and robotic appearances on a swarm of talk shows."

Almost 25 years after Corliss's essay, when I took the debate to a few current practitioners and influencers, the response was heated and enthusiastic.

Director Atom Egoyan, just back from Cannes, argued that critics still have a huge impact on creating awareness for new filmmakers and indie work, but "a new generation of cinephiles is less interested in following 'guru' critics and are looking for online aggregate scores. ... There is a glut of film critics and it's very tough to be discerning and to follow someone the way you used to follow Sarris or [The Times's Vincent] Canby."

"I remember when you walked out of a movie and read the blowup review in the lobby to tell you why you loved the movie," says Michael Barker, co-founder of Sony Classics, one of the most enduring indie film distributors.

Robert Verini, a regular contributor to Variety, observes: "Critics have the power to shape the commercial destiny of independent films in both mainstream outlets or on popular sites where Beasts of the Southern Wild or Winter's Bone can get attention."

Veteran Toronto Star critic Peter Howell argues that "readers expect critics to be consistent and also to give honest opinions, not just ones designed to impress other critics."

While critics can influence indie films, Verini says, they have "much less power to shape the destiny of Hollywood product." He references the power of social media - especially within small friend groups that can "largely determine which big studio films or gross-out comedies will smash or crash." And he points to the online review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes: "If all critics are aligned against a movie, its freshness factor will be low and the pic will likely tank, but individuals' powerful words have little or no impact."

The Globe and Mail's Liam Lacey argues that "there were only ever a very few film critics that could be singled out as having a significant influence on moviegoers' buying habits."

TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey agrees with Lacey but is more emphatic: Critics never had "absolute power to shape any film's destiny." Bailey points to a demographic shift: "Millennials simply aren't as interested in being told what's good and what's not. They've grown up curating all the music, movies, TV shows, books and games in their life, and figure they can decide for themselves."

Hot Docs's head honcho Chris McDonald is even more discouraged: "The ivory tower of film criticism has been infiltrated by the great unwashed. We live in an age where the average filmgoer is more interested in Rotten Tomatoes than The New York Times."

Michael Barker argues, however, that "with 25 films opening every Friday, the public needs guidance, especially with indie films. There are too many choices." He adds that "there's still a premium on thoughtful commentary, and most of that you're still likely to find in print. However, we have less time for them."

"'Olympian' doesn't work well any more," observes Vanity Fair's David Margolick. "We're more skeptical: A. O. Scott, senior film critic for The New York Times, is much less influential than Vincent Canby, just as Thomas Friedman will never have the influence of a Walter Lippmann or James Reston." He warns that critics have to be more courageous: "They're afraid of offending editors or friends or film-industry moguls - they don't."

Lacey agrees: "I think newspaper film reviewers, me included, still aspire to a kind of snappy condescension and irony that had an anti-establishment appeal but now feels trite. ..." And he adds: "If you ever write any phrase that can be used for a studio pullquote followed by many exclamation marks, you're a lost soul."

A. O. Scott of The Times says: "I'm not convinced that film critics ever had much power over a film's immediate commercial fate, and plenty of moviegoers have always been happy to ignore what critics write." Scott is passionate about the enemies of print, as was Ebert so many years ago: "I think advertisers, publishers and those who don't see much of a purpose in the independentminded assessment of film and other art forms use this as an excuse to abandon it."

Adds Lacey: "Advertising dollars have shrunk and news editors feel more comfortable with objective Monday-morning box-office reports than subjective reviews."

When I asked producer Harvey Weinstein, the subject of one of my documentary films and a man who easily used the power of reviews to shape iconic film campaigns, he took another position.

"There's no question that in the age of social media, anyone and everyone can be a film critic of sorts. However, I think those types of DIY movie reviews are only effective on the basis of quantity, not quality. It's about that singular, powerful opinion that belongs to a known and trusted cinephile" he says.

And Weinstein has advice for film critics: "It's not enough to just love movies, critics have to embrace the digital age."

Richard Crouse, a critic who covers every possible medium in film criticism from television to print and online to radio, agrees.

"Mini-reviews are often posted on Twitter before the end credits have stopped rolling, and for big critic-proof movies like Transformers: Age of Extinction, good or bad, those comments generate audience engagement."

So is film criticism actually at death's door or just moved to another medium? "Criticism as a profession is in some trouble, but criticism as an activity is an intrinsic and essential part of the life of any art form," says Scott, who adds, "For the smaller number who are interested in criticism - as something to read and, increasingly, as a conversation to join - the influence and variety of criticism has never been greater."

Roger Ebert had the last word before he died: "Those that still care about film criticism will always read film criticism." Long live the film critics.

Barry Avrich is a Toronto-based director, producer, author and marketing executive. His films include The Last Mogul and Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project.

Associated Graphic

Critic Roger Ebert saw himself as 'the bridge between audiences and foreign, independent and documentary films.'

Chinese choose B.C. cherries
Okanagan producer's experience with specialization could show the way for other agri-food exporters, writes Wendy Stueck
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

It rained overnight at Cholla Ranch, a former cattle ranch that sits about 580 metres above sea level in the hills above Okanagan Lake and is the highest of the seven sites around Kelowna where David Geen's Jealous Fruits grows sweet, late-season cherries.

And the forecast calls for more rain, putting Mr. Geen under pressure to get the fruit off the trees before the cherries are split or bruised.

He has buyers lined up in China, and they pay a premium for uniform, unblemished fruit.

"It [the Chinese market] is 1.4 billion people, of which you have a middle class of 400 million," Mr. Geen says while showing a visitor around the plant where cherries are cleaned, sorted and packed. "And they have an appetite for cherries ... they pretty much buy them eight or nine months of the year - and we are in a nice window where there is not much other supply around."

The push to get B.C. cherries to China is part of continuing efforts by the Canadian and B.C. governments to gain more access to export markets for Canadian agrifood products, ranging from fruit to beef to shellfish.

B.C. blueberry producers hope to be next in line. It is also part of an agricultural evolution in the Okanagan, where some apple orchards have given way to vineyards and others are being replanted with cherry trees. And for Mr. Geen, access to China and its growing middle class is the prime rationale for investing in a labour- and capital-intensive operation that has made Jealous Fruits - owned by him and his wife, Laura - the biggest cherry producer in Canada, with a projected harvest of about 1,600 tonnes.

Efforts to get B.C. cherries to China began around 2008. Growers who had already made inroads into Asian markets, including Hong Kong, began eyeing China as a logical frontier. Besides its huge population and growing middle class, - providing an ideal window for B.C. cherries, which are available when cherries grown in California and Washington are past their peak.

B.C. shipped about $4-million worth of cherries to China in 2013 under a pilot program. With full access, announced in June, 2014, growers estimate shipments could increase to $20-million within five years. For the B.C. blueberry sector, access to the Chinese market is projected to be worth $65-million a year.

That amount may seem trifling compared with the value of B.C.'s top export to China, lumber, which accounted for sales of about $1.4-billion last year.

But exports to China are a potential bright spot for the Okanagan, where apple producers, still the mainstay of the fruitgrowing sector, have struggled with challenges including soaring land prices and competition from producers in China, Chile and New Zealand.

Each box of cherries that leaves the chilly packing plant at Jealous Fruits is part of a bigger picture. Canadian agriculture and agri-food exports to China increased by 84 per cent in 2012 to $5-billion in 2012, according to a 2014 federal overview of the sector, and China surpassed Japan to become Canada's second-largest agriculture and agri-food export destination. (The U.S. remains the biggest.)

Late-season cherry varieties developed at the Summerland research station (a division of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) have helped cherry producers dodge some of the competitive pressures hitting apple growers, says Glen Lucas, general manager with the B.C. Fruit Growers' Association.

"We feel that the future growth in the apple sector will also rely on this type of specialization," Mr. Lucas said in an e-mail. "While B.C. cherry and apple production is important to the provincial economy (about $130-million in wholesale value), we are small in the world scale and must be nimble."

Mr. Geen, whose great-grandfather started growing fruit in the Okanagan in 1903, grew up in the business and founded Jealous Fruits in 1990 to focus solely on cherries.

He has invested heavily in technology and equipment, including systems to sort cherries by size and colour. When it rains, he sometimes hires helicopters to blow water off the trees.

He also invests heavily in labour. During peak season, Jealous Fruits employs about 600 people, including about 200 Mexican workers hired through Canada's Seasonal Agricultural Workers' Program, a federal program launched in the 1960s and extended to B.C. in 2004.

The SAWP program is not without criticism. Labour unions and workers' advocates say workers in the program are vulnerable to exploitation, especially if they are injured on the job, and they can face sub-standard working and living conditions.

At Jealous Fruits, foreign workers are housed in trailer-style accommodation that includes dining halls, showers and laundry facilities. The length of stay varies. Men may come for sixmonth stints in the orchard, while women who work in the packing plant usually come for about six weeks.

Without those Mexican workers, Jealous Fruits would not be viable, Mr. Geen says, adding that before the foreign workers program was available in B.C., he sometimes had to leave fruit to rot because he could not hire enough workers to get it sorted and packed.

Among the cherry trees at Cholla Ranch, there are pickers from countries including New Zealand, the Netherlands and Czech Republic as well as from Kelowna and nearby towns.

Pickers are typically paid by volume. Maxime Giroux, from Val-Morin, Que., is a "high-ball picker," able to fill up to 60 ninekilogram totes a day at $5.20 per tote.

By the time those cherries make it to a shelf in China, they might be selling for about $10 to $15 (U.S.) a pound.

In part, that price reflects food safety concerns in China, says Keith Head, HSBC Professor of Asian Commerce at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.

"In China there have been repeated food scares ... so for many Chinese consumers, buying long-distance is actually about buying some [product] perceived as safer and more nutritious," Prof. Head said in an e-mail.

It took years to negotiate issues related to inspection and shipping the fruit, says Christine Dendy, past president of the B.C.

Cherry Association and owner of Dendy Orchards, which also exports fruit to China. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency was involved, as were multiple visits by Chinese delegations to the Okanagan. Currently, there are about 100 growers and 17 packing houses registered for the program, Ms. Dendy said.

With the door opened to cherries, B.C. growers are now angling for access to China for blueberries.

"Having gone through this exercise once with cherries, I think it will be an easier path for blueberries," Ms. Dendy said. "I hope it won't take quite so long."



Cherries planted in the Okanagan include Staccato, Satin, Sylvia, Lapins, Sweetheart and Sovereign. Varieties differ in size, texture, colour and flavour and mature at different times in the season.


Late-season Okanagan cherries like those from Jealous Fruits are the latest-ripening cherries in the Northern Hemisphere, coming to market in August or even September. Early season European varieties are typically harvested in April or May.


B.C. cherry growers gained full access to the Chinese market through a 2014 agreement between the Chinese and Canadian governments. Last year, B.C. cherry shipments to China were worth $3.9-million; growers hope that could reach up to $20million in five years. Blueberry producers are pursuing the same access in hopes of sales up to $65-million a year.


Other countries are also vying for Asian buyers. Australia, for example, wants to boost its cherry exports from a current 20 per cent of production to 50 per cent by 2015.

Top three cherry exporting nations by volume

United States, Chile and Turkey

Associated Graphic

Max Giroux from Montreal shows off his hands after picking cherries for several weeks at a Jealous Fruits orchard near Vernon, B.C. Mr. Giroux has been picking for five years and averages $200 a day in pay.


Temporary foreign workers sort and grade cherries at the Jealous Fruits plant near Kelowna, B.C., in mid-August.


David Geen, the owner of Jealous Fruits, assesses the damage caused by rain and hail at his cherry orchard.

Helicopters are brought in after a rainstorm to dry off the cherries before they are picked.

Jeffrey St. Jules, specialist in surrealist shorts, goes long for his first, freaky full-length feature. Dave McGinn meets an introvert poised to be one of TIFF's breakout stars
Friday, September 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R1

The weird worlds of Jeffrey St. Jules always begin with geography. One of the country's most lauded makers of short films, St. Jules sets his stories in places that are odd if not downright surreal, but that also have extremes of circumstance that reveal a person for who they truly are - a frontier town that would explode if anyone dared step across the town line, an isolated compound sealed off from the rest of a city where the inhabitants survive on a stream of garbage and alcohol.

Now he's taking his talents to TIFF with his first feature, Bang Bang Baby, set in the small town of Lonely Arms, where a chemical leak makes a sweet high-school girl believe she is living in a musical. But while the early buzz is strong, it remains to be seen if the director can turn his short-form magic into feature-length success.

The most striking aspect of St. Jules's films is their distinctive weirdness. It's a strangeness that manages to be both charming and disturbingly sinister. There are backdrops that look like they were painted by children, a man pregnant with a stuffed animal donkey, an orphan who believes a tree is his mother, all mixed frequently with alcohol and murder.

The worlds and their weirdness are expressed with techniques that show a similar disinterest in whatever it is we mean by realism.

For example, to achieve the shaky quality of his second short film, The Tragic Story of Nling, St. Jules shot it on video, printed out every single one of the approximately 12,000 frames, and rephotographed them to play as animation."It's just what I've always been drawn to," the 36-year-old writer and director says of his penchant for strangeness. "I think it all kind of goes back to childhood. I guess it's got something to do with life not seeming as exciting as it should. I'm really pretty conservative. In real life, not politically, just in terms of my lifestyle. But it's sort of an outlet for expressing craziness."

He can express craziness as well as anyone, but what St. Jules really wants is to understand people. That's why he is turning to features.

St. Jules, who lives in Toronto with his wife Shalini, a social worker, and their two young boys, knew he wanted to be a filmmaker as a teenager growing up in Fall River, N.S. (population: 11,526).

"What excited me about it, even talking about it then, is the possibility that you could do the craziest thing in a movie. The possibilities of how crazy you could get were limitless," he says.

He applied to Concordia University because "somebody at some point said they had a film program," he says. But he didn't get in, so instead he studied creative writing at the university until he finally got into the film production program in his third year.

After Concordia, he moved to Toronto to attend the Canadian Film Centre. It was there that he wrote and directed The Sadness of Johnson Joe Jangles, about two male lovers, one of whom is pregnant with the aforementioned stuffed animal donkey, who are torn apart by life in a frontier town.

The film premiered at TIFF in 2004. It was nominated for a Genie award and won him Best Emerging Filmmaker honours at the Worldwide Short Film Festival. It also earned him a Cannes Film Festival residency. He is still the only Canadian ever to be accepted into the program, where he began writing the first draft of Bang Bang Baby.

The film is many things: a musical, a homage to sci-fi movies of the 1950s and 1960s, an unsettling story of a young girl trapped in a small town, a nightmare. But at its core, St. Jules says, "It's really a movie about the dangers of escapism."

He followed up Jangles with Nling. Before the story of the underprivileged forced to eat garbage and numb themselves with alcohol, one of whom is a donkey professor intent on holding onto his humanity, there is a Nietzsche quote famous among philosophy grads: "Can an ass be tragic? To perish under a burden one can neither bear nor throw off?" Anita Lee, the acclaimed producer, remembers seeing it for the first time: "I was blown away."

She was so impressed, in fact, that she produced a St. Jules documentary, Let The Daylight In To the Swamp, about his grandparents' fraught relationship, for the National Film Board.

"There's this absurd, almost campy, fantastic element. But at the core, there are real moments of emotional truths," Lee says.

"You're left with this sort of very heightened sense of both sadness and beauty and truth. It's a very powerful, unexpected mix."

Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo, now the Canadian features programmer at TIFF, first met St. Jules when the festival featured The Tragic Story of Nling.

"He's an incredibly creative filmmaker with a very unique and strong vision. But there's also this really strong emotional core to his films. So even though they're set in these often bizarre worlds, you really connect with the characters," she says.

Making a feature film in Canada is not easy for many directors, but Lee says that, because of his "audacious vision," it likely has been particularly difficult for St. Jules. After all, the oddness that is beloved at short film festivals often doesn't attract feature film financing.

"In some ways, he's had to work harder," Lee says.

St. Jules is the first to admit he hasn't pushed as hard as he might have to get a feature made.

"I could probably be better at being a business person. What I want to get better at is being relentless about getting to a level of where I want to get to."

Right now, that means making the leap from short films to features.

"I started out making films because I liked to experiment and play and create worlds," he says. "But for me the most exciting thing about making features is creating characters. In a short, you have characters but it's less about going on a journey with those characters."

He's also now more interested in features because he's more confident working with actors.

"I've always been an introverted, kind of shy person. And actors just kind of seemed like the opposite of that," he says. "I was very scared of working with actors. But as I started doing it more, that's what has becoming most exciting about it, is working with actors and seeing them bring things to life. Because ultimately that's what grounds the crazy world."

He credits Jane Levy's lead performance in Bang Bang Baby for taking a character who still felt too strange on the page and making her a believable, sympathetic person.

Amid all of the movie's strange mix of influences - which run the gamut from Ann-Margret in Viva Las Vegas to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg - and its surreal flourishes, including a toxic purple cloud that causes gross physical mutations, St. Jules wants to us to recognize his strange worlds, and the people in them, as familiar, however odd they may at first seem.

"I've always been very conscious that a fun, crazy world only goes so far," he says. "I know a lot of great films that aren't character-based, but in what I do I think it's all about connecting with the characters and caring about them. That's what I see as the anchor in all the wild worlds. It makes the absurd flourish as something you can actually feel and connect with."

Bang Bang Baby screens Monday, Sept. 8 at 7:15 p.m.; Sept. 10 at 4:15 p.m.; Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Scotiabank Theatre.

Associated Graphic

Jeffrey St. Jules takes a break from editing his current film at the Royal Cinema in Toronto. His new feature, Bang Bang Baby, premieres at TIFF on Monday.


Jeffrey St. Jules credits Jane Levy for taking a character who felt too strange on the page and making her a believable, sympathetic person.

Tales from TIFF
As another fest draws to a close, The Globe's intrepid reporters have seen it all. Here, they share some moments they'll definitely remember
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R1


It's moments like this that give Michael Moore his label of Champagne Socialist. The home video division of Warner Bros. brought Moore into town for a screening of Roger & Me, his landmark 1989 doc about the downward spiral of Flint, Mich., after General Motors closed its factories there. Being a Hollywood studio, Warners likes to splash out on its events, so it arranged to put up some of the talent on its TIFF films at the high-end Shangri-La Hotel.

"It's, like, $700 a night for the room. I said, 'I can't - I don't want to stay there,' " he told me in an interview. "So I went ahead and got a room at the Hyatt ... and they were like 'No no no!' Because to them, it was like, 'We can't have somebody at the Hyatt!' I said, 'But it's a Canadian Hyatt, it'll be nice! It's not, like, Motel 6."

But then, Moore says, he found out two people from Flint who worked on Roger & Me decided to make the trek to Toronto for the screening. "So I gave them my room at the Hyatt. And I said to Warners, 'I need a room! Because now the Hyatt's all sold out.

"And they said, 'Well, we already paid for the Shangri-La...' " So he stayed there.


When TV was new, some people worried that the screen might allow images of their living rooms to escape into the outside world. These days, we call that Skype, which I used to contact Belgian film director Fabrice Du Welz at his home to talk about his film Alleluia (playing at the Scotiabank Theatre Saturday at 9:15 p.m.).

Du Welz was describing some aspect of this poetically horrific true-crime drama when I heard the unmistakable sound of a toilet flushing in his apartment. It was a bit like being involved a deep conversation in a restaurant and hearing someone belch at the next table.

Neither of us acknowledged the sound. Du Welz may not even have noticed - it was a completely normal thing for him to hear in his shared living space, just not so normal to appear as punctuation during a trans-Atlantic interview.

In retrospect, hearing someone run a bath might have been more unsettling: In Alleluia, the two main characters use a tub while chopping up a body.


At the premiere of Roger Waters The Wall at the Elgin Theatre, the barricades held back not only fans of the former Pink Floyd front man, but also hecklers who showed their displeasure with the English rocker and his recent denunciations of Israel's modus operandi.

"Hey, Roger Waters, leave those Yids alone," one sign read. The atmosphere was friendlier inside, where Waters received a halting version of Happy Birthday. "I'm 70 [bleeping] one years old!," he shouted, cranky-like. Roger Waters The Wall documents his recent touring production of an epic rock album from 1979 that dealt with a rock star's brick-bybrick alienation. The new film is presented as more of an anti-war statement. If The Wall has been repurposed, Waters was a revisionist onstage at the Elgin, where he referred to his former Floyd mates as "my much-loved old colleagues."

At the end of their tenure together, Waters's relationships with David Gilmour, Nick Mason and the late Richard Wright weren't cozy, but perhaps time does heal wounds. When asked about his next project, the fiddlefit septuagenarian declined to discuss. But an album of unearthed Pink Floyd music from the mid-1990s is set to be released soon, so perhaps a reunion with the surviving members is in the offing. Pigs have flown. Anything is possible.


Red carpets are unruly beasts. Going in, you have no idea how celebrities will act. That said, aside from a thunderstorm lashing down on our flimsy plastic awning, the red carpet for Ruth & Alex started off fairly orderly.

Until Diane Keaton, wearing an impeccable white suit with a big, black hat, started wandering around like she was lost. All of a sudden, her gaze stopped, transfixed, on me.

"The colours!" she gleefully sang out. "Look at the colours. I want to show the world what you reporters look like."

Before I knew what was going on, she was dragging me - and my bright orange dress, complete with a glob of bike grease on it - onto the red carpet, along with the reporter beside me, who was in a much fancier, fuchsia dress. There was a brief struggle between Keaton and a security guard as she pulled on my arm to get me onto the carpet, while the guard pushed me back into my assigned place. But eventually the 68-year-old actress won and a wet, dishevelled, stunned version of me was suddenly taking photos with one of the world's biggest movie stars.

Later, I tried to understand how this happened. Was she drunk? Was she making fun of my admittedly shabby attire? Was she looking to cause some chaos? Then I realized Diane Keaton lives on her own planet. And in that weird world, Diane Keaton does whatever Diane Keaton wants.


Festival-going can be an anxious experience, especially when every other movie you see takes some cute little baby and puts it in peril. In François Ozon's melodramatic misfire The New Girlfriend, little Lucie is only six months old when her mother dies, leaving her attended by a father more interested in crossdressing than bottle-feeding. In the creepy Hungry Hearts, a psychological thriller produced in English by the Italian director Saverio Costanzo, a young dad gradually realizes that his wife's New Age theories and vegan diet are starving their seven-monthold boy.

Things got a lot more thoughtful in A Second Chance where the Danish director Susanne Bier juxtaposes the colicky but cherished baby of a middle-class police officer with the neglected infant of heroin addicts, and then plays with our prejudices about which child is abused. The policeman's wife also exits the scene prematurely, leaving yet another dad looking after a baby solo in a movie trend that seems to speak to the parenting anxieties of the current generation's increasingly engaged fathers.

Don't worry, dads; that baby can't possibly be starving: just look at the chubby arms and legs on the little charmer cast in the role.


My TIFF epiphany came during a question-and-answer session following the free screening of Ghostbusters, when Bill Murray was asked by a star-struck young woman: "What's it like to be you?"

That question might represent the unspoken essence of every celebrity interview but, usually, we learn to disguise it. I once heard a journalist ask the same question to the entire cast of Oceans 13, who made a couple of quips and hastily moved on. But Murray called it "a great question" and expanded on it by suggesting everyone in the audience contemplate it together:

"The only way you'll ever know what it's like to be you is to work your best, as often as you can, at being you, to practice being you, and remind yourself that that's where home is."

What grabbed me was, first, how Murray made the young woman feel at ease, and second, how he used a basic tenet of improv acting: that you always say "yes" or "yes and" to a premise, and never simply "no," because that shuts down the creative process. Yes, and call me Molly Bloom, and yes, I went home and downloaded a book on the philosophy of improvisation, yes.

Associated Graphic

Diane Keaton, in her impeccable white outfit, was so struck by The Globe's Madeleine White's orange dress, she pulled her onto the red carpet.


What if anorexia wasn't a disorder, but a passion?
A controversial reframing of the way we think about the illness, which seems consistent with the latest neuroscience, could lead to better treatment. Adriana Barton reports
Monday, September 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

After a century of treating patients with anorexia nervosa, psychiatrists remain stymied as to how to loosen its grip. Forcefeeding may trigger suicide, and in many cases cognitive therapies are no match for patients' burning drive to stay skeletally thin - even if it kills them.

Recently, however, a Canadian scholar challenged conventional ways of thinking about the illness with a theory involving archaic ideas about torturous passions and their power to take over mind, body and soul.

Patients with anorexia are ruled by the heart, not the head, says Dr. Louis Charland, a University of Western Ontario philosophy professor. In a recent study published in the journal Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology, Charland and an international team of psychiatrists argued that anorexia sufferers are not just at the mercy of distorted thought patterns. Rather, they are in the throes of a destructive, all-consuming passion.

Charland, a member of Western's Rotman Institute of Philosophy, says reclaiming the historic meaning of passion, whose root is Latin for suffering, and applying it to anorexia nervosa, will lead to more effective treatments. While controversial, the passions theory has been well received by psychiatrists and therapists, and is surprisingly in line with the latest neuroscience. Could it be a turning point in our understanding of this life-threatening disorder?

Dark passions, tortured souls

These days, everyone wants more passion in life. Self-help gurus urge you to "follow your passion," while sex-toy salespeople purveyors spice things up through Tupperware-style "Passion Parties" held in people's homes.

But in the Bible, the Passion of Christ referred to a period of profound suffering leading up to his crucifixion and death. Centuries later, Shakespeare reflected Renaissance beliefs about the malignant passions that enslaved his tragic heroes (including Hamlet's grief, Othello's jealousy, King Lear's wrath and Macbeth's fear).

The long tradition of viewing passions as pathological culminated in the writings of Théodule Ribot (1839-1916), founder of scientific psychology in France - works that form the basis of Charland's and his colleagues' "passions" theory.

A passion such as collecting or wine appreciation may start out innocently, adding positive meaning to life. But eventually, for whatever reason, it may spin out of control, leading to a mental disorder such as hoarding or alcoholism, Charland explained.

The idea that passions had inherent potential to become destructive was common in the 17th to 19th centuries, he added: "It's just something that we've forgotten."

Lethal passion

If anorexia is a passion, said Dr. Russell Marx, chief science officer for the U.S. National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), "then it's a crime of passion, because it's the deadliest disorder in behavioural health."

To that point, the mortality rate for anorexia is about five per cent - higher than that for schizophrenia, alcoholism or depression. Although anorexia is more common in young women and girls, it affects all ages, and an estimated 10 per cent of patients with eating disorders are male.

The incidence of anorexia in girls 15 to 19 has increased in each decade since 1930, NEDA reports.

"We really don't know how to treat it," Marx said. "All we can do is keep people alive and hope that their brains will rewire themselves in their 20s."

Only half of patients fully recover from anorexia. Of the other half, about 30 per cent will have partial recovery and 20 per cent will continue to suffer, or die.

Recent studies suggest the brains of anorexic patients may have overactive self-control centres, faulty reward circuitry and dulled responses in regions important for body awareness.

At the same time, they show heightened activity in emotionrelated neural networks in response to food.

The emphasis on emotions in the passions study is consistent with neuroscience research, Marx said: "It fits in with our new understanding of the neuro-circuitry of anorexia and the brain pathways involved."

A passion-based cure?

The passions theory, which recognizes that patients have a deep emotional commitment to their disorder, may share common ground with alternative therapies, including body-oriented approaches.

Movement-based therapies help increase a patient's "felt sense" of emotions, said Tannis Hugill, a Vancouver dance therapist who specializes in eating disorders. As patients begin to sense and express emotions physically, they learn to identify and tolerate a wider range of emotions, including joy, opening the door to "experiences other than fear and anxiety," Hugill said.

For patients living at home, emotionally focused family therapy has emerged as one of the more successful treatments. In this approach, psychologists teach parents how to support a child's eating at mealtimes, and how to closely attend to his or her emotional needs.

The emphasis on providing external support for eating has a parallel in the passions study, in which patients expressed relief when they handed over control of their eating to hospital staff.

The originator of the theory, Ribot himself, suggested that order and routine may be helpful in overcoming a passion, the researchers wrote.

The traditional cure for a selfdefeating passion, however, was to replace it with a healthier one - and hope it did not run amok in turn, Charland said.

This, too, is plausible in anorexia treatment, Marx said. He noted that recovered patients often become highly successful in medicine, business and law because of their single-minded focus, passion for detail and drive. Ultimately, "that is how people get better - they develop a new passion," he said.

No size fits all

The passions study by Charland and his colleagues is a "substantial contribution" to contemporary thinking about emotions in psychiatry, wrote Dr. George Szmukler of Kings College London in an accompanying editorial. But in a phone interview, Szmukler pointed to addiction as a better framework for understanding anorexia. The addiction model covers features of anorexia, such as relapse (occurring when a patient goes on a crash diet after months of maintaining a healthy weight) as well as withdrawal (the physical and psychological discomfort patients experience when deprived of the opportunity to starve themselves).

"I don't know how the passion [theory] explains that," Szmukler said.

But Dr. Paul Garfinkel, a specialist in eating disorders at the University of Toronto and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, cautioned against focusing too much on categories such as "addiction," "cognition disorder," or "passion." The trouble with tightly defined diagnostic models, he said, is "you sometimes lose the person underneath."

Ideally, he said, the patient's needs should determine the course of treatment and whether that includes dietary support, family therapy, movement-based approaches or various forms of cognitive behavioural therapy.

"It behooves us to try dig deeper and get to really know the person," Garfinkel said.


A mental disorder must meet seven criteria to qualify as a passion, according to the new definition outlined by University of Western Ontario philosophy professor Dr. Louis Charland and colleagues: .

1. Feelings and emotions are no longer unrelated or spontaneous but governed by a lasting passion.

2. The patient is fixated on an idea ("I am too fat") that becomes the organizational focus of the passion.

3. The passion becomes a motivating force for specific actions (such as hiding food instead of eating it).

4. The passion prompts broader patterns of thoughts and behaviours to support the fixed idea ("I can't go on sleepovers because I might need to exercise in the middle of the night.")

5. The passion becomes integrated with rational thought, to the extent that reason becomes a slave to passion (the patient knows she is dangerously thin but feels powerless to stop dieting).

6. The passion has a progressive, cumulative course (from the innocuous purchase of a diet book to a life that revolves around avoiding food).

7. The passion, while not always harmful, has a strong chance of leading to mental illness.

Associated Graphic

Dr. Louis Charland argues anorexia patients are ruled by the heart, not the head.


A perfect pairing, with room for improvement
Patois has some great Jamaican-Chinese cooking. But its chef should pay attention to Toronto's rich tradition of this fusion food
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M5

We were deep into a plate of Patois's jerk chicken chow mein when the glorious possibilities of Jamaican-Chinese cooking first became clear to me. The dish was Chinese on the bottom - it was crunchy, starchy, salty and satisfying in the way that only deep-fried chow mein noodles are. But the top was an edible island dance party: a shimmering skein of warm-spice succulence and jerk chicken hunks mixed with oyster sauce and vegetables, smouldering with Scotch bonnet heat.

As the noodles relaxed and swelled into the sauce, the tastes and textures of two distinct dishes from different worlds combined into a delicious new entity.

"Jamaican and Chinese are SO perfect together!" a friend of mine marvelled, barely pausing as he plowed through a second helping. The restaurant's "dirty fried rice," a mix of hard-seared pork and beef, Chinese sausage, wok-sizzled rice and Cajun spices, drew a more emphatic response from another dinner mate. "Every time I'm drunk for the rest of my life I'm going to want a kilogram of that!" he said.

Patois is the first restaurant from the chef Craig Wong, a 32year-old former sous at Luma and The Granite Club, who spent a year on the line at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in France. His parents immigrated here from Jamaica in the 1970s; the restaurant, Mr. Wong has said, takes its inspiration from the hybrid cuisine that Jamaica's ethnic-Chinese population developed over generations, as well as from his travels, and the foods he learned to love around Scarborough as a kid.

It's a deeply Toronto restaurant, in other words. Mr. Wong does his jerk chicken with Jamaican spice, but on a Portuguesestyle rotisserie. (It's good, though I prefer the pimento woodsmoked original.)

Yet Patois also owes an enormous debt of inspiration to the wave of young, hip and pointedly irreverent new-Asian kitchens that have remade dining across North America in the past 10 years. Like New York's influential Mission Chinese Food, Fatty Crab and Momofuku restaurants, L.A.'s Kogi BBQ, and Oddseoul here in Toronto (to name just a few of them), the cooking and atmosphere at Patois are as much a celebration of American fast food culture and hip-hop fashion as of more traditional Asian foodways.

There is nothing Asian or Jamaican (or, for that matter, original) about the restaurant's very good fried chicken, apart from the sweet Sriracha sauce it's served with. And the little room's tone and décor borrow heavily from Patois's peers.

As at Oddseoul, the 65-seat space is panelled with galvanized steel roofing, and the music was old-school hip hop the first night I ate there, played at brain-fragging volume. In place of Mission Chinese's enormous dragon on the ceiling, Patois hangs inflatable PVC pool toys.

And the chef indulges in a fair bit of stunt cooking - in the sort of dishes that have become known in the last few years as high-end stoner food. I'd put his tasty but derivative "pierogi-style kimchi potstickers" into that category. And the "Jamaican patty double down" - a bacon, cheese and Sriracha sandwich that uses flaky, lard-based beef pastries as the bread. (To be clear: that sandwich is a very enjoyable abomination.)

Maybe that's what it takes to draw a city's fickle diners to a room with a specialty - Jamaican-Chinese-Canadian cooking - that isn't widely known.

If it takes his double-stacked beef burger, I'm okay with that. Mr. Wong uses sweet, butterbased Chinese pineapple buns for the bread, and slathers oyster sauce mayonnaise alongside the tomato and iceberg lettuce. The fried cauliflower is battered like fried chicken, so it's sweet, crunchy and salty, but creamy-centred from time in boiling oil.

The chef's cooking shines most, though, when he allows himself to abandon the hot-in-2012 trend sheets. His best work the two nights I ate there appeared on Patois's specials board.

He's been running a take on Chinese chili crab lately: rock crabs blanched and then shallow fried in their shells, like the original, but with jerk paste in place of the usual chili sauce. They were sweet and sticky - I would have taken a bib, if anybody offered one; the only way to eat this sort of food is to go feral with it - and nicely fiery when we had them, and the meat prized out of the shells in buttery hunks.

Even better was Mr. Wong's "Death Row picanha:" Chinesestyle beef and broccoli, but made with an extraordinary cut of beef. Picanha is common in Brazil, but almost never found in North America; Mr. Wong found the cut down Dundas West at Nosso Talho, the Portuguese butcher. It's tender and hugely flavoured, but covered in a thick cap of fat that bastes the meat as it sears.

Mr. Wong served it sizzling in a pan, sliced into thick, wobbly-fatty, bloody-centred hunks. It's the best steak I've had in recent memory, seven ounces for $18.

I'd love to see more of that, and less of the fried chicken - less of the commodity dishes that everybody else in the city does. I'd love to see more of the spaghetti vongole he made one week (I never got to try it) with littleneck clams, Chinese sausage, black beans and tarragon. I'd love to try his "Chinese Bolognese," a special that combined Berkshire pork, tomatoes and soybean paste with tagliatelle noodles.

And I'd love to see a little more of the cooking at the root of Patois's mission. The chef has so far chosen to ignore a fairly rich tradition of Chinese-Jamaican cooking around Toronto's suburbs: the spiced goat stews with preserved lime sauce and ginger, or the Jamaican-Hakka soup noodles topped with slices of egg rolls and Scotch bonnet chiles. I don't know of a single other downtown restaurant that's doing those.

"That's chef food," Mr. Wong told me - his customers wouldn't like it. When he said that, a little piece of me died.

Desserts are excellent. There's bread pudding made with those Chinese pineapple buns and boozy rum raisins. You should get that and the jackfruit: rich and creamy ripe with a subtle pong under its deep tropical fragrance. Mr. Wong dredges the slices in sweet tempura batter, and then fries the fruit to a crisp. (The Chinese nod: a drizzle of condensed milk over top.)

In interviews before Patois opened, Mr. Wong pledged to show the city that "Jamaican food is so much more noble than the stuff we eat out of Styrofoam containers." He's part-way there, but honestly. There's some pretty great Styrofoam-tray Jamaican around the city lately. (To wit: the jerk chicken at Kensington Market's Rasta Pasta.)

And either way, you can't claim nobility and then build your business on Jamaican patty double-downs.



794 Dundas St. W. (at Palmerston Avenue), 647-350-8999,

Atmosphere: Dundas West goes to the beach with an iPod full of old-school hip hop, turned up extremely loud. Kind but occasionally befuddled service.

Wine and drinks: Lame cocktails, good beers and a very short wine list.

Best bets: Anything off the specials board. Or go with four friends and order the entire menu for $99.

Prices: Family-style plates from $7 to $18.

Associated Graphic

Patois takes its inspiration from the cuisine that Jamaica's ethnic-Chinese population developed over generations.


Australian underdog
While Sydney and Melbourne have been duking it out for the title of most attractive city, Brisbane has been cultivating an intoxicating blend of the familiar and the exotic
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA -- In the race for the title of Australia's most attractive city, Sydney and Melbourne are bitter rivals. The argument runs along classic New York versus Los Angeles lines, with Melburnians claiming depth and substance against Sydney's glib superficiality, and Sydneysiders contrasting their colour and energy with Melbourne's selfrighteous gloom.

Both factions agree on one point, however: Australia's third city, Brisbane, up in remote Queensland, does not belong in the conversation. If you tell a Melburnian you prefer Sydney, they will say you have no class. If you tell them you prefer Brisbane, they will say you are out of your mind.

Say what you will. I prefer Brisbane.

While it lacks the straightforward charm and epic scale of its famous siblings, Brisbane has something neither can match: an intoxicating blend of the familiar and the exotic, the bland and the bizarre. Imagine Victoria, B.C., transplanted into the jungle and you're mostly there - a calm, orderly, surpassingly friendly city where flying foxes roost in mangrove swamps and the temperature reaches 30 degrees on a winter's day.

My guide in Brisbane, Robert Forster, perfectly embodies this contradiction. Forster is a bona fide rock star - co-frontman of the legendary Go-Betweens, after whom a Brisbane bridge was recently named. The band emerged from the city's music scene in the late seventies, playing a curiously gentle brand of punk - possibly because, as Forster puts it, Brisbane was "too hot for chains and leather." But for a man who counts U2 and REM among his admirers, Forster is devoid of rock-star ego. He proves a remarkably attentive host - even to a total stranger - sending detailed itineraries in advance and, in person, apologizing profusely if he's even a minute late.

My trip to tropical Queensland is an escape from a brutal Ontario winter, and my bright and breezy room at the Edward Lodge, a Forster-recommended boutique hotel in the leafy inner suburb of New Farm, proves an admirable portal to this new world free of tuques and mittens. In nearby New Farm Park, passersby smile amiably as I sit transfixed by the colourful lorikeets and noisy kookaburras that fly from eucalyptus to eucalyptus. When I stop for a drink at the Powerhouse - a riverside arts complex in a converted power station - the sun is so bright that, even with sunglasses, my cheeks ache from squinting. As I feel myself begin to thaw, I curse my ancestors for choosing Canada over this paradise.

The next item on my itinerary is a trip on the City Cat: public transit that ferries passengers up and down the Brisbane River in high-speed catamarans. Businessmen commuting to the Central Business District sit beside students bound for the upriver University of Queensland and families bound for the park - all apparently immune to the novelty of their river-borne tramway. My destination is South Bank, a cultural district on the former grounds of Expo 88. For Forster, Expo marked a breaking point from the conservative period of his youth, when Brisbane was "like the Deep South" and police routinely shut down punk shows. During my visit, South Bank's fabulous Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) holds a punkfocused exhibit on Australian album art.

When I ask Forster to show me his two favourite parts of the city, the contrast is telling. The first, West End, is an inner suburb reached via the Go Between Bridge. Forster describes the ethnically diverse neighbourhood as "a wild mix of hippies." The vinyl shopping at Jet Black Cat and Egg Records is among the best in Australia, and the Asian fusion cuisine and "long black" Americanos at West End Coffee House are top notch, too. Denizens of Brooklyn and Toronto's Queen West would feel right at home.

But Forster's heart is unabashedly in the distant suburbs. As we drive back across the river, he speaks of his love for the place where he grew up and still lives with his family - the place with the perfect suburb name: the Gap. For all its rediscovery of the urban, Forster tells me: "Brisbane has always been about the suburbs. It's car culture, it's sunshine, it's sprawl."

On the winding, half-hour drive from the city centre, he's effusive about "the greenery and the houses," "the ridges," "the roller coaster feel" - "the whole aesthetic of it." The Gap itself is a thicket of bungalows surrounded by low, lush hills. He shows me the landmarks: a golf course and a strip mall.

The most perfect symbol of Brisbane's special charm, however, is revealed the next day.

Forster declines to accompany me to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, but he gives his blessing. "Everyone goes," he says: Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II - "even the Talking Heads went in '79." Lone Pine's appeal is no mystery. It is one of the few places in the world where you can legally cuddle a koala - that is, hold the fuzzy marsupial as if you're burping a baby.

The best way to reach the remote sanctuary is by Mirimar Cruises's daily round-trip. The hour-long journey up the wide and muddy Brisbane River unfolds like Heart of Darkness retold as a comedy.

From my perch in the tidy vessel, munching on a grilledcheese sandwich, I see gum trees and cockatoos pass by on the left, and the manicured lawns of modest homes on the right; dense foliage and the hint of an alligator splash on one bank, a happy couple playing tennis on the other. When we finally reach our destination, I am met not by a deranged Kurtz but an almost incomprehensibly adorable Koala. I snuggle it to the full extent of the law.

The bliss! The bliss!


There are no direct flights to Brisbane, but you'll barely notice the hour-and-a-half connection after your 20ish hour flight to Sydney.


Edward Lodge, on a quiet street in residential New Farm, is hard to beat. Rooms are large and airy, the courtyard is peaceful and tropical, and the price is right. A short walk past distinctive Queenslander-style homes - many built on stilts - leads you to the excellent restaurants and cafés of New Farm Village and New Farm Park. Downtown is a 10-minute City Cat ride away. Rooms from $99. .


Brisbane is full of excellent Nepalese restaurants, and Himalayan Café in New Farm is among the best. The calm atmosphere of the low-tabled, well-cushioned, trinket-heavy dining room makes it an excellent place to recover from jetlag. Excellent vegetarian and gluten-free options. Don't miss the homemade breads. 640 Brunswick St., 617-3358-4015

The Library Café, located inside the Queensland State Library in South Bank, is the perfect place to grab lunch after visiting the nearby Gallery of Modern Art. Grab a fresh-made quiche and head for the patio, an excellent spot for people watching. Expensive, but so are most things in Australia. Stanley Place, South Bank.


Mirimar Cruises makes a daily round trip to Brisbane's mustsee attraction, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, and the slow journey upriver is half the fun. Adult round-trip, including admission to the sanctuary, is $68.

Associated Graphic

Cruise up the river in Brisbane to understand more of the city's unique charms.


Powerhouse, which sits in New Farm Park, is a riverside arts complex in a converted power station. The park, in the inner suburb of New Farm, also boasts lorikeets and noisy kookaburras.


This is no museum
ROM curator Alexandra Palmer works with artifacts, she didn't want to live in one
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G1

Alexandra Palmer's new space is a stone's throw from her old Edwardian home in Toronto's West End. But it's a century away in terms of design.

Ms. Palmer, a senior curator at the Royal Ontario Museum who works with textiles and fashion, loved the venerable wood-filled Edwardian and appreciated its heritage detail. But it had a lot of underutilized space, like the dining room and the long hallways. The rooms were all enclosed, separate units, as was typical of the style.

It was time for something open and energy-efficient, a home she could help create from the ground up to suit the way she lives. "I wanted a modern house," she says, sitting at the table in the light-filled kitchen/dining area at the front of her new home. "I like the design process. It's problemsolving and it's fun."

Uninterested in leaving the neighbourhood or destroying an elegant old home, she scouted the area for an appropriate teardown.

The fake-brick frame house on an alleyway was ideal because it had no redeeming architectural features and had already been gutted when it came on the market. She found LGA Architectural Partners, a firm that shared her appreciation of conservation, respect for the streetscape and love of modernism."I didn't want marble bathrooms," Ms. Palmer explains. "Everything is very exploded at the moment and everyone is building these enormous places and I wanted something smaller than I had. I wanted less than what I had. This house is very compact. Every space is used."

She also valued LGA's collaborative approach. "I was looking for an architect I could work with, as opposed to someone who would just impose their ideas on me," she says. "This is my home. I didn't want a showcase."

In the end, she got both.

The 2,800-square-foot home suits her needs perfectly, as well as being a model of how designers can start with a relatively small footprint and create a dwelling that feels spacious on the inside by making the most of each square foot.

"It was a good match-up," says Yvonne Popovska, an LGA architect who worked on the project. "We didn't have to educate Alexandra on why a modern house was a good idea. She already knew it was a good idea."

From the street, the cedar-clad home looks like a two-storey, in keeping with the height of the neighbouring houses, but the roof slopes up in the back, which makes room for a third level not obvious from the front.

Past the natural-looking but well-planned front yard of Russian sage, hydrangea and grasses, it's a few steps up to the tempered-glass front door, which opens into an entryway and then into a space separated from the kitchen by a low counter. Visitors come into the kitchen, but not quite, which creates a sense of a progressive entry. As elsewhere in the house, the rooms are both open and defined.

From the kitchen, stairs lead down to the 640-square-foot basement, which Ms. Palmer refers to as "kidland." That her two teenaged sons have to come through the dining area to make it down the stairs is not an accident. It's the result of a thoughtful planning.

"I didn't want the kids to come in and go down to the basement without saying hello," she says. "It was important to me that they couldn't just sneak off."

The kitchen of Canadian maple veneer cabinets, engineered quartz counters and tempered glass backsplash is an airy space that reflects the play of light poring in from the large windows in the front as well as the one facing onto the alleyway.

"I wanted big windows and I wanted light," Ms. Palmer says.

"But I didn't understand how really transformative that would be."

From the kitchen area, it's a few steps down to the sunken living room at the back of the house.

The room is on grade, Ms. Popovska explains, so that the huge sliding glass doors open seamlessly into the backyard garden.

The room, which has built-in shelving that doubles as seating space for entertaining, is decorated with vintage furniture, the result of Ms. Palmer's passion for scouring "junk shops" to find pieces she likes and which reflect design trends from the early days of modernism. She brought most of the items from her old house into the new space, in which they are very much at home.

Even the floor-to-ceiling curtains on the sliding door are vintage. "And they fit perfectly," Ms. Palmer says. "It's like a miracle."

The room is painted white, which allows the furnishings, textiles and artwork - chosen and arranged with a curatorial eye - to form a colourful and pleasing pastiche. "You often walk into a modern house and you expect the chairs and the couch and everything to match because people went to the modern furniture store and checked everything off the list," Ms. Popovska says. "But Alexandra has her own collection and her own kind of style. It makes the space more dynamic."

At the top of the open stairs leading to the second floor is a large skylight that helps with brightness and also improves energy conservation. It can be opened to let warm air escape in the summertime, which cuts down on having to use the air conditioner.

This so-called passive approach to energy saving was chosen after it was deemed too expensive to employ the latest in "green" technologies, such as solar heating and green roofs. Water-based radiant heating in the concrete floors and a gas fireplace are the only heat sources. This worked well, even through Toronto's brutal winter, because the house is filled with sunlight and is wellinsulated, Ms. Popovska explains.

On the second floor are the boys' bedrooms, the laundry, and a bathroom. A sliding door can be closed to seal off the study, the "kid-free zone," where Ms. Palmer does her research and writing in front of a huge window that overlooks her garden and what she hopes will one day be a green roof on the garage. There are plenty of shelves for books and storage space that hides "a million sins."

Another flight of stairs leads up to the sun-filled master bedroom and a bathroom with another skylight. When the sliding door is closed on the second floor, the study and master bedroom function as a unit, distinct from the rest of the house.

Next on the tour is the back yard, where high wood fences on each side and the garage at the back create the feeling of being in a courtyard, sheltered from the world beyond. With the exception of a place for a table and chairs, the space is entirely devoted to a flourishing garden of foliage and flowers. It's a sanctuary for birds and butterflies. And for Ms. Palmer, who enjoys creating her outside space as much as she did the space inside.

"Oh, there's one of my cardinals," she says, explaining that she intended the garden to attract the birds from her old yard - old friends she didn't want to leave behind when she made her leap into the new.

Associated Graphic

Her house is small in scale, but the space is efficiently used, says Alexandra Palmer. 'I wanted less than what I had.'


The house has a small footprint, but feels spacious.


Delicious finds from the season's hottest new cookbooks
Friday, September 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P40


Pasta lovers make regular trips to Thomas McNaughton's San Francisco resto to sample the chef's delectable approach to noodles. The dish below calls for one batch of his dough recipe, which you'll find thoroughly described at the front of the book.

Excerpted from Flour and Water by Thomas McNaughton, photography by Eric Wolfinger. © 2014 by Thomas McNaughton. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House company. All rights reserved. $41 at bookstores.

Celery Root Tortelli with Brown Butter, Balsamico and Walnuts

Filling 1 tbsp pure olive oil 3 small celery roots, peeled and cut into small dice 10 sprigs thyme 1 medium yellow onion, cut into small dice 3 cloves garlic, minced Kosher salt 1 cup heavy cream ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


1 recipe Rav Dough

To Finish

6 tbsp unsalted butter 1 tsp kosher salt 2 tbsp coarsely chopped walnuts 1 tbsp balsamico condimento 1 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan on high heat until almost smoking. Add the celery root and thyme and cook until the celery root is golden brown (about 8 minutes). Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Decrease the heat to low and cook gently until the celery root is completely soft (about 30 minutes).

Add the cream and increase the heat to high. Remove the thyme sprigs and immediately transfer the mixture to the jar of a blender.

Purée until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and, while still hot, fold in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Adjust the salt to taste and cool completely. You should have about 2½ cups filling.

Dust 2 baking sheets with semolina flour and set aside.

To make the pasta, roll out the dough, using a pasta machine, until the sheet is just translucent. Cut a 2-foot section of the dough sheet and cover the rest of the dough with plastic wrap.

With a straight wheel cutter or a ruler and a knife, halve the pasta sheet lengthwise into two 3-inch-wide strips. Using a piping bag or a spoon, place 1¼inch logs of filling in the middle of each strip, keeping an inch of separation between each log of filling.

Fill both strips.

Gently fold the dough over the filling, bringing the two edges together to completely cover the filling. Use a spritz of water from a spray bottle to help seal it if necessary. Using your thumb, seal the top edge of the pasta, but just the very edge. To form the individual tortelli, start on the right side of one strip and press down along the pasta with your index finger, sealing the pasta and pushing out all the air, creating a vacuum between the filling and the pasta dough.

You want to create a tight capsule of dough around the log of filling.

Move down the line, pressing down around one log at a time.

Using a fluted cutter, trim the edges, leaving ¼ inch of pasta between the filling and the cut. Working quickly, place the tortelli on the prepared baking sheet, spaced apart, until ready to cook. Don't let the tortelli touch each other or they may stick together. Repeat until you run out of dough or filling. You should get about 50 tortelli.

To finish, bring a large pot of seasoned water to a boil.

Heat a 12-inch sauté pan over high heat. Add the butter and salt and cook until the butter is browned (2 to 3 minutes).

When the butter is just starting to colour around the edges and bubble, add the walnuts, stir to incorporate, and then turn off the heat. Add the balsamico condimento.

Drop the pasta in the boiling water. Once the pasta is cooked 80-per-cent through (until almost al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes), add it to the pan. Reserve the pasta water. Add a few tablespoons of pasta water and increase the heat to high. Toss to combine. When the pasta is tender (less than 1 minute), add the parsley and toss.

Remove from the heat.

To serve, divide the pasta and sauce between four plates. Finish with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.


Amy Rosen's compendium of dishes from Hogtown restaurants celebrates the city's arrival as a foodie mecca. This crab fritters recipe is by Ashley Jacot De Boinod, whose Glory Hole Doughnuts is better known for a sweeter sort of deep-fried dough.

Excerpted from Toronto Cooks: 100 Signature Recipes from the City's Best Restaurants by Amy Rosen (Figure 1 Publishing). $34.95 at bookstores.

Crab fritters

½ cup cake flour ½ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup coconut milk 1 egg 1½ tsp grainy mustard 1 green onion, chopped 1 small fresh red chili, minced ¼ tsp minced fresh ginger root 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves ½ lb crab meat, chopped 1 tbsp fresh lime juice 1½ tsp freshly grated lime zest Vegetable oil for frying In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.

Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together coconut milk, egg and mustard.

Set aside.

In a third bowl, combine green onion, chili, ginger, cilantro and crab meat. Add to prepared coconut-milk mixture. Add lime juice and zest and stir to combine. Fold in flour mixture. Set aside for 15 minutes.

In a large pot, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil until temperature reaches 350 F on an instant-read thermometer.

Using two spoons, form batter into oval-shaped fritters. Drop carefully into preheated oil. Deep-fry until golden brown.

Serve immediately with extra lime wedges.

Makes 8 to 10 fritters.


From pickling parodies on Portlandia to pictures of Kombucha blobs popping up all over Instagram, there's no denying the growing interest in fermented bites. This read offers tips for making your own kimchee, yogurt and the bubbly condiment below.

Excerpted from Cultured Foods for Your Kitchen: 100 Recipes Featuring the Bold Flavours of Fermentation by Leda Scheintaub, Rizzoli New York, 2014. Photographs by William Brinson. $29.95 at bookstores.

Live and Kickin' Hot Sauce

1½ lb your choice of chilies, stemmed but retaining green tops, seeded if you like a milder hot sauce 1½ tbsp unrefined cane sugar (optional) 1 tsp fine sea salt 2 tbsp pickle juice or sauerkraut brine

In a food processor, combine the chilies, sugar (if using), salt and pickle juice and process until completely broken down, scraping the sides of the machine once or twice as needed. Transfer to a 1-litre glass jar, leaving at least 1 inch of space remaining at the top. Cover tightly with a lid, place the jar on a rimmed plate (to catch any potential leakage or bubbling over when you open the lid), cover with a clean dish towel and set aside in a cool place away from sunlight to ferment for 3 to 7 days, depending on the season and kitchen temperature, until bubbly and fermented to your liking.

As the sauce is fermenting, open the jar every day, holding the jar over the sink as you do so to release pent-up gases. When the hot sauce is ready, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract all the juices. Funnel the sauce into a bottle, cover and place in the refrigerator, where it will keep for about a year.

Young gang members: Their numbers are increasing, but why?
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

CALGARY -- He has walked alone through some of the most unsafe neighbourhoods in Calgary in hopes he'd be stopped by gang bangers wanting to know what he was doing on their turf.

That's when the unassuming Hieu Ngo would go to work. He would tell them his story, how he went from being a Vietnamese refugee tempted by street life to a University of Calgary associate professor whose research on gangs has produced a pivotal study entitled The Unravelling of Identities and Belonging: Criminal Gang Involvement of Youth from Immigrant Families.

It's a unique report driven by Prof. Ngo's life experiences. He interviewed more than 30 gangsters or former gangsters, some born abroad, others first-generation Canadians. Prof. Ngo chose this demographic as his subject because their numbers are increasing and because not enough research has been done on what pulls these youth into gangs.

"It's about the unravelling of who they are," Prof. Ngo said. "In extreme cases, young people I talked to had people chasing them with a baseball bat. And for a 12-year-old who just came from a refugee camp, had traumatic experiences in Burundi where people were being killed, then comes to Canada thinking we have a safe place and he gets chased by other teenagers because he's a black kid? That takes away their sense of identity and a chance to be a Canadian."

The youth in that story ended up joining a gang for safety. Prof. Ngo's approach is based on preventative action. He wants immigrant youth to stay clear of gangs and to choose other options. He arrived in Calgary at the age of 18 after being sponsored by a local church. He attended high school, learned to skate and cleaned downtown office buildings to make money. It not only helped him assimilate to Canadian culture, it kept him off the streets where his vulnerability and stature - he's five-foot-six, 125 pounds - would have attracted gang recruiters.

With that in mind, Prof. Ngo's study of immigrant youth outlined "the pathways towards criminal gang involvement" and what could be done to "support high-risk and gang-involved youth." Thirty-two representatives from social service, education, health, justice and Citizen Immigration Canada took part in the process. The federal government was impressed enough by the information to ask Prof. Ngo to expand his research so it can be used in other cities. The request came with a $5.3-imillion grant to cover a five-year investigation.

Alberta, with its diverse population and booming economy, has had its share of gang violence. Statistics from the Canadian Centre for Justice show that in 1999, Quebec had the most gang-related homicides in the country with 30; Alberta had four. In 2000, Quebec again topped the list with 38 deaths, while Alberta had five. But by 2008, Alberta was No. 1 with 35 deaths. (That number has since come down.)

Calgary was the battleground for the intense and bloody feud between FOB (originally known as Fresh Off the Boat, now stands for Forever Our Brothers) and FK (FOB Killers). The two sides, which both had Asian and Caucasian members, were part of the same gang until 2002 when the FK faction broke off and began fighting for control of the drug scene.

Police have estimated that in the past 12 years at least 25 people have been killed in gang skirmishes. To understand what they were up against, law officials decided not to prosecute FOB member Hans Eastgaard for three murders and two attempted murders in exchange for information on how gangs operated and who was leading them. Armed with that knowledge, police arrested FOB boss Nick Chan and stepped up their anti-gang measures.

"You're trying to put best practices in place," said Calgary Constable Sean Lynn, who pointed to the various programs police have established, from the Guns and Gangs unit to callin emergency phone lines to GRIP - Gang-Related Intervention and Prevention.

"Some of those kids are struggling with poverty," Constable Lynn added. "They come from families with a single parent or both [parents] are hard-working. So these young men are scooped up by their peers. There will never be a complete stop to it. But if we lessen the effects then we're doing something."

Some critics say whatever police are doing isn't enough. The national crime rate continues to fall; Statistics Canada reported in July that the Crime Severity Index dropped by 9 per cent in 2013, making it the tenth year in a row that crime numbers have decreased. (The index combines the number of crimes and their severity as a rating tool.) Gangrelated violence, however, is still on the rise.

"The serious gang problem exists because of the drug laws," said Ehor Boyanowsky, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University. He believes the decriminalization of marijuana would take a bite out of the gangs' primary business, drug trafficking.

"The smart kids have taken advantage of the opportunity. Most of them have turned to the drug trade," Prof. Boyanowsky said. "They know there are risks, but the rewards for the undereducated, underprivileged and just plain lazy are too tempting. ... Gang members call it The Life - it's cars, guns and girls."

Prof. Ngo's interviews with current and former gang members revealed some wretched upbringings. One told how his older sister was attacked by their dad, who stuck a live wire into his daughter's eye to electrocute her. The father followed that by beating his wife, breaking her nose and cheekbone. The five-year-old future gangster, who had watched his dad's carnage, responded the next day by killing a kitten.

Then there was the story of a teenager who was not in a gang at that time, but was a high-risk to join one. Prof. Ngo tried to teach him the value of hard work. One day it sunk in and he phoned Prof. Ngo to say how much he appreciated all his work. Weeks later in Vancouver, the 17-year-old was shot and killed while sitting in a parked car.

"He had said to me, 'The program is over and I don't want it to be over.' And I said, 'It doesn't have to be over officially,' " Prof. Ngo recalled. "I still think about him."

The Ngo study lists a series of recommendations on how best to prevent kids from joining a gang. It's a multipronged pitch that includes families, schools and communities and asks each to provide positive social programs, opportunities and role models for support. There are similar guidelines for those who leave gangs and return to normal life. Exiting can put a former gang member and his family in harm's way.

Criminology professor Boyanowsky has studied gangs and their tactics and isn't sure the Ngo report will be effective.

"The leaders don't want to get out; the majority don't want to leave," Prof. Boyanowsky said. "Where else can they make $200 an hour?"

Undaunted, Prof. Ngo is preparing for his expanded look at immigrant youth across the country. He understands he can't save them all, but one, two or however many would be enough to keep him going back to those rough-edged neighbourhoods to tell his story, to offer hope.

Associated Graphic

University of Calgary associate professor Hieu Ngo is collecting data on street gangs and how immigrant youth end up joining them. He suggests preventative action to stop kids from getting involved.


A nascent industry aimed at seducing you with aromas is wafting through luxury hotel lobbies, high-end condos and even big-box stores. Matthew Hague looks at the science behind creating the perfect custom scent
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, September 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

The lobby of Toronto's Trump Hotel has all of the elements of a ritzy, five-star lodging. The check-in desk is wrapped in Macassar ebony. The floor is inlaid with onyx and the drapes are velvet.

The most luxurious design detail, however, isn't visible or even that discernible. Subtle wafts of champagne and caviar drift through the foyer, giving the place an air of exclusivity, and providing an olfactory signal to the c-suite clientele that they've arrived - literally and figuratively.

Tracy Pepe, the founder of Nose Knows Design - a Brampton, Ont.-based olfactive-branding studio - custom-crafted the aroma. She's one of a handful of North American scent designers who works with architects and interior designers to ensure that the smell of a space is as pleasing as the decor. Because our sense of smell has a strong impact on both our physical and psychological perceptions, her work has a powerful effect on our experience of the environment - improving not only the aroma, but also enhancing the colours, sounds and the overall emotional response.

That impact is likely why the luxury is appearing more and more. According to a recent New York Times article, the Delos, a high-end Manhattan condo, perfumes the apartments of its residents, including Deepak Chopra and Leonardo DiCaprio, with custom fragrances. And many fashion designers scent their runway shows to enhance the look of the clothes (Dawn and Samantha Goldworm, who run New York scent studio 12.29, have developed olfactory signatures for Zac Posen, Rodarte and Jason Wu).

When done well, the work of someone such as Pepe aims to make people linger longer, return more often and spend more money. She is currently working on a pilot project with Wal-Mart, with initial findings showing a 33-per-cent bump in sales in targeted scented space.

According to Dr. Sarah J. S. Wilner, an assistant professor of marketing at Wilfrid Laurier University, a consumer's reaction to smell - in the WalMart case, a smoky aroma near barbecue products - might trigger some specific cultural need.

"There's a famous British anthropologist named Daniel Miller who wrote an essay in 1998 titled Making Love in Supermarkets," Wilner explains, "which, very basically, was about how grocery shopping can be, fundamentally, an act of expression of care and attention. So in the Wal-Mart instance, the smell might remind a wife of how much her husband likes to have friends over for a barbecue."

Part of the success of this approach, though, is a certain seamlessness. Unlike stores, such as Lush or Abercrombie & Fitch, where the scent branding is notoriously overt, Pepe's touch is so deft as to almost be untraceable - blending carefully into the room, as opposed to singularly defining it.

"Scent is very similar to great lighting," Pepe says. "Great lighting - as opposed to just a light bulb - can change the mood. It can warm you up. It can invite your guests. Smell is the same thing." Harsh or garish lighting, on the other hand, can be repellent.

But whereas lighting is a commonly accepted requirement for a good space, scent design is much less ubiquitous. Until now. According to Pepe, the olfactive-branding industry (which she currently estimates to be worth $500-million a year, a tiny fraction of the multibillion-dollar perfume business) is set to boom over the next two years.

That's "because we're at a tipping point," she says. "We, as a society, are kind of dead, visually. We're on our phones, we are constantly looking at screens. So there's this hole. And what scent does is that it propels you back in time so you remember what it felt like. If you're walking in a mall, for example, and you smell crayons, you're going right to that emotional connection of peeling the paper off. And all of a sudden there's a human aspect to it."

Crafting the perfect, spacemaking scent, though, is a lot more difficult than simply picking out the right incense sticks or candles.

Each customer gets a fully custom, singular fragrance, tailormade for them (and not for sale to anyone else).

For a client such as Trump, the R&D might cost between $10,000 and $50,000, with the fragrance being several hundred dollars a pound beyond that (the Trump lobby would use about six pounds a year).

The reason for the high price is the intensive process. For the Trump lobby project, Pepe started by touring the space with the interior-design team, Torontobased II by IV, to get a sense of the aesthetic vision.

Pepe often uses scent profiles that have strong colour associations to enhance particular hues in a space. An undertone of strawberries in her Trump aroma, for example, helps the eye pick up the pinkish tones in a giant Swarovski crystal wall installation behind the concierge desk.

Then Pepe spends time with the hotel's management, getting a detailed breakdown of the branding vision as well as the targeted demographics. Pepe would, for example, create a vastly different scent profile for a kid-centric space than for a place geared toward travelling business executives. (Kids, she has learned through decades of experience, like sweeter, simpler smells such as chocolate and Fun Dip; adults prefer things like leather and whisky.)

Then, she studies the HVAC system, as the duct work is the primary method of infusing the aroma, using a cold-air diffusion system that, unlike burning incense, distributes the smell without compromising its integrity with heat.

The distribution system is something Pepe will keep a close eye on well after the actual scent is perfected, as she often has to make adjustments based on things beyond her control - a giant Christmas tree in the lobby, for example, or humid, smoggy summer air wafting through the entrance.

She even works closely with sound consultants, such as Jake Yakobi, of PC Music, to make sure the two senses compliment each other. "Inherently, both music and scent trigger strong feelings and can leave a lasting impression," says Yakobi, who did the soundtrack for the Trump, as well as Lululemon and the Four Seasons.

Finally, in a darkened, sparely decorated room (so as not to distract her senses), Pepe starts playing with both natural and synthetic oils, putting together what is called an accord: a complex bouquet of aromas that triggers different memories and ideas.

For Trump, her brief was to create something with luxurious notes of champagne and caviar. Smelling the concentrated version, as this reporter did, from the tip of a white dipstick, is akin to looking at an intricate work of art. The scent has movement. Effervescent pink tones flash across the eyes and bubbles tickle the nose. There's even a slightly beachy smell.

"You'll smell a marine back note, which is the caviar," explains Pepe.

"It is a seaweed extract that is natural and comes from France," she says. "But if I used the seaweed on its own, you'd throw up. It's awful. That's where the inspiration has to be interpreted by my craft. Because if I actually showed a lot of my customers what they really say they wanted, they wouldn't want it." And Pepe is an expert at sniffing out what people want.

Associated Graphic


Tracy Pepe says scent is similar to lighting in how it affects the human psyche.


Best of all possible worlds
Ben Lerner's absorbing, stylistically complex novel explores the tensions between reality and fiction
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R17

10:04 By Ben Lerner McClelland & Stewart, 256 pages, $29.95

In 10:04, Ben Lerner's beautiful new novel, it is always "unseasonably warm." The world "rearranges itself" - around the narrator, when a mentor falls ill; around a woman who learns her father is not her biological parent.

The planet rearranges itself more literally, too, growing hotter and menacing New York with apocalyptic storms. Everything is "unusual" - Whole Foods shoppers are "unusually polite" as an "unusually large cyclonic system" approaches the city - and reality is constantly "flickering." The book's epigraph tells of a Hasidic story in which "the world to come" is almost identical to our own, but not quite. That refrain returns again and again. "Everything will be as it is now," the leitmotif goes, "just a little different."

Lerner's first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, also employed such refrains; the most crucial was "a profound experience of art," or, more precisely, the narrator's inability to have one. Published by a small press in 2011, Leaving the Atocha Station was a surprise critical smash, and much was said about its apparently autobiographical nature. The narrator was, like Lerner, an American poet from Topeka on a prestigious fellowship in Spain.

Much of the same will be said about 10:04. The unnamed narrator is a poet whose previous novel was unexpectedly successful; he shares the anxieties and selfloathing of said previous novel's narrator; and so on. Crucially, however, 10:04 pre-empts questions about what is and isn't autobiographical, or "real," by making those questions the object of its study. This is a stupid way to put it, but the book is about, well, reality. Or, rather, it is about perception: about "the tension between the metaphysical and physical worlds," and "the realistic fiction the world appears to be."

The book more or less has a plot: a writer agrees to father his best friend's child, panics about a possibly life-threatening condition, lives through Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, and struggles to write his sophomore novel. If this is a more traditional book than Leaving the Atocha Station, though, we are made to believe that it is deliberately so - not because the narrator wants to write something more traditional, but because his metafictional project demands it. "Well, your first book was unconventional but really well received," his agent tells him during an opulent lunch to celebrate the "strong six-figure" advance he's received for his new novel. "What they're buying when they buy the proposal is in part the idea that your next book is going to be a little more... mainstream."

Lerner both has and has not delivered on that expectation. Certainly, the prose is less lyrical, the one-liners more pointed (a pair of authors are "so distinguished I'd often thought of them as dead"; a real-life kiss is "the sexiest kiss in the history of independent film").

It's a powerful, compelling book, with a straightforward emotional heft that, in Lerner's previous novel, was more lightly sketched. But 10:04 is, structurally and formally, much weirder than Leaving the Atocha Station.

For example, The Golden Vanity, a short story Lerner published in The New Yorker, is republished here wholesale, not as a chapter but as the New Yorker story itself, with that magazine's distinctive drop caps. A version of a self-published book about dinosaurs, which, according to the acknowledgements, Lerner wrote with a child named Elias Garcia (who in 10:04 becomes "Roberto"), is also reprinted here, as are bits and pieces of poems and essays that Lerner has published elsewhere.

Other people's stories figure prominently, such as the aforementioned woman's revelation about her paternity, or a man discovering that his girlfriend faked her cancer; there are photos of Mars and stills from Back to the Future. This gives the book the feel of a palimpsest, a conscious move; at one point, the narrator, delivering a lecture, celebrates the beauty of a Ronald Reagan speech, written by someone else, that included unattributed quotations from a poem that was itself plagiarized: "a kind of palimpsestic plagiarism that moves through bodies and time, a collective song with no single origin, or whose origin has been erased - the way a star, from our earthly perspective, is often survived by its own light."

Although 10:04 is undoubtedly "metafictional," it is not necessarily (or only) about "fiction" in the literary sense. Its metafiction is a vessel for explicitly discussing other realities, other ways in which human experience could manifest itself. While this is arguably true of all fiction, in 10:04 it takes on a specialized meaning. This metafiction doesn't just invite us to inhabit another person, or consider life in an alternative universe; instead, it presents us, at every turn, with new forks in the road, forcing us to consider what it means to take one path rather than another. In pondering these unrealized futures, we are invited to imagine a world in the brontosaurus was real, rather than a palimpsest of other dinosaur bones; or in which pigeons are members of the order Passeriformes rather than Columbiformes; or in which art becomes garbage. To the extent that 10:04 is "about" anything, it is about the tensions between, and possibilities of, these different worlds and different futures.

The book's weakest chapter is also, not surprisingly, its most solipsistic; the narrator travels to a residency in Marfa, Texas, where he retreats into himself and works on anything other than his novel, which was originally supposed to be about a writer who fabricates correspondence with other, more famous writers. But then things take a poignant turn, and, following a traumatic, ketamine-fueled house party, he comes to a realization: "I decided to replace the book I'd proposed with the book you're reading now, a work that, like a poem, is neither fiction nor nonfiction, but a flickering between them; I resolved to dilate my story not into a novel about literary fraudulence, about fabricating the past, but into an actual present alive with multiple futures."

This idea - "multiple futures" - lies at the heart of the book's surprising optimism. An oft-repeated criticism of Leaving the Atocha Station was that, for all its melancholy, its ending felt pat, particularly the very last line: "Then I planned to live forever in a skylit room surrounded by my friends." 10:04, on the other hand, makes its intentions known early; as the narrator announces on the second page, "I'll work my way from irony to sincerity in the sinking city, a would-be Whitman of the vulnerable grid."

His decision to father a child amid the looming horror of climate change is especially telling. At one point, he imagines his future offspring asking him, "Why reproduce if you believe the world is ending?" He answers with something vague about "the possibilities of experience." But a more significant, if indirect, reply comes later, when he contemplates the New York skyline. He sees it as "the expression, the material signature, of a collective person who didn't yet exist, a still-uninhabited second person plural to whom all the arts, even in their most intimate registers, were nevertheless addressed."

Drew Nelles is a senior editor at The Walrus.

Associated Graphic

Casting into the future, Lerner's novel is surprisingly optimistic.


The Drake Devonshire - a hip country outpost
Urban hotel brand looks for more properties after putting down roots for its first inn along Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B6

Hotelier Jeff Stober is in expansion mode.

The former dot-com denizen, who opened The Drake Hotel in 2004, turning a down-at-the-heels stretch of Toronto's Queen Street West into a centre of local arts and nightlife, is in the process of opening up new hotels. His first major expansion, The Drake Devonshire, is a 2 1/2 hour drive away in Prince Edward County. Mr. Stober says he's looking for other properties, likely in the Toronto region, keeping it in relatively easy access for a team of designers.

The Drake has for years, though, seemed on the cusp of expansion, with its Drake General Store outlets (selling unique home and gift items) and the Drake One Fifty (the hotel's offshoot restaurant in Toronto's financial district). More Drake hotels from the Drake Devonshire and beyond seems an obvious next move.

The new country inn, originally an 1880s foundry and then a bed and breakfast in the village of Wellington on the shores of Lake Ontario, was bought by The Drake for $1.3-million. Three-quarters of the building had to be rebuilt for an undisclosed amount.

The old hotel "was kind of falling down and rotten underneath and had its day. And we, being very smart about it, found ways to really give it a whole new life," said chief architect John Tong of the designer firm +tongtong who was also the lead designer of the original Drake.

The inn is designated a heritage building by the county, so the refurbishment needed to preserve much of the original structure, but fix major flaws in the changes that had been made to the building over the years. ERA Architects, specialists in renovation, were also part of the project.

The shore near the inn had to be cleaned up. An extension of the dining room had to be cantilevered over the flood plain of an adjacent creek.

Behind the opening of the Devonshire this week, though, is the question of just how Mr. Stober expects the expansion of his "experiential" brand to work. It's about tapping into something far more ephemeral than simply renovating a B and B. It's about the Canadiana-meets-art-world decor and cultural programming that Mr. Stober cultivated for The Drake and which he hopes to expand to other sites.

With a grin, Mr. Stober immediately jumps on the question of whether it will work.

Sitting in a booth in the Drake One Fifty restaurant, his eyes light up behind his glasses, his back stiffening inside his hipster-fashionable jacket.

"The notion of an urban, lifestyle, hospitality company going into a countryside or rural environment, I think, would initially surprise many," he said.

Mr. Stober grew up in Montreal and spent summers in the Laurentiens and Eastern Townships, making the similarities of Prince Edward County feel like home.

Yet he likens the potential of the area to the revitalized inns in the Hamptons on New York's Long Island or Palm Springs for L.A. weekenders.

"It really speaks to a language that we at The Drake relate to," Mr. Stober said. It's a kind of style that blends hip with nostalgia, the contemporary with the comfortable. The dining room, which looks over the lakefront, with its high wooden ceiling and seemingly bistro-like feel, is among the numerous modernist touches of the new inn. A hodgepodge of the old and new was deliberate, much like the original Drake in Toronto.

Much of the modernist renovation touches were the result of respecting the structural and, in the case of the cantilevered dining room, environmental concerns of the site, said Philip Evans of ERA Architects.

The decor and the Drake's style of mixing and juxtaposing have become so codified that the hotel is creating a kind of style guide of eclectic influences with in-house designers and curators, and outside collaborators. And it's also a look available for purchase in gift items at the Drake General Store outlets in Toronto and its ministores in The Bay in Toronto and Ottawa.

The point is to turn a hotel from a basic property to a lifestyle choice. The Drake Devonshire will draw heavily from local farm and wineries, as well as from the regional arts and music scene, much as The Drake has connected to Toronto arts.

"It's about creating an overall experience. So we speak to the experiential brand," he said.

"We're curating way more than our art. We're curating our interior spaces. We're curating our menus. We're curating our mixology. We're curating our playlists."

It also means looking at older buildings in which to expand. (He continues to give no comment on speculation of whether The Drake may add its name to any revitalization of the Broadview Hotel in Toronto's eastside.) But with the Devonshire, consisting of 11 rooms and two suites, he wants customers to feel unsure if they're in 2014 or, say, 1968. High art and design matched with nostalgia.

"We wanted to reinterpret the classic Canadian road trip. And when I thought about Toronto - within a two- or three-hour driving distance - there are so many historic inns and fabulous places.

But there was nothing that really offered the collection of choices that we do," Mr. Stober said.

"As we evolve and establish our roots in the county, we're going to get to know all the local artists.

We're going to get to learn more and more of the local offering," he said, adding that simply locating in the region and creating a contrived version of local arts and cuisine wouldn't work.

"I think people would sniff it out very quickly," Mr. Stober said.

The county and larger Bay of Quinte region continue to go through a major shift. Tourism, wineries, craft cheese makers and similar artisan businesses catering in part to tourists have taken over from manufacturing. To fit in, The Drake has played host to rounds of open houses for its neighbours to become more than just an outpost of Toronto.

Ryan Williams, president of Bay of Quinte Tourism, an initiative of companies and municipalities in the region, said, "We've had similar smaller boutique hotels in the country ... but The Drake is a whole other calibre. We hope it is a catalyst for a lot more change not just for Prince Edward County, but for the region of the Bay of Quinte."

He noted this after having just attended an opening event at the hotel.

For Mr. Stober, opening the new inn is little different than locating the original Drake on Queen West and having to introduce the concept to somewhat wary neighbours. It all ties back to the multigenerational crowd he would like to attract, from weekend art lovers to hip families on a driving trip, all based around the concept of the Drake brand, Mr. Stober added.

"It takes a small army of visionaries to put a project like this together, if you want to do it right," he said.

Associated Graphic

The Drake's country inn project preserved a historic building, then married it to a modern addition. Below, the new upper deck. A new dining room, kitchen, outside dining pavilion and special events room were also added. More photos at


Why does she stay? Wrong question
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F3

Beyond its sharp violence, the most striking thing about the elevator video of Ray Rice decking his wife, Janay, was how fast it happened. The speed and closeness of the action made the violence feel private, almost intimate, a secret no one was supposed to see.

Private is the last thing the punch is now. The addictive video spawned a furious aftermath: the shamefully late decision of the National Football League to suspend Ray Rice indefinitely (having handed him a mere two-game suspension when he committed the act last February) and of the Baltimore Ravens to end Mr. Rice's $35-million contract with his beloved team; the surging anger (mostly of women) not just at him but at his wife, for not having left her husband; the subsequent moderation of those views, thanks to the Twitter hashtag #WhyIStayed, itself started by a survivor of domestic abuse. Whereupon Janay released her own statement, via Instagram, accusing TMZ and her online scolds of re-victimizing her, and re-declaring her love for her husband, as victims of domestic violence often do. The elevator video was our latest chance to stare into the dark hole of domestic violence.

The next morning, on my way to work, I stopped by the women's shelter a few blocks from my home. I live in an upscale neighbourhood where houses now start just under a million dollars. The shelter looks like any other place, and most locals don't know it's there. There'd been a bit of a stir the night before. A former resident had come by "to get her stuff," a counsellor told me at the front door, "but she arrived with her abuser, so now she can't ever come to this shelter again. As she needed to again this morning, when she called."

"He got mad at her again last night, after they got home?"


I asked if I could talk to someone in the shelter about what had happened to Janay Rice. The superviser said no. I understood. Besides, there was another shelter around the corner. Why wouldn't there be? Half the women in this country have experienced some form of sexual or domestic violence. On any given day, more than 3,300 sleep in shelters to escape it.

Their stories are starkly similar, I later discovered. Theresa Daniels was 20 and on vacation in Prince Edward Island when she met her husband, a teacher and "a dream come true." You hear that a lot. He was 40, but "he would hold the chair out and push it in." They'd been married a year when the telltale control-freak signs began to appear (they always do, in abusers): He was stingy with financial information (check), didn't like her talking to other people (check), insisted on doing all the grocery shopping himself. (It kept her inside.)

At first, like most abused women, she thought she could change him. "I thought that, if I loved him enough, and he loved me, we could work it out." She's darkhaired, pretty. Then came the name calling and the mocking, the complaints about her cooking and her housework. Eventually - right on schedule - "he had gobbed in my face and punched me." Depression, self-doubt and hopelessness followed (hers, check, check, check). He drank a lot and took pills, sometimes at once. The kids saw it all. He was a hunter and had a gun. She took to shelters, and at first when she came home, he was full of loving remorse. Then it happened again. She often called the police, and they often expected her to work it out with her husband.

She related these intimate details of her long sadness to me, a stranger, over the phone. Made public, they seemed to have no power. "Psychologically, he's been calling you names so much, you begin to wonder, maybe he's right. Maybe I deserve this." It took her six years and two tries to leave him - not bad, the average is seven. Twelve years later, she still feels frightened whenever she sees a white truck, still lives in a one-bedroom condo in Scarborough with four children, $50,000 short in child support. Still has the same nightmares, every night.

As horrendous as the stories are, they don't stop men from abusing women. They pose the wrong questions. "In the past 24 hours," an abuse councellor named Noa Ashkenazi told me after #WhyIStayed started trending on Twitter, "I have been asked 100 times, 'Why do women stay? None of you ask, 'Why do men hit? Why do men abuse the women they love?' "

Until very recently, that was the most private question of all - the unspeakable mystery of the source of the demons that drive an abuser to abuse. Was it being raised without a father? Did he witness abuse as a child? Is the abuser pleading, however ineffectively, to be heard or forgiven?

These days men are trying to answer the question by refusing to call it a mystery. Eleven years ago, the self-described anti-sexist educator Jackson Katz co-founded the Mentors in Violence Prevention program at Northeastern University in Boston. Using what he calls "the bystander approach" in a series of role-playing situations, Dr. Katz, now 54, has been training the U.S. military, college students and athletes to confront sexism in non-violent ways - thereby taking on cultural norms of male dominance and physicality that have been millennia in the making. It's a long-term project: After falling for a decade, rates of domestic violence have now flatlined.

"It's an ideological problem," he insists. "It's an attitude about entitlement, about power, about who has the right to control the system. The key is to empower men who are not abusive to challenge men who are. To change the social acceptability of sexist behavior." The revenge of the nerds is now official.

Janay Rice was never to blame. "Does anyone think that, if Ray Rice was married to another woman, this wouldn't happen?" Dr. Katz believes violence was a choice Mr. Rice made (however instinctual it looked in the video). "Men who are abusive of women are not abusive in other circumstances. He's not abusive of his boss or his coach, even though the coach is screaming at them. Because he knows that's not a situation where he's automatically in control."

If Ray Rice is a survivor, he'll bow his head and own that video, using it to transform himself from being the poster boy for abusive behaviour to being the poster boy for the movement of men who want to understand their own behaviour, even retrospectively. (He's certainly not playing football any time soon.)

"It still gets back to it being a choice about your emotions, and not a big mysterious thing," Dr. Katz insists. "It's not something beyond our understanding." It's not love. It's reason.

Ian Brown is a senior feature writer with The Globe and Mail.

Associated Graphic

Ray Rice in action as a Ravens running back, the $35-million job that he lost this week.


Janay Rice with husband Ray: 'It's an attitude about entitlement, about power,' one expert says.


Canned food isn't limited to flaked white tuna and Spam. As chris johns discovers on a culinary tour of northern Spain, some of that country's best gourmet offerings are handsomely prepackaged, deeply flavourful and catching the attention of Canada's top culinary talents. Time to indulge in some preserved cockles
Friday, September 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P59

On the edge of the Bay of Biscay, deep in the heart of Spain's Basque country, two Canadian chefs, a Spanish gourmet-food importer and I are sporting borrowed rubber boots, lab coats and hairnets to scrape tuna loins for preservation. We're not doing the best job.

"You must clean them very carefully," scolds the woman from the production line who is instructing us, her own knife moving with swift precision. "Each jar must contain exactly 150 grams," she explains through a translator.

Our small group, including Bar Isabel's Grant van Gameren (often cited as one of Canada's leading interpreters of Spanish cooking), Maison Publique's Derek Dammann (acclaimed for his charcuterie expertise) and Serrano Imports CEO Michael Tkaczuk, is eating and working its way across Spain in search of the country's best preserved foods.

Tkaczuk already imports some of Spain's finest cured meats - including the specialty hams known as Jamon Iberico - as well as stone-milled barrelaged paprika and the famous piquillo peppers from Navarra that chefs adore. Now he wants to expand his product line to include conservas, the canned and preserved seafoods that Spain is renowned for.

That's how we find ourselves getting an immersive lesson in tuna preparation at the Serrats factory. The nearly 125-year-old, family-owned operation is widely considered one of the best producers in the world. Tuna are line caught at the height of the season and cooked with strict timing, then hand-packed and stored in olive oil for months, marinating and mellowing into something very different - but every bit as special - as the freshest product.

As good as conservas can be, however, convincing Canadians that a jar of tuna or a tin of anchovies is worth $15 - and much more for other products - is going to be tricky. Over dinner one night at Quimet y Quimet in Barcelona - the meal included tins of whole scallops, small sandwiches topped with boquerones (marinated white anchovies) and tapas of smoked salmon draped over Greek yogurt with truffle honey - we mulled over the challenge.

"People's perception of what preserved fish and seafood is brings back pretty diabolical childhood memories," Dammann says.

"North Americans look at canned seafood only as a form of preservation, which usually meant the lowest quality," Tkaczuk adds. By comparison, Europeans and especially Spaniards have been developing preserves for 150, 200 years. They're so past the point of preserving just for storage that they're a delicacy in their own right."

The Spanish ability to preserve food at the highest culinary level is probably most recognized in North America in the form of ham. Anyone who's ever enjoyed a slice of 18-month-aged Serrano from a producer like Fuente or had someone carve a ribbon of Iberico de bellota - the ne plus ultra of Spanish charcuterie - directly from a leg knows why these products cost as much as $100 a pound.

The central place ham occupies in Spanish life was brought home one night while walking down a quiet street in Bilbao. Van Gameren stops dead in his tracks. "Check this out," he says, pulling out his phone to snap a photo.

"It's a ham vending machine!" Sure enough, the little wood-fronted machine contained nothing but vacuum-sealed packs of ready-to-eat-slices of Serrano ham. We drop in a few euros and tuck into the salty, savoury slices. "This is incredible," van Gameren announces. "I need to get one of these for the new restaurant."

It is not the only inspiration van Gameren will find on this trip for the restaurant he plans to open in Toronto later this year. At Campos De Cambados, in the extreme northwest of the country close to the Portuguese border, we are invited into the company's tasting room. Over glasses of sharp, crisp albarino, our host, manager Jesus Alfonso, gently peels back the lid from an oval tin of cockles.

He has reason to be careful. Berberechos, as they are known locally, represent one of the most prized delicacies in Spanish conservas and one tin is worth the equivalent of $30 Canadian.

Inside, the fleshy, golden-tipped bivalves are carefully arranged and tightly packed, resting in a briny liquid.

"I can't believe how perfectly intact these things are," van Gameren says. "Have you ever tried getting a cockle out of its shell undamaged like that? I can barely do it myself. It's a real sign of the attention to detail these guys are putting into these products."

Firm, plump and tasting brightly of the ocean, the delicious berberechos are about as far removed from what we Canadians typically associate with tinned seafood as Spam is from Serrano. Alfonso tells us that he actually prefers tinned cockles to fresh.

"With fresh berberechos, the sauce provides the flavour," he says. "But this way you can really appreciate the flavour of the cockle itself." It's an excellent point. On their own, cockles have about as much character as a rubber eraser, but in the can they are nuanced and complex.

Recognizing how much our group likes the berberechos, Alfonso sends someone to retrieve several more of the company's products, each tin wrapped in their signature fishing-net packaging. We devour small squid preserved in olive oil and skewer thick razor clams on plain toothpicks.

"The texture is amazing," Dammann says between bites. "They're cooked under pressure and all the way through, so everything's concentrated in there. You get the pure essence of the shellfish with the liquor." A few chunks of bread, another glass of wine and several tins later, the tasting easily becomes a meal.

That evening, over dark glasses of oloroso sherry at a cafe overlooking the Ria de Arosa, Tkaczuk asks the chefs how they might serve some of the conservas we tasted for an audience back home.

"I think it's best to keep it simple," Dammann says. "If you want to dress it up, just serve it with some chilies and parsley and some good olive oil, maybe a squeeze of lemon. Otherwise, some nice crusty bread, a few toothpicks and a big plate are all you'll need."

"That's how we're going to treat them at the new place," van Gameren concurs. "We're going to kind of have the option of opening the cans for the table or have a mixed plate with a bit of each can with some pickled beets or something like that. A lot of that stuff is going to be an integral part of the new restaurant. I've just got to work on getting one of those damn vending machines now."

Interested in making your own conservas?

Try Maison Publique chef Derek Dammann's recipe for mejillones en escabeche by downloading the free Globe Advisor iPad app at

Associated Graphic

Photography by JOSEPH SARACENO

YES THEY CAN In Spain, popular tinned seafood options include (from top) scallops, sardines, octopus and mussels packed in sauces and olive oil.

WELL PRESERVED La Tienda provided the smartly packaged foodstuffs for this spread. The Williamsburg, Va.-based grocer stocks Spanish fare from chorizo to paella kits and can ship many non-perishable products to Canadian addresses. For more information, visit

The Negotiator William Shatner's alter ego comes to Canada
Among his many recognizable roles, the Canadian actor's longstanding gig as the face of Priceline has become one of marketing's most iconic endorsement deals. Shatner talks to Susan Krashinsky about the art of advertising
Friday, September 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B5

He has died. He has come back to life. He has been briefly fired and replaced by Leonard Nimoy. He owns a jetpack.

For an advertising character, William Shatner's spokesperson has had quite an extensive storyline. As one of the longest-running spokespeople in history, he has been at it since 1997, when 90 per cent of the discount travel website's advertising was on the radio (the other 10 per cent was in newspapers). And now Mr. Shatner is shepherding the brand's first marketing push into Canada.

The new advertising campaign launched this week features The Negotiator - the name given to the Priceline spokesperson in 2007. And it comes at a time of increased competition in the online travel and tourism industry.

As competitors such as Expedia and Travelocity are spending heavily on marketing, Connecticutbased The Priceline Group Inc. - which also owns online services such as OpenTable and Kayak - reported that its operating expenses rose 39 per cent last quarter, as it works to expand to global markets, including China and Canada.

The celebrity touch has seen the brand through transitions before. In 2004, when the online travel industry was expanding and Priceline's market share plummeted, the campaign co-starring Mr. Nimoy and Mr. Shatner helped bring it back into consumers' minds. Bookings rose significantly, and its net income grew 66 per cent compared with the previous year.

More recently, Priceline struggled with the declining popularity of its original "name-your-ownprice" system, given people's tendency to comparison-shop across a growing number of travel websites. It needed consumers to understand that it had shifted to transparent discounted prices, rather than asking customers to enter bids. So in January, 2012, the brand threw The Negotiator over a cliff in a fiery crash. He later emerged, unscathed.

As an actor and a celebrity, how do you weigh the decision to be a spokesperson, to lend your image to advertising? Other than money of course.

Some people plan at great length, they have advisers ... it's by intuition, for me. A friend of mine came to me and said, "There's this company and they want you to do a couple of radio commercials, and here's the money." So I did a couple of radio commercials.

That turned out to be, which was part of the dot-com bust. Everybody, including myself, thought that's the end of the Priceline thing. But the major difference between Priceline and most of the other dot-coms was that Priceline had a real service. So it was able to survive.

Priceline's chief marketing officer has said that he believes Michael Jordan repping Nike and Bill Cosby for Jell-O were the only other endorsers as iconic as you.

That's quite a compliment. People tend to disparage advertising, and selling out. But a great campaign contains the seeds of a great imagination, in order to capture the audience who is dulled by so much material coming at them. In order to have a great campaign, it requires great talent in that field. It has to be shot well, it has to be written well.

Advertising is all emotional. You get somebody to buy something through their emotions. I believe there's something very artistic about a great advertising campaign. It's something I'm very proud of.

How did The Negotiator take shape as a character?

There was a moment when we were talking about who this guy is, coming to this commercial thing from the actor's point of view. ... Somebody had a big motorcycle there. I got on the motorcycle, I was wasting time as we were getting ready to shoot. I drove around the block a few times, and then, the concept of being slightly crazy about getting a good deal came to me. And I went back to the agency people who were all gathered around the camera, and I said, "I think I've got it." This character we're talking about is slightly insane.

You weren't told that you were being killed off in January, 2012, until you had the script in hand. Did you know at that time that you'd be resurrected?

I remember being saddened. [Laughs] But having been in science fiction a lot, that doesn't mean anything. You dance around the fire, and you light a little sage, and you can come back. In the same way, when they killed Captain Kirk off, I had a plot already, how to bring him back. I published it as a book I called The Return.

In the commercial case, too, I had a plan. The bus crashes into a riverbed. So I said, "Look, the next commercial has got to be a shape that gets out of the water, and climbs these steep mountains, and arrives at a roadside. And you can't quite see who it is. On this deserted road, along comes a car that stops and somebody rushes out of the car. And then you reveal it's me, bloody and bruised and broken, saying, 'I can help you get a ticket, or rent a car,' or something." They didn't go for it, but they brought the character back.

You've woven quite a lot of self-mockery into your character, and a lot of things you've done - a selfeffacing humour. How much of that is part of this character?

Whether it's self-effacing, or self-mockery, I'm not quite sure. But certainly The Negotiator is a wonderful character. ... Latching on to the insanity, it's like tilting at windmills.

How many ads do you do for Priceline in a year? Has that increased with the demand for online content?

In the past, I've done three commercials a year, and that was it. This year I've signed a new contract, and they want to make a few more. ... They're going to spend a lot more money on advertising in the next couple of years. I'm not sure what the content will be, but they are going for digital content as well, on a more deliberate basis.

As a Canadian, you know how ubiquitous U.S. pop culture is here. Does the campaign even need an introduction to Canadian consumers?

Well, you could be right. It could very well be ... that most of Canada knows about it. On the other hand, there's something wonderful about the fact that this is a Canadian campaign. And it will make a difference.

You've done a behind-the-scenes video trash-talking the Travelocity gnome. Recently, there's been a lot of buzz around another travel pitch-man, the Trivago guy, who has become a bit infamous.

For his casualness. Yeah, yeah!

What are your thoughts on that, as someone involved in travel advertising?

I think that the image is valid. Here you have a casual guy, who says, [adopts ultra-casual tone] "Well, you can do this, and you can do that." But that's against the intense guy who'll say, "I'll get you the best deal, I promise I'll get it for you, or I'll go nuts!" Who would you rather be with?

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Tim Hortons Field, the city's new $145.7-million stadium, was three months late in opening. Union officials are blaming the original design, which failed to recognize a major engineering miscalculation, David Shoalts writes
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

Hamilton -- The real reason the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' $145.7-million stadium is three months late is because of a major engineering miscalculation, according to two union officials.

Tim Hortons Field, which replaced aging Ivor Wynne Stadium and will also play host to the soccer competition for the 2015 Pan American Games, was not designed to support a capacity 24,000 crowd, say Tony DiMaria, business manager of the Brick and Allied Craft Union Local 1 in Hamilton, and James Hannah, business manager of Ironworkers Hamilton Local 736.

The resulting work to fix the mistake plus poor construction scheduling by the builder, Ontario Sports Solutions (ONSS), meant increased labour, design and materials costs along with the delay. No one connected to the project would say how much this will cost, but officials with the City of Hamilton and Infrastructure Ontario, which oversees major construction projects for the province, say ONSS, not the taxpayers, must pay for it.

"All I can say is we're clean as far as the city is concerned," Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina said.

Officials with ONSS, a consortium led by Bouygues Building Canada, a French company, and Kenaidan Contracting Ltd. of Mississauga, have blamed the delay on a severe winter, a masonry subcontractor going into receivership and, at one point, the length of time it takes to get building permits from the city.

"Somebody screwed up, but are they going to admit it? No," DiMaria said, referring to the fact deciding the responsibility for any cost overruns will likely end up in court.

DiMaria and Hannah said the design mistake was discovered shortly after the ironworkers started work on the stadium last October. As a result, the structural steel, which is the framework of the stadium, had to be redesigned. Then new steel had to be fabricated and ordered.

Angle iron, called clips, had to be welded on the existing steel as reinforcement in many areas, contributing to the delay. Some concrete foundations also had to be torn out and repoured. This had a domino effect in delaying subsequent work such as the masonry, electrical and duct work.

Only a rush of last-minute work allowed part of the stadium to open Sept. 2 for a Tiger-Cats game against the Toronto Argonauts. It will not be substantially finished until Oct. 2.

Hannah said in conversations he had with union workers and others on the job site, he was told "they didn't allow for sway."

"Say you get the wave going and people are moving at once - they are going to sway," Hannah said, adding that under the original design there were concerns this kind of motion under the weight of 24,000 spectators would render the structure unsafe.

The City of Hamilton contributed $54.3-million to the $145.7-million cost of the stadium. In return it takes over as owner of Tim Hortons Field. The rest of the financing came from the provincial government, which paid $22.3million, and the federal government ($69.1-million), as the stadium will play host to the 2015 Pan Am Games soccer competition. Infrastructure Ontario is withholding $89-million in payments from ONSS until the stadium is finished.

However, under its lease with the Ticats, the city is also responsible for paying the team $3-million in compensation for the three missed home games. City officials have indicated they plan to recover that money from ONSS or Infrastructure Ontario and go through the courts if necessary.

That is probably why ONSS officials were insisting the delays were for reasons beyond their control. Infrastructure Ontario vice-president John McKendrick, who oversees Tim Hortons Field plus two other Pan Am projects built by ONSS, dismissed those claims.

"Those are all risks Ontario Sports Solutions has to take," McKendrick said. "The [construction] schedule was always aggressive, but they signed up for it, they agreed to it. It's their responsibility to manage their subtrades, it's their responsibility to manage the design-build process, it's their responsibility to manage the fabrication of their steel. If you miss your dates after that, don't come to me and complain because it's not my problem, it's theirs."

All three of ONSS's Pan Am projects are behind schedule and still not finished. The consortium is also building the $56-million velodrome in Milton, Ont., and a $53-million athletics stadium at York University in Toronto for a total of $254.7-million. The velodrome and the York stadium were both overbudget at a total of $13.5-million so far.

Bouygues projects director Samuel Gandossi did not respond to requests for comment. Greg Stack, vice-president of business development for Kenaidan and the lead official for ONSS, declined to comment. He referred questions to Infrastructure Ontario.

McKendrick agreed the builder's poor scheduling contributed to the delay but played down the role of a design flaw in the structural steel. He said Tim Hortons Field is a design-build project, in which some of the structure's design is done as it is built, which can result in delays.

McKendrick also said he did not know if the failure to account properly for the weight of the spectators was the reason for the redesign of the structural steel. But both he and officials for the City of Hamilton, which approved the redesign and issued an occupancy permit for the Ticats game, said the stadium is now safe.

In a design-build project, McKendrick said, "you design the stadium while you are building the stadium. So you go through a process where you design and you test a lot and then you decide you need to make some modifications as you go."

However, since a contractor agrees to build something for a fixed cost and with a completion date, such modifications are normally taken into account. A contractor also comes to a design-build project with a basic design in place. DiMaria said the extent and the cost of the modifications of the steel at Tim Hortons go beyond what is normal for such projects.

"From the very beginning they knew they were going to have 24,000 fans; they didn't find out halfway through," he said. "You know you're designing a stadium, you know you're going to have 25,000 people sitting in it, so your structure of steel is already in your mind if you're an engineer.

"How can you underestimate that much, so you have to have cross-bracing put in everywhere and restructure the pillars? If they didn't have these major problems they wouldn't be three months behind."

In some cases, DiMaria said, concrete-block walls were repeatedly torn down and rebuilt because of poor scheduling.

"It's like when you build a house you don't call the plumber after all the walls are done and the floor is in and then start digging holes through the wall to find your piping," he said.

McKendrick agreed that scheduling was a big problem for ONSS on all three of its Pan Am projects.

"Some contractors and project companies are better than others at sticking to their schedule," he said.

Locking eyes with boundary-busting Tom Hardy
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R3

Tom Hardy's eyes are locked into mine. This is no small thing.

He's sitting on a hotel sofa during the Toronto International Film Festival, dressed as an urban warrior in black T-shirt, olive fatigues and work boots. His wrists are thick with bracelets, bands and strings. His face, though handsome, is not pretty: His nose and mouth are slightly smashed, like they could stand up, or have stood up, to a punch. His beard is short, his sandy brown hair slicked back.

As he talks, he frequently reaches up with both hands, running them over the top of his head and bringing them to rest, elbows out, on the back of his neck. This causes his broad chest to widen further, and makes his biceps pop under the tattoos that cover both his upper arms. He's not tall, but there's nothing wasted on him.

Every molecule makes maximum impact.

He also vibrates. He thrums.

Sitting across a narrow coffee table from Tom Hardy is like sitting opposite a compact, ingeniously designed generator. His energy is coiled right now; he's engaged and charming, but I'm certain that if he let it loose, it could blow me backward into the hall.

Actors do a lot of talking about transforming themselves for roles, but the London-born Hardy, who turns 37 on Monday, means it - he goes undercover for every part he plays. So it's taken North American audiences a while to realize that Bane (in The Dark Knight Rises), Bronson, Heathcliff (in a telefilm) and Locke (who is mesmerizing, despite being stuck in a car for 90 minutes) are all one guy, the same guy as the private in Band of Brothers, the mixed-martial-arts fighter in Warrior, the Olivier Award nominee on the British stage, the gangster in RocknRolla and the con man in Inception. What they share is that Hardy hum, the high-tension-wire buzz he emanates even when sitting still.

You may not realize it's him on your stage or screen, but you know you can't look at anyone else.

That eye contact - I asked for it. Hardy's new drama, The Drop, which opened yesterday, is a testosterone-fuelled ride through wee-hours Brooklyn, where mad Russian mobsters use a rotating series of bars as depositories for their ill-gotten gains. Hardy plays a bartender named Bob, alongside James Gandolfini (in his final performance) as Bob's uncle and Noomi Rapace as a woman who catches his eye.

Bob knows how to stay alive by staying out of the way. His voice, thin and quiet, is part of the "character silhouette" Hardy creates for each role (along with physicality and costume). It's nothing like his real voice, which is deep and growly, like being licked by a panther.

"Bob has to be invisible; he can't be seen," Hardy says, rapid-fire in a bloke-y English accent. "It's the sound of somebody who's in darkness - you can hear they're there, but only just. A watercolour, no bold strokes. A skivvy. His voice is an external symptom of his personality."

But when Bob makes eye contact, look out. "When someone stares at you, if you stare back long enough, something is going to happen," Hardy says. "Sometimes you're going to end up in bed, sometimes in a fight. That's the lock-in, innit? When you look someone in the eye, you've got to know your shit." At this point I'm trying to keep my gaze steady, while trying not to blush, and I'm getting a little clammy. Hardy may sense this.

When I blink first, he grins.

Eye contact can also be "posturing," Hardy continues. "When we shake our spears at another person, and hope they get the message and not attack. That's what acting is: We posture hard.

But we don't cross the line. In fight scenes, sex scenes, rape scenes, violent scenes, you have to push right up, further than most people would like to go, right to the point where anything goes. Then you hit an area where some pretty magical stuff can happen on screen. You cross that line where you might get arrested for it, if it was someone you didn't know. If Matthias [Shoenaerts, who plays Hardy's rival in The Drop] bit me in a fight scene, I wouldn't hold it against him. I'd just say, 'Dude, you bit me!' "He laughs. It sounds like the rumble of a truck.

Hardy believes in going allout; he wants "to pursue the investigation of aggression and sex and violence," and he appreciates co-stars who will go there with him. "I like intimacy as well, but boundary-busting is key," he says. He's had co-stars say, "That's enough," and call cut. But Hardy doesn't play that way.

"If the script says, 'He gets stabbed relentlessly,' the word relentless means it's relentless," Hardy says curtly. "That's your fucking job; you need to be relentless. If you're not willing to be, why are you here? If I sign up to be stabbed relentlessly, I expect to be relentlessly stabbed. I put a pad on and let you go to town."

For a while, Hardy lived relentlessly, too. He married and divorced, had a son (who's now six), battled addictions to alcohol and crack cocaine. Now, he says, he channels his intensity into acting, and the only vice I see is an e-cigarette, which between puffs he tucks under his I-beam thigh.

With The Drop (written by Dennis Lehane, based on his short story Animal Rescue), Hardy saw a chance to delve into "love, loneliness, hope. All the Greek stuff. We're not thinking in black and white. We're looking at greys of the human condition, and the veil of suffering.

Anyone who said that you would get through life without suffering, they lied to you. Shit is going to happen. So who is a good guy in that situation, and who is a bad guy, becomes much greyer. Instead of running the camera on good and evil, let's run a camera on normal, and see how chaotic and crazy that is. And see whether you can find somebody likeable or charming, even though they've done something heinous."

Hardy doesn't judge his characters; he inhabits them, and lets the audience decide. "I'm a defence counsellor for every character I play," he says.

"When I take a character, it's like I stand up for him in court. I don't care if he's guilty or innocent, I plead his case. That's it. And he's getting off."

He laughs again, pleased with that one. A handler, who's been hovering, moves in to wrap things up. Hardy treats me to one final eye-lock.

"This could all end tomorrow," he says. "I'm prepared for failure. But it's a good day to be me today, yeah." It was a good 15 minutes to be me, too.

Hornby Island house has curious ex factor
Twenty years after divorcing, Chris and Ron Thom collaborated on designing her dream home - the result proved to be timeless
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S7

In 1981, when artist Chris Thom decided to build her dream house on Hornby Island, she made an intriguing choice of architect: her former husband, Ron Thom. This was no ordinary ex, though: He was one of the most important Canadian architects of the 20th century.

Chris and Ron had divorced 20 years earlier, at which point he moved from Vancouver to Toronto to make his national reputation with such landmark buildings as Massey College, Trent University, the Metro Toronto Zoo and Shaw Festival Theatre. Ron Thom died in 1986; Chris passed away last January - now, their four children have put the waterfront house on the market.

"Dad had offered to help her design the house and she accepted it, because by then they were friends," recalls younger daughter Bronwen Thom McLeod. Her parents had first met in the early 1940s when they were both students at the Vancouver School of Art, and they shared a deep appreciation for art, craft, and nature. They discovered Hornby Island together in the late 1950s, while visiting the summer home of their former art teachers Grace Melvin and Charles Scott, who were both prominent figures in the West Coast cultural community.

After divorcing, Chris set her sights on eventually resettling on Hornby Island, while Ron remarried and raised a second family. By the time she was ready to build there two decades later, any bad feelings between them had largely evaporated. Their son, Robin Thom, acted as contractor, builder and landscaper. "Dad and Robin had originally worked as a team together, way back in the day, and now Mom was happy to see them working together again," Bronwen says. Her father also appreciated the chance to be back on Hornby Island, a locale that remained one of his most cherished places throughout his life.

The house is modest, but with the essential Ron Thom characteristics: front entrance with a covered enclave, plenty of raw wood, built-in furniture and cabinetry, deep overhangs, and every window boasting a carefully calibrated view of the spectacular scenery outside. The building follows the slope of the lot and seems to grow organically out of the landscape. It nonetheless boasts much more zen-like simplicity than his complex awardwinning houses in Vancouver and Toronto.

"It's a shoebox plan, essentially," says Robin - although a finely crafted shoebox, to be sure. Robin contributed his own skills and also helped source some signature materials, such as the home's heavy oak doors, repurposed from a defunct Vancouverbased printing press.

Robin gleaned much of his design savvy by following his father around on job sites and attending the site inspections with him. Robin also attended the Vancouver School of Art, and inherited his parents' creative bent, honing a first career as a landscaper and, more recently, a photographer. He remembers that his father was not the sort to give didactic lectures, but he gleaned much by Ron's penchant for communicating in images.

"Anything he couldn't say in words, he would draw," Robin recalls, "on a napkin, a piece of wood, the wall, whatever was around." The largest and most central room of the house, an expansive space with a jaw-dropping wideangle view of the tree-framed ocean and stone shore, was Chris Thom's huge art studio -- "my playroom," as she once described it to this reporter.

Although the house boasts just over 2,000 square feet and plenty of room to move around, work or play or relax, there is just one bedroom. "It was really designed just for Chris, with a small kitchen and big studio," notes the home's realtor, Donna Tuele of Coast Realty on Hornby Island. But, Tuele adds, the spatial arrangement is such that new owners can reconfigure the studio with its prime ocean view into whatever kind of space they want. With loads of natural daylight bathing shelves, cabinets, easels, worktables and nooks, the room seems ready for transformation by the next creative spirit. "The way the architect brought natural light coming in through the studio is brilliant," says Tuele. "The skylights are not lined up in the usual linear way; they're stragically placed over key working areas."

The Chris Thom home is one of a diminishing number of Ron Thom houses on the West Coast. Several of Thom's residential masterpieces have already fallen victim to real estate speculators and other buyers intent on razing them for something bigger and newer. The tear-down order has just been issued for a bungalow filled with Ron Thom's trademark artisanal woodwork, on West Vancouver's Ottawa Avenue. A few kilometres west of there, a gorgeous waterfront home on Erwin Drive - described by its realtor as a "well cared for ... authentic Ron Thom beach house" is nonetheless being marketed as tear-down, with a price tag of $9.5-million and an exhortation to "build your 6,500square-foot dream home." Some of the losses may be inevitable, says architectural historian Don Luxton, but each Ron Thom house is significant by the very fact of Thom's renown as one of the greatest Canadian architects of the 20th century. "Every one of these houses tells us something about the evolution of his career," says Luxton. "We may not be able to save every house, but we should be careful to think about them and document them."

The Hornby Island property is priced reasonably enough that the family is hoping it will find an appreciative buyer who will want to keep it and upgrade it. Listed at $929,000, the house has already drawn the attention of locals and mainlanders alike, including several architects entranced by its Ron Thom pedigree. A new owner would likely want to invest about $100,000 in upgrades, including a new roof and design adjustments to reconfigure it for their own lifestyles.

The property's sandstone beach has become a repository of beautiful memories for all four of Chris and Ron's children: as well as Bronwen and Robin, there was sister Sidney and brother Aaron. "We'd go down to the beach and look for sea urchins and chase bullheads, the tiny little fish that live in tide pools," Sidney recalls. "Or we'd spend hours looking for petroglyphs. Properties like that just don't exist any more."

Chris Thom had paid $11,500 in 1964 for the originally 2.5-hectare waterfront property, later subdividing it into three separate acreages and keeping the middle one for her own house - it turned out to be a stupendous long-term investment. But 50 years ago, long before Hornby became a mainstream mecca for stressed-out Vancouverites, it was an audacious purchase. "She told me that she would lie in bed at night sweating, worried that she had paid too much," says Sidney. "But she wanted the property that badly, and she knew what it would do for her life."

Associated Graphic

The house is modest, but features essential Ron Thom characteristics, such as a front entrance with a covered enclave, plenty of raw wood, built-in furniture and deep overhangs. Every window boasts a view of the spectacular scenery.

Motorcycle madness
Canadian team finishes ninth at gruelling competition
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, September 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D8

EXSHAW, ALTA. -- The punishing seven-day international Motorrad wrapped up last weekend on a ranch in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, about an hour west of Calgary.

Sixteen teams from 19 countries tested their balancing and manoeuvring skills in a trials competition, taking on a 2,300kilometre loop that took them through some of the roughest mountain terrain Western Canada has to offer.

The fourth BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy started at the same ranch on Sept. 6. The event is not so much a race as a blend of adventure riding, personal skill tests and team challenges. Previous competitions had been held in Tunisia (2008), southern Africa (2010) and Patagonia (2012).

With nearly 200,000 kilometres collectively ridden, mostly off-road, organizers said they were delighted there were no serious injuries.

One rider suffered a broken leg and another a dislocated shoulder.

The biennial competition was first proposed in 2007 by Heiner Faust, now head of sales and marketing for BMW Motorrad, as a means to showcase the flexibility of the GS line of motorcycles.

In an interview at the conclusion of the event, Faust said the Canadian competition was the toughest so far.

The winning team - from Central and Eastern Europe (CEEU) - led the points standing from Day 1. South Africa was second and France third.

All contestants are non-professional riders who qualify in regional competitions.

Canada's motorcyclists finished ninth - a disappointing result for team members, but an experience all three say they will cherish for the rest of their lives.

Matt Wareing, 43, quit his job in Calgary when his employer refused to give him time off for the competition. He has no regrets.

"The high moment for me was from the moment I started. And it's still going on."


Here's a day-by-day recap of the BMW Motorrad:


In a brutal kickoff to the competition, team members took several hours to haul each of their four motorcycles across a rocky, shallow and fast-moving river and then up a muddy bank. Later in the day, exhausted riders competed in a slow-speed figure-eight course, collecting a ball and depositing it in the same spot at the end. Team Canada, which had no opportunity to practise as a group before the competition, tied for second-last. "That was the toughest day for us," Patrice Glaude said.


After an overnight storm, riders packed up soaking tents and headed out on a muddy 50-kilometre ride down a logging road. The first test was of navigation skills, in which they used GPS devices to find five objects. After a ferry ride across Arrow Lake, they landed in the B.C. hamlet of Nakusp and squared off for a game of broomball. France and South Korea tied as the day's overall winners.


Following the water-soaked second day, competitors travelled 200 kilometres off-road under a blue sky and warm sun. The first 55 kilometres led to the first special stage, where they had to tow a teammate's motorcycle with their own, uphill over a two-kilometre course, while using one tie-down strap and without stopping. Only five of the 16 teams arrived without penalty, and France did it in the quickest time. In the next 60kilometre run, an embedded journalists slid his bike into a ravine, but escaped without injury. The final challenge of the day was a stream-crossing in which team members had to get their bikes across a fast-flowing river with slippery rocks - Team Alps won. South Africa had the best overall score for the day.


Riders took a few tumbles as they followed a loose-gravel rail bed for the 75-kilometre trip from Christina Lake, B.C., to Castlegar. The first leg went along the rail bed of the former Columbia and Western Railway track. At one stage, team members had to push their bikes down and up a tight, rocky path, while they were timed. After a dash to Nelson, B.C., the teams participated in a logging competition. Team Canada won the cross-cut sawing challenge, their only win of the event. Marc-André Octeau, who qualified for Team Canada in 2010 but dropped out because his wife was about to give birth, and who was injured in the early stages of the South American GS Trophy, was flown in for the dinner and final three days of this event as a special guest.


A 200-kilometre route of brutally rugged riding in the Kootenay region of central B.C. included a climb up loose boulders, where team members had to drive and push their 250-kilogram bikes up a steep hill during a special stage called the McDonald Turn. Next, the Slide required riders to go across a testing traverse before desencing a landslide. They then ascended the Sandon Pass with 28 switchback turns. The Italian team drew peers' admiration for helping Team USA tow a stricken bike to the top of the tough course, with both teams arriving an hour late. The day ended with a stop at a hot springs to soothe aching muscles, followed by a test of skills at changing wheels, trials riding and raising their bikes over a raised tree trunk.


Competitors travelled 400 kilometres between Balfour, and Fort Steele B.C., including three special stages. In the first special stage, 10 kilometres up a forestry service road, team members walked three BMW R 1200 GS bikes with the engines running over a wall of boulders that blocked the road. Special stage 2, dubbed the Maryland Trial, was a time trial on a twisting sandy path with rocks, holes and trees. The third stage, on gravel with the ABS switched to Enduro Pro, required each team member to stop the front wheel in a designated area after riding as quickly as they dared.


The final leg took competitors over otherwise deserted gravel roads and through picturesque mountain passes. Special stages included an early morning "car pull" in sub-freezing temperatures with a vintage Dodge; a "bear turn" team relay special deep in the forest; and a trialsbased skills challenge at base camp that included blindfolded riding. The prize ceremond took place during a final dinner around a campfire.

"I'm a little disappointed we didn't place higher," said Cory Hanson, 37, of Calgary, who rode with friend Wareing, and Glaude, of Montreal. The team moved up from 14th on Day 1. "We had a tough start; these competitions are tough on the spirit," said Glaude who, at 55, was tied for oldest competitor. "[But] I'm very proud to represent Canada at an event like this."

Team Central and Eastern Europe - Wojciech Zambrzycki, Maciej Gryczewski and Karel Rahcek - led from Day 1 until ultimately reaching the finish at the Kananaskis Guest Ranch in Exshaw.

With files from BMW Group


Spotted Peter Cheney's weekly photo blog, including reader submissions, is posted on Fridays.

Associated Graphic


Home-cooked meals around the table are supposed to foster health and harmony - so why is the atmosphere always overheated? Wency Leung debunks the myth of the family dinner
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

Over the years, it's become accepted wisdom that home-cooked family meals make for happier and healthier children. Studies suggests those casseroles and pot roasts protect kids from obesity, decrease the likelihood of drug use, depression and delinquency, and boost academic performance. Powerful cheerleaders such as U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and journalist Michael Pollan extoll the virtues of gathering around the kitchen table.

The reality, however, doesn't exactly play out in scenes of domestic harmony. The task of preparing and executing family meals is often filled with guilt, exasperation and a large serving of stress.

Take Warren Orlans: The Toronto father of three (who authors the blog The Urban Daddy) prepares five different breakfasts for his family members. His wife "spends hours and hours" planning and cooking their evening meals. His seven-year-old son is a vegetarian and his nine-year-old prefers to eat only carbohydrates. When the children decide they all want to eat something different, he says, "it puts everything into a huge rush and it becomes very stressful."

That's a common theme in kitchens across Canada. Motivated by tradition and the perceived health and social benefits of eating together, parents are running themselves ragged to make sure their families gather around the table for regular meals. Is it worth the effort?

One camp of researchers is finding evidence to show these associations aren't as strong as we might think. And in fact, when factors such as parental employment and the quality of family relationships are accounted for, they're finding shared meals lose much of their magic. Family meals, it seems, are overrated. Sinikka Elliott, an associate professor of sociology at North Carolina State University and coauthor of a paper published in the current issue of the American Sociological Association magazine Contexts, found mothers of middle-class, working-class and poor families alike strive - and fail - to meet a standard reinforced in the media that idealizes healthful, home-cooked meals. Through interviews with 150 female caregivers and more than 250 hours of observing 12 families, Elliott and her colleagues learned caregivers commonly struggle with the time and money involved in cooking, as well as the burdens of trying to please picky palates.

"We never observed a meal in which at least one family member - and often more - didn't complain about something that they were served," Elliott says.

In their paper, the researchers say home-cooked meals are perceived as the hallmark of good parenting. Yet, they interviewed many mothers who spent valuable time cooking, only to receive complaints or indifference in return. Some were torn, feeling they should be cooking when they'd rather spend time with their children doing other activities.

The health and social benefits of family meals may be overstated as well. The biggest problem with studies that tout these benefits is they typically compare families that eat together with those that don't, says Jess Haines, an assistant professor of applied nutrition at the University of Guelph. As such, it's unknown whether any given family would be better off if everyone ate together more frequently, or whether families that eat together are fundamentally different from those that don't.

Indeed, a growing crop of research that relies on longitudinal data, comparing subjects over time, lends support to the idea that positive outcomes have less to do with the family meals themselves, and more with other factors that allow those meals to happen. When a multitude of other factors - such as televisionwatching, parental employment and the quality of schools - were accounted for, Boston University researcher Daniel Miller found in an analysis of 21,400 children, ages five to 15, that the effects of family meals on academic test scores and behavioural problems was small to "effectively zero."

"In our most careful statistical models, we didn't find any relationship between family meal frequency in any of those outcomes," says Miller, an assistant professor of social work.

"I would hesitate ever to say that families shouldn't sit down and have meals together," Miller adds. "But it shouldn't be at the expense of parents or kids' sanity to make that happen."

A 2005 Harvard Medical School study found that, longitudinally, there was no association between the frequency of family meals and the likelihood of teens becoming overweight or obese. A pair of recent studies, jointly conducted by researchers at Cornell University and the University of Minnesota, suggest family dinners aren't a magic bullet against teen drug use and delinquency either. In fact, UM sociology professor Ann Meier found that while family dinners contributed to fewer depressive symptoms and delinquency in teens when family relationships were strong, they may even have the opposite effect when family relationships were weak.

"You can imagine if you have a strained family relationship, regularly gathering together to reenact that strain might not be the best," Meier says.

So why are we so hung up about having family meals? Meier believes part of it is nostalgia. There's also emotion attached to the act of cooking and feeding one's family - it can be seen as a labour of love.

For Orlans, meal times are the only moments when he and his family can sit down and share what happened in their day.

"And you know, they're my kids. I love them and I raise them and I want to see them," he says. "I want to spend time with them now, before they don't want to spend time with us."

Jeni Marinucci, a freelance writer and single mother of two in Milton, Ont., says she recently began introducing home-cooked family dinners after several hectic months, when their busy schedules meant haphazard meals of frozen entrées.

"I would heat them the frozen dinners and then, honest to God, I couldn't watch them eat them because it made me feel so bad," Marinucci says, explaining she and her children, ages 10 and 15, now prepare four or five meals together on Sundays that they can freeze and eat throughout the week.

"I didn't want them to grow up with no memories of gathering around the table and having a meal that was Mom's specialty," she says.

But back at North Carolina State University, Elliott believes we all need to start thinking beyond the kitchen table. In twocareer households, it's unrealistic to think family meals can resemble what they did in previous generations. She and her colleagues call for creative solutions for sharing the work of feeding families, such as community kitchens and healthy food trucks. Meanwhile, there's no reason to think meal times are the only place parents can bond with their children.

"We can really easily be blinded by what we see in our everyday lives and think this is how it's always been and this is how it has to be. But it isn't how it's always been," Elliott says, "and there's no reason why it has to be this way."

Associated Graphic


Science writer Ivan Semeniuk is aboard the Amundsen on a scientific journey to explore the impact on the ocean of the warming climate and northern development. This is his first dispatch
Monday, September 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

It's 1 a.m. and the Beaufort Sea is frigid and dark. But on the Amundsen, a Canadian Coast Guard ship turned floating laboratory, work doesn't stop for the night.

Crew members and researchers wearing anti-exposure suits manoeuvre briskly about the foredeck as they prepare special nets, cameras and other devices for probing the ocean's depths.

One after the other, each is lowered into the churning waves then hoisted back up, sometimes bearing thimblefuls of tiny organisms, sometimes bucket loads of muck that wriggle with strange creatures.

This is science on a changing frontier.

Last week and nearly 2,000 kilometres to the east, another Canadian Coast Guard ship, the Laurier, helped to locate one of the long-lost ships of the Franklin expedition.

But on the Amundsen, the aim is to probe the future rather than the past. The ship serves as a platform for a 38-member science team that is trying to discern what's in store for the Arctic as the climate warms and the pace of northern development accelerates.

This year, that quest is taking the Amundsen farther west than ever before. On Tuesday, it reached Barrow, Alaska, and this week, the ship is pressing on toward waters north of Siberia.

"For us, it's all new territory," said Louis Fortier, chief scientist on board and director of ArcticNet, the research consortium behind the voyage. "And there are several things we're interested in."

With a long list of scientific objectives to meet and operating costs running around $58,000 per day, there's no time to waste. The crew operates in shifts as the ship moves from station to station on the open sea. Scientists sleep when they can and gather samples and data when the schedule dictates, be it day or night.

The Western Arctic is the focal point for the expedition because it sits on a biological front line. Organisms here are experiencing the most rapid loss of summer sea ice anywhere in the Arctic - currently, the region averages about three additional ice-free days each year. It's also a part of the North where the oil industry is looking to tap into offshore reserves both in Canada and the U.S.

Both could have a profound impact on the ocean ecosystem. But to understand what that means, scientists need to know what's living here right now - knowledge that can't be acquired remotely.

"To actually see how the biological community changes - that requires being here on a ship," said Lee Cooper, a marine scientist at the University of Maryland and one of the veteran researchers on board.

As it happens, the ocean is full of life tonight. A short trawl of the bottom delivers oodles of shrimp, worms, tunicates, sea cucumbers and other creatures that inhabit the murky sea bed.

Weirdest of all is Gorgonocephalus, a baroque-looking cousin to the sea star that uses its curled, multibranched limbs to ensnare prey.

It's a queer and bountiful harvest, more abundant than what is typically found closer to Canada's Arctic shores. Nutrients carried from the Pacific through the Bering Strait have found their way here and have fertilized the ocean floor, creating a biological "hot spot."

Noémie Friscourt, a graduate student in marine biology at the University of Quebec at Rimouski, will spend a bleary-eyed night classifying and counting up the hundreds of specimens brought up by her net. Some are bottled in formaldehyde for further analysis back home. By measuring the accumulation of various carbon isotopes in the bottom dwellers' tissues, Ms. Friscourt hopes to reconstruct a detailed portrait of the Arctic food web.

"We want to know who eats who," she said.

Such relationships are key to understanding environmental change in the Arctic. If one species is adversely affected, the impact can reverberate through the system, right up to the walruses and grey whales that dive down to feed off the sea floor.

The work also matters to northern communities that still rely on the environment as a food source.

Alexis Burt, a research associate with the University of Manitoba, packages a portion of a trawl that will later be tested for contaminants including mercury and a variety of industrial chemicals.

Ms. Burt once performed the same task for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but the monitoring was among the programs jettisoned by the federal government in 2012 as part of a wave of cuts to federal laboratories.

"If we don't monitor then we don't know what the changes are going to be," she said.

Back on deck, the sampling carries on till dawn as "Ship FM" - the Amundsen's intercom - rolls through a preprogrammed setlist of rock tunes. At one point The World I Know by Collective Soul wafts across the deck. It's a fitting refrain for those labouring through the Arctic night, trying to perceive where the planet is drifting.


The latest Government of Canada report on climate change, released by Natural Resources Canada this year, states that while reducing greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to lessen the magnitude and rate of climate change, some impacts are unavoidable and will require adjustments to reduce risks or take advantage of opportunities. Here's what it says about the Arctic: .

Permafrost: Temperatures at numerous sites across Canada have increased over the past two to three decades.

Sea level: Relative sea level rise of more than three millimetres a year has been observed on the Beaufort Sea coast.

Sea ice: End-of-summer minimum ice extent in the Arctic has declined at a rate of 13 per cent per decade from 1979 to 2012, while maximum winter sea ice extent has declined at a rate of 2.6 per cent per decade.

Summer sea ice: A nearly icefree summer is considered a strong possibility for the Arctic Ocean by the middle of the century, although summer sea ice may persist longer in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago region.

Ice type: A shift in ice cover from one dominated by thick multiyear ice to one increasingly dominated by thin firstyear ice has been observed.

Glacier mass: The rate of mass loss for glaciers throughout the High Arctic has increased sharply since 2005 in direct response to warm regional summer temperatures.

Ocean: Arctic ocean temperature has increased, as has acidity.

MOORINGS: Retrievable devices that continuously record water temperature, salinity and the speed and direction of undersea currents are anchored to the ocean floor. During the expedition, the Amundsen will visit several moorings previously positioned by Japanese scientists.

SAMPLING STATIONS: Researchers deploy instruments to test for nutrients in the water and to scoop up mud from the sea floor. They also use trawl nets and underwater cameras to check for fish and other creatures living at various depths.

Associated Graphic

The Canadian Coast Guard's Amundsen - a ship now used as a floating laboratory - plies Arctic waters on Sunday.



These weekend off-road warriors love to rock and roll on the path never travelled. Often they go until they break something. Then they fix it. And then they go out and break it again
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, September 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D1

EXSHAW, ALTA. -- Gannon Ward doesn't bother to take his Jeep off-road unless it's going to get his adrenalin flowing. That's why, on this day, he was talking on the phone from Moab, Utah, where he'd just completed one of the most thrilling rides of his life.

"I climbed up a rock face I'd say that was 80 degrees," he says. "It gets your heart going."

Eighty degrees. How is that even possible? "That's nearly straight up," he acknowledges. "The rock here is limestone; different from back home. The tire just grips like it's sandpaper."

"Back home" is Alberta, where Ward - a 34-year-old chiropractor - belongs to an exclusive club of off-roaders who enjoy nothing more than beating the living crap out of their highly modified Jeeps.

Every weekend, members of the Jeep Junkies club head out in packs to climb over impossibly large rocks and crawl through mountain-fed creeks as they follow old logging trails and seismic lines deep into the wilds of the province.

Often they go until they break something. Then they fix it. And then they go out and break it again.

"I didn't come out here looking for a highway," says Len Coad, a public-policy researcher who brought me out for a tour of McLean Creek, a popular off-roading area about an hour west of Calgary.

On this late-summer Saturday, just a handful of trucks, ATVs and off-road motorcycles are hovering around the parking lot as we prepare to head down some "trails" - suggestions, really, more than paths. Coad's vehicle has just been decked out with a three-inch "lift kit" for greater ground clearance, 4.5:1 differential for more low-end power, and fatter tires.

Job 1 is to undo the sway bars that keep his year-old Jeep Wrangler from tilting in turns on the highway. You need the extra axle travel on paths we'll be following, he explains.

As we head off-road, it's like entering an alternate universe - a mile in, we come across some campers who are trap-shooting; a little further along, two young guys who somehow managed to get their beat-up Sunfires up the side of a hill. Further still, an old desktop computer that has been used for target practice.

A lot of off-roaders have been heading to the hills all their lives.

Ward started with a 1985 GMC Jimmy in Twin Falls, Idaho, where he grew up.

Treavor Schlosser, 31, a service manager at a local auto dealership, got into off-roading in a serious way three years ago. He grew up in Medicine Hat, Alta., where his dad "always had a fourwheel drive."

Right now, he's between vehicles because he found he couldn't afford to use his Jeep both offroad and as a commuter. Too often, it was broken by the time the work week came around. A year-full of weekend abuse on his 2013 Wrangler took its toll: five sets of idler and tension pulleys, two alternators, two release bearings, an entire front end assembly, two tires and an e-brake were among the casualties.

"The final straw was my rear differential," he says. "Fifty per cent was my fault, and the rest was the mud. All my repairs are due to the mud."

Statistics Canada does not keep separate numbers on the number of off-road vehicles in Canada, but they tend to be concentrated in Western Canada. Calgary-based Jeep Junkies has about 200 active members, and, as the name implies, they are attached to one brand of vehicle. "It's an addiction," says Ward. "We love anything about Jeeps." Although he's owned four of them, his brother has gone through 13.

"Jeeps are by far the most capable off-road vehicle out of the box that you can buy," says Schlosser.

"At the price. Maybe a Land Rover would be better, but it's what?

$80,000?" Of course, the Junkies don't just take them out of the box.

Ward has put an estimated $20,000 in aftermarket parts on his 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara. He's added a 3.5-inch lift kit, bolted on fat 37-inch tires, added Fox racing shocks to the suspension, changed the gear ratio to 4.56:1 (stock is 3.21:1), added a light bar, replaced the plastic bumpers with steel, added a winch kit and put "rock sliders" on either side - metal shields that minimize body damage. And to make sure he stands out as a serious off-roader, the piece de resistance: a snorkel air intake that reaches above the roof line.

"That means in theory, I could go through six feet of water," he says. "Really, though, I wouldn't take it past five." About the only part untouched is the stock 3.6litre V-6 engine and six-speed standard transmission.

Although off-roading inherently involves danger, the Junkies emphasize safe practices, such as riding in groups and using proper winching protocols. But there are still heart-racing moments, like an incident Ward experienced the day before the interview. He was riding in a group of eight rigs up a steep, rock-strewn path. When he tried to follow the line of the driver ahead of him, he slipped sideways, high-centred on the front differential and had a tire hanging in the air.

"I was at an angle where I felt I could've rolled," he says. His teammates, however, pushed and coached him out of his bind.

Schlosser worries more about damage to his vehicle.

"We definitely damage our Jeeps. Absolutely," he says. "But in the safest way possible."

My guide lets me take the wheel of his beloved Jeep and coaches me through some relatively easy routes. As we head out, Coad shows me the standard Jeep wave (hand at the top of the wheel, two fingers up) as we meet brothersin-arms.

It's a camaraderie that instantly identifies strangers as friends.

"Jeep owners are in a league of their own," says Schlosser.

Off-roading is not without controversy. In Alberta, concerns have been expressed about the damage some off-roaders do to waterways. Legislation in Ontario states off-road vehicles are not to be operated in a way that will "disrupt or destroy ... fish habitat, property, flora or fauna." Environmentalists argue that firm geographic limits are needed.

But Ward says off-roading allows him to experience parts of the Earth most people don't get to see. "People go on Sunday drives. Our drives are through the hills."

Associated Graphic

Matt Krakowski, left, and Dwayne Dickson are both members of the Jeep Junkies, a group of off-road enthusiasts who drive through mud and water in the McLean Creek area of Alberta's Kananaskis Country.


Because they can ... Dickson and Krakowski take their Jeeps through water in an abandoned gravel pit.


The hope that sprang from a eureka moment
In the quarter century since the gene causing cystic fibrosis was discovered, symptom management has taken leaps forward
The Canadian Press
Thursday, September 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L5

Twenty-five years ago this month, the medical world was turned on its ear with the isolation of the gene that causes cystic fibrosis (CF), a devastating inherited disease that usually killed children by their late teens.

At the helm of the research was Lap-Chee Tsui, who led the team at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children that made the seminal discovery in collaboration with scientists at the University of Michigan.

The science of human genetics was still in its infancy at that time. Pinpointing the mutated CFTR gene came about through painstaking mapping of bits of DNA to locate the root of CF symptoms - thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and gums up the gastrointestinal tract, requiring patients to take scores of digestive enzymes a day so they could digest food.

"The cystic fibrosis defect is really a very subtle defect," Tsui (pronounced Choy), 63, said Monday during an event at Sick Kids to mark the 1989 discovery. "It didn't kill the patients [right away], but the problems accumulated slowly, and at the end, the patients succumbed to infection."

Using the same analogy as he used in 1989 to explain CFTR's location on chromosome 7, Tsui said researchers first narrowed it down to somewhere between Halifax and Vancouver, then further pinpointed it in Toronto, and finally zeroed in to a certain street and then the actual house that represented the defective gene.

In the ensuing years, researchers have determined there is not only one mutation in the CF gene, but about 1,900 different defects that cause greater or lesser severity of symptoms in individual patients - a scientific process Tsui likened to going into the house and turning on all the lights and taps to see which ones are faulty.

The celebrated geneticist, who left Toronto 12 years ago to become vice-chancellor and president of the University of Hong Kong, from which he just retired, called progress in understanding and treating CF since the gene was isolated "very exciting."

Within two years of that discovery, other Sick Kids researchers had determined that a protein that keeps epithelial cells lining the lungs, airways and digestive system "nice and moist" was faulty, causing the buildup of mucus that clogs the lungs and disables the digestive system.

"I think the expectation when the gene was first discovered was that it would be easy to fix because the disease was caused by a single gene, and if you replaced that gene through gene therapy, then you would be able to completely reverse the consequences of the disease," said senior scientist Dr. Christine Bear, who led that team.

"And it may be that gene therapy will be part of that future therapy in CF, but right now we haven't developed safe ways to do that."

As more was learned about the CF gene, scientists began looking for new drugs to treat symptoms. But it became clear that they would need to specifically target the different mutations.

One such drug, called Kalydeco, is effective in easing symptoms for some among the 4 per cent of CF patients who carry a particular mutation - known as G551D - but on its own, the medication is ineffective in treating the 90 per cent of those with the most common defect in CFTR, called Delta F508.

"So it's clear that it's not going to be a single-bullet approach to therapies for CF, like most diseases," said Bear. "Not everybody's going to be responsive in the same way, so we need to define better compounds and also be prepared to find multiple compounds so you can figure out which compound will work best on which patient."

To that end, researchers at the hospital have begun growing lung stem cells from a few CF patients, which are being exposed in the lab to a wide array of potential drugs to see if any help restore normal function.

"Eventually, we will have a system where you could test 100 patients all with their own lung cells to see which compound is going to work best," said Bear, pointing out that such personalized medicine is the wave of the future.

Dr. Felix Ratjen, chief of respirology and co-director of the hospital's CF centre, said the gene's discovery laid the foundation for the progress made in understanding the biology behind CF and subsequent drug development.

But since its identification, symptom management has also taken great bounds forward, to the point where life expectancy for a Canadian born with CF is now in the mid-40s, in part thanks to multidisciplinary specialists who address various aspects of the disease in patients.

"In the past, as I look back 25 years, we had a lot of children dying of cystic fibrosis on our wards," said Ratjen, who recalls the eureka announcement of the gene's discovery and the hope that sprang from it. "And now, that is fortunately a rare event. It still happens, but it has really changed. The whole picture of the severity of the disease has really changed."

For Melissa Benoit, the strides made since the gene was found have already helped her live far beyond the age predicted when she was diagnosed with CF, 12 hours after her birth.

"I'm 30 years old, which is kind of a milestone for having CF," she said from her Burlington, Ont., home.

Still, the pediatric nurse, who is married and has a six-month-old daughter, said managing CF is "like having another full-time job - because if I don't take care of myself and my CF, I'm not going to be around for my child and my husband and to do any of the things I love."

Benoit, who took part in CF research as a child and continues to as an adult, has daily physiotherapy, gets thrice-daily inhaled medications through a mask and takes upward of 60 pills a day, including digestive enzymes and antibiotics to prevent lung-scarring infections that could require a transplant or lead to death.

"I've got to be doing something right and the research has got to be doing something right," she said. "I work very hard at it."

Her doctors have predicted Benoit will have a "pretty long life" if she continues to stay on top of her therapy. While getting to age 80 doesn't look likely, living "hopefully into my 50s would be nice," she said.

"The research has made incredible progress and I think it shows by the increasing median life expectancy. But I think we still have a long way to go. And I really hope that that research can continue and that funding for research can continue, so that one day I will be able to live with CF and not die from it."

Associated Graphic

Lap-Chee Tsui led the team 25 years ago that helped isolate the gene that causes cystic fibrosis.


Caveat: The pizza delivery guy may be late
An Arts & Crafts home in the Avenue Road-St. Clair area is hidden away - but 'warm and welcoming' once you find it
Friday, September 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G8


Asking price: $4,975,000

Taxes: $30,175.00 (2013)

Lot size: 90 by 185 feet

Agent: Janet Lindsay (Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.)

The back story

Garthmore is the name of the house designed by the prominent Arts & Crafts architect Eden Smith and built in 1909 on a leafy slope in Toronto's South Hill. To this day, Clarendon Crescent - a private road in the area near Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue - remains so verdant, it virtually disappears.

"People walk through here as if it's a little pastoral setting in the city," owner Margot Franssen says of the quiet enclave.

Ms. Franssen, who has lived with her family at No. 5 since 1995, jokes that people dispatched with pizzas and other deliveries have difficulty finding the well-hidden lane.

She is an entrepreneur who travelled to England to meet Anita Roddick, the founder of the Body Shop empire. After "one long, drunken evening," Ms. Franssen acquired the rights to bring the company's brand of cosmetics and unguents to Canada.

She ran the Canadian business with her husband, Quig Tingley, and sister Betty-Ann Franssen from a house on nearby Farnham Avenue. When 5 Clarendon came up for sale, the couple bought it and moved in with their three children.

The house itself retains many of the hallmarks of Eden Smith & Sons Architects. It presents its quiet side to the street, for example, with a plain, ivy-covered exterior and a modest front entryway sheltered by a peaked roof.

But standing in the rear garden and looking back toward the house, Ms. Franssen points out that the rear elevation expands to three stories above ground with protruding wings that create a more interesting façade. This is the side with expansive windows and French doors overlooking the garden.

The home sits on flat land above a terraced garden that follows the slope of the glacial Lake Iroquois shoreline that runs through the area.

Inside, the house has typical Arts & Crafts elements, including original leaded glass windows, terracotta tiles and panelled doors. In keeping with the movement, the house is designed with minimal ornamentation so that the occupants will feel a better connection with the outdoors.

"It's individuality through simplicity," Ms. Franssen says, explaining that the architect's credo was to "let nature do the work."

"I didn't know any of this when I bought the house," she says. "I just knew I loved the feeling of it."

For Ms. Franssen, the home's perch in the middle of the city offered the ideal setting. "It's very rare to hear traffic; we can walk to Bloor Street in 10 minutes from here."

She also knew the first time she and Mr. Tingley visited the house that the natural surroundings fit nicely with the Body Shop Canada values that promoted ethical treatment of animals and the advancement of girls and women.

"It was going to be the kind of atmosphere that would be conducive to my work for humanitarian causes."

The house today

Ms. Franssen and Mr. Tingley have kept the eight-bedroom and eight-bathroom house pretty much as Eden Smith built it.

"You don't want to start tearing houses apart and unsettling what the architect had in mind," Ms. Franssen says.

Visitors arrive to a reception hall with a wood-burning fireplace - one of six in the house. "It's just so warm and welcoming," she says.

The formal dining room has views over the garden and the living room has doors leading to the garden.

Ms. Franssen had a kitchen installed with cherry-wood, custom-built cabinetry, a large centre island and granite countertops. There's also a separate breakfast area. "It's a great family kitchen but it also works out well for caterers."

Upstairs, the second floor has five bedrooms, including the original master, which now serves as Ms. Franssen's office.

The couple gave the rest of the second level over to their three children and created a master retreat on the third floor, which originally would have been servants' quarters.

Today, they use the smaller third-floor bedrooms as dressing rooms.

One nostalgic quirk that remains on the exterior is a large door that provided entry for the horses heading to their stable.

The passageway has been converted to an extra bathroom and the former stable has been turned into a library and home office with doors leading to the garden.

Outside, an in-ground saltwater swimming pool has a black bottom that creates the appearance of deep blue water that doesn't detract from the landscape.

Ms. Franssen says the home's flow works well for entertaining.

Since the partners sold the Body Shop Canada business in 2004, Ms. Franssen has spent much of her time on philanthropic work. She is a director of Women Moving Millions and sits on the board of the Canadian Women's Foundation.

One project was the Canadian Coalition for Afghan Women. "Sally Armstrong and I plotted that out in my dining room years ago," she says of her collaboration with the human rights activist and author.

Ms. Franssen and Mr. Tingley have hosted events from book launches to dinners for 100 guests. When the couple held a fundraiser for a feminist theatre company, actors performed on the stone terrace surrounding the pool while guests watched from above. "It's almost as if you're in an amphitheatre."

Sometimes, the couple sets up tables and chairs for dining around the pool. On other occasions, they've moved all of the furniture to the garage and set up tables to accommodate groups in the living room and dining room.

"The house somehow works for all kinds of functions," says Ms. Franssen.

The best feature

The living room is Ms. Franssen's favourite part of the house for its tranquil atmosphere. It's where she and Mr. Tingley practise transcendental meditation every morning.

The fireplace is off-centre in the living room, which works nicely, Ms. Franssen says, because it creates a smaller sitting area within the larger living room. There's also a bar tucked into a corner, behind closed doors.

"It's so versatile," Ms. Franssen says of the room. "It can be so cozy and warm in one section and so open and expansive in the other section. You can do a lot of living in there."

Associated Graphic

Garthmore was built by prominent architect Eden Smith in 1909 and retains many hallmarks of his style from that era, such as the modest front exterior.

The house in Toronto's South Hill district sits on flat land above a terraced garden that follows the slope that runs through the area.

The house was laid out with minimal ornamentation in keeping with the Arts & Crafts movement.

Completing the eye-pleasing picture in the backyard is a saltwater swimming pool whose design doesn't detract from the treed landscape.

TIFF gives sponsors the Hollywood treatment
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B7

TORONTO -- A mid all the celebrity glitz and glamour of the past week, the Toronto International Film Festival also rolled out the red carpet for advertisers.

On King Street in downtown Toronto, a shiny red Ford is parked among the pedestrians. A giant coffee cup helps the Tim Hortons brand loom over moviegoers. Last weekend, when the street was closed to accommodate more crowds, an Rdio lounge and a Grolsch open house offered views of a nighttime concert from Montreal band The Dears.

As the profile of the Canadian festival has grown exponentially in recent years, TIFF has also evolved how it does business. The not-for-profit has more than doubled its sponsorship revenue in the past five years, a result of a concerted effort to become more sophisticated in its pitch to marketers.

"It's a new approach to how we sell sponsorship," said Franca Miraglia, the festival's director of sponsorship who came on board four years ago after a career in public relations and marketing. Presentations do not only include a summary of the festival; now, TIFF's team has begun coming up with suggestions for each marketer on how it might take advantage of its profile. "We do as much research as possible trying to understand their brand. We really try to figure out, if we were their advertising agency, or their PR agency, how we would put the festival to best use."

The effort is crucial for TIFF, which relies on sponsorships for a third of its yearly revenue. And that growth is continuing - according to Ms. Miraglia, sponsorship revenue will reach more than $13-million this year.

"It's increasing in scope, scale and relevance every year," said Wade Oosterman, chief brand officer for TIFF's largest sponsor, BCE Inc., and a member of TIFF's board of directors.

"...They've done a terrific job of continuing to market the festival, and put it on the map in a bigger way."

That growth has resulted in an increasingly crowded brand environment. This year, Ford is the official car of the festival, Jackson Triggs is the official wine, Pepsi is the official soft drink and cold beverage provider, and Jaeger-LeCoultre is the exclusive watch.

Existing sponsors are also spending more to increase their presence.

For example, L'Oréal Paris Canada started out as a minor sponsor, but increased its commitment after its first year. Now four years in, it has beauty teams that prep celebrities for press conferences and red carpet appearances, and it gives howtos on A-lister looks on social media. It has launched a festival product line to coincide with TIFF, in more "glamorous" black and gold packaging. It's expanding its digital content production, and it has its own correspondent interviewing stars on the red carpet - the only sponsor to do so, through negotiated exclusivity.

The festival provides exposure not just in the Toronto market, but across the country. The first year it produced online videos with its red carpet correspondent, L'Oréal attracted 250,000 views. Last year, that number jumped to 1.3 million in two weeks. It has now doubled the size of its editing team to turn around videos more quickly - they're ready in less than 12 hours this year, compared with two or three days when it started.

And those investments lead to sales. After the festival last year, all four shades of lipstick launched as part of the limitededition TIFF collection were among the top five bestsellers for L'Oréal nationwide.

This year, the brand also flew in representatives from France, and is looking at how to use TIFF on a wider scale.

"TIFF is the biggest festival in the world, after Cannes," said Hugo Thibault, communications and digital director for L'Oréal Paris Canada. "... It's become so big, it's now part of the global platform."

That perception plays into TIFF's vision of itself for the future.

"More and more, we're appealing not just to Canadian marketing dollars, but seeing it as a global property," Ms. Miraglia said. "We think that adds a level of excitement, and also a bigger opportunity to get bigger budgets from global budgets as opposed to just the local market."

TIFF spent $6.4-million on marketing and communications last year and roughly $3-million on fundraising targeting sponsors, philanthropists, and government grants - a jump of roughly $1-million in just two years, and a significant increase from 2010, when it spent just $1.6-million on all fundraising, including government, philanthropists and sponsors combined.

The rise of social media has also helped to broaden TIFF's marketing potential beyond Toronto. Visa Canada, now in its 18th year as a sponsor, has seen that firsthand. It has offered film enthusiasts opportunities to ask questions via Twitter when stars appeared at the Elgin Theatre (known during TIFF as the Visa Screening Room). It has a spot on-site where fans can have their photos taken and flashed on a giant LED screen, then share them on their social networks.

And Visa built a video booth with a storytelling game, where each new visitor added a small snippet to a story started by Visa's voice-over pitchman, Morgan Freeman. Just past the halfway mark of the festival this week, Visa had already received 132 per cent of the non-paid exposure online that it earned in the entirety of TIFF last year.

"The emergence of social media has provided a lot of opportunity to marry what you're doing on-site with taking it out to a broader audience," said Brenda Woods, head of marketing at Visa Canada. "... It changes the dynamic."

The marketing link is not as obvious for a credit card or a bank as for a beauty brand specializing in red carpet looks. But advertisers such as Royal Bank of Canada say their research shows the connection with TIFF drives consideration to do business with them.

"Our job as marketers is to warm the consumer up to our company," said Andy Shibata, vice-president of brand marketing at RBC. "Everything that we do is to tie people to the understanding that we care about them ... so they'll be more emotionally attuned to our brand over time."

But how much advertising is too much? As TIFF grows - and as its sponsorship plans become more ambitious, and global - can it avoid becoming over-commercialized?

"The incorrect perception is that those two things can't coexist," Ms. Miraglia said. "... The research is quite definitive. People know that the sponsors aren't something they have to put up with. Sponsors help make the thing that they want happen."

Associated Graphic

The first year it produced online videos from the film festival, TIFF sponsor L'Oréal attracted 250,000 views.



For Southwest Airlines, a four-decade climb to cruising
Monday, September 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

DALLAS -- Gary Kelly will be permitted to do something on Oct. 13 that he has been banned from doing since he joined Southwest Airlines Co. in 1986. The chief executive officer of Southwest will be able to fly non-stop on one of his airline's Boeing 737s from its base at Love Field in Dallas to Las Vegas or Denver or Orlando, Fla.

That's because a 1979 regulation that has severely restricted Southwest's flights out of Love Field ends next month.

The law, known as the Wright Amendment, was put in place to protect what was then the new Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and airlines operating out of it. Southwest was permitted to fly non-stop only within Texas and a handful of other states.

So on Oct. 12, Mr. Kelly and any travellers heading from Love Field to Las Vegas have a choice of 15 flights, each of which will stop in a smaller Texas city such as Lubbock or Odessa, or Albuquerque, N.M., or somewhere else before landing in Sin City. A day later, three of those daily flights out of Love Field will be non-stop.

The expiration of the Wright Amendment is such a momentous event in the airline's history that a clock at its headquarters next to Love Field is counting down the days to when the restrictions end.

Despite the handcuffs of the Wright Amendment, Southwest has grown into a massive change agent and disruptive force in the U.S. airline industry.

It started with a sketch on a napkin that outlined a triangle of flights between Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. Since beginning those flights in 1971, the airline has grown to a point where it now carries the largest number of U.S. passengers domestically on 3,600 flights a day, has reported 41 straight years of profit and has never laid off employees.

In the same period, the carcasses of deceased airlines piled up, while those that survived and now rank with Southwest in the big four are the products of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings and megamergers. In some of those mergers, both partners went through Chapter 11 filings.

"The world has changed so much for the airline industry since 2001," Mr. Kelly told reporters at Southwest's sprawling campus near Love Field last week.

The world is also changing for Southwest, which began its first international flights earlier this year - including service between Baltimore-Washington International Airport and San Jose, Costa Rica, which was announced on Friday - and is sending strong signals that it is preparing to enter the Canadian market.

Southwest's success is based on a few core principles: a relentless focus on keeping costs low; use of a single type of airplane, the Boeing 737; flights between city pairs or from point to point, rather than using a hub-and-spoke model; maintaining a unique corporate culture with a heavy emphasis on fun.

"This is an airline that has made money in an industry that has had extraordinary volatility in terms of ups and downs and losses industry-wide that in some three or four-year periods have been in the $10- to $20-to $30billion [U.S.] range," said Jeffrey Rayport, a senior lecturer at the Harvard School of Business.

Low costs underpin the entire operation, Mr. Kelly said.

"We want to be the low-fare airline. We want to be the low-cost producer," he said. "There's one airline whose costs are about 8 per cent lower than ours and we don't like that," he said.

That would be Spirit Airlines Inc., which is based in Florida.

JetBlue Airways Corp., another low-cost carrier, is trying to mimic Southwest's success.

Low costs start with the fleet. Using one type of aircraft means pilots, maintenance staff and flight attendants can be trained once, instead of three, four or more times, which airlines that use several types of planes must do.

Southwest trains technicians on the Boeing avionics systems for about two weeks and they take refresher courses annually.

"It does streamline our training from a cost standpoint," said Elizabeth Bryant, vice-president of Southwestern Airlines University.

One fleet type also means maintenance hangars need to be stocked with spare parts for just one set of planes and engines, freeing up capital to be used elsewhere.

Flying point to point meant Southwest could make use of smaller airports such as Midway International Airport in Chicago, which is dwarfed by the larger O'Hare International with all its international connections.

Utilizing a less busy airport means planes arrive more quickly at gates and spend less time on the ground. Southwest's goal for many years was to have a plane arrive at a gate, unload, load again and be heading toward a runway to take off 20 minutes later.

"The famous dictum in the airline industry is that when the planes are sitting on the ground, you're losing money, or you're spending money and when the airplanes are in the air, they are actually making you money," Mr. Rayport said.

The corporate culture was on full display last week when Southwest unveiled a new colour scheme for its planes. That event happened to coincide with the start day for 390 new employees and the weekly party for employees that is held on a deck overlooking Love Field's runways.

But in the midst of record profit, international expansion and a new advertising campaign, there is some turbulence.

Southwest's on-time performance deteriorated from the 80per-cent level in 2013 to about 70 per cent earlier this year, causing the airline to ease its goal of a 20minute turnaround time and to redeploy 16 previously idled planes back into the network.

The airline is in a labour dispute with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents about 6,000 reservation and passenger service agents.

The union sought a mediator last month after two years of negotiations in a battle over moving to variable pay based on profit instead of annual wage increases.

"To continue to grow - even if it's slower growth - Southwest has to start inevitably breaking some of their own rules," said Mr. Rayport.

The airline already has done so. Many of its flights now are three or four times longer than the 65minute rule the airline began with and fly into and out of such congested airports as Los Angeles International and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

But the airline will stick with 737s and not add another fleet type, Mr. Kelly said. Delivery of the next generation of Boeing 737s begins in 2017.

Associated Graphic

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly at a company event at Love Field in Dallas last week. Southwest has reported 41 straight years of profit and has never laid off employees.


A Porsche that likes to get dirty
The revamped line of luxury SUVs has the heart of a 911 but the guts to challenge a Range Rover
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, September 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D10

BARCELONA -- TECH SPECS Price range: $71,300 (Diesel), $83,700 (S), $86,800 (S E-Hybrid), $128,200 (Turbo).

Engines: Cayenne S E-Hybrid 10.9 kWh lithium-ion traction battery/95-hp electric motor power mated to 3.0-litre supercharged V-6; 3.6-litre V-6 biturbo; 4.8-litre bi-turbo V-8; 3.0-litre turbodiesel.

Drive: All-wheel

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): Cayenne S E-Hybrid 3.4 combined; 3.6-litre V-6 biturbo 9.59.8 combined; 4.8-litre bi-turbo V-8 11.2-11.5 combined; V-6 diesel 6.6-6.8 combined.

Alternatives: BMW X5, Audi Q7, Infiniti QX70, Lexus GX460, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Volvo XC90, Land Rover Range Rover, especially the Range Rover Sport model.

Having spent the last two hours flitting around paved roads in a $128,200 Porsche Cayenne Turbo (520-horsepower, 279 km/h top speed), I arrive at a rustic country manor several kilometres off the main road where a Finnish lad with popping muscles hands me the keys to a second Cayenne Turbo and says, "Let's get dirty."

Oh, joy. The Finnish driving instructor points to the flagship of the freshened 2015 Cayenne line, then describes what's ahead: a 40-minute off-road loop intended to prove Porsche's SUV is as strong as a Range Rover in the muck, yet 911-ish on pavement.

Off we go down a one-lane path covered in loose red dirt that's typical of arid Catalonia. We kick up clouds of it. After a hard left, we tackle perhaps a 25- or 30-degree climb up a narrowing path covered in loose rock and small stones. We've dialled up the firmest "Sport Plus" suspension setting to minimize body movements. No "Comfort" or regular "Sport" here; too soft, too loose.

We've also punched in the highest of six air suspension settings for ground clearance. We haven't tinkered with the allwheel drive. It'll send whatever power is needed to the front wheels, all electronically controlled via a multi-plate clutch.

In my hands is the new multifunction sport steering wheel with shift paddles, modified slightly but essentially borrowed from the 918 Spyder electrified sports car.

Let's pause and review: we're driving a massively expensive, shockingly powerful, technologically over-the-top sport-ute into sheer nastiness. Before we're done getting filthy, we'll have used a hill descent control unit to crawl down steep pitches and gone rollicking through wheeldeep muddy bogs. All that in a turbocharged V-8 truck that will do 0-100 km/hour in 4.4 seconds (with the optional Sport Chrono package) while getting combined fuel economy in the 11.2 to 11.5 litres/100 km range. Cornering? Why isn't this truck tippy?

Pardon the pun, but Porsche is leaving no stone unturned in trying to get its latest Cayenne message across. All five Cayenne models - we get only four of them in Canada - have been reworked. Most notably, power is up and fuel economy is improved across the line. Once it's had its Paris auto show debut later this month, a plug-in hybrid Cayenne capable of 125 km/h electrified-only will join the lineup. Depending how you drive, the new lithium-ion battery should give you about 30 km between charges, less if you madcap about.

The budget Cayenne, the best value and the one I'd own, is the diesel at $71,300. It has massive torque (428 lbs-ft), flies (7.2 seconds to 100 km/h) and fuel consumption is rated at 6.6 to 6.8 litres/100 km. The Cayenne S ($83,700) gets the 3.6-litre turbo V-6 first seen in the smaller Macan. When it hits the showroom, the $86,800 E-Hybrid is what we'll carefully call the "green" Cayenne.

Porsche has updated the Cayenne's looks, including new front fenders and hood, as well as refinements to the rear, from spoiler to tail lights. But it takes a trained eye to spot the differences, 2014 to 2015. The chassis team has tinkered with the suspension and steering, too. Nothing has been reinvented, but the point here is for Porsche to defend the Cayenne's turf in the face of increasing competition, particularly from Tata's Land Rover unit with its sporty Range Rovers. Remember, since its launch in 2002, Porsche has sold nearly 600,000 highly profitable Cayennes. You may associate the Porsche brand with sports cars, but the franchise is the Cayenne.

Dynamically, you simply cannot buy a more capable SUV on the road, and our little unpaved adventure shows that if your cottage is "out there" you'll be able to get there. You'll do it sitting in a cabin with racy seats and more buttons than a Dreamliner. Kudos to Porsche for eschewing multi-function controllers in favour of good old-fashioned buttons, knobs and dials. You can instantly operate all the gizmos here without cracking the owner's manual.

The Porsche people have a reputation for being slightly smug. They have reason to be. If you want the best-handling SUV money can buy, this is it.

The writer was a guest of the auto maker.



The Porsche basic design cues are in place. For 2015, the list of styling updates is long, but all are subtle, from the changes to the hood to the integration of the rear spoiler. Unmistakably a Porsche.


Not everyone will think this cabin is a plus, other than the seat comfort and support which is pretty indisputable. Porsche has put in place an array of buttons and switches to control all the technology. So the cabin looks like a fighter cockpit. For me, Porsche's decision to eschew "controllers" that channel functions through one knob and a screen is a good idea.


The ride height goes up and down. The suspension adjusts from comfort to super-firm. The power train array is comprehensive. And so on. Programming simple things like a navigation destination is easy. Sound system controls make sense.


Not exactly a moving van. But it's not supposed to be.


The V-8 flies and uses lots of premium fuel. The diesel is the best allaround SUV power train choice. The V-6 is strong but not overly exciting. We have yet to test the hybrid. All engines are very refined and the gearbox is terrific.


9.5 The best high-performance SUV on the market.


You want a tall car that rips up the pavement yet can get dirty, too.

Associated Graphic

Porsche engineers have designed the Cayenne to be equally adept off road as it is on a flat highway.

In Brazil, grim discovery puts spotlight on stigma of abortion
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Jandira dos Santos Cruz was terrified. In her last text messages, she pleaded with a friend to pray for her. It seems she had good reason to be afraid: The 27-year-old Rio secretary got into a car with strangers on Aug. 26, bound for an illegal abortion clinic, and never came home.

Now police say a burned and dismembered torso, missing its teeth and found in the trunk of a car matching the description of the one Ms. Cruz took to the clinic, may be hers. A nursing assistant believed to be the clinic employee who arranged Ms. Cruz's abortion is evading police; her husband, a former police officer, already faces charges of operating an illegal clinic. And the subject of abortion - publicly decried, and yet widely sought - is once more in the news in Brazil.

While this country presents a hedonistic image in its tourism marketing, it remains at its core deeply socially conservative.

In opinion polls, 80 per cent of Brazilians say they believe abortion should be illegal. (The current law permits abortion in cases of rape or where the woman's life is in danger from the pregnancy.)

And yet hundreds of thousands of women have abortions here every year. While it is impossible to gather precise data on an illegal procedure, "the most reasonable estimate is that it's between 800,000 and 1.2 million abortions a year," said Jefferson Drezett, a Sao Paulo gynecologist who has researched the subject for more than a decade. "Even if it's half that, 400,000, it's still an extreme number."

An estimated 250,000 women a year seek medical help in public clinics for the complications of illegal abortion.

"We have a law that punishes something that happens very often in the country, that does not stop abortions happening, and therefore does not protect the fetus, and puts women in a dangerous position," said Dr. Drezett, a member of a national Study Group on Abortion made up of researchers.

Police say it will take nearly a month before DNA tests confirm the identity of the charred corpse found in the car, and the investigation into Ms. Cruz's disappearance is ongoing. In off-therecord interviews, officers have indicated that they strongly suspect the body will prove to be hers, that she died of complications of the abortion, and that the clinic operators were trying to dispose of the evidence.

In the most comprehensive national survey, done in 2010, 15 per cent of women between 18 and 39 said they had had an abortion. "It gives you a snapshot: At that moment, there were five million women in the country who had had at least one," said Debora Diniz, a professor of bioethics at University of Brasilia and a lead researcher. Asked face-toface, one in 15 women said they had had an abortion; asked by "secret ballot," the figure climbed to nearly one in six, she said.

"The 'correct answer' in Brazil is that abortion should be illegal, so when you ask women, that's what they say - they want to be identified with the moral standard," said Prof. Diniz. "To have an abortion is to be a bad mother, to deny motherhood, to deny nature - it's a sin. It's not easy for us to deny the stigma of abortion."

Ms. Cruz's sister, Joyce dos Santos, said in an interview that she feels her sister shares some of the blame for her fate, for choosing to abort, as do those who provide and facilitate the illegal abortions. "If there weren't any open doors, she wouldn't have gone through with it."

At 27, Ms. Cruz already had two daughters, aged 12 and nine, from a marriage that ended in divorce. (It was her ex-husband, with whom she was still close, who took her to meet the clinic pickup car and to whom she sent her last panicked texts.) Members of her family, who are evangelical Christians, now say they tried to dissuade her from ending the pregnancy, which resulted from a brief relationship.

Brazil will hold national elections on Oct. 5; Ms. Cruz's case, however grim, is unlikely to change the political consensus on abortion. Running for office the first time in 2010, the current president, Dilma Rousseff, cautiously expressed doubts about criminalization - only to find herself under heavy attack from the Catholic and evangelical churches - and then came out in favour of the current law.

In this election, she is in a neckand-neck race with Marina Silva, an evangelical Christian who has said she personally believes abortion should be illegal. Some 25 per cent of Brazilians are now evangelical Christians, the churches (most of which are led by wealthy men) are wielding growing political clout, and their lobby in Congress has repeatedly tabled legislation to try to end the abortion exceptions. Ms. Rousseff and Ms. Silva have said they are in favour of keeping the law as it is; Ms. Silva says she favours a national referendum on the law.

"When Marina Silva says her goal is to have a national poll on abortion she knows exactly what she is doing: people will say they are against it even though they have needed it," said Prof. Diniz.

Ms. Cruz's family says she was 14 weeks pregnant, and she paid $2,200 to the person who had arranged her abortion. "She paid a lot of money, but not even paying gives you access to safe abortion," said Beatriz Galli, the Rio-based Latin America policy adviser for Ipas, a global reproductive rights advocacy organization.

The national survey found that, in urban areas, half of women do not go to clinics, but rather induce abortions at home using the drug Misoprostol, bought from a connection in their communities. "How to perform an abortion is women's culture in Brazil - it's passed from mothers to daughters and sisters and friends," said Prof. Diniz.

The increasingly conservative public climate on abortion has resulted in more and more police raids lately, and as a consequence many women must do what Ms. Cruz apparently did - meet a stranger at a public place, get in a car, surrender her phone.

Meanwhile even women who meet the rare conditions for legal abortion face often insurmountable barriers. Hospital staff may require the woman to show "medical proof" she was raped, or ask for a police report although the law doesn't require either. In 2012, Ms. Galli said, just 1,626 legal abortions were performed in a country of 203 million people.

Associated Graphic

Jandira dos Santos Cruz, a secretary from Rio de Janeiro, disappeared on Aug. 26 after going to an abortion clinic. A charred and dismembered torso found shortly thereafter is believed to be hers.


New details emerge about the discussions that led to the Burger King-Tim Hortons tie-up
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

Early March Burger King calls Warren Buffett; the Oracle of Omaha backs the bid.

March 12 A banker for Burger King calls Tim Hortons CEO Marc Caira to discuss a possible deal. Mr. Caira agrees to meet with Burger King chairman Alexandre Behring.

March 24 An opening bid of $73 a share is delivered in the form of a joint letter from 3G Capital, Burger King and Mr. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

June 27 The suitors up the bid again, now to $82.50 a share, after a $78-per-share offer was rejected by Tim Hortons in May. Mr. Caira still isn't satisfied.

Early August Tim Hortons tells Burger King it wants any deal to include protections for Canada.

Aug. 15 The offer increases to $88.50 a share with more commitments from the bidders, and Tim Hortons agrees to discussions.

Aug. 25 Tim Hortons directors approve the final terms of the deal on a conference call.

Burger King Worldwide Inc.'s pursuit of rival Tim Hortons Inc. started with a call to financier Warren Buffett and ended about six months later with a $12.5-billion takeover bid with the billionaire's backing.

The deal announced on Aug. 26 was the culmination of months of intensive talks between company officials over the phone and in meetings in Toronto and New York, according to a takeover circular filed with regulators on Tuesday.

During those talks, Tim Hortons pushed up the acquisition price three times, by 21 per cent in total, to $88.50 a share, and demanded protections for its Canadian operation. The negotiations generated commitments that Tim Hortons stay in Canada with a "meaningful" number of Canadian-based executives, and that the merged entity continue to help finance franchisees' renovations and refrain from raising franchisees' rents and royalties for five years.

The drawn-out process underlines the hesitancy among Tim Hortons' executives, and the company's board of directors, to sell what many consider a Canadian icon to a U.S. owner known for slashing costs and jobs.

Tim Hortons concluded the takeover could help speed up its international growth plans and provide savings by sharing best practices and "enhancing global shared services to improve efficiency," the documents say.

Even so, when the deal was announced, executives at the chains insisted that growth - not savings - was the key reason for the takeover.As early as the second half of 2013, Burger King decided to explore a possible acquisition of Tim Hortons, the filing says. By early March, 2014, Alexandre Behring, managing partner of of 3G Capital, which controls Burger King, spoke with Mr. Buffett, who heads Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and with whom they had teamed the previous year to buy ketchup maker H. J. Heinz Co. Mr. Buffett said he would support a deal.

Armed with that knowledge, a banker for Burger King called Tim Hortons' chief executive officer, Marc Caira on March 12 to talk about 3G wanting to put together Tim Hortons and Burger King. Mr. Caira agreed to have dinner with Burger King's Mr. Behring. That kicked off months of negotiations that saw Burger King raise the takeover price from $73 a share to $88.50 and commit to Tim Hortons demands for protections.

Mr. Caira and Mr. Behring met for dinner in Toronto on March 20 but no terms were discussed. However, Mr. Caira signalled that Burger King should make an offer.

"Mr. Caira informed Mr. Behring that Tim Hortons was not for sale, but that he would inform the Tim Hortons board of directors of Burger King Worldwide's and 3G Capital's interest and indicated that any specific proposal should be communicated in writing," the documents say.

That resulted in an opening bid of $73 a share, delivered to Tim Hortons on March 24 in the form of a joint letter from 3G, Burger King and Berkshire Hathaway.

By May, the bidders were offering $78 a share. But Tim Hortons countered it wasn't enough and that its strategic plan would drive the stock even higher. A few weeks later, on June 27, Burger King raised its bid again to $82.50.

Still, Mr. Caira said that Tims was not yet ready to accept.

In August, Mr. Caira told Burger King it "would have to improve the price and terms of its proposal and clarify or provide additional detail about the commitments it was prepared to make in respect of other stakeholders, including those it was prepared to make to demonstrate its commitment to the franchisees, employees, guests, communities and Canada, as previously had been discussed in more general terms in its proposal."

On Aug. 15, with the price bumped again to $88.50 and more commitments from the bidders, Tim Hortons agreed to go ahead with discussions on a deal.

Throughout the talks, Tim Hortons demanded protections. In August, for example, Mr. Caira said Tim Hortons wanted Burger King to enshrine in promises to the Canadian government that it would not raise rent or royalties for franchisees for five years; would keep the combined company's stock listed in Toronto and keep the Tim Hortons headquarters in Canada. Tim Hortons also wanted store branding to be independent.

"The Tim Hortons board of directors wanted Burger King Worldwide to support, by way of undertakings in connection with Burger King Worldwide's application under the Investment Canada Act, Tim Hortons core principles," the companies said in the filing.

Burger King's representatives did not balk. They "agreed to consider these matters further, but they acknowledged that Burger King Worldwide expected to be able to approve most of these requests and, in fact, recognized the importance of and was fully supportive of the Tim Hortons core principles." In the end, Burger King committed to make those promises and allow the government of Canada to enforce them.

Tim Hortons directors approved the final terms of a deal on a conference call on Aug. 25. Mr. Caira told the board that the transaction's details were almost done. Lawyers for Tim Hortons looked over the terms, and the company's bankers deemed the transaction fair. The board considered the commitments that Burger King was making, and the fact that Burger King would pay Tim Hortons a $500-million reverse break fee if the deal could not get the required approvals.

"Following further discussion among the board of directors, the Tim Hortons board of directors unanimously determined that the arrangement was in the best interests of Tim Hortons and authorized Tim Hortons management to finalize and execute the arrangement agreement."

And with that, Tim Hortons was on the way to being sold.

Associated Graphic

Burger King would pay a $500-million reverse break fee if the deal fell apart.


Embassy has 1.1 million 'fans' but most are counterfeit
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

BEIJING -- There isn't much to say about Hongmingzi520, a user on Sina Weibo, the Chinese socialmedia mashup of Twitter and Facebook. He or she has never posted anything original, offers no personal details and has no personal photo.

User512237168 is similar: no posts, no biography.

What binds them and thousands of other Chinese Internet users is that they are all "fans" of the Canadian embassy in Beijing, which now boasts the best-followed Weibo site of any major foreign power in China.

It has the air of a startling Canadian diplomatic success in the Middle Kingdom, where the size of a social-media following is a mark of influence and, indeed, prestige.

The problem: A good deal of it seems to be counterfeit, as online companies compete for users amid strengthening censorship.

In fact, Canadian officials and other Weibo users suspect Sina, the company running Weibo, is responsible for running a factory for fake followers.

The Canadian government says it hasn't paid for the fakes and doesn't know who has.

But there are a lot of them. An analysis of the embassy's website, using publicly available Chinese software, estimates that just 12.9 per cent of its 1.1 million followers are real. That number is likely low. But it's clear that many are, such as Hongmingzi520 and User512237168, almost certainly fake - or, in the preferred appellation of Chinese Internet experts: zombies.

Zombie accounts aren't unique to the Canadian embassy, nor even to China. On Twitter, according to a testing tool run by Socialbakers, 66 per cent of the accounts following Barack Obama are empty or suspicious. For Stephen Harper, it's 42 per cent.

But Canada occupies a unique position in Beijing's diplomatic corps. The online tool shows that 45.8 per cent of the U.S. embassy's close to 900,000 followers are real; as are 39.9 per cent of Britain's 365,000 followers and 51.2 per cent of Japan's 289,000 followers.

Weibo followers are commonly bought and sold in China, where companies openly advertise their services. A Globe and Mail search found one seller with a sophisticated buffet of options, from low-quality followers at 1,000 for less than a loonie, to 40,000 "real name" followers plus 1,000 "firstclass" followers for the equivalent of $125.

It's a service "to help you have impact in China," said King-wa Fu, a researcher with the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong.

It's not even always requested: Yale University faced a similar problem last spring, when its then-140,000 followers stood in stark contrast to the 3,000 following Duke. It was clear part of Yale's online entourage was fake.

"We don't do it, we don't promote it, we don't encourage it, we don't like it," university spokesman Michael Morand said then. But Weibo accounts can be unknowingly assigned a zombie army by overzealous PR firms or employees eager for results.

"They want to impress by doing some tricks," Mr. Fu said.

Weibo is owned by Sina Corp., a publicly traded Chinese Internet Goliath that has for years publicized its battles to beat back spam. But the easy access to fake accounts suggests it's hardly making a dent. One seller advertises a guarantee: If zombie accounts "are deleted, we promise to compensate with followers in the same amount."

Some of China's top online personalities believe Sina itself is to blame.

"With Weibo, it seems to be institutionalized, with zombies being generated by the company itself rather than third-party scammers," said Mark Rowswell, or Da Shan, a well-known Canadian entertainer in China. After building up a million followers, he noticed an odd pattern: He was getting a steady 2,000 to 3,000 new followers a day, regardless of whether he posted anything. Other top-tier bloggers have told him similar stories.

"This isn't about the embassy, it's standard operating procedure at Sina. They 'gift' zombie followers to account holders that the company likes," he said. "You can tell because minor users with very few followers suddenly are reposting your stuff with the exact same quirky and individualized comment."

The scale of trickery calls into question the actual degree of Chinese social-media use. Mr. Fu's research has found that 93.8 per cent of Weibo posts come from just 5 per cent of its users.

It's enough to cause concern with some investors, as Chinese Internet companies flood North American stock exchanges. By mid-August, the value of Chinese dot-com IPOs in 2014 had hit $3.4-billion (U.S.), according to Dealogic, beating out the previous full-year record.

But the proliferation of zombies are among the reasons some question how well companies can be trusted to accurately report the size of their business.

"I'm suspicious of just about all of them, and finding red flags everywhere I look," said Jon Carnes, a hedge-fund manager who has investigated a series of Chinese companies and made profits by short-selling those whose problems he has publicized.

Canadian officials, meanwhile, acknowledged their Weibo following is not sterling.

"Like most social-media accounts, we are aware that our account is not immune to 'phantom followers,' " said Claude Rochon, an Ottawa-based spokesman for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

Mr. Rochon said the embassy has not paid for these followers and that efforts have been made to weed them out. The number of followers began to soar around the time of a March Weibo conversation with Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, which Sina itself helped to promote. Sina did not respond to requests for comment.

The Beijing mission opened its Weibo account in 2011, which it uses to promote Canadian businesses and film festivals, discuss Canadian history and, occasionally, take a sly jab at China's black marks, such as when Canadian Ambassador Guy Saint-Jacques posted a photo with his wife at Tiananmen Square shortly before the 25th anniversary of the massacre there.

The Weibo site is a tool for "weiplomacy," the embassy has said in the past. But it's also offered headaches from the outset, including resistance by Chinese to bureaucratic language and posts occasionally censored by Chinese authorities. In an internal note written shortly after opening the Weibo site, a senior embassy staffer wrote: "We entered the world of Weibo with an open mind, and have often been surprised by what we have found."

Associated Graphic

Employees work at a Sina Weibo office in Beijing. Weibo followers are commonly bought and sold in China, where companies openly advertise their services.


A world-class showcase for Islamic art
The Aga Khan Museum is destined to become a major cultural destination when it opens its doors in Toronto this week
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L2

It's said that a city - a city like Toronto, say - whose boosters often rely on the adjective "world-class" to describe both its overall grooviness and its particular charms can't, in fact, be truly world-class. You're either world-class or you're not and no amount of huffing, puffing or tub-thumping is going to grant a burg that cachet. World-class, in short, is self-evident and unspoken.

Still, you can't keep a person from thinking something's worldclass. Which is, in fact, what I was thinking one cool, overcast morning last week while touring the Aga Khan Museum with educational consultant Patricia Bentley. The museum, which opens Thursday (a ceremonial opening, featuring Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan, was held Sept. 12), has been a long time coming, Toronto having been named its home 12 years ago this October by the prince, spiritual head of the planet's 15 million Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.

Yet for all the waiting, the museum seems destined to become both major cultural destination and player in very short order. In fact, doesn't its completion atop its seven-hectare site on the brow of the Don Valley Parkway seem almost ... sudden? Perhaps this is because the 10,100-squaremetre museum, with its elegant gardens, five reflecting pools and adjacent Ismaili Community Centre and mosque, seems to have unfolded in very slow motion, quietly, without hype, with the sort of discretion only a $300-million-plus budget can buy.

The world, of course, has many museums and galleries with space devoted to Islamic art. Toronto's own Royal Ontario Museum, for example, has a curator of Islamic decorative art and its Wirth Gallery of the Middle East contains Islamic artifacts. But the Aga Khan Museum is being touted as the only institution in North America dedicated solely to the panoply of Islamic art - painted illustrations, ceramics, weavings, calligraphy, scientific instruments, paintings, clothing, myriad editions of the Koran.

The permanent collection, which until now has been housed in Paris, London and Geneva, numbers more than 1,000 artifacts, of which about 250 will be shown at any one time in Toronto as part of a policy of "quite frequent rotation," Bentley said. Although the pieces span roughly the seventh to the late 19th centuries, most have been acquired only in the past 60 years. Unsurprisingly then, the collection is testament to connoisseurship and curatorial savvy.

Artifacts are displayed on two floors, in large, high-ceilinged, discreetly lit white rooms with teak floors. The main-floor space has its treasures arranged chronologically on an L-shaped footprint, and is decidedly Catholic in its presentation. There are three large vitrines displaying Korans of varying degrees of calligraphic magnificence; a 10thcentury inkwell carved from rock crystal; a marble fountain, with geometric mosaics, from a palatial courtyard in 15th-century Egypt; a tunic of beige brocaded silk worn by a horseman in 14thcentury Iran; the oldest-known extant version of The Canon of Medicine, compiled in Persia in the 11th century; a bronze astrolabe with silver insets from 14thcentury Spain, its surface inscribed in Arabic, Hebrew and Latin.

Bentley noted that to many Westerners, Islam is a stern theocratic monolith when, in reality, it's been a multiplicity of dynasties and civilizations encompassing more than 1,000 years, its reach extending far beyond the Arabian Peninsula to Spain, Africa, Indonesia, the Indian subcontinent and the gates of China.

"Our biggest message here really is diversity," Bentley said, "and how Islam has always responded to local traditions." Moreover, it's "not true there is a prohibition against figurative images in Islamic art," she said. Yes, there is no figuration in the Koran nor images in mosques but, as the Aga Khan Museum shows, figural motifs - human, animal, fanstastical - were a staple of Islamic artistic expression.

One of the finest examples of this is found in the museum's second-floor gallery. It's an illuminated folio called The Court of Keyomars, attributed to the 16th-century Iranian artist Soltan Mohammad, painted on paper in opaque watercolour, gold, silver and ink for Shah Tahmasp I.

Astonishingly detailed, exquisitely executed (some of its strokes were reportedly made by a single squirrel hair), luminously lyrical, the scene depicts a seemingly levitating mythical king and his turbaned courtiers blissed out in a paradise of riotously coloured vegetation, rocks and water. Said Bentley: "It's considered by many scholars to be the greatest masterpiece of Persian and Moghul painting." The folio is one of dozens of works in In Search of the Artist, a themed show, culled from the Aga Khan's permanent collection, highlighting recognized Iranian and Indian painters and drawers from the 16th through 18th centuries, artists largely unknown to Western eyes yet as hefty in their fashion as a Bruegel or Bellini.

Another temporary exhibition, The Garden of Ideas, features work - in printmaking, video, rug-making and miniature painting, among other idioms - of six contemporary Pakistani artists. Assembled by the Sri Lankan curator Sharmini Pereira, the show's a clear signal that the Aga Khan is not going to be just historical in focus, that Islamic art has both a present and a future.

The most famous of the six Pakistanis is Imran Qureshi, the Lahore-based miniature painter and teacher. Not only does Qureshi, 42, have nine gouaches on handmade paper hanging in The Garden of Ideas, he got the okay to paint a large site-specific work on the museum grounds. Titled The Garden Within, its roiling, predominantly green landscape of vegetal forms on cement recalls the huge, redsplattered installation Qureshi did last year on the rooftop garden of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. To these eyes, though, the most eye-popping contemporary work is found inside the museum, just outside the entrance to the main-floor gallery. Part tapestry, part sculpture, Your Way Begins on the Other Side by Aisha Khalid, another 42-year-old Lahorean, hangs more than six metres; one side, with its rich patterns and images of lions, leopards, dragons and deer, riffs on the Safavid carpets of 16th-century Persia, the other is a "lawn" made up of more than a million densely packed, brightly coloured metal pins.

The Aga Khan Museum opens to the public on Thursday at 10 a.m., 77 Wynford Dr., Toronto. Closed Mondays. For tickets and admission protocols see

Associated Graphic

The entrance to the Aga Khan museum in Toronto is seen on Sept. 9, part of a new $300-million complex located on a seven-hectare site near the Don Valley Parkway.


The Court of Keyomars is attributed to the 16th-century Iranian artist Soltan Mohammad.


There's light at the end of GE's dark decades
Analysts see a strong future for firm, which has turned its focus from finances to energy and infrastructure in the developing world
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B8

It was August, 2000, not long after the tech bubble's peak, that the shares of General Electric Co. crossed the $60 (U.S.) mark. Two crashes later, the stock hasn't come close since - and may not for several more years.

"You can think about it as the two lost decades at GE," says analyst Nicholas Heymann of William Blair & Co. LLC. "It's kind of mind-boggling. It's like the Japanese economy."

The succeeding two decades, however, promise to be much, much better for one of the world's greatest industrial companies. GE is walking away from its parts that cater to the consumers of the developed world, as evidenced by its 2013 sale of NBC Universal and this week's disposal of its consumer appliances business to Sweden's Electrolux. Instead, it's turning its focus to energy and infrastructure, particularly in the developing world. GE's pending purchase of French company Alstom's power and grid business, expected to close next year, is a big part of the strategy.

Investors, however, have been caught up in GE's periodic earnings misses as well as worries that Alstom's business will depress the company's profit margins. Questions about near-term capital spending in the energy sector mean it's nearly impossible to see a "catalyst" for GE's stock over the next year. Even Mr. Heymann, who's positive about GE's longterm prospects, has a "neutral" on the shares when he projects returns over the next 12 months.

"We can see the fundamental transformation, but we're trying to figure out when the market actually gives GE credit for it," Mr. Heymann says. If GE can deliver earnings that are consistent with expectations, he says, that "will allow investors' focus to shift to what GE is doing to set up the second half of this decade - and then the next decade."

GE traces its roots back to 1878 and Thomas Edison's Edison Electric Light Co. For the succeeding century-plus, the company grew through a series of innovations and top-flight manufacturing. Through its legendary CEO, Jack Welch, it also became known for developing managers and executives through a rigorous culture of evaluation.

By the time of the 2008-09 financial crisis, however, it was more bank than industrial company thanks to the outsized growth of its GE Capital unit. GE started the capital division to provide customer financing for its own products, but it expanded to the point where it was easily the company's biggest segment, providing more than one-third of GE's revenue and more than half its operating profit in 2007. It had a coveted "AAA" credit rating.

"GE Capital's expansion into different types of loans exposed it to unnecessary risks, which we think it had no fundamental advantage in underwriting," Morningstar analyst Keith Schoonmaker writes in a recent report.

"The financial crisis forced the company to rethink and cut the bank down to its bare essentials. Although this will lower the bank's margin contribution down the road, we believe this paring more closely links GE Capital to GE's other businesses."

GE spun off a chunk of GE Capital in a newly named business, Synchrony Financial, at the end of July. (The shares, trading on the NYSE, have barely managed to cross $26, even though Mr. Schoonmaker assigns a fair value of $36 to them.) GE plans to spin off the remainder of the company after U.S. regulators give their blessing, probably no sooner than a year from now.

The future of GE is less finance, more energy and infrastructure. "What we're finding now, and GE realizes this, is that we still have four and a half billion people on this planet that are not part of the 21st century," Mr. Heymann says. "They don't have the basic functionality of clean water and electricity and transportation and an adequate supply of food. These are really basic necessities we take for granted. And we think infrastructure is the new defence. We've got a too big a gap between have and have-not countries and within populations of those countries."

GE is spending $16.9-billion on Alstom's energy business, nearly as much as it raised by selling its NBC Universal stake. The deal, says Mr. Heymann, "should soon enable GE to offer the broadest array of power solutions ... of any company in the world."

The GE oil and gas division, which hosted its first investor day this week, serves all facets of the natural-gas and oil industries, from drillers and explorers to pipeline companies to refiners. Underwater offshore operations ares a particular focus; Mr. Heymann says GE believes its processing solutions could ultimately reduce the capital spending required to recover a barrel of offshore oil by 30 per cent to 40 per cent and reduce surface processing costs by up to 50 per cent.

For the short term, however, investors seemed focused on how the Alstom's lower profit margins could shave a full percentage point off GE's numbers. Mr. Heymann says that if GE follows up its appliances divestiture with the sale of its lighting business, and then continues improvements at its energy-management business, it can easily make up the difference.

For the past two years, GE has traded at a 4-per-cent discount to the broader market, which would have been an unusual occurrence in Mr. Welch's era. Analyst Jim Corridore of S&P Capital IQ believes GE's "transformational initiatives" will turn that around: His target price of $32 reflects 17.3 times his 2015 earnings per share estimate, slightly higher than the overall market. "GE will benefit from an improving global economy better than most industrial companies."

Says Mr. Heymann: "This is like an aircraft carrier - you don't turn it on a dime. And it's been in dry dock, but they're just starting to open it up and demonstrate they've fixed it. And we haven't had the christening yet. But it's coming."

The author owns GE stock.

General Electric (GE)

Close: $25.87 (U.S.), down 15¢


GE shares still have not returned to their high of August, 2000, although a dividend that currently yields 3.5 per cent mitigates some of that damage. While it may be the end of this decade before the stock hits that high-water mark, the following two decades show plenty of promise, some analysts suggest.

Associated Graphic

GE is buying a $16.9-billion portion of Alstom, which runs power and rail operations such as this tram depot in Nottingham, Britain.



Wind mulls growth options after new owners swoop in
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

Wind Mobile says operations will remain more or less the same following its sale to a consortium of investors, but the company still faces questions about whether growth plans could involve a deal with one of Canada's other wireless new entrants.

Wind, which operates only in major cities in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, needs more spectrum - the radio waves used for cellular service - to improve its network and eventually offer LTE or fourth-generation service.

It said in July it has 750,000 subscribers, a number still far behind the projections called for in its original business plan. The carrier could merge with Mobilicity, which is under creditor protection, or work with Quebecor Inc. should the Montreal-based company decide to take its Vidéotron Ltée wireless business national.

Quebecor said earlier this summer it was still considering a national expansion of its subsidiary Vidéotron's four-year-old mobile business, and it has previously held talks with both Wind and fellow startup Mobilicity.

Several analysts suggested that despite Wind's recapitalization deal, announced Tuesday, Quebecor could still get involved.Wind founder and chief executive officer Anthony Lacavera said there are multiple sources of spectrum the company could take advantage of, including two auctions next year.

"In the coming months we're going to assess all of those alternatives and we have no determined path at this time," he said in an interview Tuesday. He declined to comment on specific partnership or merger possibilities.

It took Mr. Lacavera months of fundraising to finally pull together the money to buy out Wind's foreign owner, Amsterdam-based VimpelCom Ltd. Some have characterized the deal as an initial step toward becoming a stronger player capable of competing with the country's Big Three incumbents, BCE Inc., Telus Corp. and Rogers Communications Inc.

"We view this transaction as the first step in the 'clean-up trade' towards creating a fourth national wireless player in Canada," RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Drew McReynolds said Tuesday.

"We assume that Mobilicity and the spectrum owned by Quebecor will ultimately be combined with Wind to form a more sustainable fourth national wireless player."

Alternatively, Desjardins Securities's Maher Yaghi noted that the investor group itself could put up more cash. He said the consortium might share more detail about a refocused Wind brand and further capital infusions once it has won regulatory approval for the transaction.

For now, Mr. Lacavera insists the deal proves Wind's business plan is working and shows, "we're here to stay." The name will remain the same, as the Canadian operation reached a brand licensing agreement with VimpelCom, which also operates the Wind brand in Italy.

"For the longest time there was so much speculation that no new capital was going to come into new entrant wireless [companies in Canada]," he said. "Now a group of very sophisticated investors, including West Face Capital, have come in to recapitalize it and move forward."

Toronto-based hedge fund West Face, which is known for an activist approach and its involvement with Maple Leaf Foods Inc., is the biggest Canadian name to sign on to the deal.

"The federal government's delivery on its promise to create the conditions for viable long-term wireless competition has not gone unnoticed by the investment community," Greg Boland, the fund's president and chief executive said in a statement announcing the deal early Tuesday morning.

Also taking part are California fund Tennenbaum Capital Partners, which is one of Wind's current bondholders, and U.S. private equity player Lawrence Guffey, who is an adviser to Blackstone Group and a director on the TMobile U.S. Inc. board. The remaining two named investors are Canadian: Serruya Private Equity, an investment vehicle of the family behind the Yogen Fruz chain, and Novus Wireless Communications, controlled by Vancouver real estate developer Terence Hui.


Wind Mobile announced a deal Tuesday for the company's Canadian founder to buy out its foreign owner, Amsterdam-based VimpelCom Ltd. The transaction will see Globalive Capital, an investment company led by Wind's CEO Anthony Lacavera, acquire VimpelCom's interest in the startup carrier for $135-million and assume its debt as well for a total value of close to $300-million.

Globalive is financing the transaction with the backing of a consortium of investors. Here's a look at the players that plan to take a stake in Wind's new structure:

West Face Capital

West Face is a Toronto-based hedge fund that notably led a shakeup of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. After taking a stake in the meat company in 2010, West Face CEO Greg Boland won a seat on Maple Leaf's board the following year.

The firm, which is known for its activist approach, manages more than $2-billion.

West Face provided $250million (U.S.) in equity financing to Hudson's Bay Co. in its acquisition of Saks Inc. in 2013.

Tennenbaum Capital Partners

This Santa Monica, Calif.based private equity firm manages more than $5-billion in capital and its investing strategy includes "special situations," in which it typically provides debt financing to companies facing operational or industry struggles.

The firm already had a stake in Wind as one of its bondholders after purchasing some of its debt from vendors that have sold goods and services to the company.

LG Capital Investors

This firm represents the participation of Lawrence Guffey, an adviser to U.S. private equity giant Blackstone Group and a board member of TMobile U.S. Inc.

Serruya Private Equity

This investment vehicle of the Serruya family - brothers Michael, Aaron and Simon - is based in Markham, Ont.

The family is behind the Yogen Fruz chain of franchises and numerous other food brands in Canada and the United States.

Novus Wireless Communications

Novus is controlled by Terence Hui, the Vancouver real estate developer behind Concord Pacific Developments who has long had designs on the wireless industry.

Novus bought spectrum licences in the 2008 auction for the cellular airwaves but sold them to Telus Corp. for an undisclosed price in 2013.

Novus also registered to bid in this year's spectrum auction but did not win any licences.

Globalive Capital

Formerly known as AAL Corp., this is Mr. Lacavera's holding company.Other partners include Brice Scheschuk and Simon Lockie, both current executives at Wind Mobile.

Globalive was founded in 1997 and before investing in Wind, its brands included long-distance calling service Yak Communications and voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) provider OneConnect Services.

Also invests in startup companies and has minor real estate holdings.

Associated Graphic

Globalive is run by Wind's founder Anthony Lacavera.

The Westminster legacy
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of this rugged car at British Car Day
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, September 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D4

Sports cars are the stars at British Car Day at Bronte Provincial Park on Sunday, as fine examples of the TR7 and Sunbeam Tiger will commemorate the 40th and 50th anniversaries of their respective introductions.

The featured sports cars are as sure to be as mobbed as William Roache and Julie Hesmondhalgh at a Coronation Street promotion.

But the third featured vehicle, looming above the Tiger and the TR, will be an Austin Westminster estate car (a wagon, on this side of the pond) splendidly finished as the original was in two-tone spruce green/palm green, representing the 60th anniversary of the Westminster line, which began with the 1954 A90 saloon.

Whatever the fate of the British Empire, the sun never sets on British sports cars. They're kept running tickety-boo by collectors, vintage racers and Sunday drivers around the world. Still and all, the Westminster better typifies British cars of the 1950s.

Tony Fox, of Burlington, Ont., worked as an apprentice with Austin in 1954. Nothing about the estate car he bought 11 years ago was new to him, save for the rustriddled inner fenders and floor.

Fox lived the era. As the British Motor Corp. (BMC) - maker of Austin, Morris and other brands - and its competitors expanded their product ranges with larger models such as the Westminster, the future seemed without limit.

Britain's auto production topped a million cars for the first time the year Fox's car was made. And still to come was the mind-bending Mini - a 1959 model that would steer the industry to frontwheel drive.

In Canada, English cars were our leading imports before Volkswagen's rise. Austin A40 Devons, Morris Minors and Hillman Minxs were favourites, along with Ford of England's Anglias and GM's Vauxhall. "When I left England in 1969, the motor industry was one of the biggest in the world," Fox said. "If you had said it was going to collapse, I'd have laughed in your face."

Surviving Westminsters became the gladiators of banger racing - an English version of demolition derbies - with 100 destroyed in one go at Arlington Stadium, in East Sussex, in 2011. Why? They're thought of as tough, with their steering boxes well protected to survive impact, and they're cheap.

So Fox's car is getting rarer day by day. Only 60,367 Westminsters were made between 1954 and 1958. The estate model accounted for a maximum of 1,500, Fox's best source estimates.

On a sunny Thursday morning earlier this month, Fox and partner, Lynda Hill, took their justcompleted Westminster on a maiden drive to Burlington's Shell Park, a combined photo-op and pre-Bronte systems check.

Let it be said, the view from the back seat was splendid. The new green leather upholstery and dense carpeting were showroom fresh. It even smelled like a new car - a new English car. The couple up front in 1950s garb were so merry they might have been on their first date.

The engine purred. As an apprentice, Fox had particularly enjoyed rectifying (as the process was called) faulty engines pulled from the assembly line; he used those skills to rebuild his, two winters ago. "Fortunately, the Austin-Healey 100-6 sports car used this engine, so parts are available - bearings, gaskets, the water pump," he said, referring to Autofarm, Bob Yule's operation at Monkton, Ont.

Possibly because I'd be driving on the way back, he mentioned more than once how braking requires forethought. Right. I'd anticipated the column-mounted gearshift would be challenging - push the lever toward the fascia and lift up for first, down for second; pull toward the wheel and up for third, down for fourth.

Nothing to it, but the unassisted drum brakes proved stultifying.

Step firmly on the brake pedal as the next stop sign looms in the distance. Harder! More effort! The anchor has been cast, but seemingly without purchase. The steering feels vaguely nautical, as well, with its not-quite-now response. It's how cars were then.

The Jaguar XK140 (also was new in 1954) introduced rack-and-pinion steering and improved braking, but Westministers didn't get power brakes until the nextgeneration, tail-finned version in 1959.

As for power beneath the bonnet, the 2.6-litre six's 92 horsepower - against 117 hp in the twin-carburetted Austin-Healey version - doesn't feel like much, but ample torque carries the car forward without stress or strain.

"It's very quiet on the highway - really, quite comfortable," Fox said.

This car began its life with drives to Italy, Germany and Wales, with Natalie Langsley of Concord, N.H., at the wheel taking advantage of a purchase scheme available to foreigners.

Britain's tax on new car sales was 50 per cent, reflecting government policy favouring exports, for a whopping £417 ($748) on the £834 Westminster, but if the car was shipped out of England within 12 months, £417 tax would be refunded.

Among other documents from 1958, Fox has the letter Austin sent Langsley, advising delivery of the car would unfortunately be delayed. "That'd have been due to a strike," Fox said. "There were a lot of them."

Too many strikes, too many muddled mergers and rampant mismanagement soon enough consigned BMC, Rootes (maker of Sunbeam Alpines and Tigers) and Standard-Triumph (TR sports cars) to history.

Now, British vehicle production has bounced back, reaching 1.5million in 2013, but with offshore ownership. Nissan and Honda are leading manufacturers, Mini has been reinvented by BMW, Jaguar Land Rover has been rescued by India's Tata Motors, Rolls-Royce is operated by BMW and Bentley by Volkswagen.

For one day in Bronte, though, annually since 1983 when Fox arrived for the picnic in a MGB, the Toronto Triumph Club commemorates the glory days and more than 8,000 believers agree.

Britannia rules the park. Admission for Sunday's British Car Day is $16 per car, cash encouraged to expedite entry. The gate opens at 10 a.m., the awards ceremony begins at 2 p.m. Bronte Provincial Park is located at the Burloak Drive exit off the QEW, just west of Oakville.


Last week's poll The most important car in the last 25 years ... Mazda Miata: 4% 9 Toyota Prius: 61% BMW 3-Series: 6% Volkswagen Golf GTI: 7% Tesla Model S: 22%

This week's poll Following the leads of Montreal and Boston, tunneling under Vancouver and Toronto to solve traffic congestion would be a ... Good idea Bad idea

Associated Graphic

Tony Fox and Lynda Hill with their Austin Westminster estate car.

Passing the political torch
With his younger brother's health in question, Doug Ford is replacing him in the mayoral race six weeks before the vote to keep alive the prospect of a Ford-family comeback
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A10

TORONTO -- Doug Ford, the pugnacious sidekick to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, is stepping in to fill his ailing brother's place in the race to be the city's new leader, a lastminute switch that puts in motion a back-up plan that has long been contemplated, sources with ties to the mayor's office say.

The breathtaking turn of events - played out in the cramped quarters of City Hall's election office as cameras rolled - is the latest chapter in the political saga of Mr. Ford's troubled tenure that has captured international attention. The change means the end of Rob Ford's bid for re-election and keeps alive the prospect of a Fordfamily comeback just six weeks before voting day.

Doug Ford, 49, officially signed his registration papers Friday afternoon, just minutes before the deadline for candidates to register. The elder Ford's move came shortly after Rob Ford - who is in hospital undergoing tests on an abdominal tumour - withdrew his candidacy. He registered instead to run for councillor in his former Etobicoke ward. His nephew Michael Ford, who was running for that seat, withdrew and is now running for school trustee.

"I've asked Doug to finish what we started together, so that all we've accomplished isn't washed away," Rob Ford said in a statement.

An emotional Doug Ford appeared Friday night flanked by his family outside the Etobicoke home where the brothers grew up. "He told me that he needed me to take the torch while he focuses on getting better," he said, as his mother Diane Ford cried and several dozen neighbours and supporters cheered him on.

The rookie councillor said he is not yet in "full campaign mode," and will speak about the race next week, adding he and the mayor share the "same values."

The idea of Doug Ford stepping in to take his brother's place has been in the air for some time and those who were once close to the mayor's office say it was floated more than a year ago when the mayor's trouble with substance abuse began to take its toll, even before a video surfaced that appeared to show him smoking crack cocaine.

But in the end, the change came down to the wire, with Councillor Peter Leon racing to the mayor's hospital room to witness paperwork less than an hour before Friday's 2 p.m. deadline to add and take names off the Oct. 27 ballot.

Doug Ford said his brother was running for mayor until about 24 hours before the switch came about. On Wednesday morning, the brothers were out for breakfast when the mayor complained of sharp pain in his abdomen.

"It was never in the works," he said, after describing how he talked it over with his wife and the mayor. "Unfortunately, things change rapidly in life, and it's taken a little turn on us."

Once the decision was made, there were some tense moments, especially when incomplete paperwork sent Mr. Leon to the hospital, where he waited for a slow-moving elevator with the mayor's chief of staff and lawyers.

"We just made it here in time," said Mr. Leon, who was first approached by the mayor's staff to sign papers for both brothers around 12:30.

Doug Ford, known for his vitriol, his love of a live television camera and his penchant for talking offthe-cuff, brings a new dynamic to the campaign for mayor.

His main rivals - Olivia Chow and John Tory - took different tacks responding to their new Ford opponent. Ms. Chow refused to comment on the race, while Mr. Tory, leading in the polls, was quick to take the gloves off.

Mr. Tory told reporters the Etobicoke councillor is "more of the same and maybe worse" than his brother, characterizing him as an "insult-machine that operates on a pretty regular basis."

The Ford switch-up comes as Ms. Chow is struggling to reboot her campaign after losing her front-runner status. On Friday morning, she and Mr. Tory faced each other in a debate for the first time, a pairing that allowed her to take on her rival on policy without being overshadowed by a Ford. Now that's over.

All these events have unfolded at head-spinning speed, even in the context of Toronto city hall where uncertainty and political intrigue are the order of the day. Just Tuesday night the mayor was taking part in a debate, but Wednesday his health took a turn for the worse when severe abdominal pain prompted him to visit Humber River Regional Hospital. A CT scan revealed he had a mass in the lower-left quadrant of his torso.

On Thursday, he was transferred to Mount Sinai hospital where doctors performed a biopsy, the results of which would take a week to come back, according to Zane Cohen, the colorectal surgeon in charge of his care.

Although Dr. Cohen's specialty is colorectal surgery, he would not confirm the location of the tumour. Mr. Ford's father died of colon cancer in 2006.

There was no additional news of the mayor's health Friday, but in his statement he said his medical condition is too severe to continue in the gruelling campaign for mayor. "Now I could be facing a battle of my lifetime," he said.

"With the advice of my family and doctors I know I need to focus on getting better ... My heart is heavy when I tell you that I'm unable to continue my campaign for re-election as your mayor."

Mr. Leon, who happened to be in his City Hall office when the mayor's staff needed a witness, said the mayor was walking when he saw him at the hospital.

"The mayor is just getting himself better, " Mr. Leon said, his eyes welling up. "This is very emotional. This is part of history folks," he said.

With files from Patrick White

Associated Graphic

Toronto politics has been Rob Ford's life for 14 years, first as an Etobicoke councillor and then as the city's controversial mayor who repeatedly refused to step down from his position.


Though Doug and Rob Ford are similar in many ways, Doug, left, seems to lack the everyman appeal that put his brother in the mayor's office.


Doug Ford speaks to media outside his mother's Etobicoke home on Friday. He filed the nomination papers to make his run for mayor after those of his brother were withdrawn.


Face the nation
Two artists are documenting the life of Uruguay, one week - and dozens of hours of YouTube footage - at a time
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R6

MONTEVIDEO -- Christmas Day back in 2012 was horribly hot in the Uruguayan capital. Filmmaker Agustin Ferrando was hunkered inside in the air-conditioning, and idly trawling YouTube on his laptop. He entered the search terms "Uruguay" and "today" - and up came a home video of a woman cutting flowers from a public median, shot by an irate man out his window.

It was funny and poignant - the fellow behind the camera points out in the audio that the thief had driven up in a fancy car, and clearly didn't need to be nicking community flowers.

Ferrando turned to his partner, Fernanda Montoro, and asked, "How is it nobody is doing anything with these kinds of things?" Within a week, they had: Ferrando had searched each day for new video posted publicly on YouTube and cut it together into a narrative they called Otra Semana en Uruguay (Another Week in Uruguay). They put it on YouTube. A half-dozen friends watched it.

Two and a half years later, there have been 54 chapters and more than 3.8-million views - 500,000 more than their country has citizens. The project is a cult hit with Uruguayans of all ages: It's beloved as "the smell of home," as Ferrando puts it, for Uruguayans living abroad, and it has devoted fans around the world who may not understand the Spanish narration but have no trouble following the quirky spirit.

The pair screen 2,000 videos each week, and sample from 100, to cut together a six- to eight-minute piece. There might be a tractor parade in a farming town in the interior, a precocious baby who has learned to wave, a Rubik's cube convention, a kid who crashed his bike, some senior citizens playing cards, a lady showing off the complicated pudding she mastered, a water main that broke, and a South Korean TV crew making an earnest documentary on the beef industry here. Seconds of each, over which Ferrando narrates in a sombre deadpan, gently mocking his small, misunderstood country and his earnest fellow citizens.

Does it sound weird? It is. And irresistible.

"It's people getting to know a country from the inside out, from the intimate details," mused Ferrando over tea in the capital.

It takes the pair a 40-hour marathon of screening and editing to make each chapter, posted on Sunday nights. They don't earn a penny from it.

"We've had literally thousands of offers," Ferrando said, sighing.

"But we haven't found a way of monetizing without compromising the program," finished Montoro. Recently they cut back to biweekly chapters because they could not maintain the schedule without starving. (In their real lives, Ferrando, 32, makes documentaries and music videos, while Montoro, 40, is a photographer.)

The artistic vision is rigid: They only use video from or about Uruguay, and only items that were uploaded in the previous week, or, now, fortnight.

Only twice have people ever complained about their videos being used; the pair immediately removed the clips. Because people know the producers are not profitting, they tend not to mind if their videos are being used. And they know the spirit is affectionate. "You can manipulate in a good way," Ferrando said. "We're used to malicious manipulation. But you can make heroes out of common people."

Indeed, most people are thrilled to appear - Ferrando and Montoro are flooded by e-mailed videos with pleas to be included. They refuse: "It has to have spontaneity," he says. "You can tell if it's authentic."

Only once has a fan succeeded in getting his unsolicited material used: A repeat contributor, he submitted footage of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler rooting in a Montevideo garbage can after a performance here last year, and pulling out a painting, which he carried off. Ferrando used the clip. The painting turned out to be the work of renowned Uruguayan artist Gonzalo Delgado, who learned via the video that some of his early paintings had gone in the rubbish bin of his teacher. The story made CNN.

Montoro and Ferrando call their channel Tiranos Temblad, from a line in the national anthem - while the show has nothing at all to do with defying tyranny, they wanted a phrase familiar to all Uruguayans, something insiderish, intrinsically Uruguayan, without being overtly nationalistic.

Another Week in Uruguay often features foreign-made content about Uruguay - excerpted in the original Japanese or Swedish or whatever. "Uruguay is a synonym for unknown, so there a lot of documentaries made here, about this unknown place," explained Ferrando. Many feature bumbling "stranger in a strange land" narrators. Uruguayans eat it up. "For a country with low self-esteem, you feel you can laugh at them because, for the first time, they've made the mistakes," he added.

Another fixture is a Crack of the Week - the hotshot, in Spanish slang. A young girl who can shuffle like a casino dealer, for example, or the kid who fixed the tent on his class camping trip.

"Before YouTube, you had to enter people's houses to see this intimacy, because if you put a camera on people, they changed they way they acted," mused the filmmaker. "Now, for the first time in history, we're so used to it that your kid or your grandpa is filming and you don't change the way you would if a documentary cameraman had a camera on you. For me as a documentarian, I find it so exciting to have this raw material."

From that raw material, much of it innocuous, even banal, the artists distill images of the lives of strangers that are often funny, and yet somehow achingly beautiful, sometimes even haunting.

While Ferrando's enduring love for his fellow humans comes through in the episodes, Montoro admits that sometimes she rolls her eyes or berates people on her screen for their foolishness.

A sixth-generation orthodontist, she had left Uruguay to work in London, where she happened to meet Ferrando; he was there shooting a tango show. Eventually he wooed her back home and she swapped her dentist drill for Polaroid cameras. Seven years later, they each listen beaming when the other speaks. While he is scruffy and vaguely elfin, she is striking, with long inky hair and Louise Brooks bangs, wide eyes and an even wider grin.

Neither is flustered by the way their peculiar artistic project has come to dominate their life.

"As a child, I thought I had to be a millionaire to be successful," Ferrando said. "And one day I woke up and I was successful and totally broke. So that's interesting."

Ottawa mulls Beijing snub over spy case
Sino-relations expert says the risks are huge if Canada embarrasses China in defence of arrested couple
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A3

BEIJING -- The Canadian government has threatened to have the Prime Minister back out of a high-profile meeting with the Chinese leadership if Beijing does not release a couple it accuses of stealing state secrets.

At the same time, the family of the detained couple, Kevin and Julia Garratt, says their detention should be viewed as a trade issue, and is urging the Canadian business community and provincial premiers to join efforts to win their freedom.

But the bid to apply heavy pressure on China is also now raising warnings that Canada could pay an economic price for angering a country that does not look kindly on foreign interference in its affairs.

The stakes are "huge" if Canada picks a fight with China, said Victor Gao, a director at the China National Association of International Studies.

The Garratts are Christian evangelicals from British Columbia who ran a coffee shop in the Chinese city of Dandong on the North Korean border. The couple, who first went to China 30 years ago, were taken away Aug. 4 by agents of China's Ministry of State Security. Authorities say they are suspected of stealing military and defence research secrets. They are believed to be held in a government-run hotel in northeastern China, held in separate rooms under close watch, each with two guards constantly present.

They have not been formally charged or arrested.

The Canadian government has said little about what efforts it is making to intervene on their behalf. But in a series of conversations with Chinese officials, Ottawa has made clear that if the couple is not released, it will decline an invitation to a meeting between Mr. Harper and Chinese leadership in Beijing around the time of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) conference in early November, two Canadian officials with direct knowledge of the situation told The Globe and Mail.

Time is critical: If the Garratts are not soon released, plans cannot be made for the pomp and circumstance around that meeting. Canada would still attend APEC, but it would likely be Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, rather than Mr. Harper, who would chair any sessions with China, one official said.

That threat is designed to strike at what Canada believes is a desire by China to host APEC unmarred by controversy. Chinese authorities place great importance on major global events, and see the APEC meeting as a chance to showcase their country on a global stage, much like the 2008 Olympics.

Officials from both countries had previously acknowledged they were planning a bilateral visit for Prime Minister Stephen Harper tacked on to his travel to China for the APEC summit, which was to include additional touring and a separate meeting with China's president, Xi Jinping. But this week, Mr. Harper's aides refused to acknowledge that plan - saying that while Mr. Harper was going to APEC, "no bilateral trip to China is planned right now, and certainly none has been announced."

The subject of the Garratts has been raised at a number of highprofile meetings, including one in late August between Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang and two people closely connected to Mr. Harper - his chief of staff Ray Novak, and his foreign and defence policy adviser, Christine Hogan.

"They know that it's receiving a lot of attention in Ottawa," said a Canadian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Harper government has sought to make its petitions quietly with China.

Last week, Daniel Jean, Canada's deputy minister of foreign affairs, met his counterpart at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, and again raised the couple's situation. "We asked for a quick resolution of the case," said the official. "We keep impressing on them that this is important."

But a Canadian snub to China carries risk.

Calling such a threat "amateurish" and "unprofessional," Mr. Gao, a well-connected Chinese academic, said China is keenly aware of how badly Canada needs new markets for its energy as the U.S. rapidly builds up its own supplies - and may be willing to use that as its own leverage.

Anger China and "they may slow down investment in Canada, they may decide not to import energy from Canada in such quantities. These are major decisions which may have consequences for decades to come," he said.

Canadian government officials have let it be known they see the couple's detention as a kind of reprisal for the arrest of Su Bin, a Chinese immigrant to Canada accused of masterminding efforts to steal U.S. military secrets.

Relatives of the Garratts are beginning new efforts to marshal support. This week, a Beijingbased lawyer for the family contacted the Canada-China Business Council (CCBC) asking for Canadian commercial interests to take up the cause. His argument is that the Garratts should be seen as small-business owners who have been arbitrarily detained - "a small company trying to make an honest living in a challenging and uncertain regulatory environment," the lawyer, James Zimmerman, said.

"This case is important for all foreign business in China knowing that folks like the Garratts can easily be detained without fundamental due process and access to legal counsel over speculative allegations," added Mr.

Zimmerman, Beijing managing partner for Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. An official of the CCBC acknowledged receiving the request, but said he is not yet certain how it will respond. "Strictly speaking, this isn't a business issue," said Y-F Daniel Cheng, the council's Beijing-based managing director.

But the possibility of Ottawa abandoning a meeting with Chinese leadership is unlikely to be welcomed by the business community.

"It is a very competitive market," Mr. Cheng said. "It takes everybody from Canada to make Canadian business a success and be competitive."

The Garratt family is also urging Canada's provincial leaders to pay attention. The premiers of Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and PEI are expected to join a Council of the Federation trip to Beijing Oct. 29; other provinces may also yet join.

Though the provinces have not been told by the federal government that they could be asked to cancel to apply pressure on China, Ottawa "will advise us if there are any issues as we prepare for the October trade mission," said Guy Gallant, spokesman for PEI Premier Robert Ghiz.

With a file from Campbell Clark in Ottawa

Associated Graphic

From left, Kevin Garratt, Julia Dawn Garratt, Hannah Garratt and Simeon Garratt: Kevin and Julia, Christian evangelists and operators of a café, are being held in China on suspicion of stealing state secrets.


Cheating as a literary fantasy: It just doesn't work on film
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L2

Filmmakers have been trying to capture Madame Bovary on the screen ever since the movies learned to talk. But, although film technology has improved, the challenge of giving a good account of Flaubert's novel seems only to have become more difficult.

You can see one of the problems during almost every minute of Sophie Barthes's new version, which premiered at TIFF on Wednesday. Emma Bovary is supposedly revolted by her commonplace surroundings and tedious life in provincial Normandy, but the camera constantly tries to seduce us with picturesque imagery. Her boring village becomes our period-movie theme park.

Worse, Emma turns into a straightforward romantic heroine. Flaubert tells us throughout the book that her notions of love are warped by cheap literary romanticism, but Barthes presents her as a true-love warrior who just picks the wrong men. We can't blame her for cheating on her dull husband, and take her side entirely, as Flaubert never lets us do.

When Madame Bovary was published in 1857, it was hailed and denounced as a bleak satire of contemporary life and mores. Henry James called it a masterpiece, although said its subject was "all that makes life ignoble and vulgar and sterile."

But when the novel becomes a film, with all the investment that requires, the satire and sterility mostly fall away. The lure of period romance is too strong, and the book's real outlook too unpalatable.

Barthes shows Emma (played by Mia Wasikowska) relishing her affairs as genuine experiences of real life. But Flaubert tells us that, after her first sexual encounter with a rakish landowner, "she recalled the heroines of the books she had read, and this lyrical throng of adulterous women began to sing in her memory with sisterly voices that enchanted her." Her erotic experience is actually mediated and guided by literary fantasies. How can you show that on film? Even Claude Chabrol's relatively faithful 1991 adaptation couldn't or wouldn't do it.

When Emma, in the book, realizes that a local law clerk adores her, she imagines in solitude that she loves him back, although "in his presence, her emotions subsided, leaving only an immense astonishment that ended in sadness." She's in love with an idea of love, not the man himself, but the film's Léon (Ezra Miller) is adorable, and Emma genuinely falls for him.

Barthes constantly feels the need to improve on Flaubert, adding and dropping scenes and inventing social metaphors - mainly spiderwebs and corsets. Her lack of faith in the material seems to infect the cast, who don't speak normally but in a kind of period-film diction, in which contractions are forbidden.

Even Paul Giamatti, who was so good in Barthes's clever debut feature Cold Souls, seems fake and uncomfortable as the pharmacist Homais.

Another way of dealing with Madame Bovary is to rewrite it entirely. The English writer and illustrator Posy Simmonds did this in her 1999 graphic novel, Gemma Bovery, which has also turned up at TIFF in a mainly French-language film version directed by Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel).

Gemmy Bovery is set in recent times, and its heroine is an Englishwoman who decamps with her husband Charlie for what she imagines will be a more rich and exciting life in rural Normandy. Simmonds's satirical target is the typical English fantasy about having a house in France, where all food is delicious and every vista is enchanting.

Gemma soon finds the reality less appealing, and embarks on affairs that mirror those of Emma. Her disenchantment is observed by Joubert, a literary baker in her village, who notes the Flaubertian parallels, acts as narrator and filches her diaries after her death.

Simmonds's witty, graphic narrative is lighter and more current than its model, and would seem to be a natural fit for cinema. But the film loses its way almost immediately, as Fontaine shifts the main focus to Joubert's middleaged yearnings for his pretty English neighbour. Gemma becomes almost an accessory to the comedy of the aging wannabe Lothario.

Fontaine even invents some clumsy erotic comedy for the two, including a scene in which Gemma, stung by a bee and told by Joubert that the venom needs to be drawn out, yells "Sucez moi!"

Joubert (played by Fabrice Luchini) is a voyeur who hogs the screen with his solemn hungry look and never lets Gemma know that his concern is less than benevolent.

His sneaking hypocrisy makes him a plausibly Flaubertian creature, although at the cost of flattening out the title character. Gemma Arterton looks fresh and appealing in her long skirts and floppy hats, but can't muster the tense dissatisfaction of Simmonds's Gemma.

Her end isn't much like Emma Bovary's, and comes just after she has written in her diary that she is "looking forward to my new life." That's a long way from "the abyss" Emma sees opening under her as she runs to poison herself.

The best film translation of Flaubert's novel remains the Chabrol version, because it tampers least and acknowledges in voiceover quotations that it can only hint at the fierce splendour of the book's language. But in the end it feels too small for the novel it represents, and somewhat unsatisfying as a film.

The hard truth is Flaubert was an exacting wordsmith whose art really doesn't transfer to visual means. His great subject was the hypocrisy of nearly everything, and it's tough to remain true to that with period-film aesthetics and the objective means of cinema.

Nonetheless, we can probably expect more film versions. Flaubert's trial for offending public morals still gives his novel a whiff of notoriety at a time when most literary scandals are about plagiarism. When Lydia Davis's English translation came out in 2010, Playboy magazine published an excerpt with a cover tag that called it "the most scandalous novel of all time."

Vincente Minnelli worked the same angle in his lavish 1949 film, which spliced scenes from the trial into Emma's story. It's the wrong reason to make a movie of the book, but it may be that there are few good reasons.

Madame Bovary plays at the Winter Garden Theatre today at 4:30 and at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 11:15 a.m. on Friday.

Associated Graphic

Mia Wasikowska plays Emma in Sophie Barthes's version of Madame Bovary; as with many productions, it fails to capture the nuance in Faubert's novel.

Driving with early adopters
The success or failure of electric vehicles depends on these quasi-pioneers of the technology
Thursday, September 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D1

Getting to the future before the rest of humanity usually costs extra. I was reminded of this during a recent trip up the West Coast in an all-electric Tesla Model S. By the end of the sixday drive to Whistler, B.C., from San Diego, I'd learned a lot about both electric cars and the price of being an early adopter.

Electric vehicles are a tiny subset of the automotive world - in North America, they make up about a quarter of 1 per cent of the market. But as history has proven, that's going to change.

Pulling into a Tesla Supercharger station in Southern California, I realized that I was entering a new driving universe. The station looked like a spaceship, with a row of charge ports and a curved roof studded with solar panels. I plugged in the Model S next to one owned by Jim Muscarella, an engineer who specializes in largescale energy projects. Muscarella bought his first Tesla in 2008, the first year they became available.

Now he has three.

Muscarella's life seemed like a real-world version of Tony Stark's (the fictional inventor who turned himself into Iron Man). Muscarella tracks his car's charge through an iPhone app. His home is covered with solar panels that charge his cars and feed power back into the grid. He travels the United States for free, powered by the sun.

Muscarella's car isn't cheap. The Model S starts at just less than $80,000, and a fully-loaded performance model such as the one I drove can reach $140,000. But Muscarella is willing to pay what it takes to be part of the automotive future - today.

Tesla owners tend to be the kind of people who bought computers back in the 1980s.

They knew the typewriter would become a dead technology, and paid a premium to be part of a new world.

Heading north in the Tesla along the California coast, I was experiencing a real-world example of what Everett Rogers wrote about in Diffusion of Innovations, the 1962 book that analyzed the way we adopt new technologies.

Rogers broke consumers into a series of groups, and showed how their behaviour determines whether an innovation lives or dies. The first people to try new things make up a tiny group known as Innovators - pioneers who experiment with new technology and are willing to put up with the hassle and risks that innovation often entails. A good example of Innovators are the Wright brothers. Then come Early Adopters, who help grow an innovation, such as Charles Lindbergh, who took up flying when airplanes were better known than they were during the Wrights' time but were still highly experimental.

Early Adopters are key to the success of a new technology - they test it, help improve it and convince others it's worth trying; Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic helped spark the development of commercial aviation. Early Adopters create a critical mass and influence the next, larger groups that take up a technology - the Early and Late Majority. These groups put an innovation over the top.

When the Majority starts buying, a product goes mainstream and pushes aside what came before, as when the Model T killed off the horse and buggy, or when the smartphone rendered the conventional cellular handset obsolete.

Rogers placed his consumer groups on a Bell Curve chart. Innovators made up 2.5 per cent, Early Adopters 13.5 per cent. Together, the Early and Late Majority made up 68 per cent. And then came one final group, which made up 16 per cent: Laggards. These are recalcitrant consumers who adopt a technology or style so late in the game that it's become passé, such as parents discovering Facebook even as their children abandon it in droves.

In his book, Rogers looked at factors that determine whether a new technology would achieve widespread acceptance. One of them is cost. Innovators and Early Adopters tend to be successful people who are willing to pay a premium to be on the leading edge, but attracting the masses demands a clear value proposition. Electric cars such as the Mitsubishi iMiev and Nissan Leaf have gained a following among the Early Adopter crowd, for example, but limited range and high cost have so far kept the Early and Late Majority away.

The electric car movement has seen more than its share of Innovators, such as the guy who converted a Honda hatchback to electric power and towed a streamlined trailer behind him with a diesel generator inside it, running flat out to give him unlimited range. Early Tesla owners, including Muscarella, weren't far behind. They bought Tesla's first model, the tiny, Lotus-based Roadster, when it came to market in 2008 and learned how to live with an electric car in a gasoline-powered world.

The Tesla owners I met are all Innovators or Early Adopters. Physics professor Chuck Robertson showed me some Tesla software tricks and walked me through the Model S's energy use model. Monika Kozdrowiecka, a Los Angeles entrepreneur who owned two Model S's, showed me how to use the iPhone app to unlock her second car, which was located 200 miles away. She can check its power level, and honk the horn from anywhere. Amazing.

By the time my trip was over, I'd spent nothing on fuel, and seen the advantages of the Tesla's electric powertrain - silent, smooth and mechanically simple. The Tesla's motor is the size of a small beer keg, and produces 416 horsepower. When I decelerated, it turned into a generator, feeding power back into the battery.

I had entered the automotive future. But there was a price to pay. Fill-ups took longer than they do with a gas car - about 40 minutes at a Supercharger station, and many times that through a standard electrical outlet. And I had to plan ahead to ensure I'd have a place to charge.

But I still came away wanting a Tesla of my own. I guess I'm an Early Adopter. Better that than a Laggard.

1903 The Wright brothers make aviation history and forever change travel 1984 Macintosh introduces the personal computer, changing the way we work and play 2008 Elon Musk's Tesla looks to change the way you commute

Associated Graphic

Jim Muscarella bought his first Tesla in 2008.


Judge from humblest beginnings to decide famed athlete's fate
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

PRETORIA -- Growing up in a crowded two-room house in Soweto township under apartheid, Thokozile Masipa often slept on a makeshift bed under the kitchen table. Too poor to go to university, she toiled as a clerk, a messenger, a self-described office "tea girl" and eventually a crime reporter.

It took 10 years of night studies, while raising two children and working day jobs, but she finally became a lawyer at the age of 43, and then a judge - only the second black woman in the country to do so. And this week, in the culmination of an extraordinary South African journey, the former tea girl from Soweto will decide the fate of one of the world's most famous athletes.

On Thursday, Justice Masipa will begin delivering the verdict in one of the most-watched trials in recent history: the murder trial of Olympic doubleamputee hero Oscar Pistorius, who shot his girlfriend through a bathroom door last year.

The 66-year-old judge could convict him of murder or a lesser charge of culpable homicide, or she could free him entirely. Her decision could send him to prison for life, or a shorter jail term, or allow him to return to stardom in the global sporting arena.

The post-apartheid symbolism is stark. The prosecutor and defence lawyers, products of a system of white privilege, must now accept judgment from a black woman from Soweto's gritty Orlando East neighbourhood. It's a vivid example of South Africa's transformation, but also an inspirational story of a woman who overcame every obstacle that the apartheid system could throw at her, from poverty to sexism to racism.

"I love the image of these powerful elite lawyers kowtowing to a woman from Orlando East," said Jane Thandi Lipman, the Canadian director of a 2008 South African documentary about the country's female judges.

"She had to fight so hard to get where she is. It was sheer hard work and determination."

In the courtroom during the Pistorius trial, Justice Masipa was soft-spoken but stern, reprimanding the lawyers for their missteps and giving a tongue-lashing to journalists if their cellphones beeped.

But she has said her background has also made her compassionate toward poorer defendants. Growing up amidst crime and despair in Soweto, she saw suffering and hardship all around her.

"A lot of young children didn't have role models, because all they saw at the weekend was people getting drunk and getting stabbed," she said in a rare interview for Ms. Lipman's documentary.

"Children saw that happening, and most of them didn't really go to school with an aim to do something, they just went to school because someone said, 'You have to go to school.' That is why it means a lot for me that I was able to be something."

Justice Masipa was the eldest of 10 children. Five of her siblings died in childhood, and a brother was murdered in his twenties. Known as Matilda or Tilly in her youth until she switched to her African name, she lived with her husband in a tiny house of just one room "which served as a bedroom, bathroom, study room, you name it," she said.

After working in menial office jobs, she earned a university degree in social work in 1974, but apartheid made her career almost impossible. She worked instead as a crime reporter and an editor of the "women's section" - where she explored political and social issues that weren't traditionally written about in those pages.

A year after the 1976 Soweto uprising, with the police cracking down on dissent, she and other women reporters organized a demonstration in downtown Johannesburg, and were promptly thrown in jail for the night. They slept with newspapers as their blankets, defying orders to clean a clogged toilet and refusing to see themselves as prisoners.

The first newspaper where she worked was banned by the apartheid authorities, but she moved to another newspaper and began her legal studies at night, finally earning her degree the same year that Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Eight years later, in 1998, she became a pioneer: one of the first black female judges in South African history.

"To the young women in the townships where I've grown up," she said later, "I would tell them one thing: anything is possible."

Yet even today, in a country where black women represent about 40 per cent of the population, only about 15 per cent of South Africa's judges are black women.

In 2003, Justice Masipa applied for a position on the Constitutional Court, the country's highest court. When a bar association said she wasn't experienced enough, Justice Masipa tartly pointed out that this was always the argument that people used to protect the racial privileges of the past.

"This is not the first time that people have spoken about lack of exposure, lack of experience ... and unfortunately it is not the last time," she told a panel of officials who interviewed her for the Constitutional Court job.

"What scares me is that those words are usually used by people who want to block transformation," she told the panel. "There are a lot of people out there who have got the potential, who can do the work, but because at the back of people's mind they've got this lack of exposure, lack of experience, people with the right kind of potential are not put forward."

As a judge, she has shown no tolerance for men who abuse women. In one of her most famous judgments, she imposed a 252-year sentence on a serial rapist who had attacked women "in the sanctity of their own homes, where they thought they were safe."

Her court rulings have revealed an utter fearlessness of South Africa's most powerful institutions. She ruled against the Johannesburg city government when it tried to evict squatters without finding new housing for them. She told prosecutors to investigate police who had tampered with evidence in a case before her.

Under the glare of the world's spotlight this week, she will need all of that fearlessness again.

Associated Graphic

Justice Thokozile Masipa, left, inspects the bathroom door that Oscar Pistorius used a cricket bat to break down after shooting through it, during his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in May. On Thursday, Justice Masipa will begin delivering the verdict.


Fears for Ferrari's future
Iconic auto maker risks losing its Italian identity under Marchionne
Thursday, September 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D3


A couple of years ago, Lapo Elkann, the car-nut grandson of the late Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli, was outraged that Volkswagen had agreed to buy Ducati, the Italian motorcycle company best known for its lean, testosterone-laden road missiles. In a text message to me, he said, "Ducati has to stay Italian" (I had interviewed him not long before about other matters).

Elkann toyed with the idea of bidding for Ducati to keep its bloodline pure but couldn't compete with Europe's largest car maker. Ducati is now a brand within Volkswagen's Audi marque.

I wonder if Elkann fears that Ferrari is destined to become the next Italian motoring icon to hand its Italian credentials to the barbarians at the gate. If he does not, he should be, for Ferrari may be on the verge of becoming American. If you don't like the idea of a German Ducati, you might hate the idea of an American Ferrari.

Last week, the protector of the Ferrari brand, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Ferrari's long-time chairman, was pushed out by Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of both Fiat, which owns 90 per cent of Ferrari, and Chrysler. He is to be replaced by Marchionne himself. The management overhaul appears to leave Ferrari's Italian heritage intact. Indeed, Marchionne is Italian (and also has Canadian citizenship) and so is Fiat, which has been associated with Ferrari since the heyday of Enzo Ferrari in the late 1960s.

So where is the potential threat to Ferrari's Italian-ness? It comes from two fronts. The first is an ownership structure that is about to change. Fiat is merging with Chrysler and the new entity, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), is to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange some time in the fall. That will make Ferrari, indirectly, an American-controlled company.

Ferrari's ownership would become directly American if Ferrari were to seek its own initial public offering on the NYSE. It's an open secret that Fiat has contemplated a stock market listing for Ferrari.

Analysts have written about the idea and Marchionne himself has talked up Ferrari's potential value. In 2011, he dismissed reports that Ferrari might be valued at 5-billion ($7.1-billion) as a stock market player, insisting it would be worth double that figure. While Marchionne denies that plans are being made to roll Ferrari onto the stock market, there is no doubt he is dazzled by the cash torrent that such a deal could release.

The second threat comes from Marchionne himself, at least in my opinion. There is no doubt that Marchionne is one of the finest auto executives on the planet. He became CEO of Fiat in 2004 and spared it from almost certain oblivion. Five years later, he formed a partnership with Chrysler, then emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and later took full control of the Detroit banger. Chrysler has since come back from the dead, proving Marchionne's credentials as a turnaround artist par excellence.

But that's the point - he's a fixit guy, not a brand builder and Ferrari is all about the brand.

No one buys a Ferrari because it reaches 100 km/h half a second faster than, say, a McLaren (it doesn't). No one buys a Ferrari because it's as comfortable at high speeds as a Porsche 911 (it's not). Ferraris are bought because they are red-blooded, fire-breathing stallions on wheels that look as good standing still as they do doubling the speed limit. They are bought because they share the DNA of the fabulous cars built by Enzo Ferrari himself.

They are bought because they are part of the same stable as the Formula One cars that remain the most successful F1 team since the sport was invented. They are bought because they are Italian.

The brand is carefully nurtured. Under Montezemolo, who became Ferrari's boss in 1991 and launched beautiful beasts like the Enzo and the 458 Italia, the waiting list was kept at two years.

Anything less and the brand would lose its exclusivity. Ferrari did so in part by keeping production low - about 7,000 cars a year are built. Note that you almost never see photos of the Ferrari production line in Maranello. That's because Ferrari is terrified of leaving the impression that its cars are mass-produced, like Ram trucks or Jeeps.

It wants buyers to think they trickle off the line, lovingly caressed by craftsmen every centimetre of the way.

No one outside the upper ranks of Fiat and Ferrari knows why Montezemolo resigned when he did, but there is no doubt that Ferrari's six-year losing streak on the F1 circuit made both him and Marchionne exceedingly grumpy.

I, for one, don't buy the theory that the F1 losses sank Montezemolo's career. I suspect that he was resisting Marchionne's vision for Ferrari and finally lost the battle. It's possible that Marchionne sees Ferrari as a global company with far higher production volumes and an American stock market listing. Not an exclusive Italian sports car maker, in other words.

Last week, Montezemolo put his anxiety about Ferrari's future on plain display when he was quoted as saying, "I fear Ferrari will become like Lamborghini."

At one point, Lamborghini was regarded as Ferrari's glamorous equal. Then it ran into financial trouble, handed the keys to Volkswagen and essentially lost its identity. Today, Lamborghinis are considered fine, though rather soulless, machines, their Italian DNA all but gone even if they are still produced in Italy.

The Ferrari brand is one of the most alluring brands in the automotive universe, perhaps the most alluring. Enzo Ferrari sold Ferraris as gorgeous racing machines. Montezemolo sold them as dreams.

Through an American stock market listing and ramped-up production, Marchionne may sell them as luxury products. To be sure, a Ferrari is a luxury product but it's one that is Italian right down to its thundering exhaust. If the Ferrari brand is to continue to thrive, the spirit of Enzo Ferrari has to be nurtured, not vanquished.


Gallery Miles Markovic is taking on the Targa Newfoundland in a pickup truck this week. Text and photos, posted daily.

Associated Graphic

Under the reign of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo Ferrari launched beautiful cars such as the 458 Italia.


Cara Gee's first film debuted barely a year ago, but she has already been tapped to lead a powerful female cast on the CBC's stylish but dark new western drama Strange Empire. Marsha Lederman meets the actor in Empire. Vancouver and discovers a woman keen to both make it big and keep it real
Friday, September 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P42

At last year's Toronto International Film Festival, actor Cara Gee was crowned one of the event's rising stars and granted all the A-list accoutrements that came with the title, including a driver and temporary custody of many carats of diamonds. The chauffeur, alas, was hers for only the first few days of the festival; when a meet-and-greet with the Minister of Canadian Heritage came up later in the week, Gee was without her limo and out of cash and transit tokens. So she put on her $200,000 worth of jewellery, hopped on her bike and cycled downtown.

"This is exactly what it's like to be an actor in Canada," says Gee, telling the story over coffee in Vancouver almost a year later. "It was a really wonderful moment of just the absurdity and the [contrast between] the image of what we put out there and then the reality of what our life is."

Gee has been in British Columbia since May, shooting a gritty new CBC drama series, called Strange Empire, that premieres Oct. 6. Set in 1869, it's billed as a western with a cast of female heroes. Gee plays Kat Loving, a Metis woman struggling to survive under terrible circumstances, displaying enormous strength and a powerful, Beyoncé-like sexuality (Gee has a tendency to compare her characters to Beyoncé, with whom she is obsessed).

We're caffeinating in Vancouver's Yaletown, where Gee is staying in one of the upscale neighbourhood's sparkling waterfront towers. With a high-end marina at her doorstep, her temporary home is a world away from her bicycle and Toronto's Parkdale, where Gee lives "very frugally" with her fiancé, actor Kaleb Alexander. Her West Coast digs seem perfectly suited, however, to someone whose standard joke, when asked about life goals, is that she's going to buy a yacht someday.

Luxury-boat aspirations aside, Gee has a surprisingly frank and down-to-earth perspective on the life of an actor, especially when I ask if she minds telling me her age.

"I like telling my age because I think that it does all of us a disservice to pretend that we're younger than we are, because it actually takes time and effort and dedication to get good at the thing that we do," says Gee, who turned 31 a few days earlier.

When I explain that some actors - often women - are concerned that having their age made public might affect their ability to win roles, she acknowledges that that's a reality, but perhaps not for her.

"I feel like I'm in a unique position because I'm not ever cast in those sort of beautiful-blonde leading-lady roles, so I have a bit of freedom to bring my full and realest self to the thing.

I don't have to pretend to be something that I'm not because there's no point," says Gee, who is half Ojibway. "I'm very obviously a minority and there aren't many of us in movies or on TV. So when I do get a role like this, it's because of who I am, which is wonderful, but it's also ridiculous that that is still a thing. That people are going 'Oh wow, the CBC's doing this really diverse show - because there's a black woman and a native woman.' I can't believe it's 2014 and this is still something we're talking about."

Gee was born in Calgary and raised near Bobcaygeon, Ont., where her family moved when she was five, before relocating to Newmarket. She attended four high schools, finding her destiny at the last one when, looking for an easy OAC credit, she enrolled in a drama course. She had already applied for a post-secondary arts-management program - she was organizing punk concerts and envisioned a behind-the-scenes music-industry career - but scrapped those plans. She studied acting at the University of Windsor and has been working steadily since graduating in 2007.

Most of that work has been in theatre, with a stack of acclaimed performances - most recently in Daniel MacIvor's Arigato, Tokyo at Toronto's Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (she's an ensemble member of the independent theatre company Birdtown & Swanville, which is in residence at Buddies). A couple of years ago, she landed a starring role in her first feature, Empire of Dirt, about three generations of First Nations women. The film had its world premiere at TIFF last year and Gee was nominated for best lead actress at the Canadian Screen Awards.

Then came the CBC series and an intense role that, in addition to its artistic riches, offers a steady income. "I cried when I got my first paycheque," says Gee, who figures the dress she bought for her 31st birthday party was the first article of clothing she had purchased in almost two years. "I'm a theatre actor; I'm a poor lady. You can't have extravagant tastes," she says, dressed simply in an olive blazer, black T-shirt, skinny jeans and neutral flats. Her off-duty look is a stark contrast to her character's western-gothic style, a wardrobe she calls "badass, gangsta."

As we continue to chat, her stories are infused with what she calls a reckless optimism. She displays a sharp insight into her craft and has, as she puts it, "the energy of a monster." Right now, Gee is in a great place, but she's also keenly aware that the life of an actor is filled with ups and downs. Like borrowed diamonds on a bicycle, she is on a dazzling, fast-moving ride.


New York designer Wes Gordon doubled his effort to update classic knits this season by cropping the proportions of an ivory crewneck and pairing it with a woven bias-cut skirt.

Associated Graphic

Photography by ALAN CHAN

WESTERN GOTHIC Cara Gee (centre) spent the summer filming Strange Empire outside of Vancouver with co-stars (from left) Melissa Farman, Tattiawna Jones and Aaron Poole.

Wes Gordon skirt, $1,790, sweater, $1,250 through Hunter boots (worn throughout), $165 through Peter Bauer rings, $345 each through www. Leather Works by Jolene purse, $115 through Photographed at St. Anns Provincial Park, Cape Breton, N.S.

It was a change of weather and a bit of luck that led to the discovery of one of the world's most important shipwrecks - one of John Franklin's two lost ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Researchers are now one step closer to unravelling the mystery so tightly connected to Canada's northern identity. Kim Mackrael reports
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A10

OTTAWA -- Researchers had been hoping to take advantage of an opening in the Arctic sea ice to explore a northern area where one of Sir John Franklin's lost ships is believed to have sunk.

But a shift in the weather and heavy ice coverage held them back, forcing the group to continue their efforts in another stretch of water farther south. That's where the expedition had a stroke of luck: An archeological crew walking the shores of a small island in Queen Maud Gulf found two small artifacts from a British Royal Navy ship - an encouraging sign that one of the famous shipwrecks could be nearby.

A Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker dispatched a smaller vessel to comb the seabed, and it soon picked up signs of a wreck just 11 metres beneath the water's surface. An autonomous underwater vehicle - which is like an underwater robot - confirmed it was one of the two lost ships.

The discovery brings researchers one step closer to unravelling a 19th-century mystery that is viewed by many as a pillar of Canada's northern identity. The doomed 1845 Franklin expedition disappeared while searching for the storied Northwest Passage, but the location of its two ships - the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror - was long unknown.

It's believed that one of the ships was lost somewhere in the eastern Queen Maud Gulf, while the other may be farther north, in the Victoria Strait.

Jim Balsillie, former co-chief executive officer of Research in Motion, was one of the major backers of the Parks Canada project through the Arctic Research Foundation, which he founded. He joined the expedition temporarily in late August and said he had been pleased that some researchers might have an opportunity to venture to the more northerly search area.

But the ice was not in their favour, Mr. Balsillie said, and the group headed south to join another set of research vessels about a week ago. The change in plans turned out to be fortuitous: One of the ships was discovered just days later in the southern search area.

"Lo and behold, because of that change of plans, they were actually able to push into farther reaches of the south this summer," Mr. Baslillie said. "And in 11 metres of water they found - right in the eastern part of Queen Maud Gulf - they found one of the vessels."

Ryan Harris, an underwater archeologist with Parks Canada who helped lead the Franklin search, said a sonar image showed the ship five metres off the sea floor in the bow, and four metres off the floor in the stern. He said the image indicates that some of the deck structures on the ship are still intact, including the main mast, which was sheared off by ice when the ship sank. It's likely that the contents of the ship are also well-preserved, Mr. Harris said.

Adrian Schimnowski, operational director for the Arctic Research Foundation, said the search was initially narrowed down to two main areas based in part on Inuit accounts, artifacts on the shoreline and studies of ice movements: the eastern Queen Maud Gulf farther south and the Victoria Strait farther north.

Mr. Schimnowski, who plans to rejoin the expedition on Wednesday, said that when archeologists found artifacts on a nearby island, it was immediately seen as a positive sign that the wreck in the southern search area could be nearby. It took just two passes for the small vessel that was deployed from the Coast Guard icebreaker to discover the first underwater signs of the shipwreck, he said.

Parks Canada has led six major searches for the lost ships since 2008. The search this summer was led by four vessels: the Canadian Coast Guard ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Kingston and vessels from the Arctic Research Foundation and One Ocean Expeditions.

Mr. Balsillie said his interest in the lost Franklin ships was piqued in 2008, after he spotted two private vessels - one from Russia and another from the United States - in an area where the ships are believed to be lost. And he said he wanted to help make sure that a Canadian expedition would be the first to uncover that missing link in its history. "One could say this is the most important undiscovered, known artifact out there in the world today, and we found it in Canada," he said.

For more information about the Royal Canadian Geographical Society's role in the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition, visit /franklin-expedition

1. July 26, 1845

Two whaling ships sight Franklin's ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror as they sail toward the Northwest Passage.

2. Winter of 1845-46

The expedition winters at Beechey Island. The graves of three crew members who died that winter are discovered by a search party in 1850.

3. 1846-47

The expedition gets trapped in sea ice.

4. 1847-48:

The ice doesn't melt enough to free the ships in the summer, forcing what was left of Franklin's crew to spend nother winter locked in.

5. Spring of 1848:

With provisions running low, some crew members set out on foot in search of food and possible rescue.

The lost crew members are driven to desperation and ultimately resort to cannibalism, in all, 129 men die.


The ships were thought to have drifted southward with the ice

6. Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014

A remotely operated underwater vehicle, part of Victoria Strait Expedition, finds one of the two ill-fated Franklin Expedition ships - HMS Erebus or HMS Terror. The exact location has not been disclosed.

2014 Victoria Strait Expedition:

CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier, HMCS Kingston, research vessel Martin Bergmann, expedition cruise ship One Ocean Voyager, Parks Canada's 10-metre aluminum survey vessel Investigator, as well as several smaller vessels.

Associated Graphic

The HMS Erebus and HMS Terror leave England in 1845, never to return.


This side-scan sonar image taken from a remotely operated underwater vehicle shows one of two ships from the lost Franklin Expedition.


John Geiger of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society holds an iron fitting from a Royal Navy ship. The davit was a key piece of evidence that led to the discovery of a ship from the Franklin Expedition.


In Ward 2, the battle heats up with a new Ford on the ballot
Special to the Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M1

In an election with several exciting ward races, few will be as dramatic and closely watched as the campaign for Ward 2, which Mayor Rob Ford will seek to win even as he faces a health crisis.

Until yesterday, that campaign pitted Mr. Ford's low-profile nephew Michael against Andray Domise, a 33-year-old financial planner and Munira Abukar, a Ryerson University criminology student who sits on the Toronto Community Housing board as a tenant rep. (Eleven other candidates have registered.) Today, those candidates find themselves running against an international celebrity who won't have to worry about gaining name recognition.

Mr. Ford's opponents have a tough fight on their hands. Ever since the charismatic Mr. Domise entered the race in the spring, he's emerged as a promising contender: He's attracted city-wide media attention with his tough anti-Ford rhetoric and his active social media presence. His campaign resonated with progressive voters well beyond the ward's boundaries, and has drawn significant donations: $22,000 to date, and well over $2,000 yesterday alone as the news broke that Mr. Ford was running in Ward 2.

But Mr. Domise will need more than money and a way with words to defeat Mr. Ford, whose family has represented the area since his father, Doug Ford Sr., was elected to a provincial seat in the area in 1995.

Doug Jr. has served as councillor there since 2010.Located mostly north of Highway 401 and west of the Humber River, Ward 2 is something of an anomaly, as the bulk of the area is an industrial zone. Besides Rexdale, it encompasses a strip of low-income high=rise apartments on Dixon Road, and an enclave of residential neighbourhoods near Scarlett and Lawrence.

Census data show that Ward 2 has a population of about 55,000 people. The average household income, $72,000, is almost 20 per cent less than the city-wide average, as is the proportion of residents with post-secondary education. Immigrants from India make up the largest cohort of newcomers.

The area is perhaps best known as the home of the Woodbine race track and slots facility. Before he became mayor, Rob Ford vowed to transform the facility into a major entertainment/commercial complex, bringing in thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in investment. But those plans fell through, and the Fords subsequently opposed a proposal to locate a new casino there.

"We knew that we could potentially end up running against Rob Ford," Mr. Domise said. Ward 2, he argues, has endured a lack of investment in community services, shoddy transit and an out-flow of jobs since Mr. Ford was first elected city councillor. "We've had enough of this ward being treated as a consolation prize."

He claims he doesn't intend to change strategies now that he's facing an international celebrity. "If you're asking me if we're flustered by Rob Ford, we're not panicked," Mr. Domise said. "We are running the exact same campaign as we did yesterday."

When he started, however, Mr. Domise didn't expect to be cast as the David in a closely watched David-and-Goliath-type showdown. "Six months ago, I was an office worker for Sun Life Financial. No one knew who I was."

He gained traction by telling local voters that Doug Ford, who is now running for mayor, has neglected the area's social needs, which means residents don't see much in the way of services in return for their taxes. "Not a lot has been accomplished here."

Ward 2, he says, "is not a world-class neighbourhood."

A progressive-minded candidate who rails against the rhetoric of tax cuts and reduced spending, Mr. Domise comes by his politics honestly. He grew up in Rexdale in a family dominated by caregivers. His grandmother, who came to Canada from Jamaica in the 1970s, worked in a senior's home, while his aunt ran a daycare and his mother managed a group home for troubled youth. "I was raised in and around a lot of marginalized people," he recalls. "Addicts, sex workers, people from troubled backgrounds. I thought they were just like everyone else."

After finishing high school in West Palm Beach, Fla., where his stepfather had a job, Mr. Domise enrolled in the University of Windsor but quit because he was struggling to balance school and a part-time job. He found work selling insurance products, and ended up at Sun Life resolving customer conflicts. (Mr. Domise left the company in the spring when he registered to run.) In 2012, he re-enrolled at UW and completed a political science degree through a distance education program.

Mr. Domise's name bobbed to the surface of the city's cluttered news cycle in late July after he called out Olivia Chow for her handgun ban policy, and then lambasted Rob Ford for making racist remarks. Soon after, he found himself on Newstalk 1010, fielding a call from Doug Ford, who made headlines by claiming his brother is more popular among black voters than Barack Obama.

It's clear he doesn't want to be pigeonholed as a visible minority politician, and Mr. Domise came away from that radio clash wondering if that's what he's up against. On the hustings, he's pitched himself as a candidate who reflects the area's considerable diversity.

The Fords, Mr. Domise says, "almost seem to see diversity as a sticking point. They've mastered a certain political game, which is toxicity."

Etobicoke veteran John Capobianco, a former federal Tory candidate, describes Mr. Domise as "phenomenally impressive."

However, he feels Mr. Domise should focus more on the Fords' record.

Mr. Domise intends to do just that, even if his opponent is confined to a hospital bed, seeking treatment for a tumour in his abdomen. "I'm not shy about talking about his record, because his record here hasn't been good," he said yesterday. "Rob and Doug had their chance, and unfortunately, they blew it."

Associated Graphic

Andray Domise, 33, who is running for city council in Ward 2, isn't afraid of facing off against Rob Ford.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014


A Saturday Globe TO story on Ward 2 incorrectly said candidate Andray Domise was struggling to balance school and a part-time job. In fact, he had three parttime jobs.

Tennis reaches its major conclusion with the early frenzy of the U.S. Open and the close of summer. The tournament and the season don't build to a climax. They decline to one
Friday, September 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1


The grounds at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center are essentially a very commodious parking lot. There's nothing but pavement and flagstone through most of it.

There are a few small, shady patches of grass - along one side of Louis Armstrong Stadium, at the far end of the main square that leads into Arthur Ashe Stadium - which are rammed to capacity at all hours.

Nobody sits in these spaces. They sprawl. Midafternoon, about a quarter of the loungers are stretched out, asleep. It makes for a peaceful battlefield triage scene.

There's tennis happening. These people have tickets to the tennis. But they're still here on the tiny lawns, out of sight of the tennis.

Inside the stadiums, it's a Grand Slam. Outside, it's still summer. People come here hoping to grab one last bit of that fading season, which arrives at Flushing Meadows every August ready to die. That's the real allure of this event, America's most urbane sporting export.

As a kid, the majors bookended my idea of summer. Wimbledon started as the school year ended.

All my strong memories of Wimbledon have nothing to do with who was playing whom.

They're shot through with that magical freedom of lounging around the house at noon on a weekday watching anyone play anyone else. There is nothing quite so decadent as rolling out of bed in your underwear, dragging a comforter down to the couch and allowing other, better people to physically exert themselves for your amusement.

Later, I would come to know this feeling as "unemployment" and it wasn't quite so magical, but Wimbledon - just the idea of it - still makes me giddy. It's the beginning of all of summer's possibilities.

After Wimbledon ends, summer gets rolling. For eight weeks or so, sports recede. Baseball bumps along in the background, but lazily. You'll give it its full due in September. Every once in a while, an Olympics or a World Cup demands your time, but that is no constant.

Early on, the people who make money off professional sports realized their product is best suited to the pragmatism of fall and the limitations of winter. That's when we are trapped like rats in our homes, and have nothing better to do. Summer is for being outside, where no one will judge you for drinking in the middle of the day, possibly in a park.

Then the U.S. Open swings into view, and it's all over.

Maybe that's why the crowd here is so famously raucous. (A mind-boggling variety of licensed establishments may also have something to do with it. How many lovely days with the out-of-town in-laws have been destroyed by too many visits to the champagne kiosk?)

One of the small pleasures of attending this tournament is the chair umpires constantly, fussily shushing the stands, and being largely ignored. After each break, the stewards try to stem the flow of crowds rushing into the stadium looking for seats, so as not to distract the players. It usually turns into a game of Red Rover, as patrons push by the geriatric staff and begin sprinting toward the stands, which makes everything worse.

In one case, someone was called out by the umpire, who really had had enough - "Would the lady in the blue dress please take her seat?" The lady in the blue dress very purposefully slowed down and gamboled the entire length of Louis Armstrong. The players looked at each other, shrugged and started anyway.

I don't know the lady in the blue dress, but she is a hero of such Herculean proportions they should name a street after her. A long one.

Without ever saying the words, we put this disregard for etiquette down to the fact that these are U.S. fans. They will not be shushed or hurried. They will take their seats in their own damned time.

I think this mania is the result of summer's end, rather than national character. This is the last hurrah. They've called time at the bar and everyone has rushed up to order six drinks (not a metaphor). They're trying to jam several months worth of fun into two weeks.

And so, the U.S. Open doesn't build to a climax. It declines to one.

At the outset, the hallways that lead onto the court and into the dressing rooms are packed with players and hangers-on.

Every backstage space is thronged with people.

Now, it's nearly empty. The lucky survivors come to practise and then leave immediately. At home in your living room, this is getting more exciting. On the ground, the circus has begun to pack up.

With each passing day, the feeling here is of growing wistfulness.

Though I haven't been a student in ages, I still get violently ill around Labour Day. A return to normalcy (i.e. many, many searching conversations in the vice-principal's office) looms.

The first day of school always felt more like the beginning of the year than New Year's ever could. It's the bookmark in the philosophic annual of our lives.

It's a time for self-appraisal, which is seldom pleasant. ("Sept. 4: Not rich. Again.") It gets harder as life goes on. More history, less opportunity.

So if Wimbledon was freedom, the U.S. Open is the end of it.

Each match takes you closer to the end of one reality and the beginning of another. For two weeks, we're balanced on the edge of that possibility together.

It's proof of one the cornerstones of fandom - that while watching sport may or may not define your life, it is constantly giving it structure. The U.S. Open is one of those comforting signposts.

Life changes, but every year you chart its progress by watching this same familiar play, just with a different cast of actors.

Follow me on Twitter:@CathalKelly

Associated Graphic

Roger Federer tosses a serve during his U.S. Open quarter-final match against Gaël Monfils at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York on Thursday night. For more on the match, check our website,


An open letter to Scotland
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F9

Dear Scotland, You probably don't know this, but you made us. The first European to cross the continent and reach our Pacific coast was Alexander Mackenzie - a Scot. Our first prime minister and chief Father of Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald? Scottish. So too our second PM.

Our country's national dream, a railroad from sea to sea, was realized in 1885 when Sir Donald Smith, head of the Canadian Pacific Railway, drove The Last Spike at Craigellachie - a place named after a village in his homeland. The man who did the most to create Canada's system of universal public health care, and chosen as "The Greatest Canadian" in a national survey of CBC viewers, was Tommy Douglas. He was born in Falkirk. The thistle and the red lion rampant on our national coat of arms identify you as one of our four founding nations; half of our provincial flags contain a Saint Andrew's cross; and one of our provinces - Nova Scotia - is named after you. There are said to be more pipers and pipe bands in Canada than in Scotland. And nearly five million Canadians identify their ethnic origin as entirely or partly Scottish, which means we have almost as many Scottish-Canadians as you have people.

You made us - and as a gesture of thanks, we'd like to offer some advice on how to avoid unmaking yourself. This bit of history you are living right now? This referendum thing? We've already been through that. We may be a young nation but we have far more experience than you on this issue. We nearly tore our country apart. Twice.

The independence side in your referendum campaign is to be commended for a few things. There's no ethnic nationalism at the heart of the Yes movement, and that is no small accomplishment. And the question to be asked on the 18th of September - "Should Scotland be an independent country? - sounds remarkably clear and simple. The Quebec independence movement never dared ask anything so straightforward, because outright independence has never been favoured by anything close to a majority of the Quebec population.

Compare your question with the one asked of Quebeckers in 1980: "The Government of Quebec has made public its proposal to negotiate a new agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations; this agreement would enable Quebec to acquire the exclusive power to make its laws, levy its taxes and establish relations abroad - in other words, sovereignty - and at the same time to maintain with Canada an economic association including a common currency; any change in political status resulting from these negotiations will only be implemented with popular approval through another referendum; on these terms, do you give the Government of Quebec the mandate to negotiate the proposed agreement between Quebec and Canada?" The Scottish question is shorter and simpler. But is it really clearer?

It has not escaped the notice of us, your cousins from across the seas, that much of the case made by the Scottish Yes campaign is neatly described by our fuzzy 1980 question. "Sovereignty" but maintaining "an economic association"? Check. A new country, but also a plan to "negotiate a new agreement" with the old nation? Check. A Yes vote portrayed as promising co-operation rather than a severing of ties?

Check. And the idea that you can leave but keep the currency? Sorry, we've heard this song before.

The Yes campaign in Scotland, as reasonable as it imagines itself, seems to believe in the unreasonable proposition that you can improve your marriage by getting a divorce. It doesn't work that way. The Yes campaign also promises that post-divorce negotiations will take place in an atmosphere of complete calm and rationality - and that rump Britain will give it what it wants. But that glosses over the fact that the other side has demands, too. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said recently that, if Britain didn't let an independent Scotland continue to use the pound, Scotland might refuse to assume its share of the national debt.

Mr. Salmond has the greatest interest in maintaining the fiction that normalcy will reign and reason will rule in the event of a Yes victory - and yet the mere mention of a hypothetical negotiation has even him testily making threats. How well do you think it will go if things move beyond the hypothetical? Having looked over the edge of the precipice that you are marching up to, and having dipped our toe into the volcano more than once, we can tell you: It will not go well at all.

There is an alternative to independence: federalism. It's something we've been practising and perfecting for a century and a half. You've been at it for a decade and a half. Give it time. We're not sure if the "Devo Max" plans to devolve nearly complete responsibility for taxation to the Scottish Parliament, plans being floated by the British government in the final days of a referendum, are necessarily the way to go. But some devolution of taxing authority can take place. The Scottish Parliament has little power to raise its own revenues - whereas Canadian provinces have a full range of taxation and spending powers. That's federalism. That's how strong subnational and national governments can coexist.

Once upon a time in Quebec, the independence option was the choice of the young, as it is in Scotland. That time has passed; most young Quebeckers today do not imagine that their very real economic and social challenges will be addressed by drawing a new border. But it took us a half-century to get to this point. The same can happen for you, too.

So, dear cousins from beyond the seas, here is our advice and our plea: Stay in the United Kingdom. Let time pass and passions subside. Make changes happen, but within the U.K. And meet us back here in, say, 2040. You can take the U.K. apart then, if you still want to. We think you will not. And we know this: If you take it apart now, you can never, ever put it back together again.

Healthy food that tastes as good as the bad
This plant-forward restaurant serves primarily vegan and vegetarian dishes, but will add ethically sourced game meat if you ask
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S4

Exile Bistro

1220 Bute St. Vancouver


Brunch, $7 to $14; dinner sharing plates, $6 to $27

Pacific Northwest Open nightly from 5 p.m. to midnight; brunch on Sat. and Sun. from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. No reservations.

Casual dining 2 ½

You know it. I know it. Everyone - excluding the instantramen addicts on Utopia (can you believe those reality show nutters?) - understands that a healthy lifestyle should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, medicinal herbs, good fats and small portions of wild fish or free-range meat.

Yet it is also true that when faced with the choice between pork belly and fries or quinoa and tofu, it's just so darn easy to be bad. Especially in a restaurant where you can leave the stink of boiled grease behind.

So when a friendly new neighbourhood joint comes along making all that healthy stuff taste delicious without being preachy, it's time to rejoice. How could anyone resist a devilishly charming manager who tries to tempt his customers with holistic green Caesars at brunch?

"It's good for you," says Cory Munro, extolling the vitaminrich virtues of this frothy vegan cocktail mixed with potato vodka, pickled veggies, fresh-pressed juice and blue-green algae.

Booze before noon is good for you?

"Everything in moderation," he winks.

I like this guy! There is actually quite a lot to like about this plant-forward restaurant that features primarily vegan and vegetarian dishes, about half of which can be fortified (if you choose) with ethically sourced game meat. Most of the plants, flowers and herbs come from local forests and small farms.

The restaurant is owned by Vanessa Bourget, a holistic nutritionist and chartered herbalist from Quebec who was the holistic cocktail bartender at the Waldorf Hotel, a bar manager at Heirloom vegetarian restaurant and beverage manager at Nuba.

At Exile, Ms. Bourget wears many hats. She directs the menu and leads what she calls a "cooperative kitchen collective" comprised of herself and four other cooks (completely turned over since the restaurant opened last spring).

She also does most of the foraging, supplying the kitchen with wild mustard, clover flowers, thimble berries, Oregon grapes, licorice fern root, devil's club and all sorts of mushrooms, including the curiously fluffy and relatively rare lion's mane (also known as bear's head tooth) recently featured with roasted purple cauliflower, spelt kernels and brassica beurre blanc.

Ms. Bourget also creates the apothecary-inspired cocktails, which have garnered a cult following. The tumeric-and-yam bourbon sour is gently spiked with ginger, while a beautiful bright-red beet margarita packs a strong hibiscus-infused-tequila punch.

On the beverage list, you'll also find a few small-batch craft beers and an impressive selection of natural, organic and biodynamic wines that run the gamut from a clean, crisp and cheap Ponte di Piave prosecco to the classically elegant and pricey Domaine Pattes Loup Chablis.

Tucked away like a secret gem on the cordoned off stretch of Bute Street next to the rainbowpainted crosswalk, Exile is a tiny 22-seater. The interior is appointed in dark glossy wood, white upholstery, large mirrors and paper-pyramidal modules that hang from the ceiling like a honeycomb canopy.

Despite its tall, sidewalk-fronting windows, the room feels slightly boxed in during the day. On a sunny morning, I'd rather be sitting at the colourful public picnic tables outside. Exile does have a small patio, but the seats don't look very comfortable.

Innovative brunch dishes and exceptionally friendly service compensate for the lack of ambience. Eggs Benedict comes on a crumbly, but deeply herbed, gluten-free biscuit topped with runny, soft-poached eggs and a brightly acidic hollandaise that uses yogurt in place of butter for impressively plump creaminess and a small fraction of the usual fat.

If the seasonal toppings include cured venison, I suggest you ask for boar bacon instead. The former is slightly leathery, while the latter is lusciously smoky, meaty and crisp.

The farinata, an eggless chickpea omelette, looks limp and dry, but bursts with bold flavour - caramelized onions, crispy basil, earthy tagliatelle - in each bite. Seed-bread toast has great chewy texture.

Brunch made me eager to return for dinner. And after sunset, the room feels much more cozy. I went on a Monday without realizing it was Industry Night, with a live DJ spinning from 9 p.m. on. It was the perfect spot for a girlfriend gettogether. Mr. Munro kept us in stitches all evening. And the tapas-style menu makes it easy to share.

Cedar smoked potatoes is a Canadian northwest rendition of patatas bravas. The potato hash is smoked over cedar boughs, drizzled with cedar oil and a cloud of crème fraîche (all made in-house).

Collard greens, steamed in coconut oil and dressed with black sesame and truffle oil, have a nice firm tooth pull. But when the dishes are this small, they don't need to be staggered so far apart. The kitchen is a bit slow.

But the best way to understand this restaurant is to order the fondue, a dish that encapsulates its flexitarian ethos in a single cast-iron pot. You can order it with game (we had venison and elk) or substitute extra roots and shoots. The latter - an already large helping of radishes, beets, kohlrabi and potatoes - come par-roasted on a wooden platter with sauces (mustard seed, wild herb aioli, sometimes berries) and salts.

The ambrosial broth is vegan mushroom. But if you want to make it meaty, the kitchen will add roasted-bone glacé concentrated with lots of tasty minerals and collagen. After you've finished dipping and cooking the meats and/or vegetables, you toss a bundle of dry soba noodles into the pot to make a richly decadent soup.

If healthy food always tasted this good, I'd happily exile myself off the island of conventional eating.

Associated Graphic

Exile Bistro's fondue dish encapsulates its flexitarian ethos by giving diners the option to either order it with ethically sourced game or substitute extra roots and shoots.


When running, I'm an animal magnet
It started with a baby fox in the forest; then I attracted the company of deer and coyotes
Thursday, September 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L6

They call me the forest princess. Just kidding, that only happened once. But you remember Snow White and her forest friends? Well, Snow White and I are a lot alike. Along with being an extraordinarily pale (thank you, anemia) brunette, I share Snow's affinity for forest creatures and they seem to share it with me.

The animals of the woods run hot and cold, though. They only like me when I'm running, and only when I'm running alone.

It started three years ago with my running fox. As a creature of habit myself (let's be honest, most of us runners are), I ran before work at the same time each morning, on the same road.

Old Highway 117 is a beat-up and forgotten Muskoka highway that quietly hosts thousands of gorgeous Lake of Bays views. So, no, I don't ever get tired of running the same route, if that's what you were thinking.

But back to my fox. The first time I saw him, I was about four kilometres into a 12-kilometre loop. The baby fox crept out of the forest across the road from me. I stopped, but he kept trotting along the other side of the road, as if he had places to be and no time to stop and look at a sweaty teenage girl. So I started jogging again, and we ran parallel, sticking to our own sides of the road, for the next 500 metres until he jetted off back into the woods.

It wasn't until after a month of this occurring at least twice a week that I started calling him "my" fox. By then I felt comfortable enough in the relationship to claim him as my own. I imagined he would tell the other foxes I was "his" running human.

Hence, it was a blow to my pride when I found out later that one of the cottages along my route had been feeding a baby fox uncooked hot dogs at 7:30 a.m. all summer. It appeared my fox may not have been attached to my presence at all, but rather to the pursuit of food.

My fox seemed to have somehow marked me as safe for other animals, though. That same summer I ran into (almost literally) a coyote that was completely unafraid of my presence. I stopped and stood in the middle of the road, thinking it would slink back into the forest so I could continue my run. The coyote stopped and watched me watching him, probably thinking I would just slink off into the forest so he could continue his run. I'm not ashamed to admit that I lost this battle of wills, walking slowly backward for about 200 metres before sprinting home. I counted it as a tempo run and called it a day.

I saw too many white-tailed deer to count, and they were my favourites. I always stopped to see how close they would let me get, and found it was almost within petting distance.

After that summer, I went off to Queen's University and joined the cross-country team. I ran mostly with a pack of girls whose chatter wasn't conducive to animal encounters. The next summer, I tried not to get my hopes up that my fox would come back.

Nobody wants to be the desperate one in the relationship. I should have had more faith in my fox, though, as he joined me frequently throughout the summer, though not as often as the previous one. I suspected a lady fox might be involved.

This was also the summer when I was accused of being a wild animal myself (yes, by another human, and no, I am not scarylooking). Running along, minding my own business, I began to overtake a walker on the road. I passed her on the right, an action she didn't notice due to earphones. I wasn't expecting the ear-splintering scream she let out upon noticing me. "Oh my God, I thought you were a bear!" she exclaimed by way of explanation.

Though I am a brunette, as I mentioned before, I liked to think I resembled Snow White more than a cottage-country bear. Perhaps when I got home I'd shave my legs.

This is my first summer in the city, living in Port Credit and working in Toronto. I expected this to put a damper on my wildlife interactions, but the opposite has proved true. Port Credit is experiencing a rabbit boom this year. My most recent game is to see if I can spot more rabbits on my run than kilometres covered.

The rabbits almost always win.

I was out early one morning in August when the biggest fox I'd ever seen sauntered out of a marshy area by the road and crossed jauntily in front of me. I stopped, struck by how gorgeous he was, and felt a twang for my own running fox. My job in the city had put a damper on our bond.

When I got to work I announced: "You wouldn't even believe the size of the fox that I saw this morning. It was bordercollie-sized!" to which the response was, "Um, Caela, are you sure it wasn't a coyote?" Feeling a bit silly, I discreetly Googled "How big do foxes get?" And the answer is: not border-collie-sized. Obviously, I had fox on the brain.

The next weekend, I saw my fox. He's all grown up now, with a black tinge to the end of his tail and the swagger of a hunter. He didn't run with me, but stopped just long enough to shake his freshly-caught chipmunk at me before turning his back. I wanted to explain that my job in the city was really important to me, that it wasn't him, it was me. But he was already gone.

Caela Fenton lives in Port Credit, Ont.


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Associated Graphic


What I drank on my summer vacation, from a superb sour ale to an addictive B.C. lager. Plus, a new batch of Ontario wines
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L11

How does a wine critic spend his summer staycation? Drinking beer, at least in my case. Thirst-quenching brewski helped fuel my delusion that southern Ontario was experiencing actual summer during an August that felt like October. I hope you'll permit a brief holiday-report digression before I catch up on backlogged wine reviews. (Yes, I sampled wine as well, but, in my charmed life, that's called "work," not leisure.)

One highlight was Omnipollo Nebuchadnezzar Imperial India Pale Ale, a strong, hazy golden gem that - like most bookshelves in my home and a few of my embarrassing pop records - hails from Sweden.

Some have called it that country's greatest beer, for what that's worth. I love "Neb" for its impressive balance, the way its hopped-up bitterness fi nds friendly counterpoint in a succulent peach-apricot core and rounded, creamy, drinkme texture. Fair warning: It measures 8.5-per-cent alcohol and costs $4.25 for a 330-millilitre bottle in Ontario (various prices in Alberta).

Then I bought myself a bottle of Black Hops Cascadian Dark Lager, a limited-release product from Parallel 49 Brewing in Vancouver - and promptly returned to buy three more. It's sort of a fusion of three styles: cold-fermented lager for crispness, dark-roast porter for richness and substantial IPA-style hop content for bitter backbone.

Mission accomplished. It costs $5.50 for a 650-millilitre bottle in British Columbia and - wow - just $5.25 in Ontario.

I snuck in many other frothy bottles and cans this summer that are not readily available in Canada, including the excellent and sumptuously aromatic Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA from California and - be still, my heart - Westvleteren 12, a 10.2-per-cent fig-plum-dateraisin marvel made by Trappist monks in Belgium, the latter often described in blogs and reviews as the "best beer in the world."

And if I did not have to be sitting at this computer at the moment, I'd probably be glued to the bar at Indie Ale House in Toronto's Junction neighbourhood enjoying a Roll in the Hay. That's the brew pub's name for a glorious Belgianstyle sour ale aged in used chardonnay barrels. It's a sublime marriage of fruit and grain, a delectable wine-like beverage for the proud beer lover who wouldn't be caught dead uttering "I'll have a chardonnay."

How's that for a segue?

Today's release at Ontario Vintages stores shines a spotlight on new premium products from Ontario. I'm featuring a few of those wines below. These are not, however, all from the Vintages release, which, to be frank, is a mixed-bag quality-wise. I've thrown in some winery-direct and more generally available items, as indicated.

Charles Baker Riesling 2011 (Ontario) SCORE: 91 PRICE: $35.20

Expect sweetness from this exemplary medium-dry white. If you're cool with that, then you'll be rewarded. A dollop of residual sugar has been part of the signature of Charles Baker's rieslings, which are made at Stratus Vineyards in Niagara. As with many good German rieslings, to which this can be compared, the sweetness is deftly matched by cool-climate riesling's racy acidity, creating tension and a vibrant backdrop for complex flavours below the surface. Light-bodied, it serves up suggestions of stone fruit, citrus, lanolin and chalk as well as a whiff of damp meadow on the long finish. (It's the sort of wine that encourages far-out descriptors.) Try it with simply prepared freshwater fish, smoked fish, spicy-marinated salmon, light curries or cheeses, among other things.

Norman Hardie County Pinot Noir Unfiltered 2012 (Ontario) SCORE: 90 PRICE: $39

Ask Norman Hardie about traditional Burgundian techniques for crafting pinot noir and you may spark a marathon soliloquy with pauses saved only for gulps of air and more pinot noir. Prince Edward County's pinot preacher has turned out another fine effort with this 2012. Light-mediumbodied, it's supple and almost chewy, yet crisp on the finish, with smooth, jammy berries graced by a smattering of herbs. It would be great for lighter meat dishes.

Thirty Bench Red 2012 (Ontario) SCORE: 90 PRICE: $24

A blend of 51-per-cent cabernet sauvignon with 27-per-cent cabernet franc and the rest merlot, this Bordeaux-style red from Niagara is rich with plum and currant fruit joined by dark-roast coffee, bitter chocolate and spices. It all hangs on a firm, astringent backbone that would make it suitable for rare steak or lamb and worthy of five or more years in the cellar.

Rosehall Run Hungry Point Unoaked Chardonnay 2013 (Ontario) SCORE: 90 PRICE: $19.95

Rosehall Run sits on land sometimes referred to by long-time locals as Hungry Point - "hungry" because of the rocky and relatively arid Prince Edward County soils that offered little hope to struggling vegetable and grain crops. Fortunately for gifted winemaker Dan Sullivan and his partner in vine, Lynn Sullivan, wine grapes love parsimonious soils, so there's no reason to be thirsty on Hungry Point. Not with such a well-crafted white wine as this. It's full-bodied and round, showing zesty notes of apple and pear joined by a drop of honey, calling to my mind an orchard in crisp fall weather. Versatile at the table, it's suitable for shellfish, pork chops and a variety of lighter vegetarian fare. Available direct through

Angels Gate Mountainview Merlot 2012 (Ontario) SCORE: 88 PRICE: $18.95

A crisp style, this 2012 offers up bright blackberry and plum notes laced with tangy herbs, coffee and fine, chalky tannins. It's a good choice for seared duck breast.

Strewn Two Vines Cabernet-Merlot 2010 (Ontario) SCORE: 87 PRICE: $12.95

Medium-full-bodied, here's a ripe red with juicy dark-skinned fruit along and hints of prune and dried dates, vanilla and chocolate in a solidly balanced package for the money. This one's good for heavier meat dishes. Available in the regular LCBO aisles in Ontario, on sale for $11.95 until Sept. 14.

A first for this top legal mind: practising law
Former Supreme Court justice shares advice as she begins the next phase of her high-profile career back in Montreal
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A7

At 67, after an extraordinary, globe-hopping career, Louise Arbour has come home to Montreal after working outside Quebec since 1971. Once again, she is setting out to do something she has never done before - she has joined a law firm.

Ms. Arbour has been a Supreme Court judge, an international prosecutor of war crimes and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. But the toughest challenge she says she ever faced came at the very beginning, when as a young Quebec law student she moved to Ontario, first to be a law clerk at the Supreme Court in Ottawa, and then to be a law professor in Toronto.

On the occasion of joining Borden Ladner Gervais as counsel, she spoke to The Globe and Mail about her craving for learning, why she left the Supreme Court of Canada after just five years, and her advice for young people.

What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome to succeed in your career?

When I look back, the biggest move for me was to move from Quebec to Ontario. I went to be a law clerk in the Supreme Court of Canada [for Justice Louis-Philippe Pigeon] when I barely spoke English. Everything after that was a repetition of the same kind of effort to understand. Within a couple of years I was teaching at Osgoode Hall Law School. It's pretty obvious with hindsight that I crave the environment where there's a lot of figuring out how it all works.

That's a rare characteristic. Where did it come from?

I have no idea. You are talking to someone who is enormously not introspective. I have very little insight and not a great deal of interest in analyzing my inner drive.

What was the main skill that all these tough, diverse jobs of yours demanded?

The ability to think from first principles and not to get lost in the details. I led a team of prosecutors from the United States, Denmark, Italy. They came from different legal systems. The U.S. guys who mastered the federal rules of evidence were often the ones that you had to shake from the details of the rules and say - "think of this unique environment in which we are operating."

You spoke up publicly against the PQ government's proposed charter of values limiting religious symbols in the public service last year. Why did you decide to enter the debate?

It was really important to me, the kind of climate to which I was returning. And frankly, I was just appalled at the tone and the content of the voices supporting this charter.

What was the Supreme Court ruling you wrote that you're proudest of?

I think maybe the one that stayed in my mind was a dissent I wrote in Gosselin in Quebec on the right to welfare. It was my first introduction really to economic and social rights and their alleged absence from the framework of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It was very novel, very challenging.

Why did you leave the Supreme Court of Canada after just five years?

I got a call from Kofi Annan to whom I originally said no. I told him I can't, I have a lifetime assignment. And then three months later I accepted. It would have never occurred to me to leave the Supreme Court except for something that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Under the leadership of someone I knew would support me.

What is the number one human-rights issue in the world today?

As a human-rights lawyer the instinct is to say all rights are equal, there is no hierarchy of rights. Still, inequality captures not just the whole umbrella of discrimination but also economic disparities that are unjustifiable on any terms, between countries and within countries.

Speaking to law students, or any audience of young people, what would you say is the lesson of your success?

If I were talking to law students, I would say to them, because it was such a revelation to me, particularly when I became a trial judge: It's all about the facts. If you get the facts straight, so many things follow quite naturally. To young people, I think I would say: Do not be discouraged because you cannot pick every good fight. But pick a few.

What are you going to do as counsel at Borden Ladner Gervais?

It's very early. We'll see what's ahead for both of us, for the firm and for me. I have some of my own work that I will carry on doing, which for me will be much more useful to do it in a professional environment than in total isolation. The most important one, the one that persuaded me that I would be much more comfortable working back in a law firm - I've been appointed an ad hoc judge of the International Court of Justice in a case between Bolivia and Chile.

Any chance you'll write your memoirs?

The past doesn't really interest me very much. The future interests me. The present is top of the list.


1971-1972: Served as law clerk for Justice Louis-Philippe Pigeon, Supreme Court of Canada

1972: Worked as researcher for Law Reform Commission

1975-87: Taught at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School

1987-90: Appointed judge on Ontario High Court

1990-96: Appointed judge on Ontario Court of Appeal

1995: Appointed single Commissioner for inquiry into the Prison for Women in Kingston

1996-1999: Appointed by UN Security Council as chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda

1999-2004: Appointed judge of the Supreme Court of Canada

2004-2008: Appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

2009-2014: Served as president and chief executive officer of International Crisis Group

2014: Counsel for Borden Ladner Gervais law firm, Montreal

Personal: Mother of three adult children and grandmother of three

Associated Graphic

Former United Nations human rights commissioner Louise Arbour is joining Borden Ladner Gervais as counsel.


Want to be healthier? Socialize ... in person
Psychologist argues face-to-face interactions should be a priority to stave off loneliness and make us more resilient
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L7

You exercise regularly. You watch what you eat. But when was the last time you hung out with a friend or family member to discuss important matters in your life?

If you want to be healthier, get out there and socialize, says Montreal-based developmental psychologist and journalist Susan Pinker. It may do you more good than joining the newest fitness craze or adopting the latest diet.

Pinker, a former columnist for The Globe and Mail and author of the bestseller The Sexual Paradox, is no Luddite. But she does have grave concerns that we're replacing face-to-face bonding with online interactions - and becoming lonelier and less resilient as a result.

Many of us now live, shop and work in isolation, she notes. And the number of friends and followers on our social-media pages belies the fact that many of us lack close social circles offline.

The middle-aged, she adds, are the loneliest, with one in three Americans, ages 45 to 49, having no one in whom to confide.

In her persuasive new book, The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier and Happier, Pinker argues that we need to make in-person social interactions a priority. Our longevity and well-being depend on it.

Pinker sifted through the latest psychology and neuroscience research, and travelled halfway around the world to investigate the powers of in-the-flesh relationships.

Face-to-face contact not only makes us healthier, she found, it can have profound effects on our children, our romances and our work.

In an interview with The Globe (face to face, naturally), she shared some of her findings:


The lesson:

If you live in Sardinia, you can be certain you won't age alone.

Pinker travelled to this rugged Mediterranean island, known for its high rate of centenarians, to learn the secrets to the inhabitants' longevity. She discovered a key factor was their close-knit relationships with neighbours and family.

"It seemed to be a paradox, because [their lifestyle] seemed to be removed from everything that we think is prolonging our lives here; you know, our Omega vitamins and hot yoga. There's none of that there," she says. "And they're eating animal fats and salt, and all those things that are supposed to be bad for you."

Social bonds are crucial to one's health, Pinker points out. Besides emotional support, friends, family members and acquaintances provide pertinent information, such as referrals to doctors and advice about shared experiences. They also provide lifts to the clinic and deliveries of chicken-noodle soup - the kind of help that can only be offered in-person.


The lesson:

Don't sweat too much over what you feed your children. It's more important that you eat with them. Having regular family meals plays a bigger role in developing a preschooler's vocabulary than almost any other activity, including reading books, Pinker says, citing a 2001 study.

She notes that children whose family have regular meals together also do better in school, not only academically but also in terms of behaviour. Teenagers, particularly girls, are less likely to use drugs and alcohol and are less vulnerable to developing eating disorders if their families dine together.

So why is the act of eating as a family so important for children's development? Unlike sitting down to do homework together, meal times tend to be relaxing, allowing for banter that expands children's vocabularies and lets parents check in on their children's lives, Pinker says. Plus, she adds, "It's a cipher or a stand-in for the type of parenting that a child is getting in other ways. So it's not just the meal itself, but the type of parent who says, 'I have to be home from work at this time, I have to make sure I'm at the table at least three or four times a week.' "


The lesson:

Online dating is no substitute for real-world encounters - and not just because would-be mates often misrepresent themselves online. People are surprisingly bad at describing what makes them attracted to someone, Pinker says. "The idea of creating an algorithm out of what people say they want is counterproductive in a way because most people don't know what they want until they see it."

Online dating isn't a bad idea, she says, as it can encourage people to meet face to face. But she does take issue with the promise many dating sites make that they can match people with their soulmates based on online profiles and questionnaires. It's a promise, she says, that is not backed up by empirical evidence.

"It could happen. Is it more likely to happen? Nobody has an answer to that."


The lesson:

When you're in a slump at work, go for a coffee break with your colleagues. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that workers at a bank call centre were happier and more productive when they went on breaks at the same time, compared with when they had staggered breaks so everyone was off-duty at different times.

"That simple [move of] having a coffee break at the same time so you could chat boosted their productivity by 20 per cent, and boosted their satisfaction in their work by 10 per cent," Pinker says, noting that adopting synchronized breaks seems like a quick and easy way for companies to improve employee retention and help gain a competitive edge.

Why are these casual workplace encounters so effective? "I think some of that is intangible," Pinker says, noting that simply engaging in face-to-face interactions provides psychological and physical reassurance. The topics of their conversations is another factor. Besides swapping stories about their weekend, employees may also trade tips on how to tackle workplace problems.

"They're sharing information about how to make the job easier."

Associated Graphic

Susan Pinker, author of The Sexual Paradox, has grave concerns that we're replacing face-to-face bonding with online interactions.



Rob Ford's brother would make a very different kind of mayor. He's tough, unpredictable, and not much loved on council. But in many ways he's a natural politician who has pulled strings at city hall. Can he win?
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M1

Can he win?

In some ways, he's his brother's polar opposite: a teetotalling, red-meat avoiding extrovert. In most other respects, there's no mistaking Douglas Bruce Ford, Jr. for anyone but the mayor's brother.

It's there in the pin-striped bravado, the bluster, the unstinting allegiance to family and fiscal conservatism. As a rookie councillor, he had sweeping influence. He was the face and mind behind key political battles, such as the fate of the Port Lands and the standoff with Chief Bill Blair. While he is often characterized as a more polished, less controversial version of his brother, history suggests otherwise.

But which Doug Ford will Toronto voters see? Can the rookie councillor, burdened by his own distinct political baggage, inspire the same inscrutable devotion among portions Toronto electorate as his brother? Will a tide of sympathy for the ailing mayor lift him to victory?

Recent polls suggest both scenarios are unlikely. A May Forum Research Poll put his support at 20 per cent, four points fewer than the mayor's, whose own odds of victory were considered long shortly he pulled out of the race on Friday.

The same poll put Doug Ford's approval rating at a paltry 30 per cent, two points shy of his brother's and a daunting 38 points behind John Tory, the widely acknowledged front-runner.

"Doug Ford simply doesn't connect as well as his brother," said Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research. "He's seen to have a heavier hand in council."

That's not to say he can't improve. Rob Ford earned such animosity in the city over his four years as mayor that few pollsters could see him moving beyond the 30 per cent threshold. Doug Ford's popularity ceiling is unknown, according to Mr. Bozinoff.

"I do expect a honeymoon period," Mr. Bozinoff said. "There's a sense of family tragedy. I would imagine the Ford Nation block will transfer in the short run. If he starts at 28 and has 12 points to close in six weeks, that's doable."

That aligns with the one hard rule everyone involved with Toronto politics has learned over the past four years: "The one certainty about mayoral politics today is that nothing is certain," said Josh Matlow, a rookie councillor who started work at City Hall the same day as Councillor Ford and watched the elder Ford brother exert a back-slapping, browbeating influence across the entire city.

While Mr. Ford did not respond to requests for comment on Friday, his political biography is well known. His dad was an Ontario MPP and family friends included Mike Harris and Jim Flaherty, but Councillor Ford spent his first 45 years in decidedly apolitical pursuits.

A Globe and Mail investigation last year detailed how the future city councillor and aspiring mayor trafficked in large amounts of hashish during the 1980s. He repeatedly denied the allegations and vowed to serve the paper with a notice of libel, but never did.

In the 1990s, he travelled to Chicago and opened the Chicago office of the family business, Deco Labels & Tags. It was in the United States that he said he honed the jocular salesman's posture that would later characterize his early political reviews.

His business touch has never fully translated on the political stage. While his brother, for all his personal foibles, inspired a profound, almost familial psychological connection with voters, Councillor Ford's attempts at a common touch appeared ham-fisted and insincere on numerous occasions.

Early on in the term, there was his public feud with Margaret Atwood over the value of Toronto's libraries, during which he complained his ward had more libraries than Tim Horton's. He was accused of "corrupt and corrupting" behaviour by a fellow councillor for handing out $20 bills to constituents. He reportedly accused a group home for young adults with autism of destroying an Etobicoke neighbourhood and labelled its residents as having "violent tendencies." On live radio, he referred to the mayor's wife as a "Pollack."

He careened from promise to promise without following through: a monorail, a Ferris wheel and an NFL football team.

And he bombed at building relationships. He has labelled members of the press gallery variously as "lazy," "the most biased person in the City of Toronto" and "jihadist." Facing a defamation suit, he apologized - twice - for accusing police chief Bill Blair of leaking information involving an ongoing investigation into the mayor. Even members of the mayor's staff were appalled at his treatment of council colleagues. "He was half the problem with Rob's agenda stalling," said a former staffer in the mayor's office. "Doug is a bully. Rob isn't a bully unless he's drunk or high. Doug is a bully ... Councillors don't have time for that. They found it offensive."

His political opponents are already exploiting these miscues. "[He] has repeatedly put down the members of city council, who were his colleagues," said John Tory of Mr. Ford. "He has publicly disparaged the premier of this province and members of this cabinet. He has been insensitive to a number of our communities, including very recently the parents of children with autism. So I don't think Doug Ford is more of the same, in fact he may offer Toronto something that is worse."

But, in highlighting the divisions, Mr. Tory could be playing into Mr. Ford's hands. Voters sided with Rob Ford in 2010, "as a vehicle for punishing city hall, for poking elites in the eye," Nik Nano ssaid. "It's what the Ford family represents ... I'd say Doug Ford's chances are better than Rob Ford's. Beyond that, we don't know what will happen."

Associated Graphic

Councillor Doug Ford signs his nomination papers at City Hall on Friday. He will replace his brother, Rob Ford, who has withdrawn from the mayoral race.


Councillor Doug Ford filed his nomination papers to run for mayor of Toronto on Friday after his brother withdrew.


Is a low-cost retirement just a flight away?
Many baby boomers have found peace living in cheaper, southern locales, but such a lifestyle requires careful research and sacrifice
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B13

Moving to a low-cost, tropical paradise, where $30,000 a year can put a couple into the upper middle class, is fast becoming the dream du jour for fifty-somethings who find themselves short on retirement funds.

It's a vision fuelled by books and websites devoted to the proposition that retirement utopia is just a plane ride away.

A recent article in U.S. News and World Report touts the merits of Loja, Ecuador, and Chiang Rai, Thailand. The website Salon gives a thumbs-up (with caveats) to Panama and the Philippines. "Malaysia is a place where you really can embrace a first world existence for $1,700 [U.S.] a month," according to an article in Forbes.

But does the reality match the rhetoric? While it's certainly possible to live more cheaply abroad than here, aging boomers should be wary of assuming that a plane ticket is all they need to supplement Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security.

That's true even if they're headed to destinations such as Panama, where English is widely spoken and the U.S. dollar is one of the official currencies.

"Living in Panama can be challenging," says Chris Powers, a U.S. Air Force veteran who runs, one of the more realistic websites on the pros and cons of expat life.

He estimates about half of relocated Americans and Canadians wind up disgruntled with everything from traffic jams in the capital city to the country's omnipresent bugs.

"If you browse through the Panama forums, you're bound to read about all the expats who've packed up and called it quits after a year or two of living here," he writes in an e-mail.

That's not to say that Panama, or any destination, doesn't offer many retirees exactly what they want. Natural beauty and exotic culture - not to mention the absence of winter - can add up to an intoxicating combination.

But before you start packing, here are a few things to consider:

Beware surveys

The natural place to start your research is with cost-of-living comparisons. The problem? They often produce odd results.

For instance, Numbeo, a website with a popular cost-of-living calculator, says rents in Mexico City are 57 per cent cheaper than in Vancouver. But a survey earlier this year by consultants Mercer says that rents for an apartment "of international standards in an appropriate neighbourhood" are nearly identical in the two cities.

This level of discrepancy is nothing unusual. The Overseas Living Price Index, as reported in the Daily Mail in Britain, says that living in Canada costs about 26 per cent more than living in Britain. But Statistics Canada's Foreign Post Indexes, which measure the retail cost of a basket of consumer goods and services in various countries, insist Canada is considerably cheaper.

The moral here? No index can substitute for actually visiting a country and seeing how it suits you.

"It's a very bad idea to just sell everything and move somewhere; it's a very good idea to make multiple long visits to get to know a country before you relocate," says Julia Taylor, a Vancouver Island resident and author of Mexico: The Trick is Living Here, a warts-and-all guide to daily life south of the Rio Grande.

Results will vary

Yes, it is possible for a couple to live well on $30,000 a year in many foreign locations - but that depends on how you define "well."

If you want to live in an airconditioned house, drive a car and eat out three times a week at high-end restaurants, you're probably going to be disappointed.

On the other hand, if you're willing to learn a foreign language and live like a local, you can live in some spectacular settings for very reasonable costs.

Mr. Powers's website includes sample budgets for what it would cost a couple to live in various Panamanian locations. They range from $1,415 a month to more than $3,200 - and that doesn't take into account trips home, a car or any large expenditures on clothes or furniture. Remember, too, that those are U.S. dollars.

"Panama City [the capital] is not a place to retire on a shoestring budget," he cautions. By his estimate, an apartment in a desirable area of the city is going to cost at least $1,200 a month; rents rise to $1,500 in trendy areas of the city or in an expatfriendly beach town like Coronado.

The deals get much better in small towns such as Aguadulce or David, where two-bedroom homes can rent for as little as $400 a month.

"If you do your homework ... you'll find that Panama is an amazing place," Mr. Powers says.

But he suggests that much depends on your willingness to live like a Panamanian - "meaning you don't demand a ritzy lifestyle." He also suggests that learning Spanish is essential if you want to live in many cheaper locations in the interior of the country.

Brace for a shock

Ms. Taylor cautions that new arrivals in any country are likely to encounter culture shock, when they stumble over everything from how to properly greet someone to where to buy their groceries.

"The first stage in a new country is euphoria, then comes a stage where you feel frustrated and even angry because you don't have the knowledge or the experience to judge what's going on," she says.

Ms. Taylor, who lived in Mexico for several years, says expats should realize it's not just living costs that change when you move countries. You must also adapt to different medical and legal systems, as well as new customs, new holidays and new expectations of polite conduct.

"It's not just a sunnier version of Canada," she says. "It's a different society."

Follow me on Twitter:@IanMcGugan

Associated Graphic gives sample budgets for living in Panama, ranging from $1,415 a month to more than $3,200.


Dominica is awash in rivers, waterfalls, thermal springs and one boiling lake. The crystal clear waters may also be why the Caribbean island is home to many of the world's oldest citizens. What are you waiting for? Getting wet on your vacation has never been so much fun
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page T1

ROSALIE BAY, DOMINICA -- 'We're going to snorkel into the elephant's ass," our guide announced as the boat nosed into the scenic bay.

What did he just say? I wondered. And then I saw it: a sea cave carved into the cliff that really did resemble a pachyderm's rear end. Once we swam inside, the smell was as bad as the name and we were greeted by the surprised shrieks of the resident bats. Scary, smelly (the guano reeked), but surprisingly cool.

Dominica in the eastern Caribbean is awash in water-based attractions: 365 rivers (it claims), countless hot thermal springs, dozens of waterfalls, mountainfed streams, surrounding seawater so pristine that sperm whales make their home in it year-round (the only place in the Caribbean they do so), not to mention the world's second largest boiling lake awaits discovery in the country's interior.

I was here to spend as much time as possible in Dominica's warm, clear aqua waters, but I'd also heard that drinking it might be a good idea, too.

According to the local Council on Aging there are more centenarians on Dominica per capita than anywhere else on the planet. The island was also home to the oldest living person recorded, Elizabeth "Pampo" Israel was 128 when she died in 2003. Today, there are 30-some seniors 100years-old and up, in relative good health. When asked what they owe their longevity to, drinking the country's pristine water is high on the list. So I really didn't have anything to lose.

Despite the smell, the waters surrounding the elephant butt cave were heartbreakingly clear and full of coral reefs swarming with scads of colourful tropical fish. Our next stop was on the other side of the island: Champagne Reef, so named for the tiny volcanic bubbles bursting up from geothermal activity. The sensation was amazing: It really does feel like you're swimming through spurts of warm bubbly. But wear beach shoes, not flip-flops - it's a rocky walk to the reef's entrance.

On dry land, I was still able to get wet, even if it was just the spray of twin waterfalls. I'm no hiker, but nothing in Dominica is flat, so even the most accessible water wonders, such as the Emerald Pool or the Trafalgar Falls, require a little work. But both are well worth the exertion: The dual roar of the Trafalgar twins is primal and exhilarating, and the emerald pool looks like something out of the Garden of Eden.

Even a visit to Kalinago Village - a re-creation of a Carib community formed by descendants of the island's original inhabitants - involves steep hills. But the vistas are surreal, and here I got a chance to learn more abut the island's indigenous history.

After all that exercise, I needed to find relief soaking in Dominica's thermal hot springs.

Papillote Wilderness Retreat has warm sulphur pools right next to a bracing cold waterfall, making it a natural hydrotherapy circuit any urban spa would envy. The springs and waterfall area can get a little crowded at times, so if you are seeking a romantic soak, grab lunch at the terrace restaurant and wait until it clears out.

I'd been in Dominica for a week, but I wasn't waterlogged yet, and signed up for what seemed like an eerie rowboat tour down Indian River. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest used the area to build the set for its voodoo priestess tree-house. Gliding silently through the Amazon-like wetland, I had to agree it was otherworldly. The air was heavy with pure, moist oxygen - I felt as if I could grab it by the handful. On both sides, our boat was flanked by the snaky, gnarled roots of the aptly named Swamp Blood trees. Our captain pulled into the swamp Bush Bar before turning the boat around. This time, instead of a glass of the island's magical water, I reached for a potent rum punch to shore up my nerves for the return trip.

Sometimes, a traveller cannot live on water alone.

The writer was a guest of Discover Dominica, which did not review or approve the story.


October to December is the best time to visit to avoid the rainy season. There are no direct flights to Dominica, so you must connect from a neighbouring island. Barbados and Antigua are closest, and there are connections through Puerto Rico and St. Maarten as well. There are also scheduled ferries from Martinique and Guadeloupe.


Rosalie Bay Resort has a treetop spa, black sand beach and organic cuisine. Located where the Rosalie River meets the Atlantic Ocean, during summer months, guests can also participate in baby sea turtle releases or see leatherbacks nesting. Rooms from $225 (U.S.);

Sunset Bay Club Beach Hotel is a small surf-side, family-run resort - the island's only all inclusive offering. It's also the launching spot for the elephant's ass cave snorkel tour. Owners are Belgian ex-pats and the husband runs the kitchen, so expect great Belgian fries and steamed mussels. Rooms from $141 (U.S.).

Anchorage Hotel is located on the waterfront just minutes from the tiny capital city of Roseau. The hotels' dive centre is is where you'll want to book a whale watching tour to see if you can get closer to the sperm whales. Rooms from $83 (U.S.)


Most resorts have their own restaurants, but downtown Roseau's Fort Young Hotel's Palisades dining room is ranked among the best for more upscale choices of international cuisine. Victoria Street, For more on the island, visit

Associated Graphic

Above: Gliding silently along Indian River, an otherworldly wetland in Dominica.


Adventurous visitors can hike 11 kilometres into Morne Tois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO site, to discover the world's second-largest geothermal "boiling" lake.


Can you spot the pachyderm's posterior?


Retirement, postponed
Couple should forget about leaving work early if they want to meet their lifestyle and inheritance goals
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B9

Chelsea and Chad are getting ready to wind down their working careers and retire soon. He is 61, she is 60. They have two grown children.

Both have administrative jobs bringing in a combined $170,000 or so, depending on Chad's bonus. Chad has a company pension that will pay him $14,000 a year. They have some savings, a house in the Hamilton area with a mortgage, and a townhouse that they rent out.

Their longer-term goals are to travel and do volunteer work.

"When can we retire, maintain our current lifestyle, travel once or twice a year and still leave an inheritance for the kids?" Chad asks in an e-mail. Their retirement spending goal is $6,000 a month after tax.

Ideally, they'd like to retire in a couple of years. In time, they plan to sell their house and downsize to a condo. They would like to leave the rental property to one of their children.

We asked Warren MacKenzie, founder of Weigh House Investor Services in Toronto, to look at Chad and Chelsea's situation.

Weigh House is a fee-only financial advisory firm that does not sell financial products.

What the expert says

Chad and Chelsea want to spend about $72,000 a year when they retire and still leave an inheritance (cash or real estate) worth about $500,000 to each of their two children, Mr. MacKenzie notes. With a net worth of almost $1.8-million, including their home and an investment property, and projected investment returns of less than 4 per cent a year after fees, they will fall short of their goals if they retire early, he says.

Chad would have to work full time to the age of 65, plus a couple of more years part time, to accomplish all they hope to, the planner says.

"By that time, assuming some growth in their investments, plus Chad's pension, they will have enough to achieve their goals," Mr. MacKenzie says, "but they won't have enough to withstand big investment losses or to endure long-term underperformance from their investment portfolio."

Their income in the first year of retirement would be $14,000 from Chad's pension, $12,000 in rental income, $28,000 for combined Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits, $30,000 in RRSP withdrawals and $6,000 from other savings, for a total before tax of $90,000.

They enjoy their home and would like to stay there for another 10 years or so, after which they would sell the house, pay off the mortgage, buy a condo and add about $100,000 to their investment portfolio.

Currently, the combined value of the couple's registered retirement savings plans and tax-free savings accounts is about $715,000.

"With this amount invested, and a life expectancy of 30 years from 2015, an improvement in their investment returns of one percentage point a year would increase their net worth sufficiently so that they should be able to leave an inheritance with a value of about $500,000 to each of their children," Mr. MacKenzie says.

Other ways to leave the desired estate would be to spend less or buy a joint and last-to-die whole life insurance policy that would pay $1-million to their heirs when they die. The policy would cost about $35,000 a year for 10 or 11 years, depending on the returns.

To keep income taxes to a minimum when they retire, starting at 65, Chad and Chelsea should plan to split their Canada Pension Plan benefits and Chad's private pension income. They should also take some early withdrawals from their RRSPs so that a portion of their RRSPs are taxed at a lower rate than when they are forced to take large withdrawals from their registered retirement income funds at the age of 72.

As for their investments, there are opportunities for improvement. They have an investment policy statement, but it seems to be designed more as a sales and marketing tool than as a guide outlining a disciplined investment process, Mr. MacKenzie says. Chad thought that the projected return of 6 per cent in the investment policy statement was after fees, but the fine print shows that after fees and costs, it was only about 3.6 per cent.

They have about 70-per-cent exposure to equities, more than their risk tolerance would indicate. As well, their entire portfolio is in a "corporate class" fund structure. These funds often come with higher fees, which may be justified if there are capital gains taxes to be deferred, the planner says. But there is no benefit to using them in a tax-sheltered plan such as an RRSP.

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Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled.


The people: Chad, 61, and Chelsea, 60.

The problem: Can they retire soon, maintain their lifestyle and still leave a substantial inheritance?

The plan: As it is, they will fall short of their goals. They need to take a hard look at investment fees, consider working longer, spending less or taking out an insurance policy with their children as beneficiaries.

The payoff: A road map of the planning necessary to accomplish all they want to.

Monthly net income: $9,850.

Assets: Bank account $5,000; TFSAs $15,000; his RRSP $375,000; her RRSP $325,000; estimated present value of his pension plan $125,000; residence $600,000; rental property $450,000. Total: $1.9-million.

Monthly disbursements: Mortgage $725; property tax $495; water, sewer, garbage $325; home insurance $80; hydro $325; heating $250; maintenance $50; garden $80; transportation $495; groceries, clothing $580; gifts $250; vacation, travel $400; dining, drinks, entertainment $600; sports, hobbies $550; grooming $120; pets, other $105; life insurance $155; telecom, TV, Internet $250; RRSPs $250; pension plan contribution $560; group benefits $65. Total: $6,710. Surplus: $3,140.

Liabilities: Residence mortgage $160,000 at 5 per cent.

Associated Graphic


The practice among many new global oenophiles of diluting luxe vintages with soda and other mixers may have old-school drinkers choking on their grand crus, but they shouldn't necessarily turn up their noses at those who enjoy a magnum with a side of Sprite. Such blending, Adam Leith Gollner writes, has been going on in some form or other for centuries
Friday, September 5, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P37

A beautiful, worldly thirtysomething woman I know, to be identified only as Andrea ("no last name please") for reasons soon to become apparent, recently invited me out to dinner. It would be an opportunity, she told me, to observe a peculiar habit of hers. Andrea is a fashion-world insider from Hong Kong whose job requires entertaining and dining with important clients, which is how she developed a penchant for something called "blush fizz."

"My boss loves fine wine," she explained, "so we often drink grand crus for business. The problem is, I don't really like wine - I've tasted enough to know I don't have the palate for it. Plus, I get drunk really easily and then I feel bad the next day and I hate that." Andrea has devised a solution: cutting red wine with Sprite to make a blush fizz. The mix, she said, not only renders the wine more palatable to her, but also allows her to drink a couple of glasses without getting inebriated.

To show me how it works, she ordered a typical bottle of wine she'd drink at a company meal, in this case a Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts by the esteemed Burgundian producer Domaine Dujac.

We were at Luckee Restaurant in Toronto, where the bottle, nowhere near the most expensive on the list, cost a hefty $375. As the sommelier headed off to fetch the bottle, she turned to a busboy and ordered a Sprite.

The wine was duly opened and tasted. The sommelier waxed rhapsodic about its purity, elegance and refinement. Andrea nodded along, calling it "the Céline of wine," a reference to the minimalist French fashion line. I found it excellent, if a tad beyond my usual price point. When the som left, Andrea surreptitiously poured half the wine glass into her tall glass of Sprite, creating a pinkish mélange that she gleefully sipped with a straw.

"Sure, the wine tastes good," she allowed, "but the blush fizz tastes really good. The Sprite is too sweet on its own and the wine too strong, but together they're just perfect."

Such scenarios may seem blasphemous to the average Western wine lover, but they're happening all over the world as cultures not used to drinking wine are becoming richer and drinking wine to display status. Not versed in the traditions of wine tasting, they modify wine to their own preferences.

Wealthy Russian patrons at private clubs in London regularly order pricey bottles of French wine with a side bottle of soda pop. Diners in Tokyo mix Italian whites with green-tea flavoured soft drinks. And forget merely putting sugar cubes into prosecco: Some high-rolling Brazilians stir artificial sweetener into their flutes of Dom Pérignon.

No country takes this collision of luxe and junk to the same extremes as China, where the elite have more money than God. Just as mixing white wine with Sprite is a common occurrence over there, so is the vinous use of Coca-Cola. Chef Gavin Russell, currently executive chef at the fivestar Han Yue Lou hotel in Nanjing, told me about a lavish winemaker dinner he recently prepared.

"The Chinese diners kept mixing Coca-Cola into their wine glasses, in the presence of the French vignerons," he recalls. "We're talking firstgrowth Bordeaux wines - Lafitte and Latour - cut with Coke. I asked the guys from the châteaux, 'Doesn't it bother you that they're doing that?

Isn't it disrespectful?' But they didn't mind. 'At first, yes, it bothered us,' they told me. 'But now we're just happy they're buying our wine, so they can do whatever they want with it.'" China has become the most lucrative market in the world for luxury wine and spirits producers.

It also happens to be a country where they traditionally drink their alcohol like water. "They're used to filling tiny glasses with baijo and knocking them back," Russell explains. "So you'll see them filling their wine glasses to the rim and then chugging it."

The esteemed wine writer Jancis Robinson, when asked what she thinks about the Chinese penchant for mixing Pétrus with cola, scoffed.

"That's not how the wine is meant to be enjoyed," she said. That's true - a Château Margaux 1961 isn't meant to be diluted or amplified in any way. But neither is it meant to be enjoyed with Mandarin sweet-and-sour squirrelfish, so, while you're enjoying dishes like that, why not drink whatever you want?

It's true that sipping a wine, savouring the bouquet, tasting rather than gulping, is part of the joy of loving wine - and that know-how will certainly come as newly minted wine-aficionados learn that there's more to wine than showing off how big your bank account is. To the true enthusiast, appreciating the subtleties that come with training one's palate is the whole point.

But even more important than detecting sousbois notes is remembering that wine is meant to increase happiness and pleasure. Top sommeliers will all tell you that champagne tastes great with potato chips or popcorn. Some premium barolos are perfect with takeout pizza. Everybody mocks the person who dares add ice to his or her wine at a summer barbecue, but doing so was common practice among Florentine nobility during the Renaissance. As anyone who has ever summered on the French Riviera can tell you, everybody on the beach drinks ice-cube-filled glasses of rosé through straws. And what of ancient Greece, where Plato and Socrates enjoyed wine blended with honey and spices?

Perhaps Andrea's choice of a blush fizz isn't that outlandish after all. At Luckee, finishing our Peking duck, the busboy noticed her empty glass.

"Would you like another Sprite?" he asked.

"Absolutely," she answered.

Associated Graphic

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Increasingly, a new class of wine drinker is enjoying that magnum of Dom Pérignon or Château Margaux 1961 with sweetening (some say taste-destroying) hits of soda pop.

Should Scotland be an independent country?
Like nationalists in Quebec and across Europe, the Yes supporters in Scotland have made a highly selective use of history to build a story of grievance and of repeated slights
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A9


A few weeks ago, I heard Scotland's First Minister speak at the Edinburgh Festival. Alex Salmond was bright, charming, appealingly selfdeprecating - a Scottish René Lévesque - as he made the case for Scotland's independence. It was all about a small proud nation struggling to be free from the toils of a cold-hearted uncaring England. The separation would be easy and painless. Scots would be better off, their social benefits and economic well-being underwritten by all that North Sea oil. More important they would be happier. The arts would flourish. Many in the audience loved it and groaned when the man with the English accent pointed out what might go wrong - that, for example, an independent Scotland might still use the pound, but that it couldn't expect to have any influence over the Bank of England's policies.

For a Canadian it was all too familiar. The assurances that nothing would really change in people's lives. Indeed that they would certainly be better off in a kinder, gentler Scotland out from under the thumb of Westminster. Why, Mr. Salmond has even promised that an independent Scotland can have its own entry in the Eurovision song contest. When Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard was asked during the 1995 referendum campaign what independence would mean he said it would be like waving a magic wand.

Above all - and this was an audience heavy in writers and intellectuals - there was a sense that voting Yes for Scottish independence was somehow more authentic, more daring, and more exciting than going for the stodgy status quo or paying attention to those boring arguments about economics or self-interest. Never mind if the amount of offshore oil (much less who it really belongs to) is open to question. Never mind whether taxes in Scotland will have to go up to maintain the same level of services. Perhaps Sean Connery, a long-time supporter of independence, who lives in Monaco, will move back to help pay the cost of what he says is a promise of "inclusivity, equality and core democratic values."

Like nationalists in Quebec and across Europe, the Yes supporters in Scotland have made a highly selective use of history to build a story of grievance and of repeated slights. What they do not talk about are the ways in which peoples of different regions, religions or ethnicities have so often intermingled and have a shared past. The Scots have been an important part of the Union ever since they joined. They played an outsized part in building and maintaining the British empire. So many of the businessmen in Calcutta were Scots that the annual St Andrews' Day dinner was the leading social event. Think of the great intellectuals of the Scottish Enlightenment such as Adam Smith, Robert Adam, David Hume or Walter Scott who so enriched the United Kingdom, of the many politicians from north of the border, among them Harold Macmillan or Gordon Brown, or of the inventors, whether James Watt who developed the steam engine or Alexander Fleming the discoverer of penicillin.

Until recently it was possible in Scotland to be both British and Scots. Indeed my own ancestors who moved to Western Ontario in the mid-nineteenth century were quite comfortably Scots, British and Canadian all at the same time. They never felt they had to choose. Today in Scotland, as the vote draws closer, people are having to make a choice and that is starting to divide families and friends. Whatever happens in the vote Thursday, the damage will have been done.

What is also so dispiriting to a Canadian who lived through the 1995 referendum is how the No side is repeating the mistakes the federal government made then. Its message has been largely negative, focusing on the reasons why Scotland should not leave rather than assuring the Scots that they are wanted and valued. The English elites have suddenly focused on the challenge in Scotland. This past week the trains heading north have been filled with politicians who have discovered that they might miss Scotland if it left.

If the vote is Yes, the next months will see prolonged negotiations between Westminster and Edinburgh and they will not be friendly. The Czech Republic and Slovakia had its Velvet Divorce because both sides wanted it. That is unlikely to happen here. The English, who are facing a sudden diminution in their size and their standing in the world, are going to be angry and resentful.

Mr. Salmond, not surprisingly, promises that there will be no fallout. The Scots will be able to have their cake and eat it, too. The English will come round. And Scotland will still be part of the European Union and that will provide Scotland with the security of membership in a much larger economic and political entity. It is not clear, though, that the EU will play along. It has little interest in setting a precedent for other separatist movements whether in Spain, Italy or Belgium. Even if it does join the EU, Scotland, with a population of some five million out of the 500 million in Europe, will have little leverage in Brussels. And it may in turn face an independence movement within its own borders; the Shetland Islands are strongly in favour of remaining within the Union.

Perhaps Mr. Salmond has his own magic wand and with one wave the week after next all will be well. The sun will shine on both sides of the new border and blue birds will sing. I wish I could believe it. And I wish that the lure of nationalism was not threatening to turn a worldly and cosmopolitan people inward and break up the United Kingdom. When the world is facing such a multitude of threats, whether from a belligerent Russia or from Islamic jihadis, destroying a major democratic player seems a dangerous luxury.

Margaret MacMillan is the Warden of St Antony's College and a Professor of International History at the University of Oxford, whose most recent book is The War That Ended Peace.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


A Tuesday article on the Scottish referendum incorrectly said Lucien Bouchard was Quebec premier in 1995. In fact, he was leader of the Bloc Québécois then.

The Jack the Ripper myth lives on
DNA evidence will never controvert the enduring literary image of a serial sex killer
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L2

Do you feel a slight disappointment on learning that someone may have identified the real Jack the Ripper, with some DNA evidence? Do you feel that vague sense of anticlimax, the realization that the truth isn't really that interesting after all? That's because it isn't. Forgive me for getting all postmodern on you for a moment, but there never was a real Jack the Ripper. That monster was basically an invention of Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle. Perhaps even of Thomas Harris (the novelist who created Hannibal Lecter). He has always been fiction.

I know these Baudrillardian poses can be annoying, but seriously, the identity of the real Jack the Ripper is utterly irrelevant, at this point. If there really was only one murderer then he was just a psychotic misogynist, of whatever social class, doesn't matter, end of story. So an amateur forensic investigator in England claims he has DNA evidence proving that the Ripper was a mentally ill Polish immigrant called Kosminski. (This guy has always been on the list of suspects.) A run-of-the-mill psychotic, an everyday working man.

How mundane.

Now everyone is arguing over the science involved and the provenance of the stained shawl ... why? The actual hand or hands that murdered five prostitutes in a poor district of London in the fall of 1888 have little to do with Jack the Ripper the icon, a powerful myth that has influenced art for a hundred years since. From the earliest reports of the killings, the story has been embellished and fictionalized: it has been a legend since the beginning, a story about a bogeyman and about unnamed evil and the danger of sex itself.

The letters that were sent to newspapers and police officers during the spree - the "Dear Boss" letter that first claimed the "trade name" Jack the Ripper, the "Saucy Jack" postcard from the same source, the "From Hell" letter that came with half a human kidney, along with hundreds of other letters from people who, bizarrely, wanted to share the murderer's notoriety - all were thought to be hoaxes by investigators at the time. We still don't know if any were real. It's those letters - written fictions - that have served as the basis for so many of the artistic representations of the legend - including a graphic novel and a movie called From Hell.

We don't even know how many victims were the Ripper's. There were 11 murders of women in Whitechapel included in the police investigation; of those, five are thought to be probably committed by the same person. But that may be just another Ripper myth. We don't know.

Here's what I mean when I say that Jack the Ripper was actually a fiction invented by Victorian novelists: Robert Louis Stevenson's story Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde appeared in 1886, two years before the murders. It concerns a depraved man who violently tramples a young girl in a lurid corner of London, a man of unwholesome appetites (i.e. sex!). He turns out to be the alter ego of a respectable man, a device that underlines the gross class inequity of the time and the proximity of the gentry to the squalor.

A Study In Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes novel, appeared in a magazine the following year, 1887. It also concerns mysterious murders in the dark abandoned houses of London, and notes and coded signals left behind. It gets the whole detective-with-microscope ball rolling.

Both stories may have been influenced by Edgar Allen Poe's short story of 25 years earlier, The Murders In The Rue Morgue (1841). Although it's set in Paris, it begins with the violent deaths of two women, one by throat slashing. A clever detective figures out the mystery.

A public already familiar with these literary tropes automatically saw the possibility of a boastful serial killer in the Whitechapel murders, and their media saw to it that the romance was kept alive. The idea of a sexual deviant who punished loose women in a red-light district sold more newspapers than had ever been sold before. It is widely thought that the taunting letters sent to police were written by journalists trying to pump up the story.

This was the first time the media used a scary nickname for a serial killer, a trick that became a habit (the Boston Strangler, Son of Sam, the Scarborough Rapist, etc.). The name Jack may have come from another English bogeyman legend: Spring-Heeled Jack, a humanoid demon who would come out at night and molest girls in the countryside.

Speculation began almost at once that a respectable gentleman could have been responsible for these ghastly crimes. Later, conspiracy theorists named aristocrats as possible suspects. Why? There was no evidence for this leap, as there was hardly any evidence for anything at all. There was, however, the story of Dr. Jekyll, fresh in everyone's minds.

Since then, there have been literary and dramatic Jack the Ripper interpretations too numerous to count: our understanding of what Victorian London looked and smelled like and how a serial killer thinks and what he wants are determined by these fictions. They all meld. When Thomas Harris created the cannibal killer Lecter, who likes to report on how he sautéed his victims' organs, he was consciously or not echoing the "From Hell" letter that claimed "I fried and ate [her kidney] it was very nise." This then retroactively informs our conception of all serial killers' - even Jack the Ripper's - supposedly brilliant-yettwisted minds.

All fiction, from the beginning. A representation without a referent. Evidence that fiction filters what we see to such an extent as to modify it. The reality is far too dull to become the fantastic eruption of societal sickness we know as Jack.

Associated Graphic

A stained shawl has led one investigator to finger a mentally ill Polish immigrant called Kosminski as the real Jack the Ripper.


Businesses divided over tax credit limit
Ottawa faces questions over economic impact of EI premium reductions that benefit only small businesses
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA -- Joe Oliver unveiled his first major decision as finance minister with a targeted tax credit for small business to boost hiring without sacrificing Conservative plans to balance the books and cut taxes further before next year's election.

But business owners and economists raised concerns the Small Business Job Credit would benefit only a small share of Canada's work force, and leave out the employers that hire the most.

The credit effectively reduces employment insurance premiums for small businesses, but falls short of a direct cut in premiums that would benefit all businesses and all workers. That broader cut in payroll taxes wouldn't happen until 2017, Ottawa confirmed Thursday, when premiums would drop sharply from the current $1.88 per $100 of insurable earnings to $1.47.

In the interim, small businesses will receive credits that effectively reduce the EI premium rate by 15 per cent over the next two years, with an average refund of about $350 per small employer that qualifies. That also means workers and many businesses will continue to pay premiums at the existing rate, boosting government revenue at a time when it is planning to win over voters with a good-news 2015 budget heavy on tax cuts and new spending.

The decision to limit the size of the credit shows the government's desire to please small business - a key constituency - while ensuring there is still financial room to deliver on some of the government's more expensive and outstanding pledges from the Conservatives' 2011 platform, such as allowing couples to split their income for tax purposes.

Mr. Oliver, who made the announcement Thursday at a hardwood flooring business in Toronto, said Ottawa could not immediately afford a premium reduction for all businesses and workers while still balancing the budget.

"In that respect, it's partly a question of the fiscal impact, which would have been very large, so we decided to focus it on the companies that we felt needed it most," he said.

An official with the Parliamentary Budget Officer said even with the credit, Ottawa will be collecting at least $4-billion more in premiums over the next two years than is necessary to cover the cost of benefits.

Mr. Oliver needs to find room to pay for the party's incomesplitting pledge, which is estimated to cost $2.5-billion a year in forgone revenue. Conservatives have indicated a strong desire to deliver on that promise in the coming budget, even though former finance minister Jim Flaherty, who died in April, had questioned the idea, saying he was not sure it would benefit society and that the policy "needs a long, hard analytical look."

The government argues the credit will apply to 90 per cent of Canadian businesses. However that remaining 10 per cent makes up a large percentage of the Canadian work force.

Only businesses with roughly 20 full-time equivalent employees or fewer are likely to qualify for the new credit. Statistics Canada data show that businesses with fewer than 20 employees account for only 20 per cent of all employment in Canada.

As a result, economists from across the political spectrum questioned the effectiveness the credit will have on hiring, while some small businesses that fail to meet the criteria were furious.

"It's appalling," said Peng Sang Cau, chief executive officer of Transformix Engineering, a Kingston company that makes automation equipment. She has 51 employees and pays far more than $15,000 a year in EI premiums for her employees - the government's cutoff for accessing the credit.

Small and medium sized companies are often cited as the "job engine" for the Canadian economy, she said, but medium sized firms often get lost in the shuffle when it comes to government support.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business praised Thursday's announcement and estimated the credit would create 25,000 person years of employment over the next two to three years.

"It is a big, big deal for small business," said CFIB president Dan Kelly, who was part of the announcement with Mr. Oliver and praised the decision.

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives, which represents large employers, is among several voices expressing concern that the credit risks discouraging some small employers from adding staff if it means they would exceed the cutoff and lose the credit.

It is a concern shared by Jack Mintz, director and Palmer Chair in Public Policy at the University of Calgary.

"I would have preferred broadbased tax cuts," he said. "If we keep giving these things to small businesses, what happens when they become big businesses? It becomes a disincentive to growth."

NDP finance critic Nathan Cullen said businesses should have to prove they have increased staff before qualifying for tax credits, while Liberal finance critic Scott Brison said direct premium reductions would be better. Mr. Brison said the government is continuing to use artificially high EI premiums to pad its bottom line. Mr. Oliver rejected the accusation, insisting his government is not creating a "slush fund" from EI revenue.

EI premiums are paid by individual workers and their employers.

In both cases the amount paid is calculated using a rate set by Ottawa. For individuals in 2014 it's $1.88 per $100 of earnings. Employers pay the individual rate multiplied by 1.4.

The amount of the premium is capped by applying the premium to a maximum of $48,600 in earnings. In 2014 the cap works out to $913.68 for individuals and $1,279.15 for employers.

Mr. Oliver rejected the suggestion that the government's actions are a sign of concern about the Canadian labour market.

"It's not a sign of worry," he said. "It's a sign of confidence that we're continuing on the right path."

With reports from David Parkinson, Richard Blackwell and Tavia Grant in Toronto

Associated Graphic

Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver arrives at a hardwood flooring store in Toronto on Thursday to announce the Conservative government's targeted tax credit for small businesses.


Is cash still king? ATM operator thinks so
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B10

Each week, we seek expert advice to help a small or medium-sized business overcome a key issue.

If cash were your business, you might feel rattled by all the virtual ways to pay these days - from the Interac Flash/CIBC Visa that doubles as a Tim Hortons card to wireless credit card terminals, with more to come. But as far as Justin Davies, founder and president of JD ATM Inc., is concerned, people will always be looking for cash.

For 10 years, his one-person company, with occasional parttime help, has been installing and maintaining automated teller machines in Toronto-area bars, convenience stores and ice cream shops as well as at festivals, farmers' markets and other places where vendors prefer cash. Despite a dip in the need for cash by as much as 40 per cent in some locations after a business owner installs Interac - providing a way for customers to pay via debit - Mr. Davies remains optimistic.

"Cash is more resilient than most people think," he says. "In terms of the health of my industry, I think it's taken the hit it's going to take. My cash requirements remain very consistent in terms of what I have to put in those machines on a weekly basis. I'm not seeing that much of a decline."

His clients are usually small local businesses - "the cool hip bar in the neighbourhood that just opened up" - rather than corporate-run bars and restaurants.

"We were never going to put a machine in Tim Hortons," Mr. Davies says. "They can do new technology all they want. It's not going to affect what I have in a bar that remains cash-only."

Mr. Davies says his machines do especially well if the business owner encourages the use of cash. He sees it as good for the businesses he serves because using cash speeds up lines, plus the business saves the fees that debit and credit cards charge.

Mr. Davies negotiates to split the per-transaction surcharge with the business owner - he makes an average of $600 monthly from a busy machine. The surcharge varies and is typically $1.50 a transaction in a neighbourhood store but $3 in a nightclub. Mr. Davies' company has between 50 to 60 ATM machines installed, and its annual revenue was about $150,000 last year.

Mr. Davies is thinking about adding screens to carry promotions, printing coupons on the back of cash receipts and even wrapping his machines in advertising the way they do with buses.

"I'd really like to see what my next steps could be," he says. "And to find investors interested in the company."

The experts

How do you grow a cash business when the use of cash is declining?

Sunil Mistry

CPA, CA and partner at KPMG Enterprise, Toronto

It's naive for him to think he has hit the bottom of the curve. His 40-per-cent drop in some locations isn't quite the bottom of the trough yet. The rumour is that the next version of the Apple iPhone will have the ability to pay at point of sale. That's where the industry is going - using your mobile phone to pay.

The best bet for him is to expand on festivals, auctions, farmers' markets and flea markets, particularly in rural locations. There's less need in an urban area, although hipster restaurants such as the Burger's Priest on Yonge Street may be good. Their whole thing is cash only - and they certainly have an ATM in there. But even there, if I walk out and go three doors to the right, there's a TD Bank, which is my bank. So why would I pay an additional surcharge?

His ideas for expanding with promotions aren't bad, as long as the advertising or coupons are specific to the location.

W. Glenn Rowe

Associate professor and Paul MacPherson chair in strategic leadership, Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.

If he's going to scale the business and attract investors, he has to squeeze every penny until the Queen screams. In technical terms, we call that a cost leadership strategy.

He's also got to consider hiring people full time. He needs people he can trust to do the negotiations. What he could do is find young people with university degrees in business, train them and pay them a base salary plus commission to sell. together.

If he doesn't have the skill set to delegate and lead people, then he should stay small at $150,000 a year and do what he's doing. Adding advertising with the digital screens and coupons sounds relatively inexpensive, and he may be able to get some revenue out of it, but I don't think that would be a major source of revenue.

Rebecca Reuber

Professor of strategic management, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

I'm not optimistic that Justin Davies is going to find a way to grow JD ATM because I think it's going to be hard to make the company's value proposition more compelling to the end customer. I like that he's aligning his goals with those of his immediate customer, the business owner, but there's a disconnect with the end customer. Although cash will always be around - at least in the short term - ATMs are pretty ubiquitous. A key success factor will be identifying venues where people need cash more quickly than it takes to get to a bank ATM, and those will get harder to find. Unless there are lots of people in this situation - a good-sized target market - the volume of sales will stay low.

Facing a challenge? If your company could use expert help, please contact us at smallbusiness@

Interviews have been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

Justin Davies' ATM machines can be found in such businesses as bars and convenience stores, where the owners encourage or require cash-only transactions.


A subtler side to Strindberg's Miss Julie
Reading between the lines of the classic play, Liv Ullmann's morose adaptation adds vulnerability, humanity - and a new scene
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R5

Almost nobody who films a classic play does the whole thing without cuts. It's less common to add a whole new scene to the heart of the piece, as Liv Ullmann does in her adaptation of August Strindberg's 1888 play, Miss Julie.

The long one-act drama portrays a lethal upstairs-downstairs liaison in a Swedish country manor on a midsummer night. Strindberg has the sexual tryst occurring offstage, but Ullmann follows the aristocratic title character and her servant lover into the bedroom and gives them several minutes of new dialogue.

"Strindberg didn't write what happens just before they make love, and after," Ullmann said in an interview after the film's TIFF premiere. "I wanted to show that."

In one particularly potent line, Ullmann has Julie (played by Jessica Chastain) say to John (Colin Farrell), "Do you ever feel that you're no one?" It may be the film's most intimate moment.

"That sentence is maybe mine, but that is what she feels, that is who she is," says Ullmann. "And it's not against what Strindberg did."

What Strindberg did has been changed and adapted by several playwrights in recent years, sometimes drastically. Patrick Marber's After Miss Julie resets the play to postwar Britain, and Yael Farber's Mies Julie - seen at Vancouver's The Cultch last April - adapts it to post-apartheid South Africa. Stephen Sachs revised the piece for a 1964 Mississippi setting in his Miss Julie: Freedom Summer (done by Canadian Stage and Vancouver's Playhouse Theatre in 2009), and Tara Beagan's Miss Julie: Sheh'man transferred it to a B.C. ranch, where Jonny was an indigenous man who had endured the residential school system. Toronto's Kick Theatre produced the piece in 2008.

One reason for all this rewriting may be a desire to deflect from the play's harsh sexual politics, which Strindberg lays bare in his polemical preface. Women, he writes, are "a stunted form of human being," and Miss Julie is typical of a degenerate type of "half-woman," who tries and fails to be as autonomous as a man - the natural "lord of creation [and] creator of culture."

"What Strindberg says in his introduction is horrible," Ullmann says. "I'm reading this as a woman." Her adaptation finds more vulnerability in John, more decision in Julie, and expansively humanizes the role of the cook Kathleen, described by Strindberg as a hypocritical "slave" that he only sketched in.

"It's not a production where there is this violence of the sexes," said Chastain, a two-time Oscar nominee who came to Toronto for the premiere at TIFF, "but perhaps it illuminates another part of Strindberg's writing.

"Liv said something to me at the beginning of rehearsal that really threw me for a loop. She said, 'What if Julie wants, from the beginning, what happens at the end? What if this night is about how she is going to get there?' "

The comment transformed Chastain's approach, she said, and you can see that right away on the screen. When she first appears, there's none of the flirtatious lightness many actresses begin with. "When you're playing a woman who wants non-existence at the beginning of the play, you're on a dark road," she said.

Chastain had wanted to do Miss Julie since performing a scene from the play while a student at Juilliard, and was eager to work with Ullmann. "But it was tough to stay in the character. I'm really different from Miss Julie."

Ullmann transferred the action to Northern Ireland, mainly, she says, because it would have been silly to shoot on location in Sweden with an Anglophone cast. But the cool Nordic lighting, leisurely pace and probing medium shots give the film a Scandinavian art-house feeling that may not surprise, given Ullmann's years as muse to Ingmar Bergman. Even the musical choices - contemplative chamber pieces by Schubert and Bach - recall some of Ullmann's great Bergman films.

She didn't see his 1985 theatre production of Miss Julie, which was reckoned a landmark staging at the time. Nor did she ever play the title role herself. Chastain said that she felt Ullmann was vicariously sharing the role with her, but the director disagreed.

"When the camera came on, I didn't tell her what she should think or what the scene was about," Ullmann said. "She's an incredible actor and I trusted in her creativity. If I have really great actors, I allow them to be what they feel is right in the moment."

Kathleen's role expanded partly because Ullmann knew that Samantha Morton could make so much more of the part than the dry, practical character that is often portrayed. Ullmann didn't write new dialogue for Morton, she said, but gave her more time on screen to react physically to the drama going on around her.

As for Farrell, Ullmann said "I don't know many actors who could play John the way Colin does. His brutality became so open and big, because you see the sweetness and the longing as well as the hatred. Male directors always make him so macho."

The film's finale is more definite and more gentle than the one Strindberg wrote. Ullmann said she was inspired by John Millais's 1852 painting of Shakespeare's Ophelia floating on the water with flowers, and by its implication that there can be something peaceful even in a tragic death.

The film arrives in European cinemas today, with North America release dates yet to be determined. Whatever the fate of this Miss Julie, we may see another collaboration between Ullmann and Chastain, who both said they would like to film Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, with each other.

Miss Julie screens at the Scotiabank Theatre today at 11:30 a.m.

Associated Graphic

Jessica Chastain says her character, Miss Julie, is 'a woman who wants non-existence,' which is a departure from her traditional portrayal.

As archeologists prepare to descend to the storied Franklin shipwreck, readers, print and digital, probe the depths of what the historic find says about a modern Canada, its Arctic - and its Prime Minister
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F8

I share the excitement about the "Parks Canada-led" discovery of the Franklin-expedition ship.

However, I cannot help but note the irony that this expedition, so proudly lauded by the Prime Minister as a "historic moment for Canada," received substantial funding from Jim Balsillie.

Parks Canada has had its operational budget cut annually since 2012. Hiking in Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island last summer, I felt compelled to take a photo of a tattered red-and-white rag atop the flagpole at the park warden's cabin at Summit Lake.

Staff mentioned later that budget cuts meant the cabin had not been visited that season.

If Stephen Harper really wants to assert Canada's sovereignty in the North, he would be well advised to restore funding for institutions like Parks Canada, not just step into the spotlight to share the glory when they achieve something newsworthy.

Stephen A. Kilburn, Guelph, Ont.

Now if the Prime Minister would put the same effort into finding all the missing aboriginal women.

He vowed to find the missing men because they are a part of our heritage - so are missing First Nations women.

Gary Ferguson, Peterborough, Ont.

Stephen Harper's "genuine nerdy interest" in Canadian history confuses me. His government spent $28-million on War of 1812 commercial reenactments. We don't know how much it cost taxpayers to find a ship from the Franklin expedition. Meanwhile, his government slashed Library and Archives Canada funding, in some areas by 50 per cent. This move led York University professor Craig Heron to note in 2012 that the Conservatives "are bleeding Canadian history dry."

If Mr. Harper's Conservatives were truly committed to Canadian history, they might protect our national archives - where much of this history lives.

Melissa J. Gismondi, PhD candidate in history, University of Virginia

Just for once, people, can we lay off the Harper-bashing and cheap shots in the comments and focus on what a good-news story this really is?

Give the guy some credit. He backed the guys hunting for this all the way. This find is a big, big deal, the kind of discovery that gets put in textbooks.

A lost part of Canada's been found on his watch. There's no denying that. Good on him for sticking with it.

Dave Nguyen, Vancouver

The foundation for Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic was not laid by a bunch of adventurous Brits led by Sir John Franklin getting stuck in the ice and perishing but by the aboriginal peoples of the North who have occupied the land for time out of mind.

Rod Yellon, Winnipeg

Had Stephen Harper had a less partisan, election-beckoning reason for showering celebrity on the Franklin expedition and trumpeting it as a great Canadian adventure, he might have chosen a more Canadian-type hero to celebrate.

John Rae, a Hudson's Bay Company physician and explorer from Orkney, was denied the reward Lady Franklin offered for solving the Franklin expedition mystery.

With the Inuit, he discovered the bones of many of Franklin's sailors and determined that they had resorted to cannibalism, a big no-no to the English, especially when many at the time considered the Inuit and aboriginals to be savages.

Rae, on the other hand, was very impressed by the Inuit and studied their clothing, diet and other factors that let them live in difficult Arctic conditions.

John Rae became a true hero of early Canadian history. He was a bit of a character as well. He once snowshoed from Hamilton to Toronto, just to attend a cocktail party. He seemed to exhibit those characteristics that Canadians identify themselves with today: achieving in difficult conditions, and a curiosity about the attributes of other cultures.

Mr. Harper is to be commended for wanting to bring more attention to the Canadian ethos. Had he concentrated on the Rae experiences and discoveries with the Franklin expedition, he might also have shone a positive light on the role our aboriginal people have given to all of us immigrants at a time when they could use some attention and a bit more understanding from our leaders.

Graham Watt, Sackville, N.B.

Maybe by the time the Prime Minister finds the other lost ship of the Franklin expedition, we will have a happy result in the upcoming federal election. Has it occurred to him that the reason they succeeded this time in finding the wreck is because of the dire effects of global warming?

I've heard of wrapping yourself in the flag but this is new: wrapping yourself in a wreck!

Peter Mussen, Stratford, Ont.

The discovery of one of the ships of the lost Franklin expedition is a huge historical and scientific find. As well, because Canadians were the researchers and discoverers of the ship, the find helps Canada hold on to some claim to the Northwest Passage.

But let's keep Stephen Harper out of the celebrations. He was not the one toiling for years to discover an important historical artifact - neither is he a big fan of science in general. This is just one scientific area he supported over the countless others whose funding he cut or deleted altogether.

Claire Woodbury, Winnipeg

Of course this is a great discovery. But there are so many areas in our Canadian society that are not doing well and need the undivided attention of our political leaders. Ships that sank many years ago are not one of them!

Alan Levy, Brandon

Could the Prime Minister's obsession with the Franklin ships be explained by Franklin having been a pioneer in non-evidencebased decision-making?

Jack Hicks, Val-des-Monts, Que.

Nice to see some real passion from the PM, who seems to have a genuine love of the North and our history.

Ricky (Anne) Church, Halifax

Associated Graphic

Stephen Harper with Parks Canada's expedition leader Ryan Harris in Ottawa at the announcement this week that one the lost ships from Franklin's doomed Arctic expedition has been found.


Horschel caps miracle run with Cup win
American comes back from No. 69 at the start of playoffs, while a disastrous ninth hole puts world No.1 McIlroy out of contention
The Associated Press
Monday, September 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S5

ATLANTA -- Just three weeks ago, Billy Horschel had every reason to start looking ahead to next season.

He had missed the cut in the first FedEx Cup playoff event to fall to No. 82 in the standings. He only had two top 10s all year, scant evidence that he was on the verge of something special. He was weeks away from becoming a father.

What followed was the best golf of his life, and a payoff that was more than he could grasp.

"I'm not sure life can be better than this," Horschel said.

Horschel capped off his improbable playoff run Sunday at East Lake by pulling away from Rory McIlroy early and holding off Jim Furyk late. He posted his 12th straight round in the 60s - a two-under 68 - to win the Tour Championship by three shots and claim the FedEx Cup and its $10-million (U.S.) bonus.

That's what these FedEx Cup playoffs are all about - who can get the hot hand over the last four tournaments.

Horschel took that to a level only Tiger Woods can appreciate. No one had ever won the FedEx Cup starting the playoffs lower than No. 19. Horschel started at No. 69. But he was the runnerup in Boston, a winner in Denver and he cashed in big in Atlanta.

Those three weeks of prize money and the FedEx Cup bonus were worth nearly $13.5-million.

"I remember flying home and talking with my wife and she said, 'You're probably just waiting for the season to be over and start a new season.' I sort of was," Horschel said. "But at the same time, I knew my game was in the right shape and I just needed to get out of my own way. I needed to allow my golf game to show."

It was just too late to show Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson.

Horschel's timing was perfect for the FedEx Cup, not so much for the Ryder Cup. Watson made his three captain's picks after the Deutsche Bank Championship - Horschel was the runner-up - and he had no reason to select a guy whose only PGA Tour win was last year in New Orleans.

Now the Americans head to Scotland without the hottest hand in golf.

McIlroy will have to settle for a year worth more than $10-million - two majors, a World Golf Championship and undisputed No. 1 in the world. He lost his way with a tee shot into the water for double bogey on the par-three fifth, and self-destructed with three sloppy bogeys around the turn. Three consecutive birdies late in the round gave him a 71 and a tie for second place with Furyk, who closed with back-to-back bogeys for a 69.

This was the Billy Horschel show all week - all month.

Clinging to a one-shot lead, he calmly sank an eight-foot par putt on No. 13 to avoid his first three-putt of the week and stay one shot ahead of Furyk. The biggest blow came at the 16th hole, when Horschel drove right into the trees, wisely pitched back to the fairway and saw his approach spin back 30 feet short of the cup.

The putt never looked as if it was going anywhere but in.

"It came off and got up on top of that ridge and I said, 'This looks good.' And it went in, and it was huge," Horschel said. "I knew Jim was nipping at my heels and everything, and that was a big, big putt."

Furyk came up short with his approach on the 17th and made bogey to fall two shots behind, and he three-putted the 18th trying to force a birdie.

That made things easy on Horschel, who drilled his tee shot onto the green for a two-putt par to finish at 11-under 269.

Horschel shared hugs and a few tears with his parents. His wife was home in Florida.

"Hopefully, she's not going into labour right now," he said.

Not to worry. Brittany Horschel tweeted a picture of her smiling with her hands on her belly that said, ""We" made it! congrats daddy!"

McIlroy's birdies at the end earned him a little extra cash.

He wound up No. 3 in the FedEx Cup, which paid an additional $2-million.

Chris Kirk, who started the Tour Championship as the No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup, closed with a 68 and tied for fourth with Justin Rose (69) and Jason Day (69). Kirk was second in the FedEx Cup and earned a $3-million bonus.

It was the second time McIlroy had the biggest year without winning the FedEx Cup. He is a shoo-in to be PGA Tour player of the year, as he was in 2012. He was in better position this time - tied for the lead through four holes - until Horschel pulled away and the world's No. 1 player ran out of steam.

Needing to start picking up ground on the 600-yard ninth hole, he blasted his drive so far right that it wound up a foot away from the out-of-bounds fence of the practice range. There was no way out. With his caddy and a rules official ducking in the holly bushes, McIlroy slashed out with a wedge over the bushes and through a gap in the trees that only he saw. Next, he had a mobile TV truck lowered to ground level to get his third into the fairway. But his wedge came up short, and he made bogey.

Two more bogeys later, he was five shots behind and out of the mix.

"I just got really frustrated and just couldn't muster the energy to try and get something going again," McIlroy said.

Associated Graphic

Billy Horschel shot in the 60s for his 12th straight round on Sunday to win the Tour Championship by three points, claiming the $10-million (U.S.) prize.


Ex-captain, adopted Montrealer, forever a Hab
Koivu had thoughts of retiring as far back as 2013, something fans sensed when they gave him a long ovation during his final appearance at Bell Centre last season
Thursday, September 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

MONTREAL -- It lasted eight minutes, every one of them so deafening and heartfelt as to elbow their way into the illustrious and crammed history of a century-old institution.

As with most seminal events, the number of people who claim they joined in the din when former Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu skated onto the ice that April night in 2002 has vastly outgrown the 21,273 who were actually there.

All Bell Centre ovations shall forever be measured against the one reserved for Koivu, at that time the city's most famous cancer patient.

"The tougher the times were for me in Montreal, the louder the fans got," Koivu said from his living room in California.

He keeps a DVD of the game at his house, but has never watched it to the end; the evening represents a crescendo of sorts for one of Montreal's favourite adopted sons, who is retiring from professional hockey after two decades.

It's a possibility he says he began considering in the summer of 2013 ("Way too often I found myself asking the question: Why am I here?") When he left the ice for a final time in the 2014 playoffs, he knew there would be no encore.

"I haven't skated since then ... I had told friends and family and even people I would run into here in California that I was done, but I was starting to think I should probably say something publicly," he laughed. On Wednesday he did, and "it kind of hit me again ... now it's real."

When he and wife Hanna woke up, their e-mail inbox was already pinging with well-wishers; calls and text messages from former teammates and other wellwishers began cascading in.

Things have tended to end poorly for captains of the Canadiens over the past quarter-century.

The last to finish his career with the club is Bob Gainey, and though the plucky, undersized Finn showed plenty of mettle and skill, his years in Montreal will always be tinged with a sense of what might have been.What if he hadn't suffered a knee injury in December, 1996, when he was among the top scorers in the NHL? (Koivu would be plagued by leg problems for years)

What if Justin Williams's stick hadn't clipped him in the eye in the first round of the 2006 playoffs? (The Habs were up two games to none against Carolina, who went on to win the Stanley Cup)

What if he hadn't had the rotten luck of turning up during the unintentionally comedic Réjean Houle era and wearing the "C" on some of the worst teams in franchise history?

In the end, Koivu - drafted 21st over all in 1993 - led the Habs for a decade, equalling Jean Béliveau's franchise record before Gainey, by then the GM, let him walk as a free agent in 2009.

He finished his career in Anaheim, but he'll always be a Hab.

It's no coincidence one of the loudest nights of the 2013-14 season at Bell Centre came when Koivu returned to Montreal as a member of the Ducks.

They went nuts during the anthem - it seemed to catch Koivu by surprise - and wouldn't let him leave the ice after a 4-1 Anaheim loss until he'd taken a bow.

"I called my dad after that game, we were on our way to Ottawa ... he saw the highlights in Finland and read the game reports and he said, 'I wish I could have been there.' I told him I didn't know if I was going to retire, but that if that was goodbye, it felt right," he said.

If Koivu professed not to know it would be his last appearance, fans weren't about to take any chances.

Likewise, former teammates sought out Koivu that night - as did David Mulder, the Habs' longtime team doctor, whom he credits with saving his life when it was threatened by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

He recovered, and his philanthropic efforts on behalf of the Montreal General Hospital are perhaps the most meaningful contribution from his 14 years in Montreal.

As one of a small number of Habs captains who never got to hoist the Stanley Cup, Koivu's most triumphant on-ice moments came not in a bleublanc-rouge uniform - on too many nights he was the only good thing about the team - but in a Finland jersey: four Olympic medals, a World Cup silver and a world championship gold.

In his later years in Montreal, the now 39-year-old was criticized for not expressing himself more frequently in French (an issue of modesty and insecurity over his grasp of the language rather than ability), which has fuelled the perception he was never fully appreciated.

He retires having played in 1,124 NHL games, contributing 832 points (255 goals), and another 59 playoff points in 80 postseason games.

Cue the debate over whether his career justifies having his jersey number retired; those for and against it were weighing in on social media with typical hysteria on Wednesday.

That such an argument is even taking place, Koivu said, is "a huge honour." This is a man who knows Habs lore as well as anyone and his initial thought was, "No way I deserve it." Given all he's been through and his attachment to the Habs and their fans, it's also not something he would decline.

Koivu's stats are eminently respectable numbers, but his legacy is about more ephemeral things - determination, class, generosity.

There were moments over the years when fans' faith in club and captain were shaken; now that his career is at an end, perhaps it's time for a more fulsome and generous appraisal.

Not that Koivu is much bothered.

"One of the reasons I've survived so long," he said, "is I've never taken anything personally."

Associated Graphic

Saku Koivu was drafted 21st overall by Montreal in 1993.


Second debut
Canadian vintage vehicle show modelled after iconic Pebble Beach runs again this weekend following a widely praised start last year
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, September 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page D6

The Pebble Beach Golf Links looks west over the Pacific Ocean, the Cobble Beach Golf Resort east over Georgian Bay. That's an unanticipated natural advantage for the fledgling Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance, with the classic cars arranged in the September morning bliss.

"Facing east, we get the sunrise," Rob McLeese says. "It's just spectacular, the sun coming up over the water, and the cars taking their places on the 18th fairway ..."

Cobble Beach truly has its roots in Pebble Beach where North America's most prestigious concours has been staged for 64 years. Willis McLeese, Rob's father, neither played golf nor owned a classic car but he found inspiration when work took him to the Monterey Peninsula. Seeing a parallel in the scenic geography, in 1998, at age 74, he bought 235 hectares on Georgian Bay. Cobble's golf course opened seven years ago and Willis wanted a concours to complete the resemblance to Pebble. In the months following his father's death in 2011, Rob made it his objective to begin building one of the finer classic car shows in North America. Comedian and car collector Jay Leno observed last month that Pebble's concours "is a wonderful event where a millionaire can compete with a billionaire and win - only in America!"

McLeese, also president of Access Capital, while allowing "we'd love to be a rival to Pebble," believes in building the concours with "baby steps, never trying to do too much." And the quality of entries in the 21 competitive classes this year, following the inaugural show last year, testifies to his goal of incremental annual improvement.

New to the event is a museum class, displaying collector's items seldom seen in the natural light of day. Henry Ford's 1906 Model N, which preceded the Model T by two years, is to arrive from the CCCA/Gilmore Museum in Michigan. The 1867 Seth Taylor steam car, a Canadian breakthrough, is from Ottawa's Science and Technology Museum.

Jeffrey Seigel has bought and sold maybe 100 Ferraris and 2,500 Porsches at Segal Motorcar Co., but he purchased the 1970 Dino 246 GT from Frank Diponzio with the pledge of owning it forever. Over the years, he had appreciatively watched Diponzio restore the car - "so exacting in his work" - and kidded him, too, saying, "You know you're doing this for me." When Diponzio retired, he sold the car to Seigel, who had the restoration completed to a standard that has earned Ferrari certification. "Painting it took three years [because] the Ferrari primer requires so much time to harden," Seigel says.

Two McLaughlin-Buicks score bonus points with those who believe any Canadian concours should salute Sam McLaughlin, the Oshawa buggy maker whose company became General Motors of Canada. Rosemary McLeese, Rob's wife, surely agrees as a descendent of George McLaughlin, Sam's older brother.

While the cars on display this weekend will do the concours proud, the quality of the judges may represent the most significant progress. The 43 scoring cars and three honorary judges have been recruited from 14 states and five provinces. A concours grows in step with its judges: the greater their stature, the more enthusiastically premium collectors vie for invitations.

John Carlson, a chief class judge at Pebble Beach, the chief judge at numerous respected American concours, and chief judge at his native British Columbia's Crescent Beach event, sets a certain standard. Before agreeing to come on board as Cobble's chief judge, he requested a free hand to recruit class judges, "the best of the best from across North America." He also received a commitment from McLeese that the event would be underwritten should revenue from sponsorships fall short of expectations. Receiving that commitment from McLeese, who is developing real estate around the golf course, gave Carlson the confidence that the event would continue to grow.

It's a challenging task to build an event of this stature near Owen Sound, Ont., several hours' drive northwest of Toronto. When Cobble's initial attempt at staging a concours foundered for lack of entries in 2012, Steve Plunkett, a prominent collector from London, Ont., stepped forward after being "bowled over by the setting."

He persuaded the McLeese family to postpone the inaugural until 2013 and, as special adviser, used connections to help bring in some people to give the event credibility. They included emcee Ed Lucas as "so important to creating atmosphere," Wayne Cherry the former vice-president of design for General Motors, and Myron Vernis, who ran the concours at Glenmoor Country Club in Canton, Ohio.

"The family ran the event so well they don't really need my help this year," Plunkett says. "I'll be there competing with two of my Cadillacs," including a 1934 V-16 that won best-in-class at Amelia Island in 2012.

On-site auctions create excitement and generate publicity: auctions at Pebble last month accounted for $399-million in sales. Accordingly, McLeese has invited representatives from RM Auctions, the Canadian firm that sold one Ferrari for $24-million at Pebble, to come take a look.

As a businessman, as well as founder of the concours, McLeese is familiar with playing the long game. He understands the sponsorships will come after two or three years, when the concours is established. Early days, these, but he's looking to the horizon, over the 18th fairway, into sunshine.

Admission for Sunday's concours is $40 for adults, $35 for youths, $115 for a family of four. Saturday's activities are free, with a donation encouraged to the Sunnybrook Hospital helipad project, to which Cobble donated $50,995 last year.


Gallery Text-and-photo coverage will be posted Sunday and Monday from the Cobble Beach concours on our website and the new Globe Drive Facebook page.

Associated Graphic

Best in Show winner at the inaugural Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance: this 1928 Isotta.


Scots not feeling English love
Disillusionment with Westminster, England's political direction are motivations behind potential Yes win
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A3

GLASGOW -- If Scotland votes for independence in Thursday's historic referendum, the Yes side will claim its victory is one of optimism over fear. But part of its surge in the polls has been due to much more negative sentiments: a loathing for Britain's governing Conservative Party, and a feeling that Scotland and England have drifted apart after more than 300 years together.

For decades, the cause of Scottish independence has been a minority pursuit, supported by about a third of the population. Even when the Scottish National Party (SNP) won a majority in 2011 elections - a result that put Scotland on course to this week's vote - it did so with the support of many who said they'd rather see the United Kingdom stay together.

Just a few weeks ago, it still seemed safe to bet on a victory by the pro-union No side. But polls have narrowed rapidly since then - with several showing a win by the pro-independence Yes camp is now within reach - as a group of previously apathetic Scots who don't usually participate in elections have decided this is the moment to take a political stand.

Three new polls released Tuesday all put the No side ahead with 52 per cent of decided voters, compared with 48 per cent for Yes, a lead that has shrunk dramatically from 20 points just a month ago.

The three polls disagreed, however, on how many voters were still undecided, with the share of those yet to make up their minds ranging from 6 per cent to 14 per cent.

The shift toward Yes has been partially motivated by disillusionment among Scots with the political direction that England is taking, and a sense that the government in London doesn't represent them. Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives won just one of 59 seats here in the 2010 British general election.

The rise of the far-right U.K. Independence Party, and the growing debate about whether the U.K. should leave the European Union, have furthered the feeling among Scots - who generally vote left-of-centre and are more affectionate toward the EU - that England is heading down a path that they shouldn't follow.

"People feel like Scotland and southern England are drifting apart. The Conservatives are really hated here, and there's a concern that if the Conservatives win next year's Westminster elections, their policies will get worse and hurt Scotland," said Thomas Lundberg, a lecturer in politics at the University of Glasgow. "There's also a sense that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something about it."

That shift has been guided by the Yes side leader Alex Salmond, who has emphasized the supposedly more social-democratic nature of Scotland throughout the campaign.

The Conservatives have been hated here since Margaret Thatcher decided in 1987 to test her reviled "poll tax" on Scotland first. Before giving a pair of speeches in the past 10 days, Mr. Cameron had largely stayed out of the referendum debate to avoid inflaming anti-English passions.

What has changed in recent years is the trust Scots previously put in the Labour Party as the protector of their interests at the British Parliament in Westminster.

Labour's image was badly dented here by Tony Blair's decision to join the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was deeply unpopular in Scotland. More recently, it has been hurt by the party's decision to question benefits many Scots hold dear, such as free university tuitions for Scottish students and free old-age care. Polls now show that upward of 40 per cent of Labour supporters are planning to vote Yes on Thursday.

That's a condemnation of the No campaign, which was headed by former Labour cabinet minister Alistair Darling, as well as of Labour Leader Ed Milliband, who has largely failed to convince Scots he can topple the Conservatives in next year's election. The No camp has been criticized for being overnegative and focusing on dire warnings about the economic costs of independence.

The Yes side appears to have won over many voters who have become involved in politics for the first time. While turnout in the 2010 election was 64 per cent, a whopping 97 per cent of Scots have registered for their referendum ballot, and pollsters expect upward of 80 per cent will vote on Thursday.

"We're talking about 20 to 30 per cent of the electorate who usually don't vote in any elections. ... They're apathetic about the traditional party system, but they're getting energized," said Jan Eichorn, a chancellor's fellow in social policy at the University of Edinburgh.

That newly engaged electorate is made up primarily of young people and the working class - two groups that polls show lean toward voting Yes. Dr. Eichorn said that because those same two groups are usually under-represented in polling, the Yes side might in fact be doing even better than the published polls show. "Nothing would surprise me. Anything between 45 per cent Yes and 55 per cent Yes is possible," he said.

Hence the panic in London. The three mainstream parties there - Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats - have joined forces in a last-minute push to aid the No side, highlighted by a Tuesday promise to maintain a higher level of per-capita public spending in Scotland than in the rest of the U.K. That followed earlier promises to devolve greater taxing and spending powers to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

It's not clear what impact the outpouring of last-minute love will have on Scots.

"People are asking why they didn't put [the last-minute promises] on the table a year ago, or two years ago," Prof. Lundberg said.

Follow me on Twitter:@markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

A piper plays to Yes supporters gathered in George Square to show their support for Scottish independence in Glasgow Tuesday.


How to make ends meet? Look in the mirror
Don't eat out. Don't drive a car. Don't buy clothes you don't need. It's amazing how much you can save if you try
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F2

Canadians are strapped. Many people have barely enough money to make ends meet. Our savings rates are down to a measly 3.9 per cent. A survey released this week by the Canadian Payroll Association found that more than half the people they surveyed - 51 per cent - would be in real trouble if they had to skip even one paycheque. So what's the problem? Stagnant wages, creeping inflation, galloping house prices. The usual.

But those aren't the real problem. The real problem is in the mirror. A lot of us are clueless about managing our money. We have no financial discipline. We've erased the difference between what we want and what we need. This is an enormous cultural challenge. If you think I'm being mean, visit a savings society like China. Chinese people make a fraction of what we do and save 30 or 40 per cent of it. They do it because they don't have a social safety net. They don't have credit cards, either.

My one piece of advice to kids starting out today is: Live like I did in my 20s. If you do that till you're 30, you will have a decent shot at financial success.

Yes, I can hear you now. Life was easy then! And in many ways it was. But it wasn't cheap. In 1972, armed with a newly minted MA, I got my first real job. My salary was $5,500 a year - $31,425 in today's dollars. It didn't go that far. I stayed in my student flat and saved as much as I could. Home was a furnished attic with an illegal two-burner kitchenette and a bathroom (downstairs) that I shared with a family of five. In retrospect, I'm lucky the place didn't burn down.

I came of age before credit cards. That helped. I used to put my allowance and babysitting money into envelopes: one for savings, one for clothes and one for gifts. Whatever was left over was for fun. My mom, who was allergic to debt, passed the frugal gene along to me.

It's amazing how much you can save if you try. Don't eat out. Don't drive a car. Don't drink large mochaccinos from the coffee shop. Don't even enter a clothing or a shoe store unless you absolutely need to buy something. It helps if you learn to cook. Once you make a habit of these things, you won't feel too deprived.

In some ways, though, it's true that the 1970s were cheaper. One reason is that many of today's middle-class necessities were just fantasies then. Few people went on cruises and Caribbean vacations. Only wealthy women got manicures and pedicures. (I didn't visit a nail salon till I was 52.) Nobody had granite counter tops or en suite bathrooms. They didn't feel deprived, because no one else had them, either.

In the money survey, people said it's hard to save because they're spending all their extra income on things like home renovations and children. What they really mean is that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. Much of that money goes toward what's called "competitive expenses" - not the flooded basement, but the new great room off the kitchen and the marble bathroom with the steam shower.

As for kids - well, they're more expensive too. It's hard to dress them in hand-me-downs if all the other kids have the latest backpacks. If the other kids are building schools in Africa to enhance their university applications, then your kids will probably feel cheated if they don't.

People spend far more on their kids than they have to. They squander fortunes buying houses in the right school district, or sending little Amy off to private school. After all, their children deserve the best chance they can give them. Yet there's plenty of evidence that the "right" school doesn't make a shred of difference to their life outcomes. I have a few friends who've chosen to live in small towns (where houses cost a third of what they do in Toronto) and send their kids to perfectly decent local schools. Guess what? Their kids do as well as the kids in Forest Hill. And they're much better acquainted with people who live like the majority of Canadians.

Then there are the people who are just plain foolish with their money. I know more than one high-achieving woman who decided she needed a luxury condo and a closet full of designer clothes and Louboutins to reward herself for how hard she worked. Now these women are nearing the end of their careers and they're strapped. Not fun.

I was lucky to marry a man as cheap as me. He's never cared about clothes or cars or toys for boys. We got married in our back yard and had a perfectly nice wedding with all our friends for less than what some people spend on the flowers. We even skipped the engagement ring, because we decided we'd rather pay down the mortgage. Maybe someone can explain to me why modern weddings cost more than a house downpayment, because I just don't get it.

Today, we're better off than we ever dreamed we'd be. Life wasn't always smooth. We've survived recessions, a divorce (his), mortgage rates of 18 per cent (I took in boarders), job changes (not always voluntary) and the roller coaster ride of freelance work.

We've been incredibly lucky, and we try to be grateful for our good fortune every day. We still don't eat out much, though. We'd feel too guilty.

Associated Graphic

Too many of us have erased the difference between what we want and what we need.


To punch above its weight, gym chain needs Ontario
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B6

Each week, we seek expert advice to help a small or medium-sized business overcome a key issue.

Jackson Loychuk's gym concept can be found in several Canadian cities and even in two U.S. states, but not in Ontario.

Mr. Loychuk started 30 Minute Hit Ltd., a women's-only gym specializing in boxing and kickboxing, with his wife, Deanna, in 2004 in Vancouver when they observed that women were keen to take up these physical activities but did not want to do so in front of men.

"We found that women secretly desired to take this kind of course, but they were intimidated in the co-ed gyms, and that scared them off," he said. "But when they walk in here, they can see that 30 Minute Hit is meant just for them. That's been the biggest appeal."

Soon after their first club opened, customers inquired about franchise possibilities. Some of those clients have since moved from Vancouver to other parts of Canada and to the United States and opened 30 Minute Hit locations. Today the company has nearly 40 franchise locations, mostly in British Columbia and Alberta, with one as far away as Texas.

Yet, breaking into Ontario, Canada's most populated province, has proven difficult. "The challenge for us is finding the right fit in a new market the first time out," Mr. Loychuk says. So far, the company's owners have felt more at ease with franchising out to people who have experience with the brand and are passionate about it.

The economic boost of entering Ontario would be significant. According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, the industry's revenues in Canada top $2.2-billion annually. Sixteen per cent of Canadians belong to a health or fitness club, according to the association.

The opportunity in Toronto, with its population of 2.6 million, is so great that several U.S. companies have recently opened locations, including Anytime Fitness, Equinox and Hard Candy Fitness, which is owned by Madonna.

"The potential is massive, bigger than B.C.," Mr. Loychuk says. "As far as market share goes, we have a strong niche and we don't have too many direct competitors.

"But my choice is not based on location, it's based on the owner. It's how we've managed our expansion," he says.

The experts How can 30 Minute Hit muscle into the lucrative southern Ontario market?

Barry O'Neill Managing partner, Zed Financial Partners, Toronto

It is important to get a better sense of who is who in Toronto, to help find the best partner and also to identify the stiffest competition. You can get a lot of valuable information from the general public. Go to various sites and associations and ask questions like, "What gym is the best for women's-only classes for kickboxing and boxing?" The answers you receive will serve as a component of your market analysis. With that information you would be better able to determine whom to approach and where to locate the business.

Although the "right" partner is the main criteria, the location still remains vitally important to success. Map out the top-rated women's-only gyms in the city and find all the gyms that offer boxing and/or kickboxing. Then rule them out as possible areas for a 30 Minute Hit franchise.

Vikram Vij Owner of Vij's Restaurant and member of CBC's Dragons' Den, Vancouver

I haven't opened a restaurant in Toronto because I would need to physically be there, but we did find a way to have the Vij's brand in Ontario and in other markets - we started our packaged food line. The key was finding the right people who have the capability and knowledge for food processing and packaging and distribution.

But whether it's me or any other person in business, you have to believe in the product and in yourself. The important thing is if you have a strong enough niche then you can move into a market and grow your presence there slowly over time. 30 Minute Hit should look to partner with a brand that can introduce it to the market with demonstrations or some form of sampling of their niche brand. That may not be a franchise owner, per se, but someone who is more of a collaborator or vendor.

Sandra Fulton Managing director, Connect Hearing Canada, Victoria

Connect Hearing has had to find a range of ways to build its presence across Canada. We've grown through acquisitions as well as new store openings. The opportunities are different but the process and goal are always the same: Find the right fit for our business and for the community we wish to serve. Our business has a strong culture, vision and values, and we only seek to partner and work with people who share these attributes.

I can understand the fitness company being reluctant to enter a new market to work with people who are unknown and may not have a shared passion for their brand. A way to test an unfamiliar market could be to trial-run their brand in a partner facility. Do a few women's-only sessions at a co-ed gym that won't view them as competition.

They'll be able to gauge the interest of the community they would like to expand into and perhaps spark a network that can help them find that ideal owner.

Facing a challenge? If your company could use expert help, please contact us at

Interviews have been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

The women-only boxing gym founded by Deanna Loychuk and her husband Jackson has expanded in B.C. and Alberta, and even has a location in Texas. But its expansion strategy hasn't yet found traction in Canada's most lucrative market.


'An investigation into the human condition'
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R7

Ian McEwan's new novel, The Children Act, gauges the friction between religious dogma, individual freedom and protecting children from harm. But it is also the haunting story of a transgressive relationship between a high-court judge and the vulnerable teenage boy she wants to nurture. As McEwan and I talked about make believe on the telephone, a real-life scandal was playing out in England about the pernicious and long-standing sexual abuse that hundreds of working-class girls have suffered in the town of Rotherham under the chilly neglect and averted gaze of local authorities. It could be the germ of a McEwan novel, if only he could figure a way to leaven it with some humanity.

I've wanted to interview Ian McEwan ever since I was jolted by his risky and macabre writing in First Love, Last Rites, the closest punk rock ever came to the page. More than a dozen novels later, McEwan has evolved from a literary shocker into an innovative and compassionate novelist - more Nadine Gordimer than Johnny Rotten - while remaining ineluctably himself.

Do you agree that there has been an evolution in your writing from a desire to make the reader feel uncomfortable to a mellower understanding of the human condition?

One can't go on writing in his mid-60s as though he is 19 years old, as I was when I wrote some of those stories. The young Ian McEwan would probably have wanted Fiona Maye, the middleaged judge, and Adam Henry, the young Jehovah's Witness, to have an affair in The Children Act and that would have ruined everything.

It would certainly have ruined the book you wanted to write.

Exactly, because this is a story about an unspoken love that is partly maternal, partly about the child she never had and partly something stirring in her - a woman who is so far removed from passion, to her husband's dismay. But yes, I do regard the novel as an investigation into the human condition. I found myself reading law judgments and beginning to think how religion plays such a large part in family-law cases. And then an old friend, who was a very eminent judge in his day, Sir Alan Ward, told me about a case he had judged about a Jehovah's Witness, and I thought I could change all the characters and the circumstances, but it would still retain the core of something deeply human in the law.

The title, The Children Act, seems so weighted, with act serving as both noun and verb.

That's why it was so appealing to me. The Children Act did not protect the children of Rotherham, so I don't think it is a perfect piece of legislation, but its core is very civilized.

And the title has two purposes because when the children become 18 they can make choices for themselves.

Exactly. I have been tracking this for almost three years and every so often a Jehovah's Witness teenager is refusing a blood transfusion and the hospital goes to the court and the court gives the hospital authority to treat the child against his or her will and a few months later that child is back in hospital, again needing a transfusion, and the courts can do nothing because he or she is now an adult. There is a great waste and a great tragedy there, but there is nothing anybody can do. The courts won't let religion martyr a child, but they can't stop adults martyring themselves.

Why did you have Adam play Benjamin Britten's score for W. B. Yeats's poem Down by the Salley Gardens for Fiona in the hospital?

Judges don't usually go to bedsides but there are some strange precedents. Alan Ward told me he suspended court proceedings and crossed London in a taxi because he wanted to know the teenage boy's wishes and a little bit more about him. They spent all their time talking about football. That didn't seem to me quite good enough. Fiona's singing along with Adam, while he plays rather wonkily on the violin, seemed the right amount of emotionally charged emergence into all of literature, all of music, all of the things that make the top of his head explode as he begins to discover there is so much else beyond a strict and literal interpretation of the Bible.

I did think back to my own 17th or 18th year when exactly that happened. I was in a kind of sleep and then round about 16, I started to get passionate about poetry, and music - classical, jazz, rock 'n' roll, rhythm and blues - everything I could lay my hands on. Poetry, especially the poetry of Yeats, and music were what propelled me and I took off like a rocket. Suddenly I saw that there was the adult world, rich in all its accumulated parts. It seemed to me so exciting.

Your early life sounds a bit like a Victorian novel, especially the part about discovering a brother you didn't know you had because your parents had given him up for adoption before you were born.

David is a nice fellow and I have got to like him very much, so that is a plus. The downside is the sadness in my mother, that I had never really understood, and now that I do, she is gone. David went to see my mother to tell her that he was loved as an adopted child and that he bore her no bitterness.

But she was too demented. She had Alzheimer's. That is the real sadness.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Follow me on Twitter:@semartin71

Associated Graphic

Author Ian McEwan in his London home. His latest, The Children Act, explores what happens when religion and law collide.


Revisiting Cold War sporting rivalries
A pair of TIFF films bring back memories of how East-West tensions made international competitions seem more important
Thursday, September 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L2

Is it just me, or is it getting Cold War-y in here?

With the wistful Russian President Vladimir Putin currently reviving East-West tensions as he croons Those Were the Days - "Boy the way Joe Stalin played ... guys like us, we had it made" - there lingers an appreciation among filmmakers for the Iron Curtain era. This can be good (in the case of 2006's spy-thriller The Good Shepherd), bad (think of K-19: The Widowmaker, a sub flub from 2002 in which Harrison Ford's Russian accent was hit and missile) or entertainingly in-between. Who can forget Rocky IV, the mid-eighties boxing melodrama from Sylvester Stallone that was directly responsible for the career of Dolph Lundgren and the fall of the Berlin Wall?

At the Toronto International Film Festival this year, a pair of features revisit the Cold War, but have nothing to do with spies and launch codes. Ed Zwick's Pawn Sacrifice dramatizes the "match of the century," which was the ballyhooed 1972 world chess championship between the American challenger Bobby Fischer (played by Tobey Maguire) and the USSR's reigning international champion, Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber).

On the documentary front, with Red Army, the American Gabe Polsky attempts to explain what was possibly the greatest hockey squad ever assembled: The Soviet national side of the late 1970s and early '80s.

Just as there is an obvious inherent drama to Cold War film plots, the international sports played during the chilly political era benefited tremendously from the intrigue, emotion and sense of theatre being raised to the best possible heights.

The difference between sport and film is that the latter can travel back in time easily. But sport? No, it is always stuck in the present. As such, when the Iron Curtain was raised, the Soviet athletes were demystified and the high drama of East-West athletics was over. International chess is barely a blip on the radar any more, and Soviet hockey players long ago followed the spies in from the cold.

"Whether it was hockey or ballet, it was beautiful to watch and it was intimidating," says Red Army director Polsky, about an age when the world was clearly divided in two. "The Soviets seemed to be dominating. It sent a clear message to North Americans, and it was scary."

Moscow absolutely used sport for propaganda purposes, but the Americans weren't above jingoism themselves. "When Fischer was embraced by the public, suddenly he was seen as the gladiator on behalf of the West, against the great Soviet Bear," says Pawn Sacrifice director Zwick. "He began to get the attention of various people within the government and elsewhere, who then took him on as an avatar."

In both films, the adversaries are East-West based, with their respective styles of play representing the political and social ideologies of their home countries. Soviet hockey players worked collectively and in a controlled manner,within five-man units whose army-officer pucksters took more pride in their ability to pass than to shoot.

North American players, on the other hand, were freewheeling and free-spirited, often given to solo rushes.

As for chess, it wasn't so blackand-white. But the young Fischer was nothing if not idiosyncratic, while the sweater-vest-wearing Spassky was the measured, unreadable product of a stoic, poker-faced nation.

That being said, the psyches and politics of the competitors weren't as East-versus-West as the media and propagandists made them out to be. Fischer, for example, admired the Soviets' chess infrastructure, while Spassky was a sportsman who eventually moved to Paris and represented France in three Chess Olympiads.

As for the Red Army players, yes they were patriots, but they played for the love of the game and were eager to compete in North America.

"For them it wasn't about the politics," says Polsky, who interviewed the Red Army captain and eventual NHLer Slava Fetisov extensively. (The director also leaned on The Red Machine, a 1990 book on the history of Russian hockey written by Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin, who appears in the film.) "They were incredibly passionate about what they did on the ice and the Soviet style of play. To them it was fun, and they wanted to be the best."

Wanted to be the best, just like Lundgren's Ivan Drago, who at the beginning of Rocky IV is the villainous Soviet pawn and machine, but who by the end of the film makes clear he is his own man. "I win for me," he declares.

"For me!"

Putin's shenanigans aside, the mostly curtain-less state of the world makes for duller international sport. People forcing themselves to get all worked up over this summer's FIFA World Cup proves that we miss, on some level, all that Cold Warring.

Some blame Mikhail Gorbachev and glasnost for the lessening of the drama, but Rocky Balboa was just as much a troublemaker. "During this fight, I've seen a lot of changing, the way yous feel about me, and in the way I felt about you," the red-white-andblued boxer told a Russian audience. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!"

Things did change. No more good guys, no more bad guys, and the best drama of international athletics now lives on only on the screen. For the best, one must think.

Red Army has completed its TIFF screenings but Pawn Sacrifice will be presented on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. (Roy Thomson Hall), Friday at 3 p.m. (Ryerson Theatre) and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. (Scotiabank 1);

Associated Graphic

The documentary Red Army explores the Soviet Union's national hockey team of the late 1970s and early '80s.

A better bungalow
A radical redesign brings a new fluidity and floor-plan clarity to a low-slung Peterborough home
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G6

While architects generally live by the "don't repeat yourself" rule - Mies van der Rohe notwithstanding - one can, occasionally, persuade them to pay tribute to a design.

In early 2009, Molly's Cabin, the sublime, Pointe-au-Baril area, rock-hugging, 1,000-square-foot cottage by Agathom Co. was making the media rounds. A Modernist stunner by the husband-and-wife team of Adam Thom and Katja Aga Sachse Thom, the dipping-roof and timber-clad interior graced these very pages, and those of international magazines.

And that's when the Brown family of Peterborough - Kathryn Moore the dentist, Siemens senior manager Robert Brown and college-ready Alex and Ian - were introduced to the Thom family. In time, the Browns would allow the Thoms to pull a Fred Astaire and dip their roof, too, along with a whole lot of other smooth architectural moves.

But that's getting ahead of our story.

First, Agathom had to assess the big, beefy 1954 bungalow the family had purchased in 1992. Almost immediately after the Brown's purchase of the west-end Peterborough home, they had a few walls removed to open up the space (as modern families are wont to do); this was followed by a big master bedroom addition and the enclosure of the carport by the late-1990s. They'd also added a projecting, gabled vestibule into the front yard, and a lovely, frog-and-algae-filled pond (built by Mr. Brown) into the backyard. Despite all of this, something still didn't seem right.

"There were so many hallways throughout the plan," Mrs. Thom says of her first visit.

The task, then, was to introduce some logic to the floor plan and, more importantly, develop a much stronger bond to that lovely pond (like most non-California 1950s homes, the big windows face the public street, not the private back). But Agathom, being an objective outsider, began to speak a radical architectural language, suggesting removal of that vestibule, a big fireplace under a popped-up, dramatically sloping roof, and a window-wall to welcome in the delights of the backyard.

Thankfully, Ms. Moore says, she understood intuition at work: "Some other [architects] we talked to [before Agathom] wanted a lot more of what we wanted and where we wanted it, all that kind of thing." Agathom, she continues, "just seemed to know" what was needed to clarify and connect.

Today, the trimmer entryway is a thing of beauty. Still plenty big enough, a visitor enters at the side (rather than the front) and spies a wall of shimmering Anigre cabinets by the master cabinetmakers at Toronto's Gibson Greenwood. Next, the eye is directed to the new, Spanish cedar-trimmed wall of windows. But this window-wall defies the original line of the house just a little, as it pushes into the yard a few feet at the far end: "We feel that this angle helps pull you in," explains Mrs. Thom, her Danish accent still noticeable.

Oh, it pulls ... like a magnet. So much so that visitors quicken their pace past the lovely, yet low-ceilinged living room to get under the soaring, sloping postand-beam ceiling of the new dining room. Twenty-two feet at its highest point, the roof then dancer-dips, Molly's Cabin-style, to just five feet at the far corner of the room. And, no matter where one stands, the views are of the backyard's wild-yet-curated greenery and that brooding, burbling pond. Surely the massive new double-sided Rumford fireplace - which "creates the anchor and makes the otherwise open plan into defined spaces," says Mrs. Thom - was enrobed in sparkling Venetian plaster just so it wouldn't go unnoticed.

Creation of the window-wall overlooking the pond necessitated a swap with the kitchen, which took some convincing, since even though it had but one pokey window, family chef Robert had grown accustomed to the close-up view. The new kitchen, Mr. Brown says, "works surprisingly well ... and the cabinet work is unbelievable."

What's also unbelievable is what happened to the home's old fireplace. Now located in the new kitchen area, all agreed it was time Mr. Brown had a woodburning pizza oven to extend his culinary skills even further. Indeed, his pizzas are so delicious, it's likely new Peterborough pizzerias will keep a distance of several kilometres.

Of course, Agathom's architectural influence went beyond the vestibule, kitchen and dining room. A staircase to the basement was relocated and crowned with a lovely wall complete with arrowslits to allow light to penetrate deeply. "We enjoy circulation, and trying to celebrate it without making hallways," Mrs. Thom says.

In the master bedroom, the architects enlarged the walk-in closet, had Gibson Greenwood create a stunning headboard, and gave the master bath a makeover, too. A sliding door takes the Browns out to the pond from here: "There's more than one way to move through the house now," Mrs. Thom says.

Yes, there is fluidity, floor-plan clarity, and, well, a lot more drama and interest. But just as the non-showy Browns requested, 99 per cent of the architectural interventions are hidden from street view (conveniently helped by the wide 1950s chimney). Visual lightness has been achieved via gobs of natural light and the natural materials palette, and also by new furniture selected by Mrs. Thom from Mjölk. There is so much cottage-like cross-ventilation now, the Browns decided against installing air conditioning.

It's kind of like a little piece of Pointe-au-Baril in Peterborough.

Associated Graphic

The husband-and-wife team of Adam Thom and Katja Aga Sachse Thom behind Agathom Co. introduced logic to the floor plan of the Peterborough home of Kathryn Moore and Robert Brown.

What to expect from the fall session
Prostitution. Cyberbullying. Free trade. Parliament is back, and so are many of the issues MPs will deal with during the next 11 weeks. Look also for legislation putting spending plans into law, the Tories to outline their plans for deployment to Iraq - and for the Mike Duffy court case to possibly overshadow much of what happens in the House
Monday, September 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A8

New stuff, but not CETA

The foremost new offering is expected to be the Budget Implementation Act (BIA), putting spending plans into law, including Finance Minister Joe Oliver's small-business job credit. In the past, BIAs have drawn criticism for being packed with unrelated measures. Government House Leader Peter Van Loan said the government's focus is the economy and jobs, but that the act will reflect previous ones. "I sense it's more business as usual," he said of the BIA.

A law implementing a free-trade deal with South Korea is expected this fall, Mr. Van Loan said, although it is unclear whether a law implementing the European Union trade deal known as CETA will follow suit. "Obviously, that's a very big and complex agreement, so the sooner we can get it to the House, the better. It's too soon to say at this point in time," Mr. Van Loan said.

NDP House Leader Peter Julian said the Conservatives are "just a tired, fatigued government, and what they seem to want to do is introduce legislation that's more an attempt to kind of appeal to their base more than anything else." Liberal House Leader Dominic LeBlanc said not much is coming down the pipe. "They're coming back with an empty slate, in terms of substantive stuff," he said.

The leftovers

Some bills interrupted by the summer break will resume their path to becoming law. One already has: C-36, the government's anti-prostitution law tabled after the Supreme Court struck down existing laws last December. Committee hearings continued through the break. The current laws expire in three months, and Mr. Van Loan said the new one will be passed by then.

Another is Bill C-13, the anti-cyberbullying law, which also includes new police surveillance powers that have drawn criticism from civil libertarians and others. Mr. Van Loan hopes to get C-13 "through and out of" the House of Commons this fall.

Other holdovers include minor bills, including those on nuclear liability, reducing red tape, a victims' bill of rights, priority hiring for veterans, counterfeit products and raising penalties for hurting a police service animal.

Finally, Conservative backbencher Michael Chong's private member's bill, the Reform Act, which reins in party leaders and empowers individual MPs, is due for second reading this month. Mr. Chong has twice amended it to boost its chances of passing, but its fate is unclear.

Duffy and the Senate

Mike Duffy's case is scheduled to go to court on Sept. 16, the second day of Parliament's fall session. The RCMP have laid 31 charges against the suspended senator over his expense claims and a deal struck with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff Nigel Wright, who wrote Mr. Duffy a $90,000 cheque. The Senate scandal left Mr. Harper on the defensive for much of the past year, and Mr. Duffy's legal proceedings will keep it in the headlines.

Mr. Harper has avoided appointing senators since the scandal erupted. Openings have mounted - the 105-seat chamber has 14 empty seats now, with three more retirements due this fall.

One Senate bill, however, is not due to become law soon. Mr. Van Loan said it is too early to say whether the Digital Privacy Act, Bill S-4, will make progress in the House this fall.

Iraq, the opposition and watchdogs

The Liberals will ask for Parliament to be briefed on Canada's deployment of soldiers to Iraq, a request that comes after the Defence and Foreign Affairs ministers appeared before a committee last week.

Mr. LeBlanc also called for more details on freetrade agreements, which the Prime Minister has hailed as a key achievement.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair will return to Question Period, where he has drawn strong reviews, with his Official Opposition NDP trailing the Liberals in the polls. The NDP's Mr. Julian called on government to "change the tone" in the House and work more collaboratively with the opposition. "We'll continue to be a very spirited and hard-working opposition," he said.

The Conservatives face reports from Parliament's spending watchdog, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who frequently questions the government's spending. The PBO plans to release several reports in the coming months, including the annual fiscal sustainability report, an analysis of the "merits and risks" of the government's proposed balanced budget law, a midyear economic and fiscal outlook and the PBO's annual report, due in November.

Pre-campaign season

The election is due next October, and the politicking has already begun. Mr. Van Loan said the government's focus on the economy will help contrast "the proven, experienced strong leadership of Stephen Harper" against Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. He brushed aside the possibility of holding the vote earlier than the legislated Oct. 19, 2015.

"I've heard nothing to suggest otherwise, and certainly I haven't been planning otherwise," he said.

Mr. Julian said the NDP will continue to reveal key planks of their election platform. "We'll be playing a key role as government in waiting, and that's where we start to roll out, as Tom Mulcair has, what we'd actually be doing as government so Canadians can see," he said.

Mr. LeBlanc expects the Conservatives to focus on balancing the budget, which the Liberals have argued was done in part by delaying key infrastructure spending. "It'll sort of be like George Bush on the deck of the aircraft carrier, 'Mission accomplished.' I fully expect Joe Oliver to have a 'mission accomplished' sign on the deck of some frigate," Mr. LeBlanc said.

The House of Commons' fall sitting is scheduled to total 11 weeks.

Associated Graphic


How much hockey is too much?
Kids who play multiple sports have fewer injuries and play at higher levels than those who specialize too early
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L5

In my practice recently, a dedicated hockey mom of two boys asked me, "How much hockey is too much hockey?" Her boys, 12 and 14, live and breathe the sport and she was concerned that both boys had developed overuse injuries. Their summer was jammed with hockey camps, skills training and a three-onthree summer hockey league.

The 14-year-old complained of hip pain and said his legs started to "feel heavy" after practice some time in early August. He felt the pain during and after skating, pain that sometimes lasted two to three hours once off the ice. His younger brother had back and knee pain and his mother noticed he didn't have his usual speed. The 12-year-old also started coming out of the dressing room with a limp. Heading into the 2014/2015 hockey season, all three were worried.

The mother's question is a good one. How much is too much? More specifically, what risks are young athletes taking if they focus on one sport? And what can our aspiring NHL stars do to recover quickly after exercise and prevent overuse injuries?

Kids who specialize in one sport at a young age and play it year-round train harder and longer than other young athletes who play a mix of sports and take seasonal breaks. Improved skills are often achieved through repetition and it's this repetition that may place a young athlete at risk of injury. Typically, overuse injuries result from training errors and/or excessive training. If young athletes are not given adequate time to rest and recover, instead starting a new season tired or nursing an injury, they are more likely to see their skills plateau, or spend time off the ice and on the injury list.

Parents and coaches need to be sensitive to changes in a child's performance and attitude that suggest he/she is being pushed too hard.

The boys' injuries were a result of both overtraining and poor body mechanics, a devastating combination in young athletes. Improper technique can put unsafe torque and pressure on tendons, growth plates, bones and joints. A young athlete's body is elastic - but only to a point. When the body can no longer keep up with training demands, it will compensate and the signs of overtraining start to appear. The boys had developed an inefficient short, choppy and more upright skating stride, placing stress on their lower back, hips and knees.

To avoid injury, kids need time to recover from sport. Young athletes need periods of active, short-term recovery beginning in the hours immediately after an intense workout. This recovery includes three key strategies: a proper cool-down routine, nutrition and adequate rest or sleep.

When it comes to nutrition, research has shown that early intake after exercise (within the first hour) of essential amino acids from good-quality protein foods helps to promote the increase in protein rebuilding. Adding a source of carbohydrate to this post-exercise snack will further enhance the training adaptation by reducing the degree of muscle protein breakdown (e.g., a cereal bar and cup of yogurt).

A period of long-term recovery is also important and should be built into a comprehensive, yearround training schedule. This recovery includes off-season strengthening and dedicated stretching before and after practice.

Competing in different sports throughout the year will also prevent sport-specific repetitive stress, as long as there is adequate rest between seasons.

Research shows that children who play multiple sports have fewer injuries and continue to play longer and at higher levels than children who specialize in one sport before puberty.

But even with a healthy training schedule in place, there are limits to what a young athlete's body can tolerate. As a general rule, children should not train for more than 18 to 20 hours a week.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness recommends that children play only one sporting activity to a maximum of five days a week with at least one day off a week.

Young athletes can follow the "10-per-cent rule" to prevent injuries. This rule means that a training program can only increase by 10 per cent each week.

For example, 20-minute runs three times a week can be increased to 22 minutes the following week, and so on.

In addition, kids should take two to three months off from a particular sport to allow the body to heal and the mind to recharge.

Children who are engaged in elite competition may be required to train harder and longer, in which case they should be monitored by a qualified health professional with expertise in young athletes. These kids need their growth monitored to make sure abnormalities don't occur.

Health Advisor contributors share their knowledge in fields ranging from fitness to psychology, pediatrics to aging. Dr. Dwight Chapin, B.Sc(H)., D.C., is the clinic director of High Point Wellness Centre in Mississauga (, team chiropractor for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts and on-site clinician for employees of The Globe and Mail. Follow him on Twitter @HighPtWellness.


Physical signs: Persistent muscle soreness Persistent fatigue and/or getting tired easily in workouts Elevated resting heart rate Increased susceptibility to infections Increased incidence of injuries Joint pain lasting longer than two weeks

Performance changes: Unexplained drop in speed Deterioration in skill Decreased ability to achieve training goals Lack of motivation to practise Irritability and unwillingness to co-operate with teammates Depression

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Along with stretching before and after every practice, young athletes need time to rest to prevent a plateau of their skills.


Through a computer screen, darkly
OkCupid co-founder Christopher Rudder has collected information about me, you and everyone we know, and now he's sharing it
Saturday, September 13, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R18

Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking) By Christopher Rudder Random House, 272 pages, $29.95

Christopher Rudder, a co-founder of the massively successful dating site OkCupid, has for years been collating data provided by the lonely-hearts who mingle there. He drills down into hundreds of millions of OkCupid interactions and spins streams of data into those paragons of contemporary journalism - infographics - in order to make sense of the chaos that is his user-base. What do we actually want to hear from potential lovers? What bands do white people really listen to? And do Asian guys really get ignored? On his OkTrends blog, Rudder shows us, with glaring fidelity, what we really are - in aggregate, at least.

Then, this summer, as Facebook came under attack for "experimenting on users," Rudder "confessed" to his own experiments. For example: OkCupid had purposefully pushed "bad" matches together to test whether its yenta algorithm made a proper difference. "Guess what, everybody," he announced, "if you use the Internet, you're the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That's how websites work."

What upset the general public was the notion that websites were treating them like faceless points of data to be manipulated and maximized. What upset Rudder was that anybody was surprised. Rudder believes that experiments in Big Data can, in fact, buoy us up, make our lives transparent and our cultural commentators wiser. Big Data can help us quantify and understand ourselves. Dataclysm, Rudder's new book on the subject, is a hopeful and exciting journey into the heart of data collection, told by one of the guys inside the machine.

Dataclysm's subtitle, "who we are when we think no one's looking," may suggest Rudder is playing with a larger data set than he really is. Mostly, the book reports on material from OkCupid. But, then again, 10 million people will use the site this year, so Rudder's poll can hardly be called scarce. Some 87 per cent of the United States is now online, he notes, so digital data miners like himself are increasingly able to report on the larger whole. He does also mine data from Facebook (the richest network in history), which one in three Americans accesses every day. But Rudder acknowledges that, "If you don't have a computer or a smartphone, then you aren't here. I can only acknowledge the problem, work around it, and wait for it to go away." Limited or no, the results on offer make for superb conversation fodder.

Some tidbits you may have figured out on your own: for example, you may not need Rudder's elaborate charts to guess that men are depressingly disinterested in any woman over the age of 23. But other revelations are surprising and could inspire real behavioral change. Apparently, looks matter more online than in real life: "people appear to be heavily preselecting for something that, once they sit down in person, doesn't seem important to them." And, contrary to the politically correct assertions we make about our diverse sexual attractions, we are (as a whole) massively biased toward our own race (with white people always coming in second-place for non-whites).

Perhaps the most infuriating revelation in Rudder's book is the fact men and women both are giving vastly more job opportunities to women they deem attractive (whereas beauty plays almost no role in a man's career trajectory). Rudder wisely notes that since women are being hired for a trait that has nothing to do with the job in question "it is therefore simple probability that women's failure rate, as a whole, will be higher. And, crucially, the criteria are to blame, not the people.... it's a problem the Internet is surely making worse... Your picture is attached to practically everything."

Big Data can reveal the trends that otherwise remain obscured within the infinite rationales we invent for our individual decisions. But Rudder knows that his numbers never amount to a single portrait of a single person.

"We focus on the dense clusters, the centers of mass, the data duplicated over and over by the repetition and commonality of our human experience. It's science as pointillism." A beautiful notion.

The problem, of course, is that this fascination with infographics-as-truth can lead to a cultish disregard for the spontaneous individual. Rudder finds that "reduction is inescapable" in our increasingly online world, even though number are "not meant to stand in for any one person."

We move from salient signal, to wall of sound. From potent data to "dataclysm." And the vagaries that make us who we are get lost in the shuffle.

Valid or no, the aggregation of the individual already begins to warp our perceptions. Just by living your life online, for example, you'll end up with an "influence score" on the website Klout, which future employers will take into consideration. And so you'll be wise (if saddened) to alter your behavior in order to maximize that score. The movement is away from rich lived experience and toward obsessive grooming of one's personal brand.

Rudder is sensitive to these pitfalls, even though he could have easily become another tech evangelist. His book delivers both insider access and a savvy critique of the very machinery he is employed by. Since he's been in the data mines and has risen above them, Rudder becomes a singular and trustworthy guide.

Michael Harris is the author of The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection.

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Rudder's book is great conversation fodder.


When divorce plays out on a national scale
Countries need to think with their heads, not their hearts ... just like married people with mortgages and kids
Friday, September 12, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L3

The first vote I ever cast was in the 1995 referendum in Quebec. I was living in Montreal, attending McGill University, and my vote seemed - and in fact proved to be - important in determining the very squeaky outcome of that fractious and exhausting political drama. How close we came, that October day, to throwing in the towel on our country as we knew it. In the end, the argument for unity tipped the balance, though not by much, and we all staggered on, emotionally battered but resigned - a miserable married couple retreating to separate corners of the vast and lumpy king-sized bed that is Canada.

Today, I find myself a Canadian living in Britain - a Scot by blood and heritage if not by passport. I live in the London, where we don't get a vote on Scottish independence, and in fact are urged by our leaders to "leave the matter to the Scottish people." This is what the Queen has opted to do, having weighed in on other issues of sovereignty before and lived to regret it (her much-criticized 1987 comments in support of the Meech Lake Accord spring to mind).

But when I hear this cool, detached sentiment, I am filled first with sadness, then rage. It is the rage of a helpless and frustrated child watching her parents divorce and being told by a series of patronizing adults, "It's got nothing to do with you." Well of course it's got to do with me, I want to hiss. I live here, don't I? It's my home, too, isn't it? What about my self-determination? Who's going to worry about that once the world's been split apart?

Children of divorce get particularly worked up about this stuff. We can't help it. We've seen the carnage that can ensue when one or both partners blithely choose "independence" and "freedom" over the patient effort of staying together and working it out. I'm not saying good things can't come from choosing to go it alone, but when I see a horde of teenaged boys, bare chests painted with the St. Andrew's cross, braying their jubilant contempt for Westminster, my mind instantly flashes forward 20 years. There, I see the same bunch of boys, now overworked middle-aged men with paunches and wives and children, grumbling in a pub about taxes and those bastards in Holyrood.

The point is not that an independent Scotland won't work, but that it's not going to fulfill the expectations shining in the eyes of those angry, optimistic boys. Expectations like: This is a war and we will win our freedom! Any poor souls who enter into a painful and protracted divorce are dreaming if they think they will be miraculously reborn once decoupled from their dull, unsexy spouse. The lads should be careful what they wish for.

And then I think, with a working mother's yawn and a shrug, at least if they stay, they'll have us to resent. Someone to complain about to their mates and define themselves against when they feel middle-aged and slightly defeated. A partner to help shoulder the economic burden, bring them soup when they're sick and - when needed - take the blame for their dissatisfaction.

I know that's not the most inspiring argument of all time, but that's more or less what's happened between Canada and Quebec.

After decades of referendums and constitutional debate, Quebec now seems content being the grumpy husband harrumphing behind his newspaper. And everything's so much calmer since we stopped asking him to declare his commitment on paper. We may not be having crazy sex or shouting our love from rooftops, but we're undeniably better together than we would be apart.

Scotland is different. Alex Salmond originally wanted a slightly more complicated referendum question. His proposed choices were roughly leave, stay or renovate the house into a duplex and live in separate apartments. David Cameron, like so many arrogant spouses who think their poorer, less-successful other half will never have the guts to go, called Salmond's bluff and insisted on a Yes/No vote. Now the people of Scotland are packing up their bags and humming a Nancy Sinatra tune and Cameron is freaking out, promising to take them on a Caribbean vacation and sign up for ballroom dancing - anything. Just please, please don't leave me all alone with this horrible legacy.

It really is a depressing spectacle to watch.

You might not think the birth and break up of nations is based on such blatant emotional psychology as this, but you'd be wrong. While peaceful affluent countries ought to be built on rational considerations such as tax policy, currency, economic stability and shared hobbies, in fact that's not really how it happens. Countries, like married couples, tend to get together for reasons of simple geography: They were coworkers or biology lab partners. When they break up, it's often for much more emotional reasons such as, "You're suffocating me and I need space," or "I have an urgent desire for other major trading partners in my life."

But when it comes to matters of heart, nations, just like married people with mortgages and kids, ought to think with their heads. Scotland can learn from the lesson of Quebec. Hang in there and tough it out. Your children will thank you for it.

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The point is not that an independent Scotland won't work, but that it's not going to fulfill the expectations shining in the eyes of those angry, optimistic boys.


Our son of three mothers
In Guatemala, we learned that the 'best interests of the child' don't end when the adoption papers are signed
Monday, September 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L6

The world watched a lot of great soccer this summer. But the most beautiful game I watched took place on a hot August night in Jutiapa, Guatemala, at a soccer field near a truck stop on the dusty Pan American highway.

There, something occurred that I'd never imagined when I adopted my son Jordi from Guatemala 14 years ago: I sat in the stands with his birth mother, Hilda, drinking a beer while we watched our boy play soccer.

Hilda's other son, 20-year-old Douglas, organized the game.

Soccer is to Jutiapa, a remote town near the border with El Salvador, what hockey is to small town Canada, and Douglas wanted to show us his (considerable) skills. He also wanted to introduce his visiting Canadian brother to his friends. Hilda's youngest child, Cristel, a lively 10-year-old, perched herself on the boards, keeping score and cheering on her two older brothers. My partner Susan, and Hilda and I, cheered too. Despite the joking disapproval of Douglas, an evangelical Protestant, we treated ourselves to cans of cold Gallo beer as we watched. We were a small, peculiar, but enthusiastic audience.

The circumstances that brought this odd tableau together that night are nothing other than tragic. Hilda's sadness at her inability to care for Jordi, her thirdborn child, is a painful reality of her life. Her pain underscores every moment of our time together, from the first time we met her 14 years ago, when we received legal custody of her son, to our subsequent visits, which have introduced us to her other children and extended family.

It's a cliché that adoption works "in the best interests of the child," a homily that avoids big questions such as global economic inequalities, legacies of war and violence and other hard circumstances that brought Hilda, Jordi and us together in 1999. Yet every moment of the five days we spent in Jutiapa, watching Jordi fall further and further in love with his family of origin, made it obvious that the "best interests of the child" don't end when the adoption papers are signed.

When Jordi, at age 11, decided he wanted to try to renew contact with the Guatemalan side of his family, it was a straightforward process. Through an intermediary, we found Hilda. We sent her photos of Jordi, we received photos of her and her other children, we spoke on the phone.

When we told her we'd like to come visit she said we would be welcome "with open arms," and she was not exaggerating.

Our first, short visit with Hilda and her family in Jutiapa, which took place in 2012, could be described as "Oprah-esque." Such a powerful, constant mix of happiness and sadness, tears, smiles and hugs: I would almost need to turn it off if I saw it on TV. It was certainly enough to convince us all that we needed a longer repeat performance.

So, earlier this year we went back. This time we were no less emotional. Hilda is no less sad about her need to relinquish Jordi. Her father died a couple of weeks before our visit, and she told us that, on his deathbed, he said how sad he was that he hadn't been able to say goodbye to his grandson, missing in Canada.

However, this visit we had time to develop relationships. We walked together through Jutiapa's busy markets; we visited Douglas's church and Cristel's school. We shared Domino's pizza and Pollo Campero chicken.

We learned which areas of town to avoid because they've been taken over by the maras, gangs that terrorize ordinary Guatemalans today just as effectively as the army did during the country's civil war.

Every day ended by 7 p.m. at the latest so we could drive Hilda and her family up the steep hill to their village on the outskirts of town, negotiate the pockmarked dirt road back down, return our rented car to the locked garage and make sure we were back with the friends we were staying with before nightfall.

The night of the soccer game was an exception. Douglas was worried as he told us he could only get the soccer field in the evening. I didn't quite understand his concern until we raced home through the completely empty streets of Jutiapa at 10 p.m. Our hosts were terrified that we were out "so late." I remembered a quote I have always liked from American political scientist Cynthia Enloe: "Wars don't end simply, and wars don't simply end."

Yet, that night at the soccer field, as we watched Jordi racing to keep up with his big brother and his friends, it was easy to overlook the big picture for a moment and focus on the intimate. We all laughed at Douglas's friends, who kept saying, "I'm sorry" to Jordi, the only words of English on the field, as they knocked him down.

Jordi is one of the tallest sons of Jutiapa, but he's never been a soccer player. Even so, thanks to generous assists from his brother, he managed to score three goals that night. It was like watching him become more Guatemalan, or at least Jutiapan, before our eyes.

Two days after our return to Canada, I heard Jordi on the phone with Douglas, in perfect Spanglish, planning their next visit. There will be plenty of soccer games in the future.

Karen Dubinsky lives in Kingston.


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