They spill more than we drink

There were gawkers galore as I wandered through the new Nordstrom store in the Eaton Centre, part of the U.S. retailer’s push into Canada. This is the fourth location to open with two more to come. This latest is sizeable, 220,000 sq ft on three floors with a bar and lounge on the second floor called Habitant and a $14 signature drink called Dundas Streetcar. Those are two nice Canadian touches, except for the fact that the main ingredient in the drink is bourbon. I said gawkers because there were few shoppers. In Nordstrom’s signature department, ladies’ shoes, there must have...

Read More ....

Lonely is the cloud

I fear the cloud. I agree totally with the dialogue from Sex Tape, the romp starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. They’ve made a sex tape that he was supposed to delete, but forgot. And somehow now it’s on the Internet. “It went up to the cloud,” Segel tells Diaz. “And you can’t get it down from the cloud?” she asks incredulously. “Nobody understands the cloud,” he says. “It’s  a mystery.” In an attempt to unravel the mystery, I went looking for an explanation. The first one I read made it all sound so sensible. You want to plant some tomatoes but...

Read More ....

Long gone John

Someone asked me recently, “How do you think John Tory’s doing?” I realized I had no opinion. After becoming mayor of Toronto two years ago, John Tory’s become all but invisible. Oh, he marches at Pride parades and announces parks on top of railway tracks, but nothing comes of anything. I know Tory. He’s an admirable man. He has certainly shown his mettle in tough political campaigns. He ran Kim Campbell’s efforts in 1993 when the federal Progressive Conservatives almost disappeared. Tory ran for mayor of Toronto in 2003 and lost. As leader of the provincial PCs, he ran in a safe...

Read More ....

Grip, grin and grab

I think I’ve finally hit the small time. I just got an emailed invitation to attend one of those “cash for access” events with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau. The invitation came from a man I’ve never met, Malcolm MacKillop, a Toronto lawyer. Well, it didn’t actually come from him. It was sent by his law clerk Adela Zawadzki. I’ve never met her, either. The event, described as “cocktails and conversation” will be held on September 29 at the National Club in Toronto, at a time to be determined. But the invitation helpfully says it’s expected to...

Read More ....

Tastes of summer

First word of what lay ahead came by roller skate. “Lemonade for sale,” called out the young girl as she zipped by. I was ready for a cool drink while on my walk, but I would have bought some lemonade even if I weren’t thirsty. I never pass a lemonade stand without buying. I’ll even stop my car and cross the street to be a patron. The quality differs, but the maker-seller is always the same: some youngster who needs support. I’m happy to give it. In this case, there were a few wrinkles. In addition to lemonade, she was also...

Read More ....

Memento mori

Along with millions of other Canadians, last night I watched the last concert of The Tragically Hip, broadcast on CBC-TV in its 30-song setlist entirety. I’ve never been a fan of the group, but there I was anyway, because lead singer Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer. That was our last chance to see and hear him. Final tours have a dubious history. Sir Harry Lauder, the Scottish music hall singer, said in 1926: “I have come to that time of life when home is good enough for me, and I will not tour again.” Of course, he did. His...

Read More ....

Just asking

In the last few days I’ve read an article about how Justin Trudeau was the first to put his hand on his heart when he spoke, a move other politicians have copied. And I’ve read a piece about how a bust of Napoleon or Caesar or somebody famous looked just like our prime minister. Oh, and a friend told me that he saw Trudeau playing with his kids in an Ottawa park on a Sunday morning – just like any other father. Next thing you know, the summer sun dappling on my garage door will create an image of our leader and the...

Read More ....

A season of lassitude

The Blue Jays are having a great season; more fans are attending than at any time since the early 1990s. Through 56 home games including Sunday, attendance at the Rogers Centre is 2.3 million, up more than 600,000 compared to the same time last year, the biggest year-over-year increase among all major league baseball teams. Everyone’s wearing Jays merchandise. Buying a beer or a hot dog takes forever on line. But what sort of fans are these? Like the Jays, this is my 40th season. I’ve been going since the first ball was tossed out at Exhibition Stadium in 1977 and I’ve never...

Read More ....