Monthly Archive: June 2008

The sky is falling

Met an old friend walking on King Street in downtown Toronto yesterday. Let’s call him Chicken Little; he believes the sky is falling. Not because of the global financial crisis, but because Canada is suffering from lethargy and a lack of innovation from which we’ll never recover. Chicken Little recited a litany of tales he’d recently learned. An executive at an international company told him they can get people to move to Hamburg or Boston but not Toronto because there’s nothing worthwhile here. Someone else who began their career at a Canadian bank when that institution was five times bigger...

Read More ....

Dollyville

I stopped recently at Museum station on the Toronto subway to inspect the finished product of so many months of renovation. In celebration of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), the platform between northbound and southbound trains has been tricked up with stately columns as well as reproductions of three items from the ROM collection: a totem pole, an Egyptian coffin and something else I cannot identify. As you sail by on the train, they look fine, but up close they’re cheesy. As Dolly Parton would say, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” My disappointment matches my...

Read More ....

Name names

My journalism career began in the 1960s when I wrote a high school news column at John F. Ross Collegiate for the Guelph Mercury. I’d sit down at my Smith-Corona typewriter every Sunday night at 9 p.m. (my deadline was Monday morning) and write until I fell asleep. I was paid nine cents a column inch. On a good week, I could earn $4, enough to take my then girlfriend, now wife, to the movies and then for cherry Cokes and chips with gravy. The memories came flooding back as I read Denise Rudnicki’s excellent study on the uses of...

Read More ....

No end in sight

We’ve just returned from four days in North Carolina and I can report that the recession has the Northeast in its grip. The only thing that was unchanged, year over year, was the weather. While Toronto suffered in a gloomy 18C, the Outer Banks were a sunny, sultry 33C. In historic Beaufort, North Carolina, the twelfth town settled in the United States, half of the white clapboard homes on the prime eight-block stretch of Front Street facing the water are for sale. A shop owner told us that a recession always arrives there a year earlier than everywhere else and...

Read More ....