Monthly Archive: August 2013

Value village

Half a dozen years ago, I attended a corporate reception in Montreal. The catered event in a beautiful venue featured business leaders, famous people, and – with the exception of a four-minute speech by the Toronto-based CEO – was conducted totally in French. I was okay with that. Most of the remarks during the 90-minute program had little to do with the organization that has offices around the world, they were just the usual boring blather of self-congratulation. Still, I saw the full use of French as a remarkable and positive outcome of Bill 101 that demonstrated the self-confidence of Quebec businesspeople....

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Cheap drinks

One of my favorite reads in The Globe and Mail is the Clarification/Correction column. Newspapers today are far more likely to admit errors, anything from misspelled words to major whoops. A correction yesterday referred to a story that I hadn’t read (another reason to check the clarifications) about the Nestle operation in Aberfoyle, Ont., where they pump drinking water out of the ground and fill plastic bottles. Aberfoyle is a spit-and-a-holler south of Guelph where I grew up. When I was a boy, Guelph’s water came from the Arkell Springs, about half way between the Royal City and Aberfoyle. At...

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Suck-up city

By far the best book of the season is This Town, a skewering of the Washington, D.C., elite. Written by Mark Leibovich, national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, the book arrives with a long subtitle: Two Parties and a Funeral – plus plenty of valet parking! – in America’s Gilded Capital. In fact there are two funerals, one for Tim Russert, erstwhile host of Meet the Press, the other for Richard Holbrooke. Both events are described in vicious detail, right down to how people arrived wearing studio-ready pancake makeup. Barack Obama was the first of fifteen eulogists for...

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O tempora o mores!

This summer’s Shakespeare in High Park offers two plays, Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew, in an outdoor setting that’s close to the action. I saw The Taming of the Shrew last night and can report that it’s a popular romp of a production that drew a sellout crowd including lots of families with young children. I am not sure, however, that it is family fare. The Taming of the Shrew has never been among my favourite Shakespearean plays. While the work has spawned Broadway and other iterations, its theme of taking the rebellious Kate and bending her into...

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Toronto the Best

The rest of Canada hates Toronto, right? The venom is so virulent that it infects Torontonians who debunk their city as riddled with gridlock, run by a boor, has an affront for a waterfront and can’t mount a professional team that’s a winner. (Except for the Argos and they don’t count.) In recent days I’ve read disparaging things about the Ted Rogers statue at the Rogers Centre, a restaurant where the chef spent too much time in the front of the house and, of course, the weather. There’s always something wrong with the weather: too humid, too cold at night,...

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