Monthly Archive: November 2015

Housebound

To get some understanding of just how high house prices have risen in Toronto, I cite my grandparents’ place in Etobicoke. My grandfather died in 1961, my grandmother in 1966. Their three-bedroom bungalow with a self-contained basement apartment sold in 1967 for about $25,000. Today, the same house, with no additions, would come on the market for $1 million and might even attract multiple bids. What else has risen forty-fold in the intervening almost 50 years? Nothing I can think of. Certainly not incomes. When I graduated from university in 1967, my starting annual salary was $6,000. Humanities grads now get around...

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Canadian idle

How would the Canadian election have turned out if the terrorist attacks in Paris had happened before the vote? My dentist put that question to me today when, fortunately, he had so many implements in my mouth that speech was impossible. I say “fortunately” because I could not have mustered a response even if my mouth was available. By the time his work was done, my lips were frozen and the moment had passed. I’ve been wrestling with the question ever since. Watching the televised clip of Justin Trudeau at the G20 summit in Turkey was like looking at a man who’d been...

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The going down of the sun

Today’s Remembrance Day services in Ottawa offered a number of new sights. There was a new prime minister and his wife who wore a hat straight out of Downton Abbey, a new Sikh minister of defence who served in Afghanistan and a new minister of veterans affairs in a wheelchair. But it wasn’t the new I sought. It was the War Memorial itself, the silver cross mother, the twenty-one gun salute, the children’s choir and the aged faces of veterans. I never lost a loved one in any war. Oh, I had an uncle and and an aunt who served and...

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Her only bad habit was us

A few of us were standing around the bar at the National Press Club in Ottawa on a Friday night in late 1975. Some couples were dancing in the next room. Mostly it was just the usual bar scene, boozing and boasting. Until Margaret Trudeau swept in with a certain devil-may-care attitude and a security detail officer a few steps behind. Such a drop-in was unheard of. A few MPs might come for lunch, a lobbyist or two might mingle, but not the prime minister’s wife. Margaret had recently been in the news so maybe she thought she should come hang out with...

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Jaywalker

Baseball season is over. The Blue Jays pushed the World Series winners to six games in the American League finals, one game better than the Mets fared against the Royals. Jose Bautista showed the world that Toronto has style with his bat flip. Josh Donaldson won the Hank Aaron award and is in line for the Most Valuable Player award. We should be celebrating a successful season, the best in 22 years. But we’re not. We’re mired in a he said-he said-he said controversy about the unhappy departure of general manager Alex Anthopoulos, the man who made this year happen. He said...

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