Category: General

My kingdom for a horse

I love equestrian statues. There, the secret’s out. Just about any equestrian statue will do, but I have a few favourites. In New York’s Grand Army Plaza, there’s the gilded bronze of William Tecumseh Sherman. Another gilded bronze is Joan of Arc in New Orleans and the Place des Pyramides in Paris. In fact, it you visit the cities and towns of France it’s amazing how many of them have a copy. Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a united Italy, is on a horse in the centre of Ancient Rome. I don’t know if it’s the tallest equestrian...

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The China Shock

Sometimes you read newspaper articles, complete with studies and statistics, that seem far from reality. Such a commentary written by Andrew Sharpe and Myeongwan Kim ran yesterday in the Financial Post, (you can read it here) based on a study conducted by the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS).  The study sought to discover the impact on consumer prices in Canada and on inflation caused by an increase in goods imported from China, an effect known as “China Shock.” First, the bad news. An earlier study by the CSLS estimated that Canada lost 113,500 manufacturing jobs in the...

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Shelter from the storm

Since mid-March, my partner and I have been sheltering at her farm 90 minutes north of Toronto. We make brief trips back into the city, but this is where we’ve spent most of our time. A stay of such duration allowed us to see spring arrive in all its splendour. For example, we could admire a wide variety of wildflowers that came and went during our daily walks in the woods, including trout lily, Dutchman’s breeches, and a carpet of trilliums. Returning bird life included olive-sided flycatcher, Baltimore oriole, brown thrasher, red-eyed vireo, Eastern bluebird, and a pair of hooded...

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Lessons of history

In Italy, where coronavirus has hit the hardest among European nations, the country is all but shut down. Italy is used to such quarantines. In fact, the very word has its origin in Venice. During a plague in the 14th century the port city forced all ships to wait forty days – quaranta giorni – before passengers and crews could disembark. Another Italian city followed with even broader precautions during the Middle Ages. The February 20 issue of the London Review of Books includes a review of a book by John Henderson called Florence Under Siege: Surviving the Plague in...

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Nowhere man

Some men grow a beard on holiday, but think better of it when they get home, and shave it off. Not Justin Trudeau. He thinks a vacation beard can change him. In fact, the beard has rendered his life untenable. He no longer knows who he is. Until now, Justin’s life has been ever-so-easy; he was Pierre Trudeau’s son. People praised him even when there was no reason. Being in the public eye so much, Justin became all about the performance arts. He was like Robert Redford playing the all-American boy in “The Way We Were” when Barbra Streisand asks,...

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The past is present

The problem with the blockades that have halted economic activity from Vancouver to Montreal is not the hereditary chiefs or the listless Ottawa crowd. No, the problem is that Canada is stuck in the nineteenth century. We have always been hewers of wood and drawers of water, shipping our birthright – usually to American buyers – rather than create as many jobs at home as we could. Instead of spending billions on pipelines to feed others, why not build a refinery in Alberta that uses Western oil and yields consumer products from synthetic fibres to plastics, tires to crayons? To...

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Running on empty

Saturday’s Globe and Mail contained shocking details about an athletics coach who allegedly groomed Megan Brown for sex beginning when she was a 17-year-old high school student. The relationship continued after she enrolled at the University of Guelph and trained under his tutelage. In 2006, her father informed the university about what was going on; nothing happened. Once the details were published last weekend, the university suddenly found its voice and apologized on its website that same day for the “deeply troubling” article. The coach, Dave Scott-Thomas, has denied any wrongdoing. On Monday, university president Franco Vaccarino emailed Brown with...

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Arrivederci

Since I waxed on at some length in a recent blog post about Eataly, it’s only fair to tell you what’s happened to the new Toronto hotspot. The patient lineups outside are long gone. Indeed, you can arrive at 6 p.m. and get a table for two in La Pizza e La Pasta. You can even make an online reservation, something that was not permitted in the early days. These are all advancements from the point of view of the customer. Other changes, however, are not so welcome. During the opening, staff was buttressed by top people from other Eatalys...

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