By Susan Mohammad - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 0 Comments
After he bought his first motorcycle, riding became his passion. He spent all of his free time on his bike.
Benjamin John Eldridge Collins was born at the Lakeshore General Hospital in Pointe-Claire, Que., on Sept. 28, 1989. His father, Ken, who worked for Air Canada as an IT specialist, and his mother, Kelley Huskins, then a homemaker, had broken up, but they were reunited by Ben’s birth and remained together for one more year.
Kelley called Ben her “miracle baby.” A year before his birth, doctors had told her she would never be able to have children, the result of a terrible accident that nearly took her life. Kelley had been thrown from a motorcycle and pinned beneath its back tire; her best friend, who’d been driving the bike, was killed in the crash.
“From day one he was a happy-go-lucky kid,” she says. His uncle Rick called him the “drool machine,” because he never stopped smiling.
By Susan Mohammad - Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 9:00 PM - 0 Comments
She insisted on being called ‘vie’ because it means ‘life’ in French. She devoted her boundless energy to cycling and native youth.
Violet Marion Nelson was born in Swan River, Man., on Dec. 22, 1976, the second of four children to Violet, a homemaker, and Glen, who drove a taxi. The children, including her brothers Eric and Will, and sister Sindy, grew up in Winnipeg, where Violet, who had white-blond locks, loved playing cowboys with her brothers as much as she did dressing Sindy up like a doll. She was equal parts nurturer and energetic tomboy.
Violet insisted everyone call her “Vie,” largely because it means “life” in French. She was generous to a fault, even as a child; her mother scolded her more than once for giving away her toys to less fortunate neighbourhood kids. “I’d give her heck, and ask why she did that,” says Violet. “She’d just look at me—‘They didn’t have any toys,’ she’d say.”
As a student at Faraday School, Vie was a whiz with numbers and an exceptional athlete, bringing home trophies for just about every sport she tried. In Grade 3, she took a liking to cycling after she and Eric took a safe biking course. Sitting still in class, however, was difficult for Vie, who was diagnosed with dyslexia. To help burn up some of her extra energy, her teachers pushed her toward extracurricular activities. At nine, Vie signed up for the Girl Guides of Canada, and by 11, she was volunteering at the YMCA, teaching kids to swim. Despite her success outside the classroom, school remained a challenge. In high school, Vie frequently skipped class, and in Grade 10, dropped out altogether. At 17, she toured Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario as a volunteer with Katimavik, the Canadian organization that sends youth to work in community projects.
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, June 4, 2012 at 10:51 AM - 0 Comments
The beleaguered region of Iraq is booming, much to the rest of the country’s chagrin
Five months after the U.S. military quit Iraq, the expression on the faces of foreign visitors landing at Kurdistan’s gleaming, new airport for the first time is always the same. After stepping off one of an increasing number of international flights, being ushered past security, with no visa necessary, toward a duty free shop — where a litre of Grey Goose Vodka costs US$27 — the most common response is disbelief.
While much of the country is still plagued by insurgent attacks, and a power struggle between Shia and Sunni Arab political factions threatens to push Iraq to civil war, Kurdistan is thriving, thanks to foreign investment and oil wealth. The Kurds are allocated 17 per cent of Iraq’s total oil export revenue, an enormous sum in a country with some of the world’s largest oil reserves. The semi-autonomous region is governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government, which claimed an eight per cent GDP growth rate last year, nearly topping that of China.
In just a few short years, the region has gone from war-torn and largely ignored by the international community to stable and economically prosperous. Even Canada has taken note. In March, a video of Prime Minister Stephen Harper appeared on local TV, wishing Kurds a happy New Year (it’s celebrated on the first day of spring); and in April, Canada’s ambassador to Iraq met with Kurdish officials to discuss co-operation.
By Susan Mohammad - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 11:30 AM - 0 Comments
A western farmer, he became a strong opponent of the Canadian wheat board. ‘He wanted free choice,’ his daughter says.
Arthur “Art” Armond Mainil was born on Oct. 13, 1933, in Lampman, Sask. He was the oldest of three children for Hector and Emma, a farming couple who settled on the same 960-acre grain and cattle farm that Art’s grandfather homesteaded near the town. Even though he was only a year older than his brother Jerry (his sister Valerie was born six years after him), Art was expected to lead by example in helping to manage the property. At age seven, Art could be seen driving a tractor through fields with his father on a binder behind him.
“Farming was in his blood,” says Jerry, who describes his brother as “strong-headed” even as a child. Along with stubbornness and a solid work ethic, Art developed a lifelong love of horses early on. He had a pinto named Snookie that he rigged up to a cart or sled in order to take his siblings to their one-room school four kilometres from where they lived, after their previous school burned down.
In order for the children to continue to attend school, Art’s family moved to the town of Yellow Grass when he was nine, and then to the town of Weyburn three years later, where they settled (Art’s father made the 45-minute commute to the farm each day). Art was a top student who also played baseball, and was a fast-running centre on his high school football team at Weyburn Collegiate. Four years after graduating from high school, Art decided farming wasn’t for him, and set out to get a higher education. He spent 2½ years pursuing an engineering degree in Denver, Colo., before dropping out and trying his hand as a logger in the bush of northern B.C. After another 2½ years, he returned home to work the land. When Art’s father retired in 1961, he took over the farm, and took great pride in renovating it.
By Susan Mohammad - Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
With the NHL a possibility, he trained hard, drinking protein shakes and eating pasta with meat before each game
Benjamin Theodore Pearson was born on Aug. 15, 1990, in Mississauga, Ont., to Robin Pearson, a stay-at-home mother, and her husband, Stephen, a salesman. It was a quick birth that happened before their doctor at the Credit Valley Hospital made it into the room after being paged. Ben, the middle of three children, was eager to experience life, having arrived a few days early, and he began walking early, too. At nine months, he was already toddling around the family’s home carrying his brother Eric’s toy hockey stick. And at age five, the blond-haired boy with a near-constant smile began playing hockey in Cambridge, Ont. (where the family now lived)—a sport he loved like nothing else.
“No matter what kind of toy he played with, they were always playing hockey,” says Robin, who remembers watching Ben move his Spider-Man figurine around an imaginary rink. “Any stories he wrote for school, if it had to be about animals then the animals were playing a hockey game.”
As a student at Clemens Mill Public School, Ben took French immersion, and generally did the least needed to get by without having sports taken away from him. He was also headstrong: “In kindergarten, he decided he was going to teach his classmates how to tie their shoes for show and tell,” recalls Robin. “He didn’t know how but he sat on that couch for five hours until he learned.” Ben was just as tenacious about learning to ride a bike or water ski. After numerous attempts at standing on his skis (and despite his hands being blistered from rope burn), Ben put on gloves and kept going until he succeeded.
By Susan Mohammad - Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
He hated being indoors, and loved working the land where his family had lived since the early 19th century
Gilbert “Gib” James Weatherhead was born on a dairy farm in Upper Rawdon in Nova Scotia’s Hants County during haying season on Aug. 10, 1930, to Ruth and Thomas Weatherhead. Along with his younger siblings Ronald, Keith, Bessie, Wilma, Verna and Dick, Gib was expected to milk the cows and help on his father’s woodlot on land that had belonged to the family since the early 19th century (the family had come to the region as United Empire Loyalists). According to his sister Bessie, Gib was a quiet child who loved math and was an “above average” student at the one-room schoolhouse where the Weatherhead children received their education.
At 19, his father died. “Gib was the one who found him in the back field after he had a heart attack while plowing,” says Bessie. “Our mother was left with seven kids ranging from ages two to 19.” After taking over his father’s dairy and woodlot business, Gib had little time for girls or fun, except for winter afternoons spent bobsledding down hills with his siblings.
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 2 Comments
Maclean’s winter travel guide—where to go and what to see in Canada
In February, around the time many Canadians head south in search of warm beaches and tee times, the world is coming to Canada. The 2010 Winter Olympics will be one of the biggest parties in our nation’s history, especially if Team Canada ends its gold medal drought on Canadian soil. While the Vancouver Games are the most high-profile event, it’s far from the only thing to see and do in Canada this winter. So, to help with your travel plans, Maclean’s compiled a list of 50 attractions and activities, from the wildly popular to some lesser-known gems.
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 2 Comments
Eagles soar. Dogs skijor?
IN THE DEAD OF WINTER MUSIC FESTIVAL/HALIFAX (Jan. 26 to 30)
The East Coast, and Halifax in particular, is known for a vibrant independent music scene. Since 2006, the IDOW festival, organized by a group of local musicians, has featured artists from Canada and the U.S. performing a series of acoustic sets at venues throughout the city. Past festival performers include Matt Mays, Joel Plaskett and Buck 65.
SHEFFIELD MILLS EAGLE WATCH/SHEFFIELD MILLS (the last two weekends in January)
Every year, bald eagles make this Annapolis Valley community a favourite winter retreat between late November and early March. The best viewing opportunities are said to be mid-morning. On the weekends of Jan. 23 and 30, a naturalist is on hand to answer questions, and there’s a related art exhibit at the community centre. Guests can also partake in a pancake and sausage breakfast.
NOVA SCOTIA WINTER ICEWINE FESTIVAL/ANNAPOLIS VALLEY (Feb. 4 to 14)
Icewine isn’t the first thing to come to mind when planning an East Coast getaway, but the Nova Scotia Icewine Festival is proof that there are plenty of award-winning vintners in the region. The 10-day event, hosted by the Winery Association of Nova Scotia, will be the third annual celebration and features vineyard tours, wine tastings, gourmet dinners and cooking classes.
KEJIMKUJIK NATIONAL PARK AND NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE/ANNAPOLIS COUNTY
Covering 400 sq. km of inland lakes and forests, Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site is a ruggedly beautiful all-season woodland with over 50 km of groomed trails for backcountry skiing and a perfect site for winter camping. The park is home to centuries of Mi’kmaq history, and boasts one of the largest collections of rock carvings in North America. Kejimkujik is said to mean “tired muscles,” which is exactly what to expect after strapping on snowshoes and traversing the natural trails that snake through the park. But the natural beauty of the place makes it all worthwhile.
SKIJORING/BADDECK (November to March)
In what has to rank as one of the stranger sports, skijoring involves wearing a pair of cross-country skis and becoming attached, by a bungee cord, to the harness of an Eskimo dog (another variation of the sport includes a horse). This wild winter ride is best suited for the experienced cross-country skier. For something a little more traditional, climb aboard a dogsled that’s hitched to a team of Eskimo dogs and hurtle through a winter wonderland.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.novascotia.com
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
Get your skis shined up
CANADA OLYMPIC PARK/CALGARY
Another way of celebrating the Winter Games this year is to check out Canada Olympic Park, where many of the big events were held in ’88. In addition to still being a training facility—and the site of the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum—the park is also open to the public. Nearly 300,000 skiers and snowboarders come every year to try out the slopes. Many guests also give the luge a shot, and take a turn on a bobsled—a 60-second thrill ride, piloted by a pro, that features 14 hair-raising turns and a top speed of 120 km/hr.
WINTERSTART FESTIVAL/BANFF AND LAKE LOUISE (Nov. 28 to Dec. 6)
Start off the ski season by watching the best alpine racers in the world tear down the mountains in Lake Louise (Men’s World Cup racing on Nov. 28 and 29; Women’s World Cup racing on Dec. 5 and 6). Then, cap things off by getting festive in Banff, which plays host to a Christmas tree decorating competition, children’s face painting and a Santa Claus Parade of Lights on Dec. 5. And while you’re there, carve a few of your own skiing and snowboarding trails in some of Canada’s best powder or relax in the hot springs.
CANADIAN BIRKEBEINER SKI FESTIVAL/EDMONTON (Feb. 12 to 13)
In 1206, as civil war raged in Norway, the heir to the throne (an infant prince named Haakon Haakonsson) was in danger and hiding near Lillehammer. He was rescued by two Birkebeiner warriors, the story goes, and carried over two mountain ranges, on skis, to safety. Today, this event is celebrated in Norway, the U.S., Japan and Canada. Participants can choose from five different recreational skiing events, including a 13-km mini “birkie” and a full 55-km route carrying a 5.5-kg pack to represent the weight of an infant. The festival, the largest of its kind in North America, culminates in a Vikings’ Feast, which is all the wild salmon and wine one can consume.
ICE CLIMBING/CANMORE (November to April)
One hour west of Calgary lies the small town of Canmore, with a reputation for having some of the finest ice climbing sites in the world. Climbers of any skill level can enjoy a guided ascent of any of the hundreds of paths deep in the heart of the Ghost River Valley. Canmore became recognized as a world-class climbing site during the 1988 Calgary Olympic Games and has since lured climbing buffs from all over the world.
ICE ON WHYTE FESTIVAL/EDMON-TON (Jan. 14 to 24)
Brandishing chainsaws, a group of international artists converge on Festival Park in Old Strathcona to show off their sculpting skills on 130-kg blocks of ice. Last year, more than 25,000 attended this winter festival, which, in addition to the ice-sculpture competition, includes an ice castle, live music, ice slides and an ice-carving workshop for children.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.travelalberta.com
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
Where Rider green may turn to gold
2010 IIHF WORLD JUNIOR HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP/REGINA AND SASKATOON
(Dec. 26 to Jan. 5) Hockey fans won’t want to miss any of the action when Canada tries to win its sixth straight World Junior Championship crown. This year, Hockey Canada announced players will forgo their traditional red and white jerseys during some of the games in exchange for green ones, in honour of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders and the province. So pull on your Team Canada jersey—be it red and white or green—paint your face, and prepare to cheer on the future stars of the NHL.
SASKATOON BLUES FESTIVAL (Feb. 25 to 28)
The eighth annual Saskatoon Blues Festival will feature two main stages, as well as a musicians’ swap (a huge garage sale of used instruments) and guitar, boogie piano and harmonica workshops. The Hilton Garden Acoustic Room is a more intimate venue, while the Odeon Electric Blues Room is plugged in and always a party. Highlights include Paul Oscher, who gained fame as Muddy Waters’ harmonica player, and slide guitarist Sonny Landreth, whom Eric Clapton described as “the most underestimated musician on the planet.”
DICKENS VILLAGE FESTIVAL/CARLYLE (Dec. 4 to 5)
For two days every winter, the streets of Carlyle in southeastern Saskatchewan become a stage. Locals don authentic period clothing to partake in a traditional English high tea or sell crafts and food from charming wooden carts. Enjoy a dusk parade, the making of old-fashioned Christmas decorations, and listen to carolers and fiddlers fill the crisp night air with music from another era. This year marks the seventh anniversary of the festival, modelled after a similar Victorian Christmas celebration in Garrison, N.D.
ICE FISHING (until mid-March)
By late December, the ice on most lakes is usually thick enough to support vehicles, allowing winter anglers a chance to try their luck at snagging some of the 65 freshwater species—including walleye, northern pike, perch, whitefish, burbot and trout—lurking in Saskatchewan’s lakes. Tobin Lake is said to be where the biggest walleye can be found. Other popular spots include Lake Diefenbaker, Rafferty Reservoir and any of the bodies of water along the Churchill River System.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.sasktourism.com
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
A mix of music and moose calls
NORTHERN MANITOBA’S TRAPPERS’ FESTIVAL/THE PAS (Feb. 17 to 21)
Connect with your inner pioneer by taking part in trap setting, moose calling, muskrat skinning and even a beard growing contest. The quirky festivities, which began in 1916, now include a world championship dog race (where mushers compete for $40,000 in prizes), a crafts show and bannock baking (a bread made with salt, flour, lard, baking powder and water). But no trappers’ festival would be complete without an axe-throwing competition and, of course, the coronation of the King and Queen Trappers and a Fur Queen.
FESTIVAL DU VOYAGEUR/WINNIPEG (Feb. 12 to 21)
Dubbed “the world’s largest kitchen party,” this festival is about honouring the fur traders who established the Red River colony. Over the years, this event has grown to become Western Canada’s largest winter festival—more than 100,000 people attended last year—and includes 300 musical performances, snow sculptures, an arts-and-crafts market and the Governor’s Ball.
ARCTIC GLACIER WINTER PARK/WINNIPEG (December to March)
Every year, the Arctic Glacier Winter Park springs up from the ice and snow around the Forks. Visitors can explore an ice castle, toboggan down a chute, squeeze through an obstacle course made of ice and snow, and skate along the 1.2-km-long icy trail.
NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL/WINNIPEG (Feb. 6 to 12)
This seven-night event, hosted by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, is sure to take those in attendance on a symphonic journey. The opening night piece, dedicated to the “angelic beauty” of Canada’s Arctic, was created by composer-in-residence Vincent Ho. The 30-minute work is based on a week-long trip that Ho took in 2008 to the Canadian North with a group of scientists, including time aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen.
HUDSON BAY QUEST & NORTHERN LIGHTS/CHURCHILL
The Hudson Bay Quest, a traditional dogsled race, was founded in 2004 by a small group of mushers hoping to revive the sport. The exciting 400-km race (which begins next year on March 27) links Churchill, Man., and Arviat, Nunavut, and brings together expert teams from across North America as well as a loyal band of spectators, who brave the chilling -35 degree temperatures. Churchill is also one of the best places in Canada to view the northern lights. Astronomers and physicists have been drawn to the “polar bear capital of the world” for more than 240 years in the hope of getting a better understanding of this atmospheric phenomenon. Hop on the back deck of a heated “tundra buggy” to take in the lights of the aurora borealis as they fade and weave in the Arctic sky. For those looking for something with a more scientific bent, check out the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, where veteran “Starman” Roger Woloshyn teaches courses on the aurora borealis.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.travelmanitoba.com
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
Have a drink, stay awhile
WINTERLUDE/OTTAWA (Feb. 5 to 21)
Once this family-friendly festival is in full swing, it seems like the entire city is out enjoying a beaver tail (Barack Obama’s favourite Canadian delicacy) and a hot chocolate while gliding down the Rideau Canal. Concerts, a light show and an ice-sculpture competition line the 7.8-km stretch of canal. And some of Ottawa’s top restaurants celebrate by offering special prix fixe menus.
ALIGHT AT NIGHT FESTIVAL/MORRISBURG (Nov. 28 to Jan. 3)
More than 250,000 white lights are strung up in historic Upper Canada Village (modelled after a small village in the 1860s), attracting 40,000 visitors to the town located 75 km south of Ottawa. Take a stroll under the stars, book a romantic horse-drawn wagon ride, or hop aboard a life-sized toy train for the full experience. This year’s event will also feature a life-sized gingerbread house.
KENSINGTON KARNIVAL/TORONTO (Dec. 21)
During the city’s month-long Cavalcade of Lights, now in its 43rd year, celebrate the longest night of the year by donning a silly mask, bringing along a homemade instrument and lighting candles at the annual winter solstice celebration in one of Toronto’s funkiest neighbourhoods. Weave in and out of Kensington’s narrow streets, where you can watch fire breathers, rooftop theatre and giant puppets dancing in a procession during this celestial carnival. Revellers light up the night in a glowing parade before heading to a local park to party around a bonfire.
BON SOO WINTER CARNIVAL/SAULT STE. MARIE (Feb. 5 to 14)
No winter carnival would be complete without an outhouse race or a goofy-looking mascot, and the Bon Soo Winter Carnival delivers both. Northern Ontario’s largest winter carnival, which attracts more than 100,000 to the Soo every year, has been celebrating Franco-Ontarian culture since 1964. The carnival features more than 100 fun events, including celebrity look-alike contests, art exhibits, dart and curling tournaments, sleigh and snowmobile rides, a polar bear swim, and competitions in which dogs compete to pull the most weight. And be sure to get a picture with the Bon Soo mascot, a slightly less refined version of his cousin from Quebec City.
NIAGARA ICEWINE FESTIVAL/JORDAN AND NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE (Jan. 15 to 31)
It might sound crazy to wish for the bitter cold, but the Niagara Icewine Festival depends on it. During the 10-day event, the main streets of Jordan and Niagara-on-the-Lake are lined with ice bars and tents featuring wine tastings, live music and art. And visit the boutiques that dot the streets of both idyllic towns. Of course, before heading home, remember to pick up a bottle of your favourite icewine.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.ontariotravel.net
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
The way it was meant to be played
WORLD POND HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP/PLASTER ROCK (Feb. 11 to 14)
Since the small village first hosted the event in 2002, the championship has grown from 40 teams to 120, representing 15 countries. (The defending champs are the Sadler’s Wheat Kings from Fredericton.) Teams play four on four, without goalies—the goal is just 25 cm high. This year, a women’s division is being added for the first time in the tourney’s history. But the grand prize is unchanged: a trophy that looks a lot like the Stanley Cup, except for the fact it’s made out of wood.
WINTERFEST NEW BRUNSWICK/FREDERICTON (Feb. 5 to 21)
Inspired by one family’s visit to Winterlude in the nation’s capital, Winterfest NB was founded in 2002 and boasts seven-metre-tall ice slides and a 16-hectare ice labyrinth with two-metre-tall walls. Every year, thousands of tourists enjoy the artistry of the ice and snow sculptures and test their off-season golf skills by teeing one up at one of the three polar bear golf holes.
RUSTIC WINTER SHELTER/KOUCHIBOUGUAC NATIONAL PARK (Dec. 15 to March 31)
After trekking—by cross-country ski or snowshoe—the 10 km to the campsite, you’ll appreciate the simple—indoor—accommodation (for safety, a minimum of three people must stay at the remote shelter at a time). This outdoor adventure is not for high-maintenance types. Participants will have to carry everything they need during their stay. The park, which is located about 100 km north of Moncton, provides a stove, firewood, picnic tables, six sleeping platforms and a toilet—and, of course, plenty of trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tobogganing.
NEW BRUNSWICK’S NORTHERN SNOWMOBILE ODYSSEY (December to March)
Every year, up to 400 cm of the white stuff flies in New Brunswick, the most snow in any of the three Maritime provinces. That’s why so many jump on a “sled” and head out on this epic winter journey, which covers 1,000 km of trails and links Miramichi, Bathurst, Campbellton and Edmundston. Be sure to fit in some time to unwind at one of the bed and breakfasts or hotels along the way.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
The Rock’s underground scene
The region’s cave system is a hidden geological gem, and one of Newfoundland’s most interesting hiking destinations. The caves were carved over the millennia by the flow of the Corner Brook Stream and several local businesses offer guided tours of this underworld attraction. After a scenic hike down Corner Brook gorge, tours can last up to three hours, during which adventure-seekers follow the string of large rooms and tiny crevices about a kilometre underground. Crawl through the beautiful limestone scenery, or simply enjoy a break from the cold winter weather as the temperature in the caves varies little between the seasons.
WILDLIFE TRACKING-GORGE ICE WALKS/STEADY BROOK
It’s easy for nature enthusiasts to lose track of time trekking past snow-capped mountains, while learning the secrets of animal tracking from an experienced guide. Hike through Gros Morne National Park or the snowy Blow-Me-Down mountains before sitting down to a winter picnic. For those looking for a more physical test, ice walks through frozen waterfalls and a steep icy gorge are an exhilarating way to celebrate the natural beauty of winter.
GROS MORNE WINTER EXCURSION/GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK (February to March)
Crisp air, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing under the northern lights sound like a call to action for all restless Canadian winter wanderers. This five-day getaway, which is sure to recharge any city-dweller’s battery, begins with a four-hour ski session, departing from Deer Lake and heading through snowy forests before ending up at a backcountry lodge. On the last day on the trails, guests head to Western Brook Pond, a lake surrounded by steep rock walls ascending 600 m, leading to one of the most stunning views in Canada.
VAKKAR VIKING JOURNEY/MAIN BROOK (January to April)
On day one at the Tuckamore Lodge, Viking warriors in full armour serve you your feast before treating you to an unforgettable “yell in” ceremony. The five-day trek includes snowmobiling to L’Anse aux Meadows, North America’s only authentic Norse settlement. And don’t forget your camera, since there’s plenty of moose, caribou and Arctic foxes in the wilderness near the fishing communities of Lock’s Cove and Ireland Bight.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.newfoundlandandlabrador.com
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
Heads up: ﬂying chainsaws
THE SOURDOUGH RENDEZVOUS FESTIVAL/WHITEHORSE (Feb. 25 to 28)
After hiding for months from sub-zero temperatures, Yukoners shake the collective cabin fever by dancing in mukluks, tossing chainsaws, and competing in flour-packing, axe-throwing and tug-a-truck contests in a carnival-like atmosphere in downtown Whitehorse. Fiddlers and comedy acts are part of this four-day festival, during which smooshing (teams of five people strap their feet on two-by-fours and race down the street) is the favoured mode of travel. Costumes are a mandatory part of the festivities—any man caught by the “Keystone Kops” without a beard, or a woman not donning a garter belt in plain sight, is open to ridicule and paraded through the streets in a jail cell on wheels.
SUNRISE FESTIVAL/INUVIK (Jan. 9)
During the summer, Canada’s northernmost town enjoys roughly 56 days of around-the-clock daylight. But come December, Inuvik (which lies two degrees above the Arctic Circle) is blanketed in darkness. So it’s of little surprise that locals of the naturally beautiful town, which straddles the treeless tundra and northern boreal forest, celebrate the return of the sun in early January. Though a rather simple festival—the townspeople gather for fireworks and a community bonfire as the sun first shimmers over the horizon—it’s one of the purest ways of celebrating a connection with the land.
Whether you’re at the helm, commanding a team of dogs in the wintry landscape, or sitting back and enjoying the scenery and leaving the driving for the pros, a hot beverage around the crackling wood stove once it’s all done is a perfect way to cap off the day.
KUGLUK/BLOODY FALLS TERRITORIAL PARK
For anyone wanting to view a landscape relatively untouched for thousands of years, the Kugluk/Bloody Falls Territorial Park is the site to see. Kugluk is the historical site of winter houses used by the Thule culture (ancestors of the Inuit), and a place to check remnants of caribou-hunting camps dating back 1,500 years. For safety reasons, however, it’s highly recommended that winter visitors travel with an outfitter who has a good grasp of the area. And don’t forget a toque.
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
Get ’em while they’re cold
ICE COLD OYSTERS/FERNWOOD (Monday to Friday, by appointment)
Head out onto the ice at Salutation Cove on a snowmobile and learn to catch oysters from the bottom of the cove. While most fishermen use chainsaws to cut through the ice, visitors taking part in a guided tour are able to plunge their own tongs into the ice and eat a few oysters right out of the water. Participants learn the difference between standard and choice oysters, as well as how they’re farmed, harvested, and shucked.
BROOKVALE WINTER ACTIVITY PARK/QUEEN’S COUNTY
Centrally located, Queen’s County is where many cross-country, snowboarding and alpine enthusiasts come to play when visiting the Island. For downhill skiers, the park offers a 76-m drop and 10 alpine trails. Nordic skiers can enjoy 24.5 km of recreational trails and another 7.5 km of competitive lanes. If skiing isn’t your thing, pull on a pair of snowshoes or jump on a toboggan and race down the hills—all before enjoying a warm cider in one of the two lodges on the property.
OWNER FOR AN EVENING/CHARLOTTETOWN (until the end of December)
Harness racing has a rich history in P.E.I. (home of the Gold Cup and Saucer Race) and there’s nothing like the thrill of watching “your” horse make its move in the final stretch. The Owner for an Evening experience includes a tour of the grandstand at the Charlottetown Driving Park and Entertainment Centre and a visit to the paddock to meet the horse. Participants discuss race strategy with trainers before a buffet dinner of steamed mussels, seafood chowder and P.E.I. potatoes. Though you won’t collect a cut if your horse is victorious, expect to be whisked to the winner’s circle where your photo will be taken alongside your horse and driver.
JACK FROST CHILDREN’S WINTERFEST/CHARLOTTETOWN (Feb. 12 to 14)
About 70 tonnes of snow is used to make Jack Frost’s “home,” a whimsical castle that delights children during the largest winter festival east of Quebec City. Frost’s snow kingdom is an interactive playground bursting with slides, jungle gyms, an igloo village and ice carvings. And though the festival is primarily geared toward children, adults can enjoy the live music, fireworks displays, and a 3,600-sq.-foot snow maze.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.tourismpei.com
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 4 Comments
Nobody throws a party like Bonhomme
CARNAVAL DE QUÉBEC/QUEBEC CITY (Jan. 29 to Feb. 14)
The Carnaval, which first took place in 1894 (Bonhomme joined the party in 1955), has become the largest winter carnival in the world—a celebration of tradition, history and culture that generates $48 million a year for the city. Activities include horse-drawn sleigh rides, a soapbox derby, a snow sculpture competition, outdoor hot tubs or a climb to the top of a 10-m-tall ice palace. But if you’re feeling courageous, participating in a goosebump-inducing snow bath, or riding a 150-m zipline above thousands of festival-goers at the Plains of Abraham, will surely get your adrenalin going. Foodies can enjoy a visit a traditional sugar shack, or endulge in a beaver tail while touring the city’s historic downtown quarter.
VILLAGE VACANCE VALCARTIER/SAINT-GABRIEL-DE-VALCARTIER (from mid-December until the end of March)
The winter playground has 42 sliding hills overlooking the beautiful Jacques-Cartier River and Valley for thrill-seekers to speed down while clinging to rubber tubes or snow rafts. The park also boasts an outdoor rink and musical skating paths to glide through. Steeper slopes, including the “Himalaya” area, attract the more adventurous visitors. Reach speeds of 80 km/hr while flying down “Everest,” which, at 33 m tall, is said to be the highest hill with an ice slide in North America.
For the 13th consecutive year, Mont Tremblant has been voted the No. 1 ski resort for eastern North America in Ski Magazine’s annual survey. But its charming location has more to offer than a pristine mountain to carve. Surrounded by the beauty of the Laurentian Mountains, the picturesque town has something for everyone: shopping, art galleries, ice climbing, or visiting one of the bustling village’s many pubs, microbreweries and nightclubs.
THE MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS FESTIVAL (Feb. 18 to 28)
Every year, this spectacle of food, performing arts and light is themed after a region. This year it’s Portugal, and 20 Portuguese chefs have been invited to pair with Montreal restaurants (the honorary president of the culinary program for 2010 is chef Fausto Airoldi, from Lisbon’s acclaimed Pragma restaurant). Revellers can watch fireworks displays, enjoy an outdoor circus, or take in any number of musical acts. There are also plenty of historic sites—the quays of the Old Port, for instance, are illuminated in a rainbow of colours. For many, the best part of the festival is the Montreal All-Nighter (Nuit Blanche), which boasts more than 175 art exhibits spread across the city.
HÔTEL DE GLACE/SAINTE-CATHERINE-DE-LA-JACQUES-CARTIER (Jan. 4 to April 4)
Since opening its doors in 2001, the Hotel de Glace has mesmerized more than half a million visitors (every year, about 4,000 people stay the night) with its stunning architecture made completely out of snow and ice. Though the design of the hotel changes every year, it remains a 36-room one-of-a-kind experience complete with a majestic chandelier, art gallery, bar and chapel. Enjoy cocktails served in ice glasses, admire ice sculptures, or curl up on fur rugs by a fire.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.bonjourquebec.com
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
The Olympics aren’t the only games in town
THE GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST WALKING TOUR/VICTORIA (December)
A 90-minute tour of Victoria’s supernatural past includes the story of Adelaide Griffin (she died in 1861, and her image is the city’s first documented ghost sighting, first spotted at Christmastime) and the ghosts of Helmcken Alley, at the site of the old town jail. The prison was torn down in 1885 but, some claim, rattling chains and footsteps can sometimes be heard in the alley, while others swear they’ve seen a man dressed in prison garb. Brave participants learn about the legend of Christmas Hill and a murder that took place on the steps of St. Andrew’s following Christmas Eve mass in 1890.
CLAYOQUOT OYSTER FESTIVAL/TOFINO (Nov. 19 to 21)
Tofino’s stunning coastline warrants a visit any time of year, but for one weekend every November the city, where 50,000 gallons of oysters are harvested annually, celebrates all things from the sea. Visitors can partake of raw oyster bars, educational oyster farm tours, and a Mermaid’s Ball (prizes are awarded for the best costume and best oyster slurper). During the Oyster Gala wrap-up party local chefs compete to create the best oyster dishes.
TWILIGHT ZIPTREKKING/WHISTLER (December to March)
Once the sun sets, adrenalin junkies, with only a headlamp to guide their way, are harnessed to a steel cable before stepping blindly off canopy bridges and boardwalks in Whistler’s snow-capped rainforest, about 46 m above the ground. As if there wasn’t enough outdoor adventure in Whistler.
VANCOUVER BIENNALE (now until 2011)
This free international art fair features exhibits throughout the city. Take advantage of the mild West Coast weather this winter and admire 30 sculptures from more than 25 nations, light installations from 100 artists, and various performance art and new media installations. Among the most anticipated works include LED neon displays by Jittish Kallat of India, the renowned “laughing man” pieces from Yue Minjun of China, and the overwhelmingly positive contemporary works of Jaume Plensa of Spain.
THE 2010 WINTER OLYMPICS/VANCOUVER-WHISTLER (Feb. 12 to 28)
For those willing to shell out for, well, just about everything, the Olympics in Vancouver promise to be the biggest party Canada has seen since Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988. Sure, scoring tickets to the big events this late in the game is nearly impossible, but every bar and restaurant in town will be teeming with Olympic spirit. For those who find themselves without a pair of tickets to the gold medal hockey final—or are just in need of a break from all the action—consider taking in Vancouver’s 2010 Cultural Olympiad, showcasing the best in international and Canadian arts and culture. Between Jan. 22 and March 21, the Olympiad will feature a number of musical performances, including a Neil Young tribute headlined by Broken Social Scene. Other events range from a magical carnival to the explosive Japanese martial arts drummers of Tao.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.hellobc.com
By Susan Mohammad - Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 2:20 PM - 0 Comments
The jail closings will see 1,200 jobs slashed in the prison system
Some problems are good ones to have. After facing a shortage of prison cells in the ’90s, Holland is now running out of criminals. Last week, the Justice Ministry announced a plan to close eight prisons because a declining crime rate has left nearly 2,000 cells empty. The ministry currently has a capacity to house 14,000 adult prisoners, but only has 12,000 detainees. Meanwhile, Deputy Justice Minister Nebahat Albayrak has told the Dutch parliament that the ministry estimates the decline in crime rates will continue for some time. (According to the International Centre for Prison Studies in London, the Netherlands housed a total of over 20,000 inmates, including juveniles and illegal aliens, in 2004. In 2007 the number fell to close to 18,000.)
Not everyone is pleased, since the closures will also see 1,200 jobs slashed. Both the right-wing Dutch Freedom Party and left-wing Socialist Party oppose the job cuts and dispute the idea of a prison overcapacity—and say they would like to see more criminals spend time in jail. But Albayrak maintains the plan will proceed, although she has said the unions representing workers in the prison system will be consulted (according to some reports the government could save over $258 million by shutting down the prisons).
By Susan Mohammad - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 9:00 AM - 24 Comments
Many want the Lenin museum to play up his totalitarianism
He’s been dead for 85 years, but Vladimir Lenin is still managing to polarize Finland.
Last month, two activist groups in the industrial city of Tampere (180 km northwest of Helsinki) proposed that the city’s Lenin Museum—the only permanent Lenin museum in the world—should be renamed the “Museum of the Victims of Totalitarianism,” and showcase the crimes of the Soviet regime. The Pro Karelia association and the Artillery Guild citizens groups are also calling into question the museum’s yearly grant of $127,000 from the Finnish state, plus a subsidy for two museum employees’ salaries.
By Susan Mohammad - Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 11:40 AM - 0 Comments
Russia signed a pact with two Georgian breakaway republics
For a while, it looked as if Russia and NATO were mending fences, but those hopes have now been dashed. The biggest spy scandal in NATO history is erupting into a diplomatic nightmare—and it’s one that now involves Canada.
It all started when two Russian diplomats were ejected from NATO headquarters in Brussels over accusations of espionage. Viktor Kochukov, a political desk chief stationed at the Russian mission to NATO, and mission attaché Vasily Chizhov were stripped of their credentials last Thursday over suspected links to convicted Estonian spy Herman Simm.
By Susan Mohammad - Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 5:41 PM - 1 Comment
Q&A with Peter Balakian, who translated his great great uncle’s memoir of deportation, massacre and escape
Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918 was written by Bishop Grigoris Balakian, a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. Balakian was arrested along with other Armenian intellectuals and political leaders on April 24, 1915 (now the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day), but was able to shepherd a small group of deportees he fought to keep alive by bribing Turkish officials during their four-year march toward the desert of Northern Syria—many of his countrymen didn’t survive the journey, dying of exposure, starvation, disease while other Armenians has been raped or killed by Turkish killing squads. After Balakian escaped he wrote about his agonizing journey chronicling the Armenian Genocide in painful detail. Decades later, the text was translated into English over a 10-year span by his great great nephew, author Peter Balakian, who sat down with Maclean’s to talk about the book.
Q: How did you come to find your great uncle’s diaries on surviving the genocide?
A: My great uncle was always a mythic figure in the family lore, but he was only known as a bishop. Nobody ever spoke about him as a survivor of genocide or a writer of a major memoir. That was very hushed up which struck me as very odd because I come from a professional literary family, and thought that my aunts might have mentioned he wrote these books. But nobody wanted to go there because it was too traumatic and that past was never talked about openly. So when I learned about my great great uncle from a French newspaper article that somebody had sent me, I read about these memoirs he had written that were quite famous in Armenia. I ordered the two volumes from Beirut and had friend of mine translate the table of contents. When I saw just the table of contents I was shattered–overwhelmed, and from there on it took me and a collaborator a decade to translate all 71 chapters.
Q: It’s a very important historical document, but why did you feel you should be the one to translate this quite depressing work that took 10 years to complete?
A: I have been writing about the Armenian Genocide for a while, much of my professional life. And having discovered that this was my ancestor and having come into the book it seemed almost inevitable. Like an inevitable responsibility to do this and there really was no way out.
Q: What kind of an effect did it have on you? There are some pretty depressing scenes in the book including one where a girl’s chest is crushed and she’s dismembered for not wanting to convert to Islam through marriage. And there are mentions of mass killings of women and children by ordinary villagers, who did the killing under a fatwa?
A: It is a book of relentless atrocities, this is true. But I have to say as a writer who has written about trauma and atrocity and genocide for several decades that I think the redeeming dimension here is the power of truth, of bringing to the world large truth and profound human experience even though that experience is a dark one. Excavating truth and profound experience is something that transcends anything that might seem debilitating about working on this kind of a book.
Q: Which part of your great uncle’s story stands out most?
A: I would perhaps point to several experiences. I think we are brought so close to the massacre and deportation experience because his writing is so vivid and precise and clear that one feels like one is there to some degree. That there is a sense of closeness to the daily experience of the deportation and death march. Secondly, the relentless witnessing of atrocity, gruesome as it is, again is powerful as a documentation of what the Armenian Genocide was and how well planned it was by the Turkish Government. We see it happening in village after village, town after town, city after city along my great uncle’s four-year march and escape. I also think a compelling part of the story is the witnessing of cultural destruction of churches, schools and buildings and a ruin of the whole great ancient civilization of what Armenia was in Anatolia.
Q: Let’s go back to that idea, that genocide is more than mass killing. It’s also about erasing a culture, a landscape, a group’s economy. What are the lasting effects of the genocide on the Armenian populous today?
A: I think the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide has been a bitter and cruel one, because the Turkish government has remained in a kind of aggressive denial propaganda campaign to cover up, deny, sanitize, falsify this history, and so the Armenian population world-wide has had to live with the denial, and the attempts of the Turkish government to evade responsibility for the extermination of the Armenians. So it’s a traumatic experience to have to both inherit genocide and have to live with the denial of it. Obviously there is also the issue of the eradication of the civilization, the loss of place, of all the beautiful and rich things that were made, the loss of life, irreplaceable loss of versions of the future and of variations of the future.
Q: If Turkey is trying to get into the EU, in your opinion, why are they so unrelenting on admitting the genocide?
A: At least on one level, the Turkish government has socialized the society to have no critical thinking about its past. It’s made all dark and violent episodes in its history taboo. If you socialize people to have no critical evaluation of their society you create a situation where no one can accept the truth and the complexity of the past. This of course results in a kind of totalitarian way of thinking of one society. I think the Turkish government is locked in a sick situation as it continues to punish, torture and jail its intellectuals and journalists. Until it can achieve a kind of open and democratic society it’s not going to get into the EU since those are cornerstones of democracy and the Armenian Genocide issue is at the very centre of Turkey being on trial as a democracy.
Q: There are a lot of similar problems with the Kurdish population there today. What is preventing them from learning from the past and moving on?
A: You cannot learn from the past until you allow and encourage critical cultural and historical evaluation in your institutions, especially in your educational and media institutions. So if you are going to maintain an extreme nationalist repression on intellectual and educational life you can’t learn. Part of the problem is that Turkey has been a society that’s disallowed minority rights. There have been no equal minority rights in Turkey in the modern era. The Kurdish people are the largest minority in Turkey and have been subjected to similar kinds of treatment that the Armenians, the Greeks and the Assyrians, and other major Christian groups were subjected to in the early part of the 20th century.
Q: In the collective-consciousness of the Armenian people, is there one event of the entire genocide that stands out as the biggest wound?
A: There are slightly more dramatic spots on the genocide map if you will. One is Der Zor in northern Syria–the desert where close to 450,000 people perished. That was like the Auschwitz of the Armenian Genocide and is a very sacred spot for Armenians to grieve. The arrest of the intellectuals and cultural leaders on the night of April 24 in Constantinople, now Istanbul, is also a sacred moment because it commemorates the beginning of the process. It shows us the Turkish government was focused on cutting the head off of the culture, silencing its voice first and became a model for how Turkey would target segments of the population in the killing process.
Q: How is it that your great uncle was able to get so many officials to confide in him and give him special favours to take care of the deportees he was looking after?
A: As he himself put it and later on in the trial and courtroom when asked “How did you survive Reverend?” he said “Backsheesh” (money) he was able to keep bribing and paying off officials to keep his little band of deportees alive another day, another week. And because he was a clergymen and had a role of leadership and esteem and was seen by the Turks as a cultural leader of this little group he was shepherding. He was the negotiator, he was the guy on the front line talking to the Turkish administrators and Jean d’armes and occasionally he was able to cull some valuable information from them. Especially in the case of Captain Shukri in Yozgat. I think these people opened up to him because they were sure he would be dead soon. No way they would have opened up to him if they knew he would be alive, so I think it was circumstance that involved some luck and some degree of his own leadership role.
Q: There is a scene in the book where your great uncle describes persuading a group of men not to jump to their death off a cliff by saying it was their patriotic duty to remain alive and witness the rebirth of Armenian freedom. Tell me about the power of the notion of freedom and why these men didn’t commit suicide under more humane circumstances, if you will, when they were certainly marching towards a cruel death?
A: I think the vision that there could be an independent Armenia after WWI was a powerful force for Bishop Balakian throughout this and was in the minds of other Armenians as well. They thought maybe there is going to be some redemption after this hard amount of bloodshed, and we will rise into an independent country. It was a compelling force and he mentions that more than once, the power of that image. The irony of the scene you are describing is that not long after these men were bitterly complaining, saying they wished they killed themselves. It’s something out of Shakespeare.
Q: Did you see any of yourself in your great uncle as you read his diaries?
A: Interesting question. I think it was interesting for me to get to know in a very unusual and unique way a member of my family who is lost to us. A member from another generation who was a survivor and had written this extraordinary narrative. To have him come alive added a great deal of depth and understanding to our family. I am a writer, my great great uncle is a writer, my aunts were writers so there is some evolution of this craft and trade–this art that has characterized my family over the course of generations. So to establish my great uncle as a kind of progenitor is very interesting and gives us a deeper understanding of ourselves.
Q: Let’s talk about remorse. Many officers or individual Turks denounced the killing or confided to your great uncle they couldn’t sleep because of the number of people they killed and yet they kept marching people to their death. What do you think this says about humanity–that you can have such remorse and continue to act this way?
A: There are social and psychological portraits in the history of all genocides, a lot has been written on this issue in Holocaust scholarship. How do seemingly ordinary people taking orders from the regime or government do it? How to they live with themselves and process what they are doing? I think there are many psychological theories about this. I like Robert J. Lipton’s notion of doubling, that is, people sometimes compartmentalize so deeply they actually create an alter ego or another personality and so one personality and one self is doing the killing, while another self is doing very ordinary things. One self may know this is wrong but feel they have no choice but to follow orders. For much of the population, situation tends to dictate the behaviour of people rather than an inner moral compass. It’s not to say some l don’t have very strong values and are able to articulate them but it tends to be a minority while the majority tends to follow orders.
Q: Was there one situation that your great uncle wrote that was more horrific, or inhumane than most, and stayed with you?
A: It’s hard to choose. There are both macro scenes and micro scenes. Some of the micro scenes that are shattering to read about are the encounters with the recently Islamicized Armenians who are so anguished and devastated by having given up their faith and hence their cultural identity. And when they meet my great uncle they break down sobbing. There are images of abducted boys who were recently Islamicized boys who are paraded around towns and circumcision ceremonies. There are images of the young girl being dismembered and disemboweled, having her head cut off because she refuses to marry a Turkish man. There are these smaller acts of violence that stay with one in a certain way. The mass acts like the mounds and mounds of loosely buried corpses near Ishla that causes my great uncle to say ‘we contemplated committing suicide.’ That’s an image and phrase that stays with me. Seeing mounds of the corpses of your countrymen and being driven to the feeling of wanting to kill yourself.
Q: Why is it important to study a work like this today?
A: I think that the work has an eerie contemporariness to it because genocide is still happening around the planet and you can see in the morphology of this man’s experience many of the structures that we’ve come to see in other genocidal events of the late 20th century into today. I hope readers will see it as a very contemporary book even though it is set 94 years ago. It shows us a process, it takes us to a deep place and is written with a literary depth that readers should find the language and the narrative, I hope, engaging.
By Susan Mohammad - Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 12:20 PM - 0 Comments
Kim Jong Un now works for North Korea’s top government office
Since reports began surfacing that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il suffered a stroke in August, speculation has run rampant as to who might succeed him. Both of his elder sons have been seen as prime contenders for the top job, and both have since fallen out of favour. Now the youngest son of “Dear Leader” has been appointed to the Defence Commission, and all eyes are on Kim Jong Un.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported this week that Jong Un, who is in his mid-20s, was recently given a job at what is considered North Korea’s most important government office. Not much is known about Jong Un (including his exact age), except that he has little political experience, was educated in Switzerland, likes basketball, admires Jean-Claude Van Damme and is said to look and act like his father.
By Susan Mohammad, Duncan Hood - Friday, May 1, 2009 at 12:29 PM - 34 Comments
A list of the Top 50 CEOs and their astronomical take-home pay increases
In the past 12 years, there’s been a 444 per cent salary increase for Canada’s top CEOs. The top 10 earners collected a total of $60.7 million in 1995—by 2007, that number had jumped to $330.3 million. For example, Paul Desmarais, CEO of Power Corp, made more than $5 million in 1995; in 2007, his take-home was more than $29 million.
Here’s a breakdown of the take-home pay for all 50 of Canada’s top CEOs—in 1995 and in 2007. Read ‘em and weep.
1995, total take home for the year:
- Gerald Pencer, Cott Corp. $13,005,559
- John Doddridge, Magna Intl. $10,853,543
- David Walsh, Bre-X Minerals. $10,008,000
- Paul Desmarais, Power Corp. $5,654,258
- Stephen Hudson, Newcourt Credit Group. $4,221,471
- Brent Ballantyne, Maple Leaf Foods. $3,588,306
- Clayton Woltas, Renaissance Energy. $3,483,600
- Richard Thomson, Toronto Dominion Bank. $3,372,804
- Bernard Isautier, Canadian Occidental Petroleum. $3,303,120
- Lawrence Bloomberg, First Marathon Inc. $3,252,000
- Michel Perron, Uniforet Inc. $3,250,000
- Gerald Schwartz, Onex Corp. $3,150,000
- Charles Childers, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. $3,106,847
- David O’Brien, PanCanadian Petroleum. $3, 075, 463
- William Holland, United Dominion Industries. $3, 068, 543
- Brian Steck, Nesbitt Thomson. $2, 527, 935
- Edgar Bronfman Jr., Seagram Co. Ltd., $2, 523, 074
- Matthew Barrett, Bank of Montreal. $2, 511, 953
- Richard Currie, Loblaw Cos. $2, 400, 000
- John Cleghorn, Royal Bank of Canada. $2, 281, 192
- Purdy Crawford, Imasco. Ltd., $2, 267, 152
- James Buckeo, Talisman Energy. $2, 251, 346
- Jean Monty, Northern Telecom. $2, 236, 444
- Anthony Feil, RBC Dominion Securities. $2, 010, 055
- Peter Godsoe, Bank of Nova Scotia. $1, 966, 868
- Al Flood, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. $1,906,334
- Jacques Bougie, Alcan Aluminum. $1,782,205
- Edward Newall, Nova Corp. $1,657,358
- Franklin Pickard, Falconbridge Ltd. $1,584,441
- Lynton Wilson, BCE Inc. $1,543,583
- Reto Braun, Moore Corp. $1,491,954
- Robert Ogilvie, Toromont Industries. $1,476,641
- Kenneth Thomson, Thomson Corp. $1,474,560
- Peter Munk, Barrick Gold. $1,352,551
- James Stanford, Petro-Canada. $1,344,197
- Israel Asper, CanWest Global Communications. $1,337,408
- Andre Berard, National Bank of Canada. $1,334,336
- Hollis Harris, Air Canada. $1,316,868
- James Bullock, Laidlaw Inc. $1,307,562
- Peter Munk, Horsham Corp. $1,280,000
- William Shields, Co-Steel Inc. $1,277,108
- David Galloway, Torstar Corp. $1,212,679
- Robert Peterson, Imperial Oil Ltd. $1,176,751
- George Kosich, Hudson’s Bay Co. $1,162,855
- William Casey, Coca-Cola Beverages. $1,138,253
- Gwyn Morgan, Alberta Energy Co. $1,131,769
- Wayne Lenton, Canada Tungsten Inc. $1,130,190
- Ronald Oberlander, Abitibi-Price. $1,129,704
- Donald Shaffer, Sears Canada Inc. 1,128,227
- John Wilson, Placer Dome Inc. $1,123,069
2007, total take home for the year:
- Michael Lazaridis, Research in Motion Ltd. $51, 515, 518
- Gordon Nixon, Royal Bank of Canada. $44, 270, 084
- Robert A. Milton, ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. $42, 928, 122
- James Balsillie, Research in Motion Ltd., $32, 053, 959
- Paul Desmarais Jr., Power Corp. of Canada. $29, 292, 829
- Andre Desmarais, Power Corp. of Canada. $28, 675, 763
- Bruce Flatt, Brookfield Asset Management Inc. $27, 164, 707
- J.M. Lipton, Nova Chemicals Corp. $25, 639, 972
- Raymond McFeerors, Great-West Lifeco Inc. $24, 759, 648
- William Doyle, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. $24, 020, 161
- James Buckee, Talisman Energy Inc. $21, 764, 501
- Charles Fischer, Nexen Inc. $20, 492, 640
- Michael Wilson, Agrium Inc. $19, 783, 195
- Donald Stewart, Sun Life Financial Inc. $19, 535, 510
- Richard George, Suncor Energy Inc. $18, 264, 513
- Ian W. Delaney, Sherritt International Corp. $17, 744, 953
- Ron Brenneman, Petro-Canada. $17, 684, 375
- Peter Marrone, Yamana Gold Inc. $17, 381, 267
- Richard Waugh, Bank of Nova Scotia. $16, 004, 233
- Dominic D’Alessandro, Manulife Financial Corp. $14, 715, 681
- John Lau, Husky Energy Inc., $14, 251, 958
- Tim Hearn, Imperial Oil. Ltd., $13, 380, 227
- Siegfried Wolf, Magna International Inc., $13, 359, 110
- Hunter Harrison, Canada National Railway Co., $13, 322, 045
- Tye Burt, Kinross Gold Corp. $13, 200, 601
- Gerald Schwartz, Onex Corp. $12,621,993
- Donald Walker, Magna International Inc. $12,105,897
- Jean Claude Gandur, Addax Petroleum Corp. $11,190,781
- Gregory Wilkins, Barrick Gold Corp. $10,269,550
- Dr. Rui Feng, Silvercorp metals Inc. $10,169,212
- Robert Brown, CAE Inc (for fiscal year). $10,141,957
- Edmund Clark, Toronto-Dominion Bank. $9,840,466
- Richard Harrington, Thomson Reuters Corp. $9,676,404
- Kevin McArthur, Goldcorp Inc. $9,647,602
- Gerald Grandey, Cameo Corp. $9,500,865
- Jacques Lamarre, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. $9,076,920
- M.H. McCain, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. $8,551,534
- Steve Laut, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. $8,278,031
- Arthur Millholland, Oilexco Inc. $8,123,573
- Colin K Benner, Lundin Mining Corp. $8,041,232
- William Downe, Bank of Montreal. $8,008,707
- Stephen Snyder, TransAlta Corp. $7,461,700
- Darren Entwistle, TELUS Corp. $7,440,557
- John M Cassaday, Corus Entertainment Inc. $7,427,237
- Jurgen Schreiber, Shopper Drug Mart Corp. $7,147,083
- Gerald M. Soloway, Home Capital Group Inc. $6,928,000
- William Holland, CI Financial Income Fund. $6,803,141
- Robert A Quartermain, Silver Standard Resources Inc. $6,744,145
- Mike Zafirovski, Nortel Networks Corp. $6,715,734
- Jim Shaw, Shaw Communications Inc. $6,709,219
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, April 27, 2009 at 6:43 PM - 2 Comments
See how swine flu compares
Swine flu, which has killed about 150 and sickened another 1,900 in Mexico since April 13, is spreading fast. Cases have now been confirmed in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Scotland and Spain, prompting governments to issue travel warnings and to declare public health emergencies. The swine flu has also stoked plenty of fear among the general public. (Photos: As a country dons surgical masks, the rest of the world braces for the worst) For a little perspective, here’s a brief history of global outbreaks and pandemics:
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Death toll: Almost 800
Symptoms: High fever, headache and an overall feeling of discomfort. Some sufferers develop mild respiratory symptoms and a dry cough. About 10 to 20 per cent experience diarrhea. Most develop pneumonia.
How it spread: When a person touched a contaminated surface and then touched his or her mouth, nose, or eyes. Or person-to-person contact (coughing, sneezing). Chinese health officials in Guangdong province initially listed the first case of SARS as “atypical pneumonia.” It only went public when Dr. Carlo Urbani, who was working in Vietnam, reported it to the WHO (Urbani later died of SARS). Starting in early 2003, the virus spread to more than 30 countries, infecting 8,000 people, in a few months.
Avian flu (1997- )
Death toll: 257
Symptoms: Typical flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches).
How it spread: Most commonly passed along through contact with infected poultry, or surfaces contaminated with secretion/excretions from infected birds. Person-to-person transmission is very rare. The first major outbreak occured in Hong Kong in 1997, with 18 cases (six died). The most recent outbreak began in December 2003. Avian flu has killed more than 60 per cent of those who have contracted the virus.
Hong Kong influenza (1968-1969)
Death toll: About one million
Symptoms: It’s often confused with the common cold. But the symptoms (high fever, joint pain, lack of energy) worsen and last longer. Symptoms normally cause a victim to become bedridden for up to two weeks.
How it spread: Human to human (coughing, sneezing). Named after the city where it was first detected in 1968, the virus returned in 1970 and 1972. The elderly were hardest hit. In the U.S., 34,000 fell victim to the Hong Kong influenza between September 1968 and March 1969.
The Asian flu pandemic (1957-1958)
Death toll: About four million
Symptoms: Fatigue, aches and pains and fever that can last two weeks.
How it spread: From person-to-person contact. The pandemic was first identified in the Far East in February 1957, and was detected in wild ducks in Southern China before mutating with the existing human flu strain. The virus first made its way to the U.S. in the summer of 1957 (in all, it would be blamed for 70,000 deaths in the U.S.). Although infection rates were highest among children and pregnant women, the elderly suffered the highest rates of death.
The Spanish flu pandemic (1918)
Death toll: 20 to 100 million
Symptoms: The flu was initially misdiagnosed as cholera, dengue or typhoid since (unlike other flu strains) victims experienced hemorrhaging from the nose, stomach, and intestine, or bled from the ears. Most deaths were caused by bacterial pneumonia caused by the influenza.
How it spread: Some researchers say it began in Tibet but moved towards Europe along trade/shipping routes. It was deadliest in young adults between 25 and 30, killing more men than women. By some estimates, as much as 40 per cent of the world’s population became ill.
Russian flu pandemic (1889)
Death toll: 1 million
Symptoms: Fever, pneumonia and traditional flu-like symptoms.
How it spread: The ‘Russian flu’ is believed to have originated in China, but spread rapidly throughout Europe before landing in North America, Japan and Latin America.
Bubonic plague — ‘The black death’ (14th to 17th century)
Death toll: 25 million — the disease originated in Asia but some say it killed 50 per cent of Europe’s population, having spread by fleas.
Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory failure, headache and swollen lymph glands. Other symptoms included spots on the skin that are red and then turn black, heavy breathing, vomiting blood, and pain caused by the decaying of the skin.
How it spread: Bites from infected fleas, rodents, and lice. There are still between 1,000 to 3,000 cases reported annually, but antibiotics can be used to treat the disease if caught early.