From politeness bootcamp to a good old Canadian nod, we’re known for our good manners. But are we the nicest?
A s a child, I ventured almost every year to British Columbia’s Southern Gulf Islands and I became fascinated with the history of the places I visited there. It wasn’t so much the tangible traces that intrigued me—the skeleton of a building or a scrap washed up upon the tide line—as the absences and spaces […]
Seduced by ever-bigger exhibitions and corporate sponsorship, have we forgotten what the point of art is in the first place?
Coffee culture and its dregs
In the fall of 2011 I sat in on a jam I’ve since recognized as part of the future of how we create and consume music. What’s more, for musicians, it points a way forward for an industry that often seems like it would rather die than evolve from a reliance on making and selling […]
I met Nayef Othman in front of a Montreal Metro station last September. Othman had been training with the National Circus School for just over a month and I asked him how he was enjoying Canada. “It is cold,” he said. I told him to wait until winter came. We wandered until we found a […]
I grew up in a lower-middle-class western Canadian home with a limited haircut budget for male children—zero, to be precise—which meant a tension-filled hour for me and my four younger brothers whenever our father brought his Sears Craftsman thirteen-piece barber kit out of the closet, the one that claimed on the box to contain “all […]
I was eighteen when I heard Margaret Atwood tell an interviewer that none of the details of daily life in her patriarchal dystopia The Handmaid’s Tale—the militarized religious state, the religiously-prescribed and ritualized rape, the policed pregnancy, the enforced prostitution, the absence of basic human autonomy—were made up. These, Atwood asserted in her deadpan, deal-with-it […]
I stood under a cloudless sky near the peak of Mont Fort, at Verbier, Switzerland, staring at the glaciers of Grand Combin, which shone like starched sheets. Mont Fort is one of the steepest ski runs in Europe. Most of the people who came up on the tram went back down on it. My friend […]
Pop music remains amongst the most accessible and inclusive cultural conversations because, for the past half-century, it hasn’t really changed. In 1967, for example, I Think We’re Alone Now took Tommy James and the Shondells to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and then twenty years later, with negligible updating, Tiffany to #1. Then there’s […]