Six clicks from a week on the 12:36 beat

Cold comforts to wrap yourself in

A week of Megxit winds down with former Globe and Mail editor-in-chief Richard Addis penning a wonderfully ludicrous response to his former employer telling Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that they aren’t welcome to stay permanently in Canada. But the Sussexit is certainly happening, since their British live-ins have been sacked.


The words of the profits

Evidence of Neil Peart lyrics getting looked up like never before was in tandem with a 776 per cent surge in U.S. streaming for Rush, following news of the drummer’s death. Hopes for a permanent Lakeside Park memorial to Peart have picked up steam, amidst other tributes, like Lawrence Gowan performing “Limelight” during Styx shows.


Conrad Black is moving out of the mansion that he sold. The palatial family estate at 26 Park Lane Circle, on the Bridle Path, was purchased in 2016 by longtime friend Harold Perry; Conrad and wife Barbara Amiel then leased it back for a reported $155,000 a year. Black says it was their decision to pack things up to a different Toronto residence.


The math of Mirvish Village

The announcement of $200 million in federal government construction financing of new Toronto apartments around the former Honest Ed’s store site helps to fulfill a developer promise that 366 of 916 rental units will be priced at or below 30 per cent of median household incomes. (Recent data would plant these rents at $1,726 a month.)


Crossing the floor to get away from Doug Ford. Amanda Simard’s first election as an Ontario PC MPP was soon followed by her quitting the caucus over French language cuts, some of which Queen’s Park later backtracked on. Now that the six-seat Liberals have a leadership race underway, Simard views it as “the party of the future.”


Finally, an advert with an E

Anne with an E fans responded to its cancellation by crowdfunding for calls to revive the series, the first of which appeared in Toronto at Yonge-Dundas Square, after spending $1,000 to run four digital billboards for five days. Despite producers insisting the show is over, $5,000 has already been raised to pay for more of this in Times Square:

Paying a professor to look like an influencer

There are worse lessons to learn

University of Toronto Mississauga finance lecturer Mitchell Huynh responded to a wave of attention, initiated on Reddit, about how he gives students additional “engagement” grades for following him on social media and buying his book. “You can’t please everyone,” says Hnynh, while the school declined comment on his approach.


White paper on free parking

Folded foolscap might be all it takes to avoid parking fines around downtown environs of University of Toronto—and a CBC News investigation traced all of the observed cars to campus police officers. School cops used to avoid tickets by putting crests on the dashboards, which ended when others figured out how to buy the patches on eBay.


Peter MacKay confirmed his Conservative leadership bid. “J’y vais! Restez à l’écoute,” tweeted the party stalwart, to less reaction than his declaration in English. The advance word of MacKay’s intention came after a report that Rona Ambrose would sit out the race to replace Andrew Scheer, but that turned out to not necessarily be true.


Harper is really still lurking

CBC and CTV both issued corrections to stories that claimed Stephen Harper was calling for “regime change” in Iran; the actual words he used were far less loaded than a call for militaristic intervention. And then came more news about the former PM, as pundits attempted to decipher why he resigned from the CPC’s fundraising arm:


Martin Scorsese got distracted from Second City. “He’ll release it when he thinks it’s ready,” says Eugene Levy about the SCTV documentary, which is centred on a cast interview Scorsese shot in Toronto in May 2018 for Netflix and CTV. Bell Media head Randy Lennox laments that the lag was due to the director focusing on The Irishman.


Sussexit sausage squeezed

The charms of Toronto for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle,” by Stephen Marche at The New Yorker, contributes to this ongoing thinkpiece ecosystem. While the Duchess faces the prospect of her father testifying against her in court over sharing a personal letter with the Mail on Sunday, her revived Canadian life is bringing on better press:


Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson dead at 75. Born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, the professional wrestler, whose career spanned 27 years, passed the torch to his son Dwayne—who became known in the ring and beyond as “The Rock.” His dad’s recollections were published last summer as Soulman: The Rocky Johnson Story.


Finally, bristling at bread truth

Pete Buttigieg started getting questioned about the Canadian bread price-fixing scandal when details emerged about how his work with McKinsey & Co. involved research for Loblaw. Connections between his consulting and 🍞 📈 were denied by his campaign. When the subject was raised to his face, Mayor Pete wasn’t pleased:

23 days till the next news about Chair Girl

Well, unless she posts a good story

The disputes over whether or not the Toronto chair-tossing video was produced by Marcella Zoia herself contributed to the delay of her sentencing—even though a chair made an appearance with her at Old City Hall. Chair Girl soon returned to Instagram with a picture of fancy Saint Laurent sneakers, via her verified account.


The calling from behind bars

Recent rallying via the Twitter account @letstalkjails renewed attention to something that’s been in the air for a while: a system that caps collect calls from Ontario inmates to 20 minutes, while limiting them to landlines. Bell Canada holds a contract to charge up to $1 a minute on prison phones, which the province is now looking to change.


Jessica Mulroney is the supporting character that the Megxit saga needs. Instagram stories about her prolific plane travel, recently to Jamaica, fed the Daily Mail focus on Meghan Markle’s BFF. The tabloid also claims that Mulroney tried to sway an article in favour of the Duchess of Sussex—who visited a Vancouver women’s shelter.


Rona won’t be doing it right

Conservative leadership aspirant Bryan Brulotte dropped out of the race due to tight new rules. Candidates must now show support from 3,000 members of more than 21 days, and a $300,000 submission to the party, making it trickier for those who haven’t been MPs. The field also looks very male:


Who wants to write about Jessica Yaniv? The transgender woman bringing another case to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal looked likely to again have the story spun by right-wing outlets, portraying it as part of a phenomenon. Yaniv’s apparent physical confrontation with Rebel News reporter Keean Bexte contributed to the new content.


Parkdale’s post-slumlord era

The story of a Parkdale homeowner who won permission to build a parking pad for his Tesla, despite opposition at Toronto city hall, was a reminder of all that comes with gentrification. How the neighbourhood got here is the focus of a Guardian feature from art critic Murray Whyte, who recently moved to Boston after 20 years around Parkdale:


The wrong kind of publicity for Uncle Ray’s. A press release for the upcoming Toronto location of a Southern food restaurant—which had a photo of a gorilla next to a touting of fried chicken and waffles—brought on attention that led its management to delete the image, and acknowledge their lapse in judgement.


Finally, springtime for a secret

Secret Hitler is the name of a board game removed from three Montreal stores after complaints escalated by Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada. But designer Max Temkin, who also co-created Cards Against Humanity, has spent the past three years explaining how his game is anti-fascist by design. Overall, it seems to be translating:

Sweet smell of spending on the Sussexes

The couple is coming with a cost

Now that they’re officially relocating to Canada, financial independence for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may come with costs that Finance Minister Bill Morneau claims to have given no thought to. And while Prince Harry may not get special treatment otherwise, Meghan Markle’s friend Jessica Mulroney is more of a paparazzi magnet.


Cold cuts on the hot seat

Michael McCain brought greater scrutiny upon himself with tweets drawing a line between the shooting down of Flight 752 and the White House—including the leak of a note that he sent to senators asking them to spare censuring China. A week ago, the only thing Maple Leaf Foods was making news for was its corporate logo ending up on a cake.


I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families.” Justin Trudeau shared his view on the shoot-down of the Ukrainian International Airlines plane with Global News, before Iran announced arrests in the misfire.


Tanner Z couldn’t be saved

The pending $2.8-billion takeover of Cineplex by U.K. company Cineworld has possibly claimed its first victim: Tanner Zipchen, the Saskatoon DJ who won a 2015 contest to host the Cineplex pre-show, earned a #SaveTanner hashtag soon after the deal was announced. The fears of his imminent dismissal weren’t so unfounded:


World’s Largest Rubber Duck returning to its best bathtub. Toronto embraced the six-storey tall inflatable in 2017. The duck was credited with injecting an estimated $7.6 million of economic activity, after Queen’s Park was criticized for the $120,000 grant to help bring it in. This time, the Redpath Waterfront Festival is footing the duck bill.


The winter misery news season

Scotiabank is baiting media attention with a survey showing Canadians spend an average of two hours a day worrying about their finances. It’s that time of year, after all: Queen’s University PhD student Galen Watts struck a forlorn pose for a Canadian Press story about how social media isn’t helping:


Neil Peart looks sure to be somehow honoured in Lakeside Park. Politicians in St. Catharines concur with a petition calling for the late Rush drummer to be recognized with a plaque or statue in the park he wrote lyrics about in 1975. Meanwhile, adding to libertarian columnist tributes to Peart’s individualism, here’s one from Colby Cosh.


Finally, more chill for Chair Girl

Marcella Zoia showed up for sentencing at Old City Hall, along with a mangled Ikea chair wrapped in plastic, which was presumably the one she admitted to tossing off a 45th floor balcony in Toronto. But the Crown wants to call a witness to show that Chair Girl posted the infamous video herself. So, the case was put over to February 7:

Maple Leaf Foods vs. Stars and Stripes

Brand Twitter never got as provocative as the Maple Leaf Foods thread blaming Iran’s admitted downing of PS752 on the U.S. government, confirmed to be genuine words from its CEO. A tweet from Jagmeet Singh referenced “the shifting stories” about the tragedy, although Maclean’s columnist Scott Gilmore regretted linking it to Trump.


The passengers of PS752

Postmedia gathered all the stories it could about the Ukrainian International Airlines passengers with Canadian ties. The tragedy had a particular impact on the academic community—more than 20 schools were represented among those killed.


The emergency nuclear alarm that shook every Sunday sleep-in. Ontario apologized for the 7:24 a.m. province-wide alert about an incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, which was followed by a 9:12 a.m. message regretting the error. Calls for an investigation include wondering why the follow-up took 108 minutes.


We stand on guard for Megxit

Princes Harry and William deny that bullying is behind the Sussexes now confirmed to be at least partly relocating to Canada, a prospect that gave all Canadians an excuse to ratio a New York Times tweet about them “injecting some razzle dazzle to the sprawling, bone-chillingly cold country.” But one buddy denies he’s helping them hide:


Look after Dad and Rob, up there in heaven, and I know the three of you are already planning Rob’s re-election campaign as the Mayor of heaven.” Doug Ford’s eulogy at the funeral for his mother, Diane, who died on January 5 at age 85, concluded a week of tributes to the woman whom her premier son credits with significant political influence.


The most Objectivist lyricist

Neil Peart’s death on January 7 at age 67 was announced three days later, befitting the Rush drummer’s private public profile. But the deluge of tributes included “The Spirit of Radio” spun on the modern rock station he wrote it about. It also revived discussion of how libertarian politics influenced the lyrics Peart penned for Geddy Lee to sing:


Florence Richler dead at 90. The wife and “editor-in-residence” of the late Mordecai Richler met him via her first husband, screenwriter Stanley Mann—the novelist was best man at their wedding. (Florence’s official obituary acknowledges this fact.)


Finally, 15 minutes of chicken

Eve Dubois took a day off work to field media inquiries about her viral moment on Family Feud Canada, where she joined 46 out of 100 people surveyed in not knowing that Popeye’s favourite food is spinach. The chicken chain compensated the Lorette, Manitoba, woman with $10,000 in product, a moment she was evidently rehearsing for:

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