The mask resistance has a leader in Letitia

Naked faces still getting a free ride

The protesters who boarded the Toronto subway without masks weren’t ticketed for their brief ride, and the TTC remains non-committal about repercussions for others who back Hugs Over Masks. Mothers Against Distance member Letitia Montana also scored a second wind of attention after her globally viral visit to the hospital.


The last shaming of Scheer

Social media photos of the outgoing Conservative leader without a mask while waiting for a flight in Toronto became news items. Andrew Scheer’s spokesperson said it was only removed to make a phone call, but fellow traveller and Manitoba premier Brian Pallister publicly regretted the error.


Reporting on We Charity means first hearing from its defamation lawyer. Brian Lilley had this experience when asking about We’s $43.7 million in real estate holdings for Postmedia, which publishes a column by We co-founder Craig Kielburger. The Globe and Mail has includes a disclaimer about its partnership with newly scrutinized We.


The troubling trail of thought

With more revelations, the portrait of the Manitoba military reservist charged in the Rideau Hall breach continues to shift. After court documents detailed the firearms he allegedly carried, Corey Hurren’s apparent online postings included QAnon conspiracy content. Now more about what he might’ve been thinking has come into public view:


The father of a suspect in the shooting death of a Liberian warlord is a Toronto cop. Trevor Gregory was charged with breach of trust related to the slaying of Bill Horace, which allegedly followed a home invasion by four men in London, Ontario. Wanted for second-degree murder, Trevor’s son Keiron Gregory remains at large.


Surfacing strange bedfellows

Margaret Atwood tweeted her support for the transgender community on the same day her name was on the open letter to Harper’s in support of free speech, alongside several criticized for not doing so. And then someone found Atwood once shared an article by accused sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell—and had a suspected interaction:


Fourth U of T prof resigns Massey College post.” Margaret McMillan exited her senior fellow position for a different reason than the others: a reaction to Margaret Wente’s similar status being reviewed by Massey in response to others resigning, before the former Globe and Mail columnist resigned.


Finally, I cancelled you, redo

Jessica Mulroney came up in yet another article from the U.K. Sun tabloid, about her agents taking meetings in Hollywood. Meghan Markle “has forsaken her most loyal friend just to look woke,” according to the unnamed source in a story then made into clickbait by Cosmopolitan and Vanity Fair. But the Daily Mail foreshadows a plot twist:

Toronto’s busted bar no longer a Dragon’s Den

Message to the defiantly unmasked

Dragons’ Den regular Michele Romanow pulled her investment in the downtown Toronto nightclub Goldie, which had its liquor licence suspended after charges that between 125 and 150 people allegedly entered through a back door. Face masks are now mandatory in indoor spaces in the city, but dining remains a matter of patios.


Baseball with a closed border

The schedule for the 60-date Toronto Blue Jays season notes that the location of the home games are “TBD.” While training camp opened at the Rogers Centre, 12 players remain in Dunedin, Florida, where one tested positive for COVID-19. At least the likely NHL scenario of bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto involves no border crossing.


A list of the loaded weapons carried by the Canadian Armed Forces member arrested on the grounds of Rideau Hall. Further details have added to speculation about the intentions behind the breach. Corey Hurren had previously been portrayed as an unlikely suspect for the long list of charges, which include uttering a threat against the PM.


Tales of a gaming workplace

Maxime Béland, the editorial vice-president at the Toronto office of video game maker Ubisoft, resigned following allegations of assault that circulated on social media. The claim that Béland choked a female employee during a launch party coincided with other stories of sexual misconduct by managers:


Amy Cooper was charged with filing a false police report. The pandemic-era symbol of all “Karens” lost her job after the Central Park confrontation, but can still count on clickbait for having graduated from University of Waterloo. Further details of Cooper’s past are elusive, but a comparison factored in the fall of Jessica Mulroney.


CBC mornings unwrapped

It was October 24 when Matt Galloway announced his move to The Current, leaving Metro Morning, the top-rated CBC local show, without an official replacement for the first half of 2020. The show’s new host, Ismalia Alfa had, been working in Winnipeg, where he rose through the CBC ranks after many years around that city’s hip-hop scene:


Quibi can’t stop creating the wrong kind of content. New York’s feature on debacles surrounding the short-video app offered more grist for hating the ways of Hollywood. But beneficiaries of its vast expenditure can’t complain: Will Arnett has followed his Canadian kitsch Memory Hole with a cartoon series starring the signs of the zodiac.


Finally, when you still ain’t big

Rufus Wainwright is about to release his delayed new album, Unfollow the Rules, some 22 years after initial press attention due to being the son of two singer-songwriters and being unapologetically gay. Left feeling that his popularity never lived up to the hype, Wainwright sees it as one last chance to be the pop avatar of Generation X:

We regret to inform you the deal is off

Student program runs without them

The new Canada Student Service Grant is no longer being administered by We Charity—and how it scored a $19.5-million sole-source contract is the subject of an ethics investigation. We’s history with Justin Trudeau raised further questions involving the organization, which pledged to take action after some complaints about racism.


The viral lifestyle of COVID-19

Showing off what now happens when you refuse to wear a face mask at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto gave Letitia Montana’s name the lexicon status she seemed to be aiming for. Coronavirus etiquette breaches also made news on Wasaga Beach, which Ontario won’t close down despite crowds, as the provincial death count touches zero.


Pizza Pizza is providing contactless delivery of pizzas and warrantless delivery of private information.” Michael Bryant of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association got this dig in as part of a Toronto Star report on how the pizza chain handed over names that matched phone numbers, as part of the “Project Kraken” drug ring investigation.


All’s well if water sells well

Looming changes to Ontario groundwater rules were presumed to prompt Nestlé Canada to sell its Pure Life bottled water business to the family-owned Ice Water Springs. The Swiss company says it’d rather focus on “iconic international brands” and denies that public pressure played any role, as the product will be welled as before:


The white-throated sparrows singing a new song has caught on. University of Northern British Columbia research that found Canadian bird warbles shifting from three end notes to two became an internationally viral story. The eastward flow of the dropped end note is hypothesized to help male sparrows attract female mates.


The search party’s postscript

Dan O’Toole’s post to Instagram that implied his one-month-old baby daughter had gone missing sparked wide concern. But his employers at TSN refusing to comment on the incident suggested a less alarming scenario, while O’Toole himself objected to reporters looking into the story. What didn’t happen here has since been confirmed:


Nick Cordero dead at 41. The ascendant Broadway musical star from Hamilton, Ontario, entered an L.A. hospital on March 30 after being diagnosed with pneumonia. Later, he tested positive for COVID-19, and the complications contributed to his death.


Finally, another series of events

Jim Carrey has a semi-autobiographical novel, Memoirs and Misinformation, co-written with Dana Vachon, whom Carrey met via Twitter. Interviews about their collaboration provide insight into what it’s like to spend eight years on a celebrity payroll as Carrey audited his ascent to fame. Deciphering the product seems like a task:

Summer in the city with face masks everywhere

And that’s enough 12:36 for a week

Toronto city council is expected to approve a bylaw making face masks mandatory in all public spaces, starting July 7. Masks will be mandatory on public transit five days earlier—a policy that Quebec will also enact. But despite a recent COVID-19 outbreak linked to Brandi’s Exotic Show Lounge, strip clubs are staying open for business in Vancouver.


Just waiting for the sun to rise

Cirque du Soleil’s creditor protection and 3,480-employee layoff is being played as a way to keep it alive for a new buyer: a group of existing investors hope to keep it headquartered in Montreal, with provincial support. Meanwhile, in Quebec, clothing brand Frank and Oak filed for creditor protection with hopes of a restructuring.


Sole-source contracts are a fixture of the Trudeau friends at We. Further research into the federal Liberals granting funds to We Charity comes with the PM continuing to defend its administration of a student volunteer program. New criticism of the We ways quickly met with attention from its lawyer, stating the allegations are false.


Timbits fall into rabbit hole

Canada’s privacy commissioner and three provincial counterparts announced their investigation into whether or not the Tim Hortons app is legally using customer data. Due to his earlier reporting on its surveillance capabilities, Financial Post reporter James McLeod noted the tracking now only happens when the app is open:


Torstar Corporation is readying a handover. Documents filed with security regulators fed a Globe and Mail report on incoming owner NordStar Capital’s plan to sell off Torstar’s minority stakes in other businesses, with hopes of raising more than $100 million for its newspapers. The Toronto Star has also started testing new promotional slogans.


Finally, boohoo for Hollywood

Quibi became the rare streaming service to launch in Canada at the same time as the U.S., with 90-day free trial offers that are about to expire. The short-video app is now trying to stem its burn rate by recruiting Jason Reitman to round up stars for a remote reading of The Princess Bride. If nothing else, it will leave a legacy of amusing articles:

Pride parade replaced with war on shame

Newsprint patriotism gets disclaimer

A reader advisory for the inclusion of a paper flag in Atlantic Canadian newspapers owned by the SaltWire Network offered something for Conservative leadership frontrunners to focus on. The pre-pandemic plan was for one candidate to have already won, then perhaps march in the Toronto Pride parade, until such events were locked down.


We works coming under fire

Justin Trudeau defended the decision, in the face of accusations of cronyism, to have the We Charity administer its new student volunteer program. The PM’s history with the organization includes five appearances at We Day while in politics, and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has been a We ambassador, We Day keynote speaker, and a We podcaster.


Conrad Black got kicked off Global News Radio. A refutation that systemic racism exists in Canada was evidently the end for weekly appearances on the Toronto talk radio station, according to a National Post column by Black. Global has recently been accused of anti-Black racism by past and present employees of Corus Entertainment.


A friendlier shuffle at the CBC

While more details have emerged about Wendy Mesley’s use of the N-word in production meetings for CBC Television’s The Weekly, the radio side of the CBC had a more cordial exit: Piya Chattopadhyay ended her show Out in the Open in preparation to take over as host of Sunday Morning. Michael Enright will return at a different hour:


Meghan Markle and Jessica Mulroney Are Reportedly No Longer Friends.” The fallout was somehow not entirely wrung for stateside clickbait, based on a report from the U.K. Sun tabloid about how Markle didn’t reach out to Mulroney’s daughter on her recent birthday. (It’s also more entertaining than the Sussexes boycotting Facebook.)


Finally, quarter-century college

Undergrads was a 13-episode animated series created by teenage NYU dropout Pete Williams that aired in 2001 on MTV in the U.S. But because it was produced in Canada, reruns have kept rolling on Teletoon. Having moved to Toronto after his initial prodigy status faded, Williams is hoping to make a movie version happen no later than 2025:

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