The last 12:36 newsletter before Labour Day

What you oughta know before we go

A company that originated in 1973 as Ontario retailer Records on Wheels is being sold to Hasbro for $4 billion. The headlines highlight Peppa Pig, but the toymaker also gets Entertainment One’s non-kids portfolio. Growth at eOne was aided by the Canada Pension Plan, which bought 17.9 per cent of the company in 2015, for which it paid about $290 million.

A deer in his own headlights

The federal Liberals weaponized a House of Commons video of a 2005 speech from Andrew Scheer in which he condemned the Civil Marriage Act, even though similar sentiments had been voiced by Liberals. Nonetheless, it gave Jagmeet Singh a window to state that the NDP won’t support Conservatives in a minority government scenario.

James Sears is off to jail for a year. The editor of Your Ward News, found guilty of promoting hatred of women and Jews, had his claim that his lawyer intentionally lost the case ignored by a judge, who regretted that the sentence couldn’t be longer.

Following his own golden rule

Roel Bramer, the founder of Toronto’s first singles bar and other notable nightclubs, has self-published a memoir “as told to” Leah McLaren. Golden Roel ends with Bramer disputing an alleged drunk driving incident at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club and vowing vengeance upon one member who pushed for his suspension, journalist Jonathan Kay.

Doug Ford promises to protect Black Creek Pioneer Village. A story from the Toronto Star echoed concerns that an Ontario government order to halt conservation authority programs deemed non-essential could take out the heritage museum founded in 1960. The premier says that there’s no threat, while also declaring Pioneer Village “iconic.”

A fan you don’t want to have

Oscar Peterson didn’t instigate any awful scandals in his 82 years of life—although his posthumous statue in Ottawa was once vandalized with tears. But his name now has a link to Jeffrey Epstein. Playlists that the late sex offender created for public display on Spotify included 188 tracks from Peterson, most notably “My Heart Belongs to Daddy”:

Finally, the 12:36 newsletter will return in September. And if you missed the Retrontario salute to 40 years of Channel 47, check it out before next Friday’s special newsletter about the 35th anniversary of the launch of MuchMusic—if you’re subscribed:


From concrete blocks to weed lottery win

The extremely strange case of CAFE

The lottery for more licences to open weed stores in Ontario included a win for a numbered company whose Toronto address, 104 Harbord Street, is currently one of four illegal locations of Cannabis and Fine Edibles. While applicant Rob Heydon claims “no connection,” CAFE itself says that it was selected at this stage of the licensing process.

Sticker shock has worn off

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association still plans to challenge the province’s anti-carbon-tax stickers in court, even though the threat of a financial penalty for not displaying them was lifted. Now the focus has shifted to the Ontario government asking a court to keep letters to cabinet ministers about their mandates away from the view of CBC News.

Lisa Raitt lost her bid to hear Justin Trudeau book tapes. The deputy Conservative leader, backed by MP colleague Peter Kent, believed that an interview the PM did about the SNC-Lavalin affair for Aaron Wherry’s book Promise and Peril merited an airing at the ethics committee. Raitt’s motion failed, then Liberals voted further probing down.

The continued de-Crystaling

Daniel Libeskind’s addition to the Royal Ontario Museum officially entered the next phase towards its potential demolition with the opening of a new terrace and plaza on Bloor Street—which follows cancelling the Crystal as the ROM’s primary entrance:

“Neil Young’s Lonely Quest to Save Music.” A New York Times Magazine feature begins with Young ranting to writer David Samuels about how digital music is harming our brains. But it takes a turn after Samuels tells Young about his 5-year-old son’s cognitive struggles, which get alleviated through Mozart music therapy at Toronto’s Listening Centre.

Finally, some “April in Memphis”

Bruce Cockburn releases an all-instrumental album, Crowing Ignites, on September 20. It’s preceded by an animated video by Toronto artist Kurt Swinghammer. The track was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., as Cockburn reflected upon his assassination:

From YouTube glory to NBC’s littlest show

Scarborough’s screen time is 1:35

Hype has begun for Lilly Singh’s debut on NBC with the September 16 launch of A Little Late. (But not even Conan O’Brien can be bothered to watch these shows late at night anymore.)

The squad that’s taking it on

An all-woman panel of October 7 debate moderators won’t be asking questions of Maxime Bernier, who’s still agitating for a place for the People’s Party. Another English-language debate, moderated by Paul Wells, is scheduled for September 12.

Meet the new Ontario sex-ed curriculum. Which is pretty similar to the scrapped sex-ed curriculum, to the dismay of its loudest critic. Meanwhile, the anti-carbon-tax stickers, mandatory on every gas pump in the province, will be challenged in court.

The CNE’s big butter scandal

Creating the occasionally viral sculptures at the Canadian National Exhibition involves more than just butter. The use of internal frames was confirmed in interviews with dairy artists, after some folks couldn’t believe what they saw:

“I keep an eye on what my family is doing… It’s all in the back of my mind.” Frank Walker earned a Canadian Press profile in the wake of the radio success of his single, “Heartbreak Back.” But he won’t say much about his feuding mother and grandfather.

Finally, a debate over dildos

Dildo, Newfoundland enjoyed the limelight from Jimmy Kimmel’s bid to become its honorary mayor. But the bit was followed by a St. John’s sex shop using the town’s scenery to promote the sale of actual dildos, which some locals think crossed the line of decency:

From Saks Fifth Avenue to a slaughterhouse

How to score activist photo ops

Animal Liberation Toronto was a four-day event that tied up the Keele and St. Clair intersection, in the aftermath of an anti-fur display that led to a lockdown of the Toronto Eaton Centre.

“Rob Ford Road” close to reality

An eclectic menu of street name choices relevant to Etobicoke, five of which are people— including retired Blue Jays broadcaster Jerry Howarth and late comics artist Darwyn Cooke—revives the debate over whether Rob Ford should be honoured with anything.

Ipsos is opting out of election polling aggregators. The trend of tracking multiple surveys to create a wider projection picture isn’t cool to pollster Darrell Bricker, who wants no part of commercialized modelling that draws from the work he does.

A news union takes a side

Unifor plans to campaign against Conservatives in the federal election, despite the concerns of member journalists who had Unifor lobby for a bailout on their behalf:

Bette Stephenson dead at 95. The medical doctor who became an Ontario PC cabinet minister was interviewed by Steve Paikin for TVO upon her birthday three weeks ago.

Finally, one drawn-out legacy

Richard Williams, the Toronto-born animator who supervised Who Framed Roger Rabbit, recently died at age 86. Tributes mention how Williams also spent over 30 years working on The Thief and the Cobbler, only to have the butchered feature released as a DVD prize in Canadian boxes of Kellogg’s Froot Loops:

From astronaut to Liberal social media scold

In cyberspace, keep your PFD near

Marc Garneau, who was the first Canadian in outer space in October 1984, is now a Liberal MP who smarmily tweeted at the Conservative leader. (Andrew Scheer took no fewer measures to protect his kids on a boat than what you see in photos of Justin Trudeau.)

An odd climate change caution

People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier’s expression of doubts about the legitimacy of climate change has led to environmental charities being told by Elections Canada that promotion of concerns about CO2 can be deemed partisan during the campaign period.

“Jihadi Jack” might join Canada’s election cast. Public safety minister Ralph Goodale is “disappointed” that the U.K. revoked the citizenship of Jack Letts, a 24-year-old accused former ISIS fighter in Syria, who can still technically call himself Canadian.

The CNE survives with a tiara

While coverage of the Canadian National Exhibition dives even deeper into nostalgia, the Ex can still count on enthusiasm from other parts of Ontario, due to young people competing for Ambassador of the Fairs. The contestant from Ancaster won this year:

Rosaria Pusateri dead at 94. Toronto’s upscale food stores had humble fruit stand beginnings in 1963, when Rosaria opened Pusateri’s Supermarket on St. Clair West with her husband Salvatore, who died just six days before she did—also at age 94.

Finally, sneakers of Sotheby’s

Miles S. Nadal spent $850,000 on 99 pairs of the world’s rarest sneakers, then shelled out $437,000 more for Nike’s 1972 “Moon Shoes.” (He plans to display them all at his automobile museum in Toronto.) So, an item in the front of the New Yorker was destined to follow:

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