Smoking, drinking and stripping in our time

COVID-19’s summer like no other

The growing number of privately owned cannabis stores in Ontario were granted temporary permission to offer delivery or curbside pickup, but that opportunity will have to cease on July 15. New pot shop owners fear the end of this quick service will drive their customers back to illegal dealers.


The cost of a quaff in the park

A warning against unlicensed alcohol consumption led to questions about why Toronto was prioritizing a crackdown on a practice that the mayor himself has repeatedly said oughta be legal. In the meantime, a new normal is taking shape with expanded patios, including those at eateries that were denied them before by the city.


The Sundowner strip club is relocating to a patio in its parking lot. Niagara Falls, Ontario, won’t be denied this form of adult entertainment with the construction of a 4,000-square-foot structure designed to abide by current rules. It looks simpler than the pandemic performance plans of groups like the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.


Cross-cancel-culture checkup

The open letter to Harper’s calling for an end to restrictions on open debate cultivated a circular firing squad of its own, plus an angle on Canada being represented by six signatories. But none of them are Margaret Wente, who recently experienced issues of her own and has now resurfaced to write about the experience with Massey College:


Justin Trudeau didn’t cross the border for a White House photo-op. The celebration of the North American trade deal went on without Canada. But the PM had Jagmeet Singh saying Donald Trump has done more to address systemic racism—and Andrew Scheer is annoyed with reporters focused on him not wearing a mask in the airport.


Thinking of Edmonton Empire

Insurance company Belairdirect threatening to cut sponsorship of Edmonton’s CFL club seemed to prompt a shift from its earlier defences of Eskimos based on feedback from Inuit communities. But a reconsideration has been accelerated. The team had “Edmonton Empire” trademarked in March 2018, likely for a moment like this:


Some guys seem to want to buy Torstar for 14 per cent more than the other guys. Their proposal to acquire the Toronto Star and other properties for $58 million appears ready to challenge the $52 million offer from NordStar Capital, which claimed to have no plan to boost its bid. Torstar shareholders will vote on one offer or another on July 17.


Finally, cheaper sneakers await

BiWay has been slated for resurrection since late 2018: the discount chain’s co-founder, Mal Coven, moved from one Toronto location to another in trying to execute his idea of selling every item for $10. Meanwhile, a rogue location bearing the name BiWay Zone promised to close in March—but it’s still standing, and the retail suspense goes on: