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July-August 2011

Book review: Gillian Roberts’ Prizing Literature

Angelo MureddaWebsite@qwiggles

Literary prizes are often seen as either a barometer or an enforcer of national taste. Gillian Roberts’s Prizing Literature turns instead to how prizes like the Giller and Booker confer upon their Canadian recipients an unofficial certificate of citizenship. With clear prose and theoretical acumen, Roberts probes the vexed relationship between national culture and hospitality, […]

Calgary’s ambitious 10-year homelessness strategy shows some growing pains

Allison McNeelyWebsite@allisonmcneely

Three years ago, the City of Calgary adopted a 10-year plan to end homelessness. The much-lauded, and now much-copied, program was the first of its kind in Canada. Funded by the provincial government and led by the Calgary Homeless Foundation, the plan hinges on an ambitious “Housing First” strategy, which promises to move 1,800 of […]

Book review: Six Metres of Pavement by Farzana Doctor

Niranjana IyerWebsite@NinaIyer

Ismail Boxwala’s Infant daughter died of heatstroke after he left her sleeping in the backseat of his car on a summer day. Twenty years later, Ismail has yet to forgive himself. His wife has long since divorced him and remarried, but Ismail has resolutely passed up any chance at happiness. He lives in the same […]

Fiction: “It’s Just Not Working Out” by Zoe Whittall

Zoe WhittallWebsite@zoewhittall

Dear Katie, I woke up with a lingering vision of my Aunt Agnes’s swollen feet propped on her filthy coffee table. They looked like two puff pastries stuffed into once pastel blue slippers, now the colour of a graying robin’s egg. Aunt Agnes smoked like a tire yard on fire. When I was a child […]

A Canadian mining company prepares to dig up Mexico’s Eden

Dawn PaleyWebsite@dawn_

Vancouver’s First Majestic Silver plans to mine for silver in the heart of Mexico’s peyote country. For the Huichol people, the project is an environmental risk—and a spiritual crisis Photographs by José Luis Aranda Under a heavy afternoon sun, the desert landscape in central Mexico lays long into the horizon, interrupted only by railroad tracks, […]

How Ontario’s Greenbelt is failing farmers—and the local food movement

Chelsea Murray@chelsea_murray

The greenbelt saved 1.8 million acres of green space from urban sprawl. So why are the farmers who live and work there moving away? Photos by Ian Willms Robert Beynon’s dairy farm sits just north of the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, on one of the southernmost edges of Ontario’s greenbelt. It’s a small operation […]

Postcard from Jerusalem: Seeking the hidden history of Canada Park

Jillian Kestler-D’AmoursWebsite

Sitting cross-legged in a circle, a group of about 20 Israeli school children are chatting excitedly under the shade of tall pine trees one sunny afternoon in March. A few meters away, the names of hundreds of Canadians are prominently displayed on row upon row of beige, ceramic plaques. Montreal. Toronto. Winnipeg. Vancouver. Welcome to […]

Four rookie “Orange Wave” NDP MPs to watch in the new Parliament

Herb Mathisen

By now, the media has turned Ruth Ellen Brosseau’s name into a punch line. Brosseau is, of course, the Ottawa-pub-managing, Las Vegas-visiting, limited-French-speaking 27-year-old single mom who rode the NDP’s wave through Quebec into an MP job in Ottawa, despite having never visited her primarily francophone riding. But Brosseau isn’t the only NDP rookie surprised […]

How the Conservatives killed a law providing cheap AIDS drugs to Africa

Stephanie LawWebsite

In March, Canada came improbably close to establishing a system to deliver drugs cheaply and quickly to poorer countries. In a vote of 172 to 111, the House of Commons passed Bill C-393, which would have streamlined Canada’s Access to Medicine Regime, a program to provide low-cost generic drugs to the global south. It wasn’t […]

Unearthing Vancouver’s forgotten utopian UN conference, Habitat ’76

Peter Tupper

Walk around Vancouver’s Jericho Beach in 2011 and you’ll see some odd architecture: an empty concrete wharf, a welded steel railing that overlooks English Bay, a strange rail embedded beneath the sailing club. These are all that is left of a complex of five gigantic aircraft hangars that was home to an international conference 35 […]

As election looms, cracks appear in Alberta’s 40-year right-wing dynasty

Jen GersonWebsite

At Marv’s Classic Soda Shop, Marvin Garriott, known for his oiled handlebar moustache, is often asked to speak of politics. He’s the local prophet on the subject; all small towns have one. A two-term councillor sitting for the 1,900-person Southern Alberta town of Black Diamond, Garriott poses for tourists and reporters, mugging in a bowling-alley […]