Film
In the News
genie-awards

The 2012 Genie Awards are upon us once again with high hopes and low grumbling.

There are high hopes for a film industry perennially long on promise but short on delivery, and grumbling from critics who have watched the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, the organization responsible for the Genie and the Gemini Awards, struggle to live up to its claim that its awards are the “ultimate accolade” for Canadian films.

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In the News
Literature
freedom-to-read-week
freedom-read-week

Titles that have appeared on Canada's list of challenged books and magazines.

“To choose a good book, look in an inquisitor’s prohibited list.” – John Aiken

To Canadians, censorship may seem like a thing of the past, associated with book burnings and fascist regimes, but the truth is that freedom of expression is an ongoing battle. Books as recent as The Golden Compass, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and Of Mice and Men have appeared on Canada’s list of challenged books and magazines. Considering that these titles have become celebrated classics in the modern canon, John Aiken’s pithy epigram appears more true than ever.

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Canada Soup
In the News
pierre-juneau

This week Pierre Juneau, the head of the CRTC and an early champion of Canadian content, passed away. Under Pierre Trudeau, Juneau mandated minimum standards for Canadian content (CanCon) on the TV and radio, winning him few friends among broadcasters but the loyal support of Canadian performers. He forever changed what Canadians watched and heard, and his legacy of promoting and carving a space for Canadian artists has lasted to this day. [CBC]

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Canada Soup
In the News
Canada soccer
joe-fortes

Joe Fortes teaching swimming at English Bay, Vancouver, circa 1912. Vancouver Archives

Statistics Canada released its 2011 census information this Wednesday. The National Post has a nifty infographic that visually lays out changes in population growth. Lets take a look at the changing face of our nation, shall we?
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History
In the News
Literature
Sunshine Sketches

SUNSHINE SKETCHES OF A LITTLE TOWN
Airs this Sunday, February 12th at 8 pm on CBC

Based on the life and writings of Stephen Leacock, Canada’s first and foremost humorist, this two-hour signature television event celebrates the book’s 100th anniversary. The reinterpretation of the popular work combines two key stories from Leacock’s time-honoured Canadian classic of the same name, first published in 1912: the sinking of The Mariposa Belle steamer with its holiday crowd in the perilously shallow waters of Lake Wissanotti; together with the frantic campaign to save Mariposa’s hotel and public bar from the Liquor Commission’s shutdown. Leacock’s sly, humorous portrait of small-town Canada—a portrait that mirrors the whole nation—remains intact in the adaptation.

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History
In the News
Queens-Diamond-header

The Queen begins a year of celebrations marking her diamond jubilee. On February 6, 1952, King George VI died in his sleep at Sandringham. His daughter Princess Elizabeth was declared Queen Elizabeth II. Since then, Queen Elizabeth has been England’s oldest monarch and the second-longest reigning sovereign in British history. Celebrations marking the event will centre around the extended weekend of June 2 (the anniversary of the Queens’ coronation) through to June 5.

Official Diamond Jubilee Portrait

Official portrait of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh taken in the Centre Room at Buckingham Palace in December 2011 © Royal Household/John Swannell

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In the News
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groundhog

Our furriest weather forecaster, the groundhog (Image: National Geographic)

“According to legend, the groundhog emerges from its burrow at noon on February 2 to look for its shadow. If it is a sunny day and the groundhog sees its shadow, according to folklore it becomes frightened and returns to its hole to sleep, and winter continues for 6 more weeks. If it does not see its shadow, it remains outside because the worst of winter is over and warmer weather is on its way.”

-The Canadian Encyclopedia, “Groundhog Day”

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Film
In the News
David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg at the Toronto International Film Festival, Maclean’s

“If David Cronenberg did not exist, would we invent him? Could we invent him?” – Tom McSorley, Take One: Film in Canada

Living in this peculiar, fractious confederation called Canada, it is satisfying to observe the slow but certain ascension of David Cronenberg to the status of full-blown Canadian cultural institution – to see him in the polite, lofty company of Margaret Atwood, Peter Mansbridge or Robert Lepage. For this is a country of supremely timid and conservative cultural inclinations, which tends to favour longevity over vitality, and cast its more indelicate cultural voices into permanent exile from the mainstream.

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Canada Soup
In the News
Igor Sergeievich Gouzenko
Sarah Burke

Sarah Burke celebrates on the podium after winning the women's halfpipe freestyle title at the World Cup finals in Valmalenco, Italy, Wednesday, March 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

Tragedy struck this week when one of Canada’s top skiers Sarah Burke died from injuries while training. The four-time Winter X Games champion crashed at the bottom of a half pipe and went into cardiac arrest from her injuries. In a generous gesture of humanity, sympathizers have been donating funds to help Burke’s family pay off her medical bills, which were not covered by the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association. [Globe & MailCBC]

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In the News
Literature
Reading In Canadian
canlit-is-sexy-header

January is so often bad news, and the news of M&S’s absorption into Random House dimmed the fugitive light that much more for many readers interested in Canadian literature. But one aficionado’s “misguided” response to the news has captivated the Canadian googling public this week:  Read More

Canada Soup
In the News
harkvagrant-header
Hark! A Vagrant

A comic from Kate Beaton's website, Hark! A Vagrant.

This week, Canadian history buffs across the nation celebrated Sir John A. Macdonald‘s 197th birthday, remembering the contributions of our country’s first prime minister and great uniter. We celebrated our early history even as one of our most storied publishing houses, McClelland and Stewart, was taken over by the German-owned Random House, leaving a big question mark as to the future of Canadian publishing and, in many ways, the question of Canadian identity.

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In the News
Literature
Reading In Canadian

McClelland and Stewart Logo

A: Apparently to Germany. Today it was announced that the German-based publishing conglomerate Bertelsmann AG, which owns Random House, took full control of McClelland and Stewart, venerable independent Canadian publishing house and champion of Canadian literature through its flowering in the 20th century under the leadership of Jack McClelland, when it published such  stars in our firmament as Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Farley Mowat (the triumvirate one can generally rely upon new CanLit students to name). Douglas Gibson, longtime Editor at McClelland and Stewart, became a household name himself as he steered the work of writers and the reading tastes of Canadians. The New Canadian Library, brainchild of Sinclair Ross and Jack McClelland and published by M&S starting in 1958, introduced countless Canadians to their literary history.

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