Glenn Gould to be honoured at Grammys
Canadian pianist Glenn Gould will receive a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award from the U.S. Recording Academy during the leadup to the 2013 Grammy Awards.
The Toronto pianist will also receive a formal acknowledgment during the Grammy ceremony Feb 10.
A four-time Grammy winner, Gould is best known for his interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
Gould, who lived 1932 to 1982, was one of the most celebrated classical pianists of his time and also renowned for his innovation as a composer, broadcaster, conductor and interpreter of music.
The Lifetime Achievement Award honours performers who have made contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.
Stephen Posen, Gould's long-time friend and the executor of the Glenn Gould estate will be attending a ceremony Feb 9 to accept the award on behalf of the Canadian pianist.
“This award is the pinnacle in the recording arts, which Glenn made clear, by his statements, writings and, most significantly, his actions, was his favoured medium for the communication of his art,” Posen said in a statement.
“He would be so honoured, and secretly amused, by this wonderful recognition of his recording arts”.
Sony Classical re-released an extensive collection of Gould’s work in 2012 in honour of his 80th birthday. Celebrations of Gould's artistry were held throughout the year.
Canadian hero in hostage crisis dies
John Sheardown, a Canadian immigration officer who helped smuggle six American diplomats out of Iran during the Iran hostage crisis, has died at the age of 88 at an Ottawa hospital.
Although the cause of death is unknown, Sheardown did suffer from Alzheimer's disease.
During the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, Sheardown helped six Americans hide and then escape the country.
The Americans were kept safe for months while staying at the private residences of Sheardown and then-Canadian ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor.
Sheardown was the man who answered the call for help from the Americans fleeing an attack on the U.S. embassy in Iran.
The escape was dramatized in the 2012 movie Argo, starring Ben Affleck. However, Sheardown's son, Robin, said the movie left much of his father's story out, putting the spotlight on the CIA's Tony Mendez, who eventually got the Americans out of Iran.
"It's completely ignored all the Canadian involvement," Robin Sheardown said.
John Sheardown was born and raised in Windsor, Ont and lived in Ottawa.
Thomson family remains top of the list of Canada's richest
Canada's rich just keep getting richer. The vast majority of the names on Canadian Business magazine's 14th annual ranking of the country's 100 wealthiest people — known colloquially as the "rich list" — increased their wealth over the past year. Some 86 of the names on the magazine's list have a higher net worth this year.
The Top 10
1. Thomson Family, $20.1 billion
2. Galen Weston, $8.2 billion
3. J.K., Arthur and John Irving family, $8.07 billion
4. Rogers family, $6.4 billion
5. Jimmy Pattison, $6.14 billion
6. Jeff Skoll, $4.55 billion
7. Paul Desmarais Sr., $4.4 billion
8. Saputo family, $4.23 billion
9. Carlo Fidani, $3.6 billion
10. Chip Wilson, $3.5 billion
All in all, there are 69 billionaires on the list — the most ever — and the cut-off was also at its highest ever, with 100th-ranked Futura Corp founder Amar Doman having an estimated net worth of $654 million.
A media scion, a grocery magnate, a telecom powerhouse, an online retailer and a dairy titan are just some of those who cemented their place among Canada's wealthiest during the past year.
Topping the list once again is the Thomson family, with a net worth of $20.1 billion. From its origins as a media company, Thomson made a savvy move several years ago to move away from conventional media and into financial information databases through a tie-up with Reuters.
In addition to the core Thomson Reuters business, the family also owns stakes in the Winnipeg Jets NHL team and the Globe and Mail newspaper.
The Thomsons saw their net worth decline by 5.7 percent this year but maintained the top spot.
In second place is Galen Weston, executive chairman of George Weston Ltd and head of the Loblaws grocery chain and the Holt Renfrew luxury department store. Weston saw his net worth increase three percent to $8.2 billion, the magazine says.
The Rogers family, which oversees the cable company that patriarch Ted Rogers founded, was in fourth spot at $6.4 billion — up eight percent from last year. Much of that gain came from an increase in the value of the family's shares in TSX-listed Rogers Communications Inc.
At $4.55 billion, Montreal-born eBay founder and movie mogul Jeff Skoll came in sixth place, up 21.3 percent compared with last year, the magazine says.
And Montreal's Saputo family also cracked the Top 10, coming in eighth place with a net worth of $4.23 billion, up 2.7 percent from last year. The Saputos run Canada's largest cheese and dairy company, Saputo Inc, but they also own the Montreal Impact franchise in Major League Soccer.
Another name who gained ground was Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, whose net worth increased by 23 percent to $3.5 billion, good enough to crack the Top 10.
One of the biggest names to drop was former Research in Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie, whose fortune plunged 41 percent to $651 million, just out of the Top 100. His RIM co-founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, however, held on to 84th spot.
During RIM's heyday in 2007, the dynamic duo were the eighth- and ninth-richest people in Canada.
Anne of Green Gables makes China’s influential novels list
THE MANDARIN edition of Anne of Green Gables, first released in China in late 2011, is one of the 50 most influential novels in China this year, according to the country's national publishers association.
Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic tale of turn of the 20th century P.E.I. is still in the running for the top prize. The first official Mandarin translation of Anne was offered for sale in China late last year, an initiative of a P.E.I. company.
Anne in China Incorporated president Duncan McIntosh said he first heard from his Chinese publisher that the book had made the list. Given about 10,000 books are published in China annually, McIntosh said it's an impressive achievement.
"We were really excited, as people are when good things happen that you're not expecting," he said.
Other non-Chinese books that made the top 50 are Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and J.K. Rowlings' The Casual Vacancy.
"They've got 5,000 years of literature in China, so there's no shortage of stories amongst that important, important culture," said McIntosh.
"We're just proud that we're welcomed to join the list of Chinese books, along with these other great books that we know from other languages."
Votes for the most influential novel in China continue until Dec 25. The winner is expected to be announced by the end of this month.
Fifty Shades of Grey parody SPANK! a Canadian success story
After heating up box offices in the U.S., a hit Canadian stage spoof of the bestselling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey is attracting interest around the world as it gets set to debut in Canada.
Mills Entertainment and Just For Laughs is presenting SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody at the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto after sold-out shows in Springfield, Mass., Hartford, Conn., and Las Vegas.
The comedy is also due to open in Chicago later this month.
“It feels like a rock concert,” Jim Millan, the Toronto-based director and co-writer, said of the electrifying vibe from the audience.
“Like, the women are screaming — 900 women, some of whom show up with husbands, but not very many. Mostly it’s a women’s night out and they sort of scream from the time that the lights go down,” he continued in an interview from Las Vegas, where the show’s audience members have included the latter half of Penn & Teller.
“We anticipated that the love they have for the book would translate into their enthusiasm for a night out but we couldn’t imagine it would be like this.”
The response to the unauthorized musical parody has been so strong, in fact, that shortly after its premiere in Springfield in early October, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) signed on to represent it in the U.S.
Now, two different companies are considering touring SPANK! and two different producers in New York have expressed “strong interest” in an off-Broadway production, said Millan, founder of Crow’s Theatre in Toronto.
While the show is a parody of E. L. James’s hugely popular Fifty Shades of Grey, which features bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism, it is completely original material.
First World War medal returns to Kahnawake
The medal awarded to a battle-scarred First World War soldier has been returned, almost a century later, to his family in the Mohawk community where he lived.
In 1919, Pte. James Beauvais returned from Europe with shrapnel in his chest and limited use of his left arm. Like all victorious Canadian and British soldiers, he was awarded a Victory Medal before being discharged.
The following ten years were filled with tragedy. He suffered from chronic physical pain and emotional anguish that meant that within a decade Beauvais was dead. He was buried in a modest grave, more than 2,000 kilometres from home.
Now his medal has completed a long journey home.
It was returned recently to his great-niece, Lynn Beauvais, at the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Kahnawake, Que.
The story of its path home includes a motorcycle club and eBay.
Normand CarriŹres, a part-Wendat who rolls as a part-time biker in the Rolling Thunder club, routinely checks the online auction sites for bike parts, medals and military memorabilia.
The medal, listed "WW1 Victory Medal to Native Canadian, Pte. James Beauvais," jumped out. He had read Johnny Beauvais' book "Kahnawake: A Mohawk Look at Canada, Adventures of Big John Canadian." Beauvais is a common name in Kahnawake.
"When I saw this medal on eBay, I also saw a missing link in Kahnawake, and I also saw the name Beauvais," CarriŹres said.
"My first thought was to keep this medal in Canada. Second, find his family. And if I didn't find anybody interested by the medal or by Beauvais himself, my intention was to bury the medal somewhere in the cemetery in order to keep his spirit among his nearest ones."
His motorcycle club, Rolling Thunder, is closely tied to veterans' causes.
Black loses bid to address Order of Canada review body
Former media baron Conrad Black's request to Federal Court for a hearing before a panel examining whether he should be allowed to remain an officer of the Order of Canada has been rejected.
Black's 1990 appointment to the Order of Canada is under review because of fraud and obstruction of justice convictions in the U.S. related to his tenure as head of the Hollinger newspaper empire.
Now living in Toronto, Black served 37 months of a 42-month sentence in a Florida prison. Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration granted the Montreal-born Black a one-year temporary resident permit, valid until May 2013. He had renounced his Canadian citizenship 11 years ago to take a seat in the British House of Lords.
In July, Black submitted an application to the Federal Court for an oral hearing to address the advisory council looking into whether he can keep his Officer of the Order of Canada appointment, and give his side of the story.
The Federal Court "reached the conclusion that the application ought to be dismissed," Justice Yves de Montigny wrote in a ruling. "While I am prepared to accept that the application is not premature and that the council’s decision to deny the applicant an oral hearing is not immune from judicial review, I find that procedural fairness and natural justice do not require an oral hearing in the circumstances of this case."
Black was found guilty by a U.S. jury in 2007 of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, but he was acquitted on nine other charges, including mail fraud, wire fraud, racketeering and tax fraud.
An Appeals Court later overturned two of his fraud convictions, but allowed a single fraud conviction and the obstruction of justice conviction to stand.
Meanwhile, an American court recently fined Black US$6.1 million for violating securities laws.
The fine relates to Black's tenure at Hollinger International Inc based in Chicago.
Black has requested a stay of the judgment while he appeals related convictions.