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Chad Rubel
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For the first time in recent memory, all 4 games in a week will be on U.S. television. The CFL season debut will be on ESPNews as the Saskatchewan Roughriders meet up with their former quarterback Darian Durant in his new home in Montréal. The ESPN family usually skips the Grey Cup rematch but ESPNews will have the rematch of the 2016 Grey Cup from the site of the 2017 Grey Cup. The Stampeders actually lost their first game in 2016 but didn't lose again until the last regular season game. Of course, Calgary lost its last game of the year so revenge, of sorts, is in order. ESPN2 has a couple of weekend games as Edmonton travels to Vancouver late on Saturday. The Battle of Southern Ontario will also be on ESPN2 from BMO Field Sunday afternoon. Winnipeg gets to enjoy an extra week of getting ready for the CFL season. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Canadian Crossing
The 2017 CFL season begins Thursday after a topsy and turvy off season of moves, a celebration not seen in Ottawa since 1976, and the prospects of Winnipeg or Hamilton finally breaking through since every other CFL franchise has won a Grey Cup in the 21st century. We have a new stadium in Regina: the Mosaic Stadium name is the same, but the new facility, just west of the old stadium, is rather remarkable just from the pictures we've seen. The topsy-turvy off-season wasn't limited to the first couple of months after the Grey Cup. We thought Toronto would stay pat on the sidelines and the front office. The old Montréal team of Jim Popp as general manager and Marc Trestman as coach reunited in Toronto at the end of February. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Canadian Crossing
The 2017 CFL season starts out with a brand new stadium in Regina. The old stadium could easily switch back to Taylor Field in name but the new Mosaic Stadium is rather distinct even among CFL stadiums. The new Mosaic Stadium, along with Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, are the only current CFL stadiums where I have not taken in a game. I've been to the former stadiums in both Hamilton and Regina, every other current CFL stadium, Rogers Centre in Toronto, and even Moncton. I added Winnipeg and Regina to the list in 2016. Due to financial concerns, I don't know if I'll see any games in person in 2017. But let's look back at where my CFL journey began. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Canadian Crossing
We normally get a CBC summertime TV schedule release but the summer of 2017 brought no release. So we'll do something a bit different in showing off what is new in Canadian TV this summer, not just on the CBC. The CBC release for the fall schedule noted a pair of new shows coming this summer: Taken is a true-crime documentary 8-part series on Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women. 21 Thunder is a 8-part series on an elite under-21 Montreal soccer team on and off the field. This show debuts on July 31. CBC will run new episodes of 3 summer shows. Baroness von Sketch Show (starting June 27) Still Standing (starting June 27) When Calls the Heart (starting June 18) When Calls the Heart airs on the Hallmark Channel in the United States. For fans in the United States, especially outside the CBC feed, IFC will run seasons 1 and 2 of the Baroness von Sketch Show beginning in late summer. We don't have a specific start date, but we have an educated guess that season 2 needs to run in Canada before IFC will show both seasons. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Canadian Crossing
Kelly Knight Craft is not a surprise name for the nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to Canada. We’ve known since February that Craft was the pick. As to why the name is finally offered up in late June, there are bigger concerns in Washington these days. Besides raising money during the campaign, Knight Craft is known for being married to the president and CEO of the second-largest coal producer in the eastern United States. She was appointed to the U.S. delegation at the United Nations in 2007. Knight Craft serves on the University of Kentucky board of trustees and resides in Lexington, KY. Knight Craft said to CTV News that many communities on both sides of border "may have more in common with each other than they do with Washington or Ottawa." Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
You might wonder why the CFL should hire another American-born person to be the new commissioner of the league. And I wouldn't blame you if you thought a Canadian would do a better job. But consider one American who would be superb in the position: me. Tom Wright was the last Canadian-born permanent commissioner (2002-2006). Mark Cohon (2007-2015) and Jeffrey Orridge (2015-2017) are both American-born. Orridge's last day was yesterday. As the CFL put it yesterday, "Jim Lawson, the Chair of our Board of Governors, will assume the duties of the Commissioner until the search for a permanent successor has been completed." So why should the CFL hire me? As a practicing journalist, I don't have the business skills to run a league that deals with millions of dollars. I don't have the business or professional contacts that would come in handy in running a league. But I could hire people to handle those activities. I would be a good CFL commissioner because I would be a great ambassador for the league. I know how the sports media landscape works in Canada and the United States. I've been to a game in every CFL city. I haven't been in a single skybox at a CFL game; I have sat among the true fans of the sport. Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Highway 61 is a Canadian road trip film, even if that road trip runs mostly through the United States. Highway 61 is sort of a follow-up to Roadkill, a Canadian road trip film that runs through Canada. Then there is Hard Core Logo, the third film of the trilogy from Bruce McDonald. McDonald likes to make films with music and about music. The soundtrack definitely is a co-star in this film. So Pokey Jones (long-time collaborator Don McKellar) wants to be a jazz musician. Jones is a barber in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He finds a frozen corpse. Jackie Bangs (Valerie Buhagiar) claims the frozen body is her brother. Roadkill ends in Thunder Bay. Buhagiar was the main character in Roadkill, which also featured McKellar. Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
The saga that was Pirate Joe's has come to a close. Legal battles and a lack of money for litigation proved costly. We wrote about this saga back in 2013 about Mike Hallatt and his store where he and his shoppers would buy Trader Joe's products and sell them in Canada, a place where Trader Joe's, then and now, does not exist. Trader Joe's had sued the Vancouver store in 2013. That suit was dismissed by a Washington-state court. Late last summer, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court ruling bringing the case back to the district court. Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2017 at Balance of Food
Pirate Joe's, the Vancouver store that carried Trader Joe's in a country where Trader Joe's has not gone, has come to a close. Trader Joe's had sued the Vancouver store in 2013. That suit was dismissed by a Washington-state court. Late last summer, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court ruling bringing the case back to the district court. The store didn't go down because business was bad or the store couldn't win in court. The problem stemmed from not being able to afford to fight the battle. That doesn't seem very piratey, but litigation costs are a factor even if you think you are innocent. Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Come From Away will leave the 2017 Tony Awards with a lot of memories and an emotional song. However the Broadway musical based on the lives of those in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador after the 9/11 attacks only got a single Tony award. The musical won for best direction to American director Christopher Ashley. "I'd like to accept this [award] on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and all of the first responders and their families in New York," "The people who gave their lives and the people who extended their hearts and their homes and were generous and kind at the very worst moments," Ashley said during his acceptance speech. The cast performed Welcome to the Rock in the first half-hour of the awards ceremony. Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
The bromance lives on. Former President Barack Obama made a quick visit to Montréal, delivering a speech at the Palais des congrès before the Montréal Chamber of Commerce. Obama touched on anti-authoritarianism and climate change among the topics in the speech. Obama made a fun joke in the beginning on how in Montréal there are so many Michelles/Michels. The play is on his wife's name Michelle but also the male name Michel, quite common in Montréal. Former Montréal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien leaps to mind, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's youngest brother was also named Michel. Michel, a classmate of Sophie Grégoire, was killed in an avalanche in 1998. Obama also highlighted that his brother-in-law is Canadian and noted the state dinner visit with Trudeau and Gregoire at the White House in 2016. "Bon anniversaire": Obama wished for Montréal's 375th birthday in a decent French language accent. Obama threw in a bit more French recognizing the difference in being in Montréal. The former president noted this was his first visit to Montréal. Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
It was just about a year ago where we were celebrating the end of Season 4 of Orphan Black. Now we are celebrating the beginning of Season 5, which debuts Saturday on Space in Canada and BBC America in the United States. This is the last season for the sistrahood and there is a lot left on the table: Helena will give birth, Delphine is not only alive but also reunited with Cosima. And who knew there was a creepy island so close to Toronto (probably not one of the Thousand Islands). We can imagine the twists and turns of what Season 5 will bring. We didn't get that sistrahood feeling at the very end of Season 4; in fact, the sisters seemed divided as never before. They are stronger when they are there to help each other. Based on the Season 5 trailer above, that theme will be prevalent. Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Day 2 of Live with Kelly and Ryan could not possibly top Day 1 for Canadian content. Monday's show at the Oakes Garden Theatre had two of the hottest (in more ways than one) Canadians right now. But let's see how the show's Canadian content. Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest spent part of the open talking about how dreamy Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Monday's interview. Seacrest went on more about Trudeau's eyes than even Ripa did. You could imagine Regis Philbin saying the same words in a way that was more funny. I don't know much about Seacrest, and he is new to the show, but his approach is not as clear to your humble narrator. Ripa and Seacrest tried on funny Canadian hats, something that was reminiscent of the show's time in Banff, Alberta in 2012. I will absolutely agree that Ripa looks good in all different kinds of hats. She can sell the comedy in a silly hat really well. Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Tatiana Maslany didn't even get 3½ minutes on Live with Kelly and Ryan, but we did learn that Maslany and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met for the first time at the live broadcast from the Oakes Garden Theatre in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Maslany also set straight the pronunciation of Saskatchewan to Kelly Ripa and talked about growing up in her native province in Regina. Maslany talked about the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the cut-out watermelons the fans wear on their heads. She was asked about where the Emmy was; Maslany explained that the award was in a box. Ripa asked which one of the Orphan Black characters that Maslany least liked to play. Maslany mentioned that Rachel takes about 2 hours of hair and makeup and Krystal involves fake nails and "all this stuff on top of me." Maslany said she stole some of the clothes as well as Cosima's glasses and nose ring as souvenirs from the show. Prime Minister Trudeau was a last-minute add to the program and ended up with a pair of segments. The daytime talk show is not normally hard-hitting but Ryan Seacrest asked Trudeau about which one of his kids would he like to see be a prime minister. Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
The 2017 CFL preseason schedule begins tonight as the BC Lions travel to Calgary. Each team plays 2 games, home and away between now and June 16. You can circle June 10 for the technical debut of the new Mosaic Stadium in Regina. Going to a home Roughriders game will look a lot different for the fans. Appropriately, Winnipeg is the preseason opponent. Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
CBC will carry Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals Saturday night in its typical viewing setup: The NHL on CBC in Canada on a Saturday night. If the CBC decided to not carry Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights and the playoffs in the spring, how would the NHL landscape look in Canada? Let's start from Rogers point of view: Rogers get to run 7 hours of hockey programming on CBC on virtually all Saturday nights from early October to mid April. The programming runs most every night from mid-April to mid-June. Rogers sells the advertising and makes all the money. Rogers does simulcast some early games on City TV and gains all advertising revenue from City TV, essentially double dipping. And City TV doesn't run CBC in-break promos, though the channel does simulcast CBC in-game promos. Rogers also simulcasts most late Saturday games on Sportsnet, again double dipping by competing with the CBC feed and gaining all advertising revenue, though keeping CBC in-game promos on both outlets. So CBC doesn't get exclusivity in a considerable number of its regular season games. Some playoff games have also been simulcast on Sportsnet adding valuable extra playoff revenue. Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Amatriciana. Carbonara. Gricia. Cacio e pepe. This is not a new Italian singing group. These are the 4 primary pasta dishes centering around combinations of bacon, cheese, and pepper. Amatriciana adding a tomato sauce with guanciale, red pepper flakes, pecorino romano, and pepper Carbonara adding an egg to pancetta, pecorino romano, and pepper Gricia bacon, pecorino romano, and pepper Cacio e pepe pecorino romano and pepper These are the basics of these sauces. Ask any Italian nona and you will get variations within variations. Some will swear an amatriciana sauce gets onions; some will swear that there are no onions. Carbonara can get peas but mostly don't. Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2017 at Balance of Food
The show that is now Live with Kelly and Ryan has a rich legacy of doing shows in Canada. Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa went to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in 2010 and Ripa and various co-hosts were in Banff, Alberta in 2012. The show goes back to Niagara Falls, Ontario next week for a pair of shows. Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford were there in 1996. Philbin and Ripa made a visit there in 2006. Ryan Seacrest was recently named the new co-host of the daytime program. The shows will take place at the Oakes Garden Theatre. Monday's show will air live with Tuesday's show being taped on Monday. Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Nova Scotia elections have been a hot potato game over the last 30 years. Even if your party won a second election, one of those would not be a majority government. So you can look at Stephen McNeil winning back-to-back majorities for the first time since 1988 as a good thing for the Liberals, but the party lost a bunch of seats in a very close election. At well under 40%, the Liberals won with an efficiency of voting to get a majority of 27 seats in the 51-seat legislature. The Progressive Conservatives gained on the night, particularly in Cape Breton, and finished with 17 seats. The NDP elected its leader Gary Burrill into the chamber and finished with 7 seats. The Liberals were down 6 seats from the 2013 election, the PCs up 6 seats, and the NDP unchanged. McNeil heard the voters and referred to those concerns in his speech. "I want to assure you that I've heard you and I've listened," McNeil said on health care. "And we have a plan, as well as the opposition parties have a plan and we can work together to make it better." Health care, teachers unions, eliminating the film tax credits were a few items where voters were upset with the Liberal government. Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Andrew Scheer might have seemed more like Moonlight to Maxime Bernier's La La Land in the race for the Conservative Party leader Saturday night. For the first 12 ballots, Bernier, the front-runner, led the race but couldn't get past 50% in the vote. Finally, on the 13th ballot, Scheer, not Bernier, came up as the winner with 50.95% of the vote. So many people outside the hall in Toronto had to ask: who is Andrew Scheer? Scheer is a former Speaker of the House in the federal parliament. He is younger than Justin Trudeau by about 7 years. Scheer's brother-in-law is Jon Ryan, punter for the NFL Seattle Seahawks. Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
A rough 2 OT loss on the heels of what would have been an impressive comeback down 3-2 for the Ottawa Senators. A hard-fought series pretty much came down to a highly questionable interference call in the 3rd period, a call so flimsy that even Mike Milbury thought it was a bad call. 5 Canadian teams started just over a month ago. 2 teams survived to the second round: Edmonton and Ottawa. The Sens lasted until the very last second in the conference final. The 2011 Vancouver Canucks were the last Canadian-based team to reach the Stanley Cup. The 1993 Montréal Canadiens were the last Canadian-based team to win the Stanley Cup. Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Eating food in a bowl is one of the new crazes. After all, apparently food isn't just what you eat but how you eat it. If eating healthy food in a bowl gets you to eat that healthy food, then bowls away. In a time where I do very little eating out, I do love the poké bowls. The premise is that you get seafood (tuna, salmon) and brown rice with other vegetables and toppings. I usually get pickled ginger, cucumber, avocado, crunchies of some kind, and a beautiful sesame vinegar. This is not a dish I would have had 20 years ago when I ate so much more poorly. But I like this bowl and I do feel more full even if it tastes light. The drawback to this bowl is there isn't much room to move ingredients around. I love using the chopsticks given with the meal. But they don't stir things well. I do get better with the mixing and the chopsticks each time I get the poké bowl. Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2017 at Balance of Food
The rhythm of the CBC schedule is slightly askew for the new fall season. CBC is moving its documentary night from Thursdays to Sundays following Heartland. Dragons' Den will anchor a Thursday night lineup as the CBC will have reality shows start out both Wednesday and Thursday nights. Alias Grace (picture above) is the highly anticipated 6-hour miniseries from Sarah Polley based on the Margaret Atwood novel. The show follows Murdoch Mysteries and gets an early debut of September 25. The show will eventually be on Netflix in the same spirit of Anne with an E. Frankie Drake follows Lauren Lee Smith as Toronto’s only female private detective in the 1920s in the late Monday slot after the run of Alias Grace. Chantal Riley also stars in the drama. The Detectives follows Dragons' Den on Thursday nights. The show combines true crime from real cases of Canadian detectives with first-person interviews and scripted drama. Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
In a land of quirky independent films from Canada, waydowntown deserves its own chapter. The film takes place in downtown Calgary yet you won’t find a single horse or oil well. You barely even see the outside in downtown Calgary but that is part of the challenge. The film starts in the middle of a bet with 4 young people where they bet a month’s salary on how long they can stay inside. Downtown Calgary has Plus 15, a series of indoor skywalks between buildings so covering downtown without stepping outside is rather easy. The film takes place in one day, one seemingly long lunch hour on Day 28. Fab Filippo as Tom is our protagonist. Tom doesn’t like his job in the big law firm where the contestants work. Marya Delver as Sandra West is a good friend, though you aren’t quite sure if Sandra and Tom were/are an item. There is chemistry of some kind. While in some films, I care about such details but here I settle easily for what appears to be sexual tension. Gordon Currie as Curt Schwin is Tom's rival and kind of a jerk. Tobias Godson as Randy is Tom’s best friend. Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Hope you are enjoying the first long weekend of the summer of Canada's sesquicentennial. Victoria Day is celebrated on the penultimate Monday in May, having to fall before May 25, the queen's actual birthday. The day symbolically starts summer in Canada and is also known in cottage country as the time to clean up the winter's damage to the cottage. Quebec being Quebec celebrates National Patriots Day on the same day. 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs scoreboard We have a Canadian team still going in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs chase. The Ottawa Senators have been fading fast after going up 2-1 over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sens gave up 3 early goals in Game 4 and a 7-0 lashing yesterday in Game 5. Ottawa is now facing elimination in Game 6 on Tuesday in Ottawa. Game 7 is Thursday, if needed. Maclean's has a nice story on how Canadian the Ottawa Senators really are. Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at Canadian Crossing