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Chad Rubel
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The rematch of the 2019 Grey Cup, a very distant memory, kicks off the 2021 CFL season tonight in Winnipeg against Hamilton. The return of Friday Night Football has the BC Lions going east to Regina. The game is sold out. The Saturday doubleheader is confined to the province of Alberta. Toronto is in Calgary early while Ottawa will be the first opponent of the Edmonton Elks. The Montréal Alouettes have waited a long time to play. The team will have to wait a week longer. Continue reading
Posted 7 hours ago at Canadian Crossing
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Welcome to the 2021 CFL season. The league has an abbreviated 14-game schedule with the 2021 Grey Cup in Hamilton on December 12. Preseason games? The league won't have any. This is the 25th anniversary of the last Grey Cup in the Steel City. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are the only CFL team without a Grey Cup in the 2010s. The Tiger-Cats lost the 2019 Grey Cup to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, whose previous Grey Cup win was 1990. The Montréal Alouettes have the second-longest drought, not having won the Grey Cup since 2010. Speaking of drought, the CFL didn't play in 2020. If we still seem bitter over that move, we are still bitter. That is getting better. We miss the game. The CFL schedule is adjusted to play games out west early in the season. West is defined as every CFL team west of Hamilton and east of Vancouver. The rational was that the western provinces would be more lenient on larger crowds. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will have 100% capacity at IG Field. One crucial point: fans have to be fully vaccinated to attend. IG Field holds 33,500 fans. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Canadian Crossing
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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has had a "do the right thing but we don't want to make you do the right thing" approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even by Alberta standards, the United Conservative Party has gone too far. The new extremely relaxed approach is in 2 stages. As of last Thursday, quarantine for close contacts will be recommended not mandatory; contact tracers will no longer notify close contacts; and asymptomatic testing will no longer be recommended. The August 16 changes are more substantial: If you test positive for COVID-19, isolation is strongly recommended but not required. There will be no isolation hotels and quarantine supports. Testing will be available for symptomatic people for patient care decisions. After August 31, testing for COVID-19 will be available only when symptoms are severe. Masks will no longer be required on public transit, or in most continuing care facilities and definitely not in schools. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Canadian Crossing
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The 2020 Toronto Blue Jays tried to play in Pittsburgh and Baltimore before going to the AAA stadium in Buffalo. Road games would be in MLB stadiums where their players got to sleep at home. The 2021 Toronto Blue Jays did the slow march north, staying in Dunedin after spring training in April and May, Buffalo in June and most of July, and now, finally, homeward bound to Toronto as of tonight. The Blue Jays start a homestand tonight with Kansas City, Cleveland, and Boston. The team will have played a home series with the Red Sox in each of the 3 cities. 670 days. That is the length of time since the team has played at Rogers Centre in Canada. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Canadian Crossing
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Violation is a film that is necessary in the annals of filmmaking and society. Violation is a difficult film to watch. You might read a film review that says a film is difficult to watch. This time, they are right. Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli wrote, directed, and produced the film. Sims-Fewer, TIFF Rising Star 2020, is also the lead as Miriam, a woman who is definitely angry. Miriam and husband Caleb (Obi Abili) are having martial troubles. Communication and a lack of sex are the primary issues. She is only interested in having sex with Caleb when she is drunk, which he really doesn't like. Miriam meets up with her sister Greta (Anna Maguire) and her husband Dylan (Jesse LaVercombe) at a cabin in the woods. As much as Miriam and Caleb are having problems, Miriam and Dylan have a free and easy chemistry. Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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Outdoor Life Network (OLN). Versus. NBC Sports Network. NBCSN. The NBC contract with the NHL ends after the 2021 Stanley Cup final. The NBCSN role ended after Game 2 of the 2021 Stanley Cup finals, though the channel did provide post-game coverage to the NBC telecasts. The channel is going out of business at the end of the calendar year. We wanted to say a few words on behalf of the channel, since the channel won't have anything Canada-related outside of the Tokyo Olympics. OLN acquired cable rights to the NHL in 2005 with regular season games on Mondays and Tuesdays and the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals. OLN became Versus in April 2006. Versus became NBC Sports Network on New Years Day 2012. The NBCSN brand was converted in August 2013. The Versus approach to covering the NHL, most notably with John Forslund, was that when a Canadian team played an American team, the "national" part of the broadcast was to root for the American team. Broadcasters such as the late Dave Strader ignored that mantra and called the games in a neutral manner. Back in the Versus days, the idea of an all-Canadian matchup was unheard of for American television. Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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The journey to Edge of the Knife | SG̲aawaay Ḵ'uuna starts with Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World, a documentary I saw in the 2015 Windsor International Film Festival. "The scenery is amazing and well worth the price of watching, but you get a cool story about a place that is Canadian and aboriginal with majestic beauty." I didn't even know about Haida Gwaii before the documentary. Haida Gwaii is an archipelago near Prince Rupert and Terrace in British Columbia. You might know Haida Gwaii by the settler name Queen Charlotte Islands. The exciting part of Edge of the Knife | SG̲aawaay Ḵ'uuna was the idea of an entire film in the Haida language. Like a lot of Indigenous languages, the Haida language is in trouble of becoming irrelevant. Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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The news we've known for a few months is finally official. U.S. President Joe Biden has nominated David Cohen to be the country's ambassador to Canada. Cohen has worked as a lawyer, lobbyist, and fundraiser for Comcast. His "more relevant" experience was 5 years as chief of staff to then Philadelphia mayor of Ed Rendell in the 1990s. No diplomatic experience. No known ties to Canada. Ugh. We had this scenario with President Barack Obama. A late pick in the first year in office. Fundraisers. Now Obama's picks turned out to be way better than anticipated (low bar). We expected better from Joe Biden, who served as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when he was in the U.S. Senate. Biden was vice president to Obama. Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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In the time since Chris Cuthbert left TSN for Rogers Sportsnet, Cuthbert called the 2020 playoffs including a conference final, the 2021 reduced regular season, and the 2021 playoffs, including a Stanley Cup final. The CFL still hasn't been on the field. Chris Cuthbert has called 25 of the last 28 Grey Cup games, the last 16 for TSN and 9 with CBC. You can't just replace a Chris Cuthbert on the CFL telecasts. TSN limped along in the regular season without replacing Cuthbert on the NHL telecasts. Chris Cuthbert picks Stanley Cup final over TSN, jumps to Rogers Sportsnet TSN and the CFL have given this consideration since June 2020. Let's look at the TV play-by-play options. Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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Circle August 9 on your calendar for fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the U.S. to come to Canada without a quarantine. Those who fall short of being fully vaccinated will quarantine for 14 days. We would love to dance and celebrate by spending time in Canada. Let's go through some of the potential hazards. The CBC News article touting the news says the following: "Those crossing the border still need to get a COVID-19 molecular test result before they arrive in Canada." "However, the government announced today that it plans to launch a new surveillance program at airports and land border crossings starting Aug. 9. Fully vaccinated individuals will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a COVID-19 molecular test." Technically a contradiction but clarifies that the policy is changing. The same article also notes this: "All travellers must use the government's ArriveCAN portal to submit their information. If they meet the government's criteria, they will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada." In other words, you can plan a trip to Canada but still be denied a quarantine-free stay. Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin has been in power since February after winning the Liberal Party leadership. We figured Nova Scotia might have a 2021 election and we were correct. The date is set for August 17. Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada without a fixed election date. Stephen McNeil announced almost a year ago that he would step down as premier and Liberal Party leader. Rankin defeated Labi Kousoulis and Randy Delorey in February to be the party leader. McNeil had been premier since 2013 and led the party from 2007-2021. McNeil won re-election in 2017. Rankin (Timberlea-Prospect), 38, is in his first election as leader. Tim Houston (Pictou East) has been the Progressive Conservatives leader since 2018, so this will be his first race. Gary Burrill (Halifax Chebucto) is the veteran of the group, having been in charge of the New Democratic Party since 2016. The Liberals have 24 seats, down from 27 in the 2017 election. The PCs have 17 seats, no change from 2017. The NDP has 5 seats, down from 7 in the 2017 election. There are 3 Independents and 2 vacancies. Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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The Kid Detective is a mix of a saga of a washed-up former child detective and an actual detective case that may turn his life back to his previous fame. Abe Applebaum (American actor Adam Brody) was a celebrated kid detective whose luck hasn't been great of late. Abe is forlorned over the one case he couldn't solve: the kidnapping of his close friend Gracie Gulliver. Caroline (Sophie Nélisse) comes to Abe with a case: find out who murdered her boyfriend. Abe seems a bit over his head with the case. There are a few running jokes, like he always hides in closets, and the recurrence of the Red Shoe Gang. His life is so pathetic that Caroline, who is in secondary school, drives Abe around. Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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Roadrunner is going to disappoint you if you are a fan of Anthony Bourdain. The film, that debuts today in theatres, comes from Morgan Neville, a filmmaker known for quality documentaries such as 20 Feet from Stardom and Won't You Be My Neighbor?. There are critiques about how Neville approached this film but that isn't why fans will be disappointed. Fans will be disappointed because they are searching for a solution or solutions they will not find. They think they knew Anthony Bourdain. Their logic, understandably, is there a reason for what happened at the tail end of the life of Anthony Bourdain. If you want to understand Anthony Bourdain, you have multiple books. Several TV series. Countless interviews. Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2021 at Balance of Food
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Nothing is set other than there will be 3 MLS games on Canadian soil within the next week. Toronto FC hosts Orlando City on Saturday and the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday at BMO Field. CF Montréal welcomes FC Cincinnati at Saputo Stadium on Saturday. The Vancouver Whitecaps are at "home" at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on Saturday (LA Galaxy) and Tuesday (Houston Dynamo). This may be about Ontario and Quebec more than British Columbia. Attendance will be limited in Canada. The Reds get 7,000 fans for Saturday and 15,000 for Wednesday. CF Montréal will have 5,000 fans, an increase of 1,500 fans from what the Montréal Canadiens could have at the Bell Centre during the Stanley Cup final. This is about outdoors vs. indoors. Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. didn't participate in the Home Run Derby. Guerrero did save his home run hitting prowess for the 2021 All-Star Game in Denver. His 468-foot blast is the primary reason why Guerrero became the youngest player and first Toronto Blue Jays player to win the Most Valuable Player trophy at the All-Star Game. Guerrero made the most of his at-bats in the 5-2 win for the American League. He launched a long drive to left field in the 3rd inning and scored his fellow Blue Jays teammate Teoscar Hernandez on a 4-3 ground out in the 5th inning. His 4-3 ground out in the 1st inning almost struck Washington starter Max Scherzer. Guerrero went over to hug Scherzer. Hernandez doubled to right field in the 5th inning before scoring on Guerrero's RBI out. He hit into a 6-4-3 double play in the 2nd inning. Marcus Semien drove in a run in the 2nd inning with an infield hit that almost reached 3rd base. He grounded out 5-3 in the 4th inning. Bo Bichette entered the game in the 5th inning and struck out in the 8th inning. Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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Based on Jusqu’au Declin | The Decline, Netflix would need someone who understands Canadian film, such as your humble narrator, to guide them through that world to make strong selections in that world. Netflix seems slightly smarter in picking its first original English-language Canadian film. The upcoming sequel Code 8: Part II will be the answer to that trivia question. Code 8 (2019) was a surprise hit from Jeff Chan. The story is about a man with superpowers raising money to help his sick mother and doing so by working with criminals. The original film stars Robbie Amell, Stephen Amell, Sung Kang, Alex Mallari Jr., and Aaron Abrams. The Amell cousins will continue their roles in the sequel and are also co-producers. Code 8 is currently on Netflix. Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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For the first time since 1993, the Toronto Blue Jays have 4 position players in an All-Star Game. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Marcus Semien, and Teoscar Hernandez were voted in by the fans. Bo Bichette will be a reserve in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game in Denver. Guerrero was invited to do the Home Run Derby but declined. The rules of the derby reward people who hit enough home runs to win a round but not those who put on a show such as what Guerrero did in 2019. Having 4 players is a huge contrast to recent years for the team. Marcus Stroman, soon to be traded to the New York Mets, was the only Blue Jays player on the 2019 American League squad in Cleveland. Stroman was injured and did not play. J.A. Happ was the lone 2018 Toronto Blue Jays player to be an All-Star. Happ was soon traded to the New York Yankees. This is the first All-Star Game appearance for this year's all-stars. Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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Saturdays used to be the worst time to be in a grocery store. The crowds challenged a claustrophobic person and a basket was a smarter choice than trying to navigate the aisles with a cart. Saturday shoppers did get a bonus: free samples. Grocery store managers had good timing. Weary shoppers would be thrilled to set aside a few minutes to stand still and try a product. Trader Joe's understood this concept: give samples of your products every day so a Tuesday afternoon trip was as relevant as a late Saturday morning visit. Some locations had a schedule outside so customers knew what was being sampled that day. Grocery stores have now gone over a year without free samples. Trader Joe's has blocked off that area in their stores. The spaces feel like they belong in a museum. Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2021 at Balance of Food
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The Olympics are good at showcasing athletes before they compete and when they compete. The life of an Olympics athlete after they compete? Not so much. Pascal Plante (writer and director) explores this idea in Nadia, Butterfly. Nadia (Katerine Savard) is at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Her final race as an athlete is the medley relay where each of the 4 participants does a different swimming stroke. Nadia does the butterfly stroke. The film starts out as they are preparing for this race. The majority of the film is about what Nadia is going through in the next couple of days following the swimming. Her teammates are happy after the race but Nadia has a lot on her mind. She is retiring at 24 so she can pursue being a doctor, knowing she won't be a doctor until her 30s. Nadia is not in a celebratory mood. Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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22 shots in a crucial Game 5 is almost certainly not enough. A 1-0 loss is a tough way to go out but speaks to how competitive the 2021 Montréal Canadiens were. The press harped on Montréal finishing 18th in the league and the .527 lowest regular season points % to reach the Stanley Cup final. Factor in that Carey Price missed a lot of the second half and the team had to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. Those are facts, not excuses. The team is very different now than at the end of the regular season. This team had a hell of a run. As crushing as this defeat seems to the Habs, to Canadian teams, there is pride in what this team accomplished. The 2020 version was the #24th team in a 24-team playoffs and still accomplished what the Toronto Maple Leafs can't do: win a playoff series. The 2021 version came within 3 wins of a Stanley Cup. Dominique Ducharme and Alex Burrows replaced Claude Julien and Mark Muller. Carey Price was stellar in the first 3 series. The penalty kill dominance was excellent. The youth clicked. The veterans chipped in as needed. They got as far as they did as a team. The Montréal Canadiens still have 24 Stanley Cup championships, by far the most in the NHL. Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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Josh Anderson got moved up to the line with Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki for Game 4. Anderson gave the Montréal Canadiens the team's first lead of the series with a goal off a nice pass from Suzuki. Anderson scored the OT winner with an assist from Caufield. Alexander Romanov added his first playoff goal in the 3rd period to give the Canadiens another lead. The Game 4 win was the first in the era of the Bell Centre. The 1993 title came at the Montréal Forum. This team has already come from behind 3-1 to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs this spring. The 1942 Maple Leafs are still the only team to come from a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup finals. Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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We noted last week in our Canada Day notebook that many were wondering whether Canada might get its first Indigenous governor general. Well, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Mary Simon will be the next governor general. Simon had been the Canadian Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs (aka Arctic) from 1994-2009 and also Canadian Ambassador to Denmark from 1999-2002. Simon was a senior Inuit negotiator for the Canadian Constitution repatriation. She helped negotiate the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in 1975. Simon is a past president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. Simon has also been a producer and announcer for CBC North. Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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Canadian senators might be intrigued to see Part I of the 3-part series Making the Case for Canadian Film from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. We profiled that video recently. As we noted last week in our Canada Day notebook, Bill C-10 passed the House but hadn't had a chance to be debated in the Canadian Senate. The bill to update the Broadcasting Act will need more consideration than the Liberals might wish would happen. Bill C-10 was designed to have streaming services that operate in Canada ("Netflix tax") help fund Canadian television and Canadian film, just like Canadian companies. What can't be shaken is the idea that average people who make some money off of social media will also pay. We want to celebrate the update of the Broadcasting Act. That has to be done properly. Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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Canada Day 2021 is about remembrance for those who suffered in the residential school system. Canada Day is multilayered in a time where John A. Macdonald, the first prime minister of Canada, is remembered as the architect of the residential school system. 215 children at a Kamloops residential school was horrible enough. 751 is a number better suited for career home runs than unmarked graves of Indigenous children and perhaps adults; that is the number from the Marieval Indian Residential School, about 140 kilometres east of Regina, Saskatchewan on the Cowessess First Nation territory. The newest discovery was 182 human remains in unmarked graves by the Lower Kootenay Band in British Columbia near Cranbrook. Victoria (BC), Penticton (BC), Churchill (MB) and La Ronge (SK) are among Canadian cities not having Canada Day festivities in 2021. This is the 154th anniversary of the founding of the Dominion of Canada with Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The day was called Dominion Day until 1982. A lot of Canadians will celebrate Canada Day with fireworks and food; a bit of acknowledgment about the horrors of the residential school system is a very small favour to ask. Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2021 at Canadian Crossing
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Given the tremendous history of Canadian horror films, Werewolf would make a great horror film title. The film is about something scarier than the typical monster. Werewolf is the story of Blaise (Andrew Gillis) and Vanessa (Bhreagh MacNeil). Writer/director Ashley McKenzie was inspired by a real-life couple in New Waterford, Nova Scotia. They were known for dragging a lawnmower through town hoping to mow people's lawns. Blaise and Vanessa are strung out on methadone. Blaise is angry, assuming that everyone who could help him is out to get him. Vanessa doesn't say a whole lot. As the film progresses, Blaise gets worse while Vanessa gets better, even getting a job. They become the dichotomy of the extremes of the struggle of drug addicts. McKenzie shoots with great intimacy and doesn't try to hide the anguish of her subjects. There is a documentary feel to the film. Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2021 at Canadian Crossing