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Found 15 results

  1. Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/programmes/world_news_america/7725979.stm Published: 2008/11/13 09:47:01 GMT © BBC MMVIII
  2. Montreal: Affordable Winter Base for Families The blackboard menu is in French and all around the little cafe, people are chattering in French, nibbling on croissants and sipping cafe au lait. But we're a lot closer to home than Paris. Welcome to Montreal, just a scant hour-long flight or a 370-mile drive from New York, or an hour's drive from the border of Vermont. Most everyone, it seems, speaks English, as well as French, so there's no need for my 16-year-old daughter, Melanie, to practice her French, she says happily. Another plus: Though there are no bargains here for Americans anymore now that the Canadian "loonie" is about the same value as a U.S. dollar, at least we can soak up the foreign ambiance without spending so much in Europe where the dollar is so weak against the Euro. Especially this time of year, you can find hotel rooms starting at $135 a night (http://www.findyourmontreal.com). Mel and I have come to Montreal for a mother-daughter weekend getaway and a look at McGill University, one of four in this oh-so-cosmopolitan city, which visitors can't help but love. Even our taxi drivers wax eloquent about their city - the restaurants! (There are more than 6,000 offering everything from French to Ethiopian to Montreal's famous bagels.) The museums! (There are more than 30. Visit http://www.museemontreal.org for the Montreal Museums Pass.) The theater, dance companies and festivals that go on all year! (There are more than 90, including the popular la Fete des Neiges de Montreal in January.) The shopping! (Simons, http://www.simons.ca, on Montreal's famous Ste-Catherine Street, we discover, is a good bet for young fashionistas on a budget. Such a clean city! So many parks; there are 1,009 of them and scores of green spaces. Let's not forget the 21-mile Underground Pedestrian Network that connects everything from metro stations to restaurants to skating rinks, office buildings, hospitals, libraries and nearly 1,000 retail shops. With ski areas just an hour away, I think, Montreal would prove a good, affordable winter base for families whose members aren't equally passionate about the slopes. Mel and I are ensconced in one of the city's many boutique hotels, the 59-room HotelXIX Siecle (http://www.hotelxixsiecle.com), which was built in a 19th-century bank building just a short walk from the historic cobble-stoned streets of the Old Port on the St. Lawrence River where this city began. And I love that breakfast is included. I promise Mel if she goes with me to the Pointe-a-Calliere, the Montreal museum of Archeology and History that tells the story of this city from its first Native-American settlers - our next stop will be Ste-Catherine Street where she can shop till she drops at street level and at the three interconnected malls underground. She liked the museum more than she expected - thanks to the terrific multimedia show and its excellent introduction to Montreal, from the first North Americans to the arrival of French settlers in 1642 and then later, the British. The museum is actually built atop authentic archeological remains, enabling visitors to take an underground archeological tour. Models set in the floor reveal how Place Royale evolved through the centuries and the exhibits include displays of artifacts found here, including dice, crockery, old combs and beer caps. Virtual historic figures also pop up to chat about their era. Even kids who hate museums can't help but be intrigued - and leave with a much better understanding of the cultures that have melded to make this city what it is today. Last modified: October 07. 2007 9:33AM
  3. Poll Finds Faith in Obama, Mixed With Patience Article Tools Sponsored By By ADAM NAGOURNEY and MARJORIE CONNELLY Published: January 17, 2009 President-elect Barack Obama is riding a powerful wave of optimism into the White House, with Americans confident he can turn the economy around but prepared to give him years to deal with the crush of problems he faces starting Tuesday, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll. The latest on the inauguration of Barack Obama and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion. While hopes for the new president are extraordinarily high, the poll found, expectations for what Mr. Obama will actually be able to accomplish appear to have been tempered by the scale of the nation’s problems at home and abroad. The findings suggest that Mr. Obama has achieved some success with his effort, which began with his victory speech in Chicago in November, to gird Americans for a slow economic recovery and difficult years ahead after a campaign that generated striking enthusiasm and high hopes for change. Most Americans said they did not expect real progress in improving the economy, reforming the health care system or ending the war in Iraq — three of the central promises of Mr. Obama’s campaign — for at least two years. The poll found that two-thirds of respondents think the recession will last two years or longer. As the nation prepares for a transfer of power and the inauguration of its 44th president, Mr. Obama’s stature with the American public stands in sharp contrast to that of President Bush. Mr. Bush is leaving office with just 22 percent of Americans offering a favorable view of how he handled the eight years of his presidency, a record low, and firmly identified with the economic crisis Mr. Obama is inheriting. More than 80 percent of respondents said the nation was in worse shape today than it was five years ago. By contrast, 79 percent were optimistic about the next four years under Mr. Obama, a level of good will for a new chief executive that exceeds that measured for any of the past five incoming presidents. And it cuts across party lines: 58 percent of the respondents who said they voted for Mr. Obama’s opponent in the general election, Senator John McCain of Arizona, said they were optimistic about the country in an Obama administration. “Obama is not a miracle worker, but I am very optimistic, I really am,” Phyllis Harden, 63, an independent from Easley, S.C., who voted for Mr. Obama, said in an interview after participating in the poll. “It’s going to take a couple of years at least to improve the economy,” Ms. Harden added. “I think anyone who is looking for a 90-day turnaround is delusional.” Politically, Mr. Obama enjoys a strong foundation of support as he enters what is surely to be a tough and challenging period, working with Congress to swiftly pass a huge and complicated economic package. His favorable rating, at 60 percent, is the highest it has been since the Times/CBS News poll began asking about him. Overwhelming majorities say they think that Mr. Obama will be a good president, that he will bring real change to Washington, and that he will make the right decisions on the economy, Iraq, dealing with the war in the Middle East and protecting the country from terrorist attacks. Over 70 percent said they approved of his cabinet selections. What is more, Mr. Obama’s effort to use this interregnum between Election Day and Inauguration Day to present himself as a political moderate (he might use the word “pragmatist”) appears to be working. In this latest poll, 40 percent described the president-elect’s ideology as liberal, a 17-point drop from just before the election. “I think those of us who voted for McCain are going to be a lot happier with Obama than the people who voted for him,” Valerie Schlink, 46, a Republican from Valparaiso, Ind., said in an interview after participating in the poll. “A lot of the things he said he would do, like pulling out the troops in 16 months and giving tax cuts to those who make under $200,000, I think he now sees are going to be a lot tougher than he thought and that the proper thing to do is stay more towards the middle and ease our way into whatever has to be done. “It can’t all be accomplished immediately.” While the public seems prepared to give Mr. Obama time, Americans clearly expect the country to be a different place when he finishes his term at the end of 2012. The poll found that 75 percent expected the economy to be stronger in four years than it is today, and 75 percent said Mr. Obama would succeed in creating a significant number of jobs, while 59 percent said he would cut taxes for the middle class. The survey found that 61 percent of respondents said things would be better in five years; last April, just 39 percent expressed a similar sentiment. The telephone survey of 1,112 adults was conducted Jan. 11-15. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. The poll suggests some of the cross-currents Mr. Obama is navigating as he prepares to take office, and offers some evidence about why he has retooled some of his positions during this period.
  4. The (mis)adventures of an Anglo in Montreal Petra Hendrickson Issue date: 4/9/08 Section: Opinion Montreal less than 48 hours ago, I thought I would use today's column as part anecdote, part travel advice and part opinion. The advice, although the most practical portion of this column by far, is the least fun to write about, so I'll dispense with it first. Make sure you tell your bank you're going abroad. Otherwise, their fraud department might put a block on your debit card after you use it to pay for a cab ride. This results in you having to apply for a new debit card, which will then take around 10 business days to be delivered to you. If you need help with something, ask. I have no recollection of the only other time I've flown internationally, and I was a little apprehensive about the customs and immigration process. Chances are, one of your fellow travelers will be more than happy to talk you through the process ahead of time. Granted, most people scoff at the idea of Canada being considered "international travel." Nonetheless, a flight there requires you to go through customs and immigration before leaving the airport, and chances are, you'll find something there that looks unfamiliar. Gas prices in Canada (or at least Montreal), for instance, are not only by the liter, rather than the gallon, they're also in cents. So a liter of gas is advertised as costing 114.2. Before I asked a fellow American at the graduate school I was visiting about the gas pricing system, I was pretty shocked. I mean, I knew gas prices were more expensive everywhere else, but even this seemed a little steep. Also, although I ate food while I was there, the fact that all menu items (even at Tim Horton's!) were in French pretty much means that I'm not entirely sure what I ate. There was Lebanese food of some kind, what I was told was a Chilean steak sandwich and a couple flavored croissants, but as far as specifics go, I'm pretty much at a loss. Everyone I encountered in Montreal was willing to accommodate English speakers, which was definitely much appreciated. My cab driver on my 1 a.m. excursion to the airport informed me that not only should I not have been shy about speaking English and being American, the locals don't mind at all because Americans are notoriously good tippers. The logic seems to follow that the more willingly people speak English to the Americans in Montreal, the more grateful the Americans will be, and the better they'll tip. I have to be honest. At least in my case, it was true. Most of the Anglo community seems to know how to speak enough French to get by ("restaurant French"), and certainly recognizes enough French to be able to differentiate street names from one another and the like. It was really interesting to me the combination of recognition and absolute confusion I experienced in the Francophone environment. On the one hand, words like café and boutique were easy markers as to what a building contained. On the other hand, all the words I didn't recognize meant that at some point, everything started to look the same, and it was pretty disorienting. On the whole, I'm definitely glad I visited Montreal. It was pretty eye-opening as to just how utterly American I am. I like to consider myself worldly in outlook, and I still think that's true, but it also made me consider exactly how non-worldly my experiences have been. http://media.www.indianastatesman.com/media/storage/paper929/news/2008/04/09/Opinion/The-misadventures.Of.An.Anglo.In.Montreal-3311500.shtml
  5. http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/07/18/robert-fulford-canada-s-anti-american-reflex.aspx
  6. Influx of South Americans Drives Miami’s Reinvention By LIZETTE ALVAREZ JULY 19, 2014 MIAMI — As the World Cup played out over the past month, yellow-clad Colombians packed the Kukaramakara nightclub downtown, Aguila beers in hand, shouting, “Colombia, Colombia!” Outside, Brazilians in car caravans blasted samba music. Argentines, some in blue-and-white striped jerseys, jammed into nearby steakhouses and empanada joints. Around town, children filed into Sunday Mass, their jerseys ablaze with their futbol heroes from across Latin America. It was less a commentary on soccer than a tableau vivant of the new Miami, which has gone from a place defined by Cuban-Americans to one increasingly turbocharged by a surge of well-educated, well-off South Americans in the last decade. Their growing numbers and influence, both as immigrants and as visitors, have transformed Miami’s once recession-dampened downtown, enriched its culture and magnified its allure for businesses around the world as a crossroads of the Spanish-speaking world. “It’s now the indisputable capital of Latin America,” said Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian millionaire who founded Brightstar, a global wireless distribution company based here. “The Latin economic boom in the last 10 years has led to the creation of a huge middle class in countries like Brazil, Peru and Colombia, and they look at Miami as the aspirational place to be.” The transformation, the latest chapter in the city’s decades-long evolution, is especially apparent amid the building cranes, street life and nightclubs downtown. But it is seen across Miami-Dade County, where highly educated South American immigrants and second-home owners have increasingly put down roots and played a major role in jump-starting a region that not long ago was ravaged by recession. Their relative wealth has allowed them to ramp up businesses like import-export companies and banks, and to open restaurants that dish out arepas from Venezuela, coxinhas from Brazil and alfajores from Argentina. Partly as a result of that influx, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region eclipsed Los Angeles in 2012 as the major metropolitan area with the largest share — 45 percent — of immigrant business owners, according to a report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a research group. The South American presence has also reshaped politics and radio here. More moderate than traditional Cuban-Americans, South Americans have nudged local politics toward the center. Radio stations no longer cater exclusively to Cuban audiences; they feature more news about Latin America and less anti-Castro fulminating. Last week, Charlie Crist, who is running for governor as a Democrat, named a Colombian-American woman from Miami, Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, as his running mate. Colombians, who first began to settle here in the 1980s, are the largest group of South Americans. They now make up nearly 5 percent of Miami-Dade’s population. They are joined by Argentines, Peruvians and a growing number of Venezuelans. Brazilians, relative newcomers to Miami’s Hispanic hodgepodge, are now a distinct presence as well. The Venezuelan population jumped 117 percent over 10 years, a number that does not capture the surge in recent arrivals. Over half of Miami’s residents are foreign born, and 63 percent speak Spanish at home. Continue reading the main story The influx is expanding the borders of immigrant neighborhoods in places like West Kendall, the Hammocks and Doral. Their numbers are growing across the county line into Broward, where one city, Weston, has gained so many Venezuelans that it is jokingly called Westonzuela. Jorge Pérez, the wealthy real estate developer for whom the the new Pérez Art Museum Miami is named, said the latest surge of South Americans was turning the city into a year-round destination and luring more entrepreneurs and international businesses. Latin American banks have proliferated as they follow their customers here. Most noticeably, they are snapping up real estate in Miami, Miami Beach and Key Biscayne, a wealthy island two bridges away from Miami. Real estate developers credit South Americans for spurring the current housing boom. “South Americans are the game changers — they are the ones that allowed the housing market to bounce back,” Mr. Pérez said. Cubans still dominate Miami, making up just over half the number of Hispanics and a third of the total population, and Central Americans have flocked here for decades. But in an area where Hispanics have gone from 23 percent of the population in 1970 to 65 percent now, what is most striking is the deepening influence of South Americans. Many came here to flee a political crisis, as the Venezuelans did after the presidential election of Hugo Chávez in 1998 and then his protégé, Nicolás Maduro, or to escape turbulent economies, as the Argentines and Colombians did more than a decade ago. But the latest wave of South Americans adds a new twist. It includes many nonimmigrants — investors on the lookout for businesses and properties, including second homes in Miami and Miami Beach. For them, Miami is an increasingly alluring place to safely keep money and stay for extended periods. Spanish, which has long been the common language in much of Miami, now dominates even broader sections of the city. In stores, banks, gyms and even boardrooms in much of Miami, Spanish is the default language. “You can come here as a businessman, a professional, and make five phone calls, all in Spanish, to set up the infrastructure for your business,” said Guillermo J. Grenier, a sociology professor at Florida International University. The effect on real estate is especially visible in the Brickell area, Miami’s international banking center, and in once-bedraggled parts of downtown. The South American infatuation with urban living has led to the explosion of lavish new condominium towers, with more to come. There is even rooftop soccer, like the kind offered in South America. Last year, David Beckham and Mr. Claure announced that they would bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami, though they are still in negotiations for a suitable stadium site. Sit in a restaurant and you hear a range of accents — the lilt of Argentine patter, the clarity of Colombian Spanish, the liveliness of Venezuelans and the speedy rat-a-tat of Cubans. Brazilians have sprinkled Portuguese into the mix. The flurry of condo construction now rivals the one before the 2008 crash, raising the specter for some housing analysts of another risky housing bubble. A Miami Downtown Development Authority study found that more than 90 percent of the demand for new downtown and Brickell residential units came from foreign buyers; 65 percent were from South America. “Status is having a condo in Miami,” said Juan C. Zapata, the first Colombian to serve as a Miami-Dade County commissioner and, before then, in the State Legislature. The suburbs, too, continue to swell as more South Americans move into areas anchored by people from their countries. Doral, a middle-class city near the airport, is now a panoply of South Americans, most of them Venezuelans. Eighty percent of Doral is Hispanic, and in 2012, a Venezuelan, Luigi Boria, was elected mayor. “Every year, we get more and more Venezuelans,” said Lorenzo Di Stefano, the owner of El Arepazo 2, a Venezuelan restaurant there. This year, with the economy worsening in Venezuela, Mr. Di Stefano said he expected another large wave. But, Mr. Crist’s running mate and Mr. Boria aside, the South American influx has not translated into widespread electoral success. South Americans lag far behind Cuban-Americans in political power, in part because their citizenship rate is lower. Many do not vote or run for office, a reality that Mr. Zapata said must change. “What you see in Miami is a change economically; it’s much more diverse than it used to be,” Mr. Zapata said. “But the Cubans grew economically, and turned it into political power.” That transformation, Mr. Zapata said, will be Miami’s next chapter. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/us/20miami.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=US_IOS_20140721&bicmp=AD&bicmlukp=WT.mc_id&bicmst=1388552400000&bicmet=1420088400000&_r=2
  7. Discard your stereotypes: people in the U.S. own fewer passenger vehicles on average than in almost all other developed nations. Americans love cars. We pioneered their mass production, designed iconic autos from the Model T to the Deville to the Corvette, and are a major exporter as well as importer. It's practically a part of the American national identity. But it turns out, according to a new paper from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on worldwide car usage, that American per capita car ownership rates are actually among the lowest in the developed world. The U.S. is ranked 25th in world by number of passenger cars per person, just above Ireland and just below Bahrain. There are 439 cars here for every thousand Americans, meaning a little more than two people for every car. That number is higher in nearly all of Western Europe -- the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, etc. -- as well as in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. It's higher in crisis-wracked Iceland and Greece. Italians and New Zealanders have nearly 50 percent more cars per capita than does the U.S. The highest rate in the world is casino-riddled Mediterranean city-state Monaco, with 771 cars per thousand citizens. America actually starts to look unusually auto-poor when cars per capita is charted against household consumption per capita, which the Carnegie paper explains are two typically correlated variables. That is, countries where household spend more money on average tend to also own more cars. The countries on the right side of the line are where people own fewer cars than you might expect. The developed countries on that side of the graph include the super-dense Asian city states (Macao, Singapore, Hong Kong) where car ownership is tightly regulated to keep traffic down, and the United States. The countries far to the left of the line own more cars than expected: car-crazy Italy, for example, and sparsely populated Iceland. I found this really surprising -- I'd always associated the U.S. closely with car culture, an impression anecdotally enforced by my interactions with non-Americans. So what explains the American outlier? The Carnegie paper explains that car ownership rates are closely tied to the size of the middle class. In fact, the paper actually measures car ownership rates for the specific purpose of using that number to predict middle class size. Comparing the middle class across countries can be extraordinarily difficult; someone who counts as middle class in one country could be poor or rich in another. Americans are buying fewer cars -- is it possible that this is another sign of a declining American middle class? Even if Americans are on average richer than Europeans, after all, U.S. income inequality is also much higher. According to the Carnegie paper, about 9.6 of Americans' cars are luxury cars, an unusually high number; but it unhelpfully defines "luxury" as "Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus" (no Cadillacs?), which may help to explain why Germany's "luxury car" rate is 26.6 percent. Still, it's also possible that the answer has less to do with Americans adhering to Carnegie's thesis about car ownership predicting middle class size and more to do with other, particularly American factors. Young Americans are spending less of their money on cars, as Jordan Weissmann explained, as they get driver's licences at lower rates and spend more of their money on, say, high-tech smart phones. Amazingly, Americans still manage to suck up far, far more energy per person than do the people in those Western European nations with so many more cars per capita. Our oil usage per capita is about twice what it is in Western Europe, and here's our overall energy usage: Whatever the reason for America's comparatively low car ownership rate, it may be time to update our stereotypes. The most car-obsessed place in the world isn't the nation of Detroit and Ford and Cadillac. It's Western Europe, the land of Peugeot and Smart Cars and Ferrari, where cars are most common. L'article avec les graphiques mentionnés plus haut: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/08/its-official-western-europeans-have-more-cars-per-person-than-americans/261108/ L'étude: http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2012/07/23/in-search-of-global-middle-class-new-index/cyo2
  8. Une journaliste du Toronto Star, Katie Doubs, s'en prend à un commentateur d'un quotidien de Chicago, Neil Steinberg, qui ridiculise la prétention de Toronto d'être la quatrième ville en importance en Amérique du Nord. Évidemment, Mme Doubs ne peut résister au passage de se montrer mesquine à l'endroit du Québec. Someone in Chicago has finally noticed Toronto has surpassed it in population, and he’s wryly congratulating us on the extra people. Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun-Times columnist, notes that to even parse the comparison to Chicago is “an insult to our city.” He has been to Toronto and doesn’t want to “give the impression that people who live there are anonymous ciphers grinding through joyless lives devoid of charm or significance.” So he recalls some Toronto highlights: the Tim Hortons’ outlets, the monument to multiculturalism, the “nondescript skyline whose only noteworthy element is a TV antenna.” In the tradition of stories in which we report the different ways Americans notice us and defend our beloved TV antenna, doesn’t anyone in the Chicago media get the press releases about the CN Tower light show? Since amalgamation, Toronto has billed itself as North America’s fifth largest city behind Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. But according to census data from Statistics Canada, as of last July 1, Toronto’s population was 2,791,140, about 84,000 more than Chicago’s 2,707,120. While the numbers are estimates, Toronto economic development staffers have already declared the city is “the fourth largest municipality in North America. Steinberg’s story was an assignment. He says he’s a humorist. He never would have heard of our alleged population victory otherwise. Somehow, that stings even more. He laughs. He knows that. “To me this is just jovial all good fun that journalists do to sell their papers. I don’t want to be the Ann Coulter of Canada,” he said from his office, where he’s checking out the reaction on Twitter, where people aren’t taking it in good fun. Steinberg says he is being called uneducated, bitter and even a “Nazi” for his effort. He said most people were upset by the bit he wrote about Americans never thinking or caring about Canada. “I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, if you ask people who the Prime Minister of Canada is — God is it Stephen Harper? Tell me it is — you could put a gun to most Americans heads, they would be dead, they wouldn’t come up with that,” he said. He noted that comparing cities is a classic trope. “Chicagoans, to the degree, if we did think about it, that we’re superior to Toronto, it’s to soften the sting of looking longingly towards New York City and wanting to be them,” he said. “Everyone is looking somewhere else for validation. There is nothing wrong with that. I don’t think we should be ashamed of that, we speak the same language, we’re all bound together in the mutual joy of not being Quebec.” Steinberg was last in Toronto in 2008, He stayed at the Fairmont Royal York, went to the Taste of the Danforth, checked out the CN tower. He really loved African Lion Safari, although that’s admittedly outside the population boundaries. “I was tempted to say I’ve been to the great cultural spots in Canada, I’ve been to Potato World. I actually did stop at Potato World. Do you know where that is? It’s on the way to Nova Scotia, it’s in some huge potato processing company there that runs a theme world about potatoes.”[/b]
  9. Newbie

    Do you litter?

    Every morning since a few days ago I go out of my apartment relatively happy, I get on the bus, I see all the litter inside it, I get angry, I consider posting this poll to inquire about people's habits, then I decide to post it later when I'm not feeling angry, so I don't write things I will later regret. But during the day I always walk around a lot, so there is no way that I'm going to be calm enough on a normal day. Luckily today I have not gone out yet, so I'm still happy Please answer the poll!! I am not necessarily looking to understand why this happens, as I know it has been discussed many times before. I find most other cities I've been to a lot cleaner than Montreal. I know some of them are dirtier in some aspects (Toronto, for example, appears to be home to a crazy amount of careless litterbugs), but I have not had to walk on piles of newspapers inside a bus shelter (see, for example, Plamondon and surroundings) anywhere else in the world, even when I don't remain within city centers. Sometimes I feel I'm too obsessive about litter, but then I hear friends complain about how "people from here are so dirty" (I do not share these generalizations!) while looking at the ground or at newspapers flying around, and then praising other cities like Vancouver, Columbus, San Francisco or Houston while on conferences. Most of the friends who complain are professionals from South America, some of them visiting Montreal under my recommendation. Educated Latin Americans tend to be very vocal about these things, so I guess other friends have similar thoughts but do not say anything.
  10. (Courtesy of Huffington Post) Honestly some of the comments about the topic is beyond stupid. Some people don't want to move to Canada seeing we are seen as a "socialist" country
  11. Goodbye, Canada As Canada Day approaches, a self-described 'Connecticut Yankee' reminisces about living and working north of the border Dave Burwick, National Post Published: Monday, June 30, 2008 Last U. S. Independence Day, I was listening to CBC Radio One and heard U. S. ambassador David Wilkins offer his views on life in Canada. As an American in Canada (at the time, I had been living and working in Toronto for about 18 months), I was curious to hear what he had to say. When asked what Americans can learn from Canadians, Wilkins responded with a resounding thud of an answer: "Canadians really know how to dress for the cold weather." I think I can do better than that. Now, I won't get political, other than to say that I grew up in Boston and my political loyalties clearly lie outside of Mr. Wilkins' sphere. But the shock I felt hearing his answer had nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with the passion I felt for what Americans can learn from their northern neighbours (besides how not to freeze to death in their own driveways). As I reluctantly prepare to move back to the U. S. with my family, I'd like to build on the ambassador's answer with my own. Having had another full year to reflect on the differences of our two seemingly similar cultures, I feel qualified to answer the question of what Americans can learn from Canadians. To me, it's simple: Our differences are embedded in our genetic codes. While the U. S. Declaration of Independence promotes "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," the British North America Act talks about "Peace, order and good government." One led directly to "manifest destiny" and aggressive individualism, the other to "manifest tolerance" and one of the most accepting societies the world has known. It's easy to be open when you live in a homogeneous society like Denmark (no offence to the Danes). It's far tougher in immigrant-rich, multicultural Canada, where diverse cultures must learn to live harmoniously. And Canada's successful cultural connectiveness has produced many wonderful things: A global perspective, a willingness to compromise and social benefits like universal health care (yes, even though it's not perfect). Some Americans would say, "That's all very nice, but the result is that Canada is a bland society with little edge." I say they are wrong. There's plenty of edge here -- just look to the ice. It took me a while to figure this out, but one day, as I watched my 8-year-old, skating with his Leaside Flames teammates, I had an epiphany: Hockey is not just the national pastime and passion, it's the embodiment of Canadian values. It's about work ethic, team play, physical conditioning and mental toughness. It's also about knowing when to leave all of that on the ice and move on. Which leads me to the most important thing Americans can learn from Canadians: How to know when enough is enough, when it's time to just be content with your life. Family and personal passions are more important to Canadians than work. People seem to know when the balance of life is just right. Their moral compass seems to always point to "true north." So, I thank my Canadian friends for teaching this Connecticut Yankee how to better appreciate others, my family and my co-workers. You have made me a better person, and hopefully, a better American. As I head south, I will miss many things beyond the lessons I've learned and the friendships I've made. Here is my top-10 list of irreplaceable Canadiana that I'll have to find a way to smuggle past customs: 1 Tim's: What more can I say? It's 110% Canadian (even if it's owned by Americans now). Real coffee for real people, started by a real hockey player. 2 The sheer beauty and diverse geography of the country. From St. John's to Vancouver, with a long stopover in Banff. 3 Sweeter ketchup -- and sweeter Diet Pepsi. 4 Terminal one at Pearson International Airport in Toronto: Nothing's more civilized. 5 The National Anthem: How can you beat the lyrics, "The true north strong and free"? 6 Hockey Night in Canada: One of the last communal TV events left anywhere. 7 Eating a peameal sandwich every Saturday at 7 a. m. during my son's hockey practice. That ritual became Pavlovian. 8 Raising a family right in the middle of the city, and knowing they're safe. 9 Surviving a minus-30-degree day in downtown Winnipeg, and how it made me feel more alive. 10 CBC's coverage of international news. You just can't get that in the U. S. And the list could go on and on. I'd like to close with one last thought. This might seem crazy, but I think Canada as a country should do away with those cheesy provincially unique license plate tag lines -- like "Yours to Discover" or "Je me souviens" -- and replace them with one thought that sums up this great country: Live and let live. [email protected] - Dave Burwick is the former president of Pepsi-QTG Canada.
  12. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=7055599&page=1 Video clip from 20/20 at link as well.
  13. The Shopping Mall Turns 60 (and Prepares to Retire) The Atlantic Cities EMILY BADGER JUL 13, 2012 The enclosed suburban shopping mall has become so synonymous with the American landscape that it’s hard to imagine the original idea for it ever springing from some particular person's imagination. Now the scheme seems obvious: of course Americans want to amble indoors in a million square feet of air-conditioned retail, of course we will need a food court because so much shopping can’t be done without meal breaks, and of course we will require 10,000 parking spaces ringing the whole thing to accommodate all our cars. The classic indoor mall, however, is widely credited with having an inventor. And when the Vienna-born architect Victor Gruen first outlined his vision for it in a 1952 article in the magazine Progressive Architecture, the plan was a shocker. Most Americans were still shopping downtown, and suburban "shopping centers," to the extent they existed, were most definitely not enclosed in indoor mega-destinations. At the mall’s peak popularity, in 1990, America opened 19 of them. But we haven’t cut the ribbon on a new one since 2006. Gruen’s idea transformed American consumption patterns and much of the environment around us. At age 60, however, the enclosed regional shopping mall also appears to be an idea that has run its course (OK, maybe not in China, but among Gruen’s original clientele). He opened the first prototype in Edina, Minnesota, in 1956, and the concept spread from there (this also means the earliest examples of the archetypal American mall are now of age for historic designation, if anyone wants to make that argument). At the mall’s peak popularity, in 1990, America opened 19 of them. But we haven’t cut the ribbon on a new one since 2006, for reasons that go beyond the recession. As we imagine ways to repurpose these aging monoliths and what the next generation of retail should look like, it’s worth recalling Gruen’s odd legacy. He hated suburbia. He thought his ideas would revitalize cities. He wanted to bring urban density to the suburbs. And he envisioned shopping malls as our best chance at containing sprawl. "He said great quotes on suburbia being 'soulless' and 'in search of a heart,'" says Jeff Hardwick, who wrote the Gruen biography Mall Maker. "He just goes on and on with these critiques. And they occur really early in his writing as well. So it’s not as if he ends up bemoaning suburbia later. He’s critiquing suburbia pretty much from the get-go, and of course the remedy he offers is the shopping mall." Gruen wanted to create better versions of the American downtown in the suburbs. He wanted these places to be civic centers as much as commercial ones, with day cares, libraries, post offices, community halls and public art. He wanted the shopping mall to be for suburbia what the public square was to old European cities. In fact, that mall in Edina, called Southdale, was supposed to be the centerpiece of a 500-acre master plan to include houses, apartments, office buildings, a medical center and schools. In his book, Hardwick unearths a great quote from the president of Dayton’s, the downtown Minneapolis department store that developed Southdale. He, like Gruen, believed that all of this could happen at no expense to the city. "We do not believe," he said, "we or anybody else will lose any business because of the suburban move." • • • • • Gruen’s creations did an amazing job of luring customers (and holding them captive in the shopping bliss now known as the Gruen Effect). The day Southdale opened, 75,000 happy shoppers streamed in. And it’s hard to imagine now where Gruen thought these people were coming from, if not in an exodus from downtown. He also built a series of satellite shopping centers around Detroit for the department store J.L. Hudson. When the first of them opened in 1954, Detroit was the fifth largest city in the country and the fastest growing in the East or Midwest. Of course Gruen’s shopping centers aren’t solely to blame for Detroit’s decline. But his idea helped set off a chain reaction that recurred in cities everywhere. Suburban malls drew consumers who found shopping and parking in the city too difficult. They contributed to a boom in development that enabled not just shopping dollars, but whole households to relocate to suburbia. Cities, eying this exodus, tore down buildings and tried unsuccessfully to recreate the ease of parking and the shopping experience people found in the suburbs. And this only further hastened their decline. "Gruen will often go on about how they’re going to push each other, 'what we’ve created in the suburbs can now be a model for downtown,'" Hardwick says. "But he doesn’t imagine that what we created in the suburbs is going to bankrupt downtown." In Edina, those plans for a whole town anchored around the mall were never executed, and perhaps Gruen was naïve to think the developers of shopping malls would also be interested in developing entire communities. At the time, Gruen believed that by locating all of a community’s shopping needs in an enclosed mall, with a nondescript exterior, we could do away with the "commercial blight" of scattered hot-dog stands and gas stations and neon storefronts that made America, in his eyes, so ugly. But the property value around Southdale quickly went up. And instead of developing the full 500-acre site, Dayton’s sold off chunks of it for what would become the kind of "anonymous mass housing" Gruen detested, and precisely more of the commercial sprawl he wanted to eradicate. Repeatedly, his plans did not turn out as he had imagined them, and later in life he bitterly lamented that Americans had debased his ideas. In one of the strangest legacies of his career, just as he was building these suburban shopping malls, Gruen was trying to revitalize urban downtowns with pedestrian-friendly master plans for cities like Fort Worth, Texas, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. He wanted to bring people back into the city even as he was trying to bring city-like amenities to the suburbs that lured so many people away. "They’re totally at odds," Hardwick says. "He never is able to explain that, or justify it. It’s a fundamental contradiction of his career." And then there was the problem in the suburbs of all that mall parking. How do you make a mall the civic heart of a community when it is, by definition, isolated in a sea of asphalt? "Even if we had realized Gruen’s ideas," says Georgia Tech professor Ellen Dunham-Jones, "if it’s just this self-contained pod surrounded by berms that you drive to, I don’t think the suburbs would actually look or function all that differently [today]." • • • • • By Dunham-Jones' count, today about a third of our existing malls are "dead" or dying. That’s not to say they’re mostly vacant. But they have dreadful sales per square foot. High-end dress stores have moved out, and tattoo parlors have replaced them – "things," Dunham-Jones says, "that would normally be considered way too déclassé for a mall." About a third of our malls are still thriving, and those are the biggest, newest ones. But America is no longer building many new highways, which means we’ve stopped creating prime new locations for mall development. Some of the earliest amenities of the enclosed mall – air-conditioning! – no longer impress us. And the demographics of suburbia have changed dramatically. Malls draw the largest share of their customers from teenagers, and the baby boomers who largely populate suburbia no longer have teenagers at home. For all these reasons, the suburban mall of Gruen’s plan appears to be victim of more than just the recession. Dunham-Jones, who has tracked this trend in her book Retrofitting Suburbia, estimates that more than 40 malls nationwide have been targeted for significant redevelopment. And she can count 29 that have already been repurposed, or that have construction underway. In 2010, Columbus, Ohio, tore down the dead mall in its downtown for a park. Voorhees, New Jersey, demolished half of its dead mall, built a new main street and relocated its city hall into the remaining building. In Denver, eight of the area’s 13 regional malls now have plans for redevelopment. One of them, in suburban Lakewood, was converted from a 100-acre super block into 22 walkable blocks with retail and residences. "It’s the downtown that Lakewood never had before," Dunham-Jones says. Ironically, this is what Gruen had been aiming for. "Except that now it’s open-air." Americans haven’t particularly outgrown the consumer impulse that Gruen detected. We still love to flock to dense agglomerations of Body Shops and Cinnabuns and Brookstones. But now those places look increasingly like open-air "lifestyle centers," with condos above or offices next door. Some of these places are just the old mall in a new Main Street disguise. But when you add residences, and cut Gruen’s mega-block into what actually looks like a downtown street grid, that begins to change things. "You’ve got to get a mix of uses, but the connectivity is probably even more important," Dunham-Jones says. "The uses will come and go over time, but if you can establish a walkable network of streets, that’s when you’re really going to establish a ripple effect in changing suburban patterns."
  14. (Courtesy of Global Post) Read more by clicking the link above. So is Canada now going to be the new promise land of prosperity and freedom for the world, like what the US was decades ago? So it will now be called the Canadian dream? White picket fence, et al. All the best to the ones that get jobs here. Plus didn't Canada change immigration laws back in July?