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  1. THE WHIPPET: QUEBECKERS' CLASSIC COOKIE Montreal's industrial foundations - built on chocolatey marshmallow goodness PETER RAKOBOWCHUK The Canadian Press October 31, 2007 MONTREAL -- Apopular cookie that's still being gobbled up by Quebeckers today is being given some of the credit for helping to launch the industrial growth of Montreal. The decadent Whippet cookie, a chocolate-coated, marshmallow-topped treat, is more than a century old. Housed in its familiar gold- and chocolate-coloured box, the Whippet made its debut in 1901 and the rest, as they say, is cookie history. The Whippet and Viau Biscuits Corp., the company that made it, are featured in an exhibition at the Écomusée du fier monde, a small museum in the city's east end. Print Edition - Section Front Museum director René Binette says the Whippet was launched when the founder of the company tested it at a hockey game. "People at the game liked it so much that it confirmed to Charles-Théodore Viau that he was on to a good thing," Mr. Binette said in an interview. The cookie, first introduced as the Empire, was considered a luxury item and its sales helped Mr. Viau to expand the company's operations. But Mr. Binette said the cost of vanilla and chocolate also put the Empire out of reach of the average Quebecker. So in 1927, Mr. Viau decided to change the recipe and the name and created the more affordable Whippet. Mr. Viau started the enterprise in a small bakery in Montreal's east end in 1867 and created the Village cookie - a plain, but hugely popular shortbread that Quebeckers loved to dunk in their tea. He continued to expand the business until his cookie and candy factory became one of the area's major employers. Part of Montreal even became known as Viauville, and a church in the neighbourhood was named St-Clément de Viauville. One cookie lover tells the story of his parents buying several boxes and being warned by them not to touch the treats because they were destined for "Whippet-starved" relatives in Ontario. Viau became history in March, 2004, when the company was sold to Kitchener, Ont.-based Dare Foods Inc., another family-owned business, and the factory was closed. But Whippets are still being produced under the Dare banner at the company's plant in St-Lambert, south of Montreal. A Dare spokeswoman says the company markets the Viva Puff, a similar cookie, in Ontario. The Quebec Whippet has "real" chocolate while its counterpart is made with a "compound" chocolate. Contrary to what many Quebec cookie lovers may think, the popular Oreo sandwich cookie has not been around as long as the Whippet. A spokeswoman for Kraft Foods Inc. says it was only introduced in Canada in 1949, although the Oreo was launched in the United States in 1912. The Viau factory has now been converted into a condominium complex that has been appropriately named La Biscuiterie, the cookie factory. Aficionados can visit the Viau: Cookie History exhibition at the Écomusée du fier monde until March 23, 2008.
  2. Arianna Huffington casts her Net ever wider. Arianna Huffington's life reads like a salacious Vanity Fair profile, the contradictions of her power splayed out on every glossy page, inviting controversy. She's a millionaire who built her Huffington Post online media empire - sold to AOL a year ago for $315 million - on the unpaid work of more than 9,000 bloggers, one of whom is now suing on their behalf for one-third of the value: $105 million. She was a conservative commentator in the 1990s who recycled herself as a freethinking independent (with strong liberal views) for the 21st century. She was married for a decade to a Republican congressman, Michael Huffington, who turned out to be bisexual and started campaigning for gay rights. Author of a dozen non-fiction books, she has been accused of plagiarizing passages for three of them (including biographies of Maria Callas and Pablo Picasso). Since last November, she's being sued by two consultants who say she stole the Huffington Post idea from them back in 2004 (it launched in 2005). What else? She's a woman who has come from far, has hobnobbed with the greats and is known by the company she keeps. A brief sketch of her career arc gives an idea of the distance travelled. Born in Greece (née Stasinopoúlou); educated in England (Cambridge University); longtime lover of the late British journalist Bernard Levin (who was twice her age and, for a spell, a fellow follower of the Indian mystic Rajneesh); a New Yorker since the early 1980s and U.S. citizen since 1990; political TV comedy writer in the 1990s who worked with Al Franken and Bill Maher; unsuccessful indie candidate for California governor in 2003; parent (with her ex, Michael) of two daughters, both now in their early 20s. These days, Huffington is in expansion mode, spreading her media brand - a blend of original reporting and aggregated news and opinion from websites all around the world - to Canada, Europe and beyond. With a staff of 200 employees and its thousands of bloggers, HuffingtonPost.com gets 35 million unique visitors a month, more than the New York Times. Huffington Post Canada, the service's first foreign edition, launched online last May and, with its staff of 20 and bloggers ranging from David Suzuki to Conrad Black, has a monthly audience of more than 1.8 million. A British edition launched last July, Le Huffington Post launched in France last week, Le Huffington Post Québec launches Wednesday, a Spanish edition will begin the third week of March and an Italian one in April. There are also negotiations to start three other foreign editions this year, in Germany, Brazil and Turkey. Huffington, 61, will be in Montreal Wednesday for the launch of the French-language service here. And, true to form, she'll arrive amid a bit of controversy. As The Gazette reported this week, about a dozen Quebec luminaries - politicians like Louise Harel and Pierre Curzi, intellectuals like Normand Baillargeon, environmental activists like Steven Guilbeault - had been lined up to blog for Huffington Québec but have now withdrawn their offers to write for free. Some said they were too busy, but the reason most gave was that they preferred to be paid for their work. When I caught up with her a week ago after the launch in France, Huffington was in a typically upbeat mood, deflecting criticism in her distinctive Greek accent and nasally voice that boomed down her BlackBerry line from Davos, Switzerland. She was attending a supper of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship on the eve of the annual meeting of global leaders at the World Economic Forum. I began by asking Huffington what she plans for the new Quebec site. How will Huffington Post Québec be different from Huffington Post Canada or Huffington Post in France? Every different province or country will be rooted in the culture of the province or country, edited by local journalists. Of course, we are going to be able to leverage the French site and translate stories that are of local interest, like the U.S. election, and lifestyle stories that are more universal. We now have 50 sections in the U.S. and whether it is in style or women or books or parenting, the whole point of the site is very much to embrace the country or the province - in this case, embracing Quebec and the Québécois and what they love. And what do the Québécois love? Do you know? There's isn't just one thing - it's a very varied community. Am I right about that? Yes, but we have certain preoccupations here that are different from the rest of Canada's. Yes, of course, and the Québécois want to read about their own politicians, which is why among the many bloggers we've recruited there's Pierre Curzi (note: who in fact has since bowed out), Yves-François Blanchet, Jamie Nichols, actors like Charlotte Laurier, Évelyne de la Chenelière (note: who has also bowed out), Micheline Lanctôt, musicians. So you know, part of it is hearing from their own people and part of it is addressing their own preoccupations. You're travelling a lot these days? I am, but I think it's worth it. This is the year for us to grow internationally and it's really exciting to be in each country as we launch. We've launched Canada, which is doing incredibly well; we're launching in the U.K., then there's Spain in maybe the third week of March, then Italy in April. We're still talking with Germany, Turkey and Brazil - we don't have finalized partnerships there, but we are in conversations. Tell me about the HuffPost business model - as an aggregator and also producer of original content, including nonpaid bloggers - and what that means for journalism in the 21st century. Well, first of all, the Huffington Post is now both a journalistic enterprise and a platform. You know, we started by doing a lot more aggregating, but now we have almost 400 professional full-time journalists - reporting, breaking stories. We are here, for example (in Davos), with our executive business editor (Peter S. Goodman), who has done some of the best coverage in the States around poverty and how this is impacting the Republican primaries; when we had our political reporter covering the primaries in South Carolina, (Goodman) was covering what was happening with the issue of downward mobility there, which has been one of the issues that hasn't been adequately covered, the fate of the middle class. So what I'm saying is that we don't just do the conventional reporting that we have to do, the bread and butter, covering what everybody's covering, like the State of the Union, or in the case of Quebec, I'm sure covering the Plan Nord, the plan to exploit natural resources in northern Quebec. Whatever the Arianna Huffington issues of the moment are, we'll have to cover them obsessively, because they're of tremendous interest. But we'll need to go to the big issues, and stay on them, and basically generate interest in them. That's what we've done with series like Beyond the Battlefield, which covers the state of the returning vets from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So my point is that to describe the Huffington Post as just an aggregator now is just behind the times. You plan to have seven employees in Quebec. Will that grow over time? Of course. You know, when we launched the Huffington Post (U.S.) in May 2005, we had five staff. So the whole goal is to start small and grow, become profitable and attract advertising. In our case, that doesn't just mean advertising based on CPMs (cost per mile, or 1,000 visitors), but sponsorships, like an entire section we have now with Johnson & Johnson on global motherhood, and sponsorship of a good-news section, and sponsorship of a video series on social responsibility and, since the launch in France, sponsorships by L'Oréal and Orange. It's a different model. Our content is free, we don't have any plans to charge for anything, but the advertising that we bring in now moves way beyond the usual CPM model. How do you avoid the two coming too close together: sponsorship and what you're actually covering? Well, obviously that is very important and the key here is transparency. If we have a section that is sponsored, it transparently says so; there is no mixing up of the content, so no one is left in any doubt as to whether the section is sponsored or not. Tell me about yourself. Did you ever imagine you'd be flying around the world as a journalism executive? You mean when I was growing up in Athens, did I ever think one day I would become a blogger and that one day the Huffington Post would grow and make more babies around the world? No, I don't think so. Don't forget, I was pretty old when we launched the Huffington Post; I had already written a dozen books; I was 55 and now I'm 61. It shows that it's never too late to get involved with the Internet - or any start-up. What electronic devices do you use? I'm a BlackBerry addict. At the moment I have four BlackBerrys in front of me, because I have one for every provider for where I travel. I'm calling you on one. And of course, I have an iPad. But the one I really depend on is my BlackBerry. I have to send you a piece I wrote on the time I lost my BlackBerry in the Mediterranean. It fell into the sea. You just launched in France. How did the appointment of editorial director Anne Sinclair (ex-TF1 TV news host and wife of disgraced ex-International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn) go over with the media there? Oh, actually, amazing. We were all surprised by how positive the reception was at the press conference, where there were 260 journalists and two dozen cameras and television cameras. She's a professional journalist with tremendous cachet in France, and she herself had developed the business strategy of TF1 when she was there in the 1990s, and then had her own blog during the 2008 presidential race. Beyond that, I think there was something else that we were surprised by: If you go to her Facebook page in France, there are all these dozens of women who, even before we launched, came on her page and went (apropos of the DSK scandal): "Go, Anne, it makes it easier for us to get up after an ordeal and get back into the arena." Very often, especially for women, after a setback or a defeat or whatever it is, we want to hide ourselves under the covers. She instead has entered the arena again and been passionate and incredibly dedicated to learning everything and being involved in every aspect of the launch. You seem to have a knack for finding high-profile people to work for you. Is that part of the secret of your success? Well, we have high-profile people and we have thousands of people nobody had heard of before. And that's another thing that I love: being able to provide a platform to people who may already have their own blogs but who can cross paths with us and amplify their voices. A lot of the blogs we have in France now are people like Catherine Cerisey, who's tracking her own struggle with breast cancer, and suddenly this is getting all this traffic that is attracting attention to her own story. Arianna Huffington will launch Le Huffington Post Québec with a news conference Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Gault Hotel in Old Montreal; she'll be joined by her Quebec editor, Patrick White, and two top executives of parent company AOL Canada. From noon to 2 p.m., she'll attend a luncheon at the Fairmount Queen Elizabeth Hotel and speak on How Social Media Are Transforming the World; the event is organized by CORIM (Montreal Council on Foreign Relations); tickets start at $75 and advance registration is required; for more details, visit http://www.corim.qc.ca. A WINDOW ON LE HUFFINGTON POST QUÉBEC Owned by: AOL Huffington Post Media Group Language: French Headquarters (until April): 24th floor of 1000 de la Gauchetière St., Montreal Editor: Patrick White Staff: 7 Freelancers: 15 Bloggers: 120 Some who will blog for free: Charlotte Laurier, Claude Carignan, Louis Bernard. Some who decided not to blog: Louise Harel, Jean Barbe, Évelyne de la Chenelière Launch date: Wednesday Expected audience: 200,000 unique visitors per month Percentage of Quebecers who have never heard of Huffington Post: 82 (November 2011 poll) Sources: Huffington Post, The Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Arianna+Huffington+casts+ever+wider/6101339/story.html#ixzz1lQYt06nG
  3. There are an article in The Gazette (which I shall put after this post) that speaks about Montreal embracing open data. Also, anybody every been to Ottawa, Quebec? lol How Open Data Initiatives Can Improve City Life by Aliza Sherman Major city governments across North America are looking for ways to share civic data — which normally resides behind secure firewalls — with private developers who can leverage it to serve city residents via web and mobile apps. Cities can spend on average between $20,000 and $50,000 — even as much as $100,000 — to cover the costs of opening data, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider how much is needed to develop a custom application that might not be nearly as useful. Here are a few examples of initiatives that are striving to make city governments more efficient and transparent through open data. 1. Apps4Ottawa – Ottawa, Quebec Careful to adhere to security and privacy regulations for their open data program, the City of Ottawa started sharing data in several areas: geo-spatial (roadways, parks, runways, rivers, and ward boundaries); recreation facilities; event planning; civic elections data; and transit, including schedules. Other data the city is pursuing includes tree inventory, collections schedules for garbage, recycling and compost, and bike and foot paths. Ottawa aligned their first open data contest, Apps4Ottawa, with the school year (September 2010 to January 2011 ) to involve colleges and universities as well as residents and local industry. Categories for the contest included “Having Fun in Ottawa,” “Getting Around,” “Green Environment/Sustainability,” “Community Building,” and “Economic Development.” The winner is scheduled to be announced later this evening. Guy Michaud, chief information officer for the City of Ottawa, said their open data efforts have already spurred economic development and is meant to be good for local entrepreneurs. The city receives no revenue through the apps, and the developers can sell what they create. In turn, Ottawa residents get improved services from applications that are created, with better access to city data and more user-friendly formats and platforms. 2. CivicApps.org – Portland, Oregon After tracking Vivek Kundra’s efforts at the federal level with data.gov, Portland, Oregon launched CivicApps.org, a project initiated out of the mayor’s office to bring a more localized approach to the open data movement. Skip Newberry, economic policy advisor to the mayor, say that the project’s main objective is to improve connections and the flow of information between local government and its constituents, as well as between city bureaus. To call attention to the release of public data, they also launched an app design contest, highlighting the tech talent in Portland’s software community. According to Rick Nixon, program manager for the Bureau of Technology’s Open Data Initiative for the city of Portland, CivicApps.org took a more regional approach to cover the multiple layers of local government: County, Metro, TriMet, and the City of Portland, all of which collect and maintain various kinds of public data. Data sets released include regional crime, transit, infrastructure (i.e. public works), and economic development programs. Additional projects, such as the PDX API, have been launched in order to make the raw data from CivicApps more useful to developers. In addition to developer-specific apps, a number of transit related apps — bike, train, bus, mixed modes — were also developed. A very popular and established transit app, PDXBus, was re-released as open source under the rules of the CivicApps contest. Other popular apps helped provide residents greater awareness of their surroundings such as where to find heritage trees, where to find urban edibles, and where to locate each other during disaster relief efforts. 3. CityWide Data Warehouse – Washington, DC For years, the District of Columbia provided public access to city operational data via the Internet. In keeping with the mayor’s promise to be transparent, the program CityWide Data Warehouse was launched, and provides citizens with access to over 450 datasets from multiple agencies. The first two datasets released were service requests from the mayor’s call center, including trash pickup, pot hole repair, street light repair, snow removal, parking meter issues and crime data. According to David Stirgel, program manager for Citywide Data Warehouse, the project looks for data that be of interest to the widest possible audience and which will remain reusable over time. Some of the applications that have come out of the program include Track DC, which tracks the performance of individual District agencies, and summary reports that provide public access to city operational data. Some of the applications built by companies and individuals using the data include Crime Reports and Every Block. In 2008, the District Mayor’s office, the District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, and digital agency iStrategyLabs launched Apps for Democracy, an open code app development contest tapping into District data that cost $50,000 and generated 47 apps. The contest was repeated in 2009. Over 200 ideas and applications were submitted, and the winner was an iPhone and Facebook app called Social DC 311. It could be used to submit service requests, such as reporting potholes and trash problems. An honorable mention was given to FixMyCityDC. Unfortunately, neither app is maintained today. 4. NYC Data Mine – New York, NY NYC BigApps 2.0 is part of an initiative to improve the accessibility, transparency, and accountability of city government. According to Brandon Kessler, CEO of ChallengePost, the company and technology powering the NYC BigApps 2.0 Software Challenge, Mayor Bloomberg challenged software developers to use city data from the NYC.gov Data Mine to create apps to improve NYC, offering a $20,000 in cash awards to the winners. The second annual challenge closed its call for submissions at the end of January 2011 and opened the vote to the public. Voting ends on March 9. Requirements included that the software applications be original and solely owned by the entrants, that they use at least one of the datasets from the NYC.gov Data Mine, and be free to the public throughout the competition and for at least one year after the challenge. The panel of judges reads like a “who’s who” of New York tech luminaries, and includes Esther Dyson of EDVenture, Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, Jack Dorsey of Square and Twitter, and Kara Swisher of All Things Digital. One of the first year’s winning apps was WayFinder, an augmented reality Android app which allows users to point their phone in a direction and see which subways and Path trains are in front of them. 5. DataSF – San Francisco, California Like other city governments, San Francisco’s goal for their DataSF program was to improve transparency and community engagement as well as accountability. Ron Vinson, director of media for the city’s Department of Technology also stated potential for innovation in how residents interact with government and their community. With an emphasis on adhering to privacy and security policies, the city can stimulate the creation of useful civic tools at no cost to the government. Before launching, they reached out to Washington, DC to identify the most popular datasets, and learned that 20% of the datasets represented over 80% of the downloads. With this information, they went out first with crime, 311, and GIS data. They also allowed the public to request data through a submissions mechanism on the website where others could vote on their suggestions. This input is now required reading for the city administrator thanks to an executive directive and open data legislation. Since launching in August 2009, DataSF has accumulated over 60 applications in its showcase. According to Vinson, the city stays engaged with their tech community by participating in local unconferences and meetups. http://mashable.com/2011/02/15/how-open-data-initiatives-can-improve-city-life/
  4. jesseps

    iTunes Canada

    Supposedly starting later on today. iTunes Canada will finally have tv shows for us to download almost two years after it was launched in the US. I hope soon we can download movies also.
  5. I have it from a very good source. My cousin who works for a major glass curtain wall company in Monteal was at my home last week and he gave me a scoop.The company is presently working on windows for the new additions at P.E.T. and apparently sometime in 2016 a new project to replace the 50 + year old windows on the main building will be launched. I am hoping that he is right. :shhh:
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