Toronto is facing a political problem that it hasn't asked for. That problem has threatened both the trust Torontonians place in their government and how the world sees this city. We can strengthen our city. We can empower our immigrant communities, create jobs, and create a safe environment. But in order to do so, next year we have to stay focused on policy, not politics.
I don't know about you, but this weather change is really getting me down. I'm stiff. I'm achy. All this misery is only leading to memories of spa experiences past. From the massage at Miraval and the "mudslide" at Solage, to a traditional Thai treatment in Phuket and therapeutic thermal waters in Italy... I've got a few I would jump on a plane for.
I am studying in Italy right now, and I love it. I get to sit outside and drink little cups of coffee and walk under 2000-year-old arches and on 2000-year-old aqueducts and buy wine wherever and whenever I please (yes, that was for you, LCBO) and look down on ingenuous, fashion-challenged North Americans. Europeans are so sophisticated, aren't they?
I've been living in Italy a long time and the deeper issue here is that there is a concept of family that has just not yet evolved to a point that the rest of the western world may feel is acceptable. But I have to say, if Canada is an apple, Italy is an olive. You just can't compare them. I'm not making excuses, but trying to explain that this is a society that moves as slow as a sloth, in spite of all the genius and innovation it has historically gifted the world.
Just north of the city, I sat in a room full of frustrated immigrants who had gathered to listen to promises made by Cécile Kyenge, who just last week made history when she was appointed Italy's first black cabinet minister. In Italy, if you are a child of immigrant parents, you are considered extracomunitari, a "foreigner" before the law. But maybe not for long.
According to the latest Statistics Canada report on household demographics, the nuclear family is no longer the norm. But are Italians, one of the country's largest ethnic groups, rethinking family composition in step with other Canadians? If so, how do these changes interplay with cultural identity?
There's something really sexy about Italy's once mighty capital. It's a warmth that moves through you, like a generous glass of Sangiovese. An energy difficult to describe, unless you've wandered it's winding paths. The feeling that, at any moment, something irrationally romantic will occur. This is Roma.
On a rough and rocky boat ride from gritty Napoli, amidst a rain storm and strong winds, our island destination appeared on the horizon. Home to haute couture, the Italian elite and considered the crown jewel of Campania, Capri looked shabby chic at first glance. It was October, a time when weather is unpredictable, but after one stormy night the skies opened up and this Italian isle sparkled just as I imagined.
It all just went down so quickly. We met, hit it off and I was honest. So we started seeing each other for a while and when I had to return back to Italy, we continued things online, knowing I'd be back in Canada after a couple of months. One day, everything was fine and we were chatting online, as you do when you're far away from your guy. It was pretty late my time -- six hours ahead of Toronto -- and he wrote this: "brb." Now, that was almost six months ago and I've never heard back.
Venice is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. Wandering down narrow, crumbling streets lined by canals, you can watch as gondolas silently slide by in the teal colored water, marvel at ornate churches and view a huge trove of masterpieces by Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and Tiepolo. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your trip to Venice!
If no longer -- thank goodness -- the geo-political cockpit of Europe (caught between rival ideologies in the civil war era), Spain cannot be dismissed as a periphery or marginal country out of step with the European project. Spain has all the features of a highly efficient and accountable country, from its ability to produce majority governments from both the respectable left and right, its elaborate system of federalism, and its increased multicultural identity.
So I'm standing outside "The Barn" restaurant ("It's called The Barn because all the animals go there" I was once told), having a smoke, and some hapless soul walks up and asks me for a cigarette. That'll teach me to open up a full pack on Queen Street. As I hand this guy his smoke, he looks at me, and in all sincerity asks "Do you know Tony?".
The irony of Germany's loss to Italy in the Euro 2012 cup will not be lost on those who have been watching the Eurozone financial crisis play out in recent weeks. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has been steadfast in her opposition to a plan for a common debt issuance program (so-called "euro bonds"), while her electorate have turned up their collective noses to calls for additional handouts to the problem centres like Greece.
We stand on the verge of another sure to be historical event. The thousands who gathered in the streets to wave the flags and scream and shout, this tradition that started with a great street party on St. Clair in Toronto in 1982, it was all a result of what people saw on TV. Soccer is now regarded as a valuable sports property. But all of this came from very humble beginnings.
New hope for the nuclear power industry has arrived in the form of a brand-new nuclear power plant design -- known as small scale "modular" nuclear reactor, which is a profoundly better answer to the ultra-costly retrofitting of very old and large nuclear plants -- and long overdue for most of the world's reactors.