Well, it was quite the week -- beginning with a showy demonstration of fireworks for the visiting Royals and ending with demonstrations by thousands of student protestors in downtown Montreal. In between, HuffPost Canada celebrated its first birthday with quite the party.
First the Royals. Am I the only one to have found the visit Ho Hum? And I say this as a shameless Royal watcher. HuffPost media critic J.J. McCullough pretty much summed it up for me here:
Look, the debate as to whether or not Canada is well-served by the monarchy and its various symbolic reminders is a fun and interesting one, but I can't help but feel we've been having it an awful lot lately. Charles and Camilla are the third team of royals to visit this country in three years, after all, and one gets the impression partisans of both sides are starting to run out of steam. In my own capacity as a pro bono spokesperson for Canada's anti-monarchist cause, I received all the traditional media requests this week, yet when repeatedly asked "what I thought" of the Prince and his bride, I keep thinking back to Christopher Hitchen's famously fatigued response to a similar query about David Cameron: "I don't."
Nonetheless, had it been Will and Kate, I would have followed every tedious walkabout and change of outfit.
Our etiquette blogger, Julie Blais Comeau, however -- who managed to get herself accredited for the official media flotilla -- presented us with a backstage look at the Royal Tour which was pretty darn fascinating -- not least the detail that HRH must approve every press notification before it goes out, including those simply noting the designer of his wife's dress. And that no one can photograph the Royal couple eating. The latter makes sense: I can see it would be pretty embarrassing for Camilla to be caught with her face in a trough of poutine.
While the Royals were hitting all the hot spots from New Brunswick to Regina, the Quebec protests continued against tuition hikes and Bill 78. The shouting continued here in our blog rail, as HuffPost contributors argued with each other over the rightness of the protestors' demands (and even what those demands are). Toula Foscolos insisted the media has it all wrong, while Daniel Portoraro (a university student himself) pointed out:
The original cause for the student strike, a hike in tuition fees, seems almost to have been forgotten in the deluge of violence, vandalism, Bill 78 and the general brouhaha, that has taken over the protests. To reiterate: This "hike" in tuition costs is an increase of $254 every year, over the course of seven years. That's less than an extra dollar a day -- 69.5 cents to be exact, which comes out to be less than five dollars a week. In college student terms, less than the price of a pint at the bar.
Meanwhile, you can ready some of the best reporting and analysis on the demonstations from HuffPost contributor (and University of Montreal law student) Supriya Dwivedi.
If some Quebeckers were tossing molotov cocktails, we were tossing back some pretty spicy cocktails of our own in the Toronto offices of Huffpost Canada on Wednesday night. It was, as noted, our first birthday party -- and our publicity team of Laura Pearce and Christie Hill did an amazing job of transforming the joint into a massive circus tent, replete with jugglers, cartoonists and a woman who could make anything -- anything -- out of balloons. The guest list was a fun mash-up of business, entertainment, arty, media and political types who turned out not least to meet our own royalty, HRH Arianna. Among them was our blogger Conrad Black -- for whom the occasion was his first "public" coming out since being released from prison on May 4. I enjoyed meeting many of our Toronto-based contributors, in some cases for the very first time -- despite having enjoyed long virtual relationships with them as editor. Thank you all so much for coming!
For complete birthday coverage start here. Read our managing editor of news, Kenny Yum's take on how HuffPost has shaken up the Canadian media landscape here. My blog, "Now We Are One," can be read here. Look at photos from the event here.
Other highlights from the week:
Our award-winning business reporter Rachel Mendleson wrote about why Canada's refinery business is in the dumps even as the oil business booms;
Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak blogged a three-part series on how to reform Ontario's energy industry;
Huffpost entertainment was all over the Billboard awards and also the death of the Bee Gee's Robin Gibb. (The latter started an email debate between me and senior music editor Josh Ostroff, after I noted that singing legends were dropping like flies. First Whitney. Then Donna Summer. Now Gibb. Would it end with three? Josh pointed out that it was four, if you included Dick Clarke. I countered that Dick Clarke wasn't a singing legend but a legendary music show host. Then I realized that Soul Train creator Don Cornelius had also recently died. Which, if you're going with the threes rule, makes you wonder who will be next. If I were Ryan Seacrest I'd be afraid. Very afraid.)
Speaking of which, our entertainment reporter and editor Chris Jancelewicz made guest appearance on ET Canada on Thursday. Apparently the host looked fine.