OPENING NOTES

All that glitters is not an Oscar, a mapmaker waits for Quebec, and an idea runs up the flagpole

April 6 1992

OPENING NOTES

All that glitters is not an Oscar, a mapmaker waits for Quebec, and an idea runs up the flagpole

April 6 1992

OPENING NOTES

All that glitters is not an Oscar, a mapmaker waits for Quebec, and an idea runs up the flagpole

FULL CIRCLE IN TWO TONGUES

During the Winter Olympics in February, federal Sports Minister Pierre Cadieux suggested that francophones have sometimes suffered discrimination in the selection of Canada’s squad. As it happened, francophone Quebecers won three Olympic medals and shared in winning

three of the other four picked off by Canada’s Olympians. And now, from the other side of the language divide, comes a complaint of bias against anglophones. A month after four Quebec women won Olympic gold in a short-track speed skating relay, Eden Donatelli, a 21year-old skater from Mission, B.C., is still upset that coach Yves Nadeau picked Quebecer Angela Cutrone, 23, for the relay, although Donatelli outskated Cutrone in pre-Olympic trials. “I considered suing,” Donatelli said, but she dropped the idea. She added that “I don’t

feel the English people on the team are treated the same as the French people.” Nadeau counters that her performances slipped after the trials, adding: “This discrimination thing is farfetched.” As he spoke, Nadeau faced a decision on his lineup for world championships this week in Denver.

The recession's growth industry

Food banks flourished in Canada during the 1982-1983 recession. After that, their numbers more than doubled, to 159 in 1989, the year before the present recession’s onset. Now, the Canadian Association of Food Banks lists 324 member outlets, and Salvation Army Family Services operate in 52 other centres. An association tally in the fall of 1990, its latest, showed 22 of every 1,000 Canadians—more than 580,000 people—receiving food aid, up from 18 per 1,000 six months earlier. At that growth rate, recipients now would amount to 36 per 1,000—almost one million Canadians.

MEGA-MOVIES

OSCARS AND ALSO-RANS

Hollywood wisdom holds that films nominated for Academy Awards get a box-office boost, and Oscar winners do even better. But some that win scant academy attention do best. The Oscars-eve scorecard includes rounded receipts for 1991 movies that reaped the most top-category nominations, along with other hits for comparison (top nominations) [weeks screened].

JFK (7): $76.4 million [12]

Bugsy (7): $52.9 million [13]

Silence of the Lambs (6): $150 million [34] The Prince of Tides (6): $78.6 million [11] Thelma and Louise (5): $51.8 million [15] Beauty and the Beast (3): $137 million [17] Terminator 2 (2): $235 million [24]

Cape Fear (2): $87 million [17]

Hook (0): $132 million [13]

The Addams Family (0) : $128 million [16]

CROSS TALK

SOME FATAL ENCOUNTERS

Playing chicken with trains at level crossings is a time-honored sport. But the playing field is anything but level when 10,000 tons of train meet two tons of car, or several score pounds of pedestrian. Numbers derived from data prepared by the Transportation Safety Board and the Railway Association of Canada for Operation Lifesaver, which encourages drivers and walkers to stop, look and listen:

Train-vehicle crossing smashups: 388 last year, 95 in the first 75 days ofl992.

Chance of death or injury: 50-50.

Fatalities: 62 last year, 20 this year, a rate o/about one every five days.

Injuries: 230people last year, 65 this year—one every 36 hours.

Proportion of hits at crossings with flashing lights, clanging bells and/or gates: almost half

Proportion of train-struck vehicles dodging gates: one in 14.

Number of 1991 accidents blamed on alcohol or drugs: 9.

Number of 1991 pedestrians hit 92. Number killed: 55.

Number unscathed: O.

Stop-press geography

The shifting political map of Eurasia has been “both a blessing and a curse” for mapmakers, according to John Shupe, chief cartographer of the National Geographic Society in Washington. Shupe says that he and his 72 staff colleagues are grateful to be “gainfully employed” keeping abreast of politics from the Baltic to the Balkans, with the old Soviet Union and Yugoslavia in flux. But the situation has prompted his department to produce limited 7,000-copy runs of its standard world map every few months, instead of an annual printing of up to 90,000 copies. At Rand McNally in Skokie, Al., Michael Dobson, vice-president of creative services, said that “almost everything we produce has been put on the revision list” The company presciently stopped the presses on an atlas last year to register the independence of the Baltic states. Dobson, who said that his company’s editorial board at times faces difficult decisions redrawing boundaries, added that he is not overly concerned about mapping Canada “For that one,” he said, referring to the impending Quebec referendum, “we’re waiting for the vote.”

High-key patriotism

With political dispute risking Canada’s very survival, students at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., are reviving a patriotic campaign: they want the Maple Leaf flag flown on campus regularly, instead of only rarely, and then usually at half-

mast A first effort failed a year and Chris Feige appealed to John Stubbs, the school president. A rejection, signed by J. Graham Cogley, then chairman of the Site Development and Space Utilization Committee, explained: ‘The reasons behind our decision were best summarized by a Committee member who said that it was possible to love Canada without saluting its flag every day. The same member said that he grew up in an atmosphere of ‘low-key nationalism,’ in which flying the flag was regarded as something done in America.”

ago after students Paul Barnard

‘Cheers’ and ‘Nazdarovia!’

With Nova Scotia lobster and Russian champagne on hand, the grand opening of Moscow’s Aerostar Hotel was a highlight in a city where gala events are rare. As hundreds of well-dressed Russian and foreign guests thronged the marbled lobby and mezzanines of the 417-room hotel on March 26, host Ken Rowe seemed jittery. Rowe is the president of Halifax-based IMP Group Ltd. In partnership with Aeroflot Russia’s state airline, IMP spent $30 million during the past 30 months to transform an unfinished building in north-central Moscow into a luxury hotel. Rowe’s jitters arose from a friendly bet with Viktor Tikhonov, chairman of Aeroflot’s commercial department

With a bottle of whisky as the stake, each man had bet that he could deliver a better speech—Tikhonov speaking English and Rowe in Russian. In the event Rowe won by default as Tikhonov made his remarks entirely in Russian. Then, to the delight of the crowd, Rowe delivered half his speech in heavily accented but comprehensible Russian. Rowe later told Maclean’s that he began studying Russian two years ago and takes two lessons weekly in his Halifax office. An Aerostar official disclosed that Rowe had been working on his maiden speech in Russian for at least three months. Said Rowe: “I will go to any lengths to win a bottle of whisky.”