Opening Notes

Opening Notes

July 28 1997
Opening Notes

Opening Notes

July 28 1997

Opening Notes

BARBARA WICKENS

For three days every August, during the Abbotsford Air Show, the skies above the Fraser River Valley town reverberate with the rumble and roar of dozens of aircraft. This year, one of the biggest draws will likely be something that cannot even leave the runway—a full-scale replica of the legendary Avro Arrow, the Canadian-designed jet fighter that John Diefenbaker’s government killed in 1959. “There’s something magical about the Arrow,” says Sandy Tinsley, flying event co-ordinator for the Abbotsford show. “When people heard rumors that the Arrow was coming, the attention we received was unbelievable.” The replica, created by Allan Jackson, a 61-year-old salesman from Wetaskiwin, Alta., 60 km south of Edmonton, was used in the movie The Arrow, starring Dan Aykroyd, which the CBC broadcast in January. According to Jackson,

The Arrow at Abbotsford however, the movie-makers were almost as hard on his Arrow as Ottawa was on the original. After cancelling the plane’s production, Diefenbaker ordered every one of the jets demolished. And after shooting The Arrow in Winnipeg last summer, the production company hacked up parts of his model to ship it back to him, Jackson says, rather than disassembling it properly. Tinsley said that about 40 volunteers, including Canadian Forces personnel, put 2,500 hours into restoring the model for the show. “It’s such a beautiful aircraft,” says Jackson. ‘To see it on display is always kind of a thrill.”

Aeroflot lightens up

Aeroflot—dubbed the “worst airline in the world” in 1994 by an international passengers’ group—is having an image makeover. A major TV and billboard ad campaign is introducing Russians to their national airline’s new mascot, an elephant. The pachyderm may strike Westerners as overly ponderous, or too Disney cute, for an airline’s image, but Russians see the animal as a model of solidity and reliability. “We decided,” says Tatyana Shlyuna of the Moscow ad agency Premier SV, “that it would symbolize the power and individuality of Aeroflot” But, given the airline’s chequered past, perhaps without the legendary memory.

Add mileage, save money

British Columbian eyebrows rose when Canadian Airlines began offering return, economy-class tickets from Seattle to Hong Kong, via Vancouver, considerably cheaper than the price of just the Vancouver-Hong Kong portion. Last week, for instance, travellers could book the Seattle-Hong Kong return flight for $1,080, compared with $1,700 for the VancouverHong Kong return trip. Vancouver travel agent Scott Clute of Global Travel says that pricing makes no sense, especially in light of the $30 million that Canadian taxpayers have pumped into the airline since 1992. “Americans are getting a windfall,” Clute adds. “Canadians are getting hosed.” Not so, insists Canadian spokesman Jeff Angel, who says the low fares are aimed at matching those of carriers in the U.S. Northwest. “We’re trying to pay back those who helped in the biggest way we know,” says Angel, “by building up Vancouver as our hub.”

A billionaire is a billionaire ...

They are rich, no matter what banner they fall under. In its latest ranking of the world’s wealthiest people, Forbes magazine notes that the number of billionaires has more than quintupled, to nearly 500, over the past decade. So this year, the magazine has cut nearly 300 of those who merely enjoy their dough, and lists only those who earn money or are actively involved in managing it. Microsoft chief Bill Gates is top worker billionaire with almost $50 billion (double what he had a year ago). Kenneth Thomson is the wealthiest Canadian, with $15 billion. Another Canadian media mogul, Conrad Black, only makes a “Heavy Hitters” list, weighing in at a mere $377 million. Heading the intriguing category of “Kings, Queens and Dictators” is the Sultan of Brunei, 52 times a billionaire. Also on that list: Indonesia’s Suharto, at $22 billion, and Cuba’s Fidel Castro, at $2 billion.

A publishing coup by chance

In March, 1996, Penguin Canada editor Cynthia Good received a short message on her voice mail from a polite stranger in Sicily. His name was Francesco Fazio, and he wondered if she would be interested in publishing his late mother’s memoir. His mother, Caitlin, he explained, had been married to the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. A receptionist at New York City-based Penguin U.S.A., saying the company does not accept unsolicited manuscripts, had suggested he try the Canadian operation. A de1 lighted Good snapped up world g rights to the book. Double Drink Sto! ry: My Life with Dylan Thomas, to be I released in Canada in September and * in Britain next year, is the Irish-born **** “ Caitlin’s examination of the seminal » ° role alcohol played in the tumultuous life she led with Thomas.

A longtime alcoholic who finally achieved sobriety in 1974, Caitlin wrote Double Drink Story partly as a means of overcoming her own addiction. And after her death in 1994 at the age of 81, her son by her second husband, Guiseppe Fazio, vowed to get it into print. “For me, it was an act of love,” said the younger Fazio, a 34-year-old architect in Catania, Sicily. “And I believe, for Caitlin, it was an act of purification and liberation through an honest process of self-confession.” As for Good, she is delighted at the quirky turns of fate that brought the book to her.

The tycoon and the swimsuit model

Donald Trump is as famous for the women he has bedded and wed as for his roller-coaster fortunes. That makes him ideal fodder for the tabloids, including The Toronto Sun, known as much for its scantily clad Sunshine girls as for its news coverage. In Toronto to bid for control of a casino in nearby Niagara Falls, Ont., the New York City real estate tycoon noticed a particularly under-dressed woman gracing the paper’s front page— the time-honored tabloid way of saying, “Hot, isn’t it?” Trump turned to a Sun photographer who was trailing him and asked who she was. So who should turn up promptly at the hotel where he was working but the model, Tracy, no last name (who happens to resemble Trump’s second wife, Marla Maples), accompanied by the photographer. The next day’s page 1: the Donald, 51, and Tracy, 25, together, exchanging autographs and, in Tracy’s case, her telephone number. The wheelerdealer should hear from the Ontario government by the end of the summer if his bid, one of four for the Niagara Casino, was successful. The model still had not had her own response from Trump—currently unmarried—by the end of the week. But she said Trump, Tracy in she still expects to. “People,” confided Tracy, "think he is going to call me."