Opening Notes

Opening Notes

The 'Worlds' can wait

TANYA DAVIES March 30 1998
Opening Notes

Opening Notes

The 'Worlds' can wait

TANYA DAVIES March 30 1998

Opening Notes

The 'Worlds' can wait

TANYA DAVIES

Elvis Stojko risked serious injury for Olympic gold, but he is not about to tear up his ailing leg for a shot at a fourth world championship. The Richmond Hill,

Ont., figure skater, who competed in Nagano, Japan, despite the nagging groin pull, announced last week that he will not defend his title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Minneapolis in early April. As a result, Jeff Langdon, 21, of Barrie, Ont., and 17-year-old Emanuel Sandhu of Richmond Hill, Ont., will be Canada’s only representatives in the men’s competition.

Doctors advised Stojko, 25, that the injury he sustained at the Canadian championships in January had not healed properly, and that it could become chronic if he kept training. The three-time world champion said he would rest before beginning a spring U.S. exhibition tour. And while he would not say if he planned to join the lucrative professional circuit next season, a source close to the skater told Maclean’s that Stojko has already decided to remain amateur for at least another

year. Stojko may have tipped his hand, saying: “Maybe there’s a little more money in pro skating, but I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of top-level competition.” Perhaps more to the point, one more world title would give him the same number as his longtime rival, Kurt Browning.

Hemp with a head

Bowen Island Brewing Co. is creating a buzz with its new beer, Hemp Cream Ale. The Vancouver microbrewery has launched the first beer in Canada made from hemp, the non-intoxicating cousin of marijuana. “The phones have been ringing off the hook,” says sales manager Les Patterson. “Bars and restaurants are begging us to send them kegs." The first establishment to serve the novelty beer, which has a 4.5-per-cent alcohol content, was The

Longhorn in Whistler, a resort 150 km north of Vancouver known for excessive partying. “People are going to try it because of the name,” says general manager Norman Strim. “Which is fine by us.”

The beer is made from sterile seeds of the same commercial hemp used to weave rope and textiles. Although it contains only 0.3 per cent of tetrahydrocannabinol— THC—which is responsible for the mari-

juana high, the brewer tests each batch to make sure drinkers don’t get more blitzed than they bargained for.

When the idea of a hemp beer was first suggested last year, Patterson says most staff laughed at the idea. Everyone except Don Bradley, Bowen Island owner and brew master, who began a six-month experiment to create a palatable beer. And while the company is thrilled with Hemp Cream’s reception, Patterson points out that Bowen Island does not endorse marijuana use: “We’re just making beer, that’s all.”

Champagne cats, caviar canines

While many luxury hotels offer VIP treatment to their guests, Vancouver’s Sutton Place Hotel has taken pampering one step further. Last month, the five-star establishment introduced its Very Important Pet program. Starting at $95 per day, Fido or Fluffy will receive extras such as a massage, regular walks, and room service that would make most humans drool: grilled T-bone steak or seared tuna topped with caviar. Each entrée is served on fine

porcelain with a bowl of Evian water to wash it down. And while the turndown service does not include a chocolate on the pillow, the favored pet does receive a bedtime treat of either a biscuit or anchovy-flavored popcorn.

Judy Ahola, director of public relations at the hotel, acknowledges that, to date, no one has booked the service. But she says the hotel has received several inquiries about it. “People are beginning to plan their summer vacations,” she says. “And we are offering the option of giving their pet a bit of a break, too.” In the highly competitive tourism industry, it would seem that the Sutton aims to be—or, at least, cater to—top dog.

Caught on video

The search for whoever planted a lethal bomb at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics has expanded to Canada. After poring over 500 home videos and 17,000 photographs collected from Olympic tourists, the FBI has asked the RCMP to help it identify an individual in one of the videos. An RCMP officer says the person, face indistinct beneath a baseball hat, leaves a knapsack on a bench where the bomb exploded and walks away. The FBI apparently hopes Canadian journalists and photographers who covered the Games might have other images of the person, so the Mounties recently began questioning them. “We only want to check if there are any additional photos or footage of the area,” says the RCMP official. Atlanta security guard Richard Jewell was originally suspected of the bombing that killed

Linguistic lessons

For a new Montreal-area school board, finding a name has proven to be a lesson in futility. The Quebec Typonymy Commission—the government geographical name agency—recently rejected its proposed moniker, Montreal English School Board for reasons that have raised eyebrows in the anglophone community. The commission— which is overseeing the naming of Quebec’s

44-year-old Alice Hawthorne and injured more than 100, but the U.S. justice department cleared him in October, 1996.

72 new school boards reorganized along linguistic rather than religious lines—nixed it because the adjective “English” serves as a qualifier for school board, which is not allowed under the criteria. The board has since switched its title to English Montreal School Board, which it believes will make the grade. Says board chairman George Vathilakis: “How else can you identify a board that is situated on the Island of Montreal and the language of instruction is English?”

Passages

DIED: Public broadcasting pioneer John Craine, 69; at his home in London. Starting as a part-time radio announcer in Calgary in the late 1940s, Craine worked for more than 40 years at the CBC and was instrumental in creating new radioshows, including The World at Six and As It Happens. During the 1980s, he focused on CBC television and introduced the award-winning series Degrassi Junior High. He retired in 1995 as director of CBC’s London office.

DIED: Veteran stage actor Eric Donkin, 68; of a heart attack, while rehearsing onstage at Stratford, Ont. Donkin spent 26 seasons with the Stratford Festival company, winning a Dora Mavor Moore Award in 1987 for his performance in the touring production of The Mikado.

WON: A record 15 medals by the Canadian Paralympic team, at the Winter Paralympic Games in Nagano, Japan.

The team was led by the gold-winning performance of alpine skier Dan Wesley of New Westminster, B.C.

RETIRING: Former alpine skiing world champion Kate Pace Lindsay, 29, from the World Cup circuit. Downhiller Pace Lindsay was ranked second in the world in 1993, and won back-to-back races before a knee injury led to a steady decline.

APPOINTED: Former Quebec premier Pierre Marc Johnson, 52, as interim president of the popular Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. Johnson, who was a Parti Québécois premier for two months in 1985 before losing an election to Liberal Robert Bourassa, replaces founder Gilbert Rozon, who is currently defending himself against charges of sexual assault, assault and forcible confinement.

CHARGED: NBA basketball player Latrell Sprewell, 28, with reckless driving; in Martinez, Calif. Sprewell, who is currently serving a season-long league suspension for attacking his coach,

P. J. Carlesimo, slammed into another vehicle while speeding, injuring two passengers.