1989 THE HONOR ROLL
THEIR SPIRITED ACCOMPLISHMENTS BROUGHT LUSTRE TO CANADA IN 1989
As it has been so often during his illustrious career as a journalist, Bruce Hutchison pinpoints the essence of a major challenge that faces Canada in the current debate over the reshaping of the national Constitution. The essential issue, says the writer, is whether Canadians have the ability now to live with the French-English duality that is a major element in the federation’s history. Some Canadians may disagree with that contention, or even the urgency of the issue. What is indisputable is that Hutchison speaks with the authority and experience of a lifetime spent studying the country and, above all, of demonstrating that he cares deeply about Canada and its future. He has provoked many others to share his concerns, if not always his opinions, about Canada. And it is because of his passionate concern about the future of Canada, especially now, that Hutchison is among the 12 Canadians whose names adorn the 1989 Maclean’s Honor Roll.
The people recognized in the fourth annual Honor Roll include some whose contributions to the nation are less direct than Hutchison’s, but no less important in the life of the country. Their excellence often serves society as much by quiet example as by open persuasion. Indeed, many of the people selected by a panel of Maclean ’s editors for special attention this year, including Hutchison, were inclined to play down their own accomplishments and to speak during interviews of others who have contributed to their own achievements and to the life of the country. But all of those honored added a special lustre to a year that has been marked by social upheavals and uncertainties, both in Canada and abroad.
Those 12 men and women are engaged in a wide variety of pursuits—from science and entertainment to business and the arts. They live and work in different regions of the nation. Their ages run the range from the 23 years of Kurt Browning, the consummate figure skater, to the eminent octogenarians, Hutchison and photographer Yousuf Karsh. They include such unapologetic public activists as Phyllis Lambert, an advocate for userfriendly urban environments, and people who work to the public
benefit away from the public eye, notably medical researcher Lap-Chee Tsui. Some straddle a number of worlds with their enthusiasms and their energy, among them Edwin (Honest Ed) Mirvish, theatrical impresario, merchant and philanthropist.
Film-maker Anne Wheeler casts her brilliance on the lives of people in Alberta. Novelist David Adams Richards sheds the light of his talent on the people in his native New Brunswick. But the stories that both of them tell illuminate the human condition everywhere. Entrepreneurs Laurent Beaudoin and Wilbert Hopper preside over two other national success stories of a different kind, respectively Bombardier Inc. and Petro-Canada. Both Anne Murray and Evelyn Hart, having conquered the hearts of Canadians and achieved eminence abroad, added glitter to the year in their respective fields of popular song and classical ballet.
The stories of their various contributions are told by Maclean ’s Senior Writer D’Arcy Jenish with the help of Associate Editor Gene Hayden and Calgary Bureau Correspondent John Howse. Chief Staff Photographer Brian Wilier composed the portraits. All of those honored receive the Honor Roll medallion designed by Toronto artist Dora de Pédery-Hunt, herself a winner of many awards. Her design features the mythological Pegasus soaring towards the stars, the winged horse that, in classical myth, represents a striving for creative excellence.
There are many other Canadians whose contributions to the year and to Canada warrant inclusion in any honor roll. Some of those are among the people honored by Maclean’s in previous years. To be selected, candidates must be Canadian citizens and they cannot be involved in partisan politics. Otherwise, there were no arbitrary limits in the process. The final selection, drawn from a lengthy list of candidates proposed by Maclean’s staffers, proved difficult. In the end, the editors felt compelled to tell the stories of those whose outstanding accomplishments are outlined in this issue. As in the characters who people the novels of David Adams Richards, there is also something of the magnificence of the human spirit in the 12 stories that follow.
PORTRAITS OF POWER THROUGH TH
In the early 1940s, when he was building a reputation as a portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh frequently enjoyed private meetings with Mackenzie King. Karsh also received invaluable professional support from the man who was then Canada’s prime minister. King helped to arrange photo sessions with such wartime leaders as Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Charles de Gaulle. Although Karsh and King knew each other for years, the portraitist says that the elusive and reserved prime minister always maintained a certain distance between himself and his acquaintances.
That is a common trait among political leaders, he notes, because “nobody in high public office can afford to be known intimately; otherwise, we begin to take that person for granted.” But with his camera, Karsh breaks through the reticence of the
famous, and his perceptive portraits help the world to know those people better.
For over half a century, Karsh of Ottawa, as he is known to the world, has produced some of the 20th century’s most striking and captivating portraits, almost all of them in black and white. His first internationally acclaimed photo, a 1941 portrayal of a brooding but defiant Churchill during the dark days of war, has appeared on the postage stamps of at least 12 countries. Showings of his pictures tour the world. And at home this year—the 150th anniversary year of photography—a three-month exhibition of his work at the National Gallery of Canada drew 138,000 people. Said Catherine Jensen, the gallery’s acting chief of exhibitions: “People realized that he is not only a gifted photographer, but an artist.” Neither international acclaim nor time—he is 81—has dulled Karsh’s enthusiasm or artistry. He travels frequently outside Canada making portraits and arranging exhibits. Among his subjects this year was Pakistan’s Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who arranged a photo session in Washington during a state visit to the United States. Bhutto specified Karsh because he had made a portrait of her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, when he was prime minister in 1976, and she had treasured that photograph after her father was executed in 1979 following a military coup that ousted him from office. Since the Mackenzie King days, Karsh has photographed all seven Canadian prime ministers and, after Roosevelt, all nine U.S. presidents. In 1963, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev invited Karsh to his personal dacha outside Moscow and insisted that he photograph his whole family.
Like many of the people he has photographed, Karsh’s climb to success was long and often arduous. Sent to Canada at age 16 from his birthplace in Turkey by his Armenian parents in 1924, Karsh lived in Sherbrooke, Que., with an uncle who introduced him to photography and sent him to Boston in 1928 to study under John Garo, a fellow Armenian and noted portrait photographer. Afterward, Karsh settled in Ottawa and decided to make a career of photographing the people who have shaped the modem world.
His objective, Karsh says, has always been to capture the spirit and personality of his subjects. He explains his preference for black and white as a way to invest his portraits with a sense of permanence, his use of artifical light as a means—like a writer’s words or an artist’s paint—to create mood, emotion and atmosphere. “My natural interest,” he says, “has been to photograph people who will leave their mark on the world.” The man behind the camera is also leaving an indelible mark. He has transformed a record of his times into art for all time.
“My natural interest has been to photograph people who will leave their mark on the world.”
¡YES OF A MASTER
THE FIRE BEHIND A FIGHT FOR LIV
The transformation from cool administrator to angry activist takes only an instant. It occurs when Phyllis Lambert looks out the window of her secondstorey office in downtown Montreal. the Canadian Centre for Architecture, a place for study dedicated to improving the design of cities and the quality of urban life through public education. Half a block from her office, on land once occupied by a 19th-century mansion,
Lambert is the founder and director of
stand two highrise condominium towers that Lambert regards as an affront to her eyes and to the neighborhood. She stands at her office window and enumerates the unsightly problems with the towers: poor design, cheap materials, flimsy balconies, fake stone trim. “Our cities look like we went to war,” she says. “We pull down old buildings on speculation or for some tax advantage, then we rebuild cheaply, cut comers and do it too fast. It’s human greed, pure and simple.”
Now 62, and an architect herself, Lambert practised in Chicago and Los Angeles before returning to her native Montreal in 1973. She then became a crusader devoted to trying to preserve existing buildings that serve their neighborhoods well and to encourage new designs and planning that enhance the city’s humanity. In the mid-1970s, Lambert began assembling the massive quantity of research material that makes the centre one of the world’s greatest such collections—a 130,000-volume library, 55,000 photographs and 20,000 prints and drawings. The $50-million collection was acquired with her own money, which she inherited from her father, Samuel Bronfman, founder of the Seagram liquor and wine empire. Then, in May, Lambert formally opened a $45-million building, where she and her staff are consolidating the collection from temporary facilities scattered throughout Montreal. The new building contains public meeting rooms, exhibition space, a library, a bookstore and a theatre. Says Lambert: “This is a place for discussion and raising public consciousness about buildings and our urban environment.”
Within the first six months, more than 50,000 people had visited the centre, primarily to view exhibitions on architecture. The centre published five books this year related to the exhibitions. By 1991, once the collections have been organized and catalogued with the help of the centre’s 20 librarians, architects and scholars from around the world will be invited to use the centre’s resources.
For Lambert, architecture is an art form that affects the daily lives of millions of people far more directly than any painting or piece of sculpture. “It is a reflection of the general philosophy of an era, almost a portrait of what we are and what we aspire to,” she says. By allowing automobiles to take over cities, she says, neighborhoods have been ruined and people have been dismissed to the community’s fringes.
Lambert says that in the late 1970s, she began spending more time fighting such trends and less time on her practice because she felt she could achieve more as an activist. In 1975, she founded Heritage Montreal, a foundation devoted to the preservation of the city’s historic landscape. She participated in demonstrations, signed petitions and persuaded provincial bureaucrats to safeguard noteworthy buildings by designating them as protected historic sites. Now, with the centre, she has reinforced her crusade with a permanent institution to promote livable cities.
“Our cities look like we went to war. We rebuild cheaply, cut corners and do it too fast.”
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE WITH
In 1965, when Laurent Beaudoin became president of Bombardier Inc., the company was compact enough that he could stand at his office door and watch snowmobiles coming off the assembly line. Bombardier then employed 700 people at Valcourt, Que., 96 km east of Montreal, and company engineers called Beaudoin “the test pilot” because he usually tried a newly designed machine before approving production. Now, Bombardier employs 20,000 people in five countries and manufactures products that include aircraft, railcars and military vehicles, as well as snowmobiles. Beaudoin, the architect of that growth, says that his goal has been to convert a family firm into a major force in the the world. “Most of our market has always been outside Quebec,” adds Beaudoin. “That has expanded the horizons of our people and given us the opportunity to think on a global basis.”
Bombardier’s expansion has coincided with the new entrepreneurial spirit that has emerged in Quebec over the past two decades. Beaudoin says that Bombardier’s success has inspired other Quebecers to enter business. He also maintains that Bombardier is one of the few Canadian companies positioned to take advantage of the economic unification of Europe in 1992. The company acquired a Belgian manufacturer of railway cars in 1986. Then, last June, Bombardier purchased Belfast-based Short Bros. PLC, an aircraft manufacturer and Northern Ireland’s largest employer.
Bombardier grew out of a Valcourt automobile garage that was founded by J. Armand Bombardier, a remarkable inventor who began building powered sleds as a teenager in the 1920s. He built a succession of tracked all-terrain vehicles in the 1930s. By the 1950s, the Bombardier Ski-Doo had established the company as a world leader in its field.
Beaudoin, the son of a small-town Quebec grocery wholesaler who studied accounting at the University of Sherbrooke, married Claire Bombardier, Armand’s daughter, in 1959 and joined the company four years later. In the 1970s—the company founder died in 1964— the managers adopted a strategy of diversifying through acquisitions. Armand Bombardier, says Beaudoin, “was an innovator who developed new products; we lost that capability, and couldn’t replace it, when he died.”
The diversification strategy has made Bombardier the largest manufacturer of masstransit vehicles in North America. Beaudoin says that Bombardier acquired the Belgian company, Constructions ferroviaires et métalliques (BN), in order to penetrate the European rail-vehicle market, which is four times larger than North America’s. Bombardier entered the aerospace industry in 1986 by purchasing Canadair Inc. of Montreal, which produces the Challenger corporate jet, from the Canadian government. Short Bros, gives Bombardier a foothold in the European aerospace industry.
Beaudoin, 51, says that he still works 10 to 12 hours a day and travels to Europe on business frequently. He concentrates on acquisitions, aircraft development and Bombardier’s bids for railway and mass-transit contracts. Beaudoin says that the company now wants to expand into Asia, in conjunction with its new global push, but wants also to remain an independent, Quebec-based company. The roots of Bombardier remain in the village of Valcourt, where Ski-Doos are still manufactured. But Beaudoin now works on the 17th floor of a downtown Montreal office tower and, from there, he has a new view of the world.
“Most of our market has always been outside Quebec. That has expanded the horizons of our people.“
DISCOVERIES OF HOPE AT THE HEA
Iap-Chee Tsui has dedicated his life to exploring a world he will never see and can barely explain to the average person. Tsui,
39, is a molecular biologist who is trying to unravel the mysteries in the incredibly complex world contained in every human cell. Even with the aid of computer technology, it is a laborious exploration. But in July, after a seven-year search, Tsui and a team of scientists working under him at the Hospital for Sick Children in downtown Toronto achieved a major breakthrough.
They discovered the gene carrying the defect that causes cystic fibrosis (CF), a frequently fatal disease that affects one in 2,000 Canadian children.
Tsui says that it may take years to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. “To identify the gene that causes the disease is just the beginning,” he says. “We still don’t know what the defect is.” But Tsui’s work has already produced tangible results. Prospective parents can now be tested to determine whether they carry the defect that causes CF. They could also have cells of a fetus tested to find out whether the defect has been passed on. Tsui’s primary objective is to find a cure for a disease that kills half its victims by the time they are 25, and the vast majority by age 30. The search for the precise cause and a cure will take Tsui and his associates even further into the unexplored terrain of the human cell. He adds, “We’re coming into something we have never seen before, into a region of a cell that nobody knows.”
Although molecular science involves meticulous and even tedious work, Tsüi says that successful research needs not only curiosity, but also daring and creativity. His own work over the past seven years was based on a novel approach. In the past, scientists used the symptoms of CF as the starting point for their research. Victims of CF frequently suffer from lung infections and digestive problems because the air passages in their lungs and the ducts of the liver, pancreas and intestines become clogged with mucus. The complexity and diversity of the symptoms, and their presence in many parts of the body, diverted scientists from looking for the genetic source of the disease.
Tsui was among the pioneers who began to look behind symptoms for the source of genetic disease inside the cell. The search took place in his cramped and cluttered laboratory on the 11th floor of the Hospital for Sick Children for seven years. Exploring the human cell involves examining the estimated 100,000 genes contained in each cell’s 23 pairs of chromosomes. The genes contain codified information that dictates how the various parts of the body function. Tsui says that his CF project involved a complicated tracking procedure that resembled a search for a single home in a city the size of Toronto or Montreal, without having an address or a map. “People thought we were gambling to find a gene this way,” he says. “We proved we can do such a thing.”
Having found the correct gene, Tsui and his associates are now trying to find out precisely what is wrong with it. He says that the problem in the gene could be something as seemingly insignificant as a leaky faucet or a burned-out light bulb. If Tsui and his fellow researchers or others solve the mysteries of cystic fibrosis, doctors may eventually be able to administer drugs to correct the genetic defect and eliminate the symptoms. A cure for cystic fibrosis remains a distant dream, but the dedication of such scientists as Tsui gives victims of that disease—and of other genetic disorders—new reasons to have hope.
“We’re coming into something we have never seen before, into a region of a cell that nobody knows.”
OF HUMAN LIFE
TURNING HOMESPUN DEAS INTO TR
She once played a character called Wilbur the Worm on a CBC Radio program, and her first film, made in 1971, was a oneminute commercial entitled “How to Brush Your Teeth.” Although she started small, writer-director Anne Wheeler, now 43, has made 40 films, most of them documentaries. Since 1985, she has made three features, and they all have received favorable reviews. Her latest,
Bye Bye Blues, was shown for the first time at Toronto’s Festival of Festivals in September. Afterward, the audience of 2,400 gave the movie a standing ovation. “It was a very moving experience,” says Wheeler, who was in the theatre that night.
Wheeler’s major films are also moving experiences. They deal with the emotions and the difficulties of human relationships—women are usually her central characters—in Loyalties (1986), Cowboys Don’t Cry (1988) and now in Bye Bye Blues. Her themes touch universal chords, although her feature films have all been set mainly and clearly in Alberta. Wheeler herself is a native of Edmonton, and that city remains her home and her working base. But her works have been acclaimed widely—shown in countries as diverse as Yugoslavia and South Africa—and her documentary Great Grandmother, based on diaries and letters of pioneer Prairie women, won first prize for short films at the 1977 American Film Festival in New York City. Now, Wheeler is leaving her traditional Alberta setting to film a featurelength children’s movie in Montreal.
Despite her critical successes at home and abroad, Wheeler says that making movies in Canada is a precarious occupation. She added, “It has been extremely difficult for us to convince people to go to Canadian movies instead of American movies.” Wheeler herself earns what she terms “a bus driver’s salary.” Her office is an 18-by-25-foot cabin in the backyard of the home where she lives with her husband, Garth Hendren, who works for the Alberta department of education, and their 10-year-old twins, Quincy and Morgan. Her mother, whose wartime experiences inspired Bye Bye Blues, lives less than a mile away.
That movie, with a budget of $4.9 million, is a big production by Canadian standards. Wheeler shot the movie partly in India, on the prairie around Drumheller, Alta., and in a studio in Edmonton. The scale of the project demonstrates Wheeler’s growth as a filmmaker. She began 18 years ago, after graduating from the University of Alberta, when she and eight other Albertans formed a co-operative called Filmwest to make movies about Western Canada. Wheeler says that the members rotated jobs in order to learn different aspects of their craft. “Now, if I pull together a team of 70 or 80 people to make a movie, I have done most of the jobs those people do,” she says. Besides serving as a training ground, Filmwest also contributed to the creation of an indigenous Alberta film industry.
Wheeler says that she has stayed in Edmonton partly to be near her extended family of siblings and relatives. But she also likes what she calls Edmonton’s location on “the lip of civilization.” Moviemakers in Toronto and Vancouver, she says, are inevitably influenced by the U.S. industry or become embroiled in political debates over Canadian film-making. “I’m out there on my own,” she says, “free to think and develop my own ideas.” Those ideas not only shed light on the Canadian experience but, translated into stories for the screen, illuminate the lives of people everywhere.
“I am out there on my own, free to think, and develop my own ideas.”
H ON THE SCREEN
Location courtesy of Fort Edmonton Pork
AN ABIDING COMMITMENT TO THE
If he had his way, Bruce Hutchison would be perfectly content talking about his garden in Victoria and his summer camp at Lake Shawnigan on Vancouver Island. But, during a recent long conversation on a grey afternoon, Hutchison generously shared his recollections, observations and opinions about politics and prime ministers. Now 88, and still writing a weekly column for The Vancouver Sun, Hutchison began covering politics at a time when Mackenzie King walked to work on Parliament Hill and Sir Robert Borden rode his bicycle to the office. He has met every Canadian prime minister of the past 70 years, in or out of office, and his 15 books have helped to define and shape the Canadian identity. Although long recognized as one of Canada’s most distinguished journalists, Hutchison insists that his first love has always been the outdoors.
“The only thing I’m an authority on is cutting wood and growing vegetables,” he says.
Hutchison’s gifted use of the English language, his shrewd insights into the nature of political power and his attempts to define Canada’s national character have made him one of the country’s most celebrated writers. He has won three Governor General’s Awards for his books and three National Newspaper Awards for his journalism. Although he finished his formal schooling at age 16, he has received honorary degrees from the University of British Columbia and Yale University. But worldly success has never eroded Hutchison’s deep and abiding love for his home and his summer camp. That is a point that he makes eloquently and touchingly in his latest book, A Life in the Country, as well as in private conversation. “I was intended to be a peasant,” he insists. “The only wisdom I have has come from being out of doors.”
Hutchison’s love of rural life and his distaste for big cities make his achievements all the more remarkable. Over the decades, he has rarely spent more than a few months at a time in Ottawa, Washington or any other seat of political or economic power. Yet he has remained one of Canada’s most astute and well-connected political writers. Hutchison served as editorial director of The Vancouver Sun without living in that city, maintaining contact mainly by telephone. Rather than leave Victoria, he turned down opportunities to edit the Winnipeg Free Press and the now-defunct Toronto Telegram.
The spiritual and emotional centres of his life have always been the home that he and his late wife, Dorothy, built on 11 acres of land in 1926 and their 20-acre summer camp. From his rustic retreats, Hutchison wrote his books and the articles that adorned magazines and daily newspapers. He also welcomed cabinet ministers, foreign dignitaries and fellow writers to his home and his camp.
During his long career, Hutchison has made an annual pilgrimage to Ottawa, sometimes staying weeks, sometimes months. This year, he visited the capital in early November and met with Michael Wilson, John Turner, Lucien Bouchard and several others. He came back convinced that Canada has reached a critical crossroads in the debate over the Meech Lake constitutional accord. “We are now testing, in a momentous fashion, our ability to live with the French-English duality that history has given us,” he observes. “If we cannot live with it, we cannot survive as a nation.” From a man who has for so many years chronicled the life of the nation from his anchoring perspective close to the land, that advice will gain attention from many Canadians.
“I was intended to be a peasant. The only wisdom I have has come from being out of doors.”
ND AND THE NATION
THE LIGHTS, SOUND AND ACTION 01
Bright lights, sound and live action have always formed part of Edwin (Ed) Mirvish’s public presence in the community.
When Mirvish turned 75 last July, he celebrated his birthday at a street party for the whole neighborhood around his midtown Toronto discount store, Honest Ed’s. There were lights, live music and dancing. Outside the warren of connected buildings that make up his blocklong department store, signboards alive with 23,000 light bulbs promise bargains inside. More flashing lights publicize his downtown theatre, the Royal Alexandra, and six adjacent restaurants that Mirvish opened after he purchased the faded theatre in 1962 and restored it as a centre for live drama and musical shows. And floodlights illuminate London’s historic Old Vic Theatre, which he rescued and revived in the 1980s.
Behind the lights and the action, Mirvish is a softspoken man with a manner that belies his success as a self-made merchant whose businesses grossed close to $100 million last year. He still opens his own business mail every weekday. He personally greets visitors at the door of his windowless office. For his contributions to theatre, he was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1987 and a commander of the Order of the British Empire at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace last summer. But his quiet contributions to the lives of the underprivileged, including retarded children and the hard of hearing, are less widely celebrated.
Mirvish’s personal life and charity reflect his own humble beginnings. As a child of European Jewish immigrants who came to Canada in 1923 by way of the United States, he delivered groceries for the small family store, then quit school at 15 to work full time when his father died. Honest Ed’s grew out of a small dress store that he and his wife, Anne, a former band singer, opened in 1941. He became a theatre owner almost by chance 21 years later, when he purchased the Royal Alexandra because nobody else was interested and it seemed doomed to demolition. With the help of his only son, David, that theatre has become a springboard for touring productions that foster talent from across Canada. Its current success, the musical Les Miserables, is cast entirely with Canadians. “Everything I have just grew and developed,” says Mirvish. “There was never any plan.”
But now, Ed Mirvish has a grand plan—a Toronto arts centre that will house two theatres, a gallery of modem art and a theatre museum. One of the playhouses will be designed to stage experimental works by young Canadian playwrights. The gallery will display some of the 600 works of contemporary art that David Mirvish, 45, has collected. The museum will exhibit sets, props and costumes from productions at the Royal Alexandra and other Canadian theatres.
The elder Mirvish sees the arts-centre project as a permanent contribution to Canada’s cultural life, an expression of gratitude to the nation. Only in Canada, he says, could he have risen from downtown streets to be honored by the Queen in Buckingham Palace. Elaborating on his plans, Mirvish acknowledges that some of it might seem dull— “museums can be very dead places”—but he speaks in vivid terms of the way that he wants it to be. “Ours will be exciting,” he says. Like his other public contributions to the community at large, “everything will be moving”—animated by lights, sound and action.
“Everything I have just grew and developed. There was never any plan.”
L COMMUNITY MAN
SLAYING THE DRAGONS OF PAIN WITI
Backstage, Evelyn Hart, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s leading dancer, fought off tears while furiously cleaning her ballet shoes before a guest performance at Toronto’s O’Keefe Centre. Accustomed to bursts of anxiety before performing—despite her 13 years of experience—Hart explained that she was especially nervous that night because she was once again feeling the loss of a mentor and longtime dancing partner,
Henny Jurriens, the Royal Winnipeg’s artistic director, who died in a traffic accident in April. She added: “I am on my own now and I have to somehow find the courage to just slay those dragons inside me. But I am quaking buckets.” Later, dancing the poignant title role in the classical Giselle mth the National Ballet of Canada, Hart transformed the
romantic story of the betrayed lover into an expressive dance of lonely despair.
Despite her expressions of personal loss and anxiety, others in her company say that Hart, 33, was a focal point of strength during a year of tragedies—and a year when the Royal Winnipeg marked its 50th anniversary. Only two months after Jurriens was killed, one of the company’s principal male dancers, David Peregrine, died when a light plane he was piloting crashed in Alaska. Company tour director Mark Porteous, for one, said that it was Hart’s example of refusing to yield to despair that provided a “pillar of strength” for her fellow dancers. Hart herself says that the tragedy reaffirmed her dedication to dance: “I have come to realize that it is not the amount of time you have, but what you do with it.”
It was Hart’s dedication and loyalty that lifted Canada’s oldest ballet company through its anniversary performances before an international audience of dance critics and fans. Hart, who joined the ballet school at 17, stood out as proof of the company’s world stature. Promoted to principal dancer only six years after she enrolled in the school—she had trained as a child in Peterborough and London, Ont.—Hart quickly won international renown. In 1980, a year after her promotion, she won both a coveted gold medal and a Certificate of Exceptional Artistic Achievement at the renowned International Ballet Competitions in Varna, Bulgaria. She returned to the European spotlight again in the fall, when she danced at the Royal Benevolent Ballet Gala in Amsterdam, and was scheduled to make her debut on Dec. 23 at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
Still, with a new sense of urgency following this year's tragedies, Hart says that she now is striving for perfection: “I want so much to dance beautifully, to be the very best I can be.” And the accolades of dance critics and cheering audiences are not enough to reassure Hart that she is doing justice to her art. Says the dancer: “I am just never comfortable that I deserve the acclaim.”
In that, Hart has not changed much from the insecure daughter of a United Church minister. She admits that she was a brooding, lonely child. Fearful that she was too emotionally fragile to handle the life of a ballerina, Hart says that her family discouraged her career choice. But she says that she never could consider any other option. She has remained single. “I live for dance,” she says.“I love it, I breathe it, I dedicate my life to it.” She adds that, in her calling, “there is a lot of physical and emotional pain—but it is said that the greatest things in life are bom of pain.” And step by determined step, despite the pain, Evelyn Hart is creating beauty for the world and still striving for perfection.
“I want so much to dance beautifully, to be the very best I can be.”
,OYALTY AND LOVE
THE ENERGY THAT DRIVES A NATIO]
From his 52nd-floor office windows at the top of Petro-Canada’s Calgary headquarters, Wilbert (Bill) Hopper can view the sweep of the foothills west to the Rocky Mountains. To the south lies the Turner Valley, where a rich energy pool, discovered 75 years ago, is drained. Far out of view to the north, and under Canada’s coastal oceans, are the petroleum industry’s frontiers. It was part of Petro-Canada’s mandate to explore those frontiers.
But the primary purposes of the Crown corporation, established by a 1975 federal law, were to stake out a Canadian presence among the multinational giants that dominated Canada’s oil business and to provide Ottawa with a listening post on the industry. As a result, Petro-Canada was judged an instant enemy by the oil establishment, and Hopper, the executive officer from the Ottawa bureaucracy, was almost a pariah in Calgary. Against that hostility, Hopper has turned Petro-Canada into a Canadian success story.
The national oil company now is second only to Imperial Oil Ltd. as Canada’s largest petroleum producer. It is active in the development of wells and the Alberta oil sands. Its red maple-leaf logo adorns gas stations from coast to coast. It is a reassuring security against a recurrence of the foreign oil embargoes and pricing crises of 1973 and 1974, which hastened its birth under Pierre Trudeau’s Liberal government. Now, Hopper is intent on building the company’s financial strength. The firm, which is worth an estimated $8.5 billion, is a candidate for privatization by the Conservative government. Hopper himself says that Ottawa may decide to sell off all or part of the company. “It probably has outlived the reasons why it was created,” he says. “The government in the mid-1970s was not getting the information it needed to create national policies. That has changed.”
His comment underlines the distance that Petro-Canada and its boss, now 56, have travelled since they arrived in Calgary at the beginning of 1976. The Ottawa-born Hopper initially was Petro-Canada’s senior vice-president, and six months later Ottawa named him president and chief executive officer. In 1979, he became chairman, as well as chief executive. Once snubbed by other oil executives, Hopper last year served as president of the Canadian Petroleum Association, the lobby group for larger oil companies.
Hopper, who obtained a bachelor of science degree in geology from American University in Washington and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Western Ontario in London, first worked in the oil business as a geologist for Imperial Oil in the 1950s. In the early 1960s, he was senior economist for the National Energy Board before joining international energy consultants Arthur D. Little Inc. of Cambridge, Mass. Then, the Trudeau government sought his advice on forming an oil company. “I argued that the bottom line should not be the goal of a national oil company,” he says. As a result of his consulting work for the federal government, Hopper was recruited by Ottawa. “We started out in this company to do good,” Hopper says, “and then we were told to do well”— a reference to a 1984 government order that the company should regard itself less as an instrument of national policy and more as a commercial operation. On that basis, he is seeking an infusion of funds, if necessary through a sale of ownership shares. The money is needed, he says, to develop new energy sources. And it is in that development that Bill Hopper sees the promise of expanding Petro-Canada’s impressive record of success.
“I argued that the bottom line should not be the goal of a national oil company.”
I SUCCESS STORY
EXPLORING THE DIGNITY IN DOWNT
Four years ago, when he was writing Nights Below Station Street, novelist David Adams Richards faced the deepest crisis of his career. The New Brunswick writer became discouraged by readers and critics who consistently interpreted his work as bleak and depressing and his characters as meanspirited failures. In a dark moment,
Richards, now 39, decided to quit writing, and abandoned his work in progress for several months. Eventually, however, he completed the novel, his fifth, and received highly favorable reviews from the critics. Richards also won the 1988 Governor General’s Award for English fiction for Nights Below Station Street, and the CBC plans to make the book into a television movie. He has already completed his sixth novel and is currently at work on a seventh. “I’D never quit writing now,” says Richards. “If I did, it would be like giving up breathing.” Although his novels have been locaDy focused—the characters drawn from working people along the Miramichi River in northeastern New Brunswick—Richards has earned a remarkably broad foUowing. He has given readings across Canada and as far from his native province as New Orleans and Orlando, Fla. One of his books was translated into Russian and gained acclaim in the Soviet Union. And Richards’s reputation as a powerful and original Canadian writer is growing within the academic community. He wih serve as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta in Edmonton for the 1990-1991 school year. Said Gregory HoUingshead, a professor of English and chairman of that university’s writer-in-residence program: “We only go for the best writers, and he is certainly one of our best writers.”
Richards was raised in a middle-class family of six children in Newcastle, N.B., a town of 7,000 at the mouth of the Miramichi. He wrote his first novel while studying Enghsh literature at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. Before completing his degree, he returned to Newcastle to write full time. After several years there, Richards and his wife, Margaret, whom he has known since high school, moved to Fredericton, where he served as writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton from 1983 to 1987. Last spring, he and his wife left the provincial capital, a government and university community, for the industrial city of Saint John. “It’s much more like the Miramichi than Fredericton,” says Richards. “It’s more of a working-class area of the province.”
His affinity for working people is reflected in the characters and the dialogue that he creates. In his own habits and pastimes—he goes on fishing trips in the summer, on deer-hunting expeditions each fall—Richards is far from being a cloistered artist. The central figures in his novels are often poor, uneducated and unemployed. Their lives are often marred by alcoholism, violence, drugs and iDegitimate children. Critics, the author says, often treat his fictional characters with contempt and condescension. But Richards says that his downtrodden heroes possess more courage, integrity and dignity than their social superiors. “I am not going to aUow these people, whom I know and grew up with, to be dismissed,” says Richards. “There is a tremendous magnificence in the human spirit that has nothing to do with money or social position.” For Richards, there is now no question of abandoning his compelling dedication to write about the people he knows and whose stories, in his hands, gain universal appeal.
“I’ll never quit writing now.
If I did, it would be like giving up breathing.”
A MILESTONE IN MUSIC FOR A LAUR
As she wraps up a two-hour show at Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center, Anne Murray dances over to the right comer of the stage and picks up a batch of longstem yellow roses. She struts across the front of the stage tossing the flowers into the crowd. By the time she has disappeared behind the curtain, the fans in the first few rows are on their feet cheering wildly, and within moments the rest of the crowd of 2,500 has joined in a thunderous standing ovation. Then,
Murray reappears, grabs a microphone and calls out in her husky voice, “Are we having fun or what?”
Just as the next round of applause is fading, she begins her final number of the night. After 20 years as a professional entertainer, record sales of 20 million and four Grammy awards, Anne Murray can work a crowd with poise, polish and confidence.
In a business where today’s instant sensation can be tomorrow’s forgotten star, Murray, 44, has proved to be remarkably durable. She says that she enjoys performing, has released her 30th album and continues to receive new honors. Last summer, her home town of Springhill, N.S., opened the Anne Murray Centre, a $1.6-million tourist attraction devoted to the life and career of the singer. In the fall, Capitol Records released Anne Murray’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, a collection of seven previous hits and three new songs. Murray says that she could do 200 live shows a year but has chosen to limit herself to 75 to 80. Says Murray: “I could make $10 million a year if I wanted to, but I don’t want to. I have two children I like to spend time with.”
Murray says that her tour schedule generates enough to cover the costs of making a living and maintaining an eight-member band and a road crew of about 20 people. But the tours are organized to minimize the disruption of her private life with her husband, freelance photographer and producer Bill Langstroth, and their children, William, 13, and Dawn, 10. “When I was younger, I never, ever thought of myself as a singer, but I always dreamed of having children,” she says. “It was always a priority.”
Her season begins in late August with shows at state fairs and outdoor theatres in the United States. During the school year, she tours for two weeks at a time, then spends two weeks at home in Thornhill, a bedroom community north of Toronto. When she is at home, Murray works on new material for her show and often plays golf and tennis. But her priority is the family. She said that she spends most evenings helping her children with their homework. The family spends Christmas together at home, and most of each summer is spent in Nova Scotia.
Onstage—her latest tour was a triumphant swing of eight Canadian cities in the fall— the singer often reminisces easily between songs about home and her childhood. Her unpretentious references to her roots demonstrate her attachment to her native country—
and reinforce Canada’s attachment to her.
She herself is coming to terms with the idea that she is a Canadian institution. Still, referring to the new Anne Murray Centre, which was funded by both the federal and Nova Scotia governments, she has said, “Don’t call it a museum—I’m not dead yet.” But Anne Murray, by her talent, in her manner, and by just having fun in her music, has clearly secured a special place in the hearts of the nation.
“I could make $10 million a year if I wanted to but I don’t want to. I have two children I like to spend time with.”
re OF SONG
THE SPLIT-SECOND SKILL OF A FIGU
He was introduced to thousands of Canadians, in 16 cities across the country this fall, as “the amazing Mr. Kurt Browning, the 1989 Men’s World Figure Skating Champion.” Usually, a single spotlight illuminated his solitary figure slumped over a wood-and-metal chair at centre ice. The moment the upbeat music began, Browning was up swirling, soaring, leaping. During his two-minute routine, he was a mesmerizing punk in a black leather jacket, white shirt, fingerless gloves and blue jeans. He performed a triple jump, a backflip and his trademark quadruple jump.
Everywhere he performed, as a star of the Champions on Ice touring show, Browning was showered with prolonged applause. In part, those performances were warm-ups for the 1990 world championships in Halifax in March, where Browning aims to become the first Canadian male ever to win two consecutive world figure skating titles. But they were also simply expressions of the joy of skating, which Browning says that he feels when he is flying free before a crowd.
Still only 23, his enthusiasm has helped him to compile an impressive list of victories. He captured the Canadian novice, junior and national championships, a feat previously achieved only by Brian Orser, the 1987 world champion. Then, in March in Paris, Browning became the fourth Canadian in 78 years to win the men’s world title, Despite his artistry, he acknowledges that men’s figure skating is so competitive that any of the top five skaters in the world can capture the crown. But he insists that he loves the pressure and intensity of world-class competition. “I have an inner confidence in myself that says if I’m the best I can be, I will probably win,” he says.
When he is not competing or touring, Browning spends 5V2 hours a day on the ice at Edmonton’s Royal Glenora Club, training under coach Michael Jiranek and choreographer Kevin Cottam. There, he practises his quadruple jump, the spectacular, split-second move that Browning was the first to perform in competition. The entire action, including the jump, four revolutions and landing, takes only eight one-hundredths of a second to complete. “If my takeoff is right, I know it will be a sweet jump,” he says. “It’s like hitting a tennis ball with the sweet part of the racket.”
Browning began to learn about the sweet feeling as a boy in Caroline, Alta., a town of 450 people in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains 130 km northwest of Calgary. He learned to skate at age 6 on a backyard rink flooded by his father, a hunting guide who is now retired. Until he was 15, Browning was a slick, high-scoring centre in minor hockey and he took up figure skating to improve his hockey skills. He gave up hockey to avoid injury and because figure skating had become too time-consuming. But he still combines his power as an athlete and a competitor with his gifts as an entertainer.
Browning, who lives in Edmonton with his older brother, Wade, and likes dating women he meets in the skating world, regards training as work. When he steps onto the ice for a competition, he says that he feels he is on vacation. “I love being in front of a crowd,” he says. And the crowds have come to love him. After every appearance with the Champions on Ice, the skater was mobbed by teenage girls for autographs. Now, whether he wins or loses in Halifax, the many people who have thrilled to his skill know that Kurt Browning has already elevated the sport of skating to exciting new heights of artistry.
“I have an inner confidence in myself that says if I am the best I can be, I will probably win.”