Opening NOTES

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES August 24 1998
Opening NOTES

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES August 24 1998

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES

TV with a nasty bite

After nine years of hosting Breakfast Television, the live morning show on Toronto’s City TV, Ann Rohmer thought she had seen it all. But that was before last Tuesday, when Rohmer was bitten by a tiger while on the air. During a segment promoting a charity event, the cat lunged at Rohmer, leaving teeth marks in the top of her left thigh—and the audience and staff in shock. “It happened so quickly,” recalls Rohmer, 42. “I just said, ‘That tiger bit me.’ ” Rohmer tried to maintain her composure even though all she wanted to do was “sit down and cry.” The trainer, who had the tiger on a leash, reassured her it was safe, and she finished the segment standing next to the animal. While the show continued, calls streamed in from concerned viewers and Rohmer’s husband and parents to make sure she was OK. It wasn’t until after the program, when a stunned Rohmer wandered around the studio showing people her bite marks, that she realized how dangerous it had been. “This is the closest brush with death I’ve had,” she says. “If that tiger wanted to eat me, there was nothing to stop her.” Rohmer doesn’t blame the tiger—“the tap-dancing Grannies must have got to her”—and says that the experience was “a valuable lesson.” The perils of live television.

CAPITAL CONFIDENTIAL

How many committees of MPs and senators does it take to look into the issue of bank mergers? At least three, and perhaps a fourth. An early bid to streamline the process by joining the Senate’s banking committee with the House’s finance committee has fallen through. That leaves the House committee, chaired by Ontario Liberal

MP Maurizio Bevilacqua (Vaughan/King/ Aurora), and the Senate committee, under the gavel of Liberal power broker Michael Kirby, preparing to stage rival coast-to-coast hearings next month. Taxpayers will fund both.

The two Grit-dominated investigations won’t necessarily come to the same conclusions. Bevilacqua is a Paul Martin loyalist, so his findings are expected to reflect the finance minister’s on whether to allow the mergers—and, if so, under which conditions.

Kirby’s group delivers reports that are heavy on finance and light on partisan politics, so it might not lean Martin’s way.

Meanwhile, Toronto MP Tony Ianno (Trinity/Spadina) heads a task force of Liberal backbenchers writing their own report, and the House industry committee is toying with holding their own hearings. That’s possibly one more inquiry than there would be big banks left standing in Canada if the two mergers are ultimately approved.

Corny conundrum

Corn can be presented many ways: creamed, on the cob and now in a maze. Picking up on an American trend, two entrepreneurs in Manitoba

have opened corn mazes. Based on traditional English hedge mazes, this vegetable version has a beginning, an end and hundreds of middles to get lost in. Both the Maize Maze in Roland and A Maze’n Corn outside Winnipeg opened last week— peak corn season. “We waited until the

corn was 10 feet high,” says teacher Angie Masse, who with her grain trader husband, Clint, operates A Maze’n Corn. “Otherwise it wouldn’t be much of a challenge.” The Masses, both 28, were inspired by a farm report about the novelty attraction, and rented 3.4 hectares of farmland in June to create their own. After designing the maze on their home computer, they used their friends “as guinea pigs,” says Angie. “That way we made sure it wasn’t too hard or easy.” During the first weekend, about 200 people paid $5 each to wander through the maze, taking, on average, an hour to find the exit. The Masses expect visitors until the corn dies off around Halloween. “And next year,” says Angie, “we can make a completely different maze.” A true field of dreams.

EMPORIUM

Late night talk-show host David Letterman’s

top 10 possible names

for Quebec if it secedes:

1 Funkytown

2 ParlezVousland

3 Canada 90210

4 Frenchylvania

5 The Monkey On Maine’s Back

6 International House of Pancakes

7 Sparky

8 Rand McNally’s Worst Nightmare

9 Lome Greenland 10 Le Grand Faux Pas

Following tennis player Pete Sampras’s defeat at the du Maurier Open in Toronto last week, Marcelo Rios of Chile regained the number 1 ranking on the ATP Tour. According to the Tour, he is the fourth left-handed player since 1973 to hold the top spot. Weeks at number 1: Jimmy Connors, United States, 268;

John McEnroe, United States, 170;

Thomas Muster, Austria, 6; Marcelo Rios, 5.