Opening Notes

Tanya Davies July 5 1999

Opening Notes

Tanya Davies July 5 1999

Opening Notes

Tanya Davies

Lilith entertains for the last time

The girls are back in town. Lilith Fair, the all-woman music festival conceived by Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan two years ago, kicks off a 40-date tour on July 8 in her home town of Vancouver. Created as a kinder, gentler alternative to male-dominated events like Lollapalooza, Lilith Fair —dubbed Chickapalooza and Estrofest—features such diverse artists as rocker Sheryl Crow, new style country stars the Dixie Chicks, Canadian R and B sensation Deborah Cox and, of course, McLachlan. The tour will roll into Toronto on Aug. 21 and 22, and end in Edmonton on Aug. 31. That will be the last time Lilith fans can catch the fair, which features a travelling caravan of New Age booths and boutiques. McLachlan, who married her drummer, Ashwin Sood, in 1997, has decided to stop organizing the festival and start planning a family.

A great addition to the résumé

Throughout June, a select number of Canadian luminaries climbed convocation podiums across the country to accept honorary degrees. Saturday Night Live creator Lome Michaels received a doctor of laws at Toronto’s

Ryerson Polytechnic University. Montreal’s Concordia University bestowed honorary degrees on former politician Ed Broadbent and industrialist Peter Munk. Comedian Rick Mercer, who dropped out of secondary school,

received an honorary high-school diploma from Landmark East School in Wolfville, N.S. And when CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge accepted his degree from Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., he said it was a humbling experience, as “five minutes of research would reveal that my higher education ended in high school.”

Arrow dogfight

Four decades after Prime Minister John Diefenbaker killed the Avro Arrow, controversy continues to stalk the revered Canadian jet interceptor. The current fracas is about recovering scale models of the Arrow that Toronto-based A. V. Roe Canada Ltd. launched over Lake Ontario in the mid-1950s. Nine of the three-metre-long replicas were mounted on rockets, test fired and allowed to splash into the water near Point Petre, Ont. Now, the discovery of one model has touched off a barrage of bickering over the legality of the find.

At the centre of the storm is Dave Gartshore,

44, a marine mechanic from Carrying Place,

Ont. Gartshore recently made headlines when he announced he had found one of the models—without anyone else’s help. That angered Bill Scott of London,

Ont., because his group is one of two licensed by the Ontario ministry of citizenship, culture and recreation to search for

the miniature Avros. The two men had a verbal understanding that Gartshore would work under the auspices of Scott’s group. But Gartshore soon broke with the team, saying Scott was disorganized. He later found and videotaped a model encrusted with mussels, told reporters and claimed sole credit. “He was after the glory, I guess,” says Scott.

Gartshore counters that he relied on his own research to find the model. But he admits that he does not have the required licence (a provincial spokeswoman had no comment on the matter). “I think if something falls in the water,” Gartshore says, “you don’t have to get a permit to look for it.”

Back in the fray

Toronto-based writer James Bacque set off a storm of controversy 10 years ago with Other Losses, his explosive book claiming that nearly a million German soldiers and civilians were deliberately allowed to die of starvation and exposure in American and French-run prisonerof-war camps between 1944 and 1946. Undaunted, Bacque has returned with

an updated version of Other Losses (Little, Brown) that includes Russian material only available since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and eyewitness ac-

counts from west-

erners. Bacque also details some of the responses to his first edition—letters from grateful ex-prisoners, and instances of what he calls “intense hostility” from academics and members of Allied governments.

Opening Notes

No need for carrots

Originally developed for military purposes during the Second World War, night-vision devices are becoming increasingly popular with sports-minded civilians, such as hikers and boaters, who want to extend recreational activities beyond sunset. While the original devices had limited capabilities, the modern night goggles use more powerful lenses. And the superior optical technology can amplify the light available from the moon and the stars as much as 5,000 times. Under the best conditions—a clear sky and a full moon—users can observe human-sized objects more than

800 m away. Most manufacturers have products of varying amplifying capabilities, and offer the goggles in two styles— binoculars and monoculars. Perfect vision doesn’t come cheap, though: handheld and head-mounted viewers can cost anywhere from $450 to $20,000.

Mobile cinema

Panasonic Canada’s new DVD video player and surround-sound system for the car is not, Peter Boite concedes, an “entry-level product.” Not when the complete package, installed in the family van or sport utility vehicle, runs at about $12,000. “The customer is going to be the fairly well-off baby boomer,” says Boite, Panasonic’s national marketing manager for audio products. The DVD—digital versatile disc—player is inserted in the dashboard in place of a car radio, and can be used to play movies or music CDs. The occupants of the car can watch the film on seven-inch screens mounted on the back of the front seats or popping down from the roof, although laws in most parts of Canada prohibit a driver from viewing. Completing the package is the Dolby digital sound system, which requires five speakers— three in the front of the vehicle and two at the back. The result is theatre-quality entertainment—and a guarantee that the driver won’t hear: “Are we there yet?”

D’Arcy Jenish