Australian beaches are some of the world’s finest—but Huntsville, Ont., native Bob Hutcheson will judge how prepared Sydney’s sandlots are for Olympic beach volleyball. Sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee to test sand quality, Hutcheson, 73, and a crew from his company, Hutcheson Sands & Mixes, will go to Australia before the 27th Summer Games in September to run tests on Bondi Beach—where spikers will vie for gold. If sand quality doesn’t measure up, Hutcheson will ship in grainage beach sand he refined in Huntsville, or work with available resources. “If we have to, we’ll bring the machines to Sydney,” he says.+
Hutcheson, who has been in the sand business since 1967, laughs when asked what makes his sand world-renowned. “I think of it as both brains and equipment,” he jokes. His unique blend doesn’t scratch, is impactresistant and fills in holes almost instantly, thus providing athletes with safe playing conditions. While his company deals mainly with golf
courses (providing specialty sands for bunkers and greens to more then 600 courses in North America), Hutcheson got into beach volleyball in 1996. “Some players tested our sand and thought it was the best stuff they’ve ever played on.” Soon after, the Federation International Volleyball made Hutcheson’s mix the regulated formula for all international competitions and put his company in charge of testing. Two years ago at the Goodwill Games in New York City, Hutcheson sent 500 tonnes by truck to the site—his biggest emergency shipment so far. Is he worried about sub-par Aussie dirt? “Not really,” he says, “they’re using one of the best pieces of beach. But if we have to, well get it there: I guarantee it.”
All teed off at the Royal Ottawa
Here’s how rumours get started—and where they go to die. Recently, members of the Royal Ottawa Golf Club— who include Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and other members of Ottawa’s political and civil-service elite—were all aflutter. The reason: the club, situated in Aylmer, Que., had been visited by representatives of the provincial government’s language watchdog, the Office de la langue française. Faster than you can shake a nine-iron, rumours spread that the OLF was set to charge the club with a series of language violations— and, so the story went, might force it to change its name to a French-only equivalent. “There’s gonna be a helluva fight,” mused one longtime member, in a mix of annoyance and excitement.
Except that, according to club officials, almost none of that is tme. Louis Bertrand, the lawyer who represents the Royal Ottawa, confirmed he’s had several discussions with OLF officials recently—but described them as entirely amicable, and said they centre around the club’s newfound desire to receive a corporation number and register like any other company in Quebec. Discus-
sions over use of French at the club, he says, were resolved satisfactorily—about eight years ago—and OLF officials acknowledge the predominandy Englishspeaking clientele. So a final word to members: in future, it might be easier— though less interesting—to restrict those made-up stories to scorecards.
Ten years ago, a protest by Mohawk Indians in Oka, Que., over plans to expand a golfcourse onto land claimed by the natives led to a sometimes violent standoff. It pitted natives against the provincial police,
townspeople and the military, and resulted in the shooting death of Quebec provincial police Cpl. Marcel Lemay. The army eventually sealed off areas including the Kahnawake reserve 40 km away. As the 78-day deadlock continued, many people tuned into CKRK, Kahnawakes community radio station, for news. The
“We knew the entrances and exits the army wasn’t covering and people called for that information. To give
them that, they’d have to say something in Mohawk to prove they were really Mohawks. There were [few] cars on the road because we had no gasoline. But some people were still speeding around, and one guy hit a pole that carried power to the station. We had three offers of generators to keep the
station on the air. Some warriors came in and helped wire it up and brought gasoline to keep the generator going. I did § the news, and eventually I the warriors didn’t like I what I was saying. So I they asked for equal I time. I wasn’t going to stop them. Then the band council wanted
equal time, so this became quite a circus. I’d do my news, the council would do its news and the warriors would do their news [laughs]. They all had a different slant: I tried to stay right down the middle of it.”
“These are supposed to be fun ads. I believe people will see the humour.”
-Jan Field, vice-president of the American-owned company that produces Banff Ice Vodka, explains why an ad depicting a bear reading in front of a human rug will continue to run. The ad was launched at about the same time Canadian biathlete Mary Beth Miller was killed by a bear.
“There is no doubt he will be a successful business person in the future—whether with Thomson or someone else.”
-A Thomson Corp. official discusses the future of Stuart Garner, CEO of Thomson Newspapers. The company is selling all newspaper holdings except The Globe and Mail.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.