WHEN MITT ROMNEY took the stage at the fairgrounds in the Denver suburb of Golden, the midday heat was blistering. In the distance, the sun-scorched Rockies had lost their usual snowcaps, and entire tracts of Colorado had gone up in the flames of the summer’s historic wildfires.By Luiza Ch. Savage
MICHAEL BRYANT WAS on top of the world. The Harvard-trained lawyer and former attorney general of Ontario had retired from politics months earlier to become president and CEO of Invest Toronto, an agency charged with bringing new business to Toronto.
“THE GREATEST KNOCKOUT match in major-tournament football since 1982.” That was the unexpected headline of the Aug. 7 edition of the Guardian’s daily tea-time soccer column, The Fiver. The Fiver is one of those satirical newspaper entities Canada is too self-conscious to harbour, weaving outrageous lies, nonsense, running gags and unspeakable truths into a sort of cryptic crossword for the cognoscenti.
SIRI, THE iPHONE’S voice-activated “virtual assistant,” kicked off this year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June by cracking jokes about San Francisco’s weather, Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists and other subjects only software engineers could find funny (“How many developers does it take change a light bulb? None, that’s a hardware problem”).By CHRIS SORENSEN
MARNA NIGHTINGALE, a 42-year-old Ottawa housewife, freelance copy editor, part-time roller derby referee and card-carrying New Democrat, awoke on the morning of Aug. 22 last year to learn that Jack Layton had died. She was staying with a friend on Toronto’s east side and the pair read his final letter together and “sat and had a little cry.” Word began to spread, via email and Facebook, that people were going to gather at Nathan Phillips Square, the concrete expanse that stretches out in front of Toronto’s modernist, eyeshaped city hall, and the two decided to join the other mourners there.By AARON WHERRY
BATTERED AND BRUISED, Canadian flagbearer Simon Whitfield sat down with a pint at a London pub to reflect on the close of this, his fourth Olympic Games. It wasn’t how the script was to end: a bloody bike crash during his race; a public spat with Triathlon Canada and the subpar mental and physical race preparation leading to a tearful last-place finish for fellow triathlete and friend Paula Findlay.
PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN Harper called it “essential.” The judge called it “fundamentally unfair, outrageous, abhorrent and intolerable.” They were both speaking about mandatory minimum jail times for gunrelated crimes—Harper when touting the law requiring them, and Justice Anne Molloy of the Ontario Superior Court when she struck it down by uttering the fateful word: unconstitutional.By ANDREW STOBO SNIDERMAN
THIS SUMMER, I was hired by Britain’s Guardian newspaper to write a column titled “The worst Olympics ever,” a daily helping of satirical sneering over London’s failures as host of the Summer Games. “I’ve got in mind something fairly tongue-in-cheek... and exaggerated for effect,” said Ian Prior, the editor who pitched it to me.By HARRISON MOONEY
Toronto-born electro-pop artist Peaches became the latest voice in the growing chorus of support for Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist punk-band-turned-causecélèbre that faces up to seven years in prison for performing a song in a Russian Orthodox Church that protested Vladimir Putin’s government.By NICHOLAS KÖHLER, BRIAN BETHUNE, MICHAEL FRISCOLANTI, PATRICIA TREBLE, MIKA REKAI
GABRIEL NADEAU-DUBOIS, ARGUABLY the leading figure in Quebec’s student protest movement, is known for his sartorial streak and a pair of ice-blue eyes that have weakened the knees of many of his admirers. Yet it was the 20-year-old’s righteous way with words that was on display as the would-be revolutionary dreamboat stepped back from the protracted (and at times violent) student uprising that has consumed Quebec for much of the year.By MARTIN PATRIQUIN
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