As we enter the slow time of the year, a few stories slipped through the cracks. We thought this would be a good time to share them. The first two are about the unconventional stories that make Canada unique. The last story is a sad indictment of where journalism, especially in Canada, has gone.
The charm of Newfoundland time is being on the half-hour, the only spot in North America that isn't on the hour. What I didn't realize until I was in St. John's is that Labrador is 30 minutes behind Newfoundland, on the same time zone as the Maritimes.
I found out this detail by a bus ad for Republic of Doyle, the CBC show shot in St. John's. The fine print pointed out that the show aired in Labrador at 9 pm as opposed to the larger print noting a 9:30 pm starting time.
Turns out that instead of Newfoundland being the outlier, Labrador is the one not following the rules.
James McLeod, a reporter for The Telegram in St. John's who reported the story, said to CBC Radio One's As It Happens, "For the last 82 years, there's been a law on the books that formally says what the standard time in Newfoundland and Labrador is. And at no point in that history has the government gotten around to acknowledging that most of Labrador doesn't observe the same time as Newfoundland."
Newfoundland and Quebec had a border dispute over Labrador long before the province joined Canada. The British ruled in 1927 that what is now Labrador is part of Newfoundland.
As you can tell from this picture, there is a section of southeastern Labrador that follows along with Newfoundland similar to a variety of regions, including Lloydminster, Saskatchewan keeping the same time as Lloydminster, Alberta as opposed to the rest of Saskatchewan.
The longitude of Labrador lines up with its Maritmes cousins in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Labrador's neighbour Quebec lies to its west and south; that province lies within the Eastern Time Zone. Labrador also shares a time zone with far eastern Quebec, defined as east of 63 degrees west longitude.
The places where you can be naked are limited. Your own home is a really good example, though you are encouraged to draw the blinds or drapes. Nudity is allowed in bathrooms though with some limitations and decorum.
Changing rooms seem to be the only bastion of pseudo public nudity that remains. But not in Brossard, QC on Montréal's South Shore.
The city banned nudity in municipal sports facilities in response to citizen complaints. You can change into a bathing suit in a toilet stall but you have to shower in your bathing suit when you are done swimming.
The city said the new rule is not a bylaw so no fines are being handed out. Brossard aquatic activities director Eric Leuenberger said recurring complaints have revolved around people saying, "I don't want my son to be in front of naked women."
One more example that French-Canadian is not French.
The city is building a new aquatic complex with an universal locker room. That transition to a unisex changing area might have been the motivation but the transition would be easier inside the new structure. The new structure would ideally have more room than the limited space inside a toilet stall to do the task with some grace.
It's been a while since I was 6, but there usually is an age limit where boys can't follow their mothers into the changing room. Then again, I think nudity is a healthy thing.
TorStar Corp. (think Toronto Star) and Postmedia Network Inc. (National Post, a lot of major city dailies) are giant newspaper companies. These days, large newspaper companies often own smaller papers, especially papers with long histories.
Large newspaper companies are also shutting down a lot of papers, not necessarily because they are losing money but because they don't make enough money. So there would be no surprise if TorStar Corp. and Postmedia Network Inc. randomly closed newspapers. How they did close a bunch of newspapers would have made Ebeneezer Scrooge so proud.
The companies traded a bunch of newspapers to each other for $0 and then proceeded to announce the closing of most of those papers. Scrooge indeed.
Postmedia says the company will close 21 of the 22 acquired community newspapers as well as the Metro Winnipeg and Metro Ottawa free dailies. Torstar will close 3 of the 7 daily newspapers in Ontario and all 8 community newspapers. The company will also close 24Hours Toronto and 24Hours Vancouver.
Postmedia acquisitions that will close: Belleville News; Brant News; Central Hastings News; Frontenac Gazette; Kanata Kourier-Standard; Kingston Heritage; Meaford Express; Metro Ottawa; Metro Winnipeg; Nepean/Barrhaven News; Norfolk News; Orleans News; Ottawa East News; Ottawa South News; Ottawa West News; Our London; Quinte West News; St. Lawrence News; St. Mary’s Journal-Argus (and the St. Mary’s Weekender); St. Thomas/Elgin Weekly News; Stittsville News; Stratford City Gazette; and West Carleton Review.
Torstar acquisitions that will close: 24 Hours Toronto; 24 Hours Vancouver; Barrie Examiner; Bradford Times; Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin; Fort Erie Times; Innisfil Examiner; Inport News (Port Colborne); Niagara Advance; Northumberland Today; Orillia Packet & Times; Pelham News; Thorold Niagara News.
The major free dailies closing is also designed to reduce competition for the large newspaper companies in that category.
Journalism is suffering but particularly in Canada thanks to misguided management practices.
photos credit: Educational Technology Clearinghouse - University of South Florida; me; The Telegram; Sabrina Marandola/CBC; Stratford Gazette