After a reported five year courtship, Target has finally convinced buzzy New York-based designer Phillip Lim to do his first mass-market collaboration for fall 2013. Available September 15 across Canada, 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target will include men’s and women’s apparel, bags, and other accessories, with a focus on muted colours and prints. Most of the 100-plus items will run around the $50 mark, though his leather jackets will cost upwards of $250 to $300 (steep by Target’s standards, but still far cheaper than the usual $1,700 price tag). Though Target has done some hugely popular capsule collections in the past, this is the first mega-collaboration to hit Canadian shelves. We hope local shoppers prove more polite than some of their counterparts in the U.S.
All stories relating to Canada
Jones Soda, the Vancouver company known for its wacky flavours, is bringing a poutine-flavoured drink to Canada. The beverage is supposed to taste strongly like cheese with a smooth potato finish (we have yet to try the stuff), but a pair of Halifax radio hosts who got hold of a couple bottles last week noted that the drink tastes a little too much like the classic Quebec comfort dish: very rich, very salty, very starchy. Still, 12-packs are already going for $40 on eBay.
Like so many Canadian television personalities, freewheeling SportsCentre hosts Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole are moving south of the border. Apparently, after a Wall Street Journal article alerted Fox Sports execs to Onrait and O’Toole’s comedic antics and on-screen chemistry, the pair landed a gig with a new show running on the network nightly from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Onrait and O’Toole’s final appearance at TSN is in late June, giving their legion of fans, including Stephen Harper, less than two months to soak in as much wise-cracking hilarity as possible. And here we were just getting used to Don Cherry and Ron MacLean’s big seat swap. [TSN]
Two and a half years after Richard Stursberg’s ouster, the CBC is once again looking to fill a void at the helm of its English-language services. News broke just after noon that head of English programming Kirstine Stewart, who introduced Can-Con gems like Dragons’ Den, Battle of the Blades and Being Erica, has left the public broadcaster for a job as managing director of Twitter’s nascent Canadian operation. The social media addict has already changed her Twitter handle from @KStewartCBC to the more neutral @kirstinestewart.
Cross-border shopping is getting less and less tempting. First, a raft of American brands opened stores in Toronto, and now a growing number of shops, including Loft, Ann Taylor, Express and Lululemon, are charging the same prices on both sides of the border. The majority of Aldo’s merchandise is also priced identically, while Abercrombie and sister brand Hollister have lowered Canadian prices from 25 to 30 per cent higher to just five to seven per cent higher (the company says duties account for the vestigial mark-up). The push for price equality can be traced to lower costs, near parity between the two countries’ currencies and that the Internet makes it possible for Canadians to find out easily if they’re getting bilked. Target, we hope you’re taking notes. [Globe and Mail]
Hudson’s Bay CEO Richard Baker dropped a cagey hint this week that Japanese fast-fashion retailer Uniqlo could be coming to the iconic department store. Baker told the National Post that Uniqlo “is a dynamite company and it is very logical that they should be able to come and grow with us like Topshop”—but he wouldn’t say whether talks are currently underway. Although Hudson’s Bay has already acquired the Canadian rights for Topshop and Kleinfeld Bridal as part of its ongoing rebranding effort, we wouldn’t start making a Uniqlo shopping list just yet. The Japanese company has a history of raising hopes about possible Canadian locations before putting its expansion plans on hold. [National Post]
Big news: Toronto pulled ahead of Chicago to become North America’s fourth-largest city behind Mexico City, New York and Los Angeles. According to estimates from Stats Canada and the U.S. Census Bureau, 2,791,140 people call Toronto home versus the Windy City’s paltry 2,707,120 (though the population of Chicago’s metropolitan area still vastly exceeds the GTA’s). Lest battling for fourth-place bragging rights seem petty, Toronto’s politicians and journalists were quick to argue that robust growth is a sign of a healthy, vibrant city with clout on the international stage. So, take that, Chicago. You may have famous talk-show hosts, avant-garde restaurants and a superstar mayor, but Toronto has some serious momentum. [National Post]
After years of waiting for Zara to bring online shopping north of the border, the retail giant is finally launching its Canadian online shop and mobile app. Both the website and the app have the full range of men’s, women’s and kids’ apparel at the same prices as in stores, and Zara is offering free delivery (with eco-friendly packaging, no less) anywhere in Canada for purchases over $50. The return policy is also consumer-friendly: shoppers can return online purchases to any store within 30 days or can have them picked up from home at no charge. The e-commerce launch comes days after the announcement that Toronto is getting a brick-and-mortar Zara Home store before the U.S., suggesting the company is finally paying Canada some attention. Consider us mollified.
As part of its never-ending quest to lure coffee drinkers away from Timmies, Starbucks has launched a campaign to find a more Canadian name for its Blonde Roast. After canvassing the country for suggestions, the company has announced the three finalists, all of which sound like titles for cancelled CBC pilots: True North, Aurora Borealis and Kanosak, from the Inuit for gold. (You can vote for your favourite here.) But we have to wonder: what’s wrong with, well, “Blonde Roast?”
For a long time, Zara has fended off Canadians’ pleas for online shopping, focusing instead on bringing the service to Europe (2010), the U.S. (2011), Japan (2011) and China (2012). But recent rumours suggest parent company Inditex will finally launch an online Zara store in this country by spring or summer. That development, along with recently-launched online stores from Aritzia, Sephora and Mexx, should help make online shopping in Canada a lot less frustrating.
A new mixed-raced generation is transforming the city: Will Toronto be the world’s first post-racial metropolis?
I used to be the only biracial kid in the room. Now, my exponentially expanding cohort promises a future where everyone is mixed.
Last fall, I was in Amsterdam with my parents and sister on a family trip, our first in more than a decade. Because travelling with your family as an adult can be taxing on everyone involved, we had agreed we would split up in galleries, culturally enrich ourselves independently, and then reconvene later to resume fighting about how to read the map. I was in a dimly lit hall looking at a painting of yet another apple-cheeked peasant when my younger sister, Julia, tugged at my sleeve. “Mixie,” she whispered, gesturing down the hall.
“Mixie” is a sibling word, a term my sister and I adopted to describe people like ourselves—those indeterminately ethnic people whom, if you have an expert eye and a particular interest in these things, you can spot from across a crowded room. We used the word because as kids we didn’t know another one. By high school, it was a badge of honour, a term we would insist on when asked the unavoidable “Where are you from?” question that every mixed-race person is subjected to the moment a conversation with a new acquaintance reaches the very minimum level of familiarity. For the record, my current answer, at 30 years old, is: “My mom’s Chinese, but born in Canada, and my dad’s a white guy from England.” If I’m peeved for some reason—if the question comes too early or with too much “I have to ask” eagerness—the answer is “Toronto” followed by a dull stare.
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The Royal Canadian Mint will stop distributing pennies to banks and businesses tomorrow, which means that, although the humble copper coin remains legal tender, businesses will now no longer give them as change. The day’s bewildering array of penny-centric articles suggests that Canadians have a strong attachment to the wee copper coin (as well as an awful lot of anxiety about the country’s ability to round to the nearest nickel). Below, the 10 weirdest—and yet strangely touching—send-offs.
Video never did kill the radio star. Neither did CDs or MP3s or even satellite radio, which tried to take down dusty old AM/FM radio by offering a cable TV–like galaxy of choices. iPods were a big contender: with our entire music collections in our palms, who needed a DJ to play the same tunes (and a bunch of annoying ads) over and over? Apparently, we did. Picking songs from an infinite library became a chore, and iPod fatigue set in. Digital music sales were supposed to double, then triple, as hundreds of millions of people bought music-capable smart phones and tablets. That hasn’t happened.