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A guide to the summer’s must-attend music festivals

Current Obsession: Travelling Road Shows

(Photographs: Cockburn courtesy of Huntsville Festival of the Arts; Fucked Up by Daniel Boud; Sinclaire and Mumford & Sons courtesy of Universal Music Canada)

Huntsville Festival of the Arts
July 4 to August 28, Huntsville

In a nutshell: Roots music meets Roots clothing.

The highlights: The indie-country duo Whitehorse, the fiddle superstar Natalie MacMaster, a two-night stand from the unerringly earnest Bruce Cockburn and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which backed Dr. John and the Black Keys at last year’s Grammys. The festival also recently started a cottage-country version of Nuit Blanche full of kooky-cool art installations and street theatre.

Who goes: Folkie moms and dads in Tilley hats and cottagers bored of playing Yahtzee.

Where to sleep: Deerhurst Resort, which scored a $2-million reno for the infamous 2010 G8 summit, has three luxe restau­rants and top-notch facilities.


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The Informer

Random Stuff

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Toronto area code stereotypes: a guide to the city’s shifting phone-based social hierarchy

Each area code in Toronto comes with its own set of stereotypes that—rightly or wrongly—circulate with remarkable persistence. When Toronto and the rest of the GTA each get a new area code in March (437 and 365, respectively), the trash-talk hierarchy will only get more baroque. As Maestro has revealed no plans for a “416/647/437/905/289/365 (T.O. Party Anthem),” we offer this handy primer on phone-based bigotry.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Waving goodbye to the enviropigs 

The dream of a genetically engineered pig that produces pristine (okay, less phosphorous-laden) manure is, for the time being at least, dead. The New York Times reports that the University of Guelph’s “enviropig” project, which involved designing a pig better able to digest phosphorous, has lost its funding from Ontario Pork. The story is an interesting one, because it raises questions on the ethics and practicality of genetically engineering animals, but also because it’s the only story you’ll read today that describes someone as “co-inventor of the pig.” The main problem, the Times explains, is that the researchers weren’t able to find a company willing to bring the pig to market, which figures, since the animals were never approved for human consumption in the first place. Still, if you’re a supporter of the project, don’t despair. Just in case a company is one day willing to market the animals, their semen is being frozenwhich we can only assume was the handiwork of some poor undergraduate looking for extra credit on his bio lab. Read the entire story [New York Times] »

The Dish

Random Stuff

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In a bid to stop the “mega-quarry,” Michael Stadtländer rallies (nearly) every chef we’ve ever heard of for Foodstock


Michael Stadtländer has rallied 100 of the best chefs from across Canada to participate in Foodstock, an epic, pay-what-you-can public food event on October 16 to raise money to fight the construction of a huge limestone quarry in the town of Honeywood, Ontario. The Highland Companies’ plan aims to span 2,316 acres of land and run 189 feet deep (deeper than Niagara Falls), and will have to pump 600 million litres of groundwater out of the pit each day (about the same amount used by 2.7 million Ontarians), all to extract crushed stone known as amabel dolostone.

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The Informer

Events

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Saturday’s NXNE picks: Handsome Furs, Memoryhouse, Chad VanGaalen and more

Tonight is the unofficial last hurrah for the North by Northeast faithful—and that means it’s going to be a good one. The bars are open until 4 a.m. and the concert lineup is chock full of quality acts. We have vacation brain just thinking about it (this weekend is supposed to be sunny after all), so here are a few of our favourite summer picks. The best part: they’re all on one sweet day. Check out selections for Saturday, after the jump.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Watch a video of a gender reveal party, the Internet’s favourite new food trend (there’s cake involved)


The gender reveal party is the latest food trend to explode across the Internet. For those yet to be invited to one, here’s how it works: following a prenatal ultrasound, the technician, instead of revealing the baby’s gender to the parents, writes it on a note and seals it in an envelope; that envelope finds its way to a local baker or friend, who makes a cake that’s either pink or blue on the inside; and finally, with great trepidation, the cake is cut at a party full of family and friends. Screaming and jumping typically ensues, regardless of the outcome. While we haven’t heard of any Toronto bakers getting in on the action—yet—check out this fab pink-and-blue-polkadotted creation from this Guelph baker.

The Informer

Politics

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Rick Mercer gets the youth vote out, Conservatives shut it back in

Rick Mercer might actually be the most powerful spokesperson for the youth vote in Canada. After years of national hand-wringing over declining turnout, and particularly the anemic youth voting, Mercer’s rant (above) has helped mobilized an actual pro-voting uprising among Canada’s 18- to 24-year olds. Who could argue against an organic surge in the youth vote? According to the Guelph Mercury, the Conservative Party of Canada:

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Escape from Guelph: two 20-somethings tackle the Toronto condo market

The buyers
Ellaine Yusi and Csilla Bajari are banking officers with Scotiabank. When they met two years ago at the Guelph branch where they worked at the time, they were both living with their parents and feeling trapped. On New Year’s Day 2009, the friends drove to Toronto for dinner and resolved to apply for job transfers and buy a place together in the city before the year was out. Within a few months, they’d landed positions in the city and begun condo shopping (and commuting).

The dream
They wanted a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo—“Two girls cannot have one bathroom,” says Bajari—in the downtown core, but they expanded their search to North York when they realized how small and expensive downtown condos were.

The budget
$260,000–$330,000.

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