Nova Scotia

The Informer

People

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The List: 10 things curmudgeonly comedian Rick Mercer can’t live without

The List: Rick Mercer

The List: Rick Mercer

1 | My grandfather’s pipes
He died in 1982, when I was 12. I can’t picture him not smoking a pipe. You can still smell the tobacco in them—people always think I smoke them, because I keep them on my desk. I don’t, but I like knowing that Granddad did.

2 | My ducks
Newfoundlanders don’t traditionally use decoys much for hunting, so you don’t see them very often.The List: Rick Mercer But I think they’re cool. They’re the only things I look to buy when I’m back home. I have about six of them now, and I keep them on windowsills.

3 | My mic flags
I don’t have a lot of para­phernalia from my TV career, so I like to keep these when they get too beaten up to use on air. It’s fun to look back and remember waving them in front of George W.
or whoever.The List: Rick Mercer

4 | My smoking girl
Her name is Madeleine the Acadian. She stands at attention by the fire. She’s by the Naughler brothers, who are great Nova Scotian folk artists. They’re the kind of guys who say they live right next door to the art supply store—which is Canadian Tire. I just love that.The List: Rick Mercer

5 | My lanyards
I figure when I’m old these will help me map out my life. Some of them actually mean a lot to me, especially the one from the first time I got a temporary membership in the press gallery in Ottawa 19 years ago—I could wander around ­Parliament as a journalist, even though I’m not one.

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The Dish

Drinks

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David Lawrason’s Weekly Wine Pick: a rarely seen Nova Scotia sparkler

Weekly Wine PickBenjamin Bridge Nova 7

$25 | Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia | 89 Points
Benjamin Bridge is a new Nova Scotia sparkling winery that’s been drawing raves for its Champagne method bubblies that are fermented and aged in-bottle. But quantities are so tiny it remains essentially unavailable. Nova 7 is a less expensive, higher volume, tank-fermented edition from local Nova Scotia varieties, and it returns to the LCBO, in limited quantities, this Saturday.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Lobster oversupply brings the Cadillac of shellfish to the masses

Lobster, lobster, everywhere (Image: Keven Law)

Lobster, that well-loved conduit for drawn butter and the go-to symbol for a posh meal, is becoming way more wallet-friendly. A Toronto Star article charts the crustacean’s journey from east coast bargain meal, to high-end dish, back to everyday foodstuff. The money fact: lobster is now cheaper than deli meat in some markets. Last week, oversupply pushed the price down to $2.50 a pound for fishermen in Maine and $4 in Canada (in December it hit as low as $3.25 to fishermen in Canada). The Atlantic provinces are bringing in some serious hauls: in 2010, the lobster catch weighed in at 64,000 tonnes, while in 1970 it was roughly 17,000 tonnes. Greg Roach, associate deputy minister in Nova Scotia’s Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, believes “rigorous lobster management” is boosting the numbers. The bad news? Global warming may also be spurring the boom, and low prices are bad news for fishermen. Thus far, the lobster wave is already being felt in Toronto, and we expect the already popular lobster roll to cross over from seeming-ubiquity to actual ubiquity sometime this summer. (Side lobster note: the Drake launches its Sunday Lobster Fare menu this week, featuring one-pound lobster, one beer, a whack of sides and dessert, for $32.)  [Toronto Star]

The Informer

Politics

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The coroner’s office wants Ontario to pass a mandatory bike helmet law

Bike helmets: not just for dressing up like a robot (Image: Kevin Jaako)

Ontario’s coroner’s office has revived the idea of a mandatory helmet law for all cyclists, rather than just riders younger than 18—a contentious step, but one that’s already been adopted in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Deputy chief coroner Dan Cass made the case for helmets after finding that only 26 per cent of the 129 cyclists killed in Ontario since 2006 were wearing one. But opponents, including bike advocacy group Cycle Toronto, argue helmet laws give cyclists a false sense of safety and discourage others from hopping on their bikes. Another of Cass’s ideas will be familiar to Toronto cyclists: require heavy trucks to install side guards to prevent cyclists from getting crushed beneath the rear wheels, as happened tragically last year to Jenna Morrison. That idea has previously received a chilly reception at the federal level, so we’ll see whether Cass’s recommendations can make the tricky leap into regulations. [Globe and Mail]

The Dish

Restaurants

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Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 5, because these 21 new businesses opened on Roncesvalles

Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 5, Because 21 new businesses opened on Roncesvalles

Every weekend, the sidewalks of Roncesvalles Avenue are jammed with strollers, tethered dogs and couples in heated debate over which of the six new brunch spots is worth the lineup. It’s a frenetic scene few west-enders could have imagined a year ago, when construction cut off transit to the strip and struggling businesses seemed to close every other week. The sewer mains and streetcar tracks were finally replaced last spring, and the empty spaces left behind filled up in a whirl of openings. The new low-key restaurants and shops blend in effortlessly with the old-school produce stands and Polish butchers. And promising, papered-over windows spark constant neighbourhood speculation. Here, a tour of a street in triumphant transition.

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The Dish

Food TV

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Q&A with the home cook who won Recipe to Riches and took home $250,000

(Image: Food Network Canada)

Last night, as thousands of Canadians looked on from their living rooms, Recipe to Riches came full circle when Glo McNeill, winner of episode one’s sweet puddings and pies challenge, took home the $250,000 prize. The vivacious grandma from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, impressed the country with her Luscious Lemon Pudding Cakes, beating out John Grass and his Chicken Grenades in the final elimination round. The cakes weren’t the office favourite, but we have to respect such a simple recipe trouncing the competition. We caught up with her just after the taping to discuss her toughest rivals, web presence and what she plans to do with all that cash. Read our Q&A with the one and only G-Lo from Lunenberg, after the jump.

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The Dish

Food TV

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Recipe to Riches reviewed: Episode 1, Luscious Lemon Pudding Cakes

RECIPE TO RICHESSeason 1 | Episode 1

Last night was the premiere of Recipe to Riches, the much-hyped new Food Network Canada show where each week, a trio of home cooks compete in one of eight different categories to determine whose recipe would make the best President’s Choice product. (No, really.) The show was one pinch of So You Think You Can Dance’s nationwide talent search, a dollop Top Chef’s cook offs and product placement and a heap of Dragon’s Den’s Marketing 101, all whirred in a blender. To be honest, it can sometimes make for a strange mix—the Top Chef–style solemnity that greets each elimination seems a little out place when the contestants change every episode. Each winning product will show up on Loblaws shelves the weekend after the episode airs, and at the end, viewers will vote to crown the winner of a $250,000 grand prize. Every week, we’ll be bringing an advance sample of the winning dish into our office to see whether it’s worth the trip to the grocery store. After the jump, our thoughts on the winner of the Sweet Puddings and Pies challenge.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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Groundhog Day forecast: almost all pivotal groundhogs agree that it will be a short winter

Wiarton Willie saw a winter this big (Image: Explore the Bruce)

The groundhogs have weighed in, and it’s nearly unanimous: Punxsutawney Phil, Wiarton Willie and Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam all failed to see their shadows today, declaring that Canada and the U.S. would see an early spring. With arbitrary, superstitious consensus like that, it’s a sure thing, right?

Not so much. Check out this quote from the website of Alberta’s Balzac Billy.

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