Tag Archives: CBC

Canada’s Smartest Person crowns its winner

A West Coaster has bested the rest of the country to become the winner of Canada’s Smartest Person. Vancouver’s Braden Lauer was triumphant during Sunday’s two-hour season finale on CBC, besting seven other finalists.

“Being on Canada’s Smartest Person has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” Lauer said via press release. “I hope winning the title inspires students and young people in the country to pursue their goals with passion and determination.” Lauer is in his second year of studying law at the University of British Columbia.

The past nine weeks have featured Canadians from varying backgrounds competing in mental and physical challenges devised to test their skills in math and logic, visual and spatial intelligence, body and kinesthetic intelligence, linguistics, musical intelligence and interpersonal intelligence. An ingenious Canada’s Smartest Person app enabled viewers to play along during and between broadcasts and revealed some startling facts about this country.

According to a press release issued by the CBC:

  • Waterloo, ON, emerged as the country’s smartest city
  • P.E.I. is Canada’s smartest province
  • Men outperformed women in the linguistic intelligence tests, which contrasts with scientific studies that suggest women have superior language and communication skills
  • Women excelled in social intelligence tests, scoring 6 percentage points higher than men overall with an average score of 62 points versus 56 points for men
  • Alberta emerged with the highest musical strength averaging 76 points across all music intelligence tests, while P.E.I. scored the lowest in this category with an average of 65 points

Review: Georgie’s past haunts her on Heartland

What did Lou expect when she connected with Georgie’s aunt? That was the first thing that came to mind when Lou decided to reach out to Crystal (Keegan Connor Tracy) so that Georgie could complete her birth mom’s side of her family tree project.

Lou, Peter and Georgie were front and centre during “The Family Tree,” with Lou being her usual overly-concerned self with regard to her daughters and anyone else that lives in Heartland. Written by David Preston and directed by Chris Potter, Lou at first found herself trying to measure up to the self-assured, confident and perfectly-coiffed Crystal before switching to plotting her demise. And who could blame Lou, really? Crystal had blown in like a whirling dervish, telling her niece how much she looked like her late sister and describing that side of the family so Georgie could fill in the blanks. Lou didn’t have too much of a problem with that, until Crystal started to question how Georgie was being raised.

Mucking out stables? Wearing her hair back? Dressed in hand-me-downs? That wasn’t good enough for Crystal. Her niece deserved more. The high-end shopping spree wasn’t a surprise. Georgie breaking her arm after falling from Checkers wasn’t. Lou’s outrage wasn’t either. What was surprising to me was that, rather than have Georgie lash out at Lou–a trope that’s over-used in this genre–Georgie embraced her and admitted having Crystal urge her to be more assertive and wear makeup just confused the young girl. (Did anyone else cheer when Peter told Crystal to get out of the house? Yeah, me too.) Crystal saying Lou and Peter couldn’t stop her from seeing Georgie hinted–at least to me–that she may show up later this season to cause more trouble for the Hogans.

Potter, meanwhile, was doing double duty behind the camera and in front, as Tim valiantly tried to get his relationship with Casey back on track. Again, rather than have the usual back-and-forth of two people tentatively easing into a relationship, Heartland did it differently by having Casey put Tim in an uncomfortable spot–buying a bulldogging horse so he could wrestle steer–before he admitted his rodeo days are in the rearview mirror. The two ended up smooching in the hay, so all is good with “Tasey” (“Casim”?).

That bulldogging horse of Caleb and Ty’s represented the last sale the latter wanted to make before leaving his business with the former so he could concentrate on his vet gig. Ty’s decision to sever ties over beers with Caleb had the usual effect. After all, beer and business don’t usually mix; throw in Jesse Stanton and things got ugly. I wish more time had been spent during the bar brawl itself, but the result was nonetheless the same: the pair were thrown in jail overnight and Ty called on Amy to come and bail them out.

“Did I mention I hate you two?” she said as she pulled away from the RCMP detachment? Yes, Amy, you made that quite clear.

 Notes and quotes

  • “What happened to your face?!”–Lou
  • “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Yeah, shut up Crystal
  • I like Drunk Caleb
  • I missed Jack
  • Did anyone else catch the “godmother” reference that teased Connor’s role on Once Upon a Time?

Next week is a repeat of Heartland followed by one more new episode on Dec. 7 before a break for the holidays.

Heartland airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBC.


Wab Kinew to host Canada Reads 2015

PANELIST- wabkinewheadshot-thumb-300x281-388296

From a media release:

CBCbooks.ca is thrilled to announce that Canada Reads 2014‘s winning defender, Wab Kinew, will host Canada Reads 2015. Kinew becomes the fourth host of CBC’s battle of the books, now entering its 14th year.

Earlier this year, Kinew successfully defended Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda as, “the one novel to change the nation.”  He is the interim Associate Vice-President for Indigenous Relations at The University of Winnipeg and a correspondent with Al Jazeera America. His hip-hop music and journalism projects have won numerous awards, including an Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards for Best Rap/Hip-Hop CD, an Adrienne Clarkson RTNDA Award (from the Association of Electronic Journalists) and a Gabriel Award.

This year’s theme is “one book to break barriers.” Panelists will debate books that change perspectives, challenge stereotypes and illuminate issues. Canada Reads will consider both fiction and nonfiction books. Readers can submit their suggestions at CBCbooks.ca until Sunday, November 30.

The Canada Reads panelists and their chosen books will be announced on January 20, 2015.

The Canada Reads debates will take place in front of live audiences over four days from March 16-19, 2015, and will be broadcast on radio, TV and online at CBCbooks.ca.  Each day of the competition, one book will be eliminated by the panelists, until the winner is chosen as the must-read book for Canadians in 2015.

Every year, the five shortlisted Canada Reads books see a significant rise in sales, and past winners have become national bestsellers. Past successes include The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis, which began as a self-published book and won Canada Reads in 2011; and The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, the 2009 winner, which will be broadcast as a mini-series on CBC-TV beginning January 7, 2015.


Preview: The Nature of Things celebrates pigeons

I’ll never look at pigeons the same way again.

Living in Toronto for over a decade has taught this small-town boy a few things, including watching out for the ubiquitous grey-feathered beasts fluttering around the downtown core. They bob and coo their way up to people sitting on park benches, eager to dart in and scoop up any morsel of food that tumbles to the ground. I viewed them with scorn and labelled them as pests. But I’ll show them a little more respect the next time we cross paths.

This week’s excellent episode of The Nature of Things, “The Secret Life of Pigeons,” pulls back the curtain on a bird that was once an important part of our daily lives. Written and directed by Scott Harper (The Age of Anxiety), “Pigeons” goes back in time to reveal that they were the first animal on earth to be domesticated and the crucial role they played during wartime of old by flying important messages to troops.

And the suckers are smart. Among the uncanny skills revealed during the episode: pigeons recognize human faces, spread themselves out amid food scraps so each gets some, and their young are among the fastest-growing on the planet. The highlight of the instalment for me was not only an explanation into how pigeons find their way back home from long distances, but the moment an HD camera was strapped to a bird’s back, offering a glimpse into what life is like for a pigeon in flight.

My second favourite segment? A peek into the life of pigeon fanciers, who strive to prolong the life of some of the world’s rarest–and pretty freaky-looking–pigeons.

The Nature of Things, “The Secret Life of Pigeons,” airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on CBC.


Review: Sheriffs and same-sex kisses on Strange Empire

Of course the week that Diane is off on vacation, Strange Empire‘s major storylines headed into a new direction.

“Electricity” was full of just that, literally and figuratively. Literally, a power line came down in Janestown, throwing its sparks hither and yon, and giving Slotter the chance to shift into a higher gear of crazy. The man has been on edge as of late and by Monday night was threatening not only the life of the pony but on the baby too. The former was dispatched off-camera and it looked like the same fate might befall the latter. (I didn’t really suspect that would happen; murdering a baby would make Slotter wholly unlikeable and we’re supposed to hope for his tortured soul.)

Meanwhile, Kat ascended to the role of Sheriff. After a couple of weeks of tension between the town’s ladies and Sheriff Little, everything came to an explosive head. Little made the mistake of fixing his rheumy gaze on Fiona and wanted to spend the night with her. Fiona decided she was up for it–she and her mother needed the money, she reckoned–but things went bad when Little tried to take what he’d previously said he’d pay for. Enter Kat, who promised to kill Little if he tried something like that again. Of course he did–pulling off a great impression of Jack Nicholson in The Shining by hacking his way into the Briggs’ home–before Kat shot him where he stood. (After instructing him to turn around so that she wasn’t a “back-shooter.”) The ladies may have been toasting Kat’s new job, but what will happen once Slotter finds out? He did say Kat would hang if she killed Little.

But perhaps the biggest moment of the episode was reserved for Rebecca and Finn, who finally kissed after weeks of sultry looks behind (and sometimes in front of) Thomas. Of course, no one knows Finn is actually a woman, so the lip-lock will be even more shocking when that comes to light. For now, though, things are already pretty messed up. Rebecca asked Isabelle for help in the bedroom so that she could be a better wife-to-be, but instead of directing it at Thomas she turned her growing affections to Finn instead. Perhaps Rebecca is hedging her bets; Thomas’ gangrenous leg means he’s going to need surgery soon and he may not come out of it alive.

Notable quotes

  • “There’s electricity in the air. Wonderful.”–Rebecca
  • “I don’t know what to do. The only men I have handled have been dead.”–Rebecca
  • “I’m no back-shooter.”–Kat

Strange Empire airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.