May 19, 2011

On View

Our dear friends Patrick and Raymond relocated to Toronto at the end of 2010 and they have now relaunched their wonderful art gallery.

Located in the heart of the entertainment district, the Wellington Street Art Gallery focuses on Canadian contemporary painting and sculpture. Patrick has been an art collector for many years and he has amassed a worthy collection of established and emerging artists.

Perhaps Patrick's greatest discovery is painter/sculptor Nicholas Crombach, whose distinctive marine-influenced works are both engaging and beguiling.

You can browse the current collection here.

May 10, 2011

Canada dominates bank ranking

Canadian banks dominated the recent bank ranking released by Bloomberg.

National Bank of Canada led the Canadian pack at #3, followed by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (#4), Toronto-Dominion Bank (#12), Royal Bank of Canada (#17) and Bank of Montreal (#19).

The Bloomberg ranking includes banks with at least $100 billion in assets, taking into account factors such as Tier 1 capital, non-performing assets compared with total assets, efficiency and a comparison of costs against revenues.

Only three U.S. banks — Fifth Third Bancorp (#7), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (#14) and Citigroup (#16) — made the top 20.

Read the full results at Bloomberg.

May 4, 2011

Coming Soon: PaperPhone

The brains at Queen's Human Media Lab will be presenting the PaperPhone at the upcoming ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Vancouver.

The head of the project, Dr. Vertegaal believes this technology will result in paperless offices as well as being a truly portable device. “This is the future. Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years. This computer looks, feels and operates like a small sheet of interactive paper. You interact with it by bending it into a cell phone, flipping the corner to turn pages, or writing on it with a pen.”

Check out the PaperPhone preview here.

May 3, 2011

Shock and Awe, Canadian style

On the heels of the stunning news that the U.S. had captured its infamous public enemy, Canadian voters have delivered a startling and history-making federal election.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper will once again be eligible to form the federal government, this time with a comfortable majority of 165 seats (won or leading at time of writing). After two back-to-back minority governments, Harper is no doubt pleased with what appears to be a decisive mandate from the Canadian electorate.

A closer look at the percentage of vote reveals that just shy of 40% of voters chose a Conservative candidate for Parliament. Or, put another way, 60% of electors did not vote for the Conservatives. The lion's share of the progressive/centrist vote was split between the NDP (31%) and the Liberal (19%) candidates.

The Conservatives gained an additional 22 seats within the 40% of votes. The majority win for Harper was partly a result of the design of the federal electoral process and partly a result in the massive shift in seats from the Liberals, which lost 42 seats, and the NDP, which gained 66 seats. 

Perhaps the most shocking result was the near extinction of the Bloc Quebecois, including its leader losing his seat. The Bloc is decimated to just 3 seats, losing official party status. Most of their seats went to the NDP. Gilles Duceppe conceded defeat and announced that he would be stepping down.

Next in line for mass casualties was the Liberal Party, whose leader clearly was unable to connect with Canadians. For the first time since Confederation (1867) the Liberal Party will neither be the Government or Her Majesty's Oppposition. It is a resounding and shocking defeat. To add further indignity, Ignatieff also lost his seat but surprisingly did not announce his resignation. His critics will no doubt see this as evidence of hubris.

Two  well-known Liberals kept their seats: Bob Rae and Justin Trudeau. Both men carry the double-edge weight of history. Rae is the former much-aligned NDP premier of Ontario and Trudeau is the son of the late Pierre Trudeau, former Prime Minister. 

The runaway train that is the NDP will form Her Majesty's Oppposition, the first time in the party's history. The NDP gained massive support in Quebec and was able to pull enough seats from the Bloc and the Liberals to win 103 seats and thus enable Jack Layton, long the progressive voice, to finally serve as the leader of the Opposition. This is a stellar accomplishment for Mr Layton.

Last but not least, Elizabeth May won a seat in the House of Commons, the first for the Green Party. The leader of the Green Party will finally will be heading to Ottawa and may well be included in the TV debate the next time around.

UPDATE: Ignatieff announced his intention to resign as leader of the Liberal Party at 10:00 ET on May 3/

May 2, 2011

Endorsement: Kingston Centre for Arts & Design

A dear friend of ours Karen Peperkorn, founder of the Creative Arts focus program in the Limestone District School Board, has hatched a wonderful plan to create the Kingston Centre for Arts & Design (KCAD).

The goals of KCAD are:
  • provide support and promotion of cultural activities
  • Provide a community based centre of excellence for the Arts and Design.
  • Unify dance, drama, visual art, craft, design, literary art
  • Feature Arts resource space providing books, materials, Arts listings
Karen has applied to be featured as part of PepsiCo's "Refresh Project" and is in competition to receive $100,000 to launch KCAD. 

Learn more about KCAD and vote for this arts-based community education project at KCAD.