This week to mix it up, thought I’d present a few of the noteworthy news stories that have taken place in this wonderful and sometimes odd country.

The Lotto Loser

Barry Shell of Brampton, Ontario must have thought he had all the luck when he found out he had won a cool 4.4 million dollars in a national lottery recently.  However, Barry’s enjoyment of his winnings was short lasted, as he was almost immediately carted off to jail. The skeletons came tumbling out of Shell’s closet on account of the simplest of reasons – he failed to provide the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation with proper ID during the routine processing of his winning ticket. An arrest warrant had been issued in 2003 after he didn’t show up for a court date.  Now granted the warrant was for something minor (theft under $500) but still, I would bet he didn’t anticipate that result.

Sweet and Sour Mouse Sauce

The owners of an Edmonton, Alberta restaurant were fined $23,230 yesterday for “horrible and disgusting” conditions that included having mice skeletons and beetle larvae.  The restaurant of note is the Wonderful Garden Restaurant in Edmonton’s downtown area.  Turns out this is not the first time the restaurant has had reprimands from the local health inspector.  They have been hit with numerous violations before, and were actually shut down for two weeks back in March.  Another highlight of the most recent inspection was the sight of staff washing hands overtop of meat that was thawing in the sink.  I think that given Edmonton’s size and diverse selection of restaurants, why would anyone continue to eat there?

Scary Swamp

In a story more that affected some people close to me, Valerie Cain was found safe after being missing for 6 days in the bush near Red Lake, Ontario.  Cain, an x-ray technician, was working in Red Lake for the weekend and on the way home pulled over on an old road to go to the bathroom and somehow got disoriented and ended up lost.  She survived mainly on a bit of cherries and crackers she had with her, and drank disgusting swamp water to try and avoid dehydration.  Miraculously, she escaped only with a lot of mosquito bites and some dehydration.  She was discovered a day after her vehicle was found.  She credited being in great physical shape as the reason why she survived.  It seems like these disappearance stories end too often with tragedy, so it was great to see a happy ending here.

Strike Out

Canada’s national passenger train company, Via Rail, has set a strike deadline for Friday at noon.  As a result, passengers en route to different vacations across the country have been stranded or forced to take alternative modes of transportation.  This was particularly an issue for a young man from Halifax, Nova Scotia who was stuck here in Winnipeg today.  He ended up taking a Greyhound bus to his destination.  Of course that is not a popular choice of travel in these parts, given that it was only 80 kilometres west of Winnipeg where Tim McLean was beheaded in a greyhound bus just over a year ago.

Oh, Canadians

The funniest story of the week comes from Hatfield Point, New Brunswick.  A man was found guilty of uttering threats to a school principal who had planned to scale back the singing of Oh Canada every morning.  The man threatened to “beat the principal senseless” outside of his office.  The principal, Erik Millett, is now considering libel suits against the man and others who threatened him with violence.  The whole controversy was put to rest when New Brunswick government gave in to public pressure and made it mandatory for the anthem to be sung in all schools across the province.

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Tyson Turner writes a weekly column for the Casual Observer, focusing on Canadian issues. His articles can be found North of the Border.

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