The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 30 December 2015

Image: Alexi Hobbs

Bet your bottom dollar

The value of Canada’s currency, languishing at an 11-year low against the US dollar, hasn’t exactly been a cause for seasonal celebration but there is a silver lining. US visitors keen to take advantage of such a favourable currency rate have surged across the border and helped buoy local economies. “British Columbia is one province that is doing better than many,” says Nick Exarhos, an economist at CIBC World Markets in Toronto. “They should continue to benefit from the weak [Canadian] dollar.” What’s more, Exarhos thinks the new year could see a turnaround for the country’s diminished manufacturing sector as demand for Canadian-made products picks up. “Over time it should help win back some manufacturing that went away,” he says.

Image: Remi Carreiro

Shore is cosy

Winter Stations, a design competition, was inspired by a Toronto-based firm that decided to bring the city’s snow-covered shoreline in from the cold. “The beach is popular in the summertime so we wondered how we could activate it in the winter,” says Aaron Hendershott, an architect at Raw Design. The contest invites designers from across the city to reimagine existing lifeguard stations dotted along the beach, transforming them into curious cubbyholes in which to take shelter from the cold. “It’s exciting and surprising,” Hendershott says. “And it really gives designers the opportunity to work on a blank canvas, which is really what a snow-covered beach is.” This year has seen a dramatic rise in interest from creatives, with more than 400 submissions to the project. The winner will be revealed on 8 January.

Image: Getty Images

Ice and slow

Hockey season may be at full throttle in Canada but ice rinks across the country are also quietly a-hum with players of its older sibling: curling, a sport first recorded in Scotland in 1511. “Curling is in huge growth right now,” says Fred Veale, who opened the Canada Curling Stone Company – the only producer of curling stones in North America – in 1992. Since curling became an Olympic sport in 1998, it has emerged as a potent soft-power carrier in world sport with growth in Asia, the southern US and even Australia. “The next 20 years in this business are going to be booming,” says Veale. “There are so many years of promise with it.”

Image: Punch Photographic

Screen test

Members of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences begin poring through contenders for the Oscars today, ahead of the announcement of nominations in Los Angeles on 14 January. Among the frontrunners is Canadian-Irish feature Room, based on the acclaimed novel by Emma Donoghue and a nod at the Academy Awards would crown a buoyant year for film-making in Canada. “This has been a solid year for Canadian releases,” says Magali Simard of the Toronto International Film Festival, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. As the film industries in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver continue to blossom 2016 promises to be a bright one for Canadian film too.

From Monocle 24

Interview: Polly Leonard

The heritage of textiles is not only fundamental to design but to the modern world itself. And the use of textiles is constantly evolving. No one understands this better than Polly Leonard, founder of °Selvedge*, a handsome magazine dedicated to textile materials.

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