Friday 29 December 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 29/12/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Alamy


Plans on ice

As the world’s top national ice-hockey teams line up to compete at February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, there’s one nation that won’t be on the scorecard: Lebanon. Until now the Lebanese haven’t had a national hockey team of their own, despite boasting a handful of hockey superstars who have made their name in the NHL. But Lebanon’s first national ice-hockey team was established in Montréal in 2016 and contenders flew in from around the world to try out. Despite not being attached to a league at this stage, 2017 saw their first international matches with other fledgling national teams, including Egypt, Haiti and Algeria. These form the early stages of the team’s quest to lace up in time for Beijing’s Winter Games in 2022. Will training in the homeland of ice hockey prove to be a boon?

Image: Getty Images


Front and centre

Next year should prove pivotal for Toronto’s most underused natural asset: its waterfront. Originally developed for industry, the Lake Ontario waterfront has remained isolated from downtown by the unfortunate placement of the maligned Gardiner Expressway. In January, The Bentway (the space under the Gardiner) will transform its vacant underside into a two-kilometre public space, crafting a gateway to the area. While Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google’s sister company Alphabet, has been tasked with redeveloping an eastern section of the city’s lakeside. Other developments include the continued clean up of the Port Lands, a CA$1.25bn (€820m) investment aimed at converting about 350 hectares of polluted industrial land into a mixed-used neighbourhood. Surely not all these visions will be realised in 2018 but with the opening of new public spaces and breaking of ground on others, it’s set to be an important year for creating the waterfront that the city deserves.

Image: Getty Images


Not so free and easy

The eventual shape of the renegotiated Nafta treaty between the US, Canada and Mexico might become clearer next year. The talks have so far been fractious – both Canadian and Mexican delegations have held firm on their demands as the Trump administration has attempted to skew the treaty in its favour. For Canada, the negotiations so far have revealed the Trudeau government’s approach to the current White House: it has refused to be cowed by US demands but has also intimated that, if Nafta as it exists now is wound up, then it is willing to forge a one-on-one trade deal with Washington. Where exactly this would leave Mexico remains to be seen but Canada has proved adept at quiet and diplomatic negotiation in 2017 and will continue trying to get ahead of a potential crisis before it takes shape.

Image: Shutterstock


High and mighty

By July 2018, Canada is set to become the first advanced industrialised nation to fully legalise and regulate marijuana. But while officials hammer out the particulars, one early economic beneficiary is emerging: Canada’s cannabis-technology sector. Capable of producing hundreds of tonnes annually, Canadian growers are the world’s premier marijuana innovators. While annual sales – estimates vary wildly from Deloitte’s ambitious $22bn (€18bn) to a more modest $5bn (€4.2bn) – will surely generate welcome tax dollars, it’s Canada’s position as a leader in an industry with limited competition that might prove most profitable. With 7 to 13 per cent of all money in the industry spent on technology and research, Canada is positioned to be a global leader in cannabis-related technology and logistics, with the ability to export innovations and provide a template to be followed by other nations considering something similar.

Something Old, Something New: the highlights

We take a trip down memory lane and listen back to some of our favourite interviews from our ‘Something Old, Something New’ series, where we invite creative people – from publishers to pop stars – to talk about the things that have influenced them throughout their lives and careers.

Monocle Films / Global

Christmas shopping in Ljubljana

The Slovenian capital is a treasure trove of unusual and creative gifts for the festive season – and our pick for all the presents and stocking-fillers you could ever need.


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