The Passport

“The document is elegant. No one can dispute that. The deep navy blue of its slightly pebbled cover, the understated gilt imprint of the royal arms of Canada, which somehow looks faded even when new — the passport is a classic. Its cover may be harder, more durable, the pages inside more decorated than when I was a boy, but, in the hand, its familiarity is heavy, anchoring. A passport is a little book printed for a single situation, the condition of being between countries. To hold it is to be going from home to elsewhere or from elsewhere to home. Over time, the booklet assumes the association of distance and belonging, of leaving and returning. This year that association, often subtle, like a half-remembered smell from childhood, clarified itself in the atmosphere of trauma that overtook the world. This was the year when we remembered what it means to hold a Canadian passport.”

Stephen Marche – Literary Review of Canada – July 2020

Perverts Like Us

“There was a time when I had orgasms that had nothing whatsoever to do with fantasies. I had them by accident. I remember having them in gym class all the time. We had to prepare for some Canadian Fitness Exam. We had to take it very seriously. As a child, you are supposed to accept what adults put in front of you and denote as important. There is an element of nonsense in the life of any child. That was why Nonsense Literature is so appealing to children.”

Heather O’Neill – Hazlitt – June 2020

The last straw: How gay bars and other LGBTQ2 businesses are facing disaster

“There’s a lot of talk of resiliency and creativity during the pandemic—entertainers holding digital drag shows, or shops that once focused on analog sales going digital. But while there’s plenty of discussion about financial support for small business owners, queer business owners are finding it difficult to access and are, in turn, imagining what their post-COVID-19 future looks like.”

Rob Csernyik – Xtra – June 2020

The last straw: How gay bars and other LGBTQ2 businesses are facing disaster

The changing face of Canada’s first suburbs

“As Tim VanDewark walks through his Edmonton suburb of Prince Charles one April evening, the “problem houses” keep appearing. Here is one post-war bungalow without curtains and a yard being reclaimed by nature. There is one with a deck that is leaning like it’s drunk. VanDewark stops walking at another, its windows covered in cobwebs. ‘There’s a lot that’s going to be happening in this neighbourhood,’ he says. ‘I would say there are at least 100 homes that haven’t really been well-maintained that will probably get demolished and redeveloped.'”

Tim Querengesser – Canadian Geographic – February 2020

How One Woman Reimagined Justice for Her Rapist

Viviane Fairbank – The Walrus – February 2020

Stay Tacky, Niagara Falls

“It was on a chintzy patch of street in Niagara Falls called Clifton Hill that I was first alerted to the possibility that civilization was a mistake. There, in the shadow of an enormous sculpture of Frankenstein’s monster eating a branded Burger King Whopper sandwich, my underage mind muddied on enormous schooners of beer procured with a fake ID from an adjacent Boston Pizza, I watched two other drunk loafers come to blows in that messy, soused, all-Canadian way—where they sort of thrash each other and toss out soft punches, which roll off buttery cheeks gone red with drunkenness, the brawl resolving when one combatant attempts to jersey the other by pulling his shirt over his head like they’re in a hockey fight.”

John Semley – The Walrus – February 2020

Social Media Is Revolutionizing the Way We Protest

Janaya Khan – The Walrus – February 2020

Unmasking Donny Dooley: Newfoundland’s Most Wanted Troll

Drew Brown – The Independent – January 2020

How YouTube Gives Us Love Without the Messiness

“It was, for me, a wholly new idea of what our devices can deliver. I knew that online porn had become a fact in many people’s lives, but I’d been slower to recognize a culture of autoromance. This burgeoning arena includes an army of chat bots trained to offer companionship and conversation. A service called Invisible Boyfriend (along with its sister service, Invisible Girlfriend) also offers text-based interactions with actors who pretend to be your romantic partner for $25 (US) a month. You never meet the guy, but you can choose his name, age, and the face that pops up when he messages. And a real, live person somewhere (presumably male, but who knows) will message you about how your day went, how good you look in those jeans.”

Michael Harris – The Walrus – January 2020

Growing Pains

“A month later, as the first snowfalls of the season were blanketing the roads, the electrician finally had time to check over the building in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. The smell from the sidewalk should have been their first clue. The tenant visibly panicked when they said they needed to enter the basement, and for good reason. After descending the staircase, they found not four but 244 cannabis plants lined up “like a vineyard” under heat lamps.”

Chloe Rose Stuart-Ulin – Maisonneuve – October 2019