Mary Berg of Mary’s Kitchen Crush shares three favourite short story collections by Canadian women

Mary Berg is the Ontario home cook who was a winner of TV’s MasterChef Canada and is currently host of Mary’s Kitchen Crush. Berg is also the author of her debut cookbook, 2019’s Kitchen Party. 

Berg is an avid reader and loves short stories: “I’ve always found short stories to be such an interesting way to gather information and learn about whatever the author’s trying to tell us.”

She spoke with Shelagh Rogers about three of her favourite short story collections by Canadian women authors: Shut Up You’re Pretty by Tea Mutonji, Guest Book: Ghost Stories by Leanne Shapton and Even that Wildest Hope by Seyward Goodhand.

Shut Up You’re Pretty is a book by Téa Mutonji. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Sandro Pehar)

“The short stories here definitely read more like a novel, especially in comparison to a lot of the other short story collections I read, which are usually not linked by a protagonist or a narrator. 

“You kind of jump forward in time from the protagonist Loli. She’s this very young girl, a new immigrant to Scarborough. You’re just watching this person get dropped into the middle of cold Canadian winter, figuring out their life and trying to find a space for them.

The short stories here definitely read more like a novel, especially in comparison to a lot of the other short story collections I read, which are usually not linked by a protagonist or a narrator.

“The writing of that first story of that very young protagonist was really fascinating to me because it sounded young. It didn’t sound like an adult woman was writing it. But it also still kept the distance that is kept throughout the short story collection. 

But it’s almost like you and the narrator Loli are standing on one side of a fogged piece of glass. You’re looking at her life. And it’s very pragmatically told. Horrible things are happening and beautiful things happen but it’s all told very pragmatically and very matter of fact and very these are the things that happened.

Which to me makes me love the character more because it makes me dig in and figure out why they’re being like that and why they present their life in such a way.

The Next Chapter17:00Téa Mutonji on Shut Up You’re Pretty

Téa Mutonji talks to Shelagh Rogers about her Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize nominated novel, Shut Up You’re Pretty. 17:00

Guest Book is a book by Leanne Shapton. (Robbie Lawrence/Penguin Random House Canada)

“I was trying to read it at nighttime and I had to pull the covers up and tuck my legs up — because it’s eerie and spooky.  The haunted nature of it is so much more beautiful than any scary movie or anything I’ve ever read before. It was really something. 

The first story in the collection showcases really someone just watching people walk through street lights and the street lights, in my mind, kind of act similar to how a short

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Canadian woman suspected of sending White House a ricin package pleads not guilty

A Canadian woman suspected of mailing a package containing ricin to the White House last week appeared in court Tuesday afternoon where she pleaded not guilty.

Pascale Ferrier, of Quebec, was arrested Sunday at the New York-Canada border on a charge of threatening the president. Her court appearance was brief and U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf.

This photo provided by the Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff's Office, showing the booking photo of Pascale Ferrier. 

This photo provided by the Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, showing the booking photo of Pascale Ferrier. 
(Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, via AP)

Ferrier, who wore a tan jail jumpsuit, had her hands in cuffs and a chain around her waist. A blue mask covered much of her face as she spoke only briefly to answer the judge’s questions.

Through an interpreter and her attorney, she also asked for an identity hearing — which would compel the government to prove that she is indeed the person for whom the arrest warrant was issued — and a probable cause hearing for the government to prove there is sufficient cause to proceed in the case. The judge ordered her held without bail.

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Her attorney, Fonda Kubiak, said Ferrier was exercising her rights to those hearings, which were scheduled for Monday.

“She has a presumption of innocence and that’ll be pursued further after today,” Kubiak said outside the courthouse.

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer walks outside of an apartment complex Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in St-Hubert, Quebec, during a raid in connection with an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House. 

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer walks outside of an apartment complex Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in St-Hubert, Quebec, during a raid in connection with an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House. 
(The Canadian Press via AP)

The package, postmarked from Canada and addressed to the White House, was sent sometime last week and intercepted at a mail sorting facility on Friday. It included a letter that included disparaging remarks about the president, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.

During the investigation, the FBI discovered that six additional similar letters appeared to have been received in Texas in September and also had stamps indicating that they’d been mailed from Canada, according to court papers.

Those letters “contained similar language” to the letter that was sent to Trump and were sent to people affiliated with facilities where Ferrier had been jailed in 2019.

Investigators also matched Ferrier’s fingerprints from four of the letters, the complaint said. In Facebook and Twitter posts in September, Ferrier also wrote threatening messages against the president and used similar wording as she did in the letter, according to the document.

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When she was arrested Sunday while trying to enter a border crossing in Buffalo, Ferrier told Customs and Border Patrol agents that she was “wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters,” the complaint said. Officers found a loaded gun in her waistband and said she was also carrying a knife.

Ferrier was booked into the Hidalgo County jail in March of 2019

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Canadian Interior Designers Shine on the Virtual Stage | Nachricht

Showcasing the winners of the 2020 IDC Value of Design Awards

TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2020 /CNW/ – Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) held its first ever virtual awards presentation on Sept. 23, 2020. The event, which was hosted by IDC Past President, Jason Kasper and IDC CEO Trevor Kruse, was broadcast simultaneously from Toronto, Ont. and Winnipeg, Man.

The awards were held in lieu of the of IDC’s annual design symposium, which was cancelled this year due to the global pandemic. Despite the obstacles, the Canadian interior design community came together again to celebrate design and innovation.

“The show must go on!” says Kruse. “We are delighted to have an opportunity to honour our members and celebrate the value of Canadian interior design.”

This year, 12 Canadian design firms from coast to coast were honoured at IDC’s virtual Value of Design Awards (VODA) celebration. These awards, which launched in 2018, shine a spotlight on Canadian interior designers by providing a forum to showcase the benefits of design thinking: an empathetic, inventive, and iterative process focused on the human experience within interior spaces.

The 2020 Value of Design Awards were presented to the following winners who continue to push the boundaries of interior design. These designers have shown and implemented an empathetic, inventive, and iterative process, focusing on the human experience within their projects, creating sustainable and functional designs for the present and future.

Value of Design Award – Excellence  

Innovation in Residential Single-Family Design: ‘ShadowBox’ by Johnson Chou Inc., Toronto, Ont.

Innovation in Workplace Design: ‘BFR Accountants’ by Folio Design Inc., Laval, Que.

Innovation in Workplace Design: ‘COWI North America’ by Square One Interior Design, North Vancouver, B.C.

Innovation in Workplace Design: ‘Flight Centre Flagship Toronto’ by Figure3, Toronto, Ont.

Innovation in Workplace Design: ‘Hullmark Head Office at 474 Wellington Street West’ by Quadrangle, Toronto, Ont.

Innovation in Workplace Design: ‘OPG Workplace Transformation’ by Figure3, Toronto, Ont.

Innovation in Workplace Design: ‘The Smart City Sandbox’ by IBI Group Architects (Canada) Inc., Toronto, Ont.

Innovation in Workplace Design: ‘Workplace Innovation Challenge’ by IBI Group Architects (Canada) Inc., Toronto, Ont.

Value of Design Award – Merit 

Innovation in Design Thinking: ‘Imperfect Fresh Eats’ by Syllable Inc., Toronto, Ont.

Innovation in Design Thinking: ‘OPG Workplace Transformation’ by Figure3, Toronto, Ont.

Innovation in Hospitality Design: ‘Hotel Belmont Food & Beverage Portion’ by Kado Design, Vancouver, B.C.

Innovation in Institutional/Educational/Civic Design: ‘Odeyto Indigenous Centre’ by Gow Hastings Design, Toronto, Ont.

Innovation in Retail Design: ‘Inscape Showroom’ by Figure3, Toronto, Ont.

Innovation in Workplace Design: ‘Mitecvsat-Alga Micro Ondes’ by Folio Design Inc., Kirkland, Que.

Innovation in Workplace Design: ‘Peoples Group Workplace Design’ by DIALOG, Vancouver, B.C.

Innovation in Workplace Design: ‘Spear Street Capital – Willingdon Business Park Building 6’ by SSDG Interiors Inc., Burnaby, B.C.

Innovation in Workplace Design: ‘Volaris’ by Bartlett & Associates, Toronto, Ont.

Founded in 1972, Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) is the national advocacy association for the interior design profession, representing more than 5,000

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Canadian woman charged with sending ricin-laced letter to White House

A Canadian woman has been charged with threatening President Donald Trump by mailing a letter laced with the deadly poison ricin to the White House, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

The woman, Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 53, who lives in Quebec, was carrying a knife and a loaded gun tucked into her waistband when she was taken into custody along the U.S.–Canada border Sunday, prosecutors said.

“I found a new name for you: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown,'” read a rambling note found inside the letter that arrived at the White House’s mail sorting center Friday, according to court documents.

“You ruin USA and lead them to disaster. I don’t want the next 4 years with you as president. Give up and remove your application for this election. So I made a ‘Special Gift’ for you to make a decision. This gift is in this letter. If it doesn’t work, I’ll find better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come.”

Ferrier is also alleged to have sent letters containing a powdery substance to people at jails and detention centers in Texas, where she had recently been arrested on weapons charges. Those letters, like the letter addressed to Trump, also used the phrase “if it doesn’t work I will find a better recipe,” the complaint said.

Ferrier was taken into custody after investigators matched her fingerprints on the letters recovered in Texas with fingerprints of Ferrier in FBI databases.

The FBI said that on Sept. 9, she made postings on Twitter and Facebook saying “#killTrump” and used the same phrase found in the letter to the president: “Ugly Clown Tyrant.”

According to the complaint, she told Customs and Border Protection officers at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing in Buffalo, New York, that she was wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters.

Ferrier was ordered held without bail at her initial court appearance in Buffalo. Her lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Daniella Silva contributed.

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A Canadian Dream House That Took Three Architects to Build

When you build a home from the ground up, there’s one thing that’s more important than the concrete, the lumber, the steel or nearly anything else: patience.

For Jack and Araxi Evrensel, that became abundantly clear when they began start-and-stop work on a house that clings to a steep slope of granite at the edge of Burrard Inlet, in West Vancouver, Canada. By the time the house was completed, they had spent eight years working on it, with three different architects.

The couple tried to take each delay in stride. “We took our time, because we weren’t in any rush,” said Mr. Evrensel, a former restaurateur who sold his five upscale British Columbia restaurants in 2014. Although they were eager to see their dream house built, they were fortunate enough to be able to stay in their old home as long as they needed to, and were focused on getting things right.

“We were very lucky to find this spot,” Mr. Evrensel said. “I loved the idea of the waterfront and that it’s just an outcropping of pure rock.”

The Evrensels, who are in their mid-60s, bought the half-acre lot for about 2.5 million Canadian dollars (roughly $1.9 million) in 2004. To design the house, Mr. Evrensel initially turned to his friend Werner Forster, the architect who had worked on his restaurants.

They got off to a quick start, and construction began in 2005. “He developed it to a point where we started the blasting of the property, since it was all rock,” Mr. Evrensel said.

Shortly after blasting began, however, Mr. Forster became seriously ill and died. With little more than a clearing in the rock completed, Mr. Evrensel put the project on hold. “I wasn’t sure, at the time, I would build it without him,” he said.

Eventually, though, he began thinking about finding another architect. He had long admired the work of Arthur Erickson, one of the most decorated Canadian architects of the era, and had seen him at Mr. Forster’s wake. Although Mr. Erickson had dined in Mr. Evrensel’s restaurants on a few occasions, Mr. Evrensel felt intimidated to ask the architect about his personal project, as Mr. Erickson was known for high-profile buildings like the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Wash.

Nevertheless, he mustered the courage to introduce himself to Mr. Erickson, who was immediately receptive to the idea. They agreed that Mr. Erickson’s former associate, Nick Milkovich, an architect who had handled Mr. Erickson’s residential projects before opening his own studio, would lead the project, with Mr. Erickson serving as a consultant.

“When we first stepped into the project, it was tentative,” Mr. Milkovich said. “Knowing that Jack’s good friend had been working on the house, we wondered how much we could change.”

For months, Mr. Milkovich tentatively floated one small change after another, until Mr. Evrensel made it clear that he wanted his new architects to have full creative freedom. “He said,

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Canadian authorities say letter containing ricin sent to White House

The FBI is leading an investigation into a letter sent to the White House that was believed to contain the poison ricin. Initial information indicated the letter originated in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

“The FBI and our U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service partners are investigating a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility,” the FBI said in a statement. “At this time, there is no known threat to public safety.”

The RCMP, which is working with the FBI on the investigation, said the FBI conducted an analysis on the substance found in the envelope. This report indicated the presence of ricin. 

Ricin is naturally found in castor beans, but it can be made into a poison from the waste “mash” produced when castor oil is made. It takes a deliberate act to make it into a poison, and no known antidote exists. Death from ricin poisoning can occur within 36 to 72 hours of exposure, depending on the route of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, or injection) and the dose received. If death has not occurred in 3 to 5 days, the victim usually recovers.

There have been several incidents in recent years involving ricin being sent through the mail. In 2018, Navy veteran William Clyde Allen III was arrested for mailing letters containing castor seeds to the White House and the Pentagon. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if castor seeds are swallowed, ricin can be released and cause injury.

Andres Triay contributed to this report. 

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