daily: Friday, May 31

A recipe for bannock, talking basketball with a former Raptors coach, and a small-town Dragon’s Den
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on May 31, 2019
Doug Ford transit announcement
File photo of Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek. (Chris Young/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Ford government cuts funding to biodiversity programs

Nine Ontario programs focused on biodiversity and invasive-species research have had their public funding reduced or eliminated in the latest round of provincial cuts, reports the Toronto Star. At least one, the Ontario Invasive Plant Council, which learned that it would no longer receive annual funding from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, is considering shutting down, and the Ontario Biodiversity Council says the cuts put its 2020 report on the implementation of the province’s biodiversity strategy at risk.

Pikangikum First Nation declares state of emergency

In response to a growing forest fire, officials have declared a state of emergency in Pikangikum First Nation, a fly-in community of 3,800 people in northwestern Ontario. Residents are being evacuated to Kapuskasing and Thunder Bay, but, as the CBC reports, the evacuation will be no easy matter: the fire is only about a kilometre away, and smoke could interfere with attempts to leave by air.

Dragon’s Den, small-town style

Small-town retail strips with empty storefronts may be an increasingly common sight across the country, as more Canadians than ever are leaving rural communities. But one town just north of London has a solution: giving prospective entrepreneurs a year of rent-free store space to launch their ventures. Earlier this year, residents of Clinton raised $60,000 and held a Dragon’s Den-style competition to pick five winners — among them a book store, a bridal shop, and a wellness clinic. Contest organizer and local resident Angela Smith told the CBC that the town’s recent retail decline was largely the result of competition from online retail and big-box stores.

Last surviving Code Talker dies at 94

During the Second World War, a group of Indigenous soldiers served as Code Talkers, sending messages in such languages as Navajo, Cherokee, and Cree as a means of encryption. This week, Louis Levi Oakes, who had been the last surviving Mohawk member of the group, died at the age of 94. Born on the Akwesasne reserve, in Quebec, Oakes became an iron worker after being discharged from the United States Army in 1946. As the Globe and Mail reports, he kept his wartime duties a secret from his family until a few years ago, when the U.S. began ramping up efforts to acknowledge those who had taken part in the Code Talkers program.

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Off the Rails, Part 2: Doug Ford’s big plan for transit in Toronto

How did Toronto transit get so political? In the second part of his three-part series, Matt Gurney looks at why a change in government in Ontario usually means a new, and sometimes wildly different, plan for the TTC. So what kind of a plan does the city need right now? “It’s a long list, and some of it, including ramping up GO train services in the far reaches of the Greater Toronto Area, falls outside the scope of this series,” says Gurney. “But for Toronto itself, there’s a clear standout priority: a subway, in some configuration, that provides new access to downtown.”

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What’s in bannock?

"If we didn't have scone back then, we might have starved to death." So says Carl Beaver, father of videographer Chris Beaver. Bannock, or scone, as some call it, has a long history with the Indigenous people of North America. Join the elder Beaver at his home in Alderville First Nation as he demonstrates how to prepare bannock (cooking tip: it pairs well with sunfish) and reflects on a lifetime of loving the quick bread.

Off the Beaten Track with Kate Humble

Kate Humble and her Welsh sheepdog, Teg, continue their journey across the remote Welsh countryside. In this episode, they’re in mid-Wales, herding sheep in Ponterwyd, fly-fishing along the River Elan, and enjoying a canine family reunion in Llangammarch Wells.

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — Jay Triano: A Canadian basketball story

Coach Jay Triano with two Toronto Raptors players
File photo of Jay Triano (left) with Leandro Barbosa (middle and DeMar DeRozan. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP/CP)

Basketball may have been invented by a Canadian, but the game didn’t take off in this country until more than a hundred years later, when the Raptors first took the court in 1995. Today, the NBA features a number of Canadian-born players, we have a strong national team, and the Raptors are heading to their first-ever NBA finals. Nam Kiwanuka talks to former Raptors coach Jay Triano about the rise of basketball in Canada, his tenure with the team, and his new memoir, Open Book: Canadian Basketball and Me

From the archive

August 17, 1988 — The People Make the Valley

In this episode of People Patterns, watch as farmers from the Upper Ottawa Valley discuss (and sing about) their family histories in the area and why it’s important to keep local traditions alive — and check out some beautiful countryside vistas and a variety of adorable barnyard animals.