Needless to say, this has been an unprecedented summer. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on just about everything and everyone. Now, as summer winds down, we face an equally unprecedented and indefinite fall and winter.
This week would have been the opening of the Canadian National Exhibition: the true harbinger of the end of summer.
Before summer ends, be sure to enjoy whatever summer experiences you can, before it is too late.
For example, earlier this week, I learned that the corpse flower was in bloom at the Metro Zoo. Nicknamed “Pablo ‘Pe-ew’caso”, the Zoo’s specimens of the corpse flower, or amorphophallus titanium, also known as the titan arum, blooms for only a short time (8 to 36 hours) every year. The plant usually doesn’t bloom for the first 7 to 10 years of its life, and thereafter may only bloom every few years. The plant can reach a height of over 3 m. The plant attracts bugs for pollination by giving off the smell of rotting meat or a rotting corpse, hence the common name. The red colour of the flower contributes to the illusion of meat.
A time-lapse video of the plant blooming can be found here.
Alas, I was too late, and missed it.
Make the most of the rest of your summer. Enjoy an Ontario peach. It is going to be a long, long fall and winter.
Thanks for reading.
Summer is fleeting – and we often put pressure on ourselves to make the most of this 3-month sliver of warmer weather.
But here’s the issue. Day-to-day life doesn’t stop. You still have to work most weeks, kids need tending, dogs need walking, and meals need making. And expenses don’t go away – there’s a limit on what you can spend.
So, instead of focussing on big, time-consuming, or costly things that can make a summer special (trips, hot-air ballooning, cottage rentals), how about some small things that can rock your summer.
Here are five small activities that you can easily work into your summer plans.
- Jump in a fresh water lake: You actually don’t have to jump, but there is no summer experience that can match the feel of a Canadian freshwater lake. Even if you’re a non-swimmer, put on a life vest and wade in. Just once. I guarantee it will be memorable.
- Take in one outdoor concert or event: Shakespeare in the Park, a jazz concert, a baseball game – there are many ways to enjoy some sport or culture in the warmer weather. It’s a chance to sit, relax and let someone else do the entertaining.
- Eat ice cream on a hot night: Your diet is no excuse – there are sugar-free and vegan ice cream options everywhere these days. On a hot day, wait until dark then head out for ice cream. The combination of heat, cold and dark can make for some memorable moments.
- Plant a vegetable, somewhere: It can be in a garden or a pot, or secretly hidden in a park, but plant something that you can harvest later in the summer. You’ll get great satisfaction in eating a home-grown carrot, bean, tomato, or zucchini.
- Have a BBQ or patio dinner: If you have a BBQ, use it – the smell alone will bring back memories of summers past. If you don’t BBQ, make a point of having a patio dinner, at a restaurant or at home. And as you’re sitting there, remember: you can’t do this in January.
Here’s to better weather!
Ian M. Hull
As spring leans toward summer, many begin to think about spending time sitting on a dock. While sitting on a dock (or a patio, if that is more your thing), consider the recent decision of Krieser v. Garber,  O.J. No. 1619.
In 2012, the Garbers decided to build a dock attached to their property on Lake Simcoe. They retained Nealon Wood Products to do so. It must have been a nice dock. The cost was $150,000.
Unfortunately, the dock was not built according to Ministry of Natural Resources-approved plans. It was built 17 feet to the west of where it was supposed to be. Boulders placed around the dock for ice protection extended over the projected lot line of Garbers’ neighbour, the Kriesers. While the placement of the dock improved the view of the Garbers, it did not improve the Kriesers’ view. Additionally, it interfered with the Kriesers’ ability to access their own property by boat.
At trial, the court found that injunctive relief was appropriate. The Garbers were ordered to remove the dock from its current location, and repair the lake bed. In addition, the Garbers and Nealon were ordered to pay the Kriesers $100,000 in punitive damages.
On the issue of costs, reported here, the court awarded the Plaintiff costs of $518,000 for the two week trial, payable by the Garbers and Nealon, jointly and severally. The Garbers were ordered to pay an additional $80,000 for costs “thrown away” in relation to an earlier adjournment of the trial.
In awarding costs, the court noted that the Plaintiff had made a very reasonable offer to settle. The offer was, according to the judge, “the most generous offer to settle I have ever seen”.
In their offer, the Kriesers offered to pay for all of the costs of having the dock and the protective boulders moved. It was estimated that this costs could be in the $150,000 range. This “with prejudice” offer was relied on, in part, to support an award of substantial indemnity costs. It also was a factor in the award of punitive damages.
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.
The association between “reading” and “summer” may not be as strong as it used to be, but it’s a tough association to shake. A couple of generations ago, there was lots of time for summertime reading. Television had summer reruns (so not much to watch) and vacations were often modest (cottage, camping, road trips). There was plenty of down time.
Fast forward to today and the introduction of new summer shows plus the addition of Netflix means there is compelling television in every season. And vacations often involve a plane ride and a more active exploration of countries abroad. Reading can sometimes take a back seat.
That said, like the bell ringing for Pavlov’s dogs, when the first summer heat wave comes I want to have a book on the go. With Canada Day marking the beginning of the summer season for most of us, it seems fitting to look to Canadian writers for our summer reading inspiration.
The CBC has compiled a list of 100 must-read Canadian novels. If you’re looking for a good place to start, this is it.
Many (but by no means all) of these novels fall into a category that some would call serious literature – which might involve a little more heavy lifting by the reader than a crime thriller. That said, there are thrillers on the list, such as Linwood Barclay’s No Time for Goodbye.
And if you prefer to consider your book selection by author rather than title, the CBC has conveniently listed the “100 writers in Canada you need to know now.” From the humour of Terry Fallis, to the thrillers of Andrew Pyper and Sheri Lapena, to the extremely popular poetry of Rupi Kaur, you’re sure to find a book that makes your summer special.
Thanks for reading!
Hot enough for you? Enjoying the dog days of summer?
The “dog days of summer” are the hottest, sultriest, most unsettled days of summer. The name comes from the timing of the heat, which follows the rising of the “dog star” Sirius, the brightest star in our sky (next to the Sun), and one of the stars forming the constellation Canis Major.
Ancients believed that the combined heat of Sirius and the Sun was responsible for the stifling heat and unsettled weather. This lead to a corresponding period of lethargy
The term dates back as far as the ancient Greeks. Homer’s Iliad makes reference to them. There is also reference to dog days and the effect of Sirius in ancient Egyptian and Roman cultures. In Egypt, Sirius appeared just before the flooding of the Nile.
The term is also sometimes used to refer to the lethargic summer stock markets, as trading is quietest in July.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the dog days of summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning on July 3 and ending August 11.
The “dog days” factor in the familiar phrase “make hay while the Sun shines”. As published in the 1817 The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Dog Days are approaching; you must, therefore, make both hay and haste while the Sun shines, for when old Sirius takes command of the weather, he is such an unsteady, crazy dog, there is no dependence upon him.”
Thank you for reading.