Sctv Great Canadian Comedy

John Candy, Eugene Levy, Martin Short, Rick Moranis, Cathrine O’Hara, and Dave Thomas reads like a who’s who list of the top sketch comics for their generation. It is almost hard to believe that they are all Canadian and at one time they were all in the same show.

SCTV for most Canadians needs no introduction. The innovative and influential comedy television series, Second City Television was started in Toronto in 1976, a year after fellow Canuck Lorne Michaels created a little show called Saturday Night Live. SCTV eventually ended down south and over its eight years created 135 shows. The concept of the show is of a day in the life of a fictitious low-budget television station in the small town of Mellonville. The low production values added to its bizarre satire and its multilayered approach featured behind the scenes aspects. Besides launching the careers of many of the artists, the show has influenced a new generation of comedy writers including The Simpson’s. Although these artists have gone on to feature film projects with larger budgets and a wider audience many would agree that their best work was achieved during these seminal years.

When the show moved to CBC, each episode that aired in Canada was to be two minutes longer than the shows in the States. The show’s producers requested that they add some identifiable Canadian content. Their absurd request was followed by a skit that included every conceivable Canadian cliché and thus The Great White North was born. As they drank real Canadian beer from stubby bottles while wearing toques and parkas and frying back bacon on a Coleman stove, the Canadian content requirements were amply supplied by the iconic Bob and Doug McKenzie brothers.

During the 1990’s SCTV all but disappeared and was not available on DVD. The shows producers never bothered to clear the music rights for the shows numerous use of copy written music. The NBC episodes were finally released on DVD in 2004 to the relief the fans and ensures the legacy of this great Canadian television series.

7 Reasons to go Camping

It seems like it was just yesterday that my brother Jeff and I, along with our families, got home from a week of camping in the backwoods. (Actually, now that I think about it, it really was yesterday that we arrived home)

There is a little lake in Alberta that we love to spend time at during our summers. The area we choose to call home for a week has everything we are looking for in a campsite. The sites are private with tall trees surrounding them. The washrooms are close enough to sprint to if need be. The water is drinkable (sort of) and the beach in only 200 yards away.

It really is the perfect place to go camping.

Now I fully understand that not everyone likes to go camping. There are some who would consider spending time in the great outdoors as a great sacrifice. Having to walk to get water can be a pain. The trip to the smelly toilets can be a real inconvenience at 2:00 AM. How about always being on the lookout for bears or mountain lions?

Someone give me directions to the Holiday Inn Express!

As Jeff and I were sitting around the fire chewing on some sunflower seeds, we began to discuss this very concept. What is it that makes camping so fun?

In true TOP 7 fashion, we made a list. Here are 7 reasons why everyone should go camping.

1. Camping separates you from the world, literally

There is something about spending a week in a location where your cell phone will not work. It generally takes me a few days to get used to not having a cell phone on my hip. I might struggle with a phantom vibration on occasion but even those dissipate in time. It feels good to shed that leash I call a Blackberry.

2. Camping shows you how tough you really are

Take away the conveniences of home and we will see what you are really made of. Can you survive without running water? Will you make it if you have to walk a ½ mile to find a shower? Just think, some day you can tell your grand-kids that you used a hole in the ground as a toilet and endured the pain of one-ply toilet paper.

3. Camping brings out the adventurer in you

Our families love adventure. We have lots of fun and get into lots of trouble. Camping brings out the best, and sometimes the worst, in us. This past week we went looking for Bigfoot.

Don’t believe us? We have video proof.


4. Camping helps you slow down

It all slows down when you are camping. It takes longer to do pretty much everything. Have you ever made toast on a stick? It takes a slow and steady hand.

5. Camping puts you in the fresh air. Fresh air will help you sleep well at night.

The first few days I am wiped out when I go camping. I believe it is all the fresh air I am taking into my lungs. It could also be all that walking to the toilet, and to get water, and to the beach. You get the picture.

All I know is that I sleep well at night.

6. Camping promotes creativity

Pop Quiz: It is starting to rain and you have a tarp and some rope. Can you make a shelter?

I am not sure I could because I would be in the RV. But hey, it is fun to think I could.

7. Camping saves you money

For the price of one night at a nice hotel I can stay a week at a great campsite. Some would call me cheap. I like to think I just like to go camping.

THE TOP 7 is a rapidly growing blog that is made up of random lists of seven. It is run by Kent and Jeff, a couple of middle-aged Canadian boys that are always up for an adventure or more. Make sure you stop by for a visit. You never know what you will discover tomorrow.

Totally Sustainable Beau’s Best

By Doris Miculan Bradley

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, an independent family operation located in Ontario, has a mandate derived from a labour of love: create a homegrown beer made from certified organic malt while incorporating seasonal, local chemically-unadulterated spring water while leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible. Beau’s has taken further initiative to creating a sustainable organization- The Green Futures Project; a unique, “think outside of the box” product exclusive beer club with the goal of helping Beau’s achieve its goal of becoming a totally sustainable brewery.

The initiative was rolled out on July 2nd, 2011 featuring a membership based- beer aficionado club where members pay a yearly fee to experience ten different Beau’s Best beer releases. Club members are entitled to 30 bourbon barrel aged beers (10 x 600ml bottles per year) over 3 years, at a membership fee of $300. The fees will be used to install solar panels on the massive 30,000 sq. ft roof that houses the brewery.

Beer styles follow the four seasons. Spring invites Beau’s Best Beaver River, an IPA featuring a whopping 9.9% alcohol count. Summer initiates Festivale Altbier, a food friendly hoppy ale. Fall welcomes Night Märzen Oktoberfest Lager, toasty, bready and well suited with fresh herb marinated poultry. Winter arrives with Bog Water Gruit Ale, a dark gritty, full bodied brown ale.

The innovative company approach towards sustainability not only relates to the environment, Beau’s invests in educating the future generation of Tourism-Hospitality workforce by hosting product seminars for students at some of Canada’s leading culinary/hospitality management learning centres, including George Brown College in Toronto Ontario. (Beau’s All Natural beers are available at The Chefs’ House, a student centric downtown Toronto learning restaurant operated by George Brown College). A mentioned should be given to several of Beau’s employees as they are GBC alumni giving back to the future graduates.

Beau’s is currently involved in achieving a one hundred and fifty thousand dollar goal which will be contributed towards charitable works, community building and independent arts.

This five year-old Canadian company is poised to be a leader in integral company practices while producing an endemic product and some of the best benefactors a company can ask for: The Environment, the future face of the Canadian Workforce and Local Community.

Brewery Contact

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company

10 Terry Fox Drive

Vankleek Hill, ON

KOB 1RO • PO BOX 279

Tel • (866) 585-BEER (2337) or (613) 678-2799

Email •

Contact Doris Miculan Badley

Rush a Great Canadian Band

The sound of Geddy Lee screeching like a banshee as he sings the arcane lyrics to a song like, “The Temple of Syrinx” is an understandable turn-off for most. But only the Beatles and the Rolling Stones have sold more consecutive gold albums than the trio so the boys from Willowdale, Ontario must be doing something right.

Comprised of bassist, keyboardist, and singer Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and lyricist and drummer Neal Peart the band is known for its complex progressive rock music that combines intelligent and unusual lyrics ranging from science fiction to social issues. They are not known for having a large female fan base. Bromance director John Hamburg who recently used a couple of classic Rush songs in his film I love you man states it well, “Women at Rush concerts are mythical and seldom seen.”

Since 1974 the band has made nineteen studio albums with a new one in the works. They have twenty-four gold records and three that are triple platinum with an estimated sale of over forty million units. After four decades they are still touring and going strong. They have become one of rock music’s most influential bands. How many Canadian musicians have received the Order of Canada? Only Rush. Their strong work ethic and the mastery of their respective instruments alone make them great Canadians. Drummer Neil Peart is often cited as the best rock drummer of his generation. But there is more to their success.

Their initial success was moderate and they began moving away from simpler blues inspired songs to more atmospheric story telling. The record company hated this and pressured them to do something more commercial. Instead they made twenty-minute songs with epic stories and earned their first platinum album with 2112. Ever since this success they have done what they pleased to the delight of millions of worldwide fans with their sound and music often taking different directions.

Lee’s stage name Geddy was inspired by his Mother’s thick Polish accent. One of his friends made fun of him and started calling him that. Eventually his mother did too. He is an avid collector of wines and baseball memorabilia. His humble attitude is often inspirational. “I guess, we were people who just dedicated to trying to get better.”

Alex puts it this way. “A lot of bands would site Rush as an influence. I don’t think it was so much our music, but more the way we really stuck to our guns. If there was any one achievement, it would be that we’ve done it on our own terms.” Alex and Geddy grew up as childhood friends and have maintained their close bond. “And on top of that, when we work together we have a wonderful working relationship, we push each other, we challenge each other, we laugh eighty percent of the time that we are together. We’re very fortunate.”

Most Rush fans are aware of Neil’s tragic loss of both his daughter and common law wife in the late 1990’s. His departure from the band led to a long sabbatical where he drove his motorcycle almost 100,000 km and wrote a book about his healing and eventually chose to return to the band. “But when Neil called” says Alex, “I have to say that my heart soared. And the reason was, because it said so much about his recovery … that he was coming back to the world of the living.”

What makes the members of Rush great and successful Canadians is not their record sales, it is their character.

As Neil states, “You can surrender without a prayer, but never really pray without surrender. You can fight without ever winning, but never ever win without a fight.”

James Bond Canada Has Your Vodka

By Doris Miculan Bradley

British Secret Service agent, James Bond may no longer refer to Smirnoff Vodka when asking for a Martini “Shaken not stirred “. The 1964 classic, Goldfinger, Bond character, Sean Connery first uttered the classic line after combating international spies and all around bad guys. Funny, there was no mention of Canadian secret agents or Canadian Vodka. Casino Royale Bond-man, Daniel Craig went as far as stating (in reference to the classic Martini), “Does it look like I give a damn?” Well, he should.

The “Go-Local” and “Slow Food” global movement has impacted the Canadian distillation industry and the world is the benefactor. “Life is on the edge” at The Prince Edward Distillery. Founded in 2007, owners Arla Johnson and Julia Shore work as the Femme Fatale Master Distillers. Claiming to be to first and only potato based vodka, Prince Edward Island hosts some of the best potatoes in the world proving to be beneficial to this regional vodka. Prince Edward Distillery also produces grain based vodka infused island wild blueberries. Having made the island’s claim to this unique vodka, PEI is host the local cocktail, “The Eddy”.

The Eddy

1 ½ ounce Prince Edward Distillery Vodka

¼ ounces Gran Marnier

1 ounce Cranberry Juice

Juice from ½ squeezed fresh lime

Mix or shake. Serve straight up or on the rocks. If served straight up, for best results serve in a Martini Glass. (Martini glasses are designed to have the martini envelope the entire tongue thus raising the sensation of the taste buds function.)

Prince Edward Distillery Potato Vodka Taste Profile

“Natash” custard mouthfeel with a medium to full finish. Talcum powder fragrance on the nose with a unique spice finish. “What an experience”.

Perhaps the next Austin Powers sequel will have Canadian, Mike Meyers Bond-man ask for an “Eddy on the Edge…of Canada…shaken and stirred”.

For further information about the distillery, please contact:

Prince Edward Distillery

Hermanville, Prince Edward Island Canada

(902- ) 687-2586

(902) 687-1853

Do you have a favourite Canadian drink that you think should make it into The Great Canadian? Let me know by e-mailing me directly at