There’s much more to curling than meets the eye, especially when it comes to the unusual role it played in Victorian Toronto.
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The strange story of Madame Henault, a peddler of a so-called miracle elixir that took Toronto by storm in 1882. Somehow, she roped in Canada’s greatest living athlete and inadvertently made history.
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The story of Larrupin’ Larry Gains, a black boxer from turn-of-the-century Cabbagetown who took the boxing world by storm. Larry’s lifelong battle against racism in the sport he loved remains sadly relevant today.
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Today’s episode is a salute to one of my personal heroes, the legendary Frank Mahovlich, King of Sass.
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Well, folks, I did it. It’s not exactly Serial but I have here for your enjoyment the very first episode of the Church & Carlton podcast. In light of recent events, I think it’s especially prescient.
If people want to hear more, I’m aiming to release new episodes every other Tuesday. After I put a few of these out there, I’ll put up a Patreon to tide me over until I can get that sweet, sweet Squarespace money. In the meantime, you can get updates on Facebook here.
Tonight’s episode features an infamous baseball game that would change Toronto forever and calls into question some of the stories we like to tell ourselves about our city.
The Vancouver Canucks have mumps.
Mumps, a nasty little virus that causes hilarious yet painful swelling of the salivary glands, is highly contagious. Transferred through saliva, it is currently laying waste to Toronto’s bar scene. The NHL had its first mumps outbreak in 2014 – you may remember this iconic image:
Of course it happened to Sid. Of course it did.
The outbreak passed, teams gave out booster shots, and everyone promptly forgot that dozens of professional athletes had the mumps. But now the virus is back to terrorize the hapless Canucks, leaving us all with the question: What caused the Great ReMumpening?
Several theories have been floated, ranging from the mundane (sharing water bottles) to the disgusting (saliva spray during checking) to the tragically improbable (hot player-on-player action.) But the fact remains that this is a group of health-conscious adult men in peak physical fitness. What are they doing with a 19th century children’s disease?
The answer may be surprisingly simple. Before 1996, the prevailing wisdom in Canada was that we only needed to be inoculated against mumps once. Now, the recommendation is that children need to get the mumps vaccine twice. This means that Canadians born between 1970 and 1992 are still susceptible to mumps even though they received their childhood vaccination. The NHL is mostly comprised of Canadians born between 1970 and 1992. If they’re anything like every other Canadian Millennial, their parents lost their yellow immunization card circa 1998. Like all those poor saps who got infected on West Queen West last week, they probably didn’t know that they were supposed to get inoculated twice and have now passed on Canada’s most unfortunate export since Justin Bieber to their international teammates.
The Canucks aren’t exactly playoff-bound this year, but if the outbreak spreads, other Western Conference teams could find themselves incapacitated at a crucial point in the season. The Canucks play the San Jose Sharks tomorrow night. Brent Burns was born in Barrie in 1985.
I hope he’s had his booster shot.
Nazem Kadri first voiced his disapproval of then-Republican candidate Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim travel ban in November of 2015:
“I think he’s pretty delusional. But his opinion’s his opinion…[T]hat being said, I’m lucky to live in a country like Canada, where people of political stature don’t say those kinds of things to make people feel out of place.”