Ontario – Raymond Massey

Each month, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel Canada, discovering the best each province has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also feature a drink the area is known for. Today, we journey to Ontario, which likes to think of itself as the center of the universe. Does that theory hold up? Let’s find out:

Motto: “Loyal she began, loyal she remains” – This has some abusive vibes to it…

Food: While popular across the country – and even internationally – Tim Hortons is an institution in Ontario. It was founded in Hamilton in 1964 by hockey star Tim Horton. The company’s headquarters are now in Toronto. As of 2022, there were 1,713 Tim Hortons locations in Ontario, accounting for 48 per cent of all the chain’s locations in Canada. I can attest, Tim Hortons donut holes, called Timbits, are quite addictive.

Drink: The Labatt Brewing Company was founded by John Labatt in 1847 in London, back when the area was known as Canada West, rather than Ontario. The company is headquartered in Toronto, but is now owned by the Anheuser-Busch InBev conglomerate. Labatt is the largest brewery in Canada, with brands including Labatt Blue (lager) and Labatt 50 (ale).

Tim Hortons

Site to See: Niagara Falls, on the border of Ontario and New York State, is the top tourist attraction in the province. Most fascinating to me is the number of daredevils who have tried to survive going over the falls. Sadly, many did not live to tell the tale, including those who used the falls to commit suicide. An estimated 5,000 bodies have been found in the waters below the falls between 1850 and 2011.

Street: Yonge Street in Toronto was, for a time, called the longest street in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. Although this was a mistake, one title that has remained is ‘Main Street Ontario’. Notable sites along the route include the Eaton Centre shopping mall and Dundas Square, where a number of eating, entertainment and shopping options can be found.

TV Show: I’ve enjoyed a number of series set in Ontario, chief among them Letterkenny. The show highlights the lives of those living in the country community, based on star Jared Keeso’s hometown of Listowel. The townsfolk are broken up between being hicks, jocks, skids and natives. The quick dialogue has created many popular catchphrases and added numerous idioms to the lexicon.

Movie: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, starring Michael Cera, is about a young man pursuing the girl of his dreams, only to find out he has to defeat her seven evil exes to be with her. The film, based on the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, uses many video game references. It’s set in Toronto, featuring landmarks such as Casa Loma, St. Michael’s College School and a Toronto Public Library location.

Niagara Falls

Book/Author: Margaret Atwood, born in Ottawa, is a Canadian literary icon. Atwood has published numerous works, including 18 novels, 18 books of poetry, eight children’s books and two graphic novels. Perhaps her most notable work is The Handmaid’s Tale, which was adapted into a 2017 TV series. Among her many accolades, Atwood received the Order of Canada in 1981 and Order of Ontario in 1990.

Fictional Character: A few other characters/shows deserving of mention include Mr. Kim (Kim’s Convenience), William Murdoch (Murdoch Mysteries), Red Green (The Red Green Show), Hobo the Dog (The Littlest Hobo), and Bob and Doug McKenzie (SCTV). Combined, the characters/shows give a good representation of Ontario from the late 19th century – the setting of Murdoch Mysteries – to present day.

Fictional City: Since Letterkenny was already mentioned above, I’ll use this category to feature Schitt’s Creek, both the show and the invented locale. When video store mogul Johnny Rose loses his entire fortune, he and his peculiar family are forced to move to the one property they still own, the rural town of Schitt’s Creek. Here, they interact with the eclectic citizens, while trying to rebuild their lives.

Actor/Actress: There are too many folks that fit this category, so I’ll just list them: Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Ryan Gosling, Jay Baruchel, Rachel McAdams, Keanu Reeves, Michael Cera, Will Arnett, Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman, Matthew Perry, John Candy, Neve Campbell, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Catherine O’Hara, Sandra Oh, Martin Short… did I miss anyone?

Margaret Atwood

Song: A Place to Stand, A Place to Grow is the unofficial anthem of Ontario. It was written by Dolores Claman, best known for writing The Hockey Theme, which is viewed as a secondary national anthem in Canada. The song was used at the Ontario pavilion at the Expo 67 World’s Fair in Montreal, Quebec. It was also featured in the short film A Place to Stand, which won a 1967 Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.

Band/Musician: Once again, there are many options for this category. If I had to narrow it down to one, I think I’d select Justin Bieber. Just kidding, I’d probably go with Rush, but others deserving of mention include Alanis Morissette, The Tragically Hip, Drake, Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, Neil Young, The Weeknd, Shania Twain, Paul Anka, Blue Rodeo, Alessia Cara, deadmau5, Gordon Lightfoot, Our Lady Peace, Sum 41, etc.

People: Another tough category to narrow down, so I’ll split it between two long-time media personalities, one universally beloved and the other incredibly controversial. First, Alex Trebek, born in Sudbury, hosted TV game show Jeopardy! for 37 years before his death in 2020. On the other end of the spectrum, hockey pundit Don Cherry was a fixture of Hockey Night in Canada for 33 years before being unceremoniously fired in 2019.

Animal: A few giant pandas have had notable stays at the Toronto Zoo. First, Qing Qing and Quan Quan appeared at the zoo in 1985, shattering all attendance records over the zoo’s history. Decades later, Er Shun and Da Mao arrived in Toronto and in 2015, Er Shun gave birth to twin cubs, the first birth of giant pandas to occur in Canada. The cubs were named Jia Panpan (Canadian Hope) and Jia Yueyue (Canadian Joy).

Alex Trebek

Invention: Insulin, co-discovered by Sir Frederick Banting (born in Alliston) has to take this spot, thanks to the hormone’s ability to save the lives of those with diabetes or at least allow them to enjoy a safer, more comfortable existence. For his discovery, Banting was awarded the 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine, at the age of 32, making him the youngest winner in that field to this day.

Crime: In the early 1990s, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, known as the Ken and Barbie Killers, raped and murdered three teenagers, including Homolka’s own sister. On his own, Bernardo was a prolific serial rapist, given the nicknames Scarborough Rapist and Schoolgirl Killer. The pair were convicted of their crimes, but while Bernardo was sentenced to life imprisonment, Homolka cut a controversial plea deal and only served 12 years.

Sports Team: Ontario is home to the most sports franchises in the country. Toronto has the Maple Leafs (NHL), Raptors (NBA), Blue Jays (MLB) and Argos (CFL), while Ottawa offers the Senators (NHL) and Redblacks (CFL). There’s also the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger Cats. The province also has the Ontario Hockey League, with 17 of the circuit’s 20 junior teams located within Ontario.

Athlete: Among other options, this category has to go to Wayne Gretzky. Born in Brantford, ‘The Great One’ owns countless NHL records and is generally regarded as the greatest hockey player the game has ever seen. Gretzky won four Stanley Cups, to go along with many individual awards, over his 20-year career. When Gretzky retired, he was immediately enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame and his #99 jersey was retired league-wide.

Wayne Gretzky

Famous Home: While the Canadian Prime Minister’s residence seems like an obvious choice, I’ll go in a different direction, highlighting McCrae House in Guelph. It is the childhood home of Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, who wrote the poem In Flanders Field during World War I. Sadly, McCrae died of pneumonia before the war concluded. The home was named a National Historic Site in 1966.

Urban Legend: The Baldoon Mystery is a curious tale. Taking place in the community of Wallaceburg, the story states the family farm of John T. McDonald experienced many paranormal encounters, said to result from a witch’s curse. McDonald was advised to shoot a black-headed goose with a silver bullet, which would wound the witch as well. Upon shooting a goose in its wing, McDonald came across an old woman with a broken arm and the hauntings ceased.

Museum: The Hockey Hall of Fame was established in Toronto in 1943. With the 2021 induction ceremony, a total of 417 players, builders and officials have been enshrined in the Hall. The museum also allows visitors to get close to the Stanley Cup, which reminds me of the joke that the Hall of Fame was placed in Toronto, as that’s the closest folks living there would ever get to the championship!

Firsts: For a league that has only one Canadian team, it’s amazing the first-ever National Basketball Association game was played on November 1, 1946, in Toronto. The contest, played at Maple Leaf Gardens, was between the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers, with the Knicks winning 68-66. The Huskies only lasted one season before folding and Toronto would be without a team until the Raptors were founded in 1995.

Hockey Hall of Fame

Company: As department stores go the way of the dodo, they were once major shopping institutions. All of the biggest Canadian department stores were headquartered in Ontario, including The Bay, Eaton’s and Sears. Of these, only The Bay, in existence in various forms since 1670, still exists, but they have struggled in recent years, due to discount stores and online shopping.

Events: The War of 1812, fought between the United States and the United Kingdom, featured a number of battles in Upper Canada (what is now Ontario). The war is credited for helping to create a sense of national identity in Canada. For Canadians, the war is perhaps best remembered for the burning of Washington, which included setting the White House, then known as the Presidential Mansion, and Capitol building ablaze.

Miscellaneous: The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in the world, highlighted by the premieres of star-studded movies and creating buzz for films leading up to the award season. The festival was founded in 1976 and today lasts 11 days in mid-September. Some notable movies to debut at TIFF, include American Beauty, Ray, Slumdog Millionaire, Precious, and The King’s Speech.

Ontario: Raymond Massey

  • 2 oz Canadian Whiskey
  • Dash of Ginger Syrup
  • Top with Bubbly
  • Garnish with a Lemon Twist

This cocktail is named after actor Raymond Massey, who was born in Toronto, where the drink enjoys its popularity. It is a variation of the classic French 75 beverage, subbing in the Canadian Whiskey and Ginger Syrup, in favour of Gin and Lemon Juice.

Mixer Mania #3 – It Does a Body Good

Got milk? The slogan became a pop culture phenomenon in the late 90s and early 2000s, thanks to the line of ‘milk mustache’ ads, featuring a who’s who list of celebrities during the time. Here’s a look at some of the best posters from the campaign (or at least the ones I felt like lampooning):

Kermit the Frog

Why a Muppet would need milk, I’ll never figure out… aren’t they more energy drink folk? Kermit does look quite dapper in this ad, which also included the tagline: “Milk isn’t just for tadpoles.”

got-milk-kermit

Austin Powers

Capitalizing on the popularity of Mike Myers’ secret agent character, the ad featured the spectacled one lounging on a couch, decked out in a silk blue robe (likely post-shag) with hairy chest that simply can’t be contained. Oh yeah, and martini glass of milk in hand wraps things up.

Steven Tyler

Typically the only white substance under the Aerosmith frontman’s nose is cocaine (aka booger sugar). Tyler’s mouth is iconic, while the caption “Make your bones rock hard” could certainly be misconstrued.

Garfield

The ad featured everyone’s favourite wisecracking cat with plate of lasagna. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my pasta with a nice glass of wine.

got-milk-garfield

Lindsay Lohan

I find it ironic that Lohan’s poster featured the tagline “The height of fame,” especially given the fall from grace her career and life would suffer in the years that followed.

Alex Trebek

The Jeopardy quiz master has one of the most iconic mustaches to ever exist – with or without milk. Add in the caption “Your bones may be in jeopardy” and that is one clever, if not intimidating ad.

Mixer Mania #3: The Sombrero

The Sombrero.JPG

  • 1.5 oz Kahlua Chili Chocolate
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with a Chocolate

Mrs. Sip actually collected these posters and magazine ads for a time and had her bedroom adorned with them. It was fun to have them in one place and see all the stars who had participated in the campaign.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I prefer to use recipes that are a little more complex than this, but it provided the perfect opportunity to open my new Kahlua Chili Chocolate bottle. That liqueur packs a punch and I’m happy to say it comes as advertised. I wish I had thicker milk for this cocktail, but Skim is what Mrs. Sip prefers and it worked decently here, helping to cool the spicy Kahlua.

February 7 – Saturday Night Fever

Live from New York

The iconic Saturday Night Live is celebrating its 40th season on the air this evening and in those 40 years, we’ve seen many classic characters hit our screens – both big and small. Here are the Top 5 Saturday Night Live characters, according to the Sip Advisor (a great character in his own right!):

#5: Irwin Mainway

Dan Aykroyd, the man behind Crystal Skull Vodka and so many great characters, can also list this shady salesman among his fine credits. Mainway appeared on the show Consumer Probe to defend his geared-towards-kids Halloween costumes and Christmas toys, such as ‘Bag O’ Glass,’ ‘Bag O’ Sulfuric Acid,’ ‘Teddy Chainsaw Bear,’ ‘Invisible Pedestrian,’ and ‘Johnny Switchblade Adventure Punk.’ I personally don’t see the issue with any of those products!

Mainway

#4: Celebrity Jeopardy

These are some of the best skits in the show’s history and while they may not be original characters, a couple of them were reoccurring, such as Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek and Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery. The Trebek-Connery rivalry was a great touch, as were many of the game categories, which Connery hilariously misconstrued, much to Trebek’s bewilderment. For example, “An Album Cover” somehow became “Anal Bum Cover” when Connery got ahold of it.

#3: Stefon

The New York club scene insider and Weekend Update guest, was responsible for introducing the world to some of the most bizarre underground hangouts, including Crease, Whimsy, and Kevin?… yes, that one has a question mark. Played by Bill Hader, fellow writers would change the cue cards for Stefon appearances between rehearsal and live run and then it would only be a matter of time before Hader would break character laughing and have to bury his face in his hands.

#2: Wayne Campbell & Garth Algar

“Party on, Wayne… party on, Garth! With those words, Wayne’s World took to the airwaves, although it’s a little known fact that Mike Myers first used the Wayne Campbell character on the Canadian show It’s Only Rock & Roll. Anyway, the Wayne’s World co-hosts took their skit success straight to feature films with two great movies, perfect for cameo appearances from musical acts, as well as actors. The characters have rarely been reprised, but they live on in the hearts of millions.

#1: Matt Foley

While Chris Farley made this character legendary, it was actually created by Bob Odenkirk, aka Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad. Matt Foley, with his unique way of motivating others, made us all fear an existence of living in a van down by the river. A highlight of each Foley sketch was the inevitable crash the inspirational speaker would take through a table or into a Christmas tree. The first table fall was actually accidental, but was the icing on the cake for the sketch and became tradition.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever Shot

  • 0.5 oz Sambuca
  • 0.5 oz Whiskey
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Some honourable mentions go to Mr. Bill, the Festrunk Brothers, Toonces the Cat, the Ladies Man, the Butabi Brothers, and Mr. Robinson. While I’ve never been a big regular watcher of the show, I have many fond memories from it and have to thank the series for launching the careers of some of my favourite comedians!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
While this shot is certainly meant for the John Travolta disco dancing film from the 1970s, I believe it also works well for the theme of today’s post. The Sambuca and Lime Juice are to be shaken together first, with the Whiskey being floated on top afterwards, but I had forgotten this element and when the result was a wonderful tasting shot, I just went with it. This may be one of the best uses of Sambuca I have yet to find and I think things might have been helped by the Royal Challenge Whiskey from India.

March 3 – Goldfinger

Trivia Time

This cocktail could be honouring anything from the legendary King Midas, a sexual euphemism or anything in between. I’m going to assume (making an ass out of you and me… it’s what I do best) it’s a tribute to the James Bond book and film of the same name. So, let’s look at some trivia on the subject.

In nearly every scene that he appears in, villain Auric Goldfinger wears yellow or gold items of clothing. In one scene he is seen donning a US Army uniform, but is carrying the famous golden gun.

Advisor’s Take: So, Goldfinger basically dresses like a Richard Simmons/Rod Roddy cross… oh man, that’s a scary sight… but scary as in one of those car wreck type deals, where you can’t look away and want to see the carnage. Although that golden gun in the video games kills with only one bullet. No need for headshots here, just shoot them in the foot and the game gives the victim instant gangrene, which results in a quick death.

Richard Simmons ROD RODDY

The Goldfinger movie marked the first time an Aston Martin vehicle was used by James Bond. The car and character are now synonymous with one another. The company was originally reluctant to provide the production with two of their vehicles, but after the success of the movie, which translated into great business for the vehicle manufacturer, the company was more than willing for future sequels to provide anything the producers were looking for.

Advisor’s Take: I’ve never really been a car guy, so I don’t bust a nut over the vehicles in this movie or any other film. The only driving experience I’d like to enjoy in my life is being in a convertible, while driving along a winding beach, with dark shades on and feeling the wind run through my hair… that or rocking a monster truck through the streets of a bustling downtown core, running over everything from smart cars, to people who walk while texting, to the little designer dogs that cover the streets with poop.

The name Pussy Galore was almost changed to Kitty Galore, in order to appease censors, but producers were allowed to continue with the original name, as long as it did not appear on promotional material for the film. Actress Honor Blackman, who played the titular (literally) character enjoyed embarrassing her interviewers during press junkets by repeatedly saying the name.

Advisor’s Take: Sounds like my kind of girl, talking all dirty. Such outlandish names like Pussy Galore in the Bond franchise has led to some great monikers in spy spoofs. Of course, there was the Austin Powers trilogy, which featured names like Alotta Fagina, Ivana Humpalot, Fook Mi and Fook Yu, and Dixie Normous. My favourite occurred in an American Dad episode lampooning the spy genre, as Francine became Sexpun Tocome. I kind of wish Pussy Galore had remained Kitty Galore, and instead of her team of Flying Circus pilots she had a menagerie of cats whose offensive array included napping on people to subdue them and killing birds and mice that could later be used as projectiles.

Pussy Galore

This was the first movie appearance for a laser beam, as seen when Goldfinger has Bond strapped to a table, on the verge of being snuffed out. In the book, a spinning buzzsaw is inching closer to Bond, rather than a laser beam, but producers felt this gag was no longer original.

Adviser’s Take: If a buzzsaw worked for Dudley Do-Right cartoons and 1960’s live action Batman episodes, it could have also worked here. Funnily enough, now the whole laser beam thing seems unoriginal. The times they are a changing. If I ever have a hero at my mercy, I would finish them off with the dreaded purple nurple. If left untreated, the purple nurple can turn into a deadly blood clot, causing nausea, seizures, and eventual organ failure. I’m not a doctor, but I play one on the internet.

The role of Goldfinger’s minion, Odd Job was given to former Olympic medalist and professional wrestler Toshiyuki “Harold” Sakata. Another wrestler, Milton Reid, who had played a henchman in Dr. No, wanted the Odd Job role and challenged Sakata to a match with the winner getting the part. Producers decided that wasn’t necessary, since Reid’s character had been killed off in Dr. No and the match never took place. Reid later appeared as baddie Sandor in The Spy Who Loved Me over a decade later.

Advisor’s Take: I think all movie roles should be decided in the wrestling ring. Can you imagine Keanu Reeves battling Will Smith (turned the part down) for the role of Neo in The Matrix series? Or the catfights that would occur when any of Hollywood’s leading ladies battled over a character? The Oscars could become Tinsletown’s version of WrestleMania, complete with a stacked card of bouts. Put it on pay-per-view and I bet the viewers would tune in. If you build it, they will come.

Okay, that’s enough trivia for today. Alex Trebek I am not. Unless he’s a boozehound too!

Drink #62: Goldfinger

Goldfinger Martini

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Sadly, this drink disappointed in presentation, as it was hard to see any of the Goldschlager in the martini. The cocktail tasted great and even looked awesome, but the gold flakes disappeared and that was sad.