Canada Today: Reporting That Stood Out in 2016

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For the final Canada Today newsletter of 2016, a selection of articles by New York Times correspondents who regularly report from the country.

None of the articles involve the year’s major news event, the devastating Fort McMurray fire, which miraculously did not directly cause any deaths. Some of our picks don’t even involve news as such. But all of them are articles that we think are worth revisiting:

• Dan Levin’s look at the automotive preferences of the wealthiest members of the Chinese community in Vancouver, British Columbia, was particularly popular among online readers. The article begins: “Andy Guo, an 18-year-old Chinese immigrant, loves driving his red Lamborghini Huracán. He does not love having to share the car with his twin brother, Anky.”

• Craig S. Smith looked into the history and growing popularity of the variety of fiddle music found in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. “Many people in Scotland considered the Cape Breton style — fiddling and dancing, in particular — as frozen in time,” Mr. Smith wrote. “The music helped spark a cultural revival in the old country.”

• I traveled up to Keewaywin, a small First Nations community in northwestern Ontario that can be reached only by air, or by traveling over ice roads in the winter, to do reporting for one of the most disturbing articles I’ve written. Seven teenagers from remote indigenous communities, included Keewaywin, left to attend high school in Thunder Bay, Ontario. They all died there. Despite months of testimony, a coroner’s inquest was unable to determine what had led to the deaths of four of the students. The other three deaths were found to be accidental. But the underfunding of education for indigenous students seemed to be a common denominator in all the cases.

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Ian Willms, a talented, young photographer from Toronto who often works for The Times, provided some exceptional photographs for the article.

(A brief follow-up: Jonathan Kakegamic, who was the principal of the high school the students attended and who is from Keewaywin, has since become the principal of a school for indigenous students in Toronto.)

• Finally, Jodi Kantor and Catrin Einhorn have spent the past year producing a series of three articles about Syrian refugees settling in Canada and their interactions with Canadians helping them out.

Doomed Mr. Smith, who worked in Asia until recently for The Times, looked back at the World War II battle for Hong Kong, which took place 75 years ago this month. The failed defense of what was then a British colony against Japanese troops cost 3,000 lives, including those of 290 Canadians.

“These days, the sacrifice and courage of those who died are remembered more than the senselessness of their deaths,” Mr. Smith wrote. “But historians have long acknowledged that it was a mistake to send untested Canadian boys to defend an indefensible island.”

Record Setter At the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October, Ed Whitlock, 85, became the oldest person to run 26.2 miles in less than four hours. Mr. Whitlock’s time, 3 hours 56 minutes 34 seconds, was just one of many age-related athletic records he has recorded. Jeré Longman found that Mr. Whitlock takes an unconventional approach to preparation: “He has no coach. He follows no special diet. He does not chart his mileage. He wears no heart-rate monitor. He takes no ice baths, gets no massages. He shovels snow in the winter and gardens in the summer but lifts no weights, does no situps or push-ups. He avoids stretching, except the day of a race. He takes no medication, only a supplement that may or may not help his knees.”

Not surprisingly, Mr. Whitlock is also of great interest to scientists who study aging.

Man Cave About once a month, some of the most famous names in hockey head to Mike Wilson’s basement in the affluent Forest Hill neighborhood of Toronto to watch films and hold round-table discussions, Curtis Rush reported. Surrounding them is what’s probably the world’s largest collection of Toronto Maple Leafs memorabilia.

Here are some recent articles from The Times, not necessarily related to Canada, that I found interesting:

Automakers are preparing for the day when cars will play little, or perhaps no, role in many Americans’ lives.

— While heat waves get attention as health risks, run-of-the-mill winter cold weather is far deadlier.

— A company that manufactures vinyl records in Nashville is expanding.

— And a not-so-recent, end-of-year review item that has no connection to Canada other than me. In July, I cover the Tour de France for the Sports section. This year, that involved reporting one stage from a motorcycle. Happy New Year everyone.

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Recommended article: The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False.

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