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The Guess Who (Thomas Fricke)
The Guess Who (Thomas Fricke)

Year in review

The top arts stories that didn't happen Add to ...

As verbal nostrums go, “there’s always next year” has to rank with “time wounds all heels” as one of the world’s great pieces of non-consolation. It’s invariably trotted out when an award or feat that was supposed to occur this year (or the year before or the year before that) gets punted to the next (or the next or … the next). Sometimes the dream deferred is the result of a person’s own hesitations and prevarications; in many instances, though, the eternal postponement, the unending “close-but-no-cigar” delay smacks of cruel neglect, no matter what excuses, apologies and seeming rock-solid explanations are proffered afterwards. Hope may spring eternal but sometimes springs dry up, don’t they?

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Herewith a not-altogether-serious list of events that should have happened this year but didn’t and therefore should happen next year:

The admission of the Guess Who to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To be eligible to pass through the portals of Cleveland’s rock Valhalla, a performer must, at a minimum, have made his/her/their first recording 25 years prior to the induction year. The pride of Winnipeg, formed in 1965 out of the ashes of Chad Allan and the Expressions, easily meets this criterion. Moreover, before its end (more or less) in 1975, it put no fewer than 10 songs in the U.S. Top 40 – a record other nominees can only envy. Judges, do your duty!

Winners of the Canadian Prizes for the Arts and Creativity. Heritage Minister James Moore said they’d be announced by the end of 2011 – one year later than originally planned and two years after they were included as a $25-million promise in the Harper government’s budget. Moore struck a blue-chip advisory panel in spring 2010 which duly reported to him in September that year. What did it recommend? Who knows?

Battling Beavers sign peace pact! Fredericton’s Beaverbrook Art Gallery began its multi-million-dollar legal joust over the ownership of more than 200 works with the Beaverbrook Foundations, U.K. and Canadian, in 2004. The impasse with the U.K. body was finally resolved in September, 2009, raising hopes that a Canadian foundation-gallery deal was just around the corner. It’s been proving an elusive corner to find, let alone turn.

Stan Rogers enters Canadian Music Hall of Fame! Troubadour Stan Rogers has been under the ground almost as long as he was above it, but still he hasn’t entered the pearly gates of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Next year Blue Rodeo gets the nod, joining such earlier Hall alumni as the Crewcuts and Luc Plamondon. Stan, meanwhile, dead at 33 in 1983, remains the singer-songwriter left out in the cold.

Feds okay heritage building rehab tax credit. The Heritage Canada Foundation has spent a decade pushing Ottawa for a building rehabilitation tax credit that owners of the estimated 12,000 properties listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places could access as an alternative to the wrecking ball. With the Harper government apparently abandoning its ambitions for a National Trust, hopes are higher than ever that the credit scheme will be realized.

Reconstruction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Banff Pavilion. Claiming irreparable water damage, Parks Canada authorities in Banff in 1939 ordered the demolition of the only public building the world’s most famous architect designed for Canada (in 1911-12). There have been campaigns over the years to have the pavilion rebuilt, all to no avail. However, with 2013 pegged as the 100th anniversary of its original construction, good news should be coming.

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