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Good morning, and welcome to the weekend.

Grab your cup of coffee or tea, and sit down with a selection of this week’s great reads from The Globe and Mail. In this issue, Emma Gilchrist reports on the untimely death of the beloved Bob the elk, who was hit by a car, and what Canadians can learn from his time on Vancouver Island.

While researching this story, Gilchrist says she was struck by just how many elk are dying on a 40-kilometre stretch of road between Duncan, B.C., and Youbou, B.C. When she dug into the data, she was able to deduce that about 17 elk are being killed every year on this one strip of highway alone. For Gilchrist, this story was personal. Bob was a friend. She loved how Bob reminded her of her place in the universe, as a single species on this planet. “I think when you come into contact with the natural world, whether it’s a majestic Roosevelt elk, a whale or an old-growth tree, you are reminded that you are just a speck in the universe. It’s an awe-inducing experience,” she told The Globe. “Bob was extra-special because he was so friendly, but that also brought up mixed emotions: wanting to talk to him and be close to him, but also worrying that might not be good for him.”

While reporting on Bob’s death, Gilchrist also learned that it’s “virtually impossible” to stop in time to avoid an animal when driving highway speeds at night. “We overestimate our ability to avoid a collision, but the reality is if you’re going over 60 km/h at night, chances are you aren’t going to be able to stop in time to avoid an elk.”

Paul Waldie and Anna Liminowicz speak to Ukrainian women about their decisions to have children during Russia’s invasion, and what these births mean for the future of Ukraine.

And David Berman lists the best oligopolies for Canadians to invest in.

If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for Great Reads and more than 20 other Globe newsletters on our newsletter sign-up page. If you have questions or feedback, drop us a line at greatreads@globeandmail.com.


What the life and death of Bob the elk can teach us

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Bob the Roosevelt moose a local celebrity in Youbou, BC. Seen on the road March 22, 2020

Bob the Roosevelt moose a local celebrity in Youbou, BC. Seen on the road March 22, 2020Ryan Tidman/The Globe and Mail

When a beloved Vancouver Island elk was killed by a car, the story unravelled before local journalist Emma Gilchrist like a true-crime mystery, nature edition. Bob was not just any elk. At approximately 15 years old, he was about 100 in wild elk years. He injured his foot so badly a few years back that a B.C. government veterinarian examined him several times, but he was beloved by local residents. Why was Bob living there in the first place and how many more elk will die on our roads before something changes? Gilchrist has the story.


In dark times, Ukraine’s mothers in exile find hope in new life

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A Ukrainian mother, who is a refugee due to Russia’s invasion, cradles her infant’s feet in Warsaw, Poland.Anna Liminowicz/The Globe and Mail

One is a 21-year-old who left Kyiv, and her abusive soldier husband, last May when she was seven months pregnant. The second is a 39-year-old engineer from Kyiv who fled to Poland days after the war started. The third is a woman also from Kyiv who is now in Przemysl, and who just had her fourth child. All three are mothers, who are coming to the realization that every new baby born is a lifeline to Ukraine’s future. Paul Waldie and Anna Liminowicz speak to Ukrainian mothers about their hopes and fears after more than two years of war.


Canada is blessed with oligopolies. Here are the best

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A Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) logo is seen on Bay Street in the heart of the financial district in Toronto, January 22, 2015.Mark Blinch/Reuters

Canada’s cozy network of oligopolies – where a few players dominate one sector – can look very different to different investors. Slim competition can keep upstarts out and profits in, driving strong shareholder returns and attractive dividends over the long term. Oligopolies are thriving in Canada, propelled forward by the country’s slow economic growth and regulations that support homegrown companies and restrict ownership to Canadians. Consumers will continue to grumble about their limited options, and investors can feast on attractive stocks. Looking to invest? David Berman offers a short list of Canada’s best oligopolies.


Families step up to find gene therapies for diseases too rare for research firms

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Stephanie Telesca and Christopher España are pictured with their daughter Eliana España, 3, and her younger sister Aurelia España, at their home in Toronto on Feb.16, 2024. Eliana has an extremely rare genetic condition that is caused by a KCNC1 mutation, which impacts the flow of potassium ions into neurons in the brain, which can cause epilepsy and other neurological conditions.Laura Proctor/The Globe and Mail

One in 12 Canadians live with a rare disease, with children making up two-thirds of those affected, according to the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders. However, few research dollars are dedicated to studying ultrarare conditions that affect only a handful of individuals, with little financial incentive for companies to spend tens of millions – or more – knowing they will never recoup the costs. But unexpected lifelines are emerging. Carly Weeks reports on a burgeoning network of families around the world who are doing the work themselves, raising money, starting foundations, hiring teams of researchers and launching public-relations campaigns in hopes of creating a gene therapy and drawing attention to the need for more funding for rare diseases.


The Afghan refugee crisis is a migratory time bomb that may soon go off

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Maria Hamid worked in the Afghan military and had to leave Kabul upon receiving threats from the Taliban. She has attempted an illegal migration route with her 3-year-old son Orhan who was only on-and-a-half at the time. Her attempt was unsuccessful and she decided to move to Pakistan. She is not able to go out to even do groceries because she fears the Taliban will find her.Saiyna Bashir/The Globe and Mail

In many major conflicts, the largest movements take place only after the hostilities have ended and the victors sweep into power. That was true of the Second World War and the Vietnam War, and it has become the case in Afghanistan. The result is a record-setting moment of conflict migration, and the millions of Afghans streaming through Pakistan have become the most contentious and unsolved part of this huge population. It’s been nearly three years since the Taliban retook Afghanistan, but Doug Saunders reports that for those in exile in neighbouring Pakistan, lack of options means many may be forced to flee soon.


The Vatican is breaking its promise to return Indigenous items to Canada, a Globe investigation reveals

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A wampum belt made of nearly 10,000 beads by members of the Algonquin, Nipissing and Mohawk communities in Quebec in 1831, displayed in the pages of a 2015 catalogue called The Americas, published by the Vatican.Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

Two years after the church vowed to return its collection of cultural items to Canada’s Indigenous community, very little has happened. After months of investigation, The Globe was unable to find evidence of any cultural items that have been returned to communities, with the exception of a seven-week loan of the 1831 wampum belt to the McCord Stewart museum in Montreal. The findings are based on dozens of interviews with Indigenous curators, scholars, political representatives, art historians, cultural leaders, past delegates to Rome and residential school survivors across Canada.


Inuk designer April Allen is bringing culture to the catwalk

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April Allen in Times Square, New York City.Supplied

During the February show of Inuk fashion designer April Allen, a majority of the models were from her own traditional Inuit region – Nunatsiavut, which means “our beautiful land” in Inuttitut, in Newfoundland and Labrador. All of them are adorned in caribou-fur skirts, sealskin vests with appliqué blossoms and fox-fur-trimmed boots glistening with beadwork. She is living her dream, but things weren’t always this good. Lindsay Jones profiles the designer from Rigolet, Labrador, chronicling her rise from fallen dental therapist to New York Fashion Week success story.


Take this week’s art quiz

Which Canadian star is making their Broadway debut this spring?

a. Elliot Page

b. Rachel McAdams

c. Catherine O’Hara

d. Keanu Reeves

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